In The Shadow Of His Nemesis
Chapter Forty Three
BY AL BRUNO III
The front and back doors exploded open. Armed men in body armor stormed into the house, toppling furniture and filling the air with shouts. The laser sights on their weapons flitted over the walls. The bright yellow lettering on their bulletproof vests marked them as agents of local law enforcement. The three suspects in the living room dropped to the floor at the sight of them and were quickly restrained with zip ties.
One of the suspects sitting at the kitchen table was too stunned to react, his grip tightened around his hand of poker cards. The other suspect cursed and drew a pistol from a shoulder holster.
At the sight of the weapon everything erupted into chaos. Each of the tactical weapons specialists opened fire, killing both suspects instantly. One of the suspects in the living room screamed only to be silenced with a blow to the head. When the gunfire had ended a chorus of shouts went from one room to another as each group of armed men made sure the other was all right. The pulses of the dead men on the kitchen floor were checked in a cursory fashion.
The three suspects in the living room were dragged to their knees and photographs were taken with a digital camera. Movement was heard on the second floor and four of the tactical weapons specialists were ordered up the stairs to investigate.
Outside the plain blue two story house police, fire and rescue vehicles moved into place. The street was cordoned off and people were ordered to stay in their homes. Digital cameras were trained on the crowds gathering at the barricades. Ten minutes after the raid had begun a heavy-set man in an expensive suit exited from a car with government plates. He slowly made his way to the van that was parked closest to the house and found the senior officer on duty and asked if everything was secure.
“Yes sir.” Lieutenant Gabriel's uneasy frown deepened at the sight of the man, “three suspects in custody, two dead and one of them is holed up in an upstairs bathroom.”
“So by secured…” Special Agent Mario Krump said, “…you mean not quite secured.”
“He’s not going anywhere.”
“Don't be too sure,” Mario said. “What have they found?”
More special weapons and tactics officers were heading into the house, a helicopter passed overhead, both men craned their necks to watch. “Some guns,” Lieutenant Gabriel said, “some cash.”
“Is that it?” Mario bristled. He hated having to rely on the local police but things were stretched too thin right now, too many things going wrong at the same time. He imagined the officers inside the house looking under the beds and in the closets for meth.
Lieutenant Gabriel said, “Maybe if you told us what we were doing here.”
“The warrant said stolen goods and contraband. Is that so hard?”
“Patriot Act bullshit.”
The paramedics were heading in now, shortly they would be bustling body bags out to one of the waiting ambulances. The men at the bathroom door radioed to tell the Lieutenant that the suspect in the bathroom wasn't responding. He told them to give it a few more minutes, then break down the door.
Mario Krump poked the taller man with his finger, “What makes you think I know any more than you do? All I know is these idiots robbed a Trinity Advance Research facility.”
“What is a Trinity Advance?”
“They're a medical company, big into prosthetics and stem cell research.”
“Did these guys steal some kind of germ warfare shit? Do I need a biohazzard team?
“Do you think I'd be here if you did?” Mario's voice was almost gleeful in its contempt. If there was one thing he couldn't stand it was someone that didn't know their place in the scheme of things. Didn't the Lieutenant know that shit ran down hill? Homeland Security Senior Assistant Brian Hayes rained crap down on to Mario, and it turn Mario got to rain it down all over the Lieutenant and his Keystone cops. Just for the hell of it though Mario threw the man a few crumbs, “They stole classified research data, we're looking for laptops, flash drives, anything like that.”
“Finally. Was that so damn hard?” Lieutenant Gabriel started barking fresh orders.
“And let me know if they find any kind of graffiti.”
“It’s this thing they might paint on the walls or on a door. It looks like a big circle with three smaller circles around it. If you look at it right it kind of looks like a man howling.”
“Yeah.” Lieutenant Gabriel rolled his eyes, “Well keep an eye out for that. Anything else?”
That was more than the man deserved to know, but Special Agent Mario Krump wanted to get out of Troy, NY as fast as possible. The whole damn town was nothing but trouble and the last thing his career with Homeland Security needed was trouble, not when he'd managed to turn his career around, not when he'd managed to make most of the Federal bureaucracy forget he was one of the last of the Pharos Agents.
Project Pharos had been a federal agency created in the 1920's and tasked with investigating and debunking the criminals that passed themselves off as spiritualists or prophets. While they had done good work dealing with the murderous followers of the so- called 'Dark Gods' it had turned out that the director of the project, Victor Kovach, had gathered quite a team of thugs and grifters to become his agents. They all ended up killing each other in some kind of a meltdown, the causes and results of which are still being debated. Mario's old boss Gawain Wight had even been convinced that Victor was still alive but since Gawain and the rest of the team-Thalia Blackwell, Ben Gammon and George Butler- were either imprisoned, dead or on the run it didn't matter much anymore did it?
As far as Mario was concerned Project Pharos being absorbed into the Department of Homeland Security was the best thing that had ever happened to him. His specialties were appreciated and he got to spend considerably less time in the field. Of course s there were still days like this when he had to waste an afternoon moron wrangling.
There was another flurry of activity at the house, the paramedics and police officers were fleeing; they dragged the surviving suspects after them. “What the Hell is this?” Mario asked but Lieutenant Gabriel was too busy chattering back and fourth on his radio to answer, “I asked you a question!”
“He said he's got a bomb!” Lieutenant Gabriel turned to him, “And he wants to talk to you.”
“He says he knows you,” there was an accusation in the man's glare.
Mario shrugged and turned away, “Maybe he does but I'm not talking to him. Do what you have to but I want this wrapped up by sunset.”
“I'm not getting my men killed for you!”
“Then I'll have you removed and get someone that will.” Mario walked back to the car with government plates, what was left of his lunch waiting for him there. Not that he was really hungry he, just wanted something to pick at. That was half the problem of being in law enforcement, sometimes there was nothing to do but eat and finish paperwork.
He had actually come down with a case of gout a few months ago and that had led to kidney stones. These were things he always associated with old age, not middle age but the doctors told him his weight wasn't doing him any favors.
Well that wouldn't be something he would have to worry about much longer, once he was finished here the good people at Trinity Advance were going to give him a little corrective surgery at no charge. One of the rewards of learning to play ball with the powers that be, A lesson that his old boss never learned. His cell phone bleeped. Sighing to himself Mario answered it, “Yes Mr. Grant. Everything is secured, well not completely secured but its just a matter of time.”
The men in body armor stormed back in to the house.