|From:||shadowtk@********.demon.co.uk (Paul J. Adam)|
|Date:||Sat, 04 May 1996 22:41:51 GMT|
"Are you sure this is a good idea?" asks Blade.
"No." grins Lynch, his sunglasses reflecting the flame as he lights a
cigarette. "But it's gonna be fun."
"You certain you want to wait so long for your backup? Maybe I should go in
"Stick to the plan." Lynch draws on the Marlboro, flexes his shoulders.
"Don't bother, Blade, I already tried." Lilith seems tense as she drives.
"He's annoyingly determined at times. Especially when it's going to kill him."
The car pulls up and Lynch gets out, Lilith pulling away as soon as he's clear.
The building front reads "BEECH CONSULTING - Engineering Tomorrow's Solutions
Today" together with a prettily meaningless symbol some graphic designer
probably earned a month's pay for concocting. Lynch - black trenchcoat, black
jeans, black shades - walks in through the double doors, hands in pockets, the
two uniformed guards and the (male) receptionist looking around as he enters.
"Can I help you, sir?"
"Take a message. Tell Major Zicahuta that Jason Lynch says 'Julius Caesar',
Act Three, scene one, line 273."
"I beg your pardon?" The guards are discreetly reaching for their holstered
"No, that's earlier in the play. The line is, 'Cry "Havoc!", and let slip
dogs of War.'"
The nearer guard has his pistol clear as Lynch's kick crushes his larynx. The
other is still fumbling with his holster snap as Lynch fires into his chest and
head four times - using his pair of Predators, both silenced - then shoots the
receptionist once through the forehead as he is reaching into a desk drawer.
"Leopards. No literature, no imagination." mutters Lynch, stubbing out his
cigar and checking behind the reception desk: there's a panicbutton, but it
doesn't seem to have been pushed. The drawer holds a Guardian machine pistol,
no alarm. "Lilith,anything on the alarms?"
"Mani says no unusual activity, but he can't see much of their system."
"What the hell. Watch and tell me if you see anything coming in. Receptionist
went for a gun instead of an alarm, looks like. Leopards."
"Stop dissing leopards, Jason."
"These guys don't deserve the name. Predictable, no imagination, too confident.
Means they get fewer chances to demonstrate their skill, good as it may be."
Lynch vaults the reception turnstile. "And with only six in the building right
"Plus the usual staff. You should let us come in now."
"The place is kinked backwards, I'll bet, and Drake is either getting live feed
or will have the whole footage made accessible. Don't give him grounds to come
after you." Lynch moves calmly down a corridor, guns ready.
"So we'll come in disguise. You should have said! Always have to play the
"So? This is personal and right now I don't have much to lose. If I don't come
out, your backup plan involves V-12 and a stick of 500-pound GBU-12s. Take no
chances and no prisoners."
"We'll discuss this when you come out, Jason. In my office. Officially. And you
*will* wear a suit." You hear a cackling laugh in the background that can only
be Quinn. "This may become a disciplinary hearing."
"Never knew you cared so much, Lieutenant DiAnnio."
"Fuck you, Jason."
"You already did."
"And cut this 'nothing to lose', crap. You, maybe. I have you to lose. I don't
A whisper of movement, and Lynch turns smoothly: a smartly-suited man is
stepping out of a doorway, a cup of coffee in one hand.
"Excuse me? Sir, are you-" His words tail off as he stares into the bulky
silencer and he drops the coffee.
"Turn around." The suit does, and something small hits him in the back, buzzing
and sparking: he falls, spasming and jerking. Lynch continues down the
"Comms tech. Rinaldo, if Tangent's pics are right. Tasered, no problem."
"No problem? Lynch, two Stallions just lifted off the Pyramid."
"Jurassic timescales." Lynch moves, fast and smooth, through a door: the room
is jammed with communication gear, and one woman lounging in a chair wearing
headphones with her back to Lynch. Lynch hesitates a moment, focuses on the
Leopard tattoo on the woman's arm, shoots her in the back of the head. "Four
down, five to go. How's Tangent doing at the safehouse?"
"Gave a contact report and stayed off the air. Probably kicking ass and taking
names. We could take the Stallions down as they come in -"
"Over this area? You kidding? Drop ten tons of dural and burning JP-8 into a
residential district? No thanks. I'll be out or dead by then." Lynch has
reached a stairwell, moves up it. "You know, I think they don't have internal
cameras. Or if they do they don't monitor them."
"Probably the desk guy's job. He had the monitors. You are dense sometimes,
"Smartass spotty cat." mutters Lynch. "Keep this up and I won't ask you to
"Won't what?" Lilith's voice sounds shocked.
"Marry me. You know, take this oversize house cat to be your lawful wedded wife-
"Cut the housecat! I am not a house cat!"
"House-trained, at least, I hope." Lynch, one Predator covering up the stairs
and the other pointed behind him, ignores the first-floor door and continues
"You are not getting round me like that! I'm still angry with you. And yes."
"YES, I'LL MARRY YOU! Thank the Gods there isn't an IQ test for marriage or
they'd never let you do it."
Lynch pauses by the door, unscrews the silencers, takes a deep breath. "Moving
onto the top floor. Probably be too busy to talk. I love you." He shuts the
radio link off before Lilith can reply.
The door flies open, and Lynch is moving sideways even before automatic gunfire
smashes it apart into splinters of construction plastic. The view from his
thumb camera shows four Leopards using doorways for cover, and Lynch pulls the
pins on two grenades and throws them, follows them with two more. The first
pair explode with the shattering blast of concussion grenades, the others with
the coughing report of gas. Lynch is through the door, firing at the one
Leopard still on her feet, blowing the woman backwards in a spray of blood and
cordite smoke. He advances rapidly, firing double-taps into the other three as
he passes them (one unconscious, one coughing and crawling, one blindly
fumbling for his SMG).
"One and one to go." he mutters to himself, as he checks the first door - the
room is an office, and empty, and as he turns he suddenly collapses sideways
and the sound of the shot is very large in his ears.
Lynch brings up one Predator and rapid-fires it, the bullets blowing big holes
through the light internal wall: someone cries out in pain or alarm, as Lynch
holsters the empty pistol and picks up the other he'd dropped, doing the same
again: no more sounds greet the hail of fire. He hauls himself to his feet,
still only using his left hand, and draws his stainless-steel Python: thumbing
back the hammer of the old revolver, he advances on the bullet-riddled doorway,
kicks it and steps aside.
A fusillade of shots rings out, hitting the opposite wall and nothing else:
Lynch, crouched, leans out and as his view takes in a wounded Leopard, fires
"Just you and me now, Zicky-baby." whispers Lynch, checking the room is clear
before looking at his right arm: soaked in blood from the bicep down. He
flexes his fingers experimentally, winces. "Sonofabitch. Okay. What would
Zicky-boy do now? He'd..." Lynch leans against the wall, closes his eyes.
The background noises - the air conditioning, the traffic outside - fade out,
and you hear a faint voice. A display in Lynch's sight flashes a bearing and
range, as the words become distinct.
"...urgent! I need to speak to Commander Drake, now! Jason Lynch is here in
my building! No, this isn't a joke! Put me through, or I will lose you your
job! I said-"
Zicahuata's voice tails off, as Lynch steps through the door into his office,
raises the .357 and blows the telephone into fragments.
"Well, Major - no, Colonel, congratulations - Jose Zicahuata. You're under
arrest. You have-" Zicahuata brings up a small pistol and fires, four shots
cracking out before the Tiffani clicks empty, Lynch lurching back.
"Ouch. Been charged with espionage, conspiracy to traffic in controlled
chipware, conspiracy to murder-" Zicahuata reaches for his desk - spare
ammunition?- and Lynch shoots him through the hand. "-Stop that. Conspiracy
to corruption of law enforcement officers, and other charges that may be laid
as found necessary."
"Oh, forget this charade, Lynch." Zicahuata clutches his bleeding hand.
"Either kill me or let me go. Don't waste my time with this 'arrest'
foolishness. Put me on trial, by all means. We'll call you as witness,
humiliate your government on the stand, rub everyone's noses in SIGA's dirt.
And I'll be acquitted, and go home to medals and promotion."
"You think so?" Lynch regards Jose
"There's nothing you have that will stick. You have no admissible proof. In
fact, we can countersue."
"Good. Take it up with Commander Drake. I'm turning you over to him."
Zicahuata laughs. "Drake, the legalist? Then I'm completely safe, Lynch, and
all your efforts are in vain. He'll arrest you, release me, and hand you over
to my custody. That's what his law says he has to do. Drake is a delight,
Lynch, so easily manipulated and controlled."
"I'm sure." Lynch grabs Zicahuata, pulls him across the desk and throws him to
the ground. "Meanwhile, for once I'm going to play the legal game. Manchu's a
ruin. Your Elven mind-control specialist is missing half his face. You're
blown wide open. I think I can live with letting you get away, a known,
photographed, ID-tested, blood-sample-on-file secret agent. Counts as a
success. And I get to show Drake I don't go killing everyone in sight just for
the hell of it." Lynch fires the taser, slaps handcuffs on Zicahuata.
"Lilith, how we doing?"
"Lynch! You sonofa- Forget that, move it! Star in ninety seconds, Aztechnology
helos in two minutes!"
"Roger that." Lynch hauls the still-paralysed Aztlan down the corridor, hits
the elevator callbutton. The doors open at once and they ride down to the
tinny strains of Handel's Water Music.
Lilith's car screeches to a halt outside the building as Lynch drags
Zicahuata outside. "Where's Quinn and Blade?"
"Delaying the cops. Illusion spells and the they-went-thataway routine. We
have thirty seconds, maybe less-" The tyres squeal as she lays rubber, the
back end fishtailing. "What the hell are you doing with him?"
"Turn left here and slow down. Let's not attract attention." Lynch reaches
into the semiconscious Zicahuata's mouth, pulls hard: shifts his grip and
pulls again, a bloodied molar coming away. He throws it out of the window
into the bed of a pickup truck. "Boogie-woogie, motherfucker."
"You don't have to tell me how to drive, Jason. Remember, I am the pilot here.
Now, would you like to explain a little? If it's not asking too much?" Her
voice is dangerously polite.
"Explain what?" asks Lynch.
"Why have you brought Zicahuata out? He's bleeding all over my car."
"So am I. And it's not your car, it belongs to some rental company who didn't
fit a decent alarm."
"You didn't answer the question. Why is he in the car instead of dead?"
"Because we're heading for Special Branch HQ. You know where it is?" Lynch
lights a cigarette and begins reloading his Python.
"Jason, this guy can afford the best lawyer in the world." Lilith does,
though, turn the car. "You think he's even going to get charged? And what if
they arrest you?"
"Maybe, maybe not. Maybe Drake's gotten to me." Lynch takes off the coat,
studies his arm ruefully, starts cleaning and dressing the messy exit wound.
"Maybe this is important to me. And we're not going to stop long enough
to be arrested."
"Are you all right?"
"One in the arm. Four in the chest, but Zicky-boy's a desk agent and forgot
needle won't pierce armour. Ho ho bloody ho. Nothing I can't handle. Tangent?"
"Off target, no casualties, Leopards all down and restrained. No fatalities.
"Outstanding. I owe him a beer or few."
They drive in silence for a while, Lynch's hearing busy with police radio
chatter. "Nobody got a make on the car."
"I'm not surprised. Quinn disguised it." says Lilith.
"Oh. Good. Want a cigarette?"
Zicahuata groans. "Shut up." says Lynch calmly, snapping cuffs onto his ankles
and a slap patch on his neck as Lilith slows.
"This is as close as I can get safely. Even here, we're too close to a
"It'll do. Turn the car, make like a lost tourist."
"Great. If this were Miami I'd be happy. I could use a firefight right now.
How come you get all the fun?"
"Because you're still on the sick list with your screwed-up back and you're
meant to be driving a desk in DC."
As the car finishes its turn, Lynch opens the door and kicks Zicahuata out
onto the tarmac and Lilith accelerates away. "*Now* they made the car." she
"We have a spare three blocks away." replies Lynch.
"Did you mean it? What you said in there?" Lilith glances back, her dark-blue
eyes haunted and vulnerable.
-- Dogpatch Archive