“I need your help.”
The number was unknown, but the voice was unmistakably Gloria’s. Loco swore. This was the worst possible time for a distraction.
“What’s wrong?” he asked.
“There are people trying to kill me. I’ve been on the run for three days and am using a stolen cell phone. I can’t do this alone anymore.” Gloria’s voice was remarkably calm.
Loco didn’t have time to ask questions.
“Keep your cell phone on. Help’s on its way. They’ll mention the name ‘Bellona’,” Loco said and rang off without waiting for a reply. He was short on time.
Ten minutes earlier, his commanding officer had called with an assignment.
“Team’s standing by near target’s location. I want you to lead,” were the instructions, followed by an address.
Loco didn’t usually do urban warfare but he was 30 minutes away from the objective, staying in a safe house following the shootout with Bane, and was the most logical choice.
Loco checked his Desert Eagle and ammunition clips in their holsters and pulled on a long overcoat. He then packed plastic handcuffs, two syringes, two vials of morphine, two flashbang grenades and a stun-gun in a small bag, which he slung over his neck and one arm. Walking out of the apartment, he plugged in a bluetooth headset and speed dialed a number. The call was answered at the third ring.
“What’s up?” Bellona asked.
“Special case. Top priority. And we pay from our pocket. Any free agents available?”
“Some. What’s the job? And location?” Bellona was already pulling up a list of available mercenaries.
“Rescue op. armed resistance. I’ll give you the location, and the target’s number on the go. And handle this yourself, ok? I’m gonna be unreachable for the next 60 mins.”
Loco cut the call and dialed another number.
“I need a location,” Loco said to the man at the other end. He gave the number Gloria had called him from.
“Got it. Get back to ya,” Leone drawled.
“Get back to Bellona,” Loco said and rang off.
Bellona and Leone were part of a covert syndicate that Loco ran on the side. Loco and Bellona took mercenary jobs and found the right people for it, while Leone, with his hacking skills, provided tech support.
Getting into his car, he switched off his cell phone and placed it into the glove compartment along with the headset.
Bellona’s cell phone chimed. The text message from Leone contained an address, with a postscript: ‘Loco wanted this location.’
Bellona entered the location in her desktop and narrowed her list down to two mercenaries who were closest to it. Loco had said top priority, so she emailed both the mercs, letting them know that they had to work together. They both replied within seconds. A price was fixed and both of them were officially hired five minutes later. Bellona gave them Gloria’s location and number.
Their codenames were Pitbull and Hector. They rendezvoused outside a theatre ten minutes away from the the railway station where Gloria was hiding. Pitbull got into Hector’s car dialed her number as Hector started driving.
“Bellona said you need help,” he said.
“Where are you?” Gloria asked.
“Driving to the station. Be there in five minutes.”
“There are three armed men in a café across the road. They can’t come in because of the metal detectors. They’re all wearing black. ”
“Got it. I’m wearing a blue shirt and white jeans. Come out when you see me,” Pitbull told her.
“I’m wearing white and carrying a brown shoulder bag,” Gloria said before ringing off.
Gloria casually paced to the entrance and cast an eye across the road. The three men were still there. She regretted ditching her gun but at least the metal detectors were keeping her pursuers out.
‘I should never have turned back,’ she thought. ‘Loco could have taken care of himself.’
Gloria had been spotted by a member of the team that had arrived to back Loco up. As her luck would have it, he turned out to be a former member of her unit before she deserted it before marrying Gideon. They both recognized each other, and a day later, she saw him lurking outside her house. That was when she decided to run.
Gloria flashed back to the feeling that came rushing back as soon as she saw Loco trading fire with Bane’s men. She hadn’t forgotten her training.
She caught sight of a blue shirt, not tucked in over white jeans. The man was exiting a black SUV and looking intently at the crowd inside the station.
Gloria moved to the entrance, ready to dash out just as a silver colored sedan came to a stop across the street. The three men in the café exited and walked towards it to meet the man who was stepping out.
Gloria looked towards Pitbull, who had obviously recognized her as well as perceived the threat across the street. He waved her back inside and drew his pistol with his other hand. Turning, he slapped the roof of the SUV. A second man sprang out of the car, with an M16 assault rifle in his hands. They both took position behind the SUV and pointed their guns at the men crossing the street.
Loco’s was getting briefed on the go “Target was spotted three days ago in…”
“Hostiles. 12 o’clock,” Loco snapped. His teammates reached under their coats and drew Scorpion sub machine pistols with extended magazines.
All four turned and ran. Loco jumped behind a parked car and turned in time to see one of his men get cut down by the M16. Loco swore. Shooting the gas tank was not an option due to all the civilians around. He hated urban ops.
“Did intel mention armed escorts?” he yelled into his mic angrily. The replies were in the negative. Loco made his decision. ‘The hell with bringing her in, shoot to kill!’
Fishing a flashbang out of his bag, Loco waited till the man with the M16 ducked to reload and yelled “Fire in the hole!” Then he pulled the pin, tossed the grenade and turned to cover his eyes and ears.
Loco and his team waited for five seconds before springing up and starting across the street. The two gunmen were trying to regain their bearings when they were both riddled with bullets.
“Target spotted. Left pillar near entrance,” one of his men called.
Without breaking stride, Loco pulled out an ID card.
“NATO forces. This is a counter terrorist op. Turn the metal detectors off!” he barked at the railway station guards who fell over each other to comply.
Loco went straight to the target, who was bent over behind the pillar, obviously having caught some of the flashbang.
He rounded the pillar, gun ready, just the target stood up. She had a fire extinguisher in her hand.
Loco dropped to one knee to avoid catching the spray in his face. The Desert Eagle rose and boomed twice. Both bullets hit the target in the face, blowing most of it away. Blood splattered on her white dress, and her brown shoulder bag skidded across the floor.
“Target down. Tell control,” Loco said.
Running out to his sedan, he switched on his phone and called Bellona.
“How’d it go? Is the target safe?” he asked.