A Hint of Despair (Gawain, open to the first two people)

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Re: A Hint of Despair (Gawain, open to the first two people)

Post by Rackenhammer »

Valencii caught the phone with ease, and took a look at the picture displayed. "Hm, not much of a looker, him. Ah, nevermind, this will do nicely." He pocketed the phone. "I won't badger you for the payments until I've got results to deliver, can't get much fairer than that, eh? Mind, I'll hold you to our agreed price. Don't call me, I'll call you. Good day; I believe someone else wishes to speak with you."
With a little bow, the mouse retreated into the alley.
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Re: A Hint of Despair (Gawain, open to the first two people)

Post by osprey77 »

Leah blinked. She couldn't have been this fortunate in the new recruit. There had to be a catch, there always was a catch. If it was mere monetary payment he wanted...small price if she got what she desired. But if he had treacherous thoughts...She'd have to be careful.

"Well? What does she know? And yes, after you tell me, by all means, get that information out of him." She paused, and her tone turned as cold as metal and a sharp as a blade. "But if you even dream of treachery, I will make you scream so loudly these halls will echo for a month."

****

Katya kept her eyes on the interaction between Marcus and the contact. Everything seemed to be going fine, and the girl was beginning to relax a little, when she noticed Jason was staring down the alley the opposite way they'd come. She followed his gaze and saw a tall figure running towards them. Jason pushed her out of the way, but the stranger ran full-tilt into the young mutt.

Uttering something that sounded like a swear word, the newcomer pulled a pistol from somewhere- Katya couldn't say where, exactly- and aimed at Jason. Jason grabbed the strangers wrist, and the two struggled fora second, until the Jason's hood slipped, revealing his face.

"Kid? That you? I thought you were in the slammer. Or dead in the crash. Ho boy, Alan's gonna love this."

Jason pulled back as if he'd been hit, and when he spoke the stranger's name, you could hear the dread in his voice. "Scott." He shook his head, and seemed to make up his mind. He pulled a pocketknife from his sweatshirt, a hopeless weapon against the gun, and took another step back. "I'm not going back. I'm out."

The newcomer, Scott, advanced slowly but surely. "That ain't how it works, Kid. Once you're in, you're in for life. That's what the brand means." He gestured meaningly to Jason's left arm.

"I'm not branded any more. I lost the arm in the crash. I'm a free fur now. I'm not going back."

Katya stifled a gasp, but Scott heard her anyway. Grinning, the fox hauled her from the shadows, holding his pistol to her head. "Oh, you ain't, are you? I think you'll reconsider, now..."

Trapped, Jason dropped his knife. Where was Marcus?
"You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body."
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"With the possible exception of the equator, everything begins somewhere."
C. S. Lewis

"There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, 'Thy will be done,' and those to whom God says, 'All right, then, have it your way.'"
C. S. Lewis

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Re: A Hint of Despair (Gawain, open to the first two people)

Post by cossant »

Vince let out an amused laugh. "Trust me. Their are things that I have suffered through that you would never be able to imagine." He said, a cold look creeping into his eyes.

For a moment, his mind recalled all the missions that he had succeeded in. And the few that had changed him. Kahun was the most recent, but not the worst. He had been tortured in several locations. Flogged, slashed at, pummeled, burned, electrocuted, he had been through horrible interrogations. Edwin....that had to be the worst. 3 months of the most horrible terrors previously thought unimaginable. Vince knew fully well why people quickly admitted to things they did not do under that kind of interrogation. He had screamed from the first month of it. The last two, he didn't have enough energy or will to even growl. Only a huge sacrifice from many brave souls saved him from being turned into an empty shell of his former self.

"My partner was at some racing event when he met Katya. From what she told me, she doesn't know anything other than her brother got in a car with someone willingly and wasn't seen since. As for where she is now, and whats at her disposal, that depends on which contact my partner used. He only knows which contact is capable of what. My other partner just knows where they are located." he informed. "I'll have the rest of the information soon, given enough time to get through my partner's training."


*******


Marcus had heard the scuffle, and his training took over. He whipped out his submachine gun, the gun unfolding from a harmless looking piece of equipment to the gun he knew so well. He had sprinted back towards Katya and Jason's position, keeping his footsteps as quieted as he could. When he saw the newcomer point a gun at Katya, he made his entrance.

"You got five seconds to drop that gun and get out of here, before I kill you!" he shouted, his gun leveled straight at the assailant.

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Re: A Hint of Despair (Gawain, open to the first two people)

Post by Rackenhammer »

It wasn't that Valencii detested violence. Certainly, he had no real love for it, but he did not despise it when necessary. He wasn't sure if this conflict was needed or not, but he certainly should not get involved with it, oh no. That would only make things worse, yes. He didn't feel guilty about that, no. He did feel kind of bad about not being able to send the police to break up the fight, but given that Marcus wouldn't fare well in that scenario (and that other gang, too, musn't distract the police from them), Raymon felt he had no choice but to back off.
*I'll just have to do my work, and hope he's alive when I call him with the results.* The mouse thought to himself as he returned to the U-Bahn station.
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Re: A Hint of Despair (Gawain, open to the first two people)

Post by osprey77 »

Leah carefully considered Vince's information. At last, she spoke. "Spotty. Incomplete. If we need your contacts help, by any means, procure it." She gestured towards the door, indicating that he was dismissed. "If you do well in this, I will factor it when considering salary."

****

For a man with a sub-machine gun leveled at him, Scott was surprisingly calm. In one swift movement, he pulled Katya in front of him, using her as a shield, wile keeping his gun pressed to the back of her head. The red fox smirked. "Somehow, I don't think you'll shoot. Even if you could hit me, my final reflex would be to pull the trigger, so little missy here would still die. And something tells me you don't want that."

Katya closed her eyes. So much had happened, in less than twenty-four hours. Was it to end here for her? It would kill her parents. To have lost both children in two years- it would crush them. And it is the anniversary of Matt's dissapearance...

Jason felt torn for a second. The power to end the stand-off was in his hands alone. He couldn't stand living as a free fur if he had an innocent death on his paws, and he half suspected that Scott wouldn't let him free even if Katya was killed. He knew what was in store, he'd seen what happened to re-captured 'deserters.' This was going to be painful, but no one else would hurt, at least.

Taking a step forward, Jason spoke in a heavy voice. "Drop the gun Scott, I'll come."

Scott contemptuously flung Katya from him. "You've gone soft in two years kid, we're gonna have to fix that. Anyways, I'm keeping the gun, and you're in front, so don't even think of trying to get away. Again."

The hybrid lay where she'd fallen, watching the pair leave, Jason's skinny shoulders hunched in defeat. They rounded a corner, and just as she stood up, she heard running footsteps-- and a gunshot. "Jason!" Katya cried.

((ooc: He's not dead, but he can be hit anywhere so long as death would not be immediate. I don't want to kill him off, but, well, I didn't expect to get involved with the gangs, really, and given his character, this is what would happen. You can kill Scott, and do whatever is necessary to save Jason, which will most likely be a trip to the hospital, (Which come to think of it, would allow me to bring another character in from Jason's past.) up to you.))
"You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body."
C. S. Lewis

"With the possible exception of the equator, everything begins somewhere."
C. S. Lewis

"There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, 'Thy will be done,' and those to whom God says, 'All right, then, have it your way.'"
C. S. Lewis

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Re: A Hint of Despair (Gawain, open to the first two people)

Post by cossant »

Vince nodded, as he left. "I'll be back in a few hours." he said on his way out. He knew a good portion of the complex now, and could get to Jeremy's cell on his own now. Wouldn't he be surprised to learn his brother had switched sides.

*******

Marcus bolted around the corner, seeing Scott with the gun still raised. "You bastard!" he shouted. Marcus took aim, and pulled the trigger on his own gun. The sound of automatic gunfire rang out through the area, drowning out all nearby sound. Scott never stood a chance. His body crumpled to the ground, riddled with bullets. Without a second thought, Marcus rushed over to Jason's body, dropping his own gun. Blood started to pool around Jason, broadcasting the fact that the bullet did not hit the vest.

Turning him over, he could see the wound. The bullet had hit the side of his collar bone, glanced off, and punched through the shoulder blades at a downward angle.
"Come on, Jason, stay with me. You'll be alright." Marcus comforted, taking his knife and cutting off a piece of his own hooded jacket. He put the make-shift cloth against the wound. The sound of distant sirens alerted him to the police responding. When they got here, Marcus would have to disappear. "Help's on its way, buddy, just hang on." Marcus kept applying pressure to the wound, hoping that Jason would survive this.


*******

The shadows concealed their presence, as they made note of Valencii's departure. "Follow him. Make sure that the information he finds gets in our hands." an emotionless voice commanded. Three equally emotionless figures slipped through the crowd. Vince covered his tracks well, but they had learned that he may have been captured by Leah. Once this mouse found the information they needed, they would recapture Vince. Maybe Leah would just hand him over. Maybe they would have to buy him off of her. He didn't care. His mission was to capture or kill Vince, and he planned to do just that.

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Re: A Hint of Despair (Gawain, open to the first two people)

Post by Rackenhammer »

Valencii didn't look to the right or to the left as he walked down to the station. He entered the train nonchalantly, and got out at his station without any sign of anxiety. A close observer, however, might have noticed something artificial and studied in his movements. The fact was, he had entered a dangerous part of town, and may very well have been noticed, despite his precautions. Nevertheless, he could not be certain that anyone was following him without betraying himself.

He took the scenic route on his walk home, thinking, puzzling over what to do next. If he was being followed, he wasn't going to be ambushed, as that alley had been the best opportunity for doing so. If he was being shadowed, it could be by whomever he was tasked at finding, or someone else. Most likely someone else, because if the kindapper did have agents there, they would have acted to bring in Marcus and Kasha. In that case... *I can't do my job, and escape their surveillance, if I'm being followed. The best I could do is somehow warn Marcus that my information has been compromised...*
He took a seat on a park bench. The sidewalk was mostly empty, and the shadowy trees betrayed no sign of anyone being there. "May I help any of you gentlemen?" Valencii called out. If he wasn't being followed, no one would note this little eccentricity, and if he was... well, it sometimes paid off to be on good terms with the surveillance attached to you.
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Re: A Hint of Despair (Gawain, open to the first two people)

Post by osprey77 »

Leah watched Vince leave. She'd have to keep her eye on that one...

****

Katya was fast on Marcus's heels rounding the corner. Her breath caught in her throat at the sight of the crumpled figure. Hearing the sirens of the cops was what finally jolted the young girl into action. She took over holding the pressure on the wound, and hissed to Marcus. "You'll have to run. I'll cover for you. If you find anything out...Well, the Renon's aren't too hard to find in Hesse. Just come to the house."

****

Jason was drifting in and out of consciousness. Pain, dim shadows, pain, vague sounds, pain, these were all he could make out. This was how it had felt, after the crash... how it had felt...how it had...

****

When he finally came to, in the hospital, Jason lay still, revelling in the feeling of just resting, knowing he, for the moment, safe. The knowledge that he was probably also in police custody caused his feeling of euphoria to evaporate. At the same time, the pain began to resurface. Turning his head slowly, he scanned the room. In a chair to one side, Katya lay curled up, a blanket half-slipping from her sleeping form.

Just then, the door opened, and a nurse, a pretty ferret, came in. She checked on Jason's bandage, IV, etc., then went over to Kata and pulled the blanket up. He recognized her from two years ago, and, as she spoke, she knew him, too.

"She saved your life, you know."

"Hm?" He felt out of it, and the memories of the night before were blurry.

"She kept pressure on the wound, and told us what happened. Kept her head pretty well, too. She told us that she was in town visiting relatives, had gotten lost, and you were helping her back when you were shot." Something in the nurse's voice told him she doubted the tale, but would say nothing. "Yes, you owe her your life...and you're other friend."

Jason's head was clearing, and he was pretty sure Marcus would not have been there when the cops showed up, and he was also sure Katya wouldn't talk about him. "Other friend?"

She stopped bustling around the room and faced him squarely. "The one who originally bandaged your wound. The material doesn't match anything you or the girl was wearing." Before leaving, she spoke one last time. "I do hope you've thought over when I asked you last time. You are back in custody."

Jason lay there, resting, feeling the handcuff on his wrist that was secured to the bed. He looked at Katya's sleeping form. She was too young to have gone through all of this. She shouldn't have had to witness the things she had, see the things she'd seen.

His thoughts slipped from his young friend, back to the question posed to him two years ago.

Is this all you'll ever amount to? Will you be running away you're whole life?

Just like back then, now he had no answer.

((ooc: this is going to be complicated, but Jason will probably drop out of the story for the rest of the action, Katya will most likely be home with her family, and, for the most part, I'll be writing for Matt/Leah. Does this work? 'Cause if not, I'm flexible, but I'm trying to be realistic here...))
"You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body."
C. S. Lewis

"With the possible exception of the equator, everything begins somewhere."
C. S. Lewis

"There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, 'Thy will be done,' and those to whom God says, 'All right, then, have it your way.'"
C. S. Lewis

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Re: A Hint of Despair (Gawain, open to the first two people)

Post by cossant »

((ooc: sounds good, though I would like to bring Jason back into the story at a later time. If its alright, he may actually be a key figure in finding Leah due to a certain action Marcus may have to take.))

Jeremy was shaken up from his thinking by someone opening the cell door. Vince walked in, and Jeremy practically shot up from the floor. "Vince! You're okay. Man, I'm glad to see you. How'd you escape from the-?" He was stopped by his brother pulling out a lethal looking compact pistol. "Up against the wall, Jeremy." he threated. Jeremy froze for a second. His face showed immense confusion. He couldn't be serious. "Come on, buddy, enough joking around, we have to get out of here!" Jeremy said, though his voice began to lose its energy. Vince didn't move. "Up....against.....the wall." he repeated. Jeremy couldn't believe it. His brother? A turncoat? He obeyed, flattening himself on the wall. Vince patted him down, before reaching underneath his shirt. He pulled out a pocketknife. "A shadow's best friend, right Jeremy?" Vince mocked. Jeremy didn't answer, his face crestfallen. He couldn't believe it. He didn't want to believe it. But it was right their in front of him. Vince had taken up arms against him.

Vince cuffed Jeremy's hands, before leading him out of the cell. He gave a brief look towards Matt. "Enjoy the break, kid. It'll probably be your last." he warned. The guards closed the door as he lead Jeremy away.

********

They were certain that Valencii hadn't spotted him. But they knew that he suspected something. No matter. He would lead them to their objective in one way or another. Maybe they would let him live. Most likely not, because he may compromise their cover. Even if he did, Edwin and The Party would denounce all knowledge of them. But they wouldn't crack. They had one objective. Capture or kill Vince, preferably capture, to let The Party make an example of him. You never messed with The Party.

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Re: A Hint of Despair (Gawain, open to the first two people)

Post by Rackenhammer »

No reply. Either no one was there, or the ones who were there were more interested in secrecy than in anything else. "Bloody paranoia." The mouse muttered as he got off the bench and started home. It would never leave him, he knew, and if his suspicions were right, he was dead if he contacted law enforcement.
*Playing cat and mouse, are we? Well, probably best not to rise to the bait. If I'm being shadowed, hopefully they'll slip up somewhere. Hopefully, before I finish my work.* It was going to be a delicate balancing act of timing, not working too quickly and giving the game to the pursuers before his customers got the info, but not so slow as the info became obsolete.
The first move, however, was simplicity itself. He ate dinner and went to bed, for all the world as if he suspected nothing.
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Re: A Hint of Despair (Gawain, open to the first two people)

Post by osprey77 »

((ooc: All right, when you need him, or Katya, they'll be in Hesse, at her house.))

Matt watched the scene, confused and frightened. At first, he had hoped this new wolf would help them, but it seemed he was an enemy. At Vince's last remark, Matt sighed. So it seemed the end was near, and hope, only just reappearing, had vanished again.

****

Katya returned home with her parents. They were worried, and more than a little put out that she hadn't contacted them. but when they had heard the whole story, they where shocked. So there was a chance that Matt was still alive?

Gregor Renon listened to his daughter tell her story. "So this young man, Jason, was willing to go back to the gang to save you? What sort of future could he have, when he gets out of jail?"

Alice, his wife, shook her head. "Not much if he's spent most of his life on the streets, on the run. The poor boy..."

Gregor nodded thoughtfully.

****

Gregor, it turned out, could pull a few strings, even in Nassau. Jason was released, and Gregor resolved to see to it himself the boy got a good education and a career on the right side of the law. Alice Renon insisted that he stay with them while he worked on getting his high school diploma at least, and the family settled in with an air of expectation, to wait for what news Marcus would bring them.
"You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body."
C. S. Lewis

"With the possible exception of the equator, everything begins somewhere."
C. S. Lewis

"There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, 'Thy will be done,' and those to whom God says, 'All right, then, have it your way.'"
C. S. Lewis

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Re: A Hint of Despair (Gawain, open to the first two people)

Post by cossant »

Jeremy didn't know what to do. He barely even felt the straps that secured him back on the chair in the TC. How long had he been their? a few hours? days? he didn't know. All he knew was that his brother just sat opposite to him. Oddly, Vince didn't even question him. He just sat their, staring at Jeremy, while twirling the pocketknife around his fingers. This had to be the worst of it, ironically. Vince didn't give an explanation, threaten him, or even talk to him. He just sat their, an understanding look in his face. Jeremy, too, didn't look angry, as he should. Just tired and weary. Finally, Vince spoke. "Listen, Jeremy, I don't expect you to abandon your job. You never do. But I need to tell my boss something. You know what she wants to know, so how about you give it to us? I promise you, I'll do everything I can to keep you safe. We're brothers, so I still care about your life, but if you anger the boss again, I can't keep you safe."

Jeremy remained unresponsive. His entire world had been shattered by his own brother, and now here he was, trying to rebuild it. Jeremy didn't know what he could do anymore. So why resist?

"Ronnie was the closest contact. He has all the digital trails covered, and other contacts in the field. He could only lightly supply them, so Marcus only has his own equipment. He could contact the police, and also a mercenary strike team. The strike team is not as loyal, though, so that is a last resort. Katya would most likely be under watch from Marcus, so any kidnap attempt must be blatant. All stealth options are out. Ronnie could track any kidnappings from satellite, camera feeds, or his field contacts. I don't know what his other contacts are capable of, but I do know that Ronnie was working on isolating a military chopper radio, though he hasn't got that done. He may not be able to go that far, though if he finds this area, he could send digital beacons to the area, basically lighting the place up for a police investigation. As long as he doesn't find that out, he can't do too much else." he confessed.

Vince smiled. "Thank you, brother." He looked over to the other guards. "Take him back to his cell. And if you hurt him without reason, I'll put a bullet through your head." he warned.

As they lead Jeremy away, Vince headed for Leah's office. He got the information he needed.

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Re: A Hint of Despair (Gawain, open to the first two people)

Post by Rackenhammer »

Valencii kept early hours. When he woke, he took his coffee and croissant to the comconsole and began working on tracing his leads.
Raymon had the work code of the truly great service provider: don't give the customer what he asks for, give him what he wants. True, the numbers on the SMG could provide a lead, but Valencii doubted it. Slug throwers could be bought off street stalls in some of the seedier districts, without any electronic trace whatsoever. There were just so many of them made in the past, and they were built to be durable, so most of the stock floating around kept getting re-sold. Ammunition, however, was a different story. "Let's see, the caliber of this model... 50mm, that's pretty unique..." He began making a list of known dealers, and their lead customers.
But it wouldn't be wise to merely track just one line of inquiry, no. The photo gave quite a lot of information. The clothes on the mercenary, the car he came out of, his species, and even general facial structure could be used against him.

That constituted the morning's work. "So much from below, but that could lead a lot of places...." It was now time to do a little private detective work. Valencii went to work, collating information on the victim himself, Jerome Matteo. and his family. *Let's start from scratch... now, the richer a person is, the more likely they have enemies that are strangers to them, but the rule still holds true that most kidnappings occur in the family, or close to it. The parents aren't split, so the first to consider would be aunts and close friends...*
Collating and cross-referencing the raw data would take the most time. Sighing, Valencii rubbed his eyes. It wasn't that hard to find, really, if you knew the clues. Mercenary groups do not live by bullets alone. Uniforms, Kevlar vests, armored vehicles, even chocolate could all be leads. Information overload, that was the problem most investigators had. Most of them knew that danger lied in reading too much into a situation. Of course, sometimes they overcompensated for that defect, and overlooked a few key details.
Not that they were the only ones. Criminals, too, always seemed to have this one flaw in their plans. The first kidnapping had been a work of art, leaving almost no evidence. This second attempt however, if it was the same person, was not nearly so carefully planned. *Or rather, the plan did not survive contact with the enemy.*

Well, there were the preliminary results, at any rate. It was time to call Marcus; more than likely he'd know something more that could refine the conclusions. Raymon had run as many bug checks as he could on his comconsole, and they'd come up clean. *Which only means that I may be slightly behind the curve on these things. Nought for it; he rang his customer up.
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Re: A Hint of Despair (Gawain, open to the first two people)

Post by osprey77 »

Leah had watched the entire exchange via the security cameras. It was almost a work of art, seamless, painless, and, to her admitted displeasure, screamless. but, ah well, she had got what she wanted. This would take some careful planning...so she should probably deal with the merc's salary and duties before turning over the new problem. Most hired workers chafed at any delay, and this looked like it could turn into an all-night planning session.

She sat at her computer, feigning ignorance, as she waited for Vince's report. A news report from Nassau caught her eye, and she scanned it. Apparently her 'niece' had been caught up in some kind of disturbance...Then she read the magic words: "Katya Renon is now home with her family in Hesse."

So, they weren't able to stop that little tidbit going to press...That does make my job a bit easier...Hmmm, but this will still take some planning...

****

Once more, Jeremy was returned to the cell. Matt sat, pensive. Were they going to resume escape attempts? Had Jeremy given any information away? What was this Vince person planning to do? Was Katya safe? Matt still leaned against the wall, as he had since Jeremy was first returned from the TC, waiting for his cellmate to break the silence first.
"You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body."
C. S. Lewis

"With the possible exception of the equator, everything begins somewhere."
C. S. Lewis

"There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, 'Thy will be done,' and those to whom God says, 'All right, then, have it your way.'"
C. S. Lewis

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Re: A Hint of Despair (Gawain, open to the first two people)

Post by cossant »

As Jeremy was lead into his cell, he just went to the opposite wall, and sat down. His eyes fixed on nothing in particular on the floor. His eyes showed almost nothing. No spark of inspiration, no flame of anger, no kindle of wit, not even a glimmer of hope. It was almost as if he was already dead. The realization that his brother had taken up arms against him had drained his once-thought unwavering spirit. He hardly even noticed Matt.

******

Vince didn't even bother knocking on Leah's door. He knew that she was expecting the information.

"Hello, Leah." He informally greeted, as he walked in. "I got the info you wanted. Apparently, the contact my brother set up could only gather digital leads, and send out other field agents, which probably means he's also trying to trace any black market deals."

"He has the ability to spark a police investigation, though he needs the location of the building. We may have to worry about a mercenary strike team, though I have a feeling that either enough money or bullets will stop that problem." Vince thought for a second before relaying another piece of information. "This guy may also be working on isolating a military chopper's radio, giving him full access to deliver any order he can. Though, from what my brother has told me, that might be a task not even this contact can pull off."

No one could accuse Vince of cursory information gathering. Sporadic, yes, cursory, no.

******

"Man, this waiting around is killing me." Marcus muttered. He had followed Katya, though from the shadows since he still was wanted. Though moving from Nassau to Hesse unseen was relatively easy, his mind wandered to how his brothers were doing.

he still was tasked with watching over Katya and making sure nothing happened. Any job he accepted, he fully committed to, so he wanted to be able to prevent anymore kidnapping attempts on Katya.

That, and he had nothing else to do while he waited for Valencii to report any findings. Sometimes, a mercenary's job could get boring.

Marcus pulled the sleeve of his sweatshirt back, his wrist-com going off. It was an older model, technically more advanced than his phone, though not as reliable.

He waited until the screen showed the encryption of the call was done. Finally, he answered. "Hello?"

Locked