Dead End

Detective Bruce Sanchez and FBI Agent Abel Williams stood at the top of the parking deck. Even with a muffler covering his face the cold air bit into his throat. Stakeouts were always boring, and this one was both dull and freezing. His mind wandered for a moment. I better not be getting the flu. If this murdering idiot doesn’t show up, there is going to be hell to pay for somebody.

“Bruce,” said Abel. Bruce immediately came back to reality. “Stay alert. It’s almost showtime.”

Bruce’s stifled voice strained through the muffler, but there was no way he was taking it off his mouth. “What’s this guy’s name again, Samir?’

“No, that’s my guy.” Abel sounded annoyed. “This guy’s name is John. John Clark.”

“Are you sure this superbug he supposedly stole is even viable now? Heck, I’m not sure I’m viable at the moment. Didn’t he need Dr. McCray to pull this off?”

Abel shook his head. “No. The doctor was involved in researching this bug. They’d hoped to make him steal more samples from the lab. When Samir tipped us off about Henry, he said they were going with what they had before they got caught.”

Bruce shook his head and thought to himself. What kind of crazy messed up world are we living in now? People are trying to release their own form of biological weapons on their neighbors. For what? An elbow into Bruce’s ribs pulled back his attention. Abel pointed to the bottom of the street, and Bruce nodded. Three men were walking up the sidewalk towards the city’s newest skyscrapers. One carried a medium-sized metallic suitcase. At three in the morning on a freezing night, they stuck out like sore thumbs.

Abel whispered into the small wrist microphone, “Do you see them?” Bruce could hear a voice respond to Abel in his earpiece, “Affirmative.”

Abel started his countdown, “3,2,1, go, go, go!” FBI agents appeared from everywhere below. They sprang from building shadows, cars parked on the curb, and even a few ornamental shrubs. Seven agents formed a circle around the men. Bruce and Abel made their way down to meet them.

Bruce could hear yelling in his earpiece, “Put the case down slowly! Put it on the ground, or we shoot! I said put it down!” Both men heard four gunshots and sprinted to the scene. They stopped a few feet short when they noticed none of the agents had moved. Both men approached slowly. One of the terrorists lay still on the frozen ground. John held a vial above his head, and Samir stood next to him.

John saw Abel, smiled, and said, “I’m glad you finally made it Agent Williams. Who’s your civilian?”

Bruce pulled down his muffler and said, “I’m detective Sanchez. You two are in a lot of trouble with me and the feds. You see, kidnapping is a crime in my town.”

John and Samir looked at each other and laughed. John’s face suddenly became grave, and his eyes squinted as he spoke to Bruce. “Leave it to the local LEO to ignore the obvious for their little turf wars. Well, Detective, I’m afraid you have made a fatal mistake.

You see this vial in my hand? This superbug loves cold weather. All I have to do is drop it, and somebody is going to catch their death of cold. Even more delightful, whoever touches this sick person, or breathes their air, will do the same. The question is, who is going to catch it. Oh, and did I mention there is no cure, and it takes two weeks to kill you?”

Nobody said a word, and then Abel spoke up. “John, I don’t think you want to do that.” John laughed, but Abel continued when he stopped. “If you do that you will catch the bug. You won’t die a martyr for whatever cause you are pushing. You will die out of the camera’s eye in a prison hospital quarantined from the world. Nobody will remember who you are the day you take your last painful breath. As for the rest of us, if we catch it I have made arrangements. All the men here know the risk.”

John snarled and asked, “How can you possibly know what to do, you’re bluffing.”

Abel smiled, “Samir is one of our guys.”

John gave a surprised looked and dropped his head. Abel continued, “Just hand Samir the vial.” John complied.

The agents stepped forward when Samir popped the top off the vial. “Samir!” Abel screamed. “What are you doing?!”

John doubled over laughing. Samir stood very still and carefully put the cap on the vial. John composed himself, and said, “I turned Samir a long time ago. We let our kidnapped friend Henry live in hopes that would slow you down. Samir warned me you might catch up to us. By the way, have your snipers stand up. I already know you have two, one on the parking deck, and one on top of the four-story building across the street.”

Abel shook his head and spoke into the mic. “You heard him, men, put down your rifles and stand up.” Bruce could barely make out the silhouettes of the FBI agents standing in the distance. “Now what? You know we’d rather die than let you take that vial anywhere.”

Samir snarled, “That’s why all of you are coming with us. I’ve told John all about our operation here. He wants the chance to hear it from your own lips.”

Abel shook his head, “Why, Samir? What turned you?” Samir snapped back, “That’s my business, but you’ll find out soon enough. Now, everyone, drop your weapons.” All the agents and Bruce complied.

“Why not let the other agents go?” pleaded Abel. “Leverage,” said Samir curtly.

John picked up the weapons, and then Samir lowered his hand. “I’m going to put this vial in my pocket. Don’t try anything or John will shoot and all I have to do with pull my hand out. Now line up. ”

Bruce and the others formed a line on the deserted freezing street. The bitter cold matched their bitter predicament. Bruce had to admit, Abel had been right. John was the evilest man he had ever come across, and smart, but Bruce was already tired of John.  He had no love lost for Samir either. The detective pulled his muffler back over his numb cheeks and lips. Suddenly John and Samir fell, and the crack of two rifles filled the night air before they hit the ground.

Bruce spoke into his mic. “Good job, men.” Abel followed up, “Bring in the hazmat team.” A black hazmat van appeared from around the corner thirty seconds later followed by local police and FBI vehicles. They secured the block in under two minutes.

Abel gave Bruce a friendly slap on the shoulder. “Great job. If you ever want to consider leaving this burg, call me.”

Bruce shook his head. “No, I don’t think I would like this for very long. I prefer to take my prisoners alive.

Abel nodded. “I wish we could have. We lost a lot of intel tonight. If Samir had done his job, everybody would have lived. I’m just glad you thought of using your guys as a backup and keeping it quiet, in case Samir had turned. ”

Bruce shoved his gloved hands in his overcoat to keep the cold from running up his sleeves. He practically yelled through his muffler. “I hoped I was wrong. They didn’t leave Henry with any water, and the information Samir left was sketchy at best. We were just lucky I knew about the old farmhouse from his vague description. We used to think it was haunted when we were kids, so its a place you don’t forget.”

A hazmat team member walked over. “Okay, gentlemen, let’s get you processed and cleared so you can go home.”

“That sounds great.” both men said in unison.


Viable

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