Prolier left the drugged man lying on the bed enjoying his hallucinations to see what Angus was talking about. He took a look inside the newly opened safe. “Is that what I think it is?”
Angus was beaming. It was almost unsettling how excited he was. “If you mean our ticket out of here, then yes. It seems like our luck has started to turn around.”
“What are you planning to do with it?”
“Blow something up. What else would you do with explosives?”
Prolier frowned at the sensei. “I meant a little more specifically. From what I’ve read about plastic explosives, that little block will blow up quite a lot.”
“Yes it will.” Angus pulled out the rest of the contents of the safe. In the back, there was a small, black, plastic object that looked like a digital watch face with two metal spikes on the back. “Jenga. I was hoping I’d find one of these rather than having to rig something up myself.”
“What is it?” Renala asked.
“A timed detonator. Plug this into that little block and set a time. After the timer hits zero it sends an electric current through it and boom.”
Renala looked decidedly uncomfortable. “Please tell me you’re not planning to use that on the people here. I don’t think I can take much more killing on our first mission.”
Angus felt her pain. He’d long since got past his squeamishness for killing. He still didn’t like doing it, but it no longer kept him up at night. Watching her innocence die was a painful thing to see, but he wouldn’t lie to her either. “That’s not part of my plan, but I will do whatever I have to. If I have to kill every last person here to get our team out safely, I won’t like it, but I will do it.”
Renala hung her head, but slowly nodded. She knew what the job might require and once again wondered if she’d chosen the right path for her life. It just didn’t seem right, but since it was too late to change her mind, she tried to file the thoughts for later consideration. She hated the idea of killing, but not as much as the idea of her weakness getting one of the others killed.
Angus gave her a moment, but nothing more. They were still in extremely hostile territory and they needed to move quickly. “Alright everyone, we have most of what we came here for and we’ve even managed to salvage some of our original mission. It’s time to get Gregor back to his wife and get us back to Hikari. Lethen see if you can get one of those windows open.”
Marnie looked at the window with confusion. “Don’t tell me you’re planning to blow the bars off. That will probably kill us all.”
The look Angus flashed her told her exactly how stupid her question was. “Of course that’s not my plan, but knowing Silva, and especially after seeing those flimsy ass doors on the front of the compound, I’d bet money that the bars aren’t as sturdy as they seem. Plus, I really don’t think going out the door would be a good idea.”
“I thought you’d scared off the other man that was behind it.”
“I did, but where do you think he went? He might’ve gone to hide and cry in the bathroom. He also might’ve taken a nap. Chances are best that he went to get help. He knows where we are and when he tells his friends, they’re going to come to get us. I wouldn’t be surprised if there weren’t already a dozen or so just waiting for us to come out the door. If it were me out there, I’d post men just around the corners and tell them to keep quiet. I’d make it so that if someone poked their head out they’d think the coast was clear, then ambush them once they were in the open a bit. I’d surround them and give them no hope of escape. I don’t know if these guys are smart enough to think of that, but I’d rather not take the chance. We’ll get the bars off the window and head out that way.”
Lethen had managed the get the window open and was inspecting the bars. They were held to the wall with four small screws. He was about to give them a good kick when Angus stopped him.
“Once we pop those bars, things are gonna start moving fast, so everyone, make sure you’re ready to run once we start this fireworks show. Lethen, I want you to kick the bars off and then drop back into the room. I’m gonna hop out and get a look around, but I’ll be back in quickly. If the coast is clear, we will head out and this will be nothing more than a bad memory.
“Renala, you and Marnie take the door. If anyone comes through, do what you have to do to keep them back. Guys, I want you ready to bring Gregor. We may have to carry him to move fast enough, and we’ll need two on each side of the window if we need to pass him through it. We’re not gonna get a second shot at this so stay alert. If everything goes to plan, we’ll be out of here in the next five minutes, but when does anything ever go according to plan for us?”
Angus was actually smiling at that last part. Either he was trying to reassure them, or something else was making him happy. Considering how big his smile was when they opened the safe, the team got the distinct impression that their sensei took an inordinate amount of joy from playing with explosives. It was both disconcerting and relieving to see. After all, it did show that some childlike joy still remained in a heart that had been hardened by years of killing, even if that joy was for something so destructive. The guys on the team understood better than the girls. Every young boy is hardwired to take some pleasure in making things go boom.
Angus took a moment to bandage the leg of the drugged man on the bed. It was still bleeding where Prolier had stabbed him and although the guy couldn’t feel it, he had been helpful and Angus didn’t want him to bleed out. Renala watched out of the corner of her eye and definitely seemed to approve.
They all took a a few deep breaths before Lethen grabbed the sides of the window frame and curled up for a big, two-footed kick. He needn’t have bothered. As Angus expected, they were more for show than any real defense and flew across the small alleyway between the back wall of the leader’s quarters and the wall of the compound. After Lethen swung back in, he dropped to the side to let Angus out. Their sensei darted out and they waited.
The time dragged by, though in reality it was only twenty seconds or so. During the wait the team thought they heard noises in the hallway that backed up Angus’s theory that the Russians would set a trap for them out there. They had to trust their sensei, though they had no idea what his plan was. It wasn’t pleasant to wait in a room full of torture implements, but they would do what they had to and hope everything went smoothly. When Angus jumped back through the window he was still smiling. “Get down everyone, and stay away from the windows.”
The team dropped to the floor, but Gregor was still standing, not having understood. Angus took him down with a flying tackle just before an explosion rocked the compound, knocking some of the creepy tools from their positions on the walls. Something that looked like a large, misshapen pair of pliers landed just beside Renala’s head. When she looked at them, she knew that she didn’t want to know what they were for.
Angus was on his feet first, pulling Gregor up with him. “We go now. Turn right when you hit the ground. There should be a hole in the wall big enough to move through. It won’t take long before they’re swarming the area.”
He sent Renala out first to guard the new exit. Of all of them she was the most likely to handle anyone coming. Luckily, Gregor didn’t need nearly as much help as they’d expected and everyone was outside in less than thirty seconds.
“Hurry.” Renala called out to them. “They’re coming.”
The team ran for the hole and got through before the Russians caught up. They had apparently put aside their differences long enough to face the threat before them. Fear is a great uniting force, especially when everyone involved has a common enemy.
Once they were on the outside of the compound Angus held back. “You go on ahead. I’ll meet you at the Buddhist temple in town. Treat this like when we first got into the country. I’ll lead them the opposite way and come back for you. If I’m not there within an hour, start heading back toward Temnik. Wait there one day and then continue to Selenduma. Wait there another day and If I haven’t met you by then, I’m not coming.”
They all knew what that meant, but it wasn’t the time for arguments. If they wanted to get away they had to go before anyone came through and saw where the team was headed. They weren’t out of the woods yet, but at least they weren’t captives anymore.
Just before they ran off, Angus put the memory card in Lethen’s hand. “Just in case. Now run.”
As they ran, Lethen spared a glance backward to see Angus putting himself in the hole they came through. The sensei would make sure they were out of sight before he let a single person through. Lethen turned away and ran after the team, not looking back again.
* * * * *
During the time Lethen and the others were breaking into the safe in Nestor’s room, a man named Lev had managed to take control of the panicking group of criminals. There were a few that objected, but it was quietly. He had done exactly as Angus had expected and had reacted quickly when the bomb went off. It was Lev who had reassured them that it was only a small explosion and not what Lethen had tried to convince them of in the main hall. The whole place wasn’t coming down. Lev’s coolness under pressure had helped him take the lead and it would help him keep it.
“Send a few after them, but don’t expect to catch them.” Lev told the men around him. “I have another idea. I’m very glad that Silva had the foresight to automate much of this operation. We will make a token chase to keep them on their toes, but don’t go too far with it. Let the men know that they are to be back within the walls within half an hour, or they won’t get back in at all. Take some boards and patch up that hole they made as best you can. I want this place sealed in thirty minutes.”
The men hastened to obey. They all knew Lev and while he wasn’t nearly as sadistic as Nestor had been, he wasn’t someone to trifle with. Nestor might’ve been one of the smartest of Silva’s followers, but Lev was the best fighter. He carried a large Mattock that those around him knew had claimed many lives.
“What is your plan, boss?”
“Simple. We’re going to release the beasts and see how our recent guests like it.”
* * * * *