Author's Note: Okay, a few things- the ETA, or Basque Fatherland and Liberty, is a group of terrorists who want to secede from Spain, and are killing Spanish civilians to do it. CNI is the Spanish secret service. I know, you don't hear much about them, but I thought it would be a cool thing to include in this story. Oh, and this is a chapter story. Or will be, if I get REVIEWS (hint hint). So, other than that... enjoy!
XXX: Liberty's Fire
By Carabiner Boy
Chapter One: Unexpected Agent
ETA compound, Basque territory, Spain, 2057 hours
There they are, thought Xander Cage, adjusting the scope of the Eagle Eyes so the decal, stuck on all of the missiles, was fully visible; Fuego de libertad, Spanish for 'Liberty's Fire.' Xander snorted. Liberty's Fire. These whackos were talking about bombing hundreds of innocent civilians, and they had the balls to call it liberty? Jesus.
About forty Hispanic-looking men in black combat fatigues jogged towards the missiles, which were clamped securely in their launchers. The deadly rockets faced outwards and away from Xander, towards Madrid, the city they planned to lay waste to. He understood their plight, but the fact that they were resorting to terrorism was doing nothing to increase his sympathy.
The COM link beeped in his ear. "Yeah?" he muttered, still toying with the supped-up binoculars.
"X," said a familiar voice from the other end, "you ready?"
"Ready when you are, Gibbons." Xander adjusted the miniscule microphone plastered to his throat and ran a hand across his shaved dome.
"Dammit, X, didn't I tell you? No names on the com!"
Xander grinned slyly. "Sorry. Let's see... should I call you Scarface, instead?"
Gibbons laughed hollowly. "Sure, if you don't mind being called 'Inmate.'" The tone of his voice made it sound like he wasn't kidding. "But down to business. We got, oh, two minutes before our boy gives the signal and those things start for Madrid. That means its..."
"Go time," Xander finished, stowing the Eagle Eyes. "This monkey'll never know what hit 'im."
On the eighth floor of the fifteen-story complex, Mikel Vasco smiled to himself. In two minutes he would give the order, and in two more the city of Madrid would be in ruins. It had been a beautiful plan, no real variables, and even if some self-righteous government agency got wind of the operation, there would be virtually no time to respond. They had purchased the uranium from a Russian arms dealer, shipped it on Vasco's private plane to Spain, then used Mack trucks with Wal-Mart logos to transport them to the base, where they built the weapons. He laughed. Wal- Mart. What a joke.
His private phone rang, and Vasco reached across the marble desk to retrieve it. "Si?" He asked, putting it to his ear.
"Senor Vasco, we have the woman you wanted. Shall I send her up?"
He smiled again, something he seemed to be doing a lot lately. "Gracias, Diego." He killed the line and leaned back in the cushioned chair. He had hired a Spanish prostitute. The final insult to a country that refused them the right to become their own people. The girl would be blindfolded, of course, so as not to give away their position, but once inside it would come off, as would every other garment of her clothing.
The door, as hi-tech chrome slider that looked like it had been pulled off of an elevator, slid open, right on time. There she was. Dressed in a skimpy black miniskirt and open-toed stilettos, the Spanish beauty could've just walked off a shoot for Victoria's Secret. His type of woman. Tall, busty, long hair. He couldn't wait to get this one on the nearby leather couch...
On top of the cliff that the Basque separatist's compound was set into, Xander took a deep breath, preparing himself for what her was about to do. Damn. If it hadn't been for the fact that he had been on a wakeboarding trip in the Balearic Islands off the coast of Spain, he wouldn't be doing this right now. As it was, Gibbons had contacted him about five hours ago and requested his assistance. No, that wasn't right. He had pleaded, and so Xander had found a way to get into the compound, gotten the proper gear, and climbed to his position. But now, moments from doing it, he was having second thoughts. He didn't have to do this. He could just walk away now. This was optional.
"Showtime," Gibbons voice said in his ear. Ah, screw it, he thought, putting on stretchy night-vision goggles. He was doing it. He was doing the BASE jump. It was, after all, tons of fun.
Checking the line on the parachute cord, Xander threw himself off the edge of the cliff.
What a rush.
The blue of the sky melted into the dark gray of the cliff, the wind punching into his face... his eyes pushed back into their sockets at the sudden acceleration... Xander suddenly remembered that he could go, at most, eight seconds before pulling the cord... how long had it been? Six, seven...
Now! He threw out the pilot chute and was wrenched upwards as the parachute deployed, the twenty-five feet of F111 nylon going taut above him. Had it caught a clean airflow? Yes! He grinned as his descent began to slow.
Had it not been nighttime, he would have been blown out of the sky by the troops on the roof. But they were oblivious. Which was good, because he didn't want any antsy Basque separatists pressing the button early and shooting off the nuclear missiles. That would be a bad thing.
He was nearing the backside of the building. If he didn't do this right, he would be a bug on the windshield. The entire place was all glass and steel, so this would be tricky. He tugged on a pair of odd-looking black gloves, Agent Toby Lee Shavers' newest invention. "Sticky Fingers," he called them. The gluey palms of the gloves were supposed to stick and hold to any given surface. Xander hoped they did, or else he was screwed.
Meanwhile, in Mikel Vasco's eighth floor "office," Catalina Vega was having problems of her own. Namely the fact that the ugly, womanizing leader of ETA (Basque Fatherland and Liberty) was gearing up to make love to her. Ugh. If the results of letting ETA complete this operation weren't so dire, she would never have accepted the mission. How ironic. A woman named Catalina, which derived from the word 'pure,' posing as a common whore. Well, apparently she was the one who looked most like a prostitute in CNI.
"C'mon, girlie," Vasco growled in his raspy, nicotine-laced drawl, "show Mikel what you look like without that pretty skirt."
"Cuando usted desea," she murmured, slipping off the straps of the miniskirt. "As you wish." The dark silk fabric caught for a moment on her erect nipples, then fell to her ankles. Catalina had been blessed (or cursed, as she thought in times like these) with a wonderful, curvaceous body, and toned it with hours of working out in CNI gyms. Vasco was obviously aroused. How disgusting.
She strode over to him, smiling mischievously. Vasco made low grunting noises... meant as a thank you? Well, something like that. Catalina's attention was more focused on the knife resting on his desk, which was probably just for show. That would work, she thought. And it was blunt, a plus. All the more pain that he would have to endure before she slit his throat...
Vasco wrapped his arms around her as she straddled him, and she felt his crotch, already hardening. She licked her lips and began to unbutton his grimy jeans. "Wait just a moment." Leaning back, Catalina snatched the paperweight up. Vasco's eyes grew wide. "Sorry," she said with grim satisfaction, putting the knife to his crotch and wrenching it sideways, "I slipped."
Xander pivoted and dropped to the carpeted floor, a flashlight beam arcing over his head. "Domingo?" the flashlight's owner murmured, freaking out. "Domingo?"
Xander stepped into the light. "He's sleeping. Quiet." He put one more slug into Asshole Number Two, thankful for the silencer. How much time left? Shit. Twenty seconds and counting. But there was Vasco's room at the end of the hall. He flipped open the chamber and inserted an exploding dart. Fire in the hole, as the geek would say...
He pressed the trigger. The dart hit the center of the oak door, incinerating it. Xander flipped on a halogen light, which was attached to the top of the revolver, and stepped through the smoking doorframe. "Anybody home?"
There. Movement, straight ahead. He ran to it, and as the smoky haze parted around Mikel Vasco, he wished he hadn't. The man was still alive, but naked from the waste down and clutching the bloody stump which was once his manhood. Vasco wouldn't be giving any orders in this condition. He wouldn't be making any babies, either.
The phone rang, and Xander picked it up. "Hola? This is Domingo." On a whim, he had taken a few foreign language courses and proven very adept at it. Now it was paying off.
"Domingo? You don't sound like..."
"Should I put you through to senor Vasco?"
"Yes..." The man still sounded unsure.
"Here he is." In one quick motion Xander put the wireless phone to Vasco's ear and the gun to his head.
"It is time," the man said. "Should I launch the missiles?"
Xander shook his head, eying Vasco.
"N-no," the terrorist leader said sheepishly, cringing with pain.
"What?" came the confused response from the other end.
"I'll... tell you later..."
Xander pressed the End button and placed the phone back in its holder, just as Vasco doubled over in agony. "You catch all of that?" he asked, nonplussed.
"Most of it," said Gibbons, who had maintained radio silence throughout the mission. "What happened to our target?"
"Someone cut his dick off. Must hurt like hell."
"Oh, for fuck's sake. Who did it?"
"That's what I'm wondering..." but then he saw her, nude, crumpled against he back wall. Her leg was twisted at an odd angle, and she still held a bloody knife. He didn't want to think about what she had used it for. Instead, he raised the field revolver. "Who are you?"
"Catalina Vega, CNI. Ah, shit." She stole a glimpse at her broken leg. "American?"
"Yeah. NSA." He could almost hear Gibbons cringe as he revealed his employer. "Need some help?"
"Thanks," she murmured, switching into flawless English and accepting his hand, pulling a miniskirt over her exposed body. "Now, as much as I like seeing Vasco in pain..."
"Right." He walked over to the soon-to-be former leader of ETA and aimed at his head. "I'm doing you a frickin' favor." He dispensed the last .44 and Vasco slumped over, dead.
Another figure appeared in the doorframe, an Uzi submachine gun at the ready. Xander was defenseless with his empty revolver. Now all he could do was wait to die-
Catalina's hand flicked out and the knife lodged itself into the guard's chest, throwing him backwards in a spray of blood. Xander looked at her in awe.
"Hey, you're not the only one who knows how to use a weapon. Now... we've got to get out of here before more of Vasco's cronies show up."
"Yeah," he said, grinning. Well, Yelena had left him months ago. Now he almost thought it was a good thing...