Chapter Six: Nowhere to Run
Fifty-One Minutes Later:
Hubbard Salvage Yard:
Bowman was crouched near two junked cars when he heard the footsteps near the fence. It came from where they had just been, and that left no room for doubt as to who it was. He saw the man and woman who had been stalking them climb over the fence, leaving their bag of weapons behind and carrying only pistols of some undetermined make.
"England, this is Bowman, the targets have entered the arena," Bowman whispered into the radio.
"Copy that, ready to fire whenever you get them into view," England whispered back.
Bowman got into position and hoped that the fates would smile upon him this time as they had since the ambush early in the morning. He just needed his body to hold out long enough to make this happen. He had been on the move almost all day with little time to rest. Now the lives of everyone in his group relied on his getting the job done.
'Here we go,' he thought as he grabbed a rock and hurled it into the distance. It struck the window of a car and shattered it. The result was instantaneous, the two assassins turned and headed in that direction with their weapons drawn.
'Yes,' he mentally exclaimed and got in position to hurl the next rock. He launched it and it found its mark on a nearby boiler. Once again, the assassins turned and headed toward the noise.
They were moving closer to the area where his people would be waiting to ambush them, all he had to do was get a few more throws to maneuver them to where he needed them. He reached and grabbed a chunk of metal to throw. He was took a few steps forward and his foot caught on a piece of pipe lying on the ground. He fell onto the ground near a group of pipes that had been stacked up. The pipes fell to the ground with a loud clanking sound.
Cursing his luck, Bowman took off running as he heard the footsteps coming towards him. He turned a corner around an engine and heard the ping of a bullet striking where his head had just been. They had seen him and were in hot pursuit. He ran through a maze of metal structures, not sure of what way he was going but his only concern was that it was away from the killers.
"Bowman do not take a left, one of them is moving to pick you off," England's voice crackled over the radio.
"Copy," Bowman said as he decided his best bet would be to go up instead of the way he was going. There was a locomotive engine next to him and he got his grips and began to climb. Once he was up there, he flattened himself against the warming metal and hoped his profile would not be visible from the ground.
The sun was causing the metal to become hotter than he thought it could be so he quietly got up and without thinking it over, he jumped from the engine to another structure that was nearby. He landed with a somewhat audible thump but he hoped it would not be enough to draw attention to his location.
"They must have heard you, Bowman; they're coming your way. If you run due east you should get to where you need to be," England said.
Not wanting to question it, Bowman jetted in an easterly direction. He heard footsteps in the distance and turned on whatever reserves of adrenaline he had and hoped he had enough. Bullets began to ping the dirt and metal around him. He felt a searing in the right side of his chest and realized one of the bullets must have hit him.
Still he kept going, he leaped into the clearing and turned to face where he had just run from with his service pistol drawn and aimed.
"Come out slowly and I won't shoot you," he shouted.
Slowly two forms came out from the maze of metal with their weapons drawn.
"You're tired and shot, put the gun down and we'll finish you off quickly," the woman said.
"Good effort out there, but you were simply outclassed," the man said.
"Who are you?" Bowman asked.
"Why does it matter?" the woman asked.
"Honey, he's going to die anyway and we'll be out of here before the authorities find him and his friends," the man said and then turned his attention to Bowman, "My name is Marc Blackburn and this is my wife, Michelle Sandoval. We've been hired by Carl Tolan to take out your witnesses. You and your agents are simply collateral damage."
"So it's not personal, it's simply business," Bowman said as he kept his gun aimed.
"Listen, you can't shoot both of us and your friends are going to be hunted down by us once you're done. More importantly you can't shoot both of us at the same time," Sandoval said.
"Jack, I can't get a clear shot at them from where you're standing. If you shoot one of them and run, I can pick the other off from where I'm at," England said through the earpiece.
'Here's to hoping you're a damned good shot, England,' Bowman thought as he surveyed the surroundings and quickly plotted his move.
"You're right," Bowman said and then he aimed and fired at Blackburn, hitting the assassin in the forehead and sending him to the ground. He took off running toward a place to hide and felt a sting on his back as a bullet hit him. He fell to the ground and slid into a metal object. The impact was sufficient to knock him out, with the pain from the bullet it was a sort of blessing.
Michelle Sandoval had gotten one shot off and would have gotten another shot off if not for the fact that England aimed and shot her in the heart with his sniper rifle. She fell to the ground and moved slightly before becoming still. He had seen enough fighting in his time to know that she was dead; it was something a soldier in the field became aware of after time.
He climbed down from the top of the crane and took out his radio, "Everyone it's safe to come out now!"
Slowly everyone came out from their hiding places and made their way towards where Bowman lay. Milone was the first one to reach Bowman.
"England, I need your phone," Milone said and as soon as he had the phone, dialed a number and said, "This is Agent Bruno Milone with the Global Defense Department. I need a medic team to the Hubbard Salvage Yard in Rutledge; we have an agent down."
Ratliff ran over and checked for a pulse; he was still alive!
"Jack," she said to him before adding, "You hang in there. You've come too far to give up now!"
Oxford Medical Center:
Jack Bowman's eyes fluttered open and he tried to take in the surroundings. He was in a hospital room, which was a good sign in his opinion. He tried to sit up and felt a sharp pain on the left side of his chest.
"You don't need to be doing that, it took some work to patch you up," a woman said as she walked into the room.
"Where am I?" he asked.
"My name is Dr. Deborah Brewer and you are here at Oxford Medical Center. You were brought here from Hubbard Salvage out near Rutledge."
"How'd you know I woke up?" he asked.
"That would be my doing," Claire Ratliff said as she walked into the room and patted him on the shoulder.
"Should have known it was you, how's Ian?"
"Ian is going to be all right but he's going to have to learn to work one-armed until his other arm heals," Emma Bowman said as she walked into the room and looked at her husband.
"I take it Ian left to tell you that I was awake."
"Very observant," she said.
"Where's England at?" Bowman asked.
"He's down at the Oxford Courthouse giving testimony about the Basileus. It seems Saranna Preece wants to cut a deal to save her life after Carl Tolan tried to have her killed," Ratliff said.
"I still have no idea how they knew where we were; they plotted that ambush a little too well."
"Don't focus on that too much right now. Perhaps one day we'll find out if someone tried to set us up," Ratliff said.
"Hey Claire, let's get some food from the cafeteria. Not all hospital food is considered 'Poison' right, Doc?"
"That's right, Agent Grant. If you and Agent Ratliff will be kind enough to let Agent Bowman get some rest, it would be appreciated," Brewer said as she motioned for them to leave.
"Mrs. Bowman, I'll have the nurse come by in a few minutes to check up on your husband. In the meantime you and your son can stay here and visit."
"Thank you, Doctor Brewer," Emma said and she called for Archie to come into the room.
"Hey, you," Bowman said to his son once he entered the room.
"Can I ask how the other guys look?" Archie asked.
"Archibald Nathaniel Bowman," Emma exclaimed.
"It's ok," Bowman said as he stifled a laugh, "they are probably worse off than I am right now."
"Well, Jack, I know you've been through some tough scrapes in the past but from what Claire and Ian told me it looked like you were in trouble."
"I suppose the fates smiled on me enough to get out of it."
"I'm glad you're going to be fine, just don't go risking your life so recklessly next time. I'll save the whole talk about that subject once you're home," she said as she leaned down to kiss him.
"Believe me when I tell you that right now there's no place I'd rather be than home with the two of you," Bowman said as he took a deep breath and felt thankful that he had made it out in one piece.
"They're what?" Carl Tolan said as he fought the urge to hurl his phone into the pool below the balcony.
"I'm afraid they were less than successful, they were so unsuccessful that they're dead," Timothy Shon said from his end of the phone call.
"Listen to me, Shon, you are to stay there on Caprica and I don't care how you do it. I want you to eliminate Preece and those GDD agents who eliminated Blackburn and Sandoval. This is something I will not tolerate!" Tolan looked out at the ocean and focused his attention on a sailboat that was passing close to the shore. It helped to reign in his anger enough for him to concentrate on the task at hand. All years as head of the Basileus had taught him not to make rash moves or act on his emotions. That was a surefire way to walk right into a trap of some sort. If there was one thing Carl Tolan had a talent for, it was avoiding traps.
"Understood, Mr. Tolan, I shall start making plans for another hit against the GDD agents. As for Preece, once she's in prison I can get someone on the inside to facilitate her demise," Shon said.
"Make it happen, Shon; you're the only one I can trust with this. Take however long you need," Carl Tolan said as he ended the call and took a calming breath. He walked through the open balcony doors. The breeze blowing off the ocean carried the scent of salt water giving a bright contrast to his dark mood.
Tolan took a copy of the Iopolis Herald off the table. He saw the headline he anticipated: First Lady Adrianna Bates Killed. A roadside bomb had gone off near the vehicle that Adrianna Bates had been travelling in, killing her instantly. No known terrorist group had claimed responsibility.
Tolan smiled at that, it was nice to have something go right after the turn recent events had taken.
That brought his mind back to the failure of Blackburn and Sandoval. This was not how things were supposed to go. Those damn GDD agents may not have realized it but they had committed the grave error of crossing him. That was something for which there had to be consequences. He could not stand there and let the murder of his top two assassins go unpunished, and he fully trusted Timothy Shon to make it happen. There would come a day where he would see to it that something was done to Christopher England, Ian Grant, Claire Ratliff, and Jack Bowman. The order in which they were eliminated did not matter to him. The important thing was for it to happen.
This is the last chapter in my first entry into the Global Defense Series started by my friend Tony Wilkins aka: The Wilky Bar Kid. I hope all who have read it have enjoyed it and I do intend to add more stories to this series when time allows. Thank you all for taking the time to read this story, know that it is greatly appreciated.