Sunday, May 29, 2011

Always toward absent lovers love's tide stronger flows (Part Four)

Nobody had came out into the alley when the screams started, or stopped. I had to leave the knife behind, but at least I had a name. A name I hadn't heard of before. The name had turned quickly into a dead end, perhaps he had been lying, or too far gone to tell the truth. Nobody had known who he was talking about. Maybe it was just his name I ended up with, or worse a new player I didn't know.

Frustrated, I had cursed the lost time, and re-focused on the real reason I was there. For the first time in years one of the slave traders linked to my enslavement even more years ago, would be out in the open, more importantly, with his family. It would only be fair, he and his family for mine. It would be a waste of assets in this place to kill him, but I was well past worrying about those ramifications.

First I had to flush him into the open, for that I had to use some of the cells to form a diversion. Yesterday, after the attack on me I had heard rumors that my target, and family, had showed up to the same casino they would be today, betting and watching the capsuleers Alliance tournament. One cell would rush the casino, eliminating the guards, while another distracted the local police, with a suicide bombing aimed at their headquarters just blocks away.

I couldn't bring myself to call him by name, Harcourt Durand. He had financed the raid on the backwater colony my family had lived on. The raiders had been brutal in separating men from wives, parents from children, in an effort to keep them all under control. Honestly, it hadn't taken much to find his involvement, his financing for these kinds of raids wide-spread in their notoriety. It was just a shame the slaver who had actually done the work had died before I had gained my freedom.

The Casino grounds were wide, spread out in a show of luxury on an otherwise back-water planet. It wasn't well known, but it was well protected, and well designed. Automated defenses did most of the work, covering the approaches and doors with equal vigilance. Probably using the most sophisticated intelligence and sensors to determine threat from guest, likely under the direct fire control of one or two controllers in the security building.

I hadn't had any hand in helping the cell design their attack on the Casino, to them it was a symbol of the corruption in this sector. Money that should have gone into their schools, or to promote more jobs in the area went instead into helping build this. It wouldn't be long now before they got their chance for some payback.

I moved to the other corner of the overlooking building, towards the diversion, but left the massive rifle where it lay at the casino's corner, next the the rumpled security officer I'd found up here. He'd recover, but that recovery would be slowed by the drugs I'd put in his system to keep him quiet and out of the way for the next hour or more.

The diversion was the classical choice, a nondescript government building, some kind of tax organization or another. The important factor was it was a easy target, the cell hitting it was small, and expendable. Their plan I had fully vetted, the diversion being usually more important than the main attack. Some of their number would slide into the building, others waiting just around the corner. The advanced group would take out security camera's and guards without anyone sounding the alert. The plan didn't hinge on the lack of an alert, but it helped.

Once security was down, the other teams would rush in and get as many people out as they could, while others planted the bombs. Then they would also evacuate the building. Anyone left inside would be collateral damage. It was harsh, but the more attention pulled there would be the less response to the casino. I wrapped my hands around my binoculars, waiting…


I didn't see or hear anything for a long time, each minute that passed made my heart rise in my chest, I wandered back to the other side of the building using the scope to scan the casino. Harcourt's vehicle was already there, he and his family safely inside through one of the underground entrances, but after the attack, there would be no where to go but out the doors and into his car. Looking back over at the federal building, nerves ran amok in my head. I started running through everything that could go wrong. Not that I could expect to hear from that team until the explosion, I just wish I could have heard anything.

Police radios and emergency networks were too encrypted to listen-in to easily, so all I could do was wait. I heard and then saw first one and then a second police car whine around the building I was in at high speed, headed directly for the diversion, their passing directly preceding the whip-snap of high velocity gunfire in the distance, muted by the streets. I checked the timeline, no surprise one of the guards, or the automated system had alerted. It was already a race against time.

I pounded my fist against the side of the roof, heading back to my binoculars to watch. I couldn't see anything through them, just watch the steady stream of police headed in that direction, fire and medical units passing by slowly, well behind the line of fire. Some one must have detonated a bomb early, the single loud crack and sudden surge of smoke over the rooftops confirming it.

A ripple of other cracks sounded shortly afterwards, deep black smoke bellowing from the middle of the city, the diversion had been successful, to a point at least, two more police patrols passed the bottom of the five story building I stood atop. Now for the main attraction.

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