Breakfast went well and the rest of the day was even better. Eddy never would’ve thought yesterday that today he’d be shopping for a spare toothbrush. After picking up that and a bag of disposable razors, they’d headed back to his place to pick up some clothes… a lot more than just the one set he’d need for emergencies and unexpected stays… no, he was going to “disappear” for a while. But that was for later.
Right now, it was almost 20:30 hours, and Kardiac’s appointment wouldn’t be kept waiting. So the conversation he was about to have was going to have to be kept short. He felt the heartbeat long before he heard the door to the roof open. “Alright, I’m here,” Andy said, his breath coming in clouds. “You could’ve picked a warmer place for a meeting.”
The vigilante kept his binoculars to his eyes, watching the warehouse two piers down. “A big exchange is about to be made… maybe ten minutes. I’m on stakeout.” He answered rather matter-of-factly. “But your messages, both of them, sounded important. How’s Angela?”
“She’s fine,” the detective answered, brushing the questions aside. “And if there’s something going down, you should have told me… we could set something up.” He stepped forward, his eyes following the binoculars to try to determine where his costumed friend was looking.
Kardiac shook his head. “No cops.”
“It’s not supposed to work that way,” Andy said, obviously bothered by the comment. “But then, you never were much for ‘by the book’.”
“It’s not like that,” Kardiac answered, lowering the binoculars briefly. “It’s the Vega Syndicate… which means it could be a trap. I’m not getting any cops, especially you, killed if this is a set-up.” He raised the lenses back to his eyes. “What did you want to talk about?”
Andy shook his head. Arguing about procedure would be useless if the name Vega was involved. “We had a drug house sting turn south tonight; big explosion, officers down. I think somebody tipped them off.”
The detective shook his head. “I wasn’t there. But some good cops were. I wouldn’t mind a little help on this one.”
Kardiac nodded. “You know you’ve got it,” he answered, though it ate at him inside. He would be ‘dead’ in a few hours… Andy couldn’t know. It would put him in danger to know the truth. “What was the first call about?” he asked, mostly to change the subject. He knew good and well what it was about.
“You know damned good and well what that call was about.”
Brushing a stray lock of hair out of his face, Kardiac lowered the binoculars and looked up at Andy. This was an Eddy moment, so the charge on his voice faded. “The article.”
Andy nodded, his flat expression dropping into a frown. “I thought you couldn’t be videotaped.”
“I was caught off guard….”
“Well that’s bloody obvious!” Andy said, perhaps a bit louder than he’d planned. Something was bothering him… Eddy wasn’t quite himself tonight… or rather, wasn’t quite either of himselves. “I know you. You’re loyal to a fault. Care to explain this Fox thing?”
Kardiac shook his head slowly. “It’s not like that. It was after I met Vivian, but before we started dating… I caught word of a shots fired call at Begnini’s place. I went there and found the Fox escaping the compound… she had apparently tagged Alphonse as a mark. I tried to take her in.” He paused for just a second, remembering that night. “She kissed me to throw me off guard… damned if it didn’t work. I lost my EC shield about halfway through the kiss.”
Andy smirked. “And Begnini’s cameras got you in the act. That must have been some kiss.”
“You’ve got no idea,” Kardiac answered. With that said, he picked up his binoculars and turned back toward the warehouse he was supposed to be staking out. He could hear Andy’s next question before he asked it, so he decided to answer. “And yes, Vivian knows about it. I’m sure the article will be a surprise, but the actual ‘events’ won’t.”
“Better that she knew ahead of time,” Andy said more as an afterthought. “You sure you don’t need backup in this raid?”
Kardiac shook his head, his internal energy rising again to change his voice. Back to business. “I’ve got this one. I’ll call when it’s over.” He really did intend to call… after all, it would be a few days before he could talk to Andy again. “Your partner is probably wondering what happened to you. Better get back to work.”
Andy nodded, moving back toward the roof access door. “Don’t get dead,” he said with a note of real concern. It was their standard good-bye, but tonight it bit Kardiac a little too deep. He was planning to do just that.
The exchange hadn’t been a trap. All in all, the bust had gone pretty well. Only one of the dealers had run, and though he had made it to his car, Kardiac was certain he wouldn’t get away. Of course, this certainty came as he was dodging the bullets being fired through the roof. Electrostatic adhesion had its advantages, especially when riding on top of a Buick at 60 m.p.h. through streets made for a 25 m.p.h. speed limit, and in icy conditions.
They’d gone from the Warehouse District into Old Bridge. Kardiac had two hours left before he had to be in Hiland, and he was determined that he wouldn’t die until Bluewolf got a chance to kill him. Of course, just as that thought was completed the perp in the car decided to make a hard, high-speed turn onto a street where several dozen people were piling out of a train station.
“Oh, this is gonna suck,” Kardiac said to no one in particular as he punched his hand through the hole-riddled roof. Normally, he’d stun the driver, but there wasn’t time for that now. Instead, he grabbed the wheel and turned it hard left. The car swerved in the winter slush and almost began to roll. Instead, it careened hard into a light pole before heading for a vacant construction site.
Kardiac didn’t ride the car toward the site. No. Hitting the pole had been enough to jostle him free of the vehicle. At the moment, he was flying through the air toward God only knew what… knowing his luck… prolly an on-coming train.
Yeah… this was gonna hurt.