Eddy’s eyes cracked open. According to the clock on the night table, it was 4:15 a.m. Who would be calling at this ungodly hour? He rolled over. His ribs still hurt like a mother…
Eddy reached over for his cell only to suddenly remember that it had been destroyed. He changed the direction of his falling hand to slam it down on a communicator that sat beside his clock. A little current channeled to his voice box made the necessary change, though at this point he was sure his identity was blown five times over to these people.
Still had to keep up appearances. “Yeah?”
“Rise and shine, the bird is caged.”
Eddy raised an eyebrow, though there wasn’t anyone there to see it. “Huh?”
“Obviously not a morning person. We picked up your man, as promised.”
Realization hit him, and Eddy came around to consciousness. “Oh, thanks,” he answered, finally forcing himself into a sitting position. “How long can you hold him?”
“Legally? 24 hours. However, there’s currently no record of his arrest, and technically he is a fugitive, so once we process him we can actually hold him for indictment on a number of charges… but that means admitting to at least the Justice Department that he’s in custody.”
“Bad idea,” Eddy interjected. “We don’t know how much of a hold the local cartels have. The info can’t get back to Begnini.”
“Of course,” she said, changing her tone slightly, “should processing take longer than expected….”
Eddy smiled. “I owe you one. Kardiac out.”
He forced himself to his feet and hit the shower. It was way too early to be conscious, but he could put the extra time to good use preparing for his morning. Of course, he’d have to figure out what to tell Viv. Viv… she wasn’t back yet. Does she always work this late? Did something go wrong with Andy?
He shot out of the shower and scooped up the comm again. “Blue,” he said in a serious tone, keying on the small transmitter.
There was a brief pause, and when he finally answered the transmission seemed weak, and his cohort’s voice sounded worried. “What’s up?”
Eddy didn’t like that tone. “Fox didn’t come back to her den last night.”
“I saw her,” the voice answered after another beat. “There was a problem with Pope’s bust. Things went from bad to worse. She pulled him out of the warehouse.”
The news just went from bad to worse. Eddy started to pace. He realized he’d completely forgotten to go to ‘Kardiac voice.’ Right now, he really didn’t care. “What the Hell happened?”
“There was a shooter on site. I assumed he was there for Pope. He either missed Pope or hit his real target, but things went down the hold from there. There was a fire, toxic gases. You’re detective buddy is in the hospital for inhalation.”
Crap, crap, crap. And he didn’t know that Eddy was alive, which surely wasn’t a comfort. “What about Viv?”
“I didn’t see her after she pulled Pope out. Sorry.”
“Thanks for the report,” Eddy answered, with only a little sarcasm. “Kardiac out.” He tossed the comm onto the bed and turned on the news. There was a report of the fire, the bust, and the primary case detective being hospitalized, but nothing about the notorious Fox-burglar being arrested. That was good at least.
Well, he thought to himself as he laid out his ‘new’ costume. She told me to trust her… I’m going to have to. He paused for a second. For now. If she’s not back by tonight….
His first thought was that Begnini had grabbed her, or worse. But that made no sense. Alfonse was a jerk, and a mobster, but there was no point in going after Fox… not anymore. He wouldn’t waste resources on her, would he… unless he needed her for a job, and burglary wasn’t something he usually hired out for. But if not Begnini, who?
Eddy took a deep breath. “Relax, Lane. She’s probably working some angle. Trust her,” he said to himself slowly, methodically… unconvincingly. For now. He shook away the fear and put on the new costume. He had a meeting to get to, and he couldn’t let this hinder him. Too much was at stake, and Viv was resourceful.
After a few minutes, he was dressed and looking different enough to pass… he hoped. Man he hurt, though. Ehn, he had time for an hour of Tai Chi… that should get him moving again. At least well enough to pull off looking cocky. Once out the window and down the side of the building, ‘Blindside’ was ready to make his way across town. Just one more thing to take care of.
It was a Chrysler Dynasty, blue. They didn’t make them like this anymore… it looked like a fine candidate for Junkyard Wars raw materials. The driver’s side door was dented which undoubtedly made it difficult to open and close. The cars on either side were new, much nicer, and much easier to spot under an APB. A little electromagnetic lock picking popped the door, and the mock-mercenary slipped inside. Hot-wiring was an easy thing for this particular thief, and in no time he was on his way to the Industrial Park District.
Once he reached his destination, he left the car where it would be noticed by the police and headed to the roof. The climb was an easy one… he’d done it many times before. This time, however, he had to make it look like he was using a cable, just in case of witnesses. He couldn’t be seen free-scaling the building. It might give his real identity away.
A few minutes later, he was walking down the stairs from roof access and directly into Begnini’s office. Alfonse looked up, his face taking on an unhappy scowl. “You were seen, you idiot.”
Blindside walked up, right past the Capo’s ever present bodyguard, drew his rapier, and plunged it straight down through the top of Begnini’s desk. “I didn’t fly halfway around the world to listen to insults. You pay, I play. Now let’s get to it, shall we?”
Begnini leaned back in his chair folding his hands on his desk. “Straight to the point,” he said with a smirk, probably thinking it was a clever play on Blindside’s swordplay. “I’ve got a major shipment coming into town tomorrow night. Three million dollars worth of refined powder. I’ve had trouble with a few costumes, not to mention cops. This shipment cannot be compromised.”
“So you want me to babysit your pick-up men,” he answered, pulling his blade out of the desk and resheathing it. Blindside could ‘feel’ the bodyguards getting into defensive positions behind him to make sure that blade didn’t come out again.
Alfonse leaned forward on his desk. “More than that. I want you to make sure it gets delivered to the right address, then I want you to take care of another little job for me.”
“What’s that,” the mock-mercenary replied, actually getting interested in where this was going.
“There’s a cop one of my guy’s put in the hospital last night. Name’s Pope,” Begnini said matter-of-factly. “He’s been in and out of consciousness since he hit the emergency room. I want him to go under and not come back out.”
Eddy’s fists clenched, but he quickly put them to use, smacking them together knuckle to knuckle… hoping that hid the reflexive gesture. “It’ll be a pleasure,” he said, hoping it didn’t sound like it was coming through clenched teeth. “Anything else.”
“There’s one more loose end,” the Capo said looking smug. “A woman I’m interested in acquiring… but that one can wait until I’ve seen how well you carry out the other jobs.”
So he didn’t have her. That was good. But he still wanted her taken care of… that was as far as Eddy could stand it. He fought against the urge to just run the bastard through right here and now. “You’ll be satisfied,” he said with a sneer.
“I’d better be.”
Twenty minutes later, Blindside was standing atop Kardiac’s favorite warehouse, staring out over the bay. “You’ll be satisfied,” he said to the wind. “And then some.”