Day of the Wolf 3 (The Third Strike), Hour 23
The following took place sometime between 5:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m.
Events occurred in unreal time
Location: the abandoned Seafarer Shipyard
‘Take the box to the ground,’ the first man said.
Checked by his gun, Janet obeyingly bent down, and with a slow and careful movement, she placed the red hazmat box on the ground between them. Getting up, she narrowed her gaze to measure the guy. Also, she spotted the second man, an older one, who hid in the darkness to hold hostage Lindsay Schaeffer at the distant part of the empty workshop.
‘You are not Gillian Schaeffer.’ The first man held his weapon aimed at her.
‘I’m not Gillian.’ Janet nodded. ‘And you aren’t terrorists. Ditto, Harold?’ she asked the second man.
‘Who are you?’ the first man asked.
Instead of Janet, Harold replied. ‘I know this woman. Janet Wolf, CIA.’
‘CIA?’ Janet smiled. ‘It was a damn long time ago, Harold.’
‘And what’s your business now?’ Harold asked.
‘Do you know this b*tch?’ the first man asked Harold. Professionally, he kept his eyes and his gun steadily at Janet.
‘Ben, please meet Janet Wolf,’ Harold said to the first man. ‘She is the most badass b*tch you can ever meet.’
‘Thank you for the compliment,’ Janet said. ‘I heard you went from the CIA to the private sector. But what is this sh*t, Harold? Running a private military company wasn’t lucrative enough? And have you organised an attack on your own homeland?’
‘We are proud patriots, Janet,’ Harold said. ‘We do it for the sake of the country.’
‘If you say so,’ Janet said.
‘Would you finish this I-am-so-happy-to-see-you-again reunion?’ Ben shouted nervously.
‘Shut up, Ben. Meeting Janet here means that the federal agencies have revealed some part of our plans. But if she would understand the whys, she could join us.’
‘Join the Dark Side... have you got cookies, Harold?’ Janet said.
‘If we carry out the attack on the Stadium, the people will condemn the President,’ Harold said. ‘Imagine a massive terror attack, broadcasted live on every national TV channel.’
‘You’re playing with fire. This is a highly contagious virus.’ Janet glanced down at the red hazmat box in the dust.
‘We’ll set up a perimeter, and we won’t let any of the infected people escape from the Stadium.’
‘And what’s next? Even if President Harper will be kicked out of the White House, your plan can’t work. David Marvin was exposed.’
‘Mr Marvin was a mere disposable asset. All over this country, certain very influential and resourceful families don’t want to see a crippled c*nt in the White House. The Oligarchs will create a popular presidential candidate. Renee Harper isn’t even a real politician. She’s just a lucky survivor, who landed there somehow because the terrorists killed off everybody before her in the presidential succession line.’
Harold spoke further. ‘This country deserves a better president than the Lame Duckling. Does the commander-in-chief look like this? She hobbles with crutches or she rides a wheelchair all the time. Without help, she can’t get up even from a seat because of her bad legs. And she wants to lead a whole country when she can’t control even her own legs?’
‘Have you finished the preaching?’ Ben asked.
‘Janet?’ Harold waited for her reply.
‘No, thank you. Your cookies stink,’ she said.
‘I hope you understand what this answer means.’
Harold gave an order to Ben. ‘Okay, let’s check what is in her package. Janet, please don’t do anything stupid, or else I’m forced to bore some unnecessary holes in Lindsay’s head.’
Janet put her arms in the air, and she stepped back to give room for the young guy, who crouched down and opened the reinforced box. Within the well-cushioned container, Ben found a plastic tube, which was filled up with a red fluid. With the blood of Vanessa Nunez.
‘The deal is on. You’ve got the virus. I’ll get Lindsay,’ Janet said.
‘You can’t be so naïve.’ Ben laughed at Janet. ‘Harold stupidly gave you a chance to survive this, but you refused his generous offer. Now, we’ve got everything we wanted. You won’t leave this place alive.’ The first man raised his weapon to execute Janet.
Janet sighed, expecting for this development. ‘If you kill me, all of you die with me. You, Harold, Lindsay and everybody within a half-mile radius.’
‘Janet, what the hell have you worked out?’ Harold asked.
Janet joggled her right hand she kept above her head. The sleeve of the jacket slid down to showcase a device, which was attached to her wrist.
‘Will we die because of your design wristwatch?’ Ben asked. ‘You can be a tough girl, but you don’t know how to make bombs. It’ll rip your arm off, but it won’t hurt us.’ His fingers moved closer to the trigger.
‘This is just the remote control.’ Janet talked about her armband. ‘This device checks my heart rate. If my heart stops beating, or if my heart rate jumps too high, it automatically sends a signal to blow up the bomb. So, don’t kill me and don’t make me nervous, or else our body parts will fly up to the Moon, and they will be scattered all around this city.’
Despite the chilly pre-dawn air, the first drops of sweat appeared and flowed down Ben’s temple. There was something in Janet’s eyes telling that she told him the truth.
‘Where is the bomb?’ Ben asked.
‘Hey, do you believe her?’ Harold asked from the background, away from Janet’s personal magic.
‘My car is fully loaded with explosives,’ Janet said. ‘Do you want to see it?’
Highly strung, Harold gestured with his hand to send Ben out. Then he led Lindsay forward, aiming the gun at the hostage, while the other man left to check out Janet’s car.
‘I parked close to the building so that I could surely kill all of us,’ Janet chatted.
‘You’re bluffing, b*tch,’ Harold said.
‘Oh, really? Don’t you remember what I did when we worked together? Can’t you imagine what I’m able to do?’
With a pale face, Ben came back to confirm Janet. ‘This woman is sheer crazy. Her car is full of C4. Even the backseats are...’
‘Thank you, Ben. My deal is simple,’ Janet said. ‘If I die, all of us die. If I stay alive, all of us stay alive.’
‘What do you want?’ Harold asked.
‘Send Lindsay here, and we’ll go away. With the hazmat box.’
‘This is not a fairy tale with a happy end. You can’t have both the virus sample and the hostage! Do you know what I’ll do?’ Harold moved his gun away from Lindsay to point it at Janet. ‘I myself will kill you, and I don’t care whether we go to heaven or hell. My friends will surely get a new virus sample from the CDC.’
‘Ah, you mean the CDC Quarantine Facility?’ Janet asked. ‘Then there is a terribly bad piece of news for you. The virus isn't on American soil any longer. The next place, where you can find it, is somewhere in the muddy jungle in Central Africa.’
‘What the hell are you talking about?’ Harold asked.
‘Four hours ago, the CDC Quarantine Facility ceased to exist, and there isn’t any infected patient there, either. I made a scientist kill the girl in the full body cast, and then I set the whole building on fire. Everything is destroyed. This hazmat box is more valuable than you think. It contains the last sample of the contagious brittle bone disease virus.’
Harold read her eyes, and he realised that Janet had really done all this.
‘Send Lindsay here, and I generously let you go alive,’ Janet said.
‘Are you the one, who let us go?’ Harold said, hurt. ‘B*tch, you...’
‘Don’t make me jumpy.’ Janet just slightly shook her right hand to warn him of the bomb.
‘You can get Lindsay. But we’ll get the box.’ Ben worked out a new deal to seize the container.
‘Surely, you can get it,’ Janet said.
With two steps, she jumped closer to the opened hazmat box. Swinging her leg, she kicked the box so hard that it flew up high in the air.
After moving through the room, the box heavily touched the ground. One of the plastic tubes fell out of the holder and separately landed on the floor. It broke apart, letting its dangerous content out. As the container began leaking, a rare vapour covered the two men and two women. The fluid containing the virus was all around in the air.
The events shocked both Ben and Harold. Thought their lameness took just for a second, Janet utilised it. She quickly moved closer to Ben, and she punched him on the throat. Suffocating, Ben released his weapon, and he fell to the ground, dying.
Seizing his gun, Janet aimed it at Harold, who hid behind the hostage.
‘And now what?’ she asked.
‘Congratulations, Janet. You’ve infected us. But before we’ll rot together in a full body cast, I’ll kill the girl.’ Harold held the barrel of his gun against Lindsay’s head.
Janet, suddenly, moved her weapon down. Instead of firing at Harold’s head, she aimed at a target somewhere closer to the ground. Then she shot.
The bullet hit Lindsay’s lower leg above the ankle. Letting out an ear-splitting scream, the girl collapsed so quickly that Harold’s free hand wasn’t able to keep her up. Losing the living shield, he became a clear target. None of Janet’s four gunshots missed him. After neutralising Harold, Janet rushed across the place to Lindsay.
Janet offered her hand for the traumatised girl to pull her up from the ground. ‘Come with me.’
Wordlessly, Lindsay kept gazing at her blood-covered trousers. Fully fuelled with adrenaline, she didn’t sense the pain of the shot wound.
‘Gillian sent me. I’m sorry but I had to do it to save you from these bad people, who would have killed you.’
Lindsay anxiously turned her head to gaze at Harold’s lifeless body, who lay on the ground behind her. ‘But they...’
‘I must take you to hospital.’ Janet pulled up Lindsay from the dust, and she dragged her toward the gate.
Janet’s SUV parked near the entrance. Getting out of the workshop, they were welcomed by the lights of the morning sun that cast distortedly long shadows on the rusty shipyard. To spare Lindsay’s injured leg, Janet softly planted the girl into the first passenger seat.
‘But this is...’ Lindsay turned back to check the dangerous load of the car. Her hands moved to the handle to open the door to escape from the vehicle, which was full of explosives.
‘Stay in the car!’ Janet commanded.
‘But... tons of explosives...’
‘Yes, this is real explosive.’ Janet started up the engine to rush away from the shipyard. ‘But it can’t blow up. The remote control thing is a fake.’ She removed the armband to toss it on the C4 bricks piled on the backseats. ‘Just a cheap stuff from the eBay.’
‘The virus... we are infected.’ Lindsay’s hands uncontrollably moved up and down to wash the contamination off her face and body.
‘An ordinary strain of influenza. Its DNA structure is surprisingly similar to the glass-bone disease virus. It would have gained me a little time if they had had an expert to check the hazmat box.’
Lindsay's hands stopped shivering, and they moved down to rest on her lap.
‘I’ll take you to hospital, and you can meet your sister, soon,’ Janet said.
Ten minutes later, Janet’s phone ringed, and she answered the call.
‘This is Dr Vasquez from the Intensive Care Unit of the State Memorial Hospital. I’d like you to come here as soon as possible. Director Alexandra Hamilton wants to meet you immediately.’
‘Could you tell me why?’ Janet asked.
‘She told me that it is a matter of life and death. I think it must be a state secret that she wants to share with you.’
to be continued