Pavelec and her passengers watched the soldiers kick in the front door of the house and pile inside. “Seems like these people are on the same trail we are.”
“Those are the guys we’re up against?” said Brenda Bailey.
“We got away from them last time,” said SMS, trying to sound confident.
“Yeah, but this time they got here first,” said Pavelec. She pulled the car over to the curb and shut off the engine. “Hopefully they aren’t just here to kill our man. With any luck they want him alive as much as we do.”
“So what do we do now?” said SMS.
“Are you guys armed?” asked Brenda.
Pavelec pulled her handgun out of its holster.
“Good,” said Brenda. “How about you, SMS?”
SMS picked up the assault rifle Cyber had taken from the soldier at the Hole.
Brenda whistled. “Nice hardware.” She reached inside her jacket and pulled out a stub-nosed Uzi submachine gun. “So, let’s do this. Do you have a plan, Miss Leader, or do you want to hear how I see it?”
“You’re impressing me so far,” said Pavelec.
“Like this little beauty, do you? Okay, you two swing the car around in front of the driveway and block them in, then get out and stay behind it for cover. I’m going to run around to the back door and flush them out.”
Pavelec pursed her lips. “You’ll be going in one-on-four.”
“They won’t know that,” said Brenda.
Pavelec shrugged. “It’s your life.”
“Better believe it,” said Brenda, grinning. She primed her gun, slammed a clip of ammo into the chamber, flung her door open, and took off towards the house in a low-hunching dash. SMS and Pavelec watched her disappear around the back of the house.
“She’s certainly impressive,” said Pavelec.
“I think she’s enjoying this a little too much,” said SMS.
“Hey, whatever gets her going is fine by me. Our turn now.” Pavelec started the car up again and swung it into position, sealing off the driveway. They ducked out of the car and watched the house through the bulletproof windows, looking for movement.
About a minute and a half later, the gunfire started. Explosive reports echoed out from upstairs, then a window shattered. A series of thumps and crashes came next, like furniture being thrown around a room.
The neighbours began to peek out of their doors and windows. Pavelec flashed her badge and them and shouted, “Stay inside!” Everyone hid again.
“In this neighbourhood, I just hope that doesn’t get us shot in the back,” said SMS, only partially sarcastically.
The fighting inside continued. SMS heard the pounding of feet on stairs. Suddenly a body came flying through a downstairs window and crumpled on the lawn. It was one of the soldiers.
Pavelec smirked. “Looks like she’s doing all right.”
Several more shots were fired, and then everything fell silent. SMS and Pavelec watched and waited.
“Should we go in?” said SMS.
“Wait.” Pavelec kept her gun trained on the front door.
The door opened quietly. One of the soldiers came backing out onto the porch. He had one arm wrapped around the neck of an unconscious, scruffy-looking Indian man. His other hand was raised in the air, clutching a grenade. He made his way slowly towards the SUV, dragging his hostage’s heels along the front path, not yet aware that his escape route was blocked.
Bailey followed him several steps after, her gun trained on him. “You sure this is a good idea, buddy?” she said.
“You can’t have him!” threatened the masked soldier, in a thick Quebecois accent. “You shoot me, we all die.”
Bailey sneered. “What is it with people like you always going Kamikaze Hero on me?”
The soldier didn’t reply. He just kept backing towards the SUV, dragging his prisoner with him.
Pavelec stood up behind the car. “You aren’t going anywhere,” she said, training her pistol on the soldier.
He looked away from Bailey and saw Pavelec and the car. “I’ll drop this!” he lilted. “I’ll do it!”
This is exactly why I didn’t want Brenda Bailey along, thought SMS. This can’t end well.
Pavelec stepped out from behind the car, making brief eye contact with Bailey, and approached the soldier and his hostage. “You don’t want to do this.”
“Oui, I do. And I’m about to, if you don’t put your weapons down!”
“I promise if you let me take you in you’ll get a fair trial,” said Pavelec.
“Fair trial? Non, merci. The Laurentians don’t go on trial. I wouldn’t spend even three days alive in your prison. I would rather die here than there.” He brandished the grenade in front of him, to demonstrate his point.
The Laurentians? thought SMS.
Bailey and Pavelec made eye contact again, and each took one step closer to the soldier. He hopped away from them and loosened a couple of his fingers on the handle of the grenade. As he shifted his grip, Bailey and Pavelec acted simultaneously. Brenda dropped her gun and dove forward, arms outstretched, just as Pavelec pulled the trigger of her pistol. The grenade fell from the soldier’s hand, bounced once on the concrete driveway, and landed in Bailey’s hands. With catlike reflexes she whirled and whipped the grenade through the still-open front door of the house. A moment later it exploded, showering the lawn with glass and siding.