A whopper of a chapter this one. Hopefully it tastes even better than a burger from Burger King.
Jack watched with awe as Jasmine Cochrane laid waste to the mercenaries outside the surveillance unit. She sprung up between the long grass fired her automatic rifle and shot a couple of men in the stomach. They fell to the ground trying to stop their guts spilling out onto the grass. Jasmine finished them off with a bullet each to the head. Another mercenary, built like a tank and with forearms the size of tree trunks, reacted. He pulled out a handgun and fired at Jasmine’s head, but she ducked rolled along the ground and shot her assailant in the shoulder then the face. He fell to the floor with a thud. By now a larger group of O’Dowd’s men had exited the building from multiple points expecting to take on a group of attackers. Jasmine jumped up and sprayed most of them with bullets. The remaining mercenaries retreated inside the structure. The smell of gunfire and the cries of the fallen soldiers were accompanied by a cacophony of startled birds. The cries of the dead and the dying filled the air.
From his vantage point, Jack could see a mercenary sneaking up behind Jasmine as she made her way into the structure and towards the remaining mercenaries hiding in the surveillance unit. Jack tried the mobile phone which Jasmine gave him but wasn’t getting any response. He hurried inside Jasmine car and crashed through the fence and drove as far as he could along the grass. Despite the jostling he got as he drove across the uneven terrain, Jack headed straight for the surveillance unit knowing that he had to stop the mercenary that intended to kill Jasmine.
‘I hope you’re insured, lady,’ Jack said to himself as he looked at the damage he had caused to Jasmine’s car by ramming it through a fence and across the rough terrain.
The mercenary that was behind Jasmine had entered the building with his hand gun out and was ready to execute Jasmine should he get the chance.
When he got stuck in the long grass and couldn’t drive any further, Jack leapt out of Jasmine’s car and ran the rest of the way toward the surveillance unit.
When he got inside the building, Jack saw the extent of the damage. It was a disaster zone. Rubble was lying about everywhere, and the dead bodies of Turner’s agents lay like fallen trees. Blood was splattered across the bullet marked walls and pools of blood also formed around the recently deceased.
Jack was no stranger to the sight of blood. As a former henchman for Jonah Burns, he had even inflicted severe beatings on those that Jonah wanted to be punished or run out of town. That’s a lot of dead bodies, Jack thought.
The staccato sound of gunfire and smell of recently fired weapons filled the air. Jack coughed from the dust and went in the direction of the gunfire hoping to find Jasmine Cochrane still alive, still fighting.
Jack looked around a corner and saw the mercenary that had been following Jasmine. Jack snuck up behind the mercenary and held him in a choke hold. The mercenary dropped his weapon and tried to break free from Jack’s hold. Another minute and the mercenary would have achieved his aim. This Jack knew, so he took the only course of action open to him. He broke the mercenary’s neck and watched as the dead man’s body hit the ground like a sandbag.
Jasmine turned around with her rifle ready to fire but didn’t. She saw Jack standing over the dead mercenary that planned to kill her.
‘You’re welcome,’ Jack said. ‘I hope you’ll take the credit for this one, too,’ he added, hoping to avoid any entanglement with law enforcement.
‘If you like,’ Jasmine said, coolly.
‘Well, okay,’ Jack said. ‘A bit of gratitude wouldn’t go amiss. I mean, I just –‘
Jasmine whispered. ‘Shh.’
Jasmine heard the sound of footsteps getting closer and closer. Jasmine reacted. She stepped out into the hallway and fired. The mercenaries Jasmine shot groaned in pain and gripped their thighs where her bullets had struck them. Jasmine walked up to them calmly and put a bullet in their brains. Their dead bodies fell to the ground with bits of skull and brain matter oozing across the floor.
‘How did you know they weren’t your people?’ Jack asked. ‘That was quite a –‘
‘Simple, Mr Ledger,’ Jasmine said as she started reloading her weapons. ‘The footsteps were clearly the sound of military grade boots, but no one on my team would wear such footwear, so it had to be O’Dowd’s men.’
‘You could determine that from footwear alone?’ Jack asked, unable to keep the incredulity from his voice.
‘Yes,’ Jasmine replied. ‘Now will you shut up and stay close unless you want to get shot.’
‘Okay,’ Jack said, shaking his head. Who the hell is this woman? Jack thought. James Bond’s twin sister?
Once they reached the end of the corridor, the structure seemed to open up. Jack found he was in a room filled with state of the art surveillance equipment. But there was also a water cooler in the corner of the room which seemed rather ordinary in light of the sophisticated equipment in the chamber. The water cooler was covered in dirt and surrounded by the dead bodies of two agents. The former agents seemed to stare at Jack with the dead-eyed look of porcelain dolls.
Jasmine went up to her deceased colleagues and closed their eyes
‘Did you kn—‘
Jasmine put her finger to her lips. She saw a small hand sticking out beneath pieces of rubble. Jasmine lifted up a piece of the debris and revealed an unconscious Sam lying on the floor with a streak of dried blood across her face. Jasmine checked for a pulse.
‘Is she…’ Jack seemed unwilling to complete the sentence.
‘She’s alive for now,’ Jasmine said. ‘But her pulse is very faint.’
A hail of bullets rained down on both Jack and Jasmine, but they managed to duck in time and used what furniture remained in tact as a temporary shield from which to fire back at O’Dowd’s henchmen and his remaining mercenaries.
In this battle, it was the two of them against four of O’Dowd’s men, not particularly fair odds, but considering Jasmine Cochrane had annihilated most of O’Dowd’s men single-handed the odds were not as bad as they looked. The problem was that both Jasmine and Jack were pinned down and only Jasmine was armed. Only Jasmine had a realistic chance of eliminating the last of O’Dowd’s men. Jasmine pulled out a handgun from her back pocket and held it with her two hands to help mitigate the effects of recoil and started firing as precisely as she could given the poor lighting. She killed the young female mercenary first which enraged the young male mercenary who then charged at Jasmine while firing his weapon.
‘Bitch,’ he shouted at Jasmine as he continued to charge at her.
Jasmine fired and struck the young mercenary in the upper chest, then the legs and finally the head.
One of the grenades on the young mercenaries vest rolled across the floor towards Jack. Jack was relieved to find the pin was still in the grenade. But not for long thought Jack as he lifted up the grenade, pulled the pin and threw it at O’Dowd’s headman and the old soldier that was still by the headman’s side.
‘What are you doing?’ Jasmine shouted at Jack as she saw him throw the grenade
‘Killing the bad guys,’ Jack said. ‘I thought that would have been obvious
‘This structure is…‘ Jasmine was unable to finish her sentence as a piece of the ceiling fell in and nearly landed on top of them. The air filled with dust. ‘That was bloody stupid.’
‘Well, no one’s firing at us now,’ Jack said.
Jasmine ignored Jack’s comment and looked over to where O’Dowd’s headman had been firing from and saw the lifeless body of the old soldier lying half-buried under a piece of the ceiling. Still coughing from the dust and debris and feeling her eyes sting from what was in the air, Jasmine got up and stepped over the old soldier’s body and went in search of O’Dowd’s headman.
‘Stay here,’ Jasmine said as she turned and looked at Jack.
Jack just nodded and went over to where Sam lay and started to remove the rubble which left her trapped. The pieces of debris were easy to move especially for someone with Jack’s physical strength. What was hard for Jack to witness was seeing Sam injured. He wanted to lift Sam up in his arms and hold her, but he took his time removing the debris as Jack knew that if he didn’t take care, he could make things worse. Luckily, it seemed that Sam’s only injury appeared to be where a piece of debris had struck her on the head earlier in the day. Maybe she’ll be okay. But what if she isn’t? Jack thought.
Jasmine knew O’Dowd’s headman was injured. She saw the specks of blood on the ground. Looks like a leg wound, thought Jasmine. She followed the blood trail and suddenly came upon the dead body of Malcolm Turner. When she saw the bullet wounds in Turner’s hands and the damage to the older man’s knees, Jasmine felt herself fill up with grief-stricken anger. Jasmine was transfixed by sight of her former boss and didn’t notice O’Dowd’s headman coming towards her. O’Dowd’s man rushed at Jasmine like a freight train but was stopped in his tracks when Pete leapt out from under the rubble he’d been hiding under and yanked O’Dowd’s man back. Jasmine reacted and pulled out her gun, but before she could squeeze the trigger and end him, O’Dowd’s headman pulled a small knife from his belt and stabbed Pete. Pete fell to the ground with blood oozing from his stab wound. But O’Dowd’s man had run out of luck. Jasmine fired, and when the bullet hit his face, it ripped through his flesh. O’Dowd’s headman fell to the ground with half his face missing.
‘You’re going to be okay?’ Jasmine said as she went to Pete and immediately started administering first aid.
‘Are you sure about that?’ Pete asked, wincing. ‘Cause it hurts like hell.’
Jasmine smiled. ‘The bleeding has stopped so –’
‘Sam!’ Pete shouted, trying to get up and go to his daughter. Pete looked at Jasmine. ‘Where’s my daughter?’
‘Do you think you can stand?’ Jasmine asked.
‘Yes,’ Pete said. ‘Now, take me to Sam.’
Jasmine helped Pete to his feet and supported him as they went back through where Jasmine had come and to where Jack and Sam were.
‘Sam,’ Pete said when he saw her lying unconscious on the floor. Jack looked at Pete and then punched him in the face.
‘What the –‘ Jasmine said.
‘That’s for beating me with as piece of wood earlier,’ Jack said
‘You’re nuts,’ Jasmine said as she gawped at Jack. ‘Isn’t he your friend?’
Jack smiled, pulled out his Little Red Book of Karma and crossed Pete’s name off the list of names. ‘Now we’re even,’ Jack said, offering Pete his hand.
Pete shook Jack’s hand and then checked to see if Jack had broken his nose with his punch.
‘Listen,’ Jasmine said as she heard the sound of a helicopter landing.
‘Don’t tell me we’ve got more of them to fight,’ Pete said.
The sound of footsteps got closer and closer. Jasmine couldn’t say for certain whether they were O’Dowd’s men or her fellow agents. Jasmine took a risk. ‘Pegasus has wings,’ she shouted out.
A man stepped forward with a smile on his face. ‘Bellerphon is crippled,’ he said.
‘It’s good to see a friendly face,’ Jasmine said, smiling.
‘Likewise,’ Jasmine’s colleague said. ‘You have wounded?’
‘Yes, possible head trauma and a bullet wound,’ Jasmine replied.
‘Is Sam going to be okay?’ Pete asked as the adrenaline left his system and he started to succumb to the effects of shock.
‘I’m okay, by the way,’ Jack said, giving a wave.
As Jasmine’s colleagues airlifted a wound Pete and unconscious Sam to a hospital, Jack and Jasmine were driven away in a black sedan.
In the distance Connelly watched the scene unfold. When saw Jasmine and Jack drive off with her colleagues, Connelly followed them from a safe distance. Suddenly Connelly’s mobile phone rang out.
‘Hello,’ Connelly said.