sticks & stones (cut & run 2) - Page 2

Zane lowered his gun and pulled off his headgear. His dark hair, longer than it used to be and brushing his collar, was ruffled up now, and a curled wire from the ear bud ran along his scruffy cheek. He turned his chin to look at Ty. “We can still make the objective. This is the right street.” He nodded to the road at the nearby crossing.

“Lead on,” Ty told him as he tossed his protective mask at the agents lying on the ground. He didn’t plan to wear it anymore; if he took one in the face it wouldn’t do him much good anyway, and he couldn’t think with it on.

Zane’s safety gear hit the ground as well as they loped past the fallen men, and at the end of the alley they flattened against the vinyl siding of that building so Zane could look around the corner.

The town’s main street was a long, paved corridor lined with shops. Laundromat, barber shop, diner, movie theater, the deserted pool hall they’d fled just a few moments ago, and several other buildings. Some in use, some not. At the very end of the street was the large brick building that served as the area’s supply storage, its front lined with garage doors for freight trucks to drop off provisions. The munitions dump was several stores over on their side of the street, concealed in a computer repair shop. That was their objective.

Ty knew that the big problem was not the distance they had to travel, but the teams of agents that patrolled the streets. He and Zane had nothing but the charges and receivers, the guns they held in their hands, and their communications gear. And a bottle of hairspray Ty had taken from the drug store down the street when they’d ducked inside to avoid a patrol.

Their biggest ally now was stealth.

They made their way to the corner of the block undetected, swiftly coming up on the ammunition cache.

Shouts came from their right, and then they heard a muffled gunfight. The commotion continued, followed by the pop-pop of the guns and the screams of their team members in their ear buds.

“That’ll be Alpha team,” Ty said flatly as they continued to move.

First Bravo team, and now Alpha team was down as well—without completing their mission of blowing up the supply stores at the end of the street. Ty and Zane still had to set their own charges at the munitions dump and blow them, and now they also had to get within range of the storage building to blow Alpha’s charges if they wanted to complete the mission.

“Stupid. They should have blown the charges when they had the chance,” Zane muttered, looking behind them quickly as they made their way to the door of the computer repair shop. He held up three fingers to indicate the number of people Benson’s intel had said would be guarding the ammo dump. Zane stopped beside the door and looked at Ty seriously. “Ready?” he asked almost inaudibly.

Ty nodded as he popped a fresh cartridge into his gun. He looked up at Zane and grinned widely. He fished out the bottle of hairspray he’d pilfered from the drug store up the road as they had dashed through it earlier, shaking it vigorously.

It wouldn’t blow up. Hell, it wouldn’t do anything but roll when he threw it. But it would look enough like a flashbang as it flew through the air to make everyone inside duck. It might give them enough time.

Zane looked at him incredulously and then rolled his eyes. “Christ,” he muttered. He crouched down next to the door, gun ready. “Go.”

Ty stepped up to the door and kicked at it, just below the doorknob where it was weakest. He tossed the hairspray into the room and followed it immediately, firing to his right in a wide spray of bullets.

Still crouched, Zane shifted inside behind him and fired to the left, taking out an agent caught ducking from the fake flashbang. Zane got to his feet just in time to take a step into the room and be hit from the side by a heavy body.

Ty turned and watched as Zane hit the floor under the other man’s momentum. Zane pulled up his knees and kept rolling while the agent scrambled, trying to reach for a gun sitting out on the sales counter nearby. Zane’s boot in his gut stopped him, and the man dropped, gasping for breath.

Rolling his eyes, Ty simply shot the man in the back to stop the oncoming brawl. The agent fell forward without a sound, his eyes still registering shock as he lay on the ground.

Ty shook his head at him and then looked around the room at the mess they’d made. The walls were running with red. He clucked his tongue and shook his head as he looked around at the bodies littering the floor.

“Complacent,” he chastised. He went over to the weapons locker, beginning to stuff extra cartridges into his pockets as he whistled. He realized belatedly that the tune was the chorus of “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” He was having more fun than he probably should have been.

“What are they teaching these idiots?” Zane asked as he picked up the extra gun from the sales counter and slid it into his waistband. “No wonder the Bureau’s going to shit,” he muttered. He joined Ty at the cabinet to pull out cartridges for himself.

Ty nodded as he hummed. He finished loading up with extra ammo and went to the agent he’d shot in the back, kneeling down beside him. He patted him on the head. “Shoot first next time. Tackle later,” he advised, and then he stood and went to the doorway.

“You have a really morbid sense of humor, you know that?” Zane said as he stepped over the body while sliding the new cartridge into his gun. “Let me have those charges,” he demanded, holding out his hand.

Ty gave a careful glance around the door frame, peering down the street. “Set ’em quick,” he ordered as he pulled them out and handed them to Zane. He looked out again, looking at the brick building down the road with its open bays and garages. “You think we’re in range here?” he asked as he fished out the switch that would trigger Alpha Team’s charges and looked at it. He pushed the button, uncaring of the teams of demolitions agents who were swarming the building, trying to defuse the charges. He peered out at the building. Nothing happened. He pushed the button a few more times just in case.

Zane shook his head while setting the charge inside the stack of boxes. He didn’t even look outside. “Still eighty yards out of range. We have to get to the office building on the corner to be close enough.” He glanced over at Ty. “Would you quit pushing the damn button?” he said in exasperation. “What if you break the connection? Then what’re you gonna do? Waltz over there and set it off by hand?” He set the charge frequency and clicked on the receiver.

“Worth a shot,” Ty said defensively. ”Do these things have batteries?” he asked as he shook the receiver near his ear and listened for something to rattle inside it. Zane ignored him, and Ty looked back down the street critically. “Nowhere to hide,” he commented. He glanced back at Zane. “We’ll use this explosion as cover. Maybe buy us enough time to clear out.”