Chapter Thirty - Cory
The sun rose above the New York City skyline, casting a dazzling glow on the buildings. It was a brisk Christmas morning as I walked up 137th street, my leather coat pulled tight around me. When Scorpio’s men had tossed me out, I had found my clothes from earlier and changed. My injuries had stopped hurting except for the deep gash on my chest. It was deeper than the others and still bleeding slightly. I ignored it all though as I hurriedly made my way towards the safe house I knew was hidden here in the city.
The shabby looking apartment building came into view and I dashed down the steps that led to the basement apartment. I found the key under the light fixture and made my way inside. It was empty, not appointed to any cases at the moment. I flicked on the lights and glanced around. One entire wall of the cramped place was made of computer screens and systems. Beds were scattered here and there as well along with other things that one might want when hiding out like a fridge and a microwave. It was dingy but clean for the most part, a strict rule enforced by our agency. We might live on the run but we don’t behave like animals.
Walking over to the computers, I turned them on. The loaded after a minute, welcoming me to the CIA system. I logged into my account and quickly searched for any type of camera near the Villa. I found one on a house next door owned by an older couple. I wondered for a second if they had any clue what their neighbor was up to but tossed it out of my mind. On the screen, I could see his guards moving around. They were loading a large amount of luggage into cars in the drive way, Lucas directing the flow of traffic. Where was Scorpio off to now? He had everything he wanted right there. With Abby at home and the crystal in tow, why would he need to leave already? Was he that eager to beginning his plans?
Typing on another monitor, I searched for any type of flight plan he may have on his private jet. It popped up that it was registered to fly to Urique, Mexico this morning. Mexico. He was taking Abby to his competitor, taking him right out at the source. Swearing, I grabbed Abby’s phone from my pocket and dialed the number for the CIA.
“What’s the color of the day?” Gale’s voice said.
“Green.” I replied.
“ID number?” I gave her my information and I heard her sigh. “Thought for sure you were dead after getting no communication last night. What happened?”
“A setback. I need a flight to Urique, Mexico. Within the hour. Scorpio is heading there to face off with his top competitor and he still has the crystal in hand.”
“I’ll set up a charter plane for you. It’ll be at the meeting point in half an hour. Do you require back up for this?”
“Yes. I need about twenty agents. I need them to be undercover though. Scorpio thinks he’s in the clear now. I need him to keep thinking that. And I need all the information I can get on Pedro Santiago. He’s the man Scorpio will be trying to hunt down once he lands.”
“I’ll have the information waiting for you on the plane. There will be an agent who was assigned to Santiago waiting for you once you land.”
“Thanks, Gale. I’ll send word for assistance once I get there.” I hung up the phone and shoved it back in my pocket. I wasn’t sure what Scorpio’s plan will be once he lands in Mexico. That’s why I needed the information on Santiago. I was quite sure he would be heading straight to him with some idea of how to wipe him and his supply out, knocking out his entire set up. With Abby and the crystal, who knows what kind of horror he was planning. If he wanted to, he could make a tornado the size of Texas and take out half the country itself.
Gathering up some weapons I found in the bunker, I loaded up and heading out. I caught a cab and made my way to an abandoned building on the outskirts of the Bronx. There was an abandoned field behind it where a small charter plane was waiting for me. I flashed my badge at the young kid standing nearby. He nodded, hopping on the plane. The engine roared to life as I followed. It was small inside, four seats in the back while the pilot was in the front. He seemed a bit young to be a pilot to me but I didn’t think much more about it, finding the file of Pedro Santiago on one of the seat. Sitting, I scooped up the file and leafed through it.
Pedro was the same age as Scorpio and a career long drug pusher. His family had been in the business a lot longer than the Marrero’s, spanning over a hundred years almost. Pedro was also the owner of several villages in Mexico, choosing to be more of a friendly face than like Scorpio. He was known for his kind demeanor towards the poor and the unfortunate living within his city limits. He’s used his fortune to build schools, homes for the disabled and homeless shelters. If he wasn’t a drug king pin, you’d think he was a great guy with a spotless reputation. I believe that’s how he managed to fly under the radar for as long as he has.
The plane rumbled across the ground and took off. Once we were air borne, I glanced out the small window next to me. Everything looked tiny up in the air, the buildings of the Big Apple growing smaller as we flew away from the east coast. My eyes felt heavy as I leaned back in the seat. It had been a full day since I had last slept and sleep hadn’t been a priority that night since Abby was in my bed. I drifted off to sleep, images of Abby and Lucas in my mind. I had dreams of Scorpio and Alexz torturing Abby, making her lay there while Lucas did unspeakable things to her. It was like being chained up again, watching her suffer without the ability to help her.
A few hours later, the pilot shook me awake. Outside the window, I could see the desert and men dressed in civilian clothes. Standing, I grabbed my things and stepped off the plane. We had landed at a make shift airport; a large steel fence surrounding a large lot. A radio tower was on one end of the area, connected to a small shack like building. A man in a red flannel shirt and brown cargo pants walked over to me. Reaching in his shirt, he pulled out his badge that was attached to a chain around his neck. Anthony Williams smiled at me as he shook my hand. “Long time no see, Cory! Merry Christmas. Glad to see you’re still fighting the good fight. Sorry about your brother and Alexz though. We heard about it from Santiago’s crew.”
“Thanks, Anthony. Alexz is still alive though. It’s a long story. Listen, I need you to get me a meeting with Pedro. Scorpio is on his way down here with a powerful weapon in hopes of taking him out. I was hoping I could talk to him about joining forces to take him down.” Anthony scratched the back of his head, his baldness shining in the sun. I’ve known him since I started with the CIA. He was part of the training class I was in and was one of the first people I worked a case with. Before Henry joined the force, people always assumed we were going to be partners in the long haul.
“Jesus Christ. I thought something was up when Gale said you were heading this way. I’ll take you to him. He’s an understanding man but you have to know he really honors the people who live here. If for a second he thinks his people might get hurt, he’ll shut you right down.”
“If he doesn’t do this, a lot of people are going to die. He’s bringing something that has the power to wipe out entire villages in a blink of an eye.” I stressed.
“Alright. C’mon.” He turned towards a jeep that was parked next to an observation tower. I followed him, climbing into the passenger seat. He spoke to another agent in Spanish before hoping in as well. The vehicle came to life as he turned the ignition. Pulling out of the lot, he headed towards a highway. “So, what is this weapon?”
“It’s something bad. A crystal that can control the weather. Scorpio found a vessel that can use it to do whatever he wants.”
“Isn’t that what Dr. Maser was working on in his lab when everything went south?”
“Yeah. Alexz double crossed me and worked with Scorpio to steal it. They tried to steal it but it ended up backfiring for them.”
“So, who is the person controlling it? Can’t we just take care of them and be done with it?” He asked, speeding down the road. The weather was much warmer here than it was in New York. Sweat slid down my neck from my hair line.
“No. It’s Scorpio’s daughter. He’s holding her hostage and making her do his bidding. She’s been missing for about a year now but she happened to find the crystal. It’s a long story like I said.”
“Okay so give me the highlights.”
“Damsel in distress, the world is in trouble and the bad guys are currently ahead of the game.” I replied, a chuckle coming from him as he shook his head.
“And let me take a wild guess that this girl is more than just a hostage to you, right?” I shrugged, glancing at him.
“That’s not important right now.”
“What’s her name?” He asked, raising an eyebrow at me. Sighing, I rubbed my eyes with my hands.
“Abby. God, you’re still as annoying as I remembered.”
“Thanks. So, what’s the plan if Pedro agrees to help you?”
“Scorpio will want to make this as dramatic as possible. More than likely, he’ll want Pedro to think he is trying to develop a truce over the land. Then, he’ll attack out of nowhere. I’m assuming that he plans on attacking where ever the supply is coming from. Does he produce it here?” Anthony nodded.
“Yeah. He grows the coca plant here and they make it at his plant in Urique. That’s where most of the town works. He pays them a fair wage too. We have a number of field agents working undercover there.”
“That’s where he will want to hit.” Anthony turned down a side road and buildings came into view. It was a small town, stores, houses and public buildings lined the streets. People were outside, cooking in front yards for the holiday and kids plays soccer in a lot as we passed. Urique was written on a sign on the side of an apartment complex. Taking a left, he stopped in front of a light blue house with a white picket fence. A minivan was parked in the drive way and three kids were playing on a swing set in the yard. A shorter woman with long black hair and olive skin was hanging clothes on a clothes line, laughing at the children.
“This is his home.” Anthony said, opening his door. I climbed out, looking at him confused.
“Really? It’s so normal looking.”
“He doesn’t like to make himself seem more important than the rest of the people in town.” I followed Anthony as he made his way up the walk towards the front door. The woman in the yard waved at us, calling out a warm greeting in Spanish that Anthony returned. Stepping on the porch, he knocked on the white screen door. A tall and slender man appeared in the doorway. He had dark hair with tan skin and a smile that spread all the way to his green eyes when he saw Anthony.
“Antonio! So good to see you. Please come in! Who is your friend?” Pedro opened the door and stepped aside to allow us to enter his home. Inside, it was much like an average home. It reminded me a great deal of the older couple, the Johnson’s, who took me in when I was a teenager. They were the ones who helped me get into the academy. Like their house, the walls were a light blue color, toys scattered here and there as we walked through a living room. We stopped in a dining room where a table with six chairs was set up. He gestured to the table for us to sit as he disappeared into the kitchen. I eyed Anthony who nodded at the chair closest to me. I sat as Pedro returned with a pot of coffee and three mugs. “Feliz Navidad! I hope your holiday is well.” He said, sitting at the head of the table. Anthony sat across from me.
“Gracias, Pedro. Feliz Navidad to you as well. This is my friend agent Cory Forester. He’s been assigned to Scorpio’s case in the states.”
“Isn’t he an awful man?” Pedro asked, pouring the coffee into the cups. This whole thing felt strange to me. It was like I was having a get together with friends rather than the biggest drug lord on the west coast. “He’s killed so many of my men. I wish they could find a way to stop him.”
“Mr. Santiago, Scorpio is on his way here with a powerful weapon. I believe he is planning on using it on you and your people to take control of your territory.”
“A weapon? What kind of weapon? Guns?” He asked. I shook my head.
“It’s a crystal that can control the weather.” He let out a loud laugh, taking a sip of his coffee.
“Agent Forester, there is no such thing!”
“Yes, there is. I’ve seen it myself. It can make a tornado appear out of thin air and earthquakes swallow up whole buildings in a blink of an eye.” He glanced at Anthony who nodded.
“Pedro, he’s telling the truth. It’s a powerful tool that’s fallen into the wrong hands. Cory thinks he is going to come here and destroy Urique if he isn’t stopped.”
“No.” Pedro said, slamming his fist on the table. “I will not allow this to happen! How do we stop him?”