Chapter Thirty-Two - Cory
The next hour was a rush of loading up men and guns into military vehicles. Pedro called out orders in Spanish to men as they packed up the jeeps. Women were also busy, moving their children onto a school bus. Pedro was moving the townspeople to somewhere safe, hopefully away from any type of damage Scorpio had planned. Anthony had left me to get more agents to assist us, the ones I had asked Gale to send when we had spoken on the phone. He was afraid of blowing his men undercover who were working in the factory for Pedro now. Even though he wasn’t a threat, the CIA liked to keep tabs on the workings inside of his corporation. Pedro only knew about Anthony because of our wanting to keep tabs on Scorpio’s enemy. He was accepting of working with us as long as we kept to our terms of agreement and would let him know whenever Scorpio was involved.
I was loading up my belongings into the back of one of the jeeps when Pedro approached me. He had changed into a pair of dark blue jeans and a white dress shirt, a dark blue blazer over that. He patted my back as he stopped next to me. Standing straight up, I nodded to acknowledge his presence. “Agent Forester, my men are reading to head to the meeting point. Do you still wish to travel with this? You can choose to go with my family to the camp where it will be safe.”
“No. I need to be there. The girl Scorpio is using to control the weapon is very special to me. I need to save her before something happens.” I replied. He gave me a smile, tucking his hands into the back pockets of his jeans.
“I wasn’t always in this business, you know? My family was but they never required me to become a part of it if I decided not to. And for a while, I didn’t. My father allowed me to move to America where I tried my hand at becoming something. I always wanted to work for people who had little and to be able to provide them with services to help better their lives. Sadly, there is little that a Mexican immigrant can do to pursue a dream like that unless you have unlimited funds to back it. Though my family had money, I didn’t want to rely on their dime to make a life for myself. I came back here and told my father about my problem. He explained to me that even though there was an evil light on this type of industry, the kind of person I am did not need to reflect that. I started working for him, trafficking our product across the border. I started making a good amount of money and began using it to fund schools and other community services in Urique. I built this town from the ground up, changing it from the little village it was to the town you see today. Sure, it’s not much compared to what Scorpio might have but it’s my life’s work. The drugs mean nothing to me if I wasn’t providing for these people. They count on me to give them the necessary tools they need to survive.”
“Why do this though? You run one of the largest cartels on this side of the world. You could seize any land you wish and make it your own. Why focus on this little town in Mexico?” I asked. He smiled, glancing over his shoulder at the bus. His wife stood by the door, helping older citizens on.
“My wife Celica was born here. Her family has lived here for many generations. She has seen it at its worst; homeless people sleeping in the streets and no drinking water for miles. Her parents were both killed by ruthless people who were taking whatever they could. When I met her, I knew that I wanted to help these people and give her the kind of town she deserved to grow up in. And I did. She has been my partner in all of this and the one person I know I can trust to be by my side. It’s funny how most of our life choices are made because of the ones we love, isn’t it?”
“So, Agent Forester, why is it that you are an agent?” He asked, throwing me off for a second.
“Uh...well it’s something I always wanted to do. I thought it was a pretty cool job when I was a kid and the idea stayed with me as an adult. It’s part of who I am.”
“What of this girl we are trying to rescue? Who is she?”
“Scorpio’s daughter, Abby.” His face grew hard for a second, turning away from me.
“I wasn’t aware he had children.” He finally said after a moment.
“He kept her in hiding to ensure no one would find out about her. He’s been training her since she was a child to take over for him. She’s the one wielding the crystal against her wishes.” He sighed, looking at me again.
“You love her, no?” Taking a deep breath, I nodded.
“And if we save her, you can provide her with a good life? Give up the CIA work and focus on helping her adjust to the real world?” I raised an eyebrow at him. I felt like I was getting integrated by a worried father rather than her father’s enemy.
“I haven’t really thought that far ahead. She said she wanted to join the force with me. She’d be great at it. She’s quite the fighter and has a way about her that would work in her favor as an agent.”
“Cory, have you considered the fact that she deserves a life that isn’t involved in all of this? A normal life with no fighting or guns. A nice quiet life that doesn’t have any danger in it.” I frowned. I hadn’t thought about that. I had figured once we had captured Alexz, Lucas and Scorpio, Abby would return to the CIA with me where she could start her training. She’d become my new partner and we’d be the next biggest thing to hit the agency. I never once thought about the toll this would all take on her. What if she didn’t want to be an agent like she said she did? What if she wanted to go to college or get a job somewhere that didn’t involve secret missions and hidden identities?
“I guess I assumed she’d follow me after this was over.” I said softly. He gripped my shoulder in his hand firmly.
“I feel like you’re a great man, Agent Forester. Part of being a great man is knowing what’s best for the people we love.” Behind him, Anthony’s jeep pulled into the clearing. With a quick squeeze, Pedro turned and headed towards it. I closed the door of the vehicle I was loading and followed.
“My agents are set up around the meeting place. I’ve given them orders to hide and to wait our signal. Are your men ready to pull out?” Anthony asked, climbing out of his door. Pedro rested his hands on his hips and nodded.
“Yes. We are just waiting for the rest of the women and children to load up on the bus. Once they are gone, we can head out.” He responded. Anthony turned to me, holding out a baseball cap and a pair of dark sunglasses.
“Here. I don’t need Scorpio thinking we are up to something as soon as you hop out of the truck. Stick to the back and keep a low profile until it’s time. We aren’t sure what’s going to happen but I don’t want it to go south because of him seeing you.” I nodded, taking them. I pulled the hat on and slid the glasses on my face. The bus honked, Pedro’s wife standing in the doorway. He walked over to her and took her slender frame in his arms. She gave him a warning in Spanish with a long tear-filled kiss before climbing on herself. His children were in the window, waving at him. He waved back, blowing kisses to his daughters. The air brakes hissed as the bus shifted into gear. It groaned as it pulled away, heading north. Pedro made his way back over to us, a stern look on his face.
“I’ve instructed them to head north for at least 75 miles. Once it is safe, I will send for them to come back. Do you believe that will be far enough away?” He asked, glancing at me. I nodded.
“I think so. We’ve never tested the radius of the crystal’s effect. He will be more focused on your town to think about attacking a great area.” I replied. He nodded, turning towards Anthony.
“Let’s go meet our guest.”