Current day, 2:35 PM,
The Roadhouse Bar, Outside of Mount Silver, Va.
“Put it down, bro!” Kevin barked at Cole over the sound of machinegun fire from the floor above. “I ain’t shuttin’ up this time, so, you gonna listen, alright?”
Cole pressed the barrel of the pistol into his temple. “I can’t let them do this to my family, Kev!”
Kevin turned and slid a stack of beer and liquor boxes to the side revealing a door. He opened it and pointed into the dark. “You really didn’t think I wouldn’t have some way to get out of this joint if shit got hairy upstairs, did you dummy?”
Cole lowered the pistol and stared at his friend in relief.
“Go, Cole! Nick and I will hold them off!” Aaron commanded.
“Don’t get yourself killed!”
Aaron nodded. “Nah, just go! Shut that bitch down!”
“Hey big guy!” Kevin shouted at Nick, grabbing an AK-47 from just inside the hidden door. “Here!”
Saint Nick caught the rifle mid-air and nodded at the Roadhouse’s owner in appreciation.
“One for you, too!” Kevin said to Aaron.
“Thank you, Mr. Monroe!”
“Now you’ve done it, boss,” Cole said.
“Mr. Monroe, I like the sound of that...alright Cole, follow me!” Kevin said, brandishing another assault rifle.
“Not without him!” Cole said and grabbed Fitz by the back of the neck. “Walk, asshole! You’re comin’ with us!”
At the other end of the long escape tunnel, Kevin painfully climbed a ladder and pushed open a pair of creaky, wooden cellar doors, generating a shower of sunlit dirt and dust that rained down on Cole and Fitz.
“Seriously, you could have warned me!” Cole said, spitting dust from his mouth.
Kevin shrugged. “It’s way better you’re getting’ dirt dumped on you this way than down in a six foot hole like you was trying to do earlier...”
Cole nodded. “I suppose you’re right...alright, go on, Fitz, move!”
“I’m going! I’m going!” Fitz snapped back, experiencing the sensation of an AK-47′s barrel digging into his back. He grabbed one of ladder rungs followed by another, and then another until all three men were above ground and looking at a barn that was long past its prime.
Kevin pulled a rusty handle exposing the old Camaro stored inside. “Now, where to?”
Cole grinned and nodded in approval. “D.C. to rescue my family and put down that explosive dog. I’m drivin’...”
The vintage sports car burst from the barn as if it were a greyhound released from the gate at a dog track. Clouds of dirt erupted from the tires as the vehicle bounced onto the highway. Cole spun the steering wheel around with his palm and aligned the front of the mechanical beast with the yellow-striped black top stretching before him. He felt so alive.
Kevin smiled from the backseat, keeping his rifle trained on Fitz seated in the passenger seat. “Feels good, don’t it!”
“I gotta admit it does.”
“Two Eleven? Acknowledge,” came a low-volume, static-laced voice from nowhere.
Cole glanced down at the CB radio mounted underneath the Camaro’s dash and thought better of it. He knew there was no way Kevin had anything sophisticated enough to intercept the CIA’s low band communications. He looked over at Fitz and extended a hand. “Give it!”
Fitz frowned as he removed the radio from his ammo vest.
“...and the phone.”
The agent sighed, removed his smartphone from another pocket, and slapped it into Cole’s hand. The Virginian tossed it over the seat to Kevin. “Power that damn thing off, Kev or they can track us.”
“Two Eleven...we believe mission has been compromised. Please report.”
Cole lifted the walkie to Fitz’s mouth. “Don’t say anything stupid. Ask them the status of Unit 42...”
“One One, Two Eleven is MIA, ma’am,” said an unfamiliar male voice over the radio followed by the sound of gun fire. “This is Two Twelve and I am currently in command.”
Cole lowered the walkie talkie to listen.
“Very well, Two Twelve, do you have our friend?”
“No, One One, that is a negative. He left the building and right now we are surrounded by locals and taking fire, ma’am. However, an agent reported he thought he saw him leave with our boy in a boat (intelligence lingo for a suspect traveling by car).”
“Very well, Two Twelve, consider your mission compromised and a failure, but if you do somehow happen to locate our friend and Two Eleven...terminate Two Eleven, but try to keep our boy alive. If you do, radio it in and await further instructions.”
The radio grew silent and then squawked to life once more a few second later. “Repeat, One One? Terminate Two Eleven?”
“You heard me, agent. You have your orders.”
“Acknowledged, One One.”
Fitz looked over at Cole. “That backstabbing bitch.”
“Well, a lot of good you are to us now,” Cole said coldly.
Kevin raised the rifle to Fitz’s head.
“Wait a damn minute!” Fitz shouted with his hands in the air. “I know where it is. I know where the G.I.Z.M.O. unit is!”
“So, you lied?”
Kevin smacked Fitz upside the head with an open hand, disheveling his hair and angling his yellow shooting glasses. “And what makes you think that we would believe you now after you lied once before, dickhead?”
“Turn on my phone,” Fitz said.
“Kiss my ass.” Kevin retorted. “You think I’m stupid? And don’t answer that...I am seriously not in the mood.”
Fitz nodded. “I am not lying to you. I have no reason. The location of the unit is in my messages, but you need me alive to tell you which one...the messaging system app is encrypted.”
“Fine,” Cole said. “I’ll let you breathe a bit longer, but when we get to D.C., I expect the location or I will kill you on the spot myself, understood? Until then, the phone stays off!”
“Understood.” Fitz narrowed his eyes. “Hey, Cole?”
“If it’s any consolation, you know you were never intended to make it to the end at Camp Peary. My job was to get you to drop out and run so we could pick you up later, but you just wouldn’t quit. Then, when you paired up with Biltmore, it just threw a massive wrench into everything, forcing us to change plans once more. That’s when Annalisa got the idea to have your ass go global and kill two birds with one stone.”
“Find Dr. Cao and give more buy in to your story that I was some kinda highly-trained, militia-borne rogue agent or somethin’?”
Fitz crossed his arms and leaned back against the door to see Cole better. “Right...damn, son, I do have to give you credit. I would have never thought you would have been this hard to stop.”
Kevin laughed. “You know, Fitz, people like Cole and me...we’re born and bred in the woods. You call us hillbillies and keep makin’ fun of us, but you got to understand sumthin’...we don’t get nothin’ handed to us. We have to fight if’n we want anythin’ in this life and if it involves family, then nothin’ will stop us. Family and honor, that’s everything. Ain’t that right, bro?”
Cole looked up into the rearview mirror at Kevin. “That’s right, Kev. All day long...”