Shadow

By Katie Nguyen All Rights Reserved ©

Action / Adventure

Im(mortal) Man

The daylight was long gone, and the temperature had cooled by the time everybody arrived on the scene of the operation. Sophisticated attires were out to play for the yearly gathering that Sunday evening as successful individuals from all over the country came out to New York City for a night of exuberance.

There were nearly ten minutes remaining before the commencement of the party as Andy’s team settled themselves on the rooftop of the James Caird Asset Management building as well as in unmarked police vehicles at the end of every street surrounding 30 Rock.

Jade stood on the rooftop and peered out towards Rockefeller with her arms crossed, apprehensive about something running a hair off course. She was no stranger to major operations, but this one felt a touch too personal.

“Here’s the rifle like you asked,” Rick expressed, emerging from behind Jade as he wheeled in a bulky carrying case and laid it down on the ground next to her. “Do you need any help setting it up?”

Jade bent her knees, got down to the floor, and unbolted the box, observing the M24 in all of its brilliance as the weapon was in pristine shape for her to use. “I should be okay, lieutenant. Thank you.”

“And your earpiece,” Rick added, removing the miniature device from his shirt pocket and administering it to Jade. “It’s wired just as Mr. Brown asked, so only you will be receiving the comms from him and Mr. Mackenzie.”

Rick paced off afterwards, returning to Lacey and Andy who remained assembling some technical equipment at the opposite end of the rooftop. Everything was coming together nicely, and the moment Donnie was going to be taken down would result in liberation for everyone.

Jade positioned the earpiece into her right ear, prepared to receive whatever her friends needed to communicate to her. “Xander, Mack, do you guys copy?”

“Copy,” Xander responded, departing from his limousine before buttoning up his navy blue blazer and making his way towards the Rockefeller Center. “Everything okay up there?”

“Yeah, just making a few final adjustments,” Jade updated, beginning to construct her sniper rifle and double-checking to ensure that everything was secure.

“I’m about to head inside. I’ll let you know what I see when I get up there.”

With that, Xander ambled straight to the door of the building, but instead of moving into the main lobby, he was interrupted by a woman clutching a clipboard.

“Mr. Brown,” she started, not uttering anything more as she peeked down at her clipboard and skimmed the pages to verify that his name was on the guest list.

“I’m here for Mr. Tesla’s annual gala,” he explained, fixing the sleeves of white dress shirt under his blazer as he provided her his full attention.

The woman eventually came across Xander’s name and glanced up with a perky expression on her face. “Yes, right this way.”

She moved past him and proceeded away from the building, leaving him perplexed before he called her back and pondered, “I thought the party was taking place at the Top of the Rock.”

The woman progressed rearward towards the billionaire as her voice decreased in volume, giving the impression that she was about to disclose something private. “Mr. Tesla is very conscious about keeping his guests safe this year, so the location on the invite was just a filler.”

Xander took a moment to process the information, not seeming the least bit astonished, but he worried that Donnie may have discovered their arrangements to make a move on him on that night. In spite of everything, the show had to go on, so he went along with the woman. “Which way, ma’am?”

“Right this way.”

He allowed the woman to advance a few feet ahead of him, aiming to place some distance between them so that he could pass on a message to Jade.

“Jade, Donnie put a false location on the invite,” he advised, noticing Mack strolling towards the building that was now behind him “I’m headed to the actual place right now.”

Mack switched on his earpiece once he detected Xander following a woman away from where the festivity was said to be taking place, and he caught a fraction of the memo to Jade. Yet, he had to turn up at the front door of the building so that he could be transferred to the real setting.

He used his hands to iron down his tan blazer and adjusted his big-framed glasses. His bottoms coordinated in color with his coat which made for a proper and complete outfit. He knew that he had to play it casual in his fancy attire if he wanted the scheme to continue effectively, so going as someone else was his best bet.

Once Mack reached the anterior of the structure, he encountered a cluster of people with clipboards in their hands. He was aware that he wouldn’t be identified by these individuals, so he had to sell himself and make his minor disguise believable.

“Excuse me, sir. How may I help you?” An employee questioned, judging Mack from head to toe as if he was suggesting that the man in front of him was at the wrong place.

“I’m here for Mr. Tesla’s event,” Mack specified, keeping an eye on the man as he was being inspected even further.

“May I see your invite, sir?”

Straight away, Mack extended into his coat pocket and withdrew the invite that Xander had recovered for him. He handed it to the staff member and hoped that it was enough to get himself through the door.

The man validated that the invite was authentic before relocating his attention back to his clipboard, searching for the name that was provided. It took a while until he found what he was looking for on the piece of paper, gazing up in humiliation rather than saying anything straightaway. “Mr. Branch, I am so sorry I didn’t recognize you. Please come with me.”

Mack followed the man as he marched past him, heading towards a separate building within walking distance of the Rockefeller Center.

“Mack, do you copy?” Jade voice articulated, ringing within Mack’s earpiece as his hand promptly came up to the gadget so that he could focus in on the sound.

“Copy. Did Xander make it up there okay?”

“He’s fine,” Jade notified, keeping an eye on Mack through her rifle scope. “They’re escorting you to a private elevator that will take you right up to the 620 Loft and Garden.”

Mack was familiar with the place she had mentioned since he’d seen it multiple times in the media, but under these circumstances, he was going to make an appearance there himself. With a job to fulfill, he had to along with it even though he felt out of place.

Soon enough, he was travelling up seven floors. Once the lift had ceased moving, the doors slid open and he exited, turning to his left and catching sight of the outdoor portion of the venue.

Both ends of the garden were lavishly decorated with clean-cut bushes whereas the center region of the rooftop exhibited a vast patch of green grass and pink flowers in accompaniment with a reflecting pool by the far end. There was a stage set up directly in front of the pool as a vocalist’s performance tied the mood of the gala all together.

By now, masses of affluent people had arrived as several gathered both in the indoor reception area as well as the outdoor rooftop area.

Mack scanned the room, but was unsuccessful in pinpointing Donnie anywhere within the place. He recalled that being tardy was constantly an issue with his former friend, so his confidence remained on the fact that the billionaire didn’t simply bail on his own celebration.

"Xander," Mack initiated, keeping his eyes peeled for any sign of Donnie as he spoke for his earpiece to catch.

"Copy. How's everything looking?" Xander was positioned at the other end of the garden, absorbing the wonders of the city in the nighttime before matters would start to become disordered.

"Looking good so far. You?"

"Nothing out of the ordinary here." Xander pulled down the sleeves of his blazer whilst fidgeting with his cuff links. He had his standard fedora on top of his head, making him easy to detect since he wasn’t required to go anonymously like Mack did.

"JB, how are things looking from your end?" Xander asked, grabbing himself a beverage from a waiter passing by with a platter.

"I got nothing," Jade answered, peeping through the scope of her sniper rifle and perusing the entire scene. She and a number of other officers had transferred to the Equinox rooftop to acquire a better view of the 620 Loft and Garden, making their responsibilities much more straightforward.

"How are you feeling?" Her friend queried, taking a sip from his champagne glass as he peered down onto 5th Avenue.

Jade seized a deep prior to responding to Xander, voicing a bit of doubt in herself. "I haven't done this in a while, but I'll be fine."

"You haven't lost your edge," Xander complemented, knowing that Jade’s resilience was a characteristic many envied. "That, I know for sure."

"Any sign of Donnie yet?" Mack posed, remaining under the tented space before being forced to move towards the outside due to the considerable crowds of people entering the party through the elevators.

"Not that I've noticed." Jade stared into her scope yet again, examining the deck as she watched both of her friends situate at different quarters on the rooftop.

From behind her, Andy stood alongside Lacey as various other authorities were present, surveying the event from what they were able to grasp from the garden and what they could pick up from Jade communicating with Xander and Mack.

“Anything yet, Jade?” Andy asked, crossing his arms as he glanced down at her.

“Tesla hasn't shown up yet,” she replied, not turning her attention away from the scene.

After a short time, a multitude of guests appeared from the indoor area and paced out onto the rooftop. That’s when Jade caught sight of their target.

"Wait, guys. I see him walking out to the garden," Jade informed, centering in on the elevator as countless invitees departed in groups.

“I see him too.” Mack acknowledged, spotting Donnie from a distance as he stood on the right side of the garden and gazed towards St. Patrick’s Cathedral to maintain his anonymity. “Xander, you got this?"

"I can handle it." Xander strolled to the opposite part of the deck where Donnie met with all of the people who flocked towards him. When he was close enough, he exclaimed the other billionaire’s name and extended out an arm to greet him. "Mr. Tesla!"

"Mr. Brown, so glad you could make it." Donnie returned the gesture as the two shook hands and exchanged slight smiles. "I hope I didn't rain on any of your plans,"

"Not at all. I'm happy to support a fellow entrepreneur in his time of success. Thank you for your call a few nights ago."

"It's not the most efficient way to deliver an invitation, but it was the best I could do on such short notice."

Xander presented a smirk in order to solely play the role of being the businessman that several knew him as, embellishing as much as possible to keep his cover from the man he conversed with.

In the meantime, Mack began strolling around the perimeter of the deck, edging further away from Xander and Donnie as they chatted about something that was beyond his concern. "Jade, how's it looking?"

"There's too many people in the way. I can't lock on," she sighed, taking a step back from the scope to glimpse directly out towards the 620 Loft and Garden.

"Don't take the shot yet,” Mack suggested, considering that the herd around Donnie would call for chaos if Jade were to fire right then and there. “Just wait."

“Jade, what’s going on?” Andy queried, distinguishing that her comments to Mack were not ones of affirmation.

“Tesla’s too close to the crowd. I need to wait it out until he moves,” she explained, peeking back into the eyepiece of her firearm before returning to discuss the existing complications with Mack. "You know, nothing’s going to stay peaceful once I shoot.”

“I know,” Mack uttered, already recognizing the consequences of the situation but discerning that this was their only option.

“It'll cause panic, even with the silencer on," Jade continued, evoking the occasions when she was expected to pull the trigger in a public place.

"Xander will take Donnie to safety once he’s hit, and we'll have him. Isn't that what we agreed on?"

"It sounded so much more frank when the cops were explaining it." It was either go big or go home at that point, and Jade wasn’t going to change her mind when they were over halfway through with their intended strategy. “Don’t worry though. I’ll shadow you.”

Back with Xander and Donnie, they both had drinks in their hands as they conversed about their companies and furthermore, their private lives, an aspect of conversation that Xander had always despised when speaking to those familiar with him exclusively through his professional life.

"So how are things going on your end of the market?" Donnie questioned, taking interest in Xander's corporation. The man was enthusiastic as usual, but from what Mack could work out, Donnie was too keen to even portray himself as sincere.

"Things have been really good. I had to take over a few nights ago since one of my guys took a holiday, but it's nice to revisit square one every now and again," Xander answered, taking a sip from his glass.

"Yeah, I heard about what happened at Red Rooster. I hope no one was hurt."

Xander's stomach dropped. He knew for a fact that Donnie was behind it all, but was that suspicion in his tone or was he genuinely worried? There were no living witnesses on Donnie’s side of the team after the night of the shootout, but even that supposition was inconclusive.

"Everyone’s fine," Xander played along, swapping his drinking glass to his opposite hand. "The true damage was done to the restaurant."

"Was Ginny's destroyed that night too? I’ve been hearing so many different things from people," Donnie blatantly enquired, mentioning the supper club below Red Rooster as if he was onto something. “Just thought I’d get the report from the owner himself.”

Before Xander could begin to formulate a response, the elevator doors from the interior space of the garden drew open once more, and somebody in particular exiting caught his eye.

"You’ve got to be kidding me," Jade groaned, the utterance resonating through the ears of both Mack and Xander as authorities peered down at her once she briefly moved away from her rifle to take in the scene.

"What? What’s wrong?" Mack queried, scanning the area for anything dubious seeing as Jade’s statement came without warning.

"Blondie at eight o'clock." Jade arranged her weapon a tad to the left and monitored the individual as she confidently made her way towards Donnie and Xander

Mack turned in the direction Jade had referred to, and he grasped sight of a young blonde woman who appeared to be well-off and around Jade’s age. She was dressed in a white crop top with a shimmering gold maxi skirt, flaunting her midsection without a care.

"Xander, stay cool. You don't want to attract any attention." Jade was acquainted with the burden that this specific woman put on her friend, especially when putting the past into play.

“Sorry, I’m late,” The blonde apologized as she approached the two men and placed a hand on Donnie's shoulder, exhibiting a small beam. "Did I miss anything?"

"No, you're just on time," Donnie notified, rotating his head to gaze at the woman standing beside him. "Mr. Brown, this is Carla Johnson. She's my personal assistant down at the office."

"Nice to meet you." Carla extended her hand out to join Xander's, and he went along with it, completing the handshake as if the two had barely became acquaintances.

"Now if you two will excuse me, I have to attend to the other guests before I forget." Donnie placed a peck on the blonde's cheek before bidding Xander farewell and heading to greet the other partygoers.

"Mack, you still there?" Jade asked, struggling to understand what game Carla was trying to play by pretending she had never gotten to know Xander.

"Yeah," Mack replied as he attempted to connect the dots and figure out who the woman was to Xander. It couldn't have been who he thought it was.

"Carla, what are you doing here?" Xander questioned, relocating the both of them off towards the left-hand region of the rooftop so that they could attain some privacy.

"C'mon, Alex. Let's not let history interfere," she articulated as she nudged him, taking a cocktail from a waiter passing by. “You still haven't lightened up, have you?”

"What the hell is going on? Since when were you Donnie's trophy?"

"I didn't just take any job back then. Donnie’s given me countless opportunities, and look where I am now." Carla took a sip from her glass as her eyes revealed a trivial amount bewilderment towards her ex-husband, given that he was making an appearance at a social event alongside other affluent people. "Why are you doing here?"

"Well, I'm still a billionaire," he sarcastically retorted, taking a taste of his beverage then resting an arm on the rooftop’s railing and regarding the city’s skyline in the distance.

"You always said that Donnie was a pretentious asshole, and now you show up to his gala.” She leaned closer to examine Xander as if the change he had gone through seemed farfetched to her. “You were never this tolerant when we were married."

"I can say the same,” he replied, his words sounding like jabs as he sustained his stare somewhere else.

"We're going to have to speed things up.” Mack took his eyes off of them from afar and glanced down at his watch, perceiving that their plan was running a bit off-schedule. “Donnie’s going to deliver his speech soon then everyone will head inside for the meal."

"Xander’s stuck, Mack. You're going to have to try and lure Donnie out into the open somehow for me to take the shot,” she proposed before revolving back to communicate with Andy. “We’re in a tight spot.”

Lacey passed a pair of binoculars to the captain, and he utilized them to acquire a clearer view of the gala then subsequently cursed, “Shit.”

Subsequently, he snatched his walkie talkie from his belt and held it up to his mouth, ready to present some orders to his team of officers who were stationed elsewhere. “This is Captain Brown. All units keep your eyes peeled. We’re running slightly off-schedule, but whatever you do, hold your fire until I say so. We do not want to harm any innocent people.”

As Mack began considering how they were going to continue on since they were operating over their anticipated time frame, a recognizable voice uttered his name, increasing in volume as the person edged closer and compelled him to remove his attention away from what was taking place with his colleagues on the other rooftop.

Mack pivoted around to focus on the individual's voice, and there, he caught sight of his former friend making his way towards him.

"What do you know? My best friend is here with me on this special day." Donnie wrapped an arm around Mack's neck, acting as if the events from the previous week had never occurred.

"I have nothing to say to you." Mack hadn't prepared anything to express to Donnie, and now wasn't the time to mention Brie and what had happened to her. He had to remain concentrated on the mission.

"Now, how did you manage to get into the hottest party in New York City? I don't remember ever sending you an invite," Donnie bantered, his piercing blue eyes filling with anger as they locked onto Mack's. In an instant, his happy-go-lucky expression altered. "I'm going to ask you a question, and I want a straight answer: where's Jade?"

"Mr. Tesla," a voice coming from behind them interrupted, forcing Donnie to turn around sooner than Mack could provide a response. "They're ready for you up on the stage."

Donnie informed the individual that he would available in a second before he turned rearward towards Mack with a spiteful look upon his face. "I guess we'll have to catch up after my speech."

He departed afterwards and made it onto the platform. After he was introduced by name, applauds and cheers erupted, overpowering every other sound within range of the gala.

"Thank you for coming, everybody," Donnie began, repositioning the microphone stand so that it suited his six-foot-two frame. "I am so pleased to be celebrating the twenty-fifth year anniversary of Tesla Incorporated with you all today on this glorious night in New York City."

Every single guest’s attention was on Donnie as he delivered his oration. You were either in admiration of how wonderful he was or you were exasperated by the false image he was putting up. Mack stood on the side with his drink, sipping the liquid to prevent himself from bursting with aggravation while Xander stayed put with Carla, rolling his eyes at Donnie instead of deeming him with high regard like she was.

"I started with a dream, and during my years as a college student, I branched out and took the risk of starting my own business. I know it's hard to imagine, but I was broke back then," Donnie continued, impressing the invitees as they exploded with laughs and whistles. "It's been a good twenty-five years, and I couldn't have picked a worthier group of people to share it with. Please allow me to give some shout-outs to a few of them here with us today."

Immediately, Mack froze. Donnie was going to blow his cover, but he couldn't put his energy into preventing that. He was so close to accomplishing what he came for, and he had to persevere until the end.

"First off," Donnie commenced, turning his body in the direction where Mack was standing. "I'd like to thank my best friend since high school: John Mackenzie. He flew in all the way from San Francisco to be here with me on this special day, and I couldn’t be happier.”

All eyes were on Mack as people revolved to take a good look at him. He held his ground, merely raising his glass and faking a smile to play the role of Donnie’s best man, a part that he never thought he’d have to pretend with.

On the other side of the rooftop, Xander eyed Donnie, striving to understand what he was trying to achieve by familiarizing Mack to a group of people who had no clue he was. Degradation was a major function in Donnie’s plan, and Xander was positive that he would be one of the victims.

In that moment, Jade knew that she had heard enough as she accepted that both of her colleagues were tangled in the mess Donnie's monologue had produced, given that they were now the center of every invitee’s attention. She had to devise a strategy and end everything before it was too late.

"Guys, I'm taking the shot in two minutes whether we're ready or not. We can't afford to wait any longer." Jade loaded a single bullet into her rifle and cocked it. This time around, she was focusing in on her scope for what could be the final time.

“We’re right behind you, Jade,” Andy stated, assembling his team as each and every member readied themselves.

"Secondly, my brilliant assistant and girlfriend, Carla Johnson. She has been my backbone for the past six years, and this company would be nothing without her expertise. Not to mention, she's not bad to look at either," Donnie expressed, acquiring even more cheers from the crowd as well as a few 'awws'.

"On the count of three, I'm pulling the trigger," Jade notified through the earpiece, steadying her aim with her finger lingering over the trigger.

"We're ready," Mack advised, giving her the go-ahead once he received the signal from Xander from across the garden.

"For the last mention, I'd like to talk about someone who I greatly admire within this industry." Donnie reversed away from the microphone briefly, creating a sense of suspense within the area as visitors waited eagerly to uncover who he suggested. "Alexander Brown, the man of many talents. Not only is he an entrepreneur and a humanitarian, but he was also the infamous Aquarius from the Harlem crimes over a decade ago; not to mention the incident in DUMBO that he managed to get away with in 2001."

There it was. Donnie had used Xander's past to expose him, considering that he was now the subject of all conversations at the gala. He kept calm even though he was boiling with fury on the inside, receiving a glare from Donnie that only confirmed that this was no mistake.

"Alex, what is he talking about?" Carla questioned, giving Xander her undivided attention but not getting anything in return after witnessing the heated conflict between the two men she thought she knew to the core.

"Three. Two.-"

Before Jade could complete the countdown, every light source on the rooftop and within the building went dark as a concurrent gasp was heard from the top deck, each and every partygoer dreading the most unpleasant outcome to the night.

"Shit!" Jade shouted, losing track of her target in the blackness. "How did he know?"

"JB, you okay?" Xander enquired, placing a finger onto his earpiece to focus in on her voice.

"I can't see anything. Get Mack and get out of there. We need to pull back!" Jade started disconnecting the parts of her rifle and packing it into its case, not planning to wait around for something to transpire.

“All units. I repeat, all units,” Andy communicated into his two-way radio, his voice escalating in volume as the sound of panic from the rooftop vented. “Tesla is on the move. Do not let him leave the perimeter.”

“He’s eastbound on 48th Street, captain,” one officer informed through the communication gadget. "Driving a Black Rolls Royce."

“Copy that.” Andy turned towards some equipment on the ground and picked up two pistols before revolving towards Jade who was finishing up with storing her weapon away. “I’m going after Tesla. Finish packing and get somewhere safe.”

"Be careful, Andy. He knows about the Aquarius," Jade warned, placing the final piece of the rifle into the case.

"I got it." With that, he was off with the majority of the officers on the rooftop accompanying him, leaving Jade to escape the scene with Lacey.

Back at the garden, Xander reached out into the darkness to attempt locating Carla, but she was long gone by the time the lights had switched off. At that point in time, it appeared as though they had nothing else to go off of.

The gala setting remained pitch black as the entire Rockefeller Center followed suit, prompting many party guests to utilize their cellphones as flashlights while they hurried towards the elevators and overcrowded it as much as possible in an effort to travel down to the ground level.

"Mack, you copy?" Xander called out, unable to identify his colleague’s location through the swarms of people headed for the lifts.

"Xander, I read you," Mack responded, operating the flashlight on his own cellular device, but he was incapable of determining Donnie’s whereabouts. The stage was vacant and the horde of people scampering in the same direction made it that much more challenging to detect him.

Mack positioned a digit on his earpiece after concluding that there was no way he was going to return to the ground floor soon enough to catch their target. “We’ll be fine up here, Jade. Get yourself to safety.”

“Roger that.” Jade buckled the fasteners on the rifle case and got up from the floor, waiting for Lacey to finish up before they abandoned the area. “Let’s go, detective.”


Andy and his team were situated in their vehicles, racing down West 52nd Street in spite of the power outage to every building and lamppost around them. It wasn't until they made a right turn onto 2nd Avenue that they identified a car that matched the description of Donnie's. It zipped down the road, cutting in front of automobiles and running red lights then twisting left onto East 42nd.

Andy activated the flashing police lights and siren on his vehicle as he took the wheel and dodged obstructions within the lane. Other cars started pulling off to the side of the road, allowing the officers to advance towards their target at a much faster degree.

Shortly, they had merged onto FDR Drive as Donnie’s Rolls Royce refused to slacken its rate. Andy removed his walkie talkie from his utility belt to keep it accessible in the event that there was any information worth passing along.

After three miles of driving down the street, a member of his crew reported, "Captain, he's exiting up ahead."

The suspect vehicle immediately completed a sharp turn onto exit two for the Brooklyn Bridge. After about a mile on the overpass, the car withdrew towards the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway before the path combined on Cadman Plaza W.

Andy and his squad tailed the enemy vehicle closely as they were unproductive in gashing any of its tires nor taking a shot at Donnie himself as a result of how much revolving they had to do with their car.

Proceeding through Brooklyn was complex enough, being that numerous twists and turns had to be made to keep a close watch on the Rolls Royce. Andy hoisted his communications tool, ready to convey a message. “All units branch out and surround the suspect on Washington Street. I repeat, surround the suspect on Washington Street."

The five police vehicles behind Andy’s began heading in various paths while the captain himself pursued directly at the back of Donnie's car, recognizing the scene and the Manhattan Bridge in the distance as a flood of memories struck him.

Within a moment, Andy’s unit was already in position, impeding all exit routes as the officers hurled road stars onto the pavement to puncture the wheels of the opposing vehicle. The automobile spun out of control and ultimately butted into a parked car.

Andy slammed on the brakes of his vehicle instantaneously and assembled with his team as he pulled his pistol out and aimed it at the Rolls Royce. He and the rest of the officials edged nearer to the car, given that it was much safer to do so now that it was not in motion.

"Get out of the vehicle and put your hands on your head!" Andy shouted, progressing closer by the second as his grip stiffened on his weapon.

When no response was obtained, everyone rushed in even hastier. Andy approached the driver's side of the car, but was unable to discern the driver due to the tinted windows. He grasped his pistol securely and opened the vehicle door, maintaining the gun in place in the event that something could strike him.

To Andy’s astonishment, the driver was not Donnie Tesla, but instead, Elliot Pierce, the same man they had interrogated and imprisoned just a few days ago. He realized that it was too simplistic to capture Donnie in a car chase, but the question was, how did Pierce flee from confinement?

"Didn't expect to see me here, did you, captain?" Pierce uttered, appearing vulnerable as he was wounded from the collision.

"What the hell is this?" Andy questioned, keeping a stable clutch on his pistol as his crew surrounded the vehicle.

"I know you're not going to shoot me. Your gun hasn't held a single bullet since your days in the police academy," Pierce subjected, triggering the rage in Andy.

"Where's Tesla?" Andy pressed, shoving the gun barrel into Pierce’s head despite having it unloaded. As soon as he received a chuckle instead of an answer from his former adversary, he became even more infuriated. "Where is Donnie Tesla?!"

Pierce’s snickering was relentless as he didn’t take the captain sincerely in the least. "Captain Brown, I think you should worry more about getting the girl to safety than dealing with me. I'd seriously hate to see her pretty little face-"

Before Pierce could close his sentence, Andy bashed the man’s face with his own elbow, knocking him out cold. He then briskly reached for his cellphone and made an effort to call Lacey.

Jade’s life was in jeopardy, and he distinguished that it was an irresponsible decision permitting her to come along for the mission. Driving back to Midtown Manhattan would take him at least half an hour, and by that time, he was nervous of what was to take place. He only hoped that any endeavor he put forward wouldn’t be all for nothing.


Jade and Lacey dashed through the halls of the Equinox building as they appointed the elevators as their primary destination. It wasn't long until bullets rang from behind them, convincing Jade to desert the rifle case and concentrate on advancing onwards.

"Here!" Lacey tossed a firearm to Jade as they persisted down the corridor. She rotated and set off a number of shots while Jade checked the magazine of her gun to view how many rounds were already loaded.

After a while, a couple of men came within reach of them, deterring their chances at moving towards the elevator. Jade blocked the initial few punches and kicks from Donnie's men before swinging behind them and snapping their necks. When another henchman came after her despite the fact that she was midway through a chokehold, she employed her legs to thrust him an adequate distance away until she completed the takedown.

Lacey perceived men with shotguns emerging at the furthest end of the hall, so she pulled the trigger sooner than any of them could even think about firing. The opening shot went precisely between the eyes of the man front and center of the team and the next few ones landed around the areas of their chests.

"We have to keep moving!" Jade called out as she dealt with the last man. She hustled towards the elevator and pushed the button, pulling out her pistol in case more misfortune was to meet them once the lift arrived.

Sooner than later, more men came in from the emergency stairway, causing both Jade and Lacey to make every shot count. The gates of the elevator drew open on the dot as the two squeezed past the gap, shutting the doors immediately and hitting the switch for the ground level.

The bullets from the opposing side discharged, denting the elevator, but the clatter ceased the moment their lift commenced travelling downwards.

"You okay?" Lacey enquired, attempting to catch her breath during which she glanced over to Jade.

"Yeah, you?" Jade inhaled then exhaled, preparing for what could potentially be awaiting them on the lower level.

"Yeah," Lacey replied before checking her phone and noticing four missed calls from Andy. She pressed onto his name and followed by holding the device up to her ear. "Captain?"

"Lacey," Andy began, watching his crew transport Pierce into the back of a police car and the towing company haul the ruined Rolls Royce away as he sat in his NYPD vehicle. "Do not let Jade out of your sight. Pierce just gave us a warning after we found him behind the wheel of Tesla’s vehicle."

"What? How is that even possible?"

Jade pivoted towards the detective, aware that something was amiss and that they needed to be exceptionally cautious.

"I don't know, but Rick's heading over to the precinct as we speak,” Andy resumed, starting the engine of his automobile and driving off of the scene. “I’m leaving DUMBO right now, and I’m heading back that way. Just be careful."

"You be careful too, captain."

With that, Lacey stowed her mobile phone into her pocket and removed her NYPD badge, bearing the chain around her neck as the elevator doors slid open. Neither she nor Jade departed right away, given that they were uncertain about what could be taking place out in the lobby. The atmosphere was oddly soundless to which Lacey then progressively made her way out and observed the building’s staff members being apprehended at gunpoint by Donnie’s men near the front desk.

"Take the back door," Lacey notified Jade as she proceeded away from the occurrence. Jade trailed closely, making her footsteps as discreet as possible to preserve their cover.

There were no struggles making it out through the rear, but once they inserted themselves into the multitude of individuals in Rockefeller Center, a single gunshot resonated. Mayhem erupted while people scampered in numerous routes, fearing for their lives.

Due to the power outage that stretched beyond the 620 Loft and Garden, the lone source of light originated from the public’s cell phone flashlights. Further gunfire echoed, striking arbitrary citizens as Donnie’s crew discontinued at nothing to get to Jade.

"There she is!" One of the men bellowed, assembling the rest of the team as they sprinted towards their target.

"Stay in front of me, Jade,” Lacey instructed as she fired a few shots in the direction of the pursuers.

Jade shoved through the crowd with Lacey behind her and approached West 50th Street as she hurried down the sidewalk, struggling to pinpoint an unmarked police vehicle that they could use for their escape.

After a short time, Lacey stepped in front of a slow-moving taxicab and flashed her department’s insignia out for the driver to see. “NYPD. Get out of the vehicle.”

The driver exited the taxi with his hands up, assuming that he had done something illegal as he watched the two women enter the automobile. The detective hit the gas, and the cab raced down the street, passing by a segment of the Rockefeller Center as the traffic and pedestrians tightened up the roads.

“Fuck,” Lacey cursed, turning her head left and right to locate a way out. Flocks of people crossed the streets as authorities in yellow jackets supervised the traffic flow.

Lacey rolled the driver’s side window down after she reached a point where the officers could notice her car. It was crucial for her to make an effort at requesting support, so she took a stab at it whilst exhibiting her police badge. “Officer, we need to get by as soon as possible.”

“Miss, the traffic’s too heavy right now. Please remain patient, and you’ll be on your way shortly,” an older officer advised, not permitting her the authorization to move forward.

“My name is Detective Lacey Dominguez, and we-”

Instead of allowing her to conclude her thought, the official covertly removed a pistol out from the innermost portion of his coat, pointing it within the vehicle as he leaned down to monitor the passengers. There, he gained a better look at Jade and positioned his weapon upward as his finger dawdled over the trigger. Before he had the chance to act, Lacey transferred the car onto the side of the road and accelerated, prompting pedestrians to get out of the way.

All of a sudden, a box truck rammed the left part of the vehicle at the intersection of 50th Street and 5th Avenue, flipping the cab on its roof as everything came to a halt. Jade attempted to regain her concentration as she struggled to unbuckle her seatbelt. She peeked over towards Lacey whose arm remained trapped under a fragment of the car that smashed inwards.

“Detective, are you okay?!” She questioned while Lacey recovered her perception.

Lacey gazed down at her left arm, grasping that it was wedged in firmly between chunks of metal. As she endeavored to drag it out from under the wreckage, she shrieked in pain and had to stop short to not extend the damage.

They both dangled upside down in the vehicle, defenseless and still fastened into their seats. Glass from the shattered windows encircled them, making it even more harmful to their well-being if they were to get too close to the asphalt.

The footfalls from the corrupt cops and Donnie’s men increasingly grew louder as they advanced towards the accident, and the madness recommenced with the ring of an additional gunshot into the air.

Lacey hoisted her pistol from the concrete with her right hand and prepared for what was to transpire afterwards. Both she and Jade were unable to see anything from either side of the vehicle, but they heard the steps and voices of their followers.

“If they don’t kill you at the first sight, they’ll torture you,” Lacey explained, fighting to give Jade her full attention and present the directives although the discomfort in her arm eventually became a little too unendurable. “Hang on for as long as you can.”

Jade simply nodded, understanding that they just had to accept the circumstances. She drew her own firearm from her pocket and readied it, priming herself to make every round she let out count.

As the men surrounded the vehicle and came within eyesight of them, gunshots began sounding from a weapon not belonging to the dirty police officers nor Donnie’s henchmen. Bodies started dropping to the ground as each and every member from the opposing team became unresponsive.

Soon enough, it was over. Jade distinguished somebody approaching the vehicle though she could only perceive their shoes. As the individual reached an opening of the flipped cab, he got onto his knees and stored his gun away. Once he bent further downwards, that was when Lacey and Jade mutually identified that the figure was Andy.

Andy removed a utility knife from his belt and slashed Jade’s seatbelt, freeing her from her seat as he assisted her out of the vehicle before the truck from Lacey’s side of the car reversed. He then rushed over to the driver’s seat and released his colleague as she clutched onto her broken arm.

Shortly after, ambulances arrived and transported the two women away from the incident. As Jade sat at the back of the medical van, she viewed the scene, fathoming that there were rubbles everywhere in addition to lifeless corpses.

She then realized that Andy had put down Donnie’s men right then and there after several years of resorting to nonlethal methods. Donnie had succeeded in using the captain’s weak point against him, and it was clear at that instant that even though the team had spent long coordinating the confrontation, they had lost this battle.

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