Boulder (Riders of Apollo #5)

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Riley Everett

“This place is hot, Riley. You’ve got twenty three targets in there and one of them is the Commander. If you succeed here, everything is over.” Johnson tells me and I shake my body out.

Thankfully, I spent the last week or so in recovery so I’m basically back to full health which is crucial for what I’m about to do. Now, I’m in an abandoned warehouse in the middle of nowhere and I have the heebie-jeebies. Yes, I’m a well-trained agent but I still get the heebie-jeebies.

I have taken out two guards and snuck into the bottom floor of the building but I feel like I’m miles away from my final target. I duck under a sconce and stab the closest guy in the neck and shoot the other guy across from me - thank god for suppressors, eh? - before continuing through the building.

I know the layout of the place but because the place is so fucking hot, Johnson can’t tell me where anyone is using thermal imaging. That puts me at a rather large disadvantage. “Fuck, it’s hotter than the surface of the sun in here.” I mumble, swiping the sweat off my face.

I stab the next guy before pilfering his pockets for more cash, I know I shouldn’t but also, who gives a fuck? He definitely doesn’t. I creep around the corner and peak around the doorframe to spot two idiots just hanging around eating donuts. What kind of protection is this? I spin around and quickly shoot the two bastards who hit the floor loudly.

I roll behind the closest crate in case someone heard that and wait patiently for any nosey idiots to come wandering in. Only one of them appears and I kill him before he can alert the rest of the building to my presence. I clip his radio onto my belt and put his earpiece in my other ear since my comms are in the other. “Left side clear.”

“Right side clear.” Is it? Really? Because I’m on the right side and I’m definitely not here to bake you cookies.

This is really the best the commander could do?

“I’m heading to the main storage, watch my spot.” I believe I am in the main storage room, at least that’s what it looks like. I press myself to the wall by the side of the door and wait.

Unsuspectingly, this new guy strolls into the room and I grab him around the neck the second he passes me.

I grip him tightly as he tries to buck me off and scratch at my arm. He fails to escape the grip and collapses against me. I lay him on the floor before sneaking out the room and up the stairs, I hope I’ve killed everyone downstairs or this is gonna be a problem.

I duck into the closest room and find it full of chemicals but no people. “They’re building the bomb here.” I warn Johnson before continuing into the next room.

I assume he’s using my cam footage to figure out what kind of bomb they’re building while I finish off the idiots and find the commander. The next room has too many people in for me to take at once without warning someone else so I pick up something heavy and throw it.

Four out of the eight venture out to see what the noise was, their guns drawn. Shit. That’s gonna be an issue. I head back to the chemical closet and mix myself something to knock the bastards unconscious, don’t tell the Russians but I got the idea from them.

I roll one concoction into each room, leaving all eight of them to sniff the air before smacking onto the floor simultaneously. We love drugging a load of people with aerosolised fentanyl, don’t try it at home though.

I leave them alone before heading towards the final room on the floor. That is until a gun is pressed in between my shoulder blades. “Keep fucking walking, slut.”

“Creative. Look, have you learned nothing from your training?” I keep my voice low so I don’t alert anyone to the issue I’m currently facing and he chuckles.

“Who is the one being held at gunpoint?” I spin swiftly and yank the gun from his hand to turn it on him.

“You.” I look him in the eye and read his fear and his urge to run, “for future reference, never get that close to someone, it makes it easy.” I smack him the butt of the gun and drop it on top of him.

I open the door slightly so I can see inside and what I come across startles me. Eight children tucked into the corner of the room, two guards and the commander. We miscalculated the enemies but we definitely didn’t think about hostages, they never seemed like the type.

I kick open the door and shoot the two guard before they can even pull their guns out. The children scream in fright and I aim my gun straight at the commander. “You’re here earlier than I thought you would be.”

“What the fuck was your plan, huh? Send me to America so I couldn’t dismantle you from the inside? Have me killed? Have my family killed?”

“Yeah basically. You’re the only person I needed to worry about. Your Chief, as you call him, is old and as you’ve seen can’t do any of this. You’ve astounded all of us with your talent, now I’d like the recruit you.”

“Fuck that.”

“I can offer you a promotion, more money, better housing, a better life for your mother.”

“My mother would rather die than accept money off of terrorists, I’m like her that way.”

“What has MI6 ever done for you? You’ve been beaten, raped, shot and used for what? For the ideals of a country that doesn’t care? That doesn’t know your name. I will be King and you can be my Queen.”

“I think I just threw up in my mouth.”

“Can you answer those questions, Riley? Truthfully?”

“MI6 gave me a purpose, a family and something to fight for. I don’t need anything more than that. Money means nothing in the long run.”

“Well my organisation gave me something! An ideal and a way to get there. I will be King, I will blow up parliament and I will murder the entire Royal family. Who else can step up to run the country other than the loyal, smart MI6 commander who has done the job for years?”

“Literally anybody. Hell, I’d have Justin Bieber over you any day.”

“You just can’t see the vision, my darling. You and I on the thrones, adoring crowds and everything you could ever dream of.”

“Built on blood and terrorism, yeah, no thank you. So, put your hands out, I’ll cuff you and strut your fat ass all the way to the fucking Queen if I have to.”

“They’ll never believe you. Besides, if I leave that bomb over there blows up and takes all the little kiddies with it.” The kids cry out and I notice the rope tying them to a rather dirty looking bomb.

“He’s not kidding, Riley. I looked at the chemicals in that room, that bomb can take out the entire floor.”

“Disable it.” I demand, tightening my hand on the gun.

“If you kill me, you trigger the back up leaving you only one minute to dismantle a very complicated bomb. I don’t remember you having training in that over your years despite your incredible resume.”

One minute is enough to get the kids out, that’s good enough for me. “Riley, don’t you dare.” Johnson knows what I’m planning, it’s not like I have any other choice. He needs to die, the kids need to live, that’s just how it is.

“Make sure there’s a bus to collect the kids and ambulances to check on them. Send out fire and bomb squads now.”

“They won’t make it in time.” The commander sings with a sick grin on his face.

“That’s not the point.” I shoot him in between the eyes and the countdown starts in big red letters. I sprint over the kids and immediately start slicing through the ropes. One by one they sprint down the stairs and out the building.

“I’m stuck.” One of the littlest one cries and I spot the four seconds left on the clock. Unfortunately, I don’t have time to be gently, I throw her out of the window into the bins below where her friends can see her.

I manage to dive behind something before the fucker blows up.

Fuck.

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