Chapter 9-A Frozen Hell
Seven hours later were on a jet on our way to Russia with maps spread out on a small table with the five of us looking over them. We’ve been in the air for the last four hours on one of the fastest jets in the world, but even with that we’ll be landing in Mongolia with only four hours left to make our way into Russia, and into the heart of Novosibirsk which is where the new Ruler’s palace was. He decided to keep the same one as his father before him. This was a good thing for us because this meant we still knew the town and layout of the palace fairly well, if not perfectly. Yes, I’m sure some things have changed, but they couldn’t have changed so much that we didn’t know our way around there anymore.
Immediately, upon landing, we all had our duffle bags in tow and were in civilian clothing so we didn’t draw any unnecessary attention to ourselves. We made it through the last five miles on Mongolia within 20 minutes or so. All in all, we were still fairly quick. Faster than I would have thought us to be, seeing as how we haven’t been together as a team in about five years. Well, I haven’t been part of the team. However, things still flowed with us as smooth as ever, almost like a day never passed that we weren’t together.
It took us a while longer to make our way through Russia unnoticed even though we were in civilian clothing and all spoke the language perfectly. If we moved to quickly or efficiently then we drew attention to ourselves. So, we had to slow down, act like we belonged there, and even stop to eat at one point. We noticed that it was about eleven o’clock American time and everyone was starting to sit down to eat. Frankly, the fact that we weren’t stopping to eat made us stand out, almost as if we had flashing neon lights on us. So, even though precious time was winding down and wasting away, we sat down at a table just inside of a small pub and all ordered.
When the waiter came over to bring our food he started talking to us, asking questions about who we were and where we were from, because he’s never seen us around there before and he knew everyone. I told him we were just passing through on our way to my Fiancé’s house in Omsk, which seemed to almost pacify him. He started to turn like he was going to walk away as we all started to eat, but he turned back and asked about our relationship with each other.
Apparently, he was pretty perceptive and noticed that we were very in sync with each other. Again, I came up with another story and told him that Madison and Jill were my sisters and Christiaan and Jojo were their husbands. This is something that he obviously bought because he then turned and walked away. We ate as quickly as we could without being noticed, paid the bill and left.
After we had to make our way the other fifteen kilometers in an almost jog to make it there before noon, our time. Once the palace was about a block away, we hid in an abandoned house and went over our plan one more time. Jill and Jojo were going to pose as Cera and her brother and go in front of the new Ruler’s uncle while Christiaan, Madison and I went in through different entrance points and made our way to the great hall where we knew they would be meeting the uncle. We had to have better vantage points so we could protect our own while finding out what the uncles plan was and getting him off my back permanently.
At ten minutes til, Jill and Jojo put on the hooded robes that Cera and her brother wore when meeting with their cousin and their father, the uncle, in any formal matter. They made their way towards the front entrance with their heads down and they weren’t stopped, only ridiculed for not having my children with them. Not a single guard stopped them, or asked them to raise their heads to check their identity, which was working well to our advantage.
Ghost, Cobra and I split with five minutes to spare, after making sure Shadow and Striker got into the door with no issues, heading to our own entrance points. Within three minutes we were in position and ready to get this fight started if it was what it came down too. I looked around the small opening in one of the stair rails and watched Shadow and Striker just stand there with their heads down as they waited for their ‘father’ to rejoin them on his makeshift throne.
After another five minutes he finally walked in and sat in his chair, where he thought he was someone special. He began questioning Jill and Jojo about why they didn’t have my children, if I was dead and what happened but they said nothing. He asked again after waiting about thirty seconds and again they said nothing.
Finally, after a couple of minutes passed he jumped up and screamed at them to raise their heads and look at him. They did. This was when this man paled and almost fell backwards into his chair. None of the guards could understand his reaction until Shadow and Striker took their hoods off, and then the entire robe. It was at this point when Cobra, Ghost and I joined them from our positions, which really began a bustle of whispers and movement.
After a few moments of looking shocked, this supposed leader regained his composure and stood.
He glared at me thinking he was going to intimidate me. “Don’t bother looking at me the way you do your subordinates, because you don’t intimidate me. You disgust me!”
“Why have you come here to my home?” He stammered.
“Well, last I heard, it wasn’t your home. You’re not the leader. You weren’t chosen to take leadership in the event of your brother’s passing, your nephew was, so I’d say this is more his home. Speaking of which, why isn’t he at this little meeting? Oh. That’s right. He told you all to leave me alone, but you couldn’t listen could you? You had to go and sign your death warrant along with your children’s.”
My reply caught his attention and he turned fully to me then. “What are you speaking of, my signing my children’s death warrants?”
I snorted at him, “What do you think I mean? They made a fatal mistake by coming after me, as did Hammer, and it cost them their lives.”
This large round man grew even redder in the face than he was naturally and he just glared at me.
I began antagonizing him at that point to make sure it sunk in for him. “That’s right. Let it sink into your head really good. I. KILLED. YOUR. CHILDREN.”
He grew insanely furious, to the point where I could see the iris of his eyes turn black almost. I never backed away. Instead I took another step towards this man, making him take a step back.
I turned and looked at all of his guards he had standing there. Their enforcer, this man’s son, was the best of the best for them and I laid him out without a problem or a second thought. As I watched them all take a step back after looking at me, I turned back to the fat man in front of me.
The fat man finally got up the nerve to speak. “I don’t believe you have the abilities to kill my son. My Nikko is too good to be killed by someone like you. As is my Cera and Hammer. How do I know you didn’t have some people round them up and have them stashed somewhere in prison?”
“I thought that was something you might ask so I brought you a little present.” I gave this man a DVD that I had in my duffle bag. The DVD case was even wrapped with a bow. I suppose when it came down to it, I had a sick sense of humor. I was always a sarcastic person but taking my position in the military only made it worse.
The large man took the DVD case and handed it to one of his guards who immediately walked over to the television that set not ten feet from his chair. He pushed play and up on the screen came Cera and her interrogation, followed by my plunging a knife into her heart and twisting it. There on display was her dead body. I walked over yanked the knife out of her chest and wiped it on her shirt, then put it back in my belt. The screen then flips to another room where Nikko was stashed for interrogation, and this man watched the entire interrogation of his son. He then watched as his son called for me and how easy it was for me to kill him.
What seemed to surprise this man was the ruthlessness of the way I killed his son, and my indifference towards it. Again, he watched as I stood over his son’s now dead body and wiped the knife on his shirt. The screen flashed one more time to the morgue showing me standing over Hammer’s dead body and smiling at the camera. I even said hi to this man that was currently watching this DVD. He turned off the DVD and turned towards me.
He swore under his breath and with a pale face asked if I was Russian, since I acted as one with no conscience. He said his informant was right, that I was the best and it didn’t matter who he sent after me, that they were the only one that would ever be able to kill me.
That piqued my interest slightly. “Who is your informant?”
In a defeated voice he said, “I don’t know. I’ve never met them, all I know is when they call me they say you’re the best, even in retirement and I would never be safe unless you were dead. I told them it was not what my nephew wanted but they convinced me that if I didn’t send someone to kill you, you were going to come for my head. I did what I must to protect myself and my nephew. If only I knew where he was, I would be better off though.”
There was no way this man was making up this story. Not only was he sincere about his concern for his nephew’s life but was also scared for his own.
“I would never have come for you until you put a hit out on my children.”
He looked very confused now. “What do you mean? I never put a hit out on your children. I didn’t even know you had children. I had put a hit on you alone.”
I told him what his daughter said and he was a little surprised by that. He said he never would have authorized that and they had to have been acting on their own for that. Christiaan and Madison were slowly making their way over towards me, and once close enough, Christiaan leaned down and whispered that this smelled like a set up and that we needed to get out of there as soon as possible before something bad went down. Too late!
A guard behind us got twitchy and we noticed but before it could be stopped Jill had turned and thrown the twelve knives she kept in her belt, killing the twelve guards behind us on the left. This started a chain reaction. I tried telling them all to stop but the guards were pissed and taking their own revenge, which caused my team to have to retaliate and defend themselves. With-in a matter of thirty seconds all the guards were down, and all my team were still standing. The only man left standing was the Uncle.
I started to question him but before I could, Jill tossed another knife and hit him in the Jugular. He bled out within a minute and I didn’t get to finish questioning him. Once he was dead I asked why Jill had started the fight when we were there for answers and why she killed the big man when I wasn’t done questioning him yet.
She played innocent saying she just reacted because she saw the men behind her reaching for their weapons. Immediately, this caught my attention in a bad way, because Jill wasn’t this impulsive person that did things like this. She didn’t make bad choices, yet she volunteered to be the decoy and come in here. She was also the one that provided the transportation. Something was starting to come together in my head about Jill and I didn’t like the assessment I was coming up with.
Although, I made sure never to show that I was noticing any of this. I pretended to brush it off like I did normally with death and we talked about getting back into the states since the threat was ‘eliminated’ now. We all agreed but there was a change in the atmosphere and we all felt it.
After trekking back through Russia and into Mongolia we boarded the jet and took off for home. Jill was towards the front of the plane where she had fallen asleep as well as Jojo, not far from her. I sat in the farthest seat back, like always, and tonight Madison and Christiaan were close by me. They slowly slipped into the seats closest to mine without drawing Jojo’s attention.
“Boss, you know something’s going on don’t you? There’s something off about the way Jill handled that and the way she acted after, not to mention, the way she was smirking when the big man was talking about his informant saying they were the only one that could take you out.” Christiaan seemed to be saying exactly what I was thinking.
I said, “Yeah, I noticed, but thought better to not show it. Look, she’s the second best in the world so you two need to tread carefully. You don’t want her to know you’re on to her.”
“What about Jojo?” Madison asked.
I sighed, “I don’t know yet. He’s definitely acting a little off, but I’m not quite sure how exactly yet. Until then, I want you two to stay close to me and away from them as much as possible.”
Madison looked confused, “How are we going to be able to stay away from them when we’re supposed to go back to work since we supposedly eliminated the threat to you?”
I wasn’t quite sure yet but was thinking on it. “You let me worry about that. When it comes to the political shit, you know I’ll handle that so you guys can stick around for as long as I want you to.”
I got simultaneous Okays from them right as Jojo turned and noticed us talking so I motioned for him to come to the back with us. He woke Jill up and came back to the back with her while looking at us trying to hide his suspicion, while we were trying to hide the fact that we haven’t been talking about what I said we were.
“Hey I thought you guys were sleeping. I’m glad you’re not. I was talking to Madison and Christiaan and I think we still have a problem. The big man said something about an informant he had and how they were the only one able to take me out. This informant was the one that leaked my identity to them.” I said.
“But I thought we agreed it was Hammer that leaked your identity to the Russians.” It was Jill sounding almost desperate.
“I don’t think so. I think whoever this informant is used Hammer, who, in turn, used Cera and her family. The fat man was a little too scared when he was talking about this informant and about how he was going to follow his nephew’s rule about not coming for me, since they didn’t know what I looked like, until this informant leaked my identity to them and set me up. Whoever it is, is on the inside and is working as much info, in as many different ways, as they can.” I said trying to sound almost exasperated.
The more I talked the closer Jill and Jojo seemed to scoot towards each other and look like what I was saying was coming straight out of their heads. Madison, Christiaan, and I knew we were onto something that we weren’t supposed to know about.
We decided that when we got back to Atlanta we would head to a safe house after briefing the General, and definitely not let my kids or Logan know I was back yet. This threat was much bigger than I originally anticipated, and I couldn’t have even the slightest distraction, nor have a single weakness. Whatever this threat was, whoever this informant is, he or she is playing a very deadly game and I’m starting to think the collateral damage is going to be much higher than I originally thought.