Chapter 11: Showdown with the Devil
The guard watched Tasha with a keen eye. Good. That was part one of the plan: distract the guard with the old ditzy, lost girl bit. She'd even tied her blouse up to accent her breasts, and pulled her hair back. Her leather jacket was slung over one shoulder and she had her back facing the guard, showing off her orchid tramp stamp. It made her sick what she had to do, but, sometimes, desperate times called for desperate measures. So she turned to face him with the most innocent, if not alluring, smile.
"Excuse me, but I was wondering if you could help me," she asked in a pouty voice. "I'm trying to find this Irish pub to meet with some friends. Seems I got turned around and now I don't know where I am."
At first glance the guard's face was very stern, but Tasha's quick observation noted the provocation in his eyes that had been staring at her cleavage.
"This isn't a place for little girls," he said in a gruff voice. "You should run home before you get into trouble."
"Who me?" She stepped forward and slowly grazed his bicep with her fingertips. "With a big, strong man like you around, who'd mess with me? Besides, I don't have a car or a phone, so I have no way of getting home. However," her voice became slow and suggestive, "if someone were to…assist me… I would be very, very grateful."
Tasha could see the conflict building up in the man's eyes. Mustering up large puppy-dog eyes and pouting her bottom lip she, and adding a 'please' in an alluring voice, the guard turned to putty in her hands. It also helped that she had gotten so close now that her breasts were pressing up against the man's chest.
The guard shook his head and then, after radioing for a replacement, he put on a dashing smile and, placing his hand on the small of her back, led Tasha back toward the alley. There was a door located just inside the alley, and the guard had to pause to open it.
Guards must use this entry to sneak in their little chippies, Tasha thought.
Once he got the door opened, he led Tasha inside. Then they went through another door and into a large, empty room. Fortunately for Tasha the guard had unknowingly brought her to the very room she wanted to be in: the surveillance room. Toward the back of the room was a large circuit box that Tasha had been looking for. Perfect! And best of all, no cameras in sight. The guard then led her to another room leading off from the surveillance room.
Once they were in the room, the guard locked the door and slowly slid closer to her. Tasha knew what he was thinking, but put on her most seductive smile. Just as the guard reached for her, Tasha grabbed his arm, reached up, and pressed a nerve in the center of the man's elbow. Instantly he fell to the ground unconscious.
"Bought time," Tasha muttered to herself in disgust. "Who knows what that lecher was thinking."
After shaking off the disgust Tasha slipped out of the room. She snuck up behind the second guard and karate-chopped his neck. When he fell to the floor Tasha dragged his body into the other room and then locked the unconscious guards inside. Then she made quick work of the circuit box. She found the wires she needed and disconnected the security footage. She waited five minutes before attaching her earpiece and microphone. In that time she readjusted her blouse and slipped on her jacket.
"All clear boys," she whispered into the microphone. "Time for part two. Everyone remember what they're supposed to do?"
She got all three confirmed: Peter would stake out the building from inside the van and alert them of any sign of trouble. He was also to call for backup in case something went wrong. Meanwhile, Vincent would wait patiently on the roof of a neighboring warehouse and go in from the top. That way if Gabriel's men had a helicopter waiting, Vincent could disarm it and then head inside.
Then, right on cue, Joe appeared in the alleyway where Tasha told him to wait. He hadn't agreed when Tasha offered herself as 'live bait' so he had stood by in case the plan backfired on her. She signaled him to enter the building and instructed him into the surveillance room.
"Gotta admit, Lockhart," Joe said as he entered the room, "you can handle yourself pretty well. The D.A. could use someone with your skills."
"No thanks. I prefer not to stick my neck out for a livin'. And for the last time, the name is Tasha. T-A-S-H-A. Tasha. Do ya have my duffle bag?"
"Right here," he swung the large pack toward her. She took the bag and immediately emptied its contents. Joe's eyes nearly popped out of his head. Inside the bag was a variety of artillery: an M-4 Carbine, 50 cal Sniper Rifle, Commando Assault Rifle, SWAT mini K, a SWAT HK machine gun, and more. There was also a machete, two daggers, combat knife, a Bayonet, a few throwing knives, and even a Shiv.
Tasha attached the holders and the weapons to herself with expert skill. Before Joe could ask where she got all these, Tasha pressed a piece of paper into his nose. Taking the paper, Joe saw it was a permit for every weapon he saw before him.
Looking at the weapons she was packing, Joe suddenly felt uneasy about is puny .45 ACP Caliber. Feeling sorry for the guy, Tasha handed Joe her Commando Assault Rifle while she led the way with her SWAT HK machine gun. Soon they would encounter Gabriel's men and then all hell would break lose. Joe and Tasha both hoped they could reach Catherine in time.
Catherine vigorously paced the tiny room; her head was still foggy. Gabriel had returned early than he said and taken Jacob. Catherine had put up a fight, but Gabriel had his men armed with sedatives this time. As Catherine collapsed to the floor she heard Jacob's cries as Gabriel told her he would send in someone to ask about Rosemary once the drug wore off. She had woken only a few minutes ago.
Suddenly the door opened, but Catherine was not prepared for who it was.
"Margie-girl, nice ta see ya again. Or should I call ya Cathy now?"
Johnny Richard was the last person Catherine expected to see. She almost felt relieved to see him until a sense of déjà vu took over. Something about Johnny's presence here didn't feel right. She watched as he closed the door, making sure it was locked. Then he started advancing on her.
"Did I ever tell ya I got a thing for brunettes. Although some might say yours is golden blonde. Either way, it’s quite the turn-on."
"Johnny, what are you doing here?" Catherine started to back up slowly.
"What, you quit Kitty's and I can't come and see ya? You're breakin' my heart babe…" He started chuckling. "Alright I won't beat around the bush. Truth is, I've been working for Gabriel for a while and you've been my… shall we say, favorite assignment."
His wink made Catherine's skin crawl. "Anyway, I had to report in when you left Connecticut. Then I had ya tailgated. Imagine my surprise when you found Julian for us. Ha! Saved us some trouble. Well, the Boss Man knew you had to go, but his method of "disposal" didn't sit right with me. So I made a deal: you give up the kids and return to Connecticut with me, and Gabriel will personally guarantee that you will never be bothered again."
Catherine managed to step about a foot away from him then. Johnny was so smug to think she would bend to his will so easily. He raised his right hand to glide his fingers across her cheek. Catherine shrugged him off before his hand could travel lower. She stared back with malicious eyes.
"I'd rather die," Catherine spoke with venom. To think he actually had the audacity to assume she would ever willingly hand her children over to that monster. Catherine started scanning the room for anything she could use to fend Johnny off. The only things in the room were a soiled bed, the gun in Johnny's left hand, and a knife Catherine could see attached to his belt loop.
"Don't be so dramatic," he exasperated. "Besides, if you ask me, those kids should be raised by their own kind."
"What's that supposed to mean?" Catherine asked angrily.
"I mean the little bastards should be raised by human beings, not sewer rats hiding underground and their mutant guard dog. What the hell could they learn from some ugly freak of nature? And come to think of it… you need a real man. Someone who can show ya a real good time."
Catherine slapped Johnny across his face, causing him to stumble a bit. She was beyond angry now. "Don't you dare speak about my family! Gabriel has no humanity, not that scum like you would ever notice. All you care about is yourself. And NEVER call Vincent a freak! Vincent is more a man than you can ever dream to be, and don't you ever disrespect him or my children again!"
Enraged Johnny straightened and struck Catherine with the back of his hand. The force knocked her to the floor but she remained conscious. He began beating her: kicking her back repeatedly. When she fought back he bashed the butt of his gun against her head. She rolled back from the pain and Johnny paused to stare in disgust.
"What do you see in that freak anyway?" Johnny demanded. "You know, it always amazed me how someone as hot as you could resist me. And now I found out what turns you on belongs to the Animal Kingdom? It's disgusting; the thing ain't even human."
Catherine staggered to her feet but found herself backed into a corner. Johnny grabbed her by the throat with one hand and held her at eyelevel. His eyes were filled with a wicked gleam, heavy and leering.
"Then again… Maybe you just like it ruff." He then pressed her against the wall; one hand still on her throat while the other skimmed his gun down her body.
She struggled and managed to use her left hand to claw at his face. When his grip tightened on her throat, Catherine tried to reach for the gun with her other hand. Johnny was quicker. Removing his hand from her throat, Johnny grabbed a hold of her wrist. They struggled until he managed to turn so his arm encircled her throat, so that Catherine's back was pressed his chest, his gun at her temple.
"Oh look, babe, a bed," Johnny's voice was thick with arousal as they faced the bed. "Does it give you…ideas?"
"Yes, actually, it does…" Catherine took the opportunity to go for the knife. Getting a tight hold of the handle Catherine managed to rip it from the belt loop and plunged the blade close to his groin.
Johnny released her as he fell to his knees. He grabbed for the blade and pulled it out. Catherine saw her chance and ran toward the other end of the room. When she had stabbed Johnny, he had thrown the gun away. Catherine snatched up the gun and aimed it at Johnny. He was pissed now and got up to charge.
The door burst open and three shots rang out. Johnny fell to the ground as blood pooled from the bullet wound on his chest. Catherine lowered her gun and looked at the now open door.
"Radcliff?" Joe asked as he lowered his gun. He looked as if he'd just seen a ghost, which he might as well have. "You're alive! I didn't think it was true, but… Cath, did that creep hurt you?"
Catherine lowered her gun and ran to Joe. She threw her arms around him and hugged him tight. He returned the embrace, but they were interrupted when Tasha entered.
"Hey, what's the hold up? In case you forgot, those thugs are still coming, and I'm running low on ammo."
"Tasha? What the… how…?" Catherine looked up from Joe's embrace toward Tasha.
"Cathy…" Tasha dropped her machine gun and took Cathy from Joe for her own hug. "Thank God you're alright. Wait, where's Jake?"
"Gabriel has him," Catherine cried. "Oh Tasha, we have to get to him before Gabriel tries to get away."
"Gabriel's here!?" Joe exclaimed.
"Yes and he has my son, but I don't understand. How did you two find me?"
"Let's talk later," Tasha advised handing Catherine a more appropriate gun. "Right now we need to haul ass or those guards will make Swiss cheese out of us."
Joe and Catherine nodded in agreement and followed Tasha out of the room.
Vincent landed on the rooftop without so much as a thud. There was no helicopter around, so naturally there were no guards around. Locating the rooftop door Vincent made his way inside. He knew he was taking a risk, but the Bond with Jacob suddenly jolted with the boy's fear. He needed to get to Jacob fast.
So far it was evident that Tasha and Joe had the guards' attention. This made getting around much easier, but it did not help the fact that Vincent had no way of knowing where he was headed. He began searching each door on every floor. This got him nowhere; he needed to focus on the Bond and not crash through every door like a maniac. Pausing he focused deeply on the Bond and searched the building for Jacob.
It wasn't long before he felt the pull of the Bond pulling him and he followed it. Using the stairs Vincent traveled three floors down. It was on this level that he finally encountered some guards. As soon as the men saw Vincent they began firing their Uzis. Vincent saw the fear in their eyes and dodged the bullets by ducking into a nearby doorway.
Thinking they had him trapped, three men were sent to finish him off. The three guards vigilantly opened the door to the darkened room. The others watched as one by one they entered the room. Suddenly the sounds of shotguns and the roars of a rogue animal were heard from the room. Then two of the guards who entered were thrown out of the door and landed against the wall.
"Did you see what just happened?"
"I'm not staying here!"
Half the guards fled from the scene, while the others were frozen with fear. It was then that Vincent emerged from the room. His eyes were feral and his teeth and claws were extended for attack. He wasted no time.
He came upon the six guards faster than they could blink. One by one Vincent disarmed them and left them unconscious. Some had tried to fight back, but Vincent was ten times stronger than any one of them. Soon they all lay unconscious at his feet. Vincent had noticed that they were all huddled around a door. And he knew why. Jacob was behind that door and he was frightened.
Gabriel stared at the monitors as he watched the D.A. Joe Maxwell, Catherine Chandler, and a strange redheaded woman gun down his guards. He knew they would never reach him in time. In a few minutes he and Julian would be heading off to the airport where a private plan would take them to his private island off the coast of Brazil.
Turning around he saw his son standing next to Pope. The boy had to be restrained after his little temper tantrum with the Chandler woman. Pope had him on a child restraint leash and there was a muzzle around his face. In time he would learn to respect his authority and become the heir Gabriel had envisioned him to be.
"Ready when you are, sir," Pope stated.
"It's a shame the Chandler woman was not more cooperative. In any case, I have my son back and there is nothing Mr. Maxwell can do. But I wonder, Pope, just how did he find us?"
At that moment Vincent burst through the door. His eyes immediately locked on Gabriel and a low growl was produced from his throat. Gabriel appeared unafraid by the ferocious form that lingered in the doorway. Meanwhile Pope had his gun aiming at Vincent, ready to fire on command.
"So," Gabriel attempted a neutral tone, "we meet again." He walked out from behind his desk to address his adversary more officially. "It's good to see you haven't lost your sadistic instincts, my friend. At least that has not changed between us."
"We are nothing alike," Vincent growled. "You know why I have come."
"Ah yes. You know, I really must thank you, Vincent, for taking care of my son. Just look at him. Once he has a taste for power, he will become a conqueror, a king among men."
"Power, like a desolating pestilence/ Pollutes whate'er it touches." Vincent's tone was even and serious. He knew the mind game Gabriel was playing. But Vincent learned a long time ago that Gabriel's words had no power over him. He also knew that this time he could not allow Gabriel to escape again. Today would end with one of them dead.
Jacob made a muffled yelp from where he stood. The sound drew Vincent's attention and he gasped at the state the boy was in; chained up like an animal. Vincent turned back to Gabriel as his rage slowly seeped past its limit.
"Release him NOW!" Vincent threatened.
"Julian is coming with me…" Gabriel placed a hand on the boy's shoulder. "You will let us pass, for the child's sake."
Pope took the initiative and pressed the gun to Jacob's head. Vincent knew Gabriel would not hesitate to have the boy shot. He could still see the image of Gabriel about to press a pillow and smother an infant Jacob in his cradle. Vincent stepped aside to make way for Gabriel to pass. He growled menacingly as Gabriel walked passed him into the hallway.
Gabriel smiled and, taking the leash from Pope, led Jacob out the door. Vincent could only watch as they walked down the hall and in the elevator. Jacob struggled against the leash but it was no use. The elevator doors shut and descended.
Then Vincent turned back to Pope. Out of the corner of his eye Vincent saw the man raise his gun and fire. Vincent tried to doge the bullets, but one grazed his upper right arm. He ducked and rolled until he was safely behind Gabriel's desk. Pope continued to fire and backed his way out of the room. Before he left Pope lowered the gun and reached inside his coat pocket, pulling out a hand grenade. Pulling the pin he tossed it into the room and then ran like a bat out of hell.
The grenade exploded and Vincent felt the floor cave under him. He was plunged into the floor below where his body made an impact with the floor, the desk landing on top of him. When the dust settled Vincent tried to move to see how badly he had been injured. He felt a few bruises from his impact with the floor and desk. The fall had also caused Vincent to fall on his communicator, so he could not alert Tasha about Jacob's whereabouts.
Pushing the remaining pieces of the desk off himself, Vincent stood up to get his bearings. He searched the Bond and discovered Gabriel was taking Jacob below the building. He needed to get there quickly. Vincent walked out of the destroyed office and down the hallway. He saw an elevator and the dial above showed someone was heading down. Vincent wanted nothing more than to rip open the doors and slide down the cables to the elevator, so he could rip open the roof and pull Jacob through. But that could potentially put Jacob in more danger.
Tearing himself away from the elevator Vincent ran down the hall until he found a staircase. It would slow him down, but Vincent needed the element of surprise if he was going to save Jacob from Gabriel. He only prayed that he would get there in time.
Catherine, Joe, and Tasha barricaded themselves in a room on the first floor. Turns out the estimate of the guards had been way off and they were going to need the police. Another bullet ricocheted by her ear and Tasha was brought back to the situation at hand.
Suddenly Catherine ducked down and crawled over to Tasha.
"Jacob's in trouble," she panted. "I need to get to him."
"Just how the hell you gonna get to him? We're surrounded and there is no way to know where Gabriel is keeping him." Tasha threw some of her throwing knives and managed to land one right in one of the gunmen's eyes.
"I know where Jacob is." She gestured over to the elevator doors about twenty feet away. The dial showed that the elevator was heading for the basement. "If you can cover me, I can sneak out and get to him."
Catherine saw the concerned look on Tasha's face and was quick to reassure her. "Please Tasha."
Tasha relented but she wouldn't let Catherine leave without some protection. She started attaching her best knives onto Catherine and handed her the sniper. Tasha then instructed Catherine to wait by the end of the fallen cabinet they were using as cover. Tasha and Joe were going to clear a pathway for Catherine to sneak out. Joe wasn't crazy about Catherine going off by herself, but knew that once Catherine put her mind to something, nothing could persuade her otherwise.
Joe and Tasha reloaded and fired into at the gunmen. Once Tasha saw an opening she signaled Catherine to go. Without hesitation Catherine bolted through the second doorway and raced out into the hall. None of the guards saw her since all their focus was on Joe and Tasha. Catherine made it to the elevator and pressed the button. The doors opened and Catherine rushed inside just as a guard noticed her and fired a shot. The bullet bounced off the doors, sealing Catherine safely inside.
Vincent entered from the back stairwell. His arm throbbed from the pain, but he needed to focus on finding Jacob. Then he heard voices up ahead. Sticking to the shadows Vincent followed the sounds until he saw his target. Gabriel and Pope were standing close to a black car next to the opening of what appeared to be a loading dock. There were at least fifteen or twenty guards surrounding them. Jacob was inside the car, while Gabriel was talking with Pope, and he didn't look pleased.
Vincent couldn't tell what they were saying, but he didn't care. All he needed to do was wait for a window of opportunity to catch Gabriel off guard and save Jacob.
His plans changed when there was shouting and guns went off. Two of the guards went down while three more told the others to get back.
"What are you waiting for?! Get up there, you idiots, and dispose of her!" Poe shouted.
The guards nodded and the first two started making their way to where the first shots started. Pope followed them, apparently at Gabriel's request. The last guard had his gun at the ready and was about to fire when Vincent pounced. He pulled the guard to the side and threw him against a wall. The guard landed against the wall with a loud crack before falling to the floor.
Some of the guards broke from shooting to aim their guns at Vincent. He easily dodged most of the bullets and took out guards as he made his way to Gabriel. Vincent was snarling and slashing at each guard that got in his way. Most of the guards were frightened and ran from the room. Finally Vincent made it to the car and ripped off one of the doors. Jacob, who'd been cowering on the floor since the first gunshot, looked up and happily launched himself into Vincent's arms.
"Shh, it's alright now, Jacob. I'm taking you home," Vincent calmly told him.
"Put the boy down!"
Vincent turned to see Gabriel and eight guards, all aiming their guns, standing before him. Vincent held tightly to Jacob and snarled at the men.
"My son is coming with me," Vincent stated in a stern tone.
"Oh, I think not, Vincent," Gabriel smirked. "I will give you two choices: either give Julian to me and my men will kill you quickly, or condemn the child to death along with you."
Vincent emitted a low growl from the back of his throat. He knew Gabriel would kill Jacob but he needed to plan. Looking around Vincent saw most of the guards had fear in their eyes. Not only did they fear Gabriel's wrath, but they also feared Vincent as well. He could use this to his advantage. Then he searched the room and suddenly got an idea.
"Do you trust me?" Vincent whispered in Jacob's ear. The boy nodded. "Good. I'm going to put you down. When you feel the ground, run and make sure you're far from the car."
"Saying your last goodbyes." Gabriel smirked. "How noble."
"I'll do as you say, just let the boy live," Vincent surrendered.
"Very well. Give him to me." Gabriel smiled in triumph. He knew he had Vincent beaten and now Julian would have his first demonstration of power.
Slowly Vincent set Jacob down. Once his feet the ground Jacob ran and Vincent roared as he charged the guards. His sudden attack caused some of the guards to scatter and others to open fire. But what happened next surprised them all. Vincent doubled back, jumped to the roof of the car and disappeared behind it.
Gabriel caught what Vincent was plotting and screamed at his guards, "Stop you fools!"
But it was too late. The bullets hit the car. The distance, and the fact that the engine had been running, provided the bullets with the means to cause a large explosion. Many of the guards were blown back, small pieces of shrapnel embedded in their bodies.
Vincent lay sprawled on the side. Some of the shrapnel pieces hit him in the side, and he had hit his head on a pillar when the blast threw him back. He pulled the larger shrapnel out and slowly got to his feet. However, the blast had caused a nearby stack of crates to become unbalanced. Vincent tried to dodge them but he wasn't fast enough. They came toppling down on him. Vincent tried to move the crates from him, but his entire body was pinned.
Picking himself up, Gabriel looked out to see his men had either fallen from being too close to the car, or had fled. He was furious with his men's spinelessness. Then his eyes fell on the trapped and injured form of Vincent. Gabriel grabbed a gun that had been dropped and walked over toward Vincent. As Vincent struggled to get free Gabriel gripped the gun and smashed the end into Vincent's skull. He was stunned and a large gash began to bleed.
"So, you think this is over. My friend, this is only the beginning. I'll take Julian and turn him into the man he was destined to become. First, I'll remove you. Then I'll exterminate the others, ensuring none of your weakness will pass on."
Vincent struggled to remain conscious as he addressed Gabriel. "He m-may have been b-born into your cruel empire, but J-Jacob knows only l-love and ge-generosity. Every p-part of him is j-just like C-Catherine. You have l-lost."
"I think not." Gabriel raised the gun and had it aimed at Vincent's head. Vincent knew he was fading fast and would never be able move in time. He only wished Jacob to get out safely, and that Gabriel would just shoot already.
Gabriel smiled as his cold eyes stared into Vincent's. "Goodbye Vincent. Do say hello to Catherine."
His finger pulled the trigger and a shot filled the room. Vincent stared back and awaited the icy grip of death to take him. But he felt nothing but the pain he already had in his head and side. Then he saw the reason why.
Gabriel stared at him with a shocked expression in his eyes. The gun fell from his hands. He looked down and saw a dark red stain growing larger on the left side of his chest. Gabriel looked once more into Vincent's eyes before he fell to the floor. Vincent stared at Gabriel's dead body until the blackness overtook him and he fell into unconsciousness.