Please note that this story was originally called “Sons of the Dragon”. Although it is in that series, there is a new, recent publication by me that is an introduction to the series, which I have named “Sons of the Dragon”. Cheers. Enjoy the story.
It was one of those nights, thought Kimoto as he stepped inside KFC. He looked around in distaste at the hoards of people queuing towards the counter which was embossed with red signs, describing the latest fatty meal which could be bought. Kimoto knew he looked out of place, but that did not matter. He walked towards a door at the side marked toilet and pushed it open. No one was watching him. No one would notice if he did not come out. He was now in a small corridor with two doors at the far end marked ladies and gentlemen. He went straight into the ladies’ toilet, looking around to check that no one was watching him, and locked the door behind him. He then focused on the mirror to his, hanging loosely from the wall. He swung it up to the right and it clicked into place. He then stroked his index finger in a strange combination of movements and suddenly a deep grating sound could be heard very softly, not audible outside, and the tile below him that he was standing on, started to sink into the ground. When he has disappeared from view the mirror swung back into place and there was no evidence to show that he had been there. The door’s lock automatically unlocked and that was that.
Once the “lift” had stopped at the bottom of the shaft, Kimoto found himself staring at blackness all around. He could not see a thing. Then he spoke clearly in a monotonous voice. “Eins, dos, trois, four, Kimoto.” Suddenly light erupted around him and they brightly illuminated a corridor straight ahead of him with a solid wall at the end of it. There was no other way to go. But Kimoto knew this way well and he walked confidently, down the thin corridor, towards the wall. Closer and closer, and then he stretched out his finger and touched the wall. Or rather it went straight through it and his body followed. He was then in a box shaped room with a door at the far end. The door opened and a man stepped out, Spanish-looking. He was holding a gun and looking extremely expressionless. He was holding a pistol. Kimoto, however, was not in the least fazed by this and said,
“Son of the Dragon, let me in.” The man started at him hard for a few more seconds and then a bright smile broke out all over his face.
“Ah, Professor, it is good to see you!”
“And you Riez, I must say, Kazanka has done a very good job with that hologram, for a moment, despite having walked through it for ten years I was nearly convinced that it was a brick wall. I was most. . .unnerved. Anyway, I am afraid time is of the essence at the moment. We have business to see to.”
“I understand Professor. Let us go inside.” They both turned towards the door, Riez’ gun now in a holster on his belt. Once inside, the dull room outside was in startling contrast to the room he saw now. The room was quite big, with four desks connected together in the centre of the room, each holding computers. Two men sat at tow of the desks and they both looked up in delight at Kimoto and Riez. At the far end of the square-shaped room was a big electric screen with a map of Chinatown in a vibrant blue colour. On it, dots, representing cars were moving around the screen like little pinpricks of light scrambling for attention. On the walls on the right were pictures of front views, side views and back views of men.
“I have information for you, friends, we will be busy tonight. Jacques is about to strike again.”
– – –
“So, let me get this straight, Jacques is gonna strike Barlow’s warehouse tonight, but why? There’s nothing valuable in there.”questioned Kazanka. “I thought we go in for more, edifying stuff than a warehouse raid, why not hand it over to the police?” Kimoto pondered this question and then replied,
“Yes, I thought you’d ask that question. Well, for one, for some reason they are stealing ordinary stuff, like cigarettes and the like, I suppose just to make money and it’s true, Jacques ain’t usually into that kind of thing. But that doesn’t matter. We need to catch him, that’s why we’re not telling the cops, ok? And if we tell them they’ll bungle it and Jacques and his mob will find out and get away scot free. Again.”He scowled around at the three men.
“Right, I see!”said Kayato. “But how we gonna strike them? I assume we want them alive, right?”he added on a darker note.
“Ok, this is what we’re gonna do, but we gotta be careful, understand. He gets wind of this and him and his mates, about twenty of ’em, will mow us to pieces. Or that’s what we hear. Twenty, that’s a lot of guns.! So, at 11 tonight Kayato will drive up to Barlow’s warehouse, fully armed of course and leave the car there. Kayato will then be picked up by me and Kazanka on a drive-pass. . .”
“Wait a sec! What’s the b****y point of that?”shouted Riez, his South American temper flaring up as it so often did. “They’ll know that someone’s onto them. . .”
“Riez, you must listen to my plan before judgement. Right.”Kimoto looked around to check he had everyone’s attention. He did, and then continued, “On this car will be every kind of surveillance device I can think of. Miniature camera, heat sensors, x-ray viewing and the lot. Then at half 11 when Jacques and his men are supposed to turn up, Riez will hide down the road and see if they leave a guard outside the warehouse. Now Riez, if they do, kill him with a silencer and take his place. Then, while Jacques and his men are inside, Kayato will mount an attack on the warehouse with a mounted machine-gun, but don’t hit Riez because in the confusion, he will slip inside and mingle with the guards. Kayato will clear off and hide several blocks away in case of emergency and keep track of the affair with the surveillance. Meanwhile me and Kazanka are going to climb overhead in the silenced helicopter I’ve been working on for ages. At this point Riez will drop a couple of smoke grenades and spread panic, that they’re under attack and that kinda thing. Then lead Jacques up to the roof, saying you can escape that way and we’ll grab him in the heli’. You all got it?” There were nods around the room, “Good! Let’s go!”
Kayato revved the engine and turned the corner and then he saw the warehouse. It had a row of other warehouse alongside it, there were no normal houses in the road. The actual building was exactly like a house you would live in, except it was black and seven storeys high. There was a light smattering of rain falling and it was bitterly cold. He parked outside and ran along the road and hopped into a waiting car with Kimoto and Kazanka inside.
“You did it?”
“Yes, of course.”
“Good, now when we drop you off, get the buggy with the mounted machine-gun and hide down Fern Avenue. Attack when Riez buzzes you on the telecom, ok?”
“Yes, I understand, good luck Professor, Kazanka.”
Riez peered around the corner in his night-vision goggles. Yes, there they were. Two lorries drew up by the side of the warehouse. Men cradling guns jumped out the back of each and from the front of one a man stepped out with a driver. He had a commanding presence about him. He was definitely Jacques. Riez watched as the men kicked at the flimsy door of the warehouse. It crumbled and they filed inside, Jacques going in last. “Darn!”Riez thought to himself. Three guards had been left outside. Riez switched on his telecom and called Kimoto.
“R calling K, eins, dos tres four. We have 3 fireguards outside our door. Repeat: We have 3 fireguards outside our door. Request instruction?” A voice crackled back:
“Put 2 in the bin and use the third.”was the short reply. Riez swore to himself! It would be no easy task. But he had better get on with it.
Moving stealthily in the shadows of the other warehouses, Riez slipped forward, loading his pistol. Then he attached a silencer. He took aim. Phut. One dropped dead. Another swung round in amazement and: Phut. Dead. The third was about to shout when: Phut. Three dead. Riez knew he had to work fast. He ran over, casting furtive glances at the warehouse to check no one was watching. He dragged the first away. Then the second. And then the third. They were all hidden behind the huge rubbish bin across the street. Riez did not know what he would say if someone came out and asked why there was only one guard, not three. He hoped no one would come out.
Then a buggy appeared at the end of the road. It was Kayato. Riez almost raised his gun to shoot at him by instinct and then he remembered. He ran to the warehouse door and took cover as the firing started. Glass exploded everywhere as windows shattered. Kayato whizzed past and swung round just as the door opened and five armed men ran out confused. More gunfire. Riez did not have time to see if Kayato had got away but slipped through the door. The first thing he saw was a pile of crates stacked ready to be loaded into the lorry. He noticed men carrying boxes to it and then returning for another load. He joined in, unnoticed by anyone. He was safe. The gunfire had stopped.
Kimoto twiddled a nob on the control panel of the silent helicopter. It flew higher, up and up above the clouds. Kazanka said,
“2 minutes till target.” Kimoto nodded and they flew on.
Riez walked up the stairs towards another pile of boxes. Ignoring this he walked on up another flight of stairs to where Jacques was. He looked at his watch. One minute to deadline. He fingered the grenades in his pockets nervously. This was not going to be a piece of cake. He reached the floor before the roof and stopped and looked around and in the dimly lit room he saw Jacques and two men hunched over a portable computer. They didn’t notice him come in and he slipped around the edge of the room still unseen and settled down behind some boxes in the corner. He waited. And he waited. His telecom beeped. The signal. Riez took out a smoke grenade and hurled it at the ceiling. Kaboom! The explosion rocked the room and opaque smoke filled the room. There were shouts of confusion and Jacques screamed,
“Where shall we go? Is it an attack. Stan, you there?” Riez had moved quickly. He had jabbed the man he assumed was Stan in the neck and shot the other man with his silenced pistol. Then he had thrown the second grenade into the air. He then answered Jacques, in place of Stan.
“I’m here, this gas is poisonous, quick, the roof.” Jacques shouted his agreement. Riez grinned to himself as he heard the gunfire that Kimoto and Kazanka has set up to make it sound like the warehouse was under attack. He climbed up the ladder followed by Jacques, who in the smoke could not see that he was not Stan. Then they were on the roof. The helicopter was not there yet. Riez swore and said,
“We’ll try to get away once the attack has stopped.” Jacques was slumped on the roof exhausted and shocked.
“Yes, yes that’s fine. . .”he replied. “But who the blimming heck is attacking us. I don’t understand. . .!” Then he was interrupted by a voice,
“Boss, it’s Stan, what happened. ..”said a head poking up form the skylight. Then he saw Riez. “What the. . .?” Riez drew his gun and fired. Or he meant to. Nothing came out. He had run out of bullets. Jacques was stunned into paralysis but Stan was not remotely disabled. He hurled himself at Riez, lashing out wildly. Riez ducked away and jabbed him in the face and he rolled away onto the edge of the roof. But he was up within seconds and ready to face Riez who swung a fist at him. But it caught him dead in the face and he stumbled and then regaining his balance in amazing speed knocked Riez out with a swift punch. Stan had one second to celebrate his triumph when machine-gun fire rang out and he was thrown off the roof. A black blur whizzed threw the night air onto the roof. Its name was Kazanka. He scooped up Riez and shoved him onto the waiting helicopter, hovering inches above the roof. Then, he looked around for Jacques. But he was nowhere to be seen!
“Where the heck is he?” But in the confusion, Jacques had made good his escape and was now in one of the lorries driving away from the warehouse.
In the helicopter Riez had just come round and was saying,
“What the heck happened? One moment I has Jacques and the next some thug attacked me. Where’s Jacques?”
“We don’t know yet, he’s got away, but Kayato’s attempting to find him. He’ll call when he gets him but if I know Jacques he will be in hiding.”replied Kimoto.
“Where are we going, then? HQ?”questioned Riez.
“No, or course not!”replied Kimoto, as if surprised by Riez’ question. “We’re on standby, for if and when Kayato picks up Jacques!”
Kayato revved his car down the motorway. He had changed vehicles when he had learned of Jacques’ escape and he had just found a lead into where he might be. He had asked a man if he had seen a lorry come past and he had seen one turning onto the motorway, but five minutes ago. Kayato was now going over a hundred miles per hour dodging other cars and receiving verbal abuse for the milliseconds that she passed a car. Then he saw it. Just on the horizon was a lorry which matched the description Kimoto has given him. He switched on his telecom and while driving said,
“KO calling K, I’ve seen a falcon flying down the motorway.” The message was acknowledged and then came the hard bit for Kayato. He was slowly gaining on the lorry and he did not think that Jacques knew he was after them but he still had to be careful. Then suddenly Kayato noticed a nozzle sticking out of the back of the lorry, aiming in his general direction. Then Kayato knew that he was not the target. Everyone else was. Then the firing started. Bullets tore at cars, sending them crashing into each other, producing explosions. Kayato swerved to avoid a hail of bullets and then pulled out his own handgun. It was all he had, but it would have to do. Now the gun was aiming at him. Kayato moved over to an opposite lane attempting to fire at the driver. She had him in clear sights and then he remembered. Jacques should not die and if the driver was hit, then the lorry would crash and Jacques would definitely die. Kayato drove alongside the lorry which was still spewing bullets out wreaking havoc behind it. Then suddenly, a gun poked out of the side of the lorry’s canvas, and it opened fire, missing Kayato but hitting cars on the other side of the motorway. Kayato wondered how long he would be able to hold out. He just hoped Kimoto would get here soon. He scanned the sky to his left. No sign of the helicopter and then he looked to the right. There he was, a black speck on the horizon, getting bigger and bigger. Kayato almost cheered and then he saw bullets flying through the air towards him. There was nothing he could do. They tore through the metal car roof and hit him on the chest and he was flung out of the car door which has swung open through the sheer force of the bullets. Kayato lay still in the grassy centre of the motorway, with cars whizzing past him on both sides and the lorry carrying on into the distance.
Kimoto, Kazanka and Riez looked down in horror form the helicopter as they saw the fire strewn path that the lorry has left in its wake. For about half a mile dilapidated cars lay burning across the road, bodies pitched randomly on the tarmac. And then suddenly the trail stopped and as the helicopter moved off in pursuit of the lorry they noticed an innate form lying on the grassy verge in the middle of the motorway but they did not pay it a seconds’ thought because it was just like hundreds they has just seen. The lorry was now within shooting distance and Kazanka was all for opening fire but Kimoto restrained him.
“Look, all of these lives will be wasted if we can’t capture Jacques. If we get him, we’ll get so much valuable information.” Kazanka completely disagreed with this,
“Look Kimoto, how many more lives will be spent today through this futile operation. Why, we don’t even know where Kayato is. He’s probably dead and we could just end this nightmare right here, right now.” Kimoto winced as he heard these words. They had all been wondering where Kayato was. He had not made contact for a whole hour, since saying he had sighted Jacques’ lorry.
“I’m sorry Kazanka, I too am worried about Kayato but we must capture Jacques alive. Think of how many lives it will save in the future.”
“It doesn’t matt. . .”Kazanka started but he was interrupted by Riez.
“Kazanka, Professor Kimoto is right, we must not waste this opportunity.” Kazanka, surprised by the force in Riez’ voice, remained silent and continued watching the lorry as they grew closer.
“How are we going to get him alive then?”said Riez.
“I have a plan, but it is quite audacious, but I can think of nothing else that can work.”replied Kimoto.
“And what is it?”said Riez.
“You will see. Although I advice you to hang on tight, if this goes wrong we’ll all die, though if it’s any consolation Kazanka, “He pointedly stared at Kazanka, “Jacques will die, if we die!”
“Brilliant. . .”muttered Kazanka, “Personally, I’m not ready to die yet, or ever for that matter.”
“Hang on then!”shouted Kimoto. He was lowering the helicopter above the lorry which was still quite oblivious to its presence. The helicopter went lower and lower and then,
“Kimoto, surely you’re not thinking. . .”
“Shut up!” They were going at 100 miles per hour and the metal runners were about to hook onto the top of the lorry. Crunch! There was a horrible grating sound as they connected. The driver of the lorry desperately tried to free itself from the grip of the helicopter, but to no avail. Cars all down the motorway were moving out of the way, screeching to a halt to watch the daredevil battle between the helicopter and the lorry. Then it all happened really quickly. Kimoto managed to unhook one of the runners, therefore knocking both the lorry and the helicopter off balance. The lorry tipped sideways as did the helicopter, but the helicopter disconnected and the lorry fell on its side and skidded, spinning towards the metal barriers lining the side of the motorway. It bounced several times before coming to rest in the centre of the road. Meanwhile the helicopter was spinning downwards towards the ground but Kimoto managed to right it just at the last second and they rose away clear of the ground and they regained height and hovered in the air about 50 metres up. Men flooded out of the upturned lorry, brandishing guns, obviously in the mood for revenge. They were about to open fire at the vulnerable helicopter when a police car screeched to a halt nearby, its sirens wailing. A policeman got out and was cut down by a hail of machine-gun fire from one of Jacques’ men. Then the actual car was blasted into non-existence by about ten guns. This, however, gave time for Kimoto to put the helicopter into a dive. Kazanka and Riez stuck their guns out of either side, blasting their enemies, who scattered and took cover, now only about 5 remaining. Kimoto landed the helicopter and Kazanka and Riez jumped out cradling their guns. Three of Jacques’ men were hiding behind a burning car. Kimoto saw them and using the guns built into the helicopter, blasted them and the car apart. Kazanka and Riez moved forward swiftly finishing off the two men. They held their guns in front of them as they began to search the lorry for Jacques. And to their shock and horror, he was nowhere to be seen. Then Kimoto’s voice came down from the helicopter.
“Guys, bad news, I assume you haven’t found Jacques.”Kazanka and Riez nodded dejectedly, surprised that Kimoto knew. “Yeah, well, I just got a call form someone in authority. I asked him to scan CCTV of the city a couple of hours ago before Kayato picked up Jacques’ trail. It seems that Jacques left the lorry just before they reached the motorway!”