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2 yrs ago
If there are RPs/PM's I need to reply to- I am working on it, I'm a little overladen in life atm. I haven't forgotten about you :)
3 yrs ago
Aaand back.
3 yrs ago
ALERT- I'm going AFK for a week, anyone that sees this on here, I won't be about to respond, this is to both 1x1s/RPs.

Bio

I've RP'd for the best part of over five years now here on the Guild, and particularly like military settings, both contemporary, past and near future. I have even dabbled in a little more experimental RPs, as well as created a plethora of 1x1s over my time in the guild. I've spent time in many an RP, and like creating RPs with a distinct flavor.

I'm pretty flexible and try and get back to people on ideas and responses, but sometimes, I may become very busy and it will take some time till I am un-busy- though I always come back!

Most Recent Posts

First proper RP post in months! It's not gonna be great- but enjoy!

So- I've laid it out quite open-plan here. Basically, play the situation how you feel like it- I've moved us onto Monaco as I thought it's a scene that was in my head in a while, and I want to basically see what George/Cassie/Drevan are like when in a situation where there's a lot of dialogue, and a lot of ways to play the situation. I almost don't want to interfere too much- as it should basically fuel itself here. Feel free to NPC characters- basically, run riot a little bit here.
Thom let the big man take the lead, George doing what he had to do, as he covered him and watched him pull it off. It wasn't dramatic, but it got the job done, as he swept around, keeping an eye open for anyone else that was with this man.
"Target is under, repeat, target is under. We have our man." Thom said, looking to George, nodding.

-------------

Kingmaker watched, Martin observing the scene unfolding, as he crossed his hands, watching on.
"Good protocol, Bugcatcher. It's en route then. I'll have the crew....well, understand what the situation is." He said, as he walked away from Bugcatcher, taking his phone out, and dialling a number, leaving the room for a moment, fully aware that he didn't need to. Bugcatcher would know precisely what he was up to as Martin went outside, but it happened so quickly, that nobody there would have understood it entirely.

-------------------

The ambulance carreered to a halt outside, people running around, and anti-terrorist police rushing past into the cleaned out station, as Thom and George carried the man towards it. It felt strange to be in this environment, and he was almost glad that the MPX wasn't as easily seen, and the cops that had arrived had their orders. This felt strangely in sync, like someone above had pulled strings perfectly, like a violinist playing a tune pitch perfect. It was thanks to a man that managed to handle this clusterfuck of agents he had at his disposal, and it had worked.

The ambulance crew ran out with a wheeled stretcher, slowly picking the man up out of Thom and George's arms and putting him onto it, as they followed, moving quickly yet not running to the parked ambulance. He was slammed in faster than anyone could percieve, and inexplicably, George and Thom were in the back. The door shut, as the three-person crew were inside, and away with George, Thom and the purple-hoodied man.

"Well, that happened." Thom said, leaning back as he exhaled, looking at the man in the purple hoodie, checking him over for any cyanide or weapons, any cavity he could, the ambulance staff looking on quietly, ordered not to speak a word. Thom nodded, looking to George once more.
"I have a feeling we're going to have a busy evening."

--------------

"The Interlude"

Five Days Later

Martin Thatcher was a man that had a lot of shit on his plate. The explosion at the tower had not been coincidental. Whatever it was in Pakistan that Sierra had unearthed, a raft of people were scrambling to hide their interests, Martin had concluded. The purple hoodied man was now in a container, that was classified as being a part of the property of Jordan, at an unknown RAF base in the countryside. He didn't know that of course, because in Jordan, torture laws were more lenient. Inteligence work was gritty at times, but Martin got his way of doing things and well, that was the best place. For now, it wasn't his ability to get answers- those would come in time from those who knew what he was doing. Instead of that, he had to explain how a major clusterfuck had happened on Sierra's watch. How a near-terrorist incident nearly hit the London Underground. That was frightening stuff. And now, his responsibility to go over.

Sitting in the office, the other MI6 intelligence director looked across with a steely glare, shaking his head. A faceless bureaucrat, no man of action but someone who ran a desk and not much more. But someone who was chasing this tail up, to clear the facts. And of course, authorise Sierra's remit.

"So, your conclusion, Martin?" He asked, as he sipped a little water, barely flinching in his chair as he did so.

"The data breach was something someone was closing down. They destroyed the server alright, turns out the plug got pulled not soon after that explosion. The signal went dead....we got what we wanted, but someone wanted to limit their damage. And someone knows that we were there."

"Limit their damage? What do you mean?" The grey man asked, as Martin sat up.

"There is someone working in collusion. Financiers, investors in groups such as our Taliban friends. I think it's connected. They want to make sure that they don't get exposed on whatever transactions were on that server. A secure one, may I add. One that was unconnected to the internet, and used through encrypted channels. One that cost my hacker an awful lot of time." Martin explained, as he poured himself a different drink, a small glass of whiskey, no less. He needed it after this bullshit.

"Interesting. That still leaves the loose end of who this shadow client is. The one that wanted to...cover their tracks. The one that did this, the person who needs their damage limited. We need more than a speculation of financiers."

"The man we captured was Iranian. Potentially, government investment from them. Or, just a former operator. He still hasn't given in, so we won't find out until he coughs up. It's possible that the Islamic Republic have a beef to pick with us." Martin cautiously spoke, the other man noticing it fully.

"And yet you don't sound convinced, Martin."

"I'm not. Because I think I know where we might find answers. There was one name that rang out in there in particular. There was nothing else that we found particularly interesting, just plenty of shell accounts and proxies, and none of it is substantial at all. But the biggest name on that server was Hans Rosenquist, CEO of Nectar Pharmaceutials. A Swedish CEO on that list doesn't make sense. Even with all of the noise removed, his name stuck out, as the main name on that server. A man with no political investments, but he had links to financial funding for Islamic terrorist groups, if that server says so."

"And what do you think then? Where does that put Sierra in chasing this down?" The director asked, a half-rhetorical question but addressed simply and plainly, rather than to undermine him.

"I suggest we have a chat with him. And probably dig up more data, because Bugcatcher just loves harvesting through people's personal lives. Of course, he's too busy. But his daughter seems to be rather prominent on social media. Careless, given her father is quieter than a mouse. And yet she is as shouty as they come. And, this girl, she's going to Monaco, it seems...on daddy's yacht."

"I see. And you think that could work?" The director asked, Martin chuckling, shaking his head.

"Not for certain. But we haven't got any other leads. No sane father would leave a multi-million pound boat in the hands of a 23-year old in a harbour like that. Not one at the top of a major drugs company. Victoria Rosenquist, pretty young thing....it would be rather convenient if one of our agents were to get close. A man I might know would be good at it."

"Good heavens. You aren't serious?"

"What, has old school spy work never worked? I need a man who can do whisky, casino tables, and young girls to protect the United Kingdom. Oh, and our resident American to keep him from going off the rails."

"I was going to say. Don't let your man get too attached to her." The director added, as Martin nodded, calmly sipping down a bit more whiskey, and loading up the post on his tablet, the one that had caught his eye. Victoria Rosenquist. A young woman in a skimpy bikini and a view of Monaco behind her, on what was certainly a ridiculously expensive boat. She was wearing sunglasses and from the looks of it, was exceptionally pretty. As Swedish a stereotype as ABBA was. The sort of girl that daddy bankrolled, and right now, had probably just given up her father's wherabouts.

--------------------

The Monégasque Gambit

Three Weeks Later

Monte-Carlo, Monaco


--

The plan was simple.

And so long as Sierra didn't totally fuck this, it would remain as such. Kingmaker had briefed the team beforehand, and whilst it felt strange to be going to this sort of work, he had to guess that from an extended debrief, and the fact that it was a disappointing haul from the tower server in London simply that hadn't made up for the effort they had made, this was going to be something to find a better understanding.

George had been put in as a civilian, flying from London to Nice, then getting a helicopter to Monaco's Heliport as a VIP, under his psudonym, and no doubt, was going to be rather chuffed to bits about that very idea of that happening. All in the while, Martin had Cassie on the ground after leaving Nice Airport, also in civilian attire, and as a seperate guest to the Casino de Monte-Carlo. The. Thom was with Drevan and Martin in the van, who unlike his usual self, wasn't sitting in a room in London, but in the thick of it.

It felt very, very James Bond this. This was about finding Victoria Rosenquist, in the Casino, and letting George....do his thing. However he pleased. He was such a gentleman that he probably was going to try and use his exquisite charm on her, as Martin had seen him do before. But, any other option was open. She needed to fess up to where daddy was, and the moment that happened, Martin was aware that they'd have their man to chase. A warrant or an arrest would just be too suspicious, and give him too much time to clean house. So this was the only way they had, and Martin fucking hoped that there would be results from this. Only difference? The support team involved, and the fact that it wasn't just one gentleman spy doing his thing. It was a team of highly trained intelligence operators that weren't meant to be there, at all.

Something about it felt connected to Martin, wondering about it still. MI6's AI programmes had run it through a Fraud database, deciphering links in documents and data and it came up to him, mysteriously. Nonsensically, of course, because how on earth did an Iranian operator, a Al-Qaeda and Taliban data farm and a Swedish CEO connect. It had something in there, and he was going to find out, one way or another.

Looking at his watch, he checked the time. It was time to report in with the two.

9:30pm,
Casino Square
Monte-Carlo Casino, Monaco

"Cavalier, Liberty, report in. We have eyes on you by the entrance of the Casino. CCTV is limited inside, due to the nature of the estabishment- I'll let Bugcatcher see what he can do but you'll be mostly on your own in there. Remember the op. Find our girl, given she last checked in here about 15 minutes ago, and find out what you can on where her father is. Remember, you're unarmed and we don't want to pick a fight here. Cavalier, you should probably be the first to make a move, Liberty, I suggest you watch for security around our girl." He spoke into his headset, checking the silenced Browning Hi-Power in his suit jacket, looking to Drevan's mobile setup inside the van.

"Go time, Hackerman." Martin said, nodding, Thom looking out through the back seat.
"Why the fuck aren't I in there, boss?"
"Because....well.....you're gonna need to fucking floor it when Cavalier gets slapped by our target and runs out followed by half a dozen bouncers." Martin said, deadpan serious, before cracking a smirk.
"Ah. Right." Thom replied, shrugging as he just took the section chief's advice, looking through the window across the square, still amazed he'd found somewhere so close to park.

The two operators going in had comms hidden on them, and Bugcatcher would be able to watch their every move too, if the hidden cameras they had were placed correctly.
ooooh, that's pretty good.....flows nicely.

I have a post saying "To Post" on my desktop, and it's still not finished. Basically, my drive for RP has of late, for the first time in eight years, decided to completely and almost utterly dry up.

What was something incredibly interesting to me has suddenly gone really to shit, and I can't tell why. That said, I'm gonna try and write a post before I disappear again for another week- I think it's still there but I just haven't actively joined many RPs in a while and it's kinda killed my creativity a little. I have got some ambitions for this RP though- there's definitely plenty we are still in for a treat of!
In order to make their aerial insertion work, Mark and Ellie had figured it out quick, using a simple map of the area. Ellie would use her wingsuit, while he'd drop in, straight down. It worked out better than the earlier plan- after all, she could cover far more distance silently, and the less the plane was overhead, the less chance they had of being detected. It was a surprise after all that they were even coming. And Mark had a score to settle. Kill every bastard he found, and recover whatever it was they stole for himself. That was his job. The rig on his back, goggles on his forehead, and altimeter on his wrist with the R700 at his side partly-disassembled, he felt prepared. Ready, even.

Ellie was confident, calm, collected, that much Mark could tell, as the door opened and the wind rushed in, the sight of darkness outside only illuminated by the moonlight peering through a clear sky, as he looked to her.
"Remember the plan, I've got you on comms!" He yelled, as the engine slowed down, Mark moving to the back of the door, and looking out. He nodded, as Ellie set herself up, and taking a breather, fell out of the plane into the abyss.

Mark's leap out first meant he was watching Ellie fly away from the aircraft in a far more dramatic fashion and into the black oblivion, as he whooped. This was....fun. Chaotic, strange, but it was fun as hell, and he could only guess that Ellie was far more comfortable right now than he was, as this felt strange and insane to him, an operational need, not a day-to-day.

Deploying in pitch black wasn't too different to the operations he'd been on before, but it made navigation difficult, given how far away the house was, a small light in the distance. He looked on, taking the toggles of his grey parachute, and steering himself down, finding the outline of the rocks below, and steering himself in gently. No need to break bones, he reminded himself, this had to be careful.

Landing quite a far way away from the site, he set himself down in the rocky hillside overlooking the mansion, knowing Ellie was going to be close in, up close and personal with the outer perimeter given the fact that she could fly for miles with her suit. Seeing her parachute above, he knew she was going to be on her target, or at least, as close as she could get. She was accurate, a professional after all, and he was impressed. Mark ditched his own rig and left it, aware of it's expense but the fact was that he needed to save weight and get moving. That was priority now. Setting up the rifle, getting into position, and being ready for what came next.

"Okay, I've got you in visual. You're a hell of a lot closer to the site than me." He said into the radio, as he scarpered down the rockface, the moonlight illuminating her chute, knowing it wasn't without noise, but was near enough silent compared to the crashing waves of the rocky coastline.

Finding a position, Mark set up the R700, optic and all, looking towards the mansion nestled on the cliffs. A silencer sat on the end of the barrel; if he did have to use this thing, he wasn't waking up the locals with it.
"I've got a main guard post at the front, looks well staffed, lots of security. Not many guards around, looks like it's mostly lights out, but there's a few on the roof." He simply said, as he looked over the area a little more, exhaling and taking a breath to ponder what else there was through his scope.
"I've got the rifle ready now, so if you need a shot, let me know. Don't use your pistol unless you absolutely have to, Ellie, let's keep this neat. Can you get a closer look at any security systems, or buildings up close?" Mark asked, aware he couldn't see a lot from his position, apart from outlines and structures, rather than what Ellie may have been able to from her position.

------

Meanwhile, Ross was following her, and it felt strange, strange indeed to not be leading and following suit. Then again, Athena was a rather confident woman and would be used to leading teams of men in an armed response unit, so it made sense. Stealing an SUV though, that was something new to see. Breaking the law, breaking the law....Ross liked this side of her increasingly, something about a holiday on the other side of the border brought something out of her, perhaps.

The Jeep roared into life, Ross sitting in the passenger seat, bags in the back, as he pulled out one of the M4s, eyeing it up.
"Fuck me." Ross said, shaking his head, the road bumpy as he kept it unloaded, albeit scooping out a couple of mags as he looked to Athena.
"It should be in and out stuff. I think Mark has most of it covered. He hasn't let me down before. Guy's a criminal mastermind." Ross said, aware that small chat like this with an operator working for the police was always going to go one way, and it was better he did it than her, in some strange sense.

The roads got worse and worse, as they drove on, Ross watching the GPS and seeing the fact that each trail was getting smaller and smaller, shittier and shittier.
The aircraft landed with a bump on the tarmac, the Cessna skidding to a halt quickly and turning off the runway, taxiing over.
"Alright. There's benches in the back, no comfy seats for us." Mark said, stating the obvious, as he watched the plane pootle along the tar, and slowly turn to the crew that were waiting by the Range Rover. The plane stopped, but the engine kept running.

The pilot opened the door but stayed in, Zane a man that Mark could trust, a pilot that had been refered to him through one of his contacts in this world. He had no intention of asking what he did with that Cessna Caravan, given he was able to fly between Mexico and the US, but something gave him a feeling it wasn't always legal. An old diplomatic bag sat on the passenger seat, marked "DIPLOMATIC BAG OF BELGIUM, DO NOT TOUCH" in very clear and scary font. He was about 5"8, with long flowing brown hair and tanned skin, with a distinct grin on his face and a pair of aviation headphones on his ears. He gave a thumbs up, indicating they were going straightaway, and they weren't shutting the engine down. Mark nodded, running to the left rear of the aircraft, keeping behind the prop and opening the shutter door, as he piled his bags that he was carrying in. Helping out Ellie, Ross and Athena, they loaded their gear inside,

Clambering into the plane, Mark gave Ellie and Ross a hand, pulling the latter in and shutting the door.
"Okay!" He yelled, as the plane ripped, the brakes off and the propeller now pulling them forwards. Shutting the door, Mark moved past the benches and their luggage, moving up to the front of the aircraft.

"What's the rush?" Mark had to speak up, almost yelling to hear himself talk over the engine's increasing roar.
"We haven't got long in the airspace clear for our run- we're gonna get going now, while we can boss!" Zane replied, as Mark nodded, looking back at the other two, taking a seat on a bench. His accent was strange, it almost sounded Australian from what Mark could tell- he remembered talking to him years ago, but hadn't seen him in years, much like Ross.

"Well, looks like we're going quickly!" Mark called out to the others, as Zane quickly took the Caravan onto the tarmac, and with clearance, hit full throttle again. The engine was clearly not the Caravan's standard, it had a lot more poke to it, and brought the small cargo plane off the ground quickly, albeit far more noisy than any regular aircraft.

Clambering to altitude, Mark had the chance to at least clamber into the front, taking a seat by Zane's diplomatic bag and grab a spare headset. It was possible to talk without it, but for extended periods of time, maybe not.
"Thanks for coming by." Mark said, as Zane nodded, turning on the flight path for south-west, their route to the Baja with only one brief stop.

"No issues. I was taking her south of the border anyway, you're on my way down." Zane replied, looking back for a moment at Ellie, Ross and Athena in the back.
"Who's that lot?"
"Couple of friends of mine. It's just dealing with a bunch of crooked bastards for an old associate. Nothing too big." Mark said, Zane confused as he looked over.
"And you're going to all this effort? Then again, you're partly covering my bill."
"Yeah, don't ask. You alright to hold us at altitude over the west of the town, when we're running in? Me and one of the girls back there are going to drop in. We've got a compound identified that we want to hit and need a...well, unorthodox approach."
"Can do. Just make sure you get the fuck out and your friends shut the door once you're out. This isn't a jump plane. We'll be six hours till we get there." Zane was striaght to the point, as the clouds were close, as they sat at a cruising altitude of 9,000 feet. This was a way to travel, given they didn't have to stay on roads, and Mark knew that what was to come was going to be insanity. Clambering out of the seat, he put the headset down, Ross looking to the other Scots blood that wasn't Ellie.

"This thing is fucking loud!" Ross yelled, as Mark chuckled, looking to Ellie.
"Look at her, she doesn't even seem to give a shit. Totally normal to jump out of one of these, right?" Ross asked Ellie, still a little bemused at the idea that she even did that insane thing she did, knowing Ellie would be used to this sort of aircraft, given it's common application as a airdrop plane.

"It's called not being a pussy, Ross. Try it sometime." Mark cooly replied, chuckling, knowing Ellie might join in.
"We're going guns fucking blazing into a compound full of angry Latino hitmen and gangsters, and you're calling me a pussy?" Ross was a little on edge, no doubt from the crazy shit that had happened in the past few hours, but it was also something else.

"Ross....chill the fuck out. Unless...you're not scared of little planes?" Mark replied, as the gears turned in his own head, chuckling as Ross's face turned to complete mush.
"....no, I'm not......okay, yeah, I'm a bit scared of planes." Ross replied, as Mark laughed, shaking his head.
"Shit....well, you need to shut the door after we go. Athena might have to." Mark said, looking across to the other woman in the crew, knowing maybe she would be a bit frightened of this, but probably had more balls than Ross did, he jokingly thought to himself.
And Ross was on the pedal, the Range Rover's V8 roaring into life as they left the bar, the pursuit of vehicles behind them clear to Ross, as he knew he had to drive, and drive like mad. He didn't take the roads they came here on, but opted for even shittier gravel and sand-banked roads, putting every brake horsepower of throttle down to drive, and evade the cars behind. He could hear Athena smash the rear window, and begin spraying, taking shots as he focused only on what was ahead. It was like escaping the cops, only the stakes were higher.

The rough roads were hard and horrid, bumping like hell but Ross was taking it in, hugging each corner as best as he could, the Range actually four-wheel drifting on the loose sand, the noise of rounds flying past reminding him to keep on the throttle.

Mark stuck his upper body out of the car window, putting his M4A1 outside, as he joined Athena in shooting at the people after them, popping off bursts of rounds. He took out the passenger from the one that had replaced the previous chase car, the glass shattering as he swore, the bumps making it hard to shoot. Ross was on it, and putting distance between them, but Mark was aware that they had to get away, and fast- he had to end this here.

Taking a breath, Mark sent a single 5.56 into the driver side, slamming into the man's chest, as the car skidded and tipped over, Mark holding on from his position as Ross turned the corner hard. Mark tightly held onto the side of the pillar as he watched the car behind crash, chuckling as he took the mag out, sliding a new one in, looking back at Athena. They'd ran out of cars it looked like, for now at least.
"Nice shooting. Kept us out of trouble." Mark said to her, as he leaned back into his headrest, looking at Ross.
"Drive us somewhere off the tracks. We have information to extract. Go further away than you think you need to."

--

Putting the pistol up against Luis's temple, Mark looked in, the middle of nowhere as good a place as any for this, given they had left the road.
"I know you speak English." Mark said, coldly, calmly, utterly remorseless, as he sighed.
"So, I want you to talk to me. Tell me, where is the rest of your gang. And how many." Mark started slow, Luis on the floor, tied at legs and arms, left to the baking sun for a little while before Mark had started the process.

"Shit.....I can't, or I'm dead!" He screamed sheepishly, knowing it was very true, but Mark wasn't taking that for an answer.
"Way I see it, only way I go from here is torturing you. And some of the body bits you might lose during that, might not come back. My friend here knows my reputation." Mark said, tutting, as Ross watched on, Mark looking at Luis, chuckling.

"They call me the Surgeon. Because what I do, is I can do things to your limbs that no other medical professional will do. What I do, is I start first with the nails. Rip a few out. If that doesn't work, I work my way up. Take a toe, take a finger. Then a hand, or a foot. Then a forearm. Do you know how long it takes for you to bleed out?" Mark said, shaking his head, sitting down by the man, legs buried in the sand, chuckling.

"Not long enough, because it'll be tourniqueted, and I'll work on the other parts of you that you don't need to live. I'm thinking you're a really juicy specimen." Mark said, shaking his head, taking Luis's heavily tattooed arm.
"My friend here has seen what my work can do. It's really pretty. And that sleeve of yours must have cost you mucho dollares. Lemme see. I might start with that one first." Mark said, as he shoved the sharp shank into his arm, Luis roaring with pain, drawing it out, as he then yanked his arm tight, the pain searing through Luis's body, smirking.
"Let's see. You clearly don't fucking clean your fingernails. Let's fix that." Taking the toolbox closer, Mark pulled out the pliers, and did his thing.

What happened next nobody wanted to watch, because Mark was unrelenting, it was pure torture, and nothing more, nothing less. Luis was not co-operative, and he was changing his mind, fast. Mark knew that when he broke, it would be everything. A professional would leak slowly, but Luis was prime material for this style. He was perfect.

It took a bit of fear, and only three fingernails to be completely ripped out with pliers to get it working. Luis was sobbing, as Mark looked on into his eyes, burning from tequila and rage.
"Now. I'm going to repeat my question. Where, are, your, friends?"

Luis cried, and if he hadn't shat himself already, he was now.
"It's in Baja, Baja! There's a mansion in the Sud, I swear!"
"Go on. I want GPS co-ordinates. Now, I'm going to free your other hand. I'm going to give you my phone. I want you to type in the GPS co-ordinates. I know you know them. Do that, and I'm going to let you live, and get you far away from here." Mark added, pulling his hand free from the zip-tie, holding his other arm behind his back, the bloody stain pouring down his shirt.

Luis did as he was told, slowly typing numbers in, doing as he was told, a good little boy. The numbers were coming up with a site, and there was a building there. It was the place alright, as Mark nodded, snatching the phone out of his hands.

"How many?"
"All of the gang, I swear. I'm the only other one!"
"Sure? I want to try your other hand."
"I swear! There aren't any more. They have lots of guns, lots of security. Maybe 20, 30. They're going to leave soon!" He said, as Mark nodded.

"Good. You saved us a lot of trouble." Mark said, as Luis looked up, his legs still tight, as he tried to get his legs, Mark kicking him hard in the ribs.

"I'll save you yours." Mark coldly said, drawing the P226 and cleanly shooting him between the eyes, straight through the nose with a gentle piss of blood trickling out as he kicked him over.
"We got what we came for. Cartels, or his crew would have made him a goner. We don't leave loose ends. Not when they seem to be willing to kill a pregnant woman and her husband." Mark said, Ross looking on in horror, as he knew the rest would.

"Seriously, after you said that to him?" Ross exclaimed, looking on in horror, a little taken aback by what Mark had just done, especially after all that had just occurred, the promise he'd just snapped on.

"I won't repeat myself. I told you what this would be. We need to go, now." Mark didn't stutter. He had a point, but knew at that moment, he wasn't going to be anyone's favourite person, least Athena's, given he just summarily executed a man.
"I'm going to come up with a plan. It isn't going to be easy, lads, but we might need to hurry up."

----

Two Hours Later

Aeropuerto de Nogales, Mexico

Luis's dead body had been left in the desert, buried beneath a tarpaulin off the road, in the midst of nowhere. If someone found him, they'd think it was another Cartel hit, not what was going on. It was as dead as he was right now, and while not a moral decision, it was for the better. They wouldn't have been able to extract him, nor guarantee his safety. It was better they killed him there, then let him live to be shot in the back of the head in America.

It seemed that the place he had described was fortified, a mansion west of Cabo San Lucas, a town at the southermost tip of Baja California, looking out to the Pacific. A modern one, with all the trimmings, for some rich millionaire's vacation home, given a helicopter and numerous cars were parked there, at least in the old satellite photo on Google Maps. It was perched atop a cliff, and a seriously difficult place to hit, given the fortified walls all around it. It was not going to be easy. Remote, desolate, there were rocky mountains with sweet fuck all, and only a crappy dirt track following the coastal cliffs to it, with dry riverbed valleys inland of it. There was going to be a serious security presence, but Mark didn't know exactly what. If he knew where it was, they were going to be able to rip through it, but not unless they knew what they were up against.

In all, Mark knew that it wouldn't work, not unless they did something better. But then it occurred to him, on the car drive down, and at the airport. There was one girl that knew something a bit more extraordinary, and she happened to be with them. After all, they had no idea what they were in for, but Mark took a guess that Ellie, if she wasn't good with a gun, could do something a little more than any of them. They needed someone to do some recon, and getting in was nigh-on impossible from any other angle. Apart from one.

Above.

Mark knew she didn't need to do much, but what she was good at, would be infiltration. She was skinny, and no doubt a good athlete, so she would go in good stead to get it done. They needed to fly out to there anyway, and the timings of this had to be like clockwork, or they wouldn't get it. Mark hadn't told the team the plan, but knew that no doubt, he was going to get a lot more weird looks.

"Zane said he'd be here any minute. Flying a Cessna 208 he told me, should have the fuel to carry on to Cabo San Luis. They're going to take their time at customs, but luckily, that man over there was very partial to the idea of us carrying weapons. Turns out he really wanted a Range Rover. See, it has it's use." Mark said, as he stood up, opening the boot of the open Range Rover, and sliding a few cases out of it, two containing rifles, one containing his own kit, and the other containing Ellie's stuff, as per instruction from the last time they'd set out for here.

"Looks like this Mansion, whatever it is, is our last destination for our tour. The entirety of the gang, and any affiliates are there. I might have an idea for how we deal with it." Mark said, as Ross pitched his head over.

"Ramraid and kill everyone we find? Or have you got a better plan? You heard what he said. It's not going to be easy." Ross replied, Mark nodding.

"I think we have an advantage. They don't know we're coming. Or they won't, given we have a plane at our disposal, and some kit I called for coming in." Mark added, Ross looking to the Royal Marine, a bit bemused.

"What are you thinking?"

"I'm thinking Ellie and me drop in from the plane. She happens to be the only one who knows how to use a chute apart from me on this team. We sneak in, and we find out what their weaknesses are, and what supplies they're packing. That's all while you and Athena fly into the airport in town over the course of the evening. You'll need to rent, or just find some off-road motorbikes or rough transport, and get into the hills...it isn't far but there's tracks going that way and we'll all meet near the mansion, on a GPS co-ordinate in the valleys. When night comes, we take them from the angle nobody would really give two thoughts about, and take them down knowing where they're weak. We eliminate anyone we come across, take down their files on anyone they were tracking, find transport, and get the fuck back to the plane, and out of country, before any Federales show up and ask why there's lots of dead people." Mark was meticulous, but it sounded completely insane, to whatever observer was listening.

Ross was speechless for just a moment, looking to him.
"Are you...you know, fucking mad?"
"Only a little. But the alternative is a ram-raid, and I don't like the idea of that. 30-40 people is a suicide mission, but with the right planning, we can make it work, but only if we're using speed and aggression, from an angle they won't expect, with a thought process they don't think of." Mark said, as it sunk into the rest of the team, Ross shaking his head.

"You are off your head. And how exactly do you expect you can infiltrate a highly guarded secure compound, without making a single mark?"
"Leave that to me. Ellie's proven herself capable, and we will make that side of it work. Anyway, I don't see you having a better plan. I give it 24 hours before they leave and scatter, then we're fucked, and we won't ever be able to solve your problem. As it stands, we're lucky to have this opportunity."

The noise of the Cessna flying in from the distance could be audibly heard, as Mark sat up from the chair, throwing the Range's keys to the Customs Agent, taking all the bags he could carry and smirking.
"Come on then. We have a job to do. If you have anything to add to the plan, we'll clear it in the plane. I promise you won't have to do much Ellie, but I need your eyes and ears for this one."
Mark pulled his own Sig from his holster, sliding a 9mm mag in, nodding.
"Mine is pretty pish. So that's good to know." Mark replied, sharp as ever as he pulled the shades up onto his forehead, looking to Ross, who pulled in by the front of the bar. The suburbs of Nogales could be seen down below in the valley, and the US border near that. It was a border town alright, and this was not a place anyone had jurisdiction, the Sicarios did their work here and didn't like any Federales coming in their way. A good amount of money kept them out of sight, at least.

"Alright Ross, you know the drill. You know the route. Just be ready. Ellie, just be ready for things to get messy. Ross might need another pair of hands." He said, Mark aware he had control of the situation, well, as best as he could, even in this madhouse.

Stepping out of the car at the front of the bar, a few people looked on, and they couldn't have been more foreign if they tried, as Mark nodded to Athena, leading the way as he looked over his shoulder, Ross putting it into first and pulling away, getting ready to get around the back.
"As I'll ever be. Follow my lead, and make sure you keep on your toes. Shit could get real, any second." Mark said, brimming with confidence that came with being wired to this sort of insane shit. The rag was in his pocket, and he knew exactly how this was going to go.

Walking in, it was quiet, with a few locals, and a few sharper dressed men. Some authentic, no-bullshit Mexican music was playing on the stereo, and Mark almost liked it. It was a fairly large bar, but he'd already seen the exits, the prices on the wall, and who to suspect was going to be dangerous when shit got real. Which, in about a minute, it would.

Walking up to the bar, Mark leaned in, as the barman looked over, and said something in Spanish. Mark could only reply with the best he had to give.
"Tequila, por favor. Dos." The man on the other side of the bar replied, as Mark looked to Athena, then around the bar, aware they stuck out like sore thumbs. Any second now, someone was going to approach them, and tell them to fuck off. They were not tourists, they were federales, out for someone, and they hadn't cottoned on who. The barman poured the Tequila, the tension feeling like it could be cut like a knife, as he brought it over, Mark sliding pesos across the bar, sipping then downing the shot with ease, looking back.

"Mas." More, he asked, as the barman poured another. But he'd seen their man in the corner of his eye. Athena had been eye candy, he'd been keen to drink. But he was ready alright. The bottle still lay on the bar, as Mark turned away with it, the barman away grabbing a shot glass, Luis in a corner with two chums.
"Que pasa, senor..." One man said, as Mark walked away, bottle of Tequila in hand, brushing the man off, walking towards Luis, nodding to Athena, as he walked up to the trio, looking over.

"Luis, I'm going to ask you nicely. Come with us, have some Tequila. Or this will get difficult." The Scotsman was clear, the ginger angry bastard now already processing just how this was going to happen. Somehow, it took a psychopathic tendency to just figure it all out and make this work, if this was going to be relatively bloodless, but brutal. The two men sat by his side at the table, and Mark was already calculating the way out, and how long they would have.

"Que?" The man asked, as Mark shook his head.

"I don't do "QUE" for an answer, dickhead." Mark smirked, as he took a lighter from his pocket, then suddenly, did the unthinkable. He smashed the bottle against the man on the left of Luis's head, and the Tequila smashed into pieces, as he chucked his zippo into it, the spark catching the high alcohol content sprit that had mostly gone over him. The man was fucked, but the fire just threw all shit out of the window for everyone, the man with a bottle smashed over his head and near unconciousness now being lit like he had petrol all over him. The other man rose, taking a gun as Mark moved quick, grabbing his arm and twisting it over to force him to drop it, pushing him towards Athena to sort out, as he stopped Luis from running and taking his pistol out, punching him hard in the gut and putting rag to mouth, stuffing it into his jaw, as he yelled through.

"VAMOS!" Mark yelled, as a couple of men got up, grabbing pistols and one even with an Ingram Mac-10, taking Luis's body by the neck as he left the rag in his mouth, and took his own Sig out.
"Go, go, go!" Mark yelled, as he dragged the man, going slowly and surely into unconciousness, moving out of the stall and away from the other men with guns, who weren't able to comprehend who the fuck to shoot at, or what the fuck was going on. They were clearly his local friends, and didn't want to get him dead, which for Mark, was a convenient part of the plan.

Dragging him, he kicked the fire door open and the loud pounding Mexican music was now muffled, the light coming down hard on this cloudless afternoon, Ross with the window down and the boot open. Mark didn't need to fire a round, but he was ahead, and guessed that Athena may have needed to fire back at them, given he'd moved so quick with Luis in a chokehold and dragged out. Throwing Luis's limping body into the back, he slammed the boot shut, as a couple of men moved out of the front, Mark elegantly using the Rover for cover and popping a couple of blindfire shots, before darting into the passenger's seat, covering Athena's movement back as Ross hit first.

"Fuck, move, move, move!"
Mark looked over, barely flinching. It was like it'd happened to him before in his life, the MP5 pointing at him as they headed in, Ross completely aware of why, unable to even speak before Mark quipped in.

"Information. Nice to meet you, I guess....you're rather courteous, but last time police were talking to me, I got a similar treatment. Heckler and Koch type of person, I guess. MP5, Counter-Terrorist variant. You're definitely a cop. Hmm...I'm more Sig Sauer than HK, but that's just me." Mark said, utterly unafraid, utterly giving no fucks, because well, he had really seen worse, chuckling a little, as he looked to Ellie and Athena, Ross stopping him.
"Mark's got intel for us...easy, Athena. Sounds like we have someone we can hunt down if we want to find our gang. The rest goes from there." Ross commented, as Mark nodded, shaking his head.

"Mark's good, Athena. End of the day, you might hate him, but your own sister was the one that brought me into this whole job. She organises the courier runs, and is more blue blooded street racer than I am sometimes. She's a criminal too, by any means of the definition. And sometimes, the law can't sort the problems that the underworld can."

"Aye. It's a rather simple arrangement. Point being, I'm taking just as much of a risk as you are to trust me. We're both opposites, but we need to do this for Ross and Kimberly. We're just different sides of the mirror." Mark said bluntly, Ross nodding.

"We'll need to get going in the morning. We've got a lot of ground to cover. Ellie, this is Mark, by the way. Another Scotsman in the crew, I guess. He's friendly. Feel free to crash here, pal. I need to get rest myself...I feel like a wreck." Ross added, yawning as he grabbed his bottle of water, sipping it down, sitting on the bed as he did. Mark looked to Athena, knowing she definitely didn't like him, and he didn't like her. But it had to be said.

"You know, for a cop, I think we might get along, Athena. Also, nice to meet you, Ellie. I hear you're the mad one."

------

Part 8: Retribution


Somewhere in the desert outside Nogales, Mexico
Sixteen Hours Later

The afternoon sun was beating down, and the dusty desert on the far side of the border fence was a strange feeling indeed. There wasn't much point in sugarcoating it, Ross was on a healthy amount of painkillers that would make Max Payne look like a recreational user, and sitting behind the wheel of a black 2011 Range Rover Sport felt like the most insane thing he'd ever fucking done. Christ, what the fuck were they thinking....

As it turned out, Mark had a particular eye for cars sometimes, and saw the car in a used car lot, surprisingly cheap. Turns out it was on sale after a local drug dealer had been caught out. Of course, the fact that he fucking drove a black Range Rover Sport, lived in a poor neighborhood and happened to smell of weed, totally didn't give the fact away that he dealt drugs. The point was, the car was cheap, smelled of ganja somehow, and it had a TVR-sourced supercharged V8, which for America, was standard. The other SUVs were crap, worse, or too flimsy for the job. Especially to carry the equipment they needed to bring with them, this Range Rover was an effective use of $20,000. Indeed, it was cheap.

But it was a fucking Range Rover. And Mark couldn't say no. Ross.....was still dealing with that fact.

It was a vehicle that would do the job, given they needed a V8, off-road capability, and something that wasn't going to wreck their insides when they were using that V8 on the bumpy stuff. Maybe it was the inner Marine that Mark still had an affinity with a Land Rover, but right now, it was doing just that, even if not inconspicous. Hardly like they needed to be, given the plan they had put together.

Ross looked in the mirror, the sight of Athena and Ellie in the back, as they followed the bumpy back roads. They were on their way to the outskirts of Nogales, to the Bar Azul Verde, a fine establishment filled with cholos and up and coming drug bandits, cocaine and tequila, coming out of the desert roads and towards a tiny track, with a few houses littered around it.

In the passenger footwell, Mark had two M4A1 CQBRs no less, on top of his Sig Sauer P226 in his holster, and a Browning M1911 for Ross, which Ross conveniently had in the cupholder. In the back, he'd even been able to get a Remington R700 .300 rifle, tooled to Marine standards. This was a serious arsenal, and Ross did not want to ask questions where it had come from. Mark had not replied to Athena's ones, when he arrived with it. All they needed to know was, a friend of a friend came in handy and he'd "found" magazines and rifles. That and kevlar vests for all four of them, just for the fact that they were rolling in bandit country now.

They had a little while to go, so Mark looked back at the two in the back, then at Ross.
"Let's go through the plan one more time. This can work like clockwork, or else we will not get another chance." Mark said, wearing a pair of Oakley shades to cover his jetlagged eyes, his demeanour as serious as ever.

"The target, Luis Alvares is a Hispanic-coloured male, about 5"6, grey-green eyes, black shaven hair. Former arrests by the Mexican, Guatemalan and Peruvian authorities, so he's run drugs throughout the two continents. He isn't imposing, but he will be using a concealed carry, that we do know. We are going to get there, and me and Athena are going to go in, just us two. Ross, Ellie, you keep watch, and you wait by the rear entrance of the bar...Ross, when we come, you are going to have to drive like a bastard." Mark begun, looking to Athena.

"We'll play it cool, we will stick out like nothing so speed is key, sidearms only. Chloroform is the main weapon of choice here, it'll knock our man out for long enough and I'll drag him out. If my contact is correct, he's going to be there for a few more hours before he goes invisible, so we need to make sure we get this right. Ellie, make sure the boot is open, and we'll throw him in the back. Ross, you then floor it, with all five of us secure. We'll give him an interview he won't forget once we're in the middle of nowhere. Don't worry, Athena, it's all above board. We'll try and stick to the Geneva Convention for as long as we can, but if I hear an answer I don't like, he'll find out what the worst of a Resistance to Torture programme looks like very fast." Mark cotninued, taking his Sig and loading a 9mm clip inside, cocking it, looking back to Athena, as Ross turned the corner on the dirt road, the V8 purring as they approached the bar.

"After that, we'll go on what he says. Nice and slowly here. We don't need to raise hell....Athena, what's your Spanish like?" Mark asked, to the point, Ross quiet for now as he drove, doing the thing he did best.
Ross nodded, knowing it was hard for her to say that, but he had to reassure her, and knew that this was something that was going to have no going back.
"Nothing you won't be able to handle. I'll make sure you stay away from the pointy ends. Leave that to me." Ross said, chuckling as he heard her retort, leaning against the trailer before they headed in.
"Shit, I suppose so." Ross said, shaking his head, following Ellie inside, as they made their way into the trailer.

As Ellie headed in, Seb, Athena and the others looked on, the trailer deserted, a couple beds inside, a tiny kitchen area and a few other bits for living here. It was clear that whoever Seb's friend was, he was a similar adrenaline junkie, as a few bits and pieces lay around, but most of it was gone, taken with him on whatever trip he'd gone on, it seemed.
"Well, it's like he said it would be. There really isn't much to it." Seb simply commented, as Ross nodded, looking to Ellie.
"It'll do for now." He stoically said, as he put pressure on the carbon fiber walking pole, pivoting onto one of the beds, taking a seat, his side still hurting a hell of a lot.

"Okay, so as we've said in the car, this isn't the best situation. But I think we've come to something. Thank you for getting me out. You saved mine, and probably Kimberly's life. If you hadn't have come, I don't want to think what would have happened." Ross said, as Seb nodded, looking to Athena.
"She seemed to be the one with an MP5 in her hand, anyway. Probably made them drop back. I guess we just drove you out. There's not much more to be said. Tell me, what do we do now?" Seb asked, as Ross nodded, clearing his throat, knowing this was going to be pretty important to put across.

"My contact is coming from home. He's got a good knowledge of criminal courier networks, and moreso, the gangs that operate within that space. He might have a lead. And if he does, that means that I'm going to need to hunt them down, and find and eliminate whoever wants us dead, so they aren't a threat. That's the only way it ends. Otherwise, we'll be marked our entire lives, and thieves don't ever have friends in high places. That I do know, because that's how any gang like theirs would work, even if they were high level. They think we won't fight back, but that's where I know I might have something to give. No doubt, it will be messy. I haven't used a weapon in a little while, but I am sure I can get back into the flow of things." He knew he'd get a weird look from Athena, and probably from Ellie too.

"Athena, I suppose you're looking at me like a criminal. I suppose that I am, but you know full well that there's always two sides of the law. The one that your sister is in, too. There was a code, I suppose. They broke it. And now, this is where we are." Ross shook his head, knowing he was on a tangent, given he was dehydrated and well, lower on his count of blood than usual.

"Point being, you need to get the hell out, Seb. Get another vehicle, I'll wire you whatever money you need for it, and go."
"Both of us?" Seb asked, as Ross looked to Ellie.
"Not necessarily. For what I have in mind, I might need a particular person with a talent I don't think I'll find anywhere else." Ross said, looking up at Ellie.
"Believe me, in a long line of terrible ideas, I think this might be the worst."

----------

Six Hours Later

Ross hunkered up in the bed, the evening was coming in and the night was falling on Phoenix, in this remote trailer, and he had a lot to think about. The events of the past few hours had been disorienting, but important.

He didn't have the chance to call Kimberly, he couldn't here, he didn't want to use his mobile phone, given they weren't on the move or out of the way. Ross had taken the chance to make sure Athena's was off, given he didn't want it to trace to here, in case they had anything more sophisticated, and he was waiting on Mark. He would be here, soon and surely enough. He'd drunk, eaten, and gotten himself back together. He'd let Seb leave, after he'd talked with Ellie, and it wasn't a fun conversation, when he heard it outside. Nothing relationship ending, but he could tell, they were spending time apart, to think things over. This wasn't for him, and no doubt, he'd have his own shit to do, while this was going down. He was happy Ellie was choosing to stay, but hoped in his head that it was the right choice, to make sure that she wasn't on the line. He knew she could handle herself, but something in his mind just felt like this was a dumb, fucking stupid choice, but an unorthodox one. Strange times called for strange decisions, and he hoped it wasn't his headache talking, as he sipped down some water.

Beyond that, Athena was still here, and while it was a strange thing to convince her, the point was simple- there wasn't really any other way about it. While Ross was organising something, he knew that the other family members would look after Kimberly, and make sure no harm came to her, hell or high water. For now, at least.

OST: Plan B, No More Eatin


Ross heard the knocking, standing up and grabbing the walking pole, standing up, knowing it had to be him, and nobody else, just as agreed.
"I got this. Give us some time." He wanted to talk on his own with him for now, given the conversations they were about to have.

Opening the door, he saw the sight of Mark Torridon. The man that he was waiting to see, but wasn't expecting to
actually ever see again since the last time they'd been on a job. The Royal Marine, 6"4 of ginger-haired, ginger bearded insane bastard. He had a tattoo of a Kraken wrapping around his left arm as a complete artwork, and wearing a grey T-shirt with a metal band on the front of it, you could tell
"Fucking hell, you've seen better." Mark said, as he chuckled, hugging Ross, Ross needing to take the weight as he hugged Mark back, chuckling.
"I fucking missed you, old man." Ross said, laughing as Mark let go, looking at the getaway driver of his crew.
"Old man, get tae fuck." Mark replied as Scotsmanlike as he could, shaking his head, as Ross followed, a table outside of the trailer being right near them, and somewhere Mark immediately took a seat, on the table no less, as Ross sat alongside.

"Can't fucking believe it. I'm sorry if I interrupted anything. And coming out of the blue, an' all. Heat here is fucking mad." Mark said, as Ross shook his head, not feeling that was the case at all.

"I didn't know it, but I guess I need help. Didn't even occur to me. But you're probably my best shot." Ross said, Mark nodding.
"That I am. Because I think on the flight over here, I got something for you. A thread, but something. Let me get down to it." Mark chuckled, as Ross looked, waiting for more, as Mark cleared his throat, still getting used to the heat here.

"It's a Panamanian crew, did nearly the same to a racer in Paris it turns out, same night. He got away. I have no idea who the fuck you were working for, but trust me, if those fuckers don't want revenge against the people that stole the cases as much as you do, I'd be surprised. So, it turns out, they're based, you'll never guess where...."
"Panama."
"Bingo."

"What are you trying to say anyway?"

"They might be there, but one of their men is still close. A man by the name of Luis Alvarez, which is probably the most generic fucking Hispanic name I've ever heard. Maybe a pseudonym, or his real, depending on how boring he is. As it happens, he's actually a lot closer than I thought, he's only in Nogales. Over the border. He's the "gringo", who got them into the country, got them the intel that there was an event, and everything. Turns out he's the man for any info in this part of the world, so I think he might talk. Point us in the way we need to go."
"And what then?"
"We find out where they're based, and me, and you, go find them and kill them all. What I do best. And what I'll run you through." There was no doubting that Mark was only a little psychotic. Only a little.

"There might be some people that can help us, Mark. We might be up against some serious stuff here."

"We don't do other people. It's a fucking liability, pal. You know that." He said, Mark harsh in his words, as he looked back at the other Scot, sighing.
"Who are you thinking, anyway? None of the old crew?" Mark added, Ross looking back.
"My sister's got people. And another Scot. She might be good." Ross said, knowing that he was going to put two and two together, any second now.
"Wait....I've heard. You're not....you're fucking mental. That's the worst idea I've heard."
"Every decision I'm making seems pretty stupid right now. I haven't got many I can make, given what just fucking happened."
"So you think it's a smart idea to bring in a fucking cop, or a Navy SEAL? Do you....you know, fucking realise how stupid that is?"
"And Kimberly Hartley seems to be in a hospital right now, and the fuckers that did this are out of the country, beyond US jurisdiction, if what you just told me is true. Where their law ends, ours begins." Ross was straight to the point, and knew that he'd get that, at least.

"Fucking hell....you are mental. No, there's no fucking way we can....bollocks, this is your gig. And if you think....alright then, so long as they don't get to know me too well."
"Point taken." Ross said, as Mark sighed, looking on at the dusty horizon, past the trailer park.

"I've got a man who can get us weapons, and past border security, so we have what it takes to make sure we don't get chewed up. I can get you back up to speed with a weapon too. I've got a couple friends back home doing a bit more work for us, but they are not cheap. Like I said, whatever is in these cases, I'd like a split of the profit they just made."
"And piss off the people you just said are equally as bloodthirsty for these cunts?"

"I mean, they've cut their losses, so they just want blood. Just as you say. Chances are, they sold it by now, if it's a hot commodity. They're probably sitting on a nice pile of cash. The cash that you were going to be paid, too."
"This isn't about making money, this is about making sure we're going to be able to live without hitmen after us, you know?"
"And whoever said we can't fuck over the thieves while we're at it. I'll sort that out if it goes wrong."
"That already sounds just as retarded as the shit I just suggested."
"That makes two of us. Trust me on that one. Your pals don't need to worry about it. I'll sort that side out. We need to get you out of harm's way, and that is still the priority. All I'm saying is that there's a good chance they won't stay far from their profits. No reason not to take a share." Mark said, Ross aware that for him this was a bit of business, but he had Ross's best interests in heart nonetheless. There was a reason to this, after all.

Ross stood up, taking the walking pole, looking to the Royal Marine, nodding.
"Fuck it. I'm up for it, but the heat's on you. So, how fast do you want to move? I'm in not that great a state, as you see." Ross said, as Mark nodded, chuckling.
"You look good enough to drive. There was a used car lot I drove past earlier today, and it's got something I think we might be able to use. Something you might like, because we've got 48 hours, tops. You need to keep drinking, keep moving and eating, and you'll be right as rain. Mr Alvares is going to be getting a visit from the craziest ginger in Scotland. It's gonnae be fuckin peak."
"I've fucking missed working with you, pal." Ross chuckled, as they headed back towards the trailer, Ross opening the door for the others, some who were awake, and who wasn't.

"Guys, this is Mark. A friend of mine from back home, and he might have something for us."
Ross exhaled, sighing.
"I don't....fuck, I don't know. I'm glad to hear she's okay. They did what they had to do, we probably saved them a lot of trouble." Ross said, honestly and truthfully, as he sighed.

"It's wonderful." He said, sitting up as he ached a little, Seb nodding.

"It's a lot to take in. That's just for us, let alone you." Seb said, Ross nodding as he took the P226 and dechambered the round, pulling the mag out and passing it forward to Athena, before leaning back in the seat, looking up at the roof.
"You've got that right." He said, before he fell asleep.

------------

Arriving in Arizona was a strange thing to Ross, but it was the way they needed to go, and after a ridiculously long drive, they'd made it to Phoenix.

Ross looked like he'd been better, but given he was able to hobble along, using one of the walking poles that Seb and Ellie had with them on their adventures, it wasn't too bad, as he clambered out of the car, the trailer empty as he expected it to be. His contact was on his way to Phoenix, and would be here in a matter of hours, so that was good to know.

Before they entered, Ellie stopped him, and he knew that he had a lot to say.

Ross sighed, knowing his own fucked up way of doing things had led to this point in time. He wanted to tell Ellie that this was fine, but it wasn't. It was utterly, completely, fucked. What she had to say was true, and it was a very, very long story. Seb and Ellie had probbaly lost a lot of respect for him, and he wished that he could have done it any other way. But it was to protect Kimberly, the very act of escaping had probably dropped the heat on them by a significant margin, and Ross could only guess that while he wished it hadn't happened, it nearly had to if they were all going to walk away from this without someone getting killed.

"You did what you needed to....we shouldn't need help from here. Trust me, last thing I want is you getting caught up in this." Ross simply said, shaking his head, the conflict showing on his usually confident face.

"I didn't want to get you to come, but....if you hadn't have come when you did, they'd have put more resources into the hospital. They were chasing us and if they had gone in there, that's more people that could have killed my wife. They aren't hunting for something, they're clean up squads. My wife would be dead, and me, if it wasn't for you. Look, I'm sorry, but I've got a daughter who I need to look after. And this...this wasn't what I wanted." Ross said, as she leaned against the RV, holding his side.

"The lowdown of it is, you're fine. Kimberly brought me on a job, and these jobs are usually pretty straightforward, simple. We do this because we don't have sponsorship, we have a child and another on the way, and it's what we do best. Nobody but us. Same as you, really. But it looks like we got caught up in something pretty big. We were the fall guys, and it's a miracle we're not both dead. You stopped that from happening."

"The point being, Kimberly is in a critical condition and they know that I'm on the run. What's going to happen in the next 48 hours is that we're going to find the fuckers responsible and probably do some things I don't think you want to be involved in. You're living your lives to the extreme, you're the girl that always pushed it to the limit, Ellie. This isn't that. They messed with the wrong family, and you're someone close to me but...I can't bear the thought of you getting hurt." Ross said, as he sighed, knowing she still wanted an answer.

"You know, Seb is a good guy. Sees this straight for what it is. It's fucked up, but if I didn't have to do it, then I'd do something else. I suppose it's the same reason we race cars and risk it all, like you do." Ross said, knowing it was stupid, but it did need to be said, as he looked to the bullet holes, then back at Ellie.
"I don't know either. But Seb looks like he needs to know. If you want to help me, I know a way you can help, and it doesn't use guns, it doesn't use anything like that. An extra person is always useful. And I think I might know a way....we're going to need someone who's got a talent for the extraordinary. But my honest opinion is that using my head, this isn't a smart idea. It depends what your heart says, Ellie."
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