The sweet smell of diesel. Vex and I swayed on the crowded bus, feet apart, grasping ceiling straps. The driver turned a fast corner onto Clark Street to make a yellow-light. That jammed the barrel of my partner’s AS50 rifle into my shoulder. It bulged on a shoulder-strap beneath his duster.
“OW! Why’d you bother bringing that thing?”
“Senor Calamitee, I’m a Bodee of Christ sniper.” He crossed himself. “Shee goes everywhere I go.”
“You'll never get her past the gate.”
Vex smiled sly and squinted. “You know those new high-rise apartments on thee backside of thee field?”
I spoke soft. “Scrub, we’re here to kidnap Julius Vanderleerp—perhaps you’ve heard of him—Prime Minister of the One State? Every rooftop in a two kilometer perimeter is gonna have Secret Service.”
“Calamitee, have faith, His will, not ours.” He slapped my shoulder.
Bus-airbrakes rocked us forward—we stepped to maintain our footing. Who's driving this thing, Satan?
Doors hissed open. The Clark and Addison stop, right in front of Wrigley Field's main gate.
I tapped Vex’s low-five hand as the bus emptied, and we went our separate ways. Peacekeeper Hummers lined the street. Security was all-that, but I’d packed enough tech-toys to hide certain things. In-line at the turnstile, I put on my com-shades, and activated their heads-up display. Map: highlight sandmen positions. My sunglasses’ brain-wave chip read my thought. A 3-D aerial map of Wrigley Field popped-up, and red dots appeared.
I waddled crowded concourses toward my seat. The One State tyrant was going-down. This Op had been issued to Body of Christ sandmen from all over the Chicago-Metroplex—there were too many of us to be stopped.
Popcorn, peanuts, and flag-waving. Beneath Chicago’s usually cloudy skies, pop-bands and spandex-clad cheerleaders strutted-their-stuff.
Local politicians and well-dressed Capones talked-their-talk on the infield’s whitewashed podium. The only way to tell these guys apart was to make them empty their pockets. Trust me, I’ve done it—politicians pack breath-mints.
So there I sat, praying for my chance to shoot straight. I had a pair of Israeli-Military-Industry’s Baby Eagles nine-mils in my Quick-Draw holsters, loaded with a total of thirty tranq rounds, and one purpose.
Finally, Vanderleer, the only guy who could make a Chicago politician look-good, appeared.
e-girl thought-speeched me. “Vex just called for you. Says the Spirit spoke to him and he doesn't know what to do.”
“Tell him to obey.”
“He needs backup.”
I stood, and ’scused-myself, toward the steps. “Yeah, whatever. This is overkill anyway—Julius is doomed . I'll track Vex’s location and hold his hand.” I sighed.
I strolled out the empty concourse, and called-up my com-shades’ map. Vex was now in an apartment on the 52nd floor of Wrigley Towers-North. He'd avoided the Secret Service and could get off a shot—yeah, that was newsworthy. I checked the stopwatch running on the upper-right corner of my com-shades. Four minutes to kickoff. Perhaps I could get back in time to see the show. I picked up my pace.
As I crossed the street the stadium crowd roared as though a batter had knocked-out a grand-slam. What the . . .
E-girl thought-speeched immediately. “He's dead!“
Mindware picked the revolving-door’s lock with a thought.
“It was worse than the Zapruder film!”
“What’s a Zapruder? And who’s dead?”
I smiled tight at the desk clerk, and headed for the elevator.
“The Kennedy assassination—ring a bell?”
“Sis, you gotta quit watchin’ documentaries.” I thumbed the up-button.
“Hey, stupid, only Vex could have fired the shot!”
The elevator dinged, punctuating her thought. Vex stepped out, hooked my elbow, and dragged me down a long hall toward an alley exit.
“E-girl—gimmie a minute.”
“Vex, what have you done?”
“Thee Spirit spoke to mee!”
“Hear it daily. You didn’t use a real bullet on Julius freakin’ Vanderleer?”
I jerked him to a stop. “You broke the Agape Code!”
I'd never seen Vex this pale. “Senor,” he whispered, “the Spirit spoke a verse to me from Revelation.” Again, he crossed himself. “One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was astonished and followed the beast.” *
e-girl’s thought-speech sounded in my head, “I was wrong, Julius is back up at the podium! I know he was dead, you should've seen it. This is a miracle!”
“Senor, it is heem!”
*Revelation 13: 3, 4, (NIV)
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