Authors: Bill Wetterman
Tags: #Mystery; Thriller & Suspense, #Thrillers & Suspense, #Spies & Politics, #Political, #Thrillers
(The Peacock Trilogy – Book 2)
US Copyright © 2013
Dedicated to my wife, Pam,
my faithful supporter.
Agent Peacock, aka Laverna Smythe, rode alongside Secret Service Agent Alan Loomis
. The two scoured for signs of trouble in advance of President Monroe’s motorcade to JFK Airport. Her third year in Hercules crawled past with less action than her first assignment in the elite secret unit within Homeland Security. One word described the past few months—boring.
Loomis, unaware she was a Herculean, called her Laverna when they were friendly, or
, when she drove him mad. The agents in Hercules called her Peacock, the deadliest human weapon the agency possessed. Fast, strong, and a martial arts expert, Peacock’s talent equaled six fully trained agents in a fight. Her partly cloudy mood described her feelings most days, since this assignment irritated her with inactivity.
Hercules operated outside the channels of government, reporting only to the president. Their covert operations recently thwarted an assassination attempt against
President Monroe, and Peacock now guarded the president to prevent another attempt from occurring.
hand involuntarily moved behind her right ear. An implant that controlled her emotions entered her brain at this point. The device signaled to her controllers her emotional status every second of every day. Right now, an agent named Polaris controlled her, and she trusted him. She could perform to the optimal with his guidance. Peacock solved puzzles inside her Mensa level brain as she and Loomis rode along.
“Roger that,” she heard Loomis say. “We’re on our way.”
“Problem?” Peacock asked.
“Another tip’s come in on suspicious activity along our
master’s route.” Loomis sped up.
She shot into alert mode. Leaving her puzzle
, knowing she could recreate it at any time. Loomis pulled into a parking lot at the Courtyard near JFK Airport, and Peacock snapped into strategic mode. He pointed up at a seventh floor window. “Info received from Intel says two Arab men obtained a room up there three days ago. Another man joined them this morning. Each has been seen carrying small athletic bags into the hotel. According to a desk clerk, the bags smelled like C4 explosives.”
“How could he know?”
“I have no idea,” Loomis said. “How long before his majesty’s limo drives by?”
“Fourteen hundred hours—ten minutes from now,” Peacock answered. “And his title is Mister President, not his majesty.”
“Whatever. Let’s pay our friends a visit.”
Loomis headed through the hotel’s side door with Peacock behind him.
“Avoid the elevator,” Loomis said. “We’ll take the stairs.”
Peacock’s government-spec navy
-blue suit flexed well going upstairs. She could race up three floors without letting her heels touch the ground. She practiced climbing stairs in four-inch stilettoes. She matched Loomis in speed and stealth, and she still looked great onboard Air Force One.
They reached Room 719 with five minutes to spare. Loomis didn’t wait. “
Federal agents open up.”
After a minute, Peacock used her government passkey and unlocked the door. The latch held on the inside. She shot the bolt off, and Loomis kicked the door in. She tumbled into the suite coming up with her gun pointing at the adjoining door. That door was wide open, allowing for a walkway between rooms. The adjacent suite appeared empty, but a commotion inside said otherwise.
“Escape attempt in progress in 721,” she managed to get out, before two heavy set men appeared at the adjoining door. She
leaped behind a kitchen bar and yelled, “Secret Service, put your weapons down and your hands in the air where I can see them.”
The men disappeared back through
the doorway. Neither set foot in her suite.
hey’re deciding to fly, fight, or surrender.
Loomis fired his gun from out in the hall, and she instinctively leaped up and raced toward the adjoining room, closing the escape perimeter. The two men who had appeared briefly in the doorway must have run out of the line of Loomis’s fire. She heard
the adjacent suite’s door slam.
She positioned herself to
charge into the next room, when the door to the bedroom on her side cracked open. A voice called out, “I’ll surrender peaceably.”
“Stay where you are. You’re a dead man if you move.”
Maybe he wanted to surrender. Maybe he wanted to make her think so.
“Hands behind your backs,” Loomis yelled
from the other suite. “Arrest anyone on your side, Partner.”
,” she called to the man behind the bedroom door. “Toss out your weapon and come out where I can see you.”
A revolver she recognized
, an old .22 Smith & Wesson similar to the one she used for target practice, slid across the floor. An old man limped out of the bedroom and turned around with his hands in the air. Loomis followed two cuffed young Arabs into her suite.
Hotel security entered the room as the local police pulled into the parking lot below. “Thank your Boss for giving us a heads up.”
“I’m glad he called you. The federal government will pay for the door.” Peacock sniffed the air, “The smell’s cocaine, not C4.”
She crept into the old man’s bedroom. “Alan,” she called to Loomis. “You have to see this. There has to be the equivalent of twenty-pounds of the stuff. At seven hundred an ounce on the street, well you do the math.”
“No presidential threat here,” Loomis said, “only a drug deal.”
“Let’s go.” Peacock pushed past Loomis and headed for the hallway. “We’ve got fifteen minutes to get to Monroe’s side as he boards Air Force One.”
Peacock called back to the two New York policemen she passed on her way to the stairwell. “The cuffs aren’t free. Return them to the president’s security team, and someone unknown wants to buy that white powdery shit our prisoners have, just so you know.”
As Loomis drove out of the hotel parking lot, Peacock focused on he
r next task. President Monroe was heading to London for a week of negotiations. In London, on her only day off, she’d reunite with her husband. The thought brought a customary discomfort. Polaris worked continuously to remove her feelings from the past, particularly for her husband.
She learned to disassociate per her training and deal with the disorientation inside her head.
Colors in the red-blue spectrum along the roadway became focal points and calmed her. Her mind centered only on the shades she enjoyed. A few seconds later, perfectly at ease, she dozed off.
Air Force One leveled off at 30,000 feet en route to London. Peacock remained buckled in her seat in the back of the president’s work area next to John Sherman, the head of the president’s security team. Three other agents secured themselves into the front seats turned to face the rear of the plane. President Charles Monroe took the chair bolted behind a desk in the cabin, `and his Chief of Staff edged in across from him.
Peacock reached over and
rubbed Sherman’s arm. “Sleep for a while. I’m rested and on my second cup of coffee.”
Sherman nodded and closed his eyes. She required little sleep on duty. Off duty
, she was hard to wake up. She leaned back and waved down the steward. “Another coffee for me and one for Agent Loomis in the front, he looks like he needs one.”
Thanks Laverna,” Alan Loomis replied. “You’re right. I haven’t been sleeping well of late.”
If Loomis only knew, she thought. She and her husband kept their marriage low key. The birth of her son had been on a need to know basis. Few people recognized Laverna Smythe, as the mother of the heir to a fortune. Sherman knew. Monroe
was aware, but no one else on her team had information about her personal life. During her previous assignment, lunch with the Chief of Staff at the Emerald Hotel was commonplace. Now, with her red hair shorter and wearing a navy business suit, light blue-collared shirt, and solid navy tie, even the Chief of Staff didn’t recognize her as Laverna from the infamous Room 1515.
From her first day under Sherman, h
er value showed. Peacock instantly recognized when things were out of place. Her training alerted her to shadows in windows, vehicles where vehicles shouldn’t be, and items not fitting their location. When the plane landed in London, she and Agent Loomis would exit the president’s aircraft first, looking for these not so obvious dangers hiding in plain sight.
If Peacock could put a soul back inside the robot she
had become, no telling what value she would be.
Have I ever had a
Not since her family died. Only the thoughts of her baby son warmed her.
She ached to cradle her child, a boy she’d never held.
She remembered t
he recent past. Her retraining with her new boss, John Sherman, rang as clear as crystal. Nonetheless, when she tried to recapture anything before her retraining, her mind slipped into a murky abyss.
Attempting to connect with her feelings about her husband caused
her emotional world to crack. She was in love with him at one time, before the new implant changed her. Now she wondered if that love would rekindle when she saw him again.
“Move that luggage cart!” Peacock jogged forward and to the right of the red carpet onto which the president would step.
“Who made you Prime Minister, Doris?” a voice from British security
at Heathrow snipped in her headset.
“Cut the malarkey and move the cart.”
“Do what she says.” Loomis whispered loud enough for both Peacock and British security to hear. “She can kick my arse and yours. She’s right. The cart’s a security risk.”
toward Loomis and then searched the crowd for other potential threats. Except for the minor scuffle at the Courtyard, she hadn’t had a real fight since her retraining.
President Monroe stepped out onto the platform at the exit door of Air Force One. An artist with imagination could have painted a middle-aged Sitting Bull in a business
suit and mirrored the image. Deep-set brown eyes, black hair, and squared jaw, reflected the stately quality of the Indian part of his bloodline.
Mrs. Monroe, a blue-eyed blonde, mid-forties, swung
in alongside the president. Her countenance and posture shouted
‘Don’t thread on me.’
The two came down the stairs to receive greetings from the U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain and several British dignitaries.
The moment the president’s foot hit the ground, Peacock
pulled parallel to him scanning every person in line for signs of trouble.
“Open your purse.”
A woman of slight statue but indignant countenance huffed but complied. The purse contained nothing of concern.
“Thank you, you may greet the president.”
As Peacock moved on, she heard the woman say, “Where do they find these nutters?”
? Maybe she was. She tossed aside the comment and stuck to her job.
Once Monroe’s limousine pulled away, Loomis and Peacock jumped into the
vehicle behind him and headed toward The Dorchester in the Mayfair District. Peacock bumped Loomis’s arm.
“Thanks for the good word, Partner.”
“I simply told the truth.”
“And I agree with him.” Polaris’s voice chimed in
side her head. “You need to know your husband changed his schedule. He moved the date from Friday to next Wednesday.”
over eight days away.
“He’s probably not horny yet.
Peacock bit her lip. Then images of the erotic liaisons she experienced in Room 1515 and with her husband aroused her
. Of course, she’d play nice.