Authors: Eric Meyer
Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Genre Fiction, #Action & Adventure, #War, #Men's Adventure, #Mystery; Thriller & Suspense, #Mystery, #Thriller, #War & Military
"I feel good. What happened to Vega?"
"Rafael? He went back to Cuba, or so he said, something about having a cause worth fighting for. I guess this business woke up something inside him, something that had been missing for a long, long time."
"I hope he survives."
She nodded. "He's a hard man to kill."
"Yeah, I kind of noticed. The vacation is a good idea, but you know we're not finished."
"Jesus? What, you getting religion, like John-Wesley?"
He smiled. "I meant the guy on the border, those bodies in the tunnel. Someone needs to get justice for them."
"Me. I want to see that bastard's face before he breathes his last. Juarez had more than its fair share of scum, but he gives even scum a bad name. I'm coming with you."
In the end he agreed, and they crossed the border once more and booked the room for a couple of nights. Will Bryce and John-Wesley Ryder located the tunnel exit on the American side and waited in ambush.
The first night there'd been no sign of the Mexican, but tonight, the word was he was taking a party through the tunnel. They made love one last time, then showered and dressed.
They ate out, not wanting to risk the dubious motel restaurant, and then walked the three hundred meters to the apartment block. They slipped into the shadows, and Nolan pulled the Sig Sauer P226 9mm automatic from under his coat. Eva had kept the Tokarev, and he noticed she already had it in her hand.
He slapped the suppressor on the end of the barrel of the Sig and touched her on the shoulder.
"Don't use that thing, not unless we hit trouble. I want this to be kept quiet, no cops. "
She nodded. They waited a few minutes, and suddenly there were voices in the distance.
"Jesus," she breathed.
"Yep. Right on time."
He was leading a party of migrants. Nolan counted eighteen in all. Two of his men brought up the rear, all of them armed with stubby MAC-10s. He and Eva followed them into the basement and heard him giving them the spiel. Eva translated, her voice a whisper.
"He says two of his men will go through first. They must wait ten minutes, and then follow. It all sounds familiar."
It would give them time to block the exit and remove the ladder. Jesus would make certain the entrance inside Mexico was similarly blocked, so there'd be no retreat. They would wait until the migrants died from lack of air, and then go in and rob them of their cash and valuables. Or maybe they'd machine gun them inside the tunnel. It would be like shooting fish in a barrel.
They waited until the crowd of migrants had disappeared into the tunnel. Jesus was singing to himself, some kind of mariachi song, as he began to swing the heavy door closed. His gun was lying nearby. Nolan kicked it away, causing the man to jerk in surprise.
"What! Who are you?"
For some reason, it made him think of the sci-fi movie, Judge Dredd.
"I'm the Judge."
"I'm the law, Jesus. Your judge, jury, and executioner, and you've been found guilty. Get into the tunnel."
"Why? I just sent people down there. They're crossing to the US for a new life. I run a service, Mister. I'm just a business man."
"Get inside. Those people won't be there. They'll emerge the other side, and there'll be no one to stop them."
He looked confused. "No?"
"No. We're taking care of the two men you sent over to block the other end of the tunnel. As soon as those people are out in the open, my people will toss your men back down the shaft, pull up the ladder, and block the exit. We'll block this entrance. You know what I mean, hombre."
"No! Please, no! Why are you doing this?"
"Justice. For all the people you took money from, then robbed and killed. Now get down there."
"Please, I am an honest, God-fearing man. I do not want to die!"
He was on his knees, begging, with sweat pouring down his terrified face.
"You're a God-fearing man?"
He nodded, his chins wobbling up and down. "Si, si, I am, Señor."
"That's good. The guy the other end, he sees himself as an instrument of the Lord's vengeance. Personally, I think he's as crazy as a coot, but I'm sure he'll say the right words over your grave."
Nolan was bored and sickened by the man, and he used his boot to push him over the side, down into the shaft. They locked and secured the entrance, and his screams slowly died away.
They walked hand in hand through the rank and stinking streets of Ciudad Juarez. Several times, feral gangs of youths approached, thinking they were vulnerable tourists, until they got closer. They looked again and veered away.
They reached the SUV they'd hired, and Nolan drove back across the border. They rendezvoused with Will and John-Wesley in the twenty-four hour diner they'd agreed before. To Nolan's astonishment, Jacks was there. He put up a hand as he saw his look of surprise.
"No, no, it's not a new operation. I just wanted to be here at the end. Besides, if something went wrong, I thought maybe you'd need someone to bail you out of a Mexican prison."
"It's appreciated, Sir."
They ordered burgers and fries. It was all the diner could muster in the early hours of the morning. Jacks took the opportunity to tie up some loose ends.
"You know that Iranian ship, the MV Rezam? For some reason it exploded, couple of klicks before it reached its homeport of Bandar. My understanding is it gave the locals one hell of a pyrotechnic display. The Iranian President happened to be there at the same time. I gather he wasn't impressed."
He shrugged. "As it happens, Team Charlie was in the area at the time. Who knows? One thing's for sure, anyone who thinks they can attack our shores will think again."
"Thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them," John-Wesley exclaimed, "Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor show mercy unto them."
Jacks stared at Ryder. "Deuteronomy. Were you a preacher before you joined the Navy?"
"My family, Sir, they were all church people. All Christians, we all have a duty to defend the United States, to kill its enemies."
The Admiral's eyes widened, "I respect your beliefs, son, as long as they don't interfere with your work. As for our enemies, we don't have to kill them all. There are other ways."
"The Lord said..."
"Hold it. Outside of the service, you can take orders from the Lord. As long as you're a Seal, there's only one book you'll ever need, The United States Navy Regulations. As for the man at the top, in your case that's the Chief here, then your platoon leader, and then me. Clear?"
They watched Ryder, seeing his lips moving as he muttered a silent prayer. Finally, he looked up. "Clear, Admiral."
His lips moved again, and they all knew nothing had changed.
He's a great operator, tough, resourceful, and a ruthless killer. But I still may need to kill him one day if he goes too far.
"Any questions?" Jacks asked, taking a big bite of hamburger as he waited.
They shook their heads. "We're finished with this one, Sir. I guess the only question is how long until we have to report back?"
Nolan shrugged. "There is that Presidential invite, I guess."
"It'll have to wait. You're not finished. None of us are."
"I don't get it?" He stared at Jacks, knowing they were about to learn the real reason he'd turned up.
"Don't you? Think about it, Chief. A group of hostiles mounted an attack on the United States, one calculated to kill the President and create panic. As long as they're alive, they could try it again."
"But, Admiral," Will objected, "we killed them, all of them."
"Not all of them."
Nolan thought about everything they'd endured.
What have we missed? Of course, the man who was behind the escape from Guantanamo right from the start.
He stared at Jacks.
"You want Ricardo Montez."
He nodded. "More accurately, we want him dead."
His thoughts raced back several hours, to the scene at the tunnel entrance with the terrified Mexican.
They want me to be judge, jury, and executioner.
"You've pronounced sentence on him."
"We have. Death." His expression lightened, "But of course, you may want to mention it to him before you put the bullet in his head."
Judge, jury, and executioner, so be it. No doubt John-Wesley will come up with a few appropriate words to say.
"Shit. That means back to Colombia," Will exclaimed, "I hate that damned place."
"Don't we all," Jacks smiled, "But it has to be done. Orders from the White House."
Nolan swapped a glance with Eva. "How long do we have before we go in?"
He saw her lips part in a small smile. "That should be enough."