Claus stopped abruptly at a stop sign just one block from where the GPS marked their destination.
“Look,” he said, pointing to the right, “is that not Victor’s car?”
Granted squinted, “That’s definitely it. There’s no mistaking a car once it leaves you stranded in an alley.”
Claus scowled, “What the hell is he doing at a pub? I’m going to put a bullet through his-”
Grant put a hand on Claus’s shoulder and pointed. “Look.”
Claus gaped as several suited asian men exited the pub grappling with Sam Vancouver, who was screaming at someone behind him. Out followed a skinnier asian man who seemed rather stoic about Sam’s resistance. Behind him lumbered a seemingly out-of-place mountain of a man, carrying a sleek figure over his shoulder.
“Victor,” breathed Grant.
Two black sedans pulled into the lot. Both Sam and Victor were placed in the first car, followed by the asian guards. The skinny asian and the burly man lingered outside, the former producing a phone from his pocket and dialing a number. Claus and Grant watched, more curious than horrified at what was happening. A muffled buzz came from Claus’s pocket. He grasped the phone instantly.
“Hello.” His tone was gruff and unimpressed.
“Good morning, Mr. Cordaro. I’ve always considered it bad parenthood to allow children to play outside after dark. I’ve done you a favor by capturing young Victor. Now we can settle things like adults.”
“You must be the prick who tried to hack my company, no? I don’t know who you think you are, but you are fucking with the wrong people. There will be no negotiations.”
The asian cackled, “You are fierce, Claus, as I was told by my associates. But what I want is not so unreasonable. Agree to redirect twenty weapons shipments to my specified coordinates, and you will see your son again.”
“You’re damn right I’ll see my son again.”
“And let’s not forget about Mr. Vancouver, hm? I’m sure the police would be eager to re-open the case on the Cordaro Scandal from several years ago.”
Claus was silent. Grant nervously looked back and forth between his father and the asian man. It was half a minute before anyone spoke again.
“I will text you the coordinates.”
Claus was deathly silent as he snapped his phone shut and handed it to Grant.
“Call Rufus,” he growled, “and patch him the GPS signal from that fucker’s phone. Tell him to send everyone.”
Grant wasted no time following his father’s orders. Claus’s eyes were still glued on the asian man, who along with the burly man stepped into the second sedan. Both cars rolled out of the lot and headed back towards East End. Claus shoved the Bentley in gear and took off in pursuit.
“Dad! Keep your distance- Hello? Rufus? Yes, this is Grant Cordaro, we have two target vehicles, headed down the western route towards East End. Let’s try and get a sandwich on ‘em. Yes, I’ll send you info ASAP. Send everyone.”
I awoke to an acute pain in my right temple. I winced as I opened my eyes and looked out the window of the moving sedan. My hands were cuffed.
We’re not in the pub any more... Sam!
I looked around and saw my friend crumpled against the opposite window, shaking his head with his eyes closed.
“Sam,” I murmured, “what’s going on?”
He opened his eyes, “I’m so sorry, Victor. You never should’ve been a part of this. They used me as bait to get you.”
I sat back and allowed his words to coalesce in my groggy mind.
“You allowed this to happen?”
Sam sobbed, “They threatened my family, Victor. I’m not invincible any more. He said he’d kill my wife and children if I didn’t comply.”
“A family? Wait, who’s ‘he?’” I could barely take in his words, let alone discern their vast implications. A stupefied “Jesus” was all I could utter.
“Su Jin. He came all the way from Seoul to extort weapons from your family’s company.”
I sat up as I took in what he was saying. “What? I thought he died.”
Sam sighed, “Me too. Apparently he still heads up the Korean Mafia, or at least part of it. He’s using both of us as leverage against your father.”
“Both of us? You don’t have anything to do with Far Reach.”
“That’s not entirely true, Victor.”
“What the hell do you mean?”
“I was the lead investigator in the case against your father when he illegally sold weapons to an African warlord. I withheld and destroyed information that would’ve put him behind bars, and I’m guessing Su Jin knows all about it.”
I was silent for a few seconds before responding. “Well Sam, this has been one hell of a reunion. I don’t think we’ve been in shit this deep since Seoul.”
Sam shook his head, “Not since the golden days, my friend.”
The convoy took a sharp turn onto a narrow strip of road between two tall buildings. The two cronies in front were muttering in their native tongue. The car in front made a sudden stop, and our escorts became nervous, unbuckling and standing up in their seats. Sam and I spoke both Korean and Chinese, so we could understand what they were saying.
“Get your automatic, we’re trapped,” said the driver.
“Where’s backup?” asked the other, loading his gun.
A black Bentley turned onto the street behind us. The driver turned on his brights and revved the engine.
“Holy shit, it’s dad.”
“Sam, get down!”
Shots fired from the Bentley as it barreled down the alley and rammed the back end of our sedan. Our escorts tumbled out of the car violently and began yelling. We hunkered down and prepared for the worst.