Aerial Tennis

Commander Smith looked at the list. Twelve Obliterators. And the fifty odd people who worked in Section 3. It wasn’t a long list, wouldn’t take too long to run through and find the traitor. If Smith had had the time. And he only had two weeks. The commander sighed as he looked out the swift moving helicopter. It was a rare moment of peace that Smith was trying to create for himself, trying to block out all the weight on his shoulders, all the things he was about to do. It was the calm before the storm. And typically, those didn’t last long.

 

His tracking device monitor began to beep wildly. Almost simultaneously, the radio crackled to life. As Smith took out his monitor, Harrison began to speak.

“Looks like something big is going down. There was a massive attack on the Tower. Not much left of it. And that along with the little stunt the Protagonists pulled a little while ago, Patterson is not going to take this lying down. He’s decided to pull out all the stops.”

The commander froze. “What’s he doing?”

“They’ve decided to use the traitor, Archi Teuthis, to get to the Safe. They’ve had sightings of other Protagonists in the vicinity and they’re moving their forces out there now. Patterson himself is headed out there.”

Smith didn’t respond. He was still looking at his monitor. On the screen, he could see very clearly, two of the red dots had aligned to within a meter, one which had been put on one of the Spockeh’s crew during their incarceration in the Tower, the other tracer one that had been slipped into Kai’s car by a compliant LitPol officer when they’d been stopped. And now they were together.

“The Safe.” Commandeer Smith whispered to himself., then spoke out hesitatingly to Harrison, “ Where…where is this location?”

“They aren’t saying, but the radio traffic is clearly coming from somewhere near Vancouver.”

Dead on, just as the tracers indicated.Vancouver.

 

Commander Smith was frantically trying to come up with a plan. He could not allow Patterson to get the Safe before him. It would fail everything he was trying to do. He had to move now.

“Harrison, get me to Vancouver as fast as you can.”     

“But, I thought we were headed to the Tower?”

“Just turn around!” Smith barked out. Then in a relatively mellow voice he said, “It’s not important now. I’ll have someone in Liaisons handle it.” Even as he spoke, the commander was typing away on his laptop, sending tracking information and co-ordinates about the one called Bluejay, who had his last tracer in her necklace, to his contact in Liaisons. Liaisons was best equipped to deal with the situation, Smith told himself, as he saw the view from the helicopter’s window spin around, till Harrison had aligned it towards Vancouver.

Harrison grumbled, “I must say, Commander, I don’t like you treating my baby like a tennis ball.”

Commander Smith was in no mood. “Harrison, don’t use metaphors around me. I’m the Obliterator, not you. You’re not allowed to.”

Neither man spoke for the rest of the trip.

 

Commander Smith was waiting at the door of the helicopter, waiting for the helicopter to reach its destination. All along the way he could see the dark vans of the Antagonists pulling towards the location of the Safe.

Then he looked at his monitor again. Something had happened. The dots were not together anymore. They were moving away from the Safe. Smith was rapidly running out of ideas now. He needed to get there fast.

 

They made it just in time for the fireworks. The helicopter hovered over the area, Harrison gently angling  as Commander Smith watched the explosion of the Safe, his last hope at getting to the Protagonists. He saw with excruciating detail the flames lapping up the building, the blowback sending Patterson and his men flying around the block, and felt that his plan was burning up along with the Safe. And as if straight out of a movie he had once seen, music filled the air. The 1812 Overture, if he recalled correctly.

All his tracers had proved futile. Kai had probably already dumped his car. The tracer on Spockeh’s crew member seemed to be headed straight into a military base which was highly unlikely. That one was probably malfunctioning as well. And Bluejay’s necklace was in the hands of the Liaisons man. Smith was back to Square One. And he had only two weeks more.

If Commander Smith had been a lesser man, he would have screamed at the nothingness outside.

The End

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