Antoine Smith had spent a day preparing the battlefield. He wouldn’t take Farlowe for granted. The man had survived when all logic said he should be a memory. He had an ability, almost ethereal, to be where he needed to be when he needed to be there. And he had no compunction about pulling the trigger.
Smith wasn’t convinced this plan of Ni’s would work. But seeing as how Hulong was paying the bills, and how she would be watching from overhead via drone, he would let this play out her way, to an extent…. with one important change. Hubert Farlowe would go down. Smith was going to do what others had failed to accomplish. Today, he was going to kill the ex-NIA agent once and for all. Whether Ni believed it was the likely outcome or not, it was certainly going to happen.
“We’re set to the south, Mr. Smith”, a square faced mercenary said to Antoine. He was relaying the message that had come to him from over the radio.
“Reiterate how I want him engaged to all teams.”
“They’ve got it, sir.”
“Do it anyway”, Smith said.
“Copy that”, the mercenary replied as he began talking into the radio.
Smith stepped away from him and surveyed the landscape. Nothing yet.
“Come on, Hubert. We’re waiting...”, Smith said to himself.
And then the fireball erupted on the horizon. A moment later, the sound of the explosion arrived as thick black smoke rose into the air.
“All right, then”, Antoine Smith muttered.
Farlowe knew his heat signature was stronger than the average human. It had been since that night two years ago in Zurich, when he found himself bathed in Exotic Matter.
The car would provide a heat and light distraction for him. Something else to look at through the various vision gear he knew was pointed his way. Momentary, but hopefully enough.
They wanted him to come to them, and Farlowe would, but on his terms. First thing, he wanted to see what he was up against.
Reacting to the explosion, he caught movement. Two men to the left, closing fast, standard coverage. He estimated about a hundred yards out and closing.
Farlowe took one last look at the car.
Maybe his decision was rash, but it certainly had committed him to a course of action. No going back now. It was a twenty day walk in any direction. If he was going to get out of here with Devra, it was going to be in a Hulong vehicle.
All that has come before is meaningless, Hubert thought to himself. Your future begins now.
With that, he checked the Ruger’s magazine. Locked. Ready. Then Farlowe dashed across
the desert landscape, toward an outcropping of rocks.
The two mercenaries, a man from Argentina that had seen covert action around the globe and a younger man that looked like an ex-rugby player and had done multiple tours as a contractor in Iraq rushed toward the burning vehicle.
Ahead of them, they could see a rock formation. An obvious place to set up for a shot, so they instinctively moved to flank the position.
Both men had H&K G-36s at the ready, leading with their barrels and keeping their eyes in the iron sights.
“To my right and hold”, the Argentinian said. The ex-rugby player responded, moving quickly and dropping to one knee.
“Go”, he said.
The Argentinian advanced toward the rock. No movement. Nothing. The rising smoke from the burning car was being blown by the wind in their direction, and a wall of choking black momentarily engulfed them.
“I’ve lost visual”, the ex-rugby player said.
“Me too. Pull back.”
Then the Ruger went into action. Two sharp cracks. Two kills.
Farlowe moved toward the dead mercenaries, confirming they were out of the fight permanently, then he moved forward, tracking their path, the duffle bag on his back.