Cents and Nickel
We moved toward the middle of town. We heard occasional firing. An armed, unknown force invading any area in the south was going to find armed citizens shooting at them. Jorgie had a Marine jacket and I was wearing a fatigue jacket. We were walking carefully. At the next block, we heard firing. I said, "I have point." Jorgie nodded and I moved out ahead of him taking advantage of cover. I snuck up behind two men who I recognized faintly as locals. One was wounded. "Guys, I'm a friend."
One gave me a quick glance. You're Cents' guy, the Marine."
"Do you know what's going on?"
"Yes, sort of but not why. I have another Marine with me. Cents and Sergeant Moss are behind us. What's in front of us?"
"Charlie took a round from the right but I saw fire from the left, too."
"Okay. You guys, stay put and stay down. Watch his bleeding. I don't how long it will be before we get any help. Jorgie and I will go cause some trouble. Try not to shoot good guys."
They nodded and I left zigzagging on down the street using cover. I glimpsed Jorgie following me at a distance. I was fired on and Jorgie returned their fire. I saw what I needed and took the two guys on the left out. I began to scan for anyone on the right. Jorgie came close enough and I signaled him that I cleared two on the left but the right was still occupied. I went back to scanning.
Killing people who are trying to kill you with experienced people on both sides is a lesson in patience. I learned that patience is the better alternative to dying. The guys on the right hadn't learned that lesson. One moved and I shot him through the wall. High velocity, steel jacketed bullets have that characteristic. His partner spooked and shot at me. I took him down. Now, they would never learn.
I motioned to Jorgie that I was moving ahead. He nodded. I moved out looking for ambush positions.
Suddenly, I heard the AR's that Dollars and Mossy had chattered. I turned down a block and ran in their direction. I shot two bad guys and went to them. Both had arm wounds. I bandaged them, admonished them to stay down and be watchful. I kissed Dollars as I left. She said, "Kill them all."
I went back to the two guys I met earlier. I said, "You know Sergeant Moss and Cents?" They nodded. "They're back there with arm wounds. Please go back and protect them."
The uninjured one said, "We're on our way. I know them both. She's a great lady. You go after those bastards. We'll watch over them."
"Thanks, Get them and yourselves under cover." He nodded and I left running. I caught up with Jorgie.
He said, "What?"
"Dollars and Mossy, flesh wounds. Let's finish this." He nodded. I surged forward moving rapidly and looking for ambush points. My intent was to flush bad guys, make some shots, and leave follow-up shots for Jorgie. We took out two more two-man teams. I was closing on the police station. I pulled my phone and dialed the station. Barbara answered.
"Barbara, this is Abe Easton. Did Ray make it inside?"
"Yes, but he is hit in the leg. He's laying low at the door."
"Okay, tell him the Marines are coming so be extra sure of his targets. The bad guys are in black. Jorgie from Lee is with me and we're taking out their teams. Barbara, did anyone else make it inside?"
She sounded choked. "No."
"Make sure Ray has plenty of ammo. They may decide to rush you there when we start taking them out. There was a major involved and he ordered the town cleared. After we finish these, he will be next."
"Wouldn't he be here?"
"No. People who give orders like this are never present until after the shooting is over. For him, it will never be over now. He declared war on me and mine. That will be fatal for him."
I figured the bad guys were listening and I was right. Jorgie had picked two of their spots. I saw two more places. That meant there were eight left but now they were confused assuming they were listening. I'm sure they were. Barbara called me back a moment later. She said, "There is a guy who says his name is Harris who wants to talk to you."
"Tell him that dead men don't talk. They can hurry to surrender or they will die like the rest. I hung up my phone. I put my rifle to my shoulder and took aim. I shot one who fell dead. I do like head shots. I chambered another round and took aim again as they all stood with their hands in the air.
I whispered, "Jorgie, I think there is another team. Watch for them." I shouted, "Come out! All of you surrender or all of you die! No excuses! No mercy! You've killed my friends and injured others. Any tricks will get you dead." I moved quickly and silently. I saw a shot from a new area targeted on where I had been. It was the last shot from them. Jorgie emptied the AR into that area and reloaded. I shouted, "Bring their bodies out! Do it now!" Two men in black went to the hiding place and pulled the two dead bodies from their spot. I hand signaled Jorgie to stay alert.
Slowly, I moved closer to them. In a normal voice, I said, "Knives and pistols need to be on the ground now. Then kick them away. Who is the leader?"
"I am. I'm George Harris."
"George, except for the two lying on the street, call the rest of your team. If there is anyone alive and missing, One of the guys will die, too." He called them but received no answers. "Okay, that matches my count. Hold your hands out straight and walk toward the police station. Remember, I find a pistol or a knife, that person will die. I'm not a cop so I'm not bound. I'm just a scared, trigger-happy civilian. You will have no luck and there will be no mercy."
Knives and pistols almost rained onto the ground now. They figured out that I wasn't a cop and, as a man with family involved, I had no limits. They were right. We came to the station. I shouted, "Barbara, Ray, move out of the way. I'm bringing in prisoners. I looked at George and said, "Last time I saw you, your name was George Morris. You will tell me everything."
He looked at me and gave a start. "You're Ace Easton. I thought you retired."
"Yeah, here. My fiancé is a cop and was wounded. If she had died, we wouldn't be having this talk. You would be dead instead. Jorgie is going to be my best man and your team killed Ray's brother. Your only hope is my good graces and telling me everything."
I herded them into a cell. "Jorgie, watch the rest. Keep your rifle on full auto. If anyone tries anything, rock 'n' roll."
Jorgie grinned, "Yes, Sarge. My pleasure."
"Come along George." We went into Jenson's office. I sat down. "Tell me everything."
"You know who I'm with." I nodded. "Major Tom Ellis gave us the order. I didn't ask but should have. We aren't supposed to be involved inside U.S. borders. I suspect that they wanted to pick up someone. It could be you. It doesn't explain why we were told to wipe out the cops. We were given home addresses for all of them. Ellis is former Special Forces and isn't a likeable person. He won't be easy to take down. He's married with two grown kids and a grandchild."
"Good. Right it all down with addresses and any other information you have. What was your contact number?"
He gave it to me and I called Ellis on George's phone. "Major Ellis, this is Ace Easton. You ordered a hit on the police force of Notasulga, Alabama. It failed. Do you remember me?"
"Easton, I thought you were dead."
"Not dead. Retired. Who ordered you to make this hit?"
"I can't tell you that."
"Oh, I think you can. I have your family's names and addresses. I will take every single one of them out before you if I don't get the name of the sick bastard who ordered this." I had the paper from George. "Should I start with Elise or maybe little Monty." It was quiet on the other end. "Speak or they will start dying. This is your only chance."
"It was Director Jones. There is a shipment coming through that had priority."
"I'm coming for you and then him. I will leave your family alone."
"Thank you, Sergeant. Good bye." The line went dead. I knew that Ellis would probably not wait for me to find him. I knew Jones as the Director of Operations. He wouldn't be an easy target but he might spook when he finds that his mission failed and Ellis is dead.
We would see.
George said, "We'll be model prisoners. The company will get us out."
"That's probably true. I will have your mug shots and prints. You don't ever want to make a mistake like this again or I will finish the job I started. Jones will have his own problems and won't be too interested in yours.
"Watch your back, George."