Zeus and Io - Books 1 and 2
Chapter 29

Copyright 2012,2013 by Harry Carton

Artemis

1100, October 27, 2012

Arti and Io glided to a stop in the copse of trees, just off the road.

Io said quietly, "My infrared cameras are picking up something near the shore line. That was a good addition to our arsenal, during our last down time, back 'home.'"

"Glad it's coming in useful," I said. "I'm going out there."

I picked up my Glock, made sure a round was in the chamber, and zipped up my rain gear. It was pelting down rain, with gusts of ten to thirty knots. I shut the door and made my way into the woods nearby.

"Be careful," Io said. "You've got no backup."

"I'm Zeus' backup. I have to go," I replied via my earbud pickup.

Slowly, I crept up through the trees. Nothing. Then I saw him: A figure in a black wet suit, creeping toward the water, with a gun.

I crept along behind him. I wondered if it was the S.O.B. who had shot me, or maybe the guy I had gotten the drop on in Florida. No matter. I took careful aim at his back, from about twenty feet.

"All right," I shouted above the storm. "Move slowly and drop the weapon, and I won't have to shoot."

He began to turn, and put the weapon on the sand.

"That's right," I heard from behind me. "Move slowly and drop the weapon, and I won't have to shoot."

Crap! Why hadn't I taken the extra time to refine the infrared and find out how many targets there were.

Slowly, I dropped the weapon to the grass. This didn't look promising. I was probably going to be dead, really soon. I doubted that it was a bluff, and the guy behind me was probably a good enough shot to take me out.

"Arti! What's happening?" asked Io.

"Tell Zeus. It's 5225. I've been captured. Or I'm going to be killed, soon," I said quietly, turning around slowly. "Tell him I love him."

"Tell him yourself," said Io. "We'll get you out of this."

There were two of them, with guns leveled at me. I reached up to my ear, as I was turning, took the earbud and slid it into my mouth.

"Hands on the back of your head," came the instructions from the bad guy on the right. The one on the left kept his gun on me and moved around to get behind me, never getting in the line of fire. He took one of my hands, snapped on a handcuff, and then wrenched it around to the small of my back. Then he grabbed my other hand and finished the job. Just like on TV.

"Take her back to the motel. She's insurance in case the Target is uncooperative."

That was from the third man, the guy in the wet suit, who had been nearest the water.

"No rough stuff ... unless she's uncooperative."

"Right, One," said the guy who'd handcuffed me.

"Are both of you going to take me back? What about your partner back at the shore?" I hoped that Io got the message: there were three of them.

That got me a shove in the back, towards the woods. As we trundled back through the woods toward Shell Path, I could hear the distinctive sounds of the Hummer, driving off.

We got to their Cadillac SUV, and I got deposited in the rear seat, with handcuff man at my side. He had a gun pointed at about my liver. The other guy got in the driver's side, did a U-turn and turned back toward town.

I was further pissed that neither Io nor I had seen their car. It had been hidden, but not very well. All I can say is, I'm not a trained agent, all right?

The guy slapped his hand over my mouth and I found a piece of duct tape now covered my mouth. I wondered what if I had a sinus condition or an allergy and couldn't breathe through my nose? Would he let me die?

With my tongue, I carefully moved my earbud to the pocket formed by the outside of my jaw and my cheek, on the other side from handcuff man.

I could hear Io, talking to Zeus. "Zeus! Can you hear me?"

One click. That was a yes.

"Zeus. 5225 has taken Arti. I think she's still alive, because I haven't heard any gun shots, or any signs of a struggle."

There was a pause. Then a click.

"There's two with her in the car. One is waiting for you at the pickup spot."

Another click.

"I can still follow Arti from her GPS in the earbud, but I don't know how long before they discover it. Should I follow her, or wait for you?" Io said.

Click-click-click.

"Sorry. You can't answer. Should I follow her?"

Click-click.

"Wait for you?"

Click.

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