Soldier of Fortune: Chapter 45

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The university clock was chiming three o’clock by the time DS Hama pulled up outside the grounds of the Rand estate with his remaining officers. 

The keepers and their new charges had returned to the Elysium Hotel, where the youngsters would be offered sanctuary. Tiago had gone with them, as several of the children needed medical care.

The other half of Ishan’s team went back to the precinct with the Pradish twins, who were taking full advantage of the right to remain silent and stare sullenly at anyone in their view. 

This left him with officers Prudawe, Giacomo, and Hodges, as well as Mia and the draco. 

She had refused to go with the keepers, swearing she’d make her own way to the Rand house if he tried to leave her behind. 

Ishan didn’t doubt her for a moment, and decided she’d be best in his sight rather than out of it. 

He was less sanguine when, upon dismounting from his cycle, three massive silhouettes emerged from the hedge surrounding the Rand property. 

“I know you,” he said, as the shapes became the Ohmdahl triplets. “Drunk and disorderly,” he pointed at Ulf. “Assault with a bar stool,” he pointed to Rolf. “General mayhem,” he pointed, finally, at Freya. 

“That was long ago,” Freya said. 

“That was last week,” Ishan told her. 

“As I said, long ago.” She nodded decisively. “Back when we are without purpose, yes? But Gideon Quinn gives us job with meaning, now!” 

“Gideon Quinn did, did he?” Ishan looked from Freya to Mia. 

“He needed help to set up the marks,” she said with a shrug. On her shoulder, Elvis made a complicated trill which seemed to confirm the statement. 

“Is not to worry,” Ulf assured Ishan. “Quinn tells us you are the man in charge, and we are to follow your orders.” 

“Good,” Ishan said, resisting the urge to press a finger to his twitching left eye. “That’s… good.” 

“You have our radio, yes?” Rolf asked. “Is important, Quinn says.” 

“I have it, yes, but—”

“Sir?” Prudawe was approaching, her own radio in hand. “I just heard from Sergeant Tyree. She says—”

“A moment,” Ishan held up a hand. “Listen,” he said to the three Ohmdahls, looming hopefully, “I don’t believe—”

“But sir,” Prudawe pressed, “she says to tell you to expect—”

“Did I not just say,” Ishan turned on the officer, “to give me a… a… ah…” He faltered to silence as a Corps green sedan pulled up next to his cycle, barely coming to a halt before a general of the Corps began to climb out. 

“Kimo Satsuke,” she introduced herself while her gaze turned from the Ohmdahls, to his own officers, and landed finally on Mia, before returning her attention to Ishan. “Commander of Corps Internal Operations. I believe your sergeant told you to expect me?” 

Ishan looked at Prudawe, who cleared her throat. 

“Only just now, General,” he said diplomatically. “But we didn’t get far. How may I be of assistance?”

Nahmin saw the large gathering on the corner of Chaucer and Canterbury long before they could notice him, so he turned onto Donne and abandoned his transport two streets away. 

He then walked around the block, slipped over the wall of the Muirs’ garden, and then again over the estate’s dividing wall to the Canterbury side of the Rand townhome. 

He landed in the kitchen garden nestled between the stables and the main house, where he paused to listen to the proceedings on the other side of the wall. 

Which was how he learned Quinn had used the buffoonish Ohmdahl triplets to lure Rey and Ronan to the boathouse, and into the waiting shackles of the Nike PD. 

Why Quinn chose the boathouse for his sting he did not hear, nor did he care. 

For now, his primary focus was to remove Odile from a compromising situation. 

Beyond the wall, another vehicle pulled to a stop, urging him onwards. He raced to the house itself, only to find the servants’ entrance bolted, and the key broken inside the lock. 

Quinn, again proving himself canny. 

He stepped back, and looked up to Celia’s bedroom window, which overlooked the street where Hama and his team assembled. 

It would be tight, but Nahmin could also be canny—canny enough to reach his objective unseen and, once there, put an end to the Quinn problem.

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