“I don’t trust them.”
The chemist quirked a brow at his partner, silently saying, ‘Your turn’ and turned to help Wolf lug supplies to the car.
“Look, they all had their licenses in their China. Probably went through just as much school as you did,” Svorak placated.
“So? Their methods aren’t my methods,” Medic growled. “You said you appreciated me, and now look at this! You’re leaving me behind, trusting your asses to a group of Triad herb pushers!”
“Okay, first of all. Whoa. Second, you are staying here because Arana and Drai are going on a job as well. And we all know…. er…” Svorak snapped his mouth shut and looked around for other team members before continuing. “… how well Lady keeps herself together.”
Medic’s dark brown eyes narrowed.
“Ye-es,” the merc drawled. “Christoph and I have talked about this. We have decided that we feel that we can trust you with this responsibility.” He didn’t crack a smile.
The short man huffed and looked away. “Shut up, Cyclops.”
“It’s true!” His one blue eye widened in sincerity before creasing in a smile. “Just don’t go exploring. Other than that, you really can’t fuck up. It’s just not possible.”
The dark merc found himself forcibly spun on the spot and force marched to the door.
“Get him out of here. He’s turning into a sap,” Medic snapped at the amused blond, before slamming the door of the house closed.
Svorak grinned at the other two men. Wolf shook his head. “Where’s your gear?” the youth asked.
Oh. “Medic? Let me back in! I need my weapons!”
“There are no other alternatives.”
Chang sighed. “I forgot!” He spread his hands out to his sides in apology. “It won’t be so bad. You just stand by my left side, smile, watch everyone, be polite, be willing to dance–”
“Dance?” Ruby spat. “Not part of the job description, Chang.”
The door behind them creaked open and the small female whipped around, hand sliding to her thigh holster before recognizing one of the male bodyguards.
“Sir, we’re leaving in four minutes.” The grizzled guard eyed the two of them. “You don’t have time to argue.”
Ngai Mun gave him a stoney glare.
“See? Now the dress is over there in the box; it should fit,” Chang motioned towards a couch. “I will turn and look at the wall. I swear I won’t peek.”
Snarling, Ruby stalked over to the box, ripped off the lid, and froze. “This…” Scarlet and gold silk. Dyed to match her eyes and hair precisely. Motherfucker.
“Please hurry,” the guard muttered and reached inside, yanking Chang along with him into the hall. The door closed with a quiet click.
“Would you quit singing in my ear, you bastard? I can’t even understand the words,” Scorpio groused.
“Aww, and I thought I had a lovely singing voice, teme,” Shinigami purred.
“Oh, get a room, you two,” Arana snapped over the com. Really. They were acting like a couple of children. Alright, well, compared to her, they were a couple of children. But still. Idiots.
“Target sighted,” Shinigami noted. “Going in.”
Arana nodded. “Prepared to run distraction. Scorpio, you have our backs?”
A scoff. “Of course.”
“In place. Ready for distraction,” Shinigami said.
“Distraction going in.”
Cutting the engine, Christoph popped the locks and the three mercenaries poured out of the car. Gear was distributed out and radios were tucked into ears and wound around throats.
Svorak stood with a cell phone pressed to his ear, an extra radio hanging from his hand. “You don’t need a wire? Fine by me. Just get here and we’ll get the introductions out-of-the-way.” He snapped the phone closed and tucked the spare into a pocket. “Looks like our complimentary sniper has her own communication device.”
Rolling his eyes, his partner snorted. “We aren’t the only professionals in the field,” Christoph chided.
Wolf locked the car and tossed the keys to the blond. “This is ridiculous. We have a sniper. In fact, Ruby is in the same location anyway.”
“She was requested specifically though,” Svorak interrupted a familiar rant, draping an arm across broad shoulders, “and you have to admit, she fits in pretty well in a Triad social mixer.”
The youth subsided with a few choice grumbles.
“Chin up boy,” Christoph said abruptly. “I believe our sniper is here.”
A small blonde woman meandered toward them from across the parking lot, a single briefcase in hand. She didn’t look to be in any particular hurry. She wore a sleek black outfit, mostly leather and form-fitting, with a black jacket over it that was left open, revealing a very low-cut shirt that hugged her breasts. She blinked at them, and gave them a bright smile as she came to a stop.
“Hello! I’m Dollie,” she said. “‘Cause of my face. Nice to meet you!” She ducked into an awkward curtsey, long lashes fluttering.
The two older men raised eyebrows in identical expressions of pain. “You were saying,” the dark one muttered, then expelled a gust of air as the pale one elbowed him in the ribs before stepping forwards.
“Hello Dollie, my name’s Baba,” Christoph introduced himself. “Tiger, and Wolf.”
Svorak lifted a hand and waved as Wolf nodded.
“Delightful~” she said cheerfully. “Anyway, now that the introductions are done, who is our designated leader?”
Wolf pointed at Svorak, Svorak pointed at Christoph, Christoph lifted a hand.
“Okie dokie!” She gave Christoph a smile. “Where you want me, Baba?”
“South East of the building, there will be a hotel, Oleander. Room 417 has been booked by a representative of the Triads that is currently out-of-town.” The blond handed her a card key. “The kitchen window or the balcony, whichever suits your tastes. It will give you a clear view of the buffet and the open balcony areas.”
“Wolf and I will take care of the body guards, flushing the target out towards you,” Svorak picked up the line of instructions. “Baba will be acting as coordinator and backup in case the target takes a different route.”
“Reconvene at the Imperial Hotel on South Eddings, room 212,” the chemist finished. “Tiger will adjust your wire for our channel. Questions?”
She glanced off in the direction of where she’d be going, then shrugged and shook her head. “Nope!” She tugged a black box out of the pocket on her hip and handed it over to the dark man. It was her wire channeler. “Here.”
Large hands encased in matt black gloves thumbed a few buttons and then handed the box back. “Cheers, Dollie,” Tiger told her.
Wolf checked the line of his suit jacket one more time and then ran an assessing eye over his mentor’s. Wasn’t all that often they got to dress up in expensive upper-class wear. “We ready?”
“Yup, or I will be in ten minutes,” Dollie said cheerfully. “I’ll let you know when I’m in place!” That said, she turned away, heading off toward her location. One hand was sliding her earpiece in. The other still clutched the small black briefcase.
“Back in the car,” Christoph ordered, and the males, two in silk charcoal suits and one in civilian clothing, slipped into the vehicle.
Five minutes later, the car idled in the underground parking lot as the suits exited the vehicle. Christoph saluted them in farewell and drove back out.
“Parking lot, clear. Tiger and Wolf, going in.”
“You know, I’m beginning to think there’s something seriously wrong with your girl, Scorpio,” a voice drawled. “… she just got shot. Again. Clean though.”
“Good boy. Gotta go get my girl.”
“Yeah, target’s dead too, by the way.”
“I saw. Nice shooting.”
Arana grimaced, eying Shinigami where he crouched twenty feet away, checking the target for a pulse. She was pressing a hand to her shoulder, where she’d been shot, and listening to the two bicker like five-year olds. And why was Shinigami eying that barrel?
Drai trotted into view and crouched beside her. “No fatality?”
“Not tonight,” she muttered.
He nodded. “I’m going to go talk to Shinigami. Can you walk?”
“Yeah.” She got up while Drai went over to speak with the Jap… and stared in surprise as the Jap shot one of the wires holding the bucket. And tipped it.
Stilling his movements, the young man looked down at the woman at his side. “Yes?”
“Get your hand off my ass.”
“Whoops! Yes dear.”
The feeling of a small hand tracing up his arm had his lips twitching up into a smirk before the edge of a blade was felt along his collar. “Ruby?”
“I am not your ‘dear’,” she told him, tone just above freezing temperatures.
“Main hall, three guards down. Target en route as planned.”
“South East entrance. I see them… Holding position…”
“Designated position. Waiting to spot target.”
“Roger. Tiger, waiting on you.”
There was a small commotion as the various bodyguards were dragged off to the tables, supposedly passed out from alcohol. For the most part, the crowd maintained its aplomb.
“South East entrance, last two guards are down. Dollie, target is going your way.”
“Roger. Ahh, there he is. Waiting on a clear shot.” There was a brief pause. “He’s down. Not getting back up,” she announced.
“Roger. Perfect. Reconvene in thirty. Well done team.”
Christoph slumped back in the car and smiled. Flawless.
“Keep the dress.”
Red eyes narrowed. “You docked my pay?”
“It’s a gift, Ruby.”
Chang laughed. “I won’t be using it! And do you want me to keep something that you’ve worn?”
Lips lifting in a sneer, the tiny woman looked up from carefully folding the silk into its original box. “That’s disgusting.”
“So take it. Keep it, burn it, donate it. I don’t care,” the aggravating man told her. “Just don’t leave it here for us disgusting males to squabble over.”
Ngai Mun fit the finely painted lacquered lid back down on the wooden box and turned on him, but in the end, the parcel was wrapped and in her arms when she left for home base.