- The city blurried in the cold rain
that started at dawn. It slid through the grass
towards the paved lanes, flowing with a gloomy
whisper beyond the huge lot´s borders and the
blind trees. Boss stuffed his hands in his
leather jacket´s pockets and held a sigh. At his
right Rover, wearing in black and his eyes always
hidden behind his glasses, seemed just like a too
detailed sculpture. Both of them had stayed by
the car at the narrow lane that lead to that
spot, at the very end of the private cementry. A
few steps from them, before the bare soil, just
removed, Slash was playing his violin while Trash
and Run listened to him with their heads low.
- Water slid over Slash´s hair and
skin, his face up and eyes shut as he played; it
covered the violin, jumped at the bow´s changing
moves. There was no engraving on the small white
gravestone. Nobody but them should know who was
buried there. Trash looked up when the music
died, and Boss could guess her sigh from where he
was. Slash paced another step and kneeled down on
the mud, his head down, holding the violin tight
against his chest. Run sighed too, slightly shook
his head and turned his back to the new grave and
the silent tombstone. Boss saw the unusual spark
on his eyes when he paced the first step towards
the car, though his expression didn´t show any
emotion when he got by his side. He glanced over
his shoulder to the other two and faced Rover
with a quick nodd. Rover nodded back and got in
the car without a word. Then Run turned to Boss.
- "Go home with him, if you
want. I rather walk" he said, and it was his
usual voice, quiet and confident, maybe too warm
for that place and situation.
- Boss shook his head. "If it
doesn´t bother you, I´d go with you"
- The other man managed a pale smile
as he agreed. From the rear seat of the car,
Rover barely waved a hand and told the driver to
leave. Run waited till it was out of sight before
heading for the exit. Boss hesitated, looking at
the other two. His teammate shook the head again
and started walking. Boss gave a last look to the
grave and the two figures in the rain. One still
kneeling, the face hidden behind the soft mops of
long dark hair, wrapped in his black coat. The
other one, small, standing with both hands in her
pockets and her icy eyes behind the red fringe
fixed on the trees, staring but not seeing. He
went after Run recalling some conversation he´d
had with him about what happened to Kao. The
other two blamed each other for that wound on the
boy´s head, but it was just a façade: actually,
each one of them blamed theirselves for it. He
thought that maybe now, there, they could finish
for good that useless quarrel that came between
them during Kao´s two months agony.
- "We´re doing that lab
tonight." Run´s voice startled Boss from
his toughts and he faced him surprised. Run
nodded. "And you and I are gonna take care
of those two to keep them from doing anything
- Boss nodded too.
- "You know Kao was hurt when
we were still chasing García. The whole story is
that García kept the Cartel´s books. This lab
is one in half a dozen at least. They move them
every three or four weeks to keep them secret,
but they anyway need to cover their backs to help
anybody from poking. They´ve got deals with
national and local officials, and it was García
who payed them. We went after him to get the
inner records of those bribes. Now we´re gonna
do one of the labs, and everyone in charge of
it." Run half closed his eyes, staring at
the blurried builings in the rain. They were at
the cementry gate. "Tonight we ain´t
leaving Slash behind. The four of us gotta go out
to do it faster. You think you could hold him
back if you have to?"
- Boss agreed without hesitation.
Run´s lips pursed but didn´t get to smile, he
withdrew a deep breath looking ahead.
"There´s also Sterne... " he stopped
before crossing the gate, his look lost now in
the avenue traffic. "A hell of a night...
That´s what it´s gonna be."
- * * *
- "So it was them... "
- A man in his thirty stopped before
the large window, on top of a luxurious comercial
building, from where he could see a great part of
the city harbor. Tall, blond, nice but hardened
features, his dark blue eyes moved about the
docks area; a gloating smile pursing his thin
lips. Behind him, carelessly spread on a large couch,
both hands behind his head, another man barely
younger agreed grinning, causing the cigarrette
to tremble between his lips.
- "And they followed us. Bet they´re
comming tonight or tomorrow."
- The blond man turned to him,
grinning too; his hair felt lankly over his
shoulders. He was about to speak when the ring of
a cell phone cut his word. The other man reached
the low table where his feet were resting and
took the phone. After a few words, he faced the
blond arching his eyebrows.
- "Time to work. Daddy´s going
out for lunch."
- The blond stopped him before they
leave the large office. "We gotta welcome
them. But I don´t know where I´m gonna be
tonight, with that damned party..."
- The other one blinked at him from
behind the long brown fringe rubbing the tip of
his nose. He was very atractive, and his dark
eyes had a mockery spark. "Don´t worry.
Leave it to me."
- * * *
- The beer went from the table to
the couch along with the ammo. Cigarrettes went
from the couch to the table along with the
intercoms. Despite the noises the four of them
made while checking all their stuff, silence had
ruled over the house for hours. Boss noticed
Slash and Trash traded things without looking at
each other, but with no animosity either. Both of
them were too focused in what they were doing to
waste time in looking up or say a word.
- They had come back from the
cementry past midday, several hours after Run and
Boss. Both socking wet, both with the same absent
look, they didn´t even argue as every day about
shower turns. Trash´d gone straight to her room
and the bathroom, Slash´d gone to keep his
violin and waited for his turn drinking some
coffee at the kitchen.
- Boss could never guess if they had
talked, or what about, since he and Run left them
alone before Kao´s grave. But it was cristal
clear that any difference between them had been
put aside, for the moment at least, and both of
them seemed to have made up their minds to hold
their anxiety back in order to get ready for that
- When the kitchen clock gave its
bell for eleven o´clock, the four of them headed
in silence for the garage. Run sat at the wheel
and pointed Trash to go to the back side to help
Boss. Slash didn´t turn the radio on but lit
another smoke, resting by the window at Run´s
right looking out. A few minutes later they left
the Park of Peace behind and sunk in an avenue
traffic towards downtown.
- "I´m fucking sure it was
Tobías" Slash growled, thinking aloud.
- Run gave him a fleeting glance,
always attending to the traffic.
- "He and John." He
agreed. "Krazler ain´t gonna be there, at
least..." he noticed Slash´s questioning
look. " There´s a party tonight at the
French Embassy, Méndez will take him there, as
he do to every social event."
- "He´s been showing up pretty
much at politic events lately..."
- "He´s after a
- Slash jumped on his seat, leaning
towards him in disbelief.
- "How the fucking hell do you
- Run didn´t answer, bussy in
turning to the left without crashing onto the
people moving among the stopped cars, and Slash
understood he hadn´t to insist.
- The van was left alone for once,
hidden in a narrow dark alley, two streets away
from the laboratory. They spread out at the
corner and Slash and Boss hurried to one of the
emergency exits as Run and Trash entered the next
- * * *
- Boss looked over his shoulder, but
he couldn´t see anything in the room´s shadows.
He barely heard the click behind him, Slash had
just removed the detonator´s safety. Good, now
they were only two rooms left from the six the
lab used. Then he sensed more than feel a sound
on his left, from the room they had just left
behind. He stuck to the doorway, all of his
senses focused on the hallway and the stairwell.
The touch in his arm didn´t distract him,
Slash´s black shape appeared by his side and
followed his look.
- "Hurry up." Boss hissed,
eyes fixed on the other end of the hallway.
- Slash slid to the next door. Boss
withdrew after him. When they stopped, he heard
again the same sound. I´m getting too
paranoid, or somebody is moving back there trying
to make no noise. He considered warning Slash
on the intercom, but he dropped the idea right
away: a simple whisper could point out his
position. So he moved towards the stair as
noiseless as a cat, ready to shoot anything that
moved. He turned the earphone off to make sure
that no sound would betray him.
- Slash got out from the room and
chewed his mind when he saw his mate´s shadow
more than six meters far, though he allowed
himself to growl when he found out Boss had also
disconnected himself from him. Fucking jerk!
Is he ever learning to work in a team?? He
crossed the hallway and entered the lab´s last
room, the tiny explosive device ready on his
hands. He removed the tape cover, stuck the
device under the first table, leaned to remove
the safety. The click right by his ear was
cristal clear: a gun´s safety beeing unlocked.
He slowly straightened up, both hands barely
raised. Then he turnd around.
- " Hi there, kiddo."
- He managed to gather all of his
anger into a grin and faced the man wearing in
black like him, though his clothes were a fashionable
gear. Finding again those bright eyes behind the
wild dark fringe, holding up again that mocking
look and restraing himself from jumping onto him
demanded a real effort from Slash. But he did it,
despite the wave of heat that washed over his
- "Tobías. Doing extra-time
- The other man held a fit of
laughter pretty alike to Slash´s own fits.
- "Nop. Just waiting for you.
As you followed us last night from the docks, I
thought you should come by to say hi at any
- Slash quickly sized the situation
as he stared at him. Had the man wanted to kill
him right away, he could have already done it. So
he was in no rush. Tobías wanted just to play
for a while before pulling the trigger. Despite
the gun pointing at his head, Slash leaned
against the table behind him and folded his arms
with a grin.
- "I don´t see any bottle nor
glasses. You´re lazy."
- Tobías leaned against the table
in front of Slash. He lowered the gun just a bit,
now pointing at Slash´s chest, the other hand in
- "You´re always so selfish,
kiddo. All the guests must gather for a
- Now it was Slash who laughed
softly, and showed him his hands with several
little keys, the explosives´ safeties.
- "Will we do it within three
minutes? I really hate boiling champagne..."
- Tobías laughed heartedly this
time, and threw to Slash´s feet four of the six
devices, already deactivated. He recognized them
at once. So this was what Boss heard. They
came behind us taking them out. Fucking brat!
Hope he´d just opened his audio back!"
- "Hum..." he mumbled,
always staring into Tobías´ eyes.
- Too fast to be stopped, he removed
the last device´s safety. Tobías couldn´t get
close to take it without standing by him, and he
wasn´t that kind of jerk. He knew damn
well Slash would take any chance to break his
- "So?" Slash grinned,
throwing the safety with the other devices on the
- Tobías just shook his head with a
- * * *
- Two men at the outter door to the
stairs, six men on suit and white robes at the
meeting room on the upper floor. Slash and Boss
were already in and they´d taken down the inner
security system. Run and Trash jumped from the
next building´s roof and hid behind an large air
conduct. Just a minute later they noiselessly
reached the carpeted hallway that lead to the
meeting room, both bodyguards getting cold at the
stair door. The hallway had a soft cream-coloured
light falling upon paintings and walls, but the
reception room the elevators opened to was in
darkness. They stuck to the wall, one on each
side of the door, and Trash looked up at Run. But
she didn´t find his eyes. Run was staring ahead,
to the end of the hallway. She did the same and
nodded. She had just listened the noise coming
from there. There was somebody back there, at the
darkened hall. And maybe more than one man.
- Run seized the situation. Six
unarmed men behind the door, at least one armed a
few meters from them. But Trash didn´t wait for
his decision and headed for the reception, her
Magnum ready and her back to the wall. Run
didn´t waste time and entered the meeting room.
- Trash stopped hearing the first
hoarse cries and listened to her earphone. Her
teammate wasn´t done just yet. She clenched her
teeth when she heard another noise in front of
her, not behind. She crouched down and scanned
the dark room. The hallway ended up at a
reception´s corner, and the room opened to her
left. There could be an entire army waiting and
she had no way to know it. But it didn´t make
too sense that they allowed the lab´s bosses to
be killed. Save that... She paced two more
steps and stuck to the other wall. Save Sterne
made this up.
- She knew the best she could do was
waiting for Run, but if there were one or more
Sterne hidding there, she had not a sec to waste.
She pulsed her sound key to let Run know she was
going ahead and jumped into the reception room.
- The silent shot spark lighted
walls and furniture. Trash got to crouch again
behind the desk next to the hallway´s end and
clenched her teeth holding her left arm against
her side. She withdrew a deep breath and showed
up by the desk´s side. A bullet hit the wall
just an inch away from her head. She shot blindly
and hid again. Noises told her they were at least
two men. She focused on her ears to know where
they were. One of them by the elevators, on her
left, the other one was behind the large couch at
the other end of the room. Then she heard the
rumour from the hallway. Run, at last. She
closed her eyes standing a sharp pain prick and
forced her left hand to hold the small 22 she
always carried just in case, then she took her
Magnum with the other hand. She counted to three,
stood up and shot both guns at a time, speeding
to turn to her left and shoot again. But there
was no need to do it. A whistle by her shoulder
and a groan from the elevators told her Run had
just killed the guy. She spun on her heels to
- * * *
- There was a pc at the room by the
meeting room. Run plugged the zip and searched
the information at full speed, starting the
download. Trash hadn´t waited for him and the
shooting noises had gotten low but clear to him.
Now there was not a sound, not even the girl´s
breathing on the intercom, and that was no good.
He checked the data download was progressing and
went back to the meeting room, sticking to the
door and holding his breath trying in vain to
hear anything. Then he heard the click on the
- "All clean here." Run
unlocked his 9 mm. ¿"All clean
here"?? Trash´s voice was kindda
hurry, a bare growl, and she never used there
words when only one, "clean", was
enough. He turned the dorknob slowly, but the
door got roughly open, making him jump back. Run
stood in the doorway and held his breath.
- There was Trash, her left arm
bleeding, staring at him with glaring eyes and
clenched teeth. And by her side, pointing her own
Magnum´s mouth against her temple, a tall pale
man was grinning at him.
- "It´s been a while,
blond." The man said arching a brow.
"Let´s go. Tobías is waiting for us
downstairs with the violin kid. Now that we have
the three of you, we´re all gonna have some fun,
- Run dropped his gun and stepped
out silent, ignoring Trash´s surprise when she
saw him giving up so easily. John took them to
the reception and the elevators. There he lazyly
lit a smoke, offering one to Trash, who refused
with a fierce glare.
- "Sorry ´bout the boy, we´ve
just heard about it." The guy said, leaning
against the wall right by Trash. "Seems you
can´t work it out as a trio, boys. I really
thought you were gonna give us at least one
- Run noticed Trash´s effort to
hide her surprise. Just now she understood why
her mate hadn´t put up any fight to help being
caught. She couldn´t figure out how, but Sterne
didn´t know about Kao´s replacement, and Boss
had somehow managed it not to be found when
Tobías atacked Slash.
- An elevator stopped then at their
store and doors opened with a hum. John pointed
them to get on it first as he put his smoke out
on the carpet. But at the very moment they were
stepping into the steel cage, the entire building
trembled and shook from its fundations. Run
jumped backwards, dragging Trash with him, at the
same time the fire alarm got started and the
elevator´s doors shut. John stood up before them
still holding Trash´s gun, though his eyes
glanced at the stairs, scowling in doubt. Run and
Trash traded a look.
- * * *
- Slash opened up his eyes in a
puzzle. He couldn´t match any shape around him.
Everything was smoke and dust, getting to his
lungs through nose and mouth, suffocating him. He
touched his aching head and noticed the stabbing
pain from his thigh. He was laying flat on the
floor, and he managed it to crawl back a few
steps, till his back touched something thad had
to be what was left from an inner wall. The fire
alarm´s howl filled the space, and the roof´s
spayers rained down in vain. He straightened just
a bit, resting on his elbows, to take a look at
his leg. Seeing the gun wound brought back to his
mind the last moments before the blast. Tobías
had pushed him aside in order to remove the now
activated explosive, and when he jumped over him,
the Sterne guy had shot him on the leg, taking
him down and forgetting about him. But next thing
he could recall was still confuse. He´d seen
Tobías run away when he realised he couldn´t
stop the device´s counter. But then someone else
had showed up, removing the device and taking it
away. Not too far, considering the mess, though
it seemed to be too mess to be done by
only one of his bombs...
- Then he got it, and laughed softly
as he ragged his collar shirt to stop his leg´s
bleeding. He´d prepared two sets of
devices just in case, and Boss was carrying the
spare one. And even if Slash wasn´t able to
picture out how, it was clear that Boss had
managed it to replace what Tobías had removed,
and also get in time to take away the one started
at that last lab.
- He heard then several people came
running, and gunshots. Somebody went on running
up to the ruined room where he was laying, and
Slash recognized Trash´s small shape where the
door had once been.
- "Here" he called, waving
- The girl hurried to him as three
more gunshots echoed at the former hallway. Then
Slash saw the blood from her left arm. She took a
look at his thigh.
- "Can you walk?"
- "If you help me."
- Trash rounded his waist whit her
right arm and hoisted him, then helped him to
reach the doorway and made him lean against what
remained of the wall. Smoke and dust were
suffocating, and they couldn´t see a thing just
two steps away. But there was no more gunshots.
- "Tobías?" Trash asked
in a whisper.
- "Gone, of course" Slash
snarled, covering his face with an arm and
holding back a cough fit. "What about
- "John. We got away, but he
came down right behind us, shooting to kill. Run
stayed back by the stairwell to catch him."
- "So what the fuck are we
waiting for here? To see who comes first and
- Trash withdrew a deep breath
looking aside from him, to the stairwell. Slash
managed it to bend without losing balance and
took out the gun he was carriyng on his ankle. He
grabbed it unlocking the safety and nodded
- "Let´s go. We still gotta
find Boss, and not in pieces I hope"
- They moved together, slowly. There
was fire in three of the lab´s rooms, and they
could already hear bombers´trucks and police
cars on the street. They really had to hurry if
they didn´t wanna get caught between fire and
uniforms. Soon they saw what seemed to be a
crouched man benting over another one laying on
the floor. They stopped and Trash made her mate
to rest against the smoky wall.
- "Gimme the gun and stay
- Slash did so, but then they saw
the man straightened up carrying the other in his
arms, hurrying his pace towards them. Trash aimed
at him withtout hesitation, Slash´s hand forced
her to lower the gun. Run came to their side with
an uncounscious Boss in his arms and nodded to
the other end of the hallway.
- "Emergency exit" was all
- They got back to the street before
the building was wholly surrounded and nobody saw
them walking away through a dark alley towards
the hidden van. There Run laid Boss down at the
back side and left the other two to take care of
him. Trash noticed Run was about to go back to
the building and stopped him with a questioning
- "The data zip. We can´t
leave it there. And we also gotta burn those
bodies" he replied, and left.
- Trash just sighed and closed the
back doors. Slash was already checking on his
faint mate, finding the bruise on his head that
had surely punched his lights out, plus a bunch
of superficial bruises and cuts that had ragged
his clothes in pieces. It was obvious he hadn´t
been able to get away enough from the blast. The
girl sat down in front of him, Boss laying
between them, and faced him raising a brow.
- "This jerk almost got killed
to save me" Slash growled "Fucking
dumbass brat. Never gonna learn to work in a
- "You´re... welcome..."
- Slash looked down in a puzzle to
find Boss´ glazy look from behind the
half-closed eyelids. Trash allowed herself a soft
laughter as she held a wet towell against the
bump by his left ear. He managed a smile closing
his eyes again. Run came back then and started
the engine as he gave Trash two things. She
stared up at him in surprise. He hadn´t only
recover the zip: he had also found her Magnum.
- "Where to?" Slash asked,
noticing Run wasn´t taking the way back home.
- "To the Turkish´s place, to
see if he can fix you guys. I can´t get a whole
one from all of you together"
- Slash sat at his right, turned the
radio on and lit a smoke.
- "What ´bout John?"
Trash asked from behind, placing her jacket as a
pillow beneath Boss´ head, who thanked her with
a faint smile.
- "Gone." Rum got to
answer before Slash started to sing at the top of
his lungs as he used to.
- "Mercy..." Boss groaned
frowning. "Why the fuck... did I take...
that bomb away...?"