I couldn't resist putting out a small advance excerpt of the next upcoming installment in the McKenzie Files series. Here's a short preview of Obliteration. McKenzie Files-3. Coming in 2013.
Colin felt that usual nervous feeling stinging in the middle of his stomach while he was riding in the front seat of the new car that the C.I.D had given he, Diane, and Kelly. Finally we get a vehicle of our own. No more having to depend on shuttles, taxis, or the subway to get around, he told himself. The only drawback to this was having Diane as a driver. An impulsive, bad tempered individual who had just received her driver’s license two weeks ago. Even with the tight safety belt strapped across his torso Colin was still feeling less secure as he watched Diane jerk the steering wheel to the left and right in order to weave in and out of the four lanes of traffic on the streets of Navarone to reach their destination. Colin imagined that Kelly was feeling the same way while he was riding in the back seat. Over the sound of the car’s wailing siren Colin heard Kelly cry out several times as they approached the rear end of another vehicle, then swerved out of the way to avoid a collision.
I should have gotten my license before Diane, Colin scolded himself. He looked over at her. Dressed in her black T-shirt and jeans she had a broad smile on her face. The white sneaker on her right foot shifted from the brake to the accelerator pedal. The air flow from the open window blew through her long black hair. There was a large laser pistol holstered at her right hip.
“Do you mind slowing down?” Colin asked. “We want to at least get there alive.”
“Slow down?” Diane said with a laugh. “We have to get there before these jackasses kill the hostages. You heard the report.”
“I know,” Colin replied. His memory went back twenty minutes ago. He was sleeping in his quarters back at the military base when he was awakened by a phone call from C.I.D Captain Melony Carter. She informed him that a group of Vendetta terrorists had taken several civilians hostage in an office building and were threatening to kill them and then detonate a nuclear bomb that was hidden somewhere in Navarone unless the government agreed to release a number of Vendetta operatives from the penal moon Taraxis, in the Tacoma system. Captain Carter also reported that one of the terrorists was observed using paranormal abilities. Reploid abilities. And that was a detail that would come to the attention of Colin, Diane, and Kelly. The team known as Silencers.
Captain Carter told Colin that the terrorists were giving a one hour deadline for their demands to be met. After the deadline they would kill the hostages and then set off the bomb. She also told him that Diane and Kelly would pick him up within the next ten minutes. That gave Colin very little time to throw on his blue jeans, a black shirt, and a pair of white sneakers, and then rush out to the bases’ main gate where a black car with Diane and Kelly was waiting.
“If we’re going into a dangerous situation then I think I’d rather get killed by the bad guys than by a member of my own team,” Kelly said. He thrust out his hand between Diane and Colin to point at the windshield. “Car, car, car!” he shouted.
“I see it,” Diane shouted back.
Colin held his breath as he watched their car make a rapid approach to the rear end of a black car up ahead. Diane jerked the steering wheel to the right and the car swerved into the right lane to avoid it. Colin was hoping that during the excitement Diane would not forget her strength and accidentally rip the steering wheel away from the column.
Colin exhaled. But not out of a sense of relief. “Diane. Do you see that truck up ahead?”
“I’m on it,” was her reply.
Diane steered the car to the left to avoid crashing into the rear end of a blue pick up truck. She mashed her foot down on the accelerator pedal and the car sped up ahead of the truck. Then moved in front of it. The car then came to an intersection. With it’s tires screeching the car made a sharp right turn and headed down the road towards a large crowd of people. The car came to a screeching halt just six feet away from the crowd. Several people dashed to the left and right out of fear of being hit. The momentum jerking Colin’s body forward.
“We’re here,” Diane announced.
“We’re alive,” Colin jabbed. He was amazed that they had survived being
passengers in a vehicle with Diane behind the wheel. His heart was still pounding when he looked over at her. Butt was not from a romantic feeling. And they want to train her to be a pilot? he thought.
Diane reached for a small touchpad at the right side of the steering wheel and pressed a key. The blaring siren was now silenced.
“Ok. Let’s do this,” said Diane. She got out of the car.
Colin and Kelly exited the car. Colin took a second glance at Kelly. His blue cut off denim shorts, green tank top shirt, and wearing black sneakers without socks made Kelly look like he was more prepared for a day at the beach, rather than entering a hostage situation.
They moved through the crowd of onlookers and came upon a police roadblock. A five foot high, blue barrier of glowing energy that stretched across the road between two black, five foot high metal poles. On the other side of the barrier were three white police cars with their red bar lights flashing. Three black uniformed police officers were standing near the cars.
As Colin, Diane, and Kelly approached the barrier an officer on the other side walked over and held up his hand. “Sorry. The road is blocked off. Police emergency,” he told them in a stern tone.
In unison, Colin, Diane, and Kelly reached into their pockets and brought out the black billfolds that held their badges.
“We’re with the C.I.D. Silencers,” Colin explained. “Lieutenant Copeland is expecting us.”
“Silencers?” the officer inquired. He reached into his pocket and brought out a small black remote. He pressed a key on the remote and the barrier faded away to allow Colin, Diane, and Kelly to pass.
They proceeded until they came upon two large, black armored vans that had stopped in the middle of the street. The vans displayed the prominent white letters, S.W.A.T on their sides. In front of the vans were three police cars. Just a few feet away from them was a row of six other police cars. Both vans and the cars had their red lights flashing. There were several uniformed and plain clothed officers crouched down behind the vehicles with their laser guns drawn and aimed at a building several feet away at the right. The S.W.A.T officers were crouched down among them. They also had their laser rifles aimed at the building. Several feet in front of this police barricade was a chaotic scene with dead bodies and demolished vehicles scattered about. The bodies appeared to be that of men and women. And there were also dead police officers among them. The bodies were all dismembered and laying in pools of blood.
“Maybe it would be a good idea to keep our heads down,” Kelly suggested.
A wise idea, in Colin’s mind. He crouched down, along with Diane and Kelly and approached two officers who were kneeling behind a police car.
“We’re Silencers, with the C.I.D, said Colin. Displaying his badge. “Lieutenant Copeland is expecting us,”
The officer pointed to the left. “He’s over there. I’ll call him over.”
The officer pressed a key on a small remote attached to his belt, then spoke into a microphone attached to the earbuds that he was wearing. A few seconds later Colin looked to his left and saw the familiar sight of police lieutenant Copeland. A man in his thirties, with a head of bushy black hair. Wearing a black suit and shoes, with a grey shirt and black necktie. He remained in a crouched position as he approached. He was carrying a laser gun in his hand.
“Silencers from the C.I.D. I haven’t seen you three since the Mertz case,” said Copeland. There was a wide eyed expression of surprise on his face. “The C.I.D sent you to handle this situation?”
“We’re best qualified for the situation,” replied Colin. “What’s going on?”
“A group of seven male suspects walked into the lobby of the Universal Industries building and killed the three security guards that were stationed at the receptions station. They then proceeded to go up to the building’s twenty fifth floor where they took a number of hostages. Four officers responded to the alarm that the security guards set off. But they never made it out of there alive. We’ve evacuated the building to avoid any further civilian casualties. So far the terrorists have the entire twenty fifth floor under their control.”
“I see that S.W.A.T is here,” said Colin, as he pointed to the black vans. “Did they try to storm the building and re-take the floor somehow?”
“They tried. But their first attempt was a disaster. One of the terrorists has some kind of energy weapon that we’ve never seen before. It’s effect is pretty damn gruesome. I’m sure that you’ve seen the aftermath up ahead.”
Colin raised his head to take another look at the wreckage and bodies. “What kind of weapon could have caused all this damage?” He examined the wrecked cars. Sections of some vehicles were left intact, while other sections appeared to be crumpled like tin foil. “These cars look like they were crushed somehow.”
“More like imploded,” Copeland corrected. “It’s a hell of a way to die. We lost six officers. As far as we can tell they’re using some sort of implosion beam weapon. Metal, flesh, body armor, personal protection shields. They’re all useless against it. And we have several witnesses that have stated that they didn’t actually see the terrorist using a weapon. But he was actually using his bare hands. Maybe in all the excitement they didn’t get a chance to take a better look. You guys think you can go up against something like that?”
Colin was starting to wonder he same thing himself. “This falls within our area of expertise. Have the terrorists made any kind of demands?”
“They’re given us one hour to release several Vendetta agents from the prison moon, Taraxis. If we don’t meet their demands then they’ll kill all the hostages and then detonate a nuclear device that they have hidden someplace in the city. We’re up against a rock and a hard place here. If you have any solutions then I’m all ears.”
Colin could offer Copeland little in the way of a solution. “This doesn’t make sense. It seems to me that they’re in just as tight a spot as you are. Don’t they realize that their chances of pulling this off are slim?”
“It’s possible that they do. But it’s my theory that they probably care very little about getting the prisoners set free. This is more about striking fear. The slim chance of getting their people back would probably be a bonus.”
“How much time do we have before their deadline ?” Colin asked.
Copeland glanced at his wristwatch. “Twenty six minutes.”
“That doesn’t give us much time,” Replied Colin. “Have you tried to negotiate with them?”
“We’ve tried. But so far we’ve gotten nowhere. Our hostage negotiator was speaking to their leader. A smart ass by the name, Brubaker. He’s not bending on his demands.”
“Then we’ll just have to make him bend until he breaks,” Colin told Copeland. He looked back at Diane and Kelly. He was feeling that all too familiar knot in the pit of his stomach beginning to tighten. It always came with the knowledge that the three of them might be walking straight to their deaths. “Ready?”
Kelly looked back at Colin. “Ready as I’ll ever be.”
Diane drew her laser pistol from it’s holster. “Lead the way.”
Copeland looked over at Kelly, then back to Colin. “Wait a second. You two are going in there unarmed?”
“I wouldn’t exactly say that,” Colin told him.
Colin took in a deep breath, preparing himself for anything, and was the first to rise. Diane and Kelly rose up and followed him as he walked past the police barricade of cars and towards the building. They walked past the wrecked cars and the gruesome sight of the dismembered bodies of civilians and police laying on the ground to reach the building’s wide glass doors. The doors automatically opened to admit the three. Colin remained tense as he expected an attack to come at any second. In the building’s wide lobby with it’s grey, stone floor tile they passed by the twisted bodies of four police officers. Their blood splattered over the floor. They approached the black, circular form of the receptions station. Colin peered down over the station to find the bodies of three security guards. They were so twisted and bloodied that he could not tell if they were male or female.
“This isn’t good,” Colin said in a quiet voice.
At the left and right sides of the receptions station were two sets of black elevator doors that stood out against the grey stone tiled walls. At the left and right past both sets of elevators were short corridors with doors at the end. In the middle of both doors were signs displaying the words, stairs, in large glowing red letters.
“Are we going to ride up or walk?” Kelly asked.
“I’m not walking up twenty five floors,” said Colin. “Then again, if we take the elevator then they’ll probably be waiting for us.”
Diane raised her laser gun. “Then lets not keep them waiting too long. We don’t want anybody up there to get pissed at us.”
Colin took in another deep breath. Then they approached the elevators.