Mundus Novit: Dark Horizons – Thicker Than Water

In “The Stream,” Boyle and his team get jumped in Kathmandu by a crew who may work for the Chinese.

In “The Vault,” a special section of Canada’s Communications Security Establishment is monitoring Kathmandu, which has gone dark to all electronic and parapsychic traffic. Madison and Heather, two agents from the Vault, joined their international spec ops team in “Meet & Greet.” While on the trail of Boyle, the team is ambushed  by a group of parapsyches able to break through the Kathmandu silence. The team foiled the ambush, but at the end of “Dirty Hands,” they were facing the business ends of more firearms. The team is faced with Alexander Scott and Rebecca Kim in ” . . . I Would’ve Baked a Cake,” but an agreement is reached. That makes everyone happy, until all the prisoners—and Dyck—are cut down in a hail of gunfire.

In “Mission Unlikely,” we learn that Boyle and his team have gone missing. Becca meets Alex in Monrovia in order to get him to come with her to Kathmandu to find Boyle. Off the record and off the reservation. Alex then goes to meet a contact in Burma in “The Russian.” Rudi the Russian agrees to supply both equipment and information for Alex’s forway into Nepal. Alex and Becca try to make contact with a prisoner in Kathmandu allegedly connected to Tangible Stream, but in “Target of Opportunity,” they find that someone is watching. That someone isn’t professional, and they capture him with ease. This doesn’t make them feel any better.

In “The Bedouin,” Kyle and Meredith from the Prospero Group contract the intelligence broker known as the Bedouin to get them a lead on what is happening in Kathmandu. The Bedouin returns to old haunts in “From Delhi With Indifference,” only to be ambushed by hit teams led by a man with a Nepalese name but an American accent. Rudi the Russian gets sent to Kathmandu to kill the Bedouin, but Boyle and “Cascade” emerge to save Rudi from “the Cat’s Reward.” Boyle, “Cascade,” and Rudi make an unannounced visit on the special ops team sent to hunt down Boyle’s team in “Switch of a Flick.” The visit was not entirely cordial, and left one team member, whom Boyle asserts is a mole, dead.

Now, Mads is in the middle of a firefight with at least one friendly down. Mads is most assuredly not a high-speed, low-drag door kicker. This is not good.

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Thirteen: Thicker Than Water

Mads emptied his magazine. He had fired again and again at the gunman on the roof, the one targeting Dyck. Thirteen rounds in the air and at least two had hit the gunman. Mads had seen the plumes of blood mist, one at the shoulder and one dead centre of the head. Two out of thirteen was nothing to be proud of.

Should’ve spent more time on the fuckin’ range.

Grabbing Dyck’s arm, Mads tried to drag him off the street. There were more gunmen, had to be. All three prisoners had gone down. Mads tugged. Dyck growled something about his gut. Blood. A lot of blood. Blood on Dyck and on the prisoner. Blood all over the street. Dyck was slick with it.

That push again. That sense of the air congealing around Mads. Something he could almost touch. As he yanked on Dyck, a body fell from the roof above him. The figure landed not two metres from Mads.

It was a guy. He looked Caucasian. He had one of those earpieces they had found on the guys in the coffee shop. He shuddered and writhed, there on the ground. Mads didn’t see any wounds on him. He couldn’t see any bullet holes. What had brought the guy down? It looked like some kind of seizure. Like what he had seen back in the coffee shop.

The gunfire around him intensified and then fell silent. Another body impacted about five metres into the alley from where Mads stood. Dyck had got to his knees, holding his gut with his free hand, his weapon lying on the ground. Blood coloured his entire torso.

“This is fucking bad,” Dyck said. “This is way fucking bad.”

“You’ll be okay.” Mads searched his memory for what Harvey Keitel had said in that movie. “It takes a long time to die from a gut wound. Hurts like hell, but you’ve got lots of time. We’ll get you patched up. It’ll be good.”

Dyck managed a smile. “You some kind of medic now, Madman?”

Walker reached them, Scott at his side, scanning the rooftops with his Browning Hi-Power. Walker took Dyck from Mads, helped him to the side of the alley, and sat him down against the wall.

“Shit, man, you didn’t hear me say duck?” Walker spoke lightly, all cheerful good humour.

“I heard you say goose.” Dyck chuckled grimly at his own weak joke.

“Five shooters.” Scott still scanned for targets. “Two others with those earpieces. One’s alive, on the ground. Looks like he broke some stuff, but he didn’t get tagged.”

Heather had her SIG in hand, but she held it loose. “How could they be waiting for us? How were they waiting for us in both places?”

Becca pushed her way to Dyck, a first aid kit in hand. Walker gave her room to go to work. He took Dyck’s hand in his own.

“You’ve got a mole,” Scott said.

Heather turned to Scott, frowning. “Is that how you found us?”

Scott glanced at Heather. “Different mole, but yes. My guy’s still working on your side. There’s someone else. Someone working for the opposition.”

“Who is the fucking opposition?” Mads frustration came through unconsciously. He took a deep breath and tried to pull it together. “Who’s the mole?”

“I can’t answer either of those questions, Mr. Madison.” Scott gestured to Dyck. “We have to move him. We have to do it now.”

“He isn’t going far,” said Walker.

Becca had cut away Dyck’s shirt and wrapped the bullet hole to the left of his belly. “We have a vehicle, about ten metres down the alley. We can carry you all. Do you have a medic on your team?”

Dyck chuckled again, this time with less mirth than the last. “No room for that.”

Becca tied off the dressing, tight, then jammed a morphine autoinjector into his neck. “We’ve got equipment at our place. I can stabilize you until Scott gets you a doctor.”

Walker had his MP5K at the ready. “Right, we move to the vehicle. Scott, you’re with me. We take the prisoner. Mads, Help the lieutenant with Dyck. Heather, you’ve got the six.”

No one questioned it. Dyck could kind of stumble with Becca under one arm and Mads under the other. Dyck grimaced with almost every move, but never a sound, never a falter. What the fuck is this guy made of?

Scott shot a quick glance back toward Mads. “Stay close, Mr. Madison, in case our guest wakes.”

“What’s that?” Mads wanted to hurry, but he didn’t want to jostle Dyck any worse. “Why should that matter?”

“You don’t know?” asked Becca.

Mads’ brow furrowed. The fist of anxiety had a really tight grip on his stomach . . . or possibly his upper intestine, Mads wasn’t really great at anatomy. “You guys are really scaring me.”

Scott’s voice drifted back. “We’ll discuss it later, Mr. Madison. Too many possible ears.”

Mads caught Becca’s eyes, hoping maybe she’d have pity on him or something, give him some clue. She went somewhere else entirely.

“We should have expected back up, but I swear we didn’t see them when we arrived.” She was looking right at Mads, but it was like she wasn’t talking to him, more like she spoke to herself, trying to get things clear.

“Maybe they weren’t there,” Mads said. “Or maybe the ESPers clouded everything. Those earpiece things let them project through the silence.”

Becca looked away, her eyes on their path, but she nodded. “Yeah, maybe, but taking out their own guys first. That’s cold.”

“I’m betting those aren’t their guys.” Mads tried to concentrate on not bobbing as he walked. He noted how smooth Walker and Scott moved. He tried to mimic that. “They tagged the guys who knew something, something that they didn’t want in the open. That must have been the deal. With their position, they could have made a credible rescue attempt.”

Becca grunted something that might have been assent. “Yeah, weird no matter what that they targeted the ESPers first.”

“Sucks bein’ in the line of fire, ladies.” Dyck said it with a smile, but Mads could hear the tension in his voice.

“Not far now, soldier,” Becca said.

Mads assumed Becca referred to the beat-up, brown and white cargo van that looked at least a decade old, and a hard decade at that. Something like that could certainly carry the crew and not attract too much notice. Too bad it made such a big target.

“It’s got a modified engine and drive train,” Becca said. “It’s up-armoured, so at least until the local opposition pulls out the RPG-7s, we’re good.”

Attracting only a few curious glances from the pedestrians near the alley mouth, the group piled into the van, careful when transferring Dyck. With no cushion or blankets available, Dyck had to lie on the van floor. Scott got behind the wheel.

“I’ll try to take it easy, but we need to get to a roost fast,” he said.

Dyck nodded and mumbled something Mads didn’t catch. Then the van roared to life, and Mads did his best to cushion Dyck as everyone in the back—everyone without seats or handholds—slid along the metal floor.

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Mundus Novit: Dark Horizons continues with “There’s A Mole and Then There’s a Mole.”

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