Sam, Henry, Derek, Todd, Hostages

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“The fireworks are set to go off in thirty,” Sam said, setting a timer on them for thirty-five minutes.

“Jesus fucking Christ,” Henry said in Sam’s ear. “Can you give me ten more minutes? We’re not all superhuman.”

Sam waited until the gunfire that followed that died down. “I can give you five more minutes,” he said. “Starting now.”

He hit the timer on the bomb, got up, pulling his bag over his shoulder. “Good enough,” said Henry. “Wait for me at the rendezvous.”

“Yeah,” Sam said, opening the door. “What’s your status?”

“I’m almost to the principal. There’s more security than our intel told us.”

“Hey!” called a voice in the hallway Sam had stepped into. Sam raised his gun and fired three times. Aside from a small gurgle, there was no other sound.

“No kidding,” Sam said. “We’ll be retroactively charging extra. What the fuck kind of smuggling operation has this much muscle behind it?”

“The drug kind.”

“This wasn’t supposed to be a drug runner,” Sam muttered. They’d been told their target was an electronics smuggler. Microchips and shit. “Fuck back pay. Someone’s getting shot in the knee for this.”

“Only the knee? You’re growing as a person.”

“Shut up and kill people.”

“I can talk and kill people.”

“You can also shut up and kill people.”

Henry snorted. “We should go on vacation after this. I hear Tahiti is nice when you’re not committing acts of unspeakable violence.”

Sam wouldn’t know, but he’d just heard banging. “Hold on,” he said, moving towards it, gun out. He was in a long hallway that led to the furnace room where he’d planted the bomb, and it was supposed to be empty. Which it hadn’t been, because there’d been security down here. Why was there security near the furnace? All that should be down here was normal storage rooms, not ones where they would keep their goods.

He stopped in front of the banging, reached out and found a door. It was locked. “Prince, what’s going on?”

“Help!” called a boy’s voice from the other side. “Please, help us!”

“Shit,” Sam muttered, trying to force the door. He might able to pick the lock, but that would take too long. He banged on the door. “Get away from the door,” he said. “I’m going to let you out but get away from the door.”

He heard a distant shuffling. “Prince,” Henry repeated on the comm.

Sam shot the door handle, kicked the door open. “How many of you are there?” he asked, coming into the room.

“Just us two,” said a different voice from before. “Who are you?”

Crap, crap. “Shrike, there are two hostages here, sounds like little boys.”

“We’re not fucking little.”

“Fuck. Can you get them out?”

“Yeah. I’m going to sweep for others on the way out. Hurry up.”

“I’ll be done in ten minutes.”

Sam didn’t answer, putting his gun away. “Okay, listen,” he told the kids. “I need to know if there are other hostages here.”

“We don’t…we don’t think so,” said the first boy. “Are you here to rescue us?”

“No,” Sam told them. “But I will. I’m here to blow the building up. We have thirty-three minutes to get out of here. You’re going to follow me and do everything I say, got it?”

“And what if we don’t?”

“Then we’ll die,” said the first boy. “Okay. I’m Derek. This is Todd.”

Sam didn’t care. But he needed them to trust and listen to him. “I’m Sam. Let’s go, we need to make absolutely sure you were alone down here before we get out.”

They were, and they followed Sam’s orders to the letter as they left the building, piling into the back of the van just as it went up. With no better options at the moment, Henry and Sam took the boys back to their hideout for a debrief.

They never left.

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