20 Sept 2013

Lethal Ladies #8 - Via Giuseppe Veratti

[The real #8 this time.  Last week's entry had the wrong number but correct text.]

Rome, Italy
Via Giuseppe Veratti
23-APR-1982  2233

Rose stopped short, then ducked into a narrow alley.  On the street ahead, two men and a woman got out of a car.  She kept watch on them as they spread out, two on Rose's side of the street, one on the opposite.  Rose placed her hand on her pistol, inching it out of her waistband.  The man across the street stopped at another alley and shone a flashlight down it.  He took several steps down as his comrades watched.  Rose slunk back.  Behind her, she heard more footsteps.  Turning around, she saw another spot of light illuminating the walls of the dark alley.

Rose weighed her options, then retraced her steps towards where she entered.  She kept low and close to the wall.  The light ahead of her bounced from alley wall to alley wall.  Rats scurried away, squeaking warnings to brethren.  Rose crept a third of the way up a set of fire escape stairs and waited.  The agent with the light passed below the American.  Rose waited until his back was facing her, then leapt.  She landed square in the small of the Russian's back, forcing him sprawling to the ground.  The flashlight clattered along the worn brick.  Rose grabbed the Russian's head and smashed it once, twice into the hard ground.  The agent lay still.

The man and the woman Rose saw earlier stepped into the alley, back lit by the street lamp.  Rose stumbled as she got up, then broke into a run.  The agents fired.  Bullets ricocheted off walls, sending dust into Rose's eyes.  She fired blindly behind her, more to cause her pursuers to duck than to hit them.  Her shoulder brushed against a wall.  Rose rubbed her eyes, trying to clear them.  More rounds spanged around the American.  Through teary eyes, Rose saw the exit.  She barreled out, head down, in a full sprint.

Street lamps greeted Rose, bathing her in actinic light.  Two men turned, surprised to see her run out.  They reached under their jackets.  Rose swung her PB around at one of them, squeezing the trigger twice.  The agent dropped, clutching his shoulder.  The other Russian corrected his aim and fired once.  A hot line traced across Rose's thigh.  She bit off a cry of pain.

Rose stumbled and rolled on the street.  The KGB agent ran towards her, his gun still extended.  Still on the ground, Rose shot at the Russian.  He screamed as he dropped.  Rose fought to get up, deliberately not looking at her leg.  With a limp, she ran off.

Rome, Italy
Embassy of the Soviet Union
23-APR-1982  2239

"Samsonova is reporting she has spotted Rabbit."

Elena stabbed at the map.  "Excellent.  The American can't get far."

"She's also reporting that Rabbit's been wounded."

"Wounded?  How?"

"She exchanged gunshots with Agent Tverdovsky."

Elena's face reddened.  "I thought the orders were to take her alive.  Where is he now?"

The operator hesitated.  "He's dead, Lieutenant."

"Oh."  Elena felt her knees weaken.  She reached for a chair to steady herself.  Blood drained from her face.  "Send . . . send a clean up crew there."

"What about Rabbit?  Should I send all the teams there?"

Elena sat down.  She glanced at the map.

"Lieutenant, should I send all the teams there?" the operator repeated.

"No."  Elena bit her lip.  "No.  Keep Team Kurgin on stand by.  Send the rest."

"Are you sure, Lieutenant?"

"Are you questioning me, Comrade?"

"No, Lieutenant."

Elena took a cleansing breath, then updated her marks on the map.  "Rabbit may be trying to backtrack away.  Team Kurgan is the furthest away.  If Rabbit slips away, they'll still be moving in.  Where they are now, they can get into any position I need them in."  She studied the map.  "With Rabbit injured, she can't run fast.  Get all our vehicles out of there."

"Yes, Lieutenant."

Rome, Italy
Via dei Cocchieri
23-APR-1982  2250

Rose leaned against a wall.  She looked down at her wounded leg.  The bullet left a long bloody streak.  Rose gingerly touched it; her scream died in her throat through sheer force of will.  The sounds of footsteps grew louder.  Rose checked the number of rounds left in her stolen gun.  With disgust, she slammed the clip back in.  She slipped deeper into the shadows.  Desperation threatened to take hold; she was starting to run out of running space as the KGB agents surrounded her.  She transferred her pistol to her left hand and rubbed her right on her jeans.  Her hand ached from carrying the weight of the PB.

The footsteps were almost at Rose's position.  She braced herself, then stepped out, fist low.  A woman in a dark suit doubled over and began to wretch.  Rose kneed the agent before a call of alarm could be shouted.  The Russian writhed on the ground.  "Enough," Rose whispered sharply.  She jammed the barrel of her pistol into the agent's temple.  "One sound and your brain will be all over the street.  Understand?"

The KGB agent looked up at Rose, then nodded.  Blood trickled from the agent's nose.

"Good.  Take out your gun slowly and toss it away."  The woman did as she was told.  Rose noted where the gun landed by its clatter.  She backed away several steps, still training her gun on the Russian.  "Roll on to your stomach."

"You won't kill me."

Rose fired a shot into the ground beside the Soviet agent.  "Try me.  I have nothing to lose."

The agent rolled over, her back towards the American.  Rose retrieved the discarded pistol, another PB, the slunk away.

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