Busch Memorial Stadium
From her vantage point in the shade of the entryway, Rose watched as a car pulled into the almost empty parking lot surrounding Busch Memorial Stadium. The vehicle stopped in the middle of the lot. Sexton stepped out and looked around. Rose walked out, laptop in her left hand, waving with her right.
"I love what you've done with your hair. And you have the laptop, good," Sexton said when they met face to face. He held out his hand.
"Not so fast." Rose pulled the computer away from his reach. "We're not done our negotiations."
"I think we are." Sexton waved his arm over his head. "I believe you know Agent Thompson." He pointed to a distant figure inside the stadium. Thompson opened his trench coat, revealing a long arm couldn't identify at the distance. "So, just give me the laptop and we can end this game."
"I don't need the laptop anymore." Rose set the computer on the ground. She reached slowly behind her and pulled out a compact disk. She held it up in the air to let Thompson see it. "Not when I have copies of everything I need."
Sexton held out his hand. "I'll take that, too."
"I think I'll keep this for now."
"No. Rose, I'd hate to have to shoot you." Sexton reached under his suit jacket.
"So would I," Rose said. "Especially when killing me will get the other copies of the CD released. Really, Ray, what do you take me for, some sort of idiot? I know this business. I was in it before you were even born. Why wouldn't I have contingencies?"
"I'll just have to find your employees. Shouldn't be too difficult."
Rose smiled. "I had a hunch you'd say that. But, I also had a hunch you'd bring other people despite agreeing to come alone, too. You're predictable, Ray."
"Then this shouldn't be a surprise." Sexton pulled his collar closer to his mouth. "All units, move in, repeat, move in." He took several steps back. "Check, Rose. And mate."
Rose saw several men walking in from the street corners towards her position. "You need to work on your endgame, Ray." She pulled a small two-way radio from her pocket. "Rogue Seven requesting pick up." Rose smiled. "You can have the laptop back, though." She heard tires squealing from around the corner. Rose strolled away from Sexton.
"Rose, don't do anything foolish or drastic," Sexton warned. "We can still work this out."
"Too late, Ray. Should have thought of that before you screwed me over for your little operation." Rose waved. A blue-grey 2004 Honda Accord zoomed through the parking lot and stopped beside the investigator. The door swung open. Rose jumped inside. "Go!"
Before Rose had shut the door, Amber had the Accord in gear and leaving a trail of rubber on the parking lot's asphalt. Rose kept an eye on Sexton; he ran for his car, waving furiously at his men. Amber manhandled the car into a tight turn, then floored the accelerator. Sexton reached his own vehicle. Rose pointed the agent out to Amber, who responded with a nod. The younger woman swung the Honda around to face Sexton's Chrysler sedan. Sexton's eyes widened when he noticed the Accord bearing down on him. At the last second, Amber swerved, the Accord's tires squealing in protest. The Honda roared past, bounded over the sidewalk, and zipped on to the street.
Rose looked over her shoulder. "Ease off a bit, Amber. I don't want to lose him yet."
"Gotcha." Amber let up off the accelerator. The Honda returned to the speed limit.
"Good." Rose checked behind her one more time. "There's Wile E. now. And his helpers, too. By the numbers, Amber. Stay in front of them, but don't lose them yet."
Amber gave the Accord a little more gas, accelerating through the midday traffic away from the baseball stadium. Four cars did the same, trying to stay in the chase. At a red light, Amber made a tight right-hand turn. The rear end of the Honda threatened to swing wide, but a small steering correction kept the car going where Amber wanted. Sexton's Chrysler made the corner as well, going wider than Amber did. Two of his agents kept up. One, though, in a silver Ford Taurus, slammed on his breaks to avoid hitting a GM pick-up going through the intersection.
"Couldn't be helped. Take the next left and try to be obvious about where you're going."
Amber swerved from lane to lane, passing slower traffic and using them as obstacles. Her remaining pursuers wove their own patterns through and past the other vehicles on the street, though not as nimbly as the Accord under Amber's skilled hands. The Honda surged ahead. After another admonishment, Amber slowed the Accord down to let Sexton and his agents keep up. She blew through intersection after intersection, ignoring the blare of horns. Rose kept an eye on the following vehicles. "Amber, how much farther?"
Amber twisted the wheel to make the left turn. "Two blocks."
Rose lifted the radio up. "Rogue Seven inbound," she announced.
The Accord and its pursuers zipped through the two blocks, buildings and other vehicles on the road a blur. Amber tapped the brake, slowing the Honda enough for her to duck into a parking garage. The day's brightness disappeared inside the structure, forcing both Amber and Rose to blink to see properly again. Outside, Sexton and his agents stopped.
St. Louis, Missouri
Terrance's Parking, street-side
Sexton's Chrysler screeched to a halt outside the four-story parking structure. The NSA manager jumped out of his car, slamming his door shut behind him. Rollins' beige Saturn L-Series pulled up behind, followed by Smith's maroon Pontiac Grand Am. "Where's Thompson?" Sexton demanded as his men got out of their vehicles.
Smith answered, "He nearly got clipped near the ballpark."
"I radioed him when the quarry went inside," Rollins added.
"Good." Sexton looked at parking garage. "How many entrances are there?"
Rollins examined the building. "Just one."
"They're trapped, then." Sexton reached into his Chrysler to pop open the trunk. "Call in the men running surveillance on the families. We need them here." He brought a Remington twelve gauge shotgun out from the trunk. "We're going to end it today." Sexton pumped a round into the firing chamber, punctuating his sentence.
Thompson's silver Taurus arrived. He got out of the car, assault rifle in hand, and walked over to Sexton. "Stupid biddy shouldn't be allowed to drive," he grumbled. "Sexton, what's going on?"
"Velasco and her driver went into a dead end. We're going to keep them in there until backup arrives, then storm in."
"Finally. I've had enough of this skulking around."
Tires squealed inside the structure. "Smith, Rollins, be ready." Sexton stepped behind his car. He aimed his Remington at the garage entrance, using the Chrysler to rest the shotgun's barrel on. The squealing grew louder, closer. Thompson joined Sexton behind the car. Smith and Rollins kneeled down, pistols out and aimed at the parking structure.
A blue-grey Honda Accord roared out of the parking garage's exit. Its driver forced it to make a hard right as soon as it hit the road, taking it away from Sexton's position. Smith and Rollins ran to their cars. Thompson raised his M-16 to his shoulder and aimed.
Another blue-grey Accord shot out of the building, following the first. Sexton stared at the second car. "What the f--" A third Honda, same as the first two emerged and turned left. Thompson lowered his rifle. A fourth Accord followed the third. Thompson swung his M-16 around and fired a burst at the retreating Honda. Sexton pulled his man's arm down. "What are you doing? Go after them!"
Thompson returned to his Taurus. Sexton tossed his shotgun on the passenger seat of his Chrysler Sebring sedan, then jumped in behind the wheel. He started the engine, then gave chase after the first Accord. Thumbing his radio, he said, "Split up. Each of you take a car. I have the first. Keep in touch." Sexton muscled his car around the corner. Both blue-grey Accords were in sight. Sexton urged more speed out of his Sebring. Ahead, a light changed from green to amber. Both Accords maintained their speed towards the intersection. Sexton's Chrysler surged forward, its driver eager to catch up.
As the light turned red, one of the Hondas blasted through the intersection. The other turned left, crossing behind a straggling delivery van. Sexton followed the second Accord. Into his radio, he said, "Whoever is behind me, take the one going straight!"
"Smith here. Roger."
"Rollins here. The two westbound have split up."
"Understood," Sexton said. "My quarry is Alpha. Smith's is Bravo. Rollins, you have Charlie. Thompson, take Delta. Make sure the incoming units know where you are."
"Rogue Five to all," a woman's voice broke in, "looks like we're about to have some fun. Starting my trench run!"
"Who is this?" Sexton demanded.
"Luke Skywalker," Rogue Five shot back.
"This is an official government channel. Get off the air or I'll have you arrested."
"Gotta catch me first!"
Sexton gripped his steering wheel. "Someone get her off the air!"
"You mean like the guy behind me?" 'Luke' taunted. "Please. He can barely get the car in the right direction."
"Smith, Rollins, Thompson, who has her?"
"I do," Rollins reported. "Charlie's turned northbound on 11th."
The car Sexton chased barrelled across the lanes, bouncing off the median. Sexton followed, missing the median easily. "Alpha is now southbound on 8th Street. Rollins, get that annoyance off the radio!"
The chase led Sexton away from his agents, through the streets of St. Louis. His quarry twisted and turned through intersections, never quite able to throw him off the trail. Regular reports came from his men intermingled with taunts from "Rogue Five". The Chrysler's engine roared as the car inched closer to the Accord. The Honda leapt into the on-ramp to Highway 40. Sexton followed, confident now that the power from his car would give him an advantage.
The Accord's limitations were visible. No longer able to duck through streets, it could only rely on raw speed. Even weaving through the traffic wasn't enough to maintain the distance between it and the Sebring. Sexton pushed his car to the limit, the engine whining. The gap closed.
"Sexton, are you there? It's Velasco." Rose's voice came from the radio.
"No use pleading now, Rose," Sexton said. He sneered. "You had your chance."
"Now, Ray, I could say the same thing. Instead, I'll ask you, is the person your chasing, hell, any of your people are chasing, talking on a radio?"
Sexton took a good look at the driver of the Accord he was chasing. No radio. "Smith, Thompson, report."
"No radio," Smith replied.
"None here, either," Thompson added.
"Shit!" Sexton pulled his Sebring off the the highway, cutting across three lanes to make the off-ramp. He maintained his speed down on to Kingshighway Boulevard. "Backup units following Alpha, return to the parking garage. Repeat, all backup units following Alpha, return to the parking garage, now!"