Breakfast with Director Remington reveals much. Jason tells them more of how the hostages died by Orchid’s hand. Now all that remains is a suitable plan to lure her out and arrest her — preferably without getting Jason killed.
Taylor could see his internal struggle. She took his hand, squeezing his fingers. He clung to her with desperation. His eyes flickered over to hers, thanking her silently. None of that was lost on Director Remington. However, his face betrayed nothing that he was thinking.
“Then, my boy, I think we need a plan.”
“Yes, sir. I believe we do.”
“Crash course in weapons follows breakfast. Then we’re going to talk with Kyle Tourney. He was going to come to the house, but I convinced him to come here instead. I think it’s safer for him not to be seen there. He’s got all kinds of reasons to be here. Explaining a visit to your place would be hard.”
“Whatever you think best. Honoria said she was going to discuss our covers.”
“She’ll be by after Kyle. I thought it best to do it all in one day. We minimize the time you’re vulnerable and keep them safe in the process.”
Jason nodded. It made sense to his paranoid mind. He was used to thinking in terms of safe locations. This room with no windows and only one door made him feel very secure. The fact it was in a well protected federal building helped as well. However, he was always wary when he was around people he didn’t know. He hadn’t quite made up his mind about Carter, although he felt comfortable with Remington.
Breakfast was cleared away and the team took Jason to the firing range. He’d been impressed with Tim’s brother’s range, but it had nothing on this one. Easily twice the size of the first range, it had every kind of weapon imaginable. They were the only ones there except for the people who worked there.
Jason was introduced to each of them, memorizing their names and faces. Andrea Hunter was the one charged with instructing Jason. She took him through basic gun safety, all of which he’d learned from Tim. Impressed at how well he remembered, she quizzed him before having him don the safety equipment. She showed him a variety of handguns and made him check each of them before selecting one for him to fire.
“Don’t be scared of the weapon,” she told him several times. “It’s an object, one we treat with respect, but it’s not what kills you in a firefight. What kills you is the person aiming that gun. You can’t be afraid of your weapon.”
“I’m not, Andrea, I assure you. Bloody well respect the hell out of it….”
“Then don’t flinch when you pull the trigger. It makes a big kaboom, but the noise can’t kill you.”
“No, what comes out the barrel is what kills you,” he quipped. “And since that accompanies the big kaboom, it makes me a bit twitchy.”
“Let me show you something,” she said.
Setting their weapons down, she lifted her shirt. Standing there in her uniform pants and bra, she pointed to six scars on her torso.
“I got shot too, Jason. Only the guy wasn’t satisfied with just once. He hit me with twelve of fifteen shots. Some of the scars are in places only my husband sees. The rest, you see. I was wearing a vest, like you. But the bastard was using Teflon bullets. They went through the Kevlar like a hot knife through butter. I got lucky, I had a hell of a partner who saved my life.”
She and Tim exchanged a significant look. The others stared at him as she put her shirt back on.
“The point I’m making is that I know how you feel. You remember every time that weapon fires. The burning pain as the bullet finds its target replays in your mind. And it’s gonna do that for a while longer. But it gets better.”
“Bloody hell. Twelve?”
She nodded, checking a weapon before handing it to him. He took it, checking it himself, before popping in the magazine. He chambered a round, took aim at the target and fired when she told him to. He didn’t blink or flinch.
For the next three hours, she took him through the same course each agent had to pass in order to carry a weapon. Remington wasn’t kidding about a crash course.
They stopped for lunch, then went back to the range for another two hours. When they finally finished, Jason was presented with a certificate.
“I didn’t think you could do it, Jason. You surpassed even my best students. Congratulations.”
Kyle Tourney and Honoria Walker were waiting in the conference room when they went back. Afternoon tea had been served in fine China with silver service. The agents weren’t sure how to handle it, but Jason was in his element. He greeted the judge with a hug and a kiss, shook Kyle’s hand and took his seat next to Honoria.
“I haven’t had a proper cuppa since I came to this country,” he said with anticipation. “Please tell me it’s not from tea bags.”
Remington smiled. “I have an Englishman on staff just to make tea,” he teased. “Give it a sip. See what you think.”
Honoria poured. Jason added sugar and took a tentative sip. A happy smile replaced his frown.
“Oi, that’s delicious! That’s perfect!”
He helped himself to cakes, cookies and cucumber sandwiches, encouraging the team to do the same.
“So, now what?” He asked, taking another sip.
© Dellani Oakes
To Purchase Dellani’s Books:
Under the Western Sky