Spectrum (The Karen Vail Series)

Free Spectrum (The Karen Vail Series) by Alan Jacobson

Book: Spectrum (The Karen Vail Series) by Alan Jacobson Read Free Book Online
Authors: Alan Jacobson
kill them. No matter how she parsed it, this was going to get ugly in a matter of seconds, and their chances of coming out of it alive were poor.
    They proceeded down the hall, Jackson beside Vail and McGrady bringing up the rear, next to Russo. They moved in an organized fashion, almost rhythmically, as if marching to orders.
    They passed a corridor that led off in a perpendicular direction, but the perps bypassed it and continued straight ahead.
    They had gone thirty yards when two NYPD officers appeared at the end of the hall.
    “Police, don’t move!”
    Vail hit the ground, waiting for bullets to puncture her flesh. But Jackson was busy bringing up his machine gun, aimed at the cops, while McGrady locked his forearm across Russo’s neck and swung him around in front as a human shield.
    Then both perps squeezed off a cacophony of automatic rounds, forcing the cops to retreat back around the corner.
    “Take the rear, let’s move,” McGrady said, grabbing a handful of Vail’s blouse and nearly dragging her along as they ran, back toward the room they had left two minutes earlier.
    But before they had gone a dozen yards, ESU officers filled the opposite end of the hall, moving in unison behind a large handheld ballistic tactical shield.
    The men shifted position and started shooting again until McGrady’s M16 jammed. He cursed and tossed it aside, then pulled out the Colt and squeezed off a couple of rounds.
    Vail had dropped to the ground once again, and covered her head with her hands. Not gonna help much—but it makes me feel better.
    The cops froze and inched backward as Jackson emptied his magazine. He paused, pushed Russo up against the wall, face first, and jammed his elbow into the back of the sergeant’s neck as he located his spare clip and shoved it into his machine gun.
    “Keep moving,” Jackson said, repositioning Russo in front of him and pushing him forward.
    “If you want out,” Russo said, “put down your weapons and I’ll call them off.”
    McGrady swung the butt of his pistol into Russo’s kidney. “Shut up old man. Long as we gots you, nothin’ gonna happen to us.”
    Probably true. Their demeanor, the way they handle their prisoners, these guys are definitely ex-military. Not the brightest bulbs, but disciplined.
    “Drop your weapons,” the lead ESU officer yelled down the hallway.
    Jackson squeezed off another burst of rounds in response. They were several yards from the perpendicular corridor.
    Is that their plan? Is there a plan?
    As they neared it, Vail figured that ESU probably had that exit covered too. What little she knew of tactical ops was that teams increased their chances of success by approaching a suspect from multiple angles. And if I’m right about their military training, Jackson and McGrady have to know this, too.
    Before it became an issue, Jackson’s magazine ran dry and McGrady couldn’t have had more than a few rounds left in his Colt.
    The sudden silence was almost painful—and welcome. Until Jackson pulled a pear-shaped object from an external pocket on his camo pants. Vail knew what it was, or rather what it looked like: a hand grenade.
    “Stay back,” Jackson shouted. He seemed to be hiding the bomb, but she shifted her weight and got a better look. Yes indeed. That’s a grenade.
    “We’re leaving with your man here,” McGrady said. “Don’t come after us or we’ll kill him. You hear me?”
    One of the ESU officers, crouched behind the shield, yelled, “We hear you. We just want to talk. Let’s start with a clean slate. We’ll give you a clear path out, but you’ve got to work with us.”
    “We ain’t gots to do nothin’. I told you. Stay back and your man here lives. Even stupid pigs can follow those orders.”
    “Get down,” McGrady said, kicking Vail in the ribs and sending her to her knees. “Don’t get up till I tell you to.”
    “Take her too,” Jackson said.
    “Nah, man, we don’t need her. She just slow us down.”

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