Deckard pulled Lopez out from behind the desk as a barrage of auto fire chopped through the thin Formica board. Tucking the stock of his Kalashnikov into his shoulder he punched the first cartel gunmen through the door with a double tap. The second shooter got off a burst with a MAC-10 submachine gun that exploded the television screen behind him before Deckard gunned him down.
“We need to extract!” he shouted into his radio as more sicarios pushed their way into the police station.
Samantha’s .357 nearly took the head clean off the shoulders of one of the shooters. The gunfire was deafening indoors.
Pat’s transmission came through garbled and unreadable.
Moving into rooms adjacent to the hallway, the gunmen took cover as the two police officers offered suppressive fire. One of the sicarios lobbed a fragmentation grenade down the hall, a gift from post-Cold War stockpiles left over from one of Central America’s dirty little guerrilla conflicts that had been delivered to the cartels.
Deckard didn’t hesitate. Reaching down, he palmed the grenade and overhanded it back down the hall before turning and driving both officers to the ground under his weight. Overpressure washed over them, filling the dark narrow confines of the police station with smoke.
Taking a knee, Deckard indexed one of the remaining shooters, his silhouette visible through the haze. Squeezing the trigger, the assassin spun around under the force of the 7.62 rounds that knocked him to the ground.
“Get the money,” Deckard said taking charge. With an unknown number of gunmen attempting to make entry, he knew they wouldn’t be able to sustain themselves in place for long.
Lopez was turning the key and opening the jail cell when more shooters exploded through the rear entrance, somehow getting passed Pat. Deckard didn’t know how and didn’t care to dwell on what that meant for his friend.
Throwing himself back down to the dirty linoleum floor, the AK-103 chattered off another burst, striking one of the black-clad gunmen in the chest and knocking him backwards into his companion behind him. Deckard noted the black combat fatigues and paramilitary gear. Only the best for Jimenez’s men.
His follow up shot drilled the remaining gunmen, sending him stumbling back out the rear door in a splash on crimson.
More gunfire raced up the hallway towards him, sending splinters flying in all directions. Deckard rolled to his side the enemy fire traced passed him and into the gunmen’s comrades at the other end of the hall who committed the fatal and costly mistake of attempting to catch him in an envelope.
Getting to his feet, he keyed up his radio once more, speaking a single phrase into the headset he wore.
Lopez looked up at him over the giant bale of cash on his hands.
“We’re trapped,” he said choking on his own words, sweat running down his face.
Pushing the police officer aside, Deckard snatched up one of the office chairs and flung it through a window. It smashed through the glass and landed outside in the alley.
“Go,” Deckard said, letting his rifle hang on its sling.
Samantha threw her bale of money through the broken window before grabbing Lopez’ bale and hurling it out after the first wad of cash.
Deckard reached for the pouches on his combat rig and grabbed two of his own grenades. Carefully pulling the pin out of each while keeping the spoons held in place was tricky. Outside the offices, he could hear the enemy regrouping, someone shouting orders.
As the two police officers cleared the broken window sill, Deckard leaned out of the doorway. Tossing the grenades to either side, he ignored the panicked screams of the cartel assassins as he double backed towards the window. Running, he hurtled up and out, brushing against the jagged glass that jutted out of the sides of the frame.
Coming down on the hard concrete, he almost stuck the landing before slipping on a piece of trash and landing on his backside. Inside the building, twin blasts shattered most of the remaining windows, the walls nearly buckling under the pressure of the explosives.
“Mi Dios,” Lopez said helping him to his feet.
Flicking his wrists, Deckard shook the grenade pins from his fingers.
“Let’s get out of here before they figure out what happened.”
Letting the officers reclaim the bales of greenbacks, Deckard took the lead, stalking down the alley towards the back of the police headquarters.
“Prairie Fire, this is Sierra Six,” he said into his radio.
“Go ahead Six.”
“How far out are you?”
“Two minutes,” the Russian accented voice sounded above the static.
He knew they needed to keep moving.
The Quick Reaction Force was not going to make it in time.
The alleyway wound by a rusting car hulk that was propped up on cinder blocks before terminating back out on the street. Glancing around the corner, Deckard saw two blacked out SUV’s with all doors thrown open. Four cartel hit men were maintaining rear security with German made Heckler and Koch sub-machine guns pointed absently into the night sky.
“Jose!” one yelled as a bloodied figure came stumbling out of the rear exit of the police station. Streams of blood flowed from punctured ear drums. Blinded by the blast, he tripped and fell in a heap in front of the parked trucks.
Deckard sighted in, lining the red dot of his rifle’s reflex sight on one of the cartel men as he bent over to pick up his comrade. Maybe sensing his impending doom, the gunmen looked up, spotting Deckard in the shadows just as he stroked the trigger. The Kalashnikov bucked into his shoulder, the Mexican assassin catching a face full of lead.
The three remaining members of the cartel hit squad spun towards him, weapons ready. Their firefight was interrupted, hi-beams flashing across the SUVs and temporarily whiting out their vision as their eyes struggled to readjust.
The black Mercedes slammed into the SUV that the gunmen had foolishly clustered themselves around. Weighing in at over two tons, the car broadsided the truck, crushing two gunmen as metal mixed with flesh. Both vehicles were nearly lifted off the ground by the force of the impact before gravity slapped them back down to the pavement.
The last gunmen had avoided the wreck by mere inches. Now he leveled his MP5 at the driver’s side window. Holding the trigger down, 9mm parabellum rounds spider webbed the multi-layer laminated glass. As per industry standards, the bullet proof window maintained its integrity until Deckard stepped from the alleyway and expended the rest of his magazine into their antagonist.
The driver’s side door on the Mercedes was flung open in a plume of smoke, Pat coughing as he emerged from the cloud.
“Nice shot,” he said through teary eyes.
“What the fuck was that Pat?”
“Now how the hell are we supposed to clear out of here?” Deckard asked, pointing with his muzzle toward the smoking wreck that up until a few moments ago had been their ride home.
“The suspension on it was fucked anyway,” Pat shrugged. “Ortega should have had it switched out months ago with an armor package on it that is this heavy. Inconsiderate bastard.”
Two more SUV’s were now racing towards them from down the street. Samantha and Lopez were caught in the open as they jogged over to Deckard and Pat, taking cover behind the car wreck. Deckard dropped his empty magazine, exchanging it for another full thirty rounds. The fumes of leaking gasoline were now overtaking the stench of garbage that permeated throughout much of the city.
Machine gun fire rattled out in several long bursts from behind them. Throwing himself to the ground, Deckard saw two Samruk assault trucks approaching from the opposite end of the street. Gunners went cyclic, cutting a stream of fire that crisscrossed over the enemy SUVs. The Quick Reaction Force had arrived on target and not a moment too soon.
With the windshield caved in by twin streams of 7.62 PKM rounds, one the SUVs swerved sideways, tires bursting as it skidded over the curb and slammed into an empty mechanics shop. Fixating on their second target, the machine gunners riding in the turret of each truck drilled the driver before walking their tracer fire down into the engine block.
The black SUV decelerated abruptly, slowing to just a few miles per hour. The windows were shattered, the bodies inside torn open when the truck played bumper cars with what was left of the Mercedes and finally came to a halt.
“Exfil. Now,” Deckard ordered.
Lopez rose on shaky feet, the veteran cop and de facto combat soldier of the streets of Mexico, was still in disbelief after their several near misses. Samantha spurned him on with a few curt words, dumping the money bales onto one of the assault trucks.
“Sorry about that, Deck,” Pat apologized. “It got to hot out here when the cartel showed up. I had to circle around the block and try again.”
“Everything turned out okay, so we’re both off the hook this time.”
Pat grunted as he climbed on the back of one of the Iveco assault trucks, his ribs still bruised from the beating he had taken several months ago, including a shot gun blast to the chest, barely stopped by the body armor he had been wearing.
Deckard still sported some bruising of his own where his nose had been broken during that engagement.
Compulsively checking to make sure a round was seated in the chamber of his Kalashnikov, he found himself a seat and the trucks peeled out, headed back for the dead drug lord’s compound. Scanning the streets as they flashed by, he knew the night wasn’t over yet.
This has been a preview of Target Deck, the upcoming sequel to Reflexive Fire!