Scorched Earth Policy, Part 7

7 – Idle Hands

Chen wasn’t taking her calls right now. Z got routed to a functionary named McCallum, who had his knickers in a twist over how shot up the guys in the woods were (and they didn’t find their being bound with hockey tape very amusing either). After asking how the Eurotrash dirt bags ended up getting so perforated with bullets, she finally told him, “They got in my way.” Did he think she was out in the woods for fun?

He sounded flustered for a moment, but then got back on track with the usual “I don’t know how they do things in MI-6, but -” which she’d heard in some form or another a hundred times. She’d even heard it from MI-6.

Shan took the time to change clothes, coming back into the living room wearing jeans not spattered with blood, and the t-shirt she got him for his birthday, the one with the happy bar of soap proclaiming “Rub me on your butt!” It fit like one of his bouncer t-shirts, meaning so tight you could watch him digest food, but that showed off his impressive musculature and made people cower around him, no matter what his shirt said. She pretended not to notice him get a soda from the fridge to take his pills with as she busied herself with ignoring McCallum and calling things up on the laptop.

After reminding her of Canadian law for the second time, she angrily pointed out that she was supposed to be working beyond the law, as this was all off the books – or had they forgotten their own stupid fucking rules already? He thought she was being “hostile”. “No, hostile is this,” she replied, slamming the phone down.

“You’ve worked in customer service, haven’t you?” Shan asked.

“I’m the patron saint of asshats.”

He choked a bit on his soda, to the point where he had to turn towards the sink, as he’d snorted some up his nose. She gave him a moment, then asked, “You okay, mate?”

He waved a hand at her, then said, “Yeah, just warn me next time.” His phone rang, but they both ignored it.

A little illegal poking around had turned something up. Namely that Oswald and Six, under their pseudonyms, were checked into the same posh hotel. She pointed this out to Shan as he sat next to her on the sofa, although he was careful to stay on the edge. She didn’t care about the blood stains; she’d had worse. “Umm, aren’t these records private?”

“What’s your point?”

He scowled at her, then shook his head, dismissing it. “Fine, okay, forgot who I was talking to for a second. What does this mean? Besides them liking four star hotels.”

“It means we can pay them a visit. But we should probably take them on hand to hand.”

Shan gave her a look that was half pleasant surprise, and half trepidation. “No more guns?”

“I’d rather not use ‘em in the hotel if we don’t hafta. It’ll bring way too much attention that CSIS can sort out, but that we really don’t need.” But now she had a real quandary. Six had the mad on for her, and she wanted to deal with him once and for all, but Oswald was a real piece of work. Killing was easy, Six had done it and she had done it as a teenager, but when it came down to it he wasn’t very good at it. Oswald was a real pro – his paycheck and his survival had depended on his ability to rip out his fellow man’s throat with his teeth. He was a trained killer, and Shan, as big and strong as he was, couldn’t compete with that level of psychopathic ruthlessness, even though he used to play hockey.

She could. She was a trained killer as well. Oswald wasn’t the only one who had learned how to rip the throat out of his fellow man with his teeth. She wanted to put down Six, it would have been fitting, but Oswald would probably kill Shan. She had to take the psycho; she had to leave nutball Six to Shan.

She pointed out Six’s hotel room number and told him, “This is your guy. He probably can’t fight well, but he’s a major league asshole. If he can shoot you, he will. Don’t let him go for a weapon; cripple him immediately.”

Shan looked troubled, but saluted nevertheless. “So you get Bob, eh? Insurance salesman Bob. What’s his deal?”

“He killed an entire village in Eritrea.”

He thought about that for a moment. “Is that near New Brunswick?”

“A bit further South.”

“Ah.” He paused again. “You should probably take a gun.”

“Don’t worry, I can handle him.” Or at least she hoped so.

Now would be a really bad time to discover she was rusty.


They swung by her place so she could grab some back up weapons, then went to a car rental place and rented a bland, average looking car, with the only vaguely distinguishing features being tinted windows. They parked down the street from the hotel where Six and Oswald had holed up, and she called their rooms from her cell to confirm they weren’t there (or at least weren’t answering their phones). She then watched the front of the hotel with binoculars, waiting for them to either leave or return.

After a while, Shan said, “So, the plan is we beat the shit out of these guys?”

“And call in the CSIS, yeah.”

Shan sat in the passenger seat, munching his apple for a minute. He took huge bites, ones that she thought could choke a moose, but he seemed to have no problems with it. He continued to eat in a mostly nauseatingly healthy fashion, to keep up his physique. She, on the other hand, had just downed four Excedrin and a Red Bull with a Snickers. Hey, it killed the pain in her head, she wasn’t about to start complaining. “Seems a little … basic, don’t you think?”

She shrugged. “Yeah, but fancy’s for losers.”

“It just seems like general jackassery.”

“I worked with him once.”


“General Jackassery. He was really more of a dick.”

He scowled at her. “Very funny. This is serious shit, isn’t it? Shouldn’t we treat it as such?”

“Why? Shit’s miserable enough as it is. Why mope about it?”

He didn’t have anything to say that, so he just shrugged and sank back in his seat.

It was almost an hour – an incredibly boring hour – when she spotted Oswald entering the hotel, wearing an army surplus jacket a size too large for him, shoulders slouched like he was in a rotten mood. “Looks like I’m up,” she told Shan, handing him the binoculars. “You know what your guy looks like, right?”

‘Yeah. But shouldn’t I come with you, as back up?”

“What if Six arrives? No, you stay here. I can take this fucko, really. I have a surprise for him.”

He grinned. “You did bring a gun.”

“Something like that. Good luck.”

She got out of the car and casually crossed the street, walking around to the back of the hotel, where she had already found the employee entrance. A twenty slipped to one of the kitchen staff got her let in, no problem. She already knew what room he was in, so all she had to do was find the nearest elevator and duck inside.

She reached inside her pants pocket and gripped the ka-bar she had stashed there. She could stun him, but that almost seemed too kind, and besides, some of those steroid monstrosities could shake off a stun. No, she had to go for the immediate paralyzation or kill; Oswald was too dangerous to mess around with for too long.

As the elevator door opened on his floor, she hoped she wasn’t rusty.

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