A Beautiful Lie

Page 47

Luckily, a code blue alarm went off somewhere else in the hospital and the guy needed to rush off.

While Brady had been on the way to the hospital, Austin and Cole had called in a few favors. Austin managed to get them a nondescript van that had video and audio equipment installed in the back. Unfortunately, the van and everything inside of it was circa nineteen-ninety-something and the equipment was not up to Brady's usual standards.

While Austin and Cole had canvassed the palace for a way inside the gates, Brady hooked his laptop up to the old computer in the van. He was trying unsuccessfully to pull up the listening device software on his laptop so he could find out what was happening inside and instruct the two men on their next moves. Since his own internet connection kept crashing, he switched gears and tried to find a way to bypass the palace's secure wireless connection. To do this he would need to access the media network that the entire palace ran on. It was proving to be one enormous cluster fuck.

"Son of a mother fucking…" Brady swore again and wiggled the cables that connected his laptop to the hard drive in the van.

"It's Friday night and the beat is sick. I'm gonna get my girls and hit the club up quick."

The walkie-talkie next to his laptop on the small table in the van crackled to life with the sound of Austin singing horribly off-key. Brady scooped it up with one hand and pressed the 'talk' button, tapping on a few computer keys with his free hand.

"What the fuck are you singing?"

"Dude, have you been living under a rock? It's the new song by Layla Carlysle. It's a catchy tune," Austin responded.

"That's the worst fucking song I've ever heard in my life. What's your status?" Brady questioned.

"The good news is Vargas and I just scaled the fence. We're in the North corner. The guard that was stationed here got called away," Austin replied.

"Good work. What's the bad news?"

"I'm pretty sure we both just ripped our stitches in the process. That doc is gonna be pissed," Austin said with a laugh.

Brady heard Austin breathing heavily and the muted sounds of him shuffling across the grounds of the palace. SEALS were trained to handle more pain than the normal human being in order to complete a mission, but that didn't mean Brady wouldn't worry about the two men who were like brothers to him and hope he hadn't made the wrong decision by checking them out of the hospital against doctor's orders.

"Okay, we're by a window. I see a few of Fernandez's people. They're going about their fucking business like there aren't hostages in there right under their noses," Austin said angrily.

Brady unplugged one of the cords and then reattached it, typing in one more command while he held his breath. A new screen suddenly opened on his laptop with the words "Chamberlain Wireless Intercom" at the top.

"Well son of a bitch," Brady mumbled in surprise.

"What's going on?" Austin voice crackled over the radio.

"I'm pretty sure I just found out that Chamberlain uses a wide area network, and I linked my WLAN into their secure connection without using Ethernet and running on less than four gigahertz."

"Uh, in English please," Austin replied as Brady typed in a few more codes.

"Basically, my friend, I just connected the bug that Margarita is wearing to the palace's intercom system."

Within seconds the bug's audio burst through Brady's laptop speaker and every single intercom that was inside of the palace walls.

"Oh, Lieutenant McCarthy, you are so naive. Those young girls you speak of? They weren't worthy of the pity you give them. They were whores who brought filth to the streets of this country. They asked for what they got and I was more than happy to give it to them…"

"Whoa! A bunch of people just converged into whatever room this is to listen. This must be the staff quarters by the looks of it. Every person we have visual on just stopped in their tracks," Austin informed him.

Brady held down the 'talk' button on the walkie-talkie so Austin and Cole could hear what the workers inside the palace heard. It didn't take long for Fernandez to hang himself with his own rope.

Austin and Cole watched through the window pane as several people glanced back and forth between two men in their midst. The warriors outside the palace watched the transformation that took place inside: shock, grief, hurt, anger, and finally revenge. The emotions gripped not only the two who were most affected as they listened to Fernandez's words, but everyone who surrounded them. These people who worked together for the most powerful man in their country, they were like family. They spoke of their kin often, asked for advice, attended birthdays and weddings. They felt each other's joy; they suffered each other's sorrow. But most importantly, especially at this moment, they all sought retribution for the wrongs done to their comrades.

It only took a few moments of silent communication for the employees who had worked tirelessly for Fernandez over the years to take action and for Brady to send up a silent prayer of thanks that their luck was finally turning around.

Brady quickly got up, slid open the door to the van, and jumped out. He stood by the opening and checked the clip in his gun to make sure it was loaded and added as many extra rounds as he could fit into the pockets of his flak jacket. He fastened the walkie-talkie to his belt and attached the tactical headset with wireless earpiece and throat mic. He let Austin know they were switching to wireless to enter the palace since it was the only way they'd be able to continue listening to what was going on inside.

Brady slammed the door to the van closed and crouch ran along the perimeter of the fence until he got to the north corner of the property where Austin and Cole were able to get over the fence undetected.

During his sprint the wireless ear bud crackled and filled with static off and on, and he could barely make out the conversation happening where Parker and Garrett were. He pressed the throat mic and spoke to Austin and Cole.

"The feed is spotty. What's going on inside?"

Brady slid his gun into the holster of his jacket and easily climbed up and over the fence.

"It's total chaos," Cole replied. "People are running in and out of the room and it looks like a few are shouting orders. We need to get our asses in there. What's your ETA?"

Brady jumped down to the palace grounds and raced across the lawn.

"Thirty seconds. I have visual on you."

In the seconds it took for Brady to make it to Cole and Austin's location up against one of the palace walls, all hell broke loose somewhere inside. The wireless mic roared to life with the sounds of gunfire and screams.

Chapter Twenty-Five

With eyes squeezed tightly closed and shoulders hunched to prepare for the bullets that were certain to tear through her flesh, Parker wondered momentarily if she'd been hit and died so quickly she hadn't felt any pain. She heard the firing of a gun and knew there was one pointed at her head just moments before it went off . She reasoned that all of the reports about death being painless were true. She felt nothing.

Parker slowly blinked her eyes into focus and wondered where the screams were coming from. If this was heaven, no one should be screaming. The room came into focus with the startling clarity of a flashlight being shined into the eyes of someone sleeping. One moment she was wondering if she was dead, and in the next she realized that she was very much alive.

And screaming very loudly.

In the stark reality of the quietness that now surrounded the basement, Parker realized the reason for her screams. To her left, Fernandez remained, standing tall and arrogant. Immediately next to him stood Milo, looking properly chastised from having his gun snatched and not being able to perform his job in the swift, efficient way that Fernandez demanded.

Directly in front of her, still on his knees, his eyes mirroring the pain that obviously clouded her features, Garrett held her face in his hands. He tried in vain to quiet her screams by forcing her to look him in the eyes instead of around the room at the monsters behind them.

The sounds that came from Parker were heart-wrenching and cut deep into Garrett's soul. For one solitary second, his life flashed before his eyes when Fernandez gave the command. He prayed to a God he'd never spoken to before, asking him to keep Parker safe and to make sure she got out of this alive. He would give anything to make sure she was safe.

Now Garrett wished he would have had the foresight to also include her father in that silent plea for protection from all harm.

"Alejandro, do we have confirmation from our lovely nurse that all has been taken care of?"

The guard pressed his fingers to the earpiece he wore and listened for several seconds.

"Si, Senor. Juan was able to succeed in terminating Agent Parker. Unfortunately, he was immediately taken out by the forces that were supposed to be guarding Parker. Our nurse and everyone in the hospital are currently being evacuated," Alejandro replied.

Parker heard the words that were spoken and felt the impact of their meaning like a punch to the stomach. Memories of her father, past and present, swam through her mind and tears clouded her vision: her father, always so strong and kind and good, curled up on the floor in their living room and coloring in a coloring book with her; taking her to a father/daughter dance and promising not to embarrass her with his old school dance moves; coming in her room at night to sneak her cookies after her mother had already made her brush her teeth and put her to bed; pushing her away and turning into someone she barely recognized and saying awful, hurtful things just to protect her and keep her safe.

"Well, now that that's finished I think I shall take my leave," Fernandez stated as he handed Milo's gun back to him. With an almost nervous glance towards the ceiling, Parker and Garrett suddenly realized the noise coming from that direction. Somewhere in the palace people were shouting and running. Something was happening, and it was making Fernandez edgy.

Parker's grief immediately turned to anger as she watched the man responsible for killing her father step around Milo and head towards the door.

"You son of a bitch! You sick fucking bastard!" she yelled as she tugged against the cuffs that held her arms secured behind her and struggled to get her legs underneath her so she wasn't sitting down. She rose up on her knees and barely noticed Garrett's whispered words of warning and attempts at comfort. Garrett wasn't even aware of the words coming out of his mouth at this point. He knew nothing he said to her would take away an ounce of the pain she felt right now, but he knew he had to do something. There were too many people in this room with guns. Any one of them could decide to shut Parker up with one shot.

Parker's shouts stopped Fernandez in his tracks and he slowly turned back to face her.

"That's it? You're just going to leave, you fucking coward?" Parker taunted.

Parker knew in her mind nothing she said to that man would have any effect on him, but her heart couldn't care less. She needed to lash out with the anger that was slowly starting to cripple her.

The shouts and pounding of footsteps throughout the palace were getting louder. Garrett knew it couldn't be Brady and the team; they wouldn't make themselves so conspicuous. He had no idea what was coming for them, but he knew by the look on Fernandez face that it wasn't anything good or anything he planned.

"I don't have time for your childish tirade," he said to Parker before turning towards the two guards still in the room. "Finish them; I've grown tired of this game."

"What's wrong, don't want to get your hands any dirtier than they already are?"

"Parker, what are you doing?" Garrett whispered softly to her.

"He can't get away this easily," she whispered back through gritted teeth as a tear spilled down her face.

"He won't. I promise you, Parker. No matter what, he won't get away with this," Garrett promised and let his thumbs wipe away the wetness on her cheeks.

The two guards moved to stand behind Garrett, each aiming their guns on the two lovers who were clearly out of options. Milo stood motionless off to the side, his gun held limply at his side as he watched the events unfold in front of him like he was watching a movie instead of real life. He watched the man, the hero of the story, stand tall and brave even though he was on his knees with death whispering in his ear. He watched him smooth a tear off the heroine's face and whisper words of love and reassurance. He watched her anger and determination and wished, not for the first time, that he could have been worthy of her love. He was his father's son, however. The blood of a monster flowed through his veins, and there was no future for him other than the one he'd been forced into. He'd done horrible, disgusting things, things he couldn't or wouldn't apologize for. He wished he could be remorseful of those things, but it was impossible. His blood wouldn't allow it. Truth be told, he loved lording his power and control over people who didn't matter, young girls who didn't matter. He enjoyed the thrill it gave him to listen to them beg for his mercy; he reveled in the strength he felt knowing he decided their future and whether they lived or died.

He watched the two lovers with detached irritation, the piece of history the three of them shared cracking and shattering into a thousand tiny pieces that meant little to him in the grand scheme of things. He listened to the roar of footsteps and the shouted commands coming from above, and he knew what that meant. One look at his father's face and he knew his father realized it as well.

Judgment day was upon them.

Fernandez never answered Parker. He turned and walked out of the basement door with one last wave of his hand to his guards, dismissing them just as easily as he dismissed everyone he killed before.

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