evil figure known as Kryigula had managed to deliver from an off balance position.
Their furious battle had raged for almost a full minute
and Vanessa felt she was gaining a slight advantage when the murderous madman
had managed to lash out right on the mark.
Still, she did not acknowledge the pain, did not hesitate for a moment.
She landed near her pistol that had been knocked out of her hand several moments before--
Kryigula had scored the first move when Kane entered the dark, empty club
that had been sealed off by the police as a crime scene.
Two nights earlier, Benny the Mouse had been knifed to death
as he made his way through the crowd in a desperate bid to escape someone out to take
The Cobalt Medallion.
An intercepted message belatedly revealed that Kryigula had promised the Mouse
one million dollars for it.
But something went wrong.
A henchman sent to double cross Benny--
or someone else, who was willing to go against Kryigula?
Did Benny have enough time to find a clever hiding place to stash the coveted object,
assuming he had it with him right then?
Or had it been lifted by the assassin?
Had a determined third party seized the lethal prize?
Or did Kryigula already have it?
The secret agent's instincts told her that The Medallion was somewhere in that club
and Kryigula would go there to try and find it.
Or perhaps he already knew where it was;
had Benny contacted him again before meeting The Reaper?
Spilling the location in hopes of escaping and still collecting the money?
The agency had scanned the regular call logs and found nothing significant.
But it was entirely possible the dark market dealer was using an über-hybrid DSST device.
But no cell of any kind was found on the body—taken by the killer?
It all remained speculation but the medallion was an item that Vanessa's gruff director
had made clear was to be retrieved--
no matter what the cost.
The plan was to wait and see if the egomaniacal Kryigula would make some kind of move.
The agency would give it three days—then, reluctantly but out of necessity,
override the local law and tear the building apart piece by piece.
It happened on the third night.
Vanessa had surreptitiously watched the evildoer all evening at his favorite theater,
then stealthily followed him as he made his way in the late hour to the fateful arena;
but the seasoned master criminal had detected her presence.
He waited in the shadows, clipped her wrist with the forward handle of his tactical machine pistol, kicked her behind the knee and swung the weapon around to riddle her with bullets.
Only a savage kick to the groin had saved her--
and his weapon too had went flying.
The battle was on.
He staggered back but simultaneously lobbed a small but powerful stun grenade at her
with the skill of a soldier.
Vanessa's speed was astounding.
She flung herself behind some tables, hands clamped over her ears.
The exothermic reaction set some plastic decorative curtains,
which contained only a modicum of flame retardant additives, on fire.
The blaze instantly raced into full bloom.
Vanessa mused for a second about what the police were going to make
of their crime scene being burnt to the ground.
She jumped up and rushed the highly skilled madman.
The deadly hand-to-hand continued until she had been knocked down--
There, her gun.
She rolled, grabbed and came up in a crouch with one leg stretched out--
in the time it would take a bolt of lightning to strike.
Kryigula had already grabbed his machine pistol off the floor, bringing it up to bear.
It was at that moment that Kane saw clearly hanging around her opponent's neck
what she thought she had glimpsed during the fistfight--
The Medallion, flashing a gold light--
a threat that could cost a million lives.
Vanessa's marksmanship was legendary at the agency--
an agency so secret that it didn't even have an acronym.
She would have time for one shot.
The next night her still gruff director,
although mightily pleased with the recovery of The Cobalt Medallion,
told the secret agent that a week off in the Riviera was out of the question;
she could have three days.
Vanessa Kane smiled to herself.
The old softie, she thought.
Written Content G.A.M. cc
Kane Robert Byron