Coffee Break Read – Rescue One

Five hundred miles north, things were moving at an altogether faster pace. Two men, a couple of small suitcases, and a black leather holdall, waited by the helipad at the Gleneagles hotel. The larger of the two looked at his companion.
“You sure about this, Sam? It’s going to get nasty, and some people will get hurt, or worse.”
“Yes. I’m sure. They have kidnapped a seven-year-old boy. If they have kept him drugged for thirty-six hours, he could be in a bad way. He might need me, and I might need the stuff I asked for.”
“It’s on the chopper. And how bad?”
“I honestly don’t know, Rod. Worst case scenario is brain damage, but at best he is going to be confused, feeling sick, and dehydrated.”
“Right. So we do need you.”
“And we need to hope.”
They fell silent as the sound of a big helicopter engine came closer.
“Why a Sikorsky?” Sam bawled in Rod’s ear as it came in to land.
They picked up their stuff, ran across the helipad and leapt aboard. A big man in a jumpsuit pushed them into a pair of seats and handed them headsets.
“Welcome aboard Rescue One,” he said.
“Thanks,” Rod grunted. “My friend here wondered why a Sky Crane?”
“Easy. These bastards fly in and out of the target area all the time. Nobody will think twice about another. Has anybody thought about what sort of condition the kid will be in when we get him out?”
“Yes,” Sam said tersely. “I’ve given the matter a lot of thought. Is the stuff I asked for on board?”
“Yeah. You know how to use it?”
“I do. But let’s hope I don’t have to.”
“What don’t you want to have to use?”
“Mostly: tracheotomy kit. I’ve had to do it in Thailand to kids that were sedated for too long on the underground sex trade routes. It ain’t pleasant, but it can be the only way to get air into the poor little sods’ lungs.”
“Fuck. Will it really be that bad?”
“Probably not, but I wanted to be sure I had all the bases covered. But the poor little bugger is going to be confused and frightened, and that’s why going home in his friend’s motorhome, where he can rest and feel secure will be better for him than a plane flight where he is surrounded by strangers, or the noise and smells of a chopper.”
“Yeah. I get that. And we can take it in turns to drive. So we’ll get him back to his mum pretty soon. Now I find I’m feeling murderous. Nobody should get between me and anyone I’m beating up.”
The man in the jumpsuit grinned.
“Fine. We’re all fathers here, and nobody is feeling particularly gentlemanly right now. About half an hour till we collect Geordie’s boomer boys. Then an hour from there to this fucking castle. Any orders?”
“Apart from getting my nephew out and demonstrating the family’s annoyance? No. Just do what needs doing.”
“Will do. By the way. This one’s a freebie. Geordie is providing the hardware and the fuel, we’re giving our time. Nobody liked having the Russian Mafia on our turf. But as long as they kept their noses clean we could tolerate them. Taking people’s kids is a big no-no, so we are handing down a lesson.”
“How many are we?” Sam asked.
“You two. Geordie’s boomer boys. Twelve fighters. Pilot, co-pilot and radio guy. Why?”
“Because I have a bad feeling about what they might do to the kid when we tip up. I want to get to him fast.”
“Good thinking. Six of us will escort you right to him. We have his location on screen.”
“Right. Good.”
The two men bumped fists.
They seemed to have covered all the bases, and the men sat in silence until the helicopter dropped down to land briefly. Three men jumped in carrying obviously heavy bags. Once they were seated the chopper took off and headed north. The men put on their headphones and their leader gave Rod a grim wink.
“Got enough stuff to flatten this fecking castle. Geordie says you have to agree, though.”
“Oh yeah. Let’s show them our fist! But we have to get little Bill out first. And if they’ve hurt him…”
The smallest of the boomer boys spat eloquently.
“Aye. There’s examples to be made.”

From The Cracksman Code by Jane Jago

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