Riley managed to get off one shot, which slapped into Black's Kevlar. A half-second later, Black put two bullets in Riley's arm. Riley's pistol clattered to the pavement, and the men from the chopper were all over him, moving like a wave of black fatigues and guns.
One man bandaged Riley's arm while another bound his hands behind him. Another tied his feet, and a fourth threw a black hood over his head. Without a word, the four men picked Riley up and hustled him into the Blackhawk.
Jason Black walked casually over to the dead BMW. He stuck his head into the open driver's door and grinned at Johnny.
"Deputy Teal. Don't think we've met. Jason Black," he said, waving. "We'll have you out of there in a second."
Johnny's door flew open, and someone cut his flex-cuffs. Johnny shook out his arms and got up. As he stepped out of the car, he realized that it was Alex Kelley who had cut him loose.
"Hey, Sarge. Good to see you alive."
"You too, man. Ellie?"
"She's fine, bro. Seemed worried about you when she realized you were missing. You should call her, man."
Jason, still hanging out in the driver's side of the car, found the trunk release and tripped it. The trunk popped open, and Eric fell out.
"Hey, Eric. You all right, man?" Jason asked.
"Yeah, I'm -- Jesus Christ, Jase, what the fuck did you do to my car?" Eric yelled. He stood staring at the smoking holes in his BMW's hood.
"Yeah, sorry about that. Blame Cohane. He didn't want to stop," Black said.
"Oh, I am so gonna cold-cock that motherfucker," Eric growled. "Where is he?"
"Sorry, Eric. We've got him secured on the helo already."
"I kinda promised him," Johnny told Black.
"Ah, what the hell. Staff Sergeant, wanna escort him to the prisoner?" Black said, grinning.
Alex nodded, and he and Eric headed for the Blackhawk.
"So, how long has Alex been with Omega?" Johnny asked.
"Few months now. We recruited him as soon as the Army booted him. Couldn't let all that Special Ops experience go to waste," Black said.
"He's not Omega, but not for my lack of effort. Tried to recruit him last year, but he wouldn't go for it. Still, I gave him a cell number. You know, in case he ever needed to get in contact."
They heard Eric punch Riley, and heard Riley smack against the chopper's hull.
"Wow. Dude was pretty pissed," Jason said. A few seconds later, Eric walked back to the BMW, shrugging into his leather jacket and smiling. He tossed Johnny his badge.
"Here you go, Farm Boy."
"OK, gents, we're gonna get moving," Jason Black told them.
"You know all this is going to have to go in my report," Johnny said.
"Put whatever you want in there, Johnny. Your boss will get a call. In an hour, most likely. This whole thing'll be sealed under the National Security Act, just like last time. DoD's never gonna let this out. They'll never admit one of their best assets went rogue and started killing innocent Muslim Americans," Black said, shrugging.
"Dammit. That's not right, Jase," Eric said.
"Right, wrong. . . not my call. We all get our orders from someone."
Black waved at them and winked. As the Blackhawk's rotors spun up, he hopped into the chopper and slammed the door behind him. The Blackhawk was gone ten seconds later.
"Hey. . . what about us?" Eric said.
"Looks like we're walking, pal," Johnny sighed.
"All right. Let me get some stuff from the car."
Eric grabbed a laptop bag from the trunk and slung it over his shoulder. He and Johnny then pushed the BMW to the side of the road.
"We're really out in the middle of nowhere, aren't we?" Eric said, locking the car.
"Gas station's only a couple of miles back. I just wish it was a little warmer out. Hey, Eric? How'd you manage to get in touch with Jason Black? And why didn't you tell me about him?"
"Yeah, Witness Protection boy admits to being in contact with the subject of an active investigation. That'd go over real well for me. It was one conversation over a year ago. I was never gonna use the number he gave me. Which is what I ended up doing, of course," Eric said. "After the grenade knocked you out, I pulled you from under the door to evac you -- you didn't look good. I got you to my car pretty quick. Last thing I heard was the SWAT truck rolling up, then I woke up in the trunk. Riley'd taken my coat, wallet, and phone. Or so he thought."
Eric reached into his jacket and pulled out his BlackBerry, then reached into the hip pocket of his cargos and pulled out another phone.
"You have two phones?" Johnny asked.
"Yep. BlackBerry's issued by work. I never cancelled my private line."
"Well, fuck's sake, man. Call someone to come pick us up," Johnny said.
"Love to. Unfortunately, Riley busted the BlackBerry, probably so it wouldn't be traced. Battery on this one's dead -- had to stay on the line with Jason so he could locate us."
"Damn. Wait a second. Your laptop."
"Whatever. Is that the one you were using in the power station?"
"Were you recording the camera feed?"
"Uh, yeah. Stopped when I closed up to carry you out, but I got a good chunk of footage."
"That business card I gave you earlier. Still got it?"
"Harry Ford? The conspiracy nut? Yeah," Eric said. His eyes went wide. "Wait. You're not gonna --"
"Story's gotta get out there. With the footage, the military won't be able to deny it."
"A rebellious streak? From you, Farm Boy?" Eric said, laughing. "I'm impressed."
Johnny smiled and pounded Eric on the back.
"Come on, bro. Let's get going -- we've got a long walk ahead of us."