After the shooting had stopped Derek made damn sure that he lay perfectly still. Even after people started talking next to him, he didn’t move. It was only after he was sure that he had heard Tony’s voice that he tentatively raised his head.
What he saw almost made him put it back down again. He closed his eyes and opened them again, and found to his disappointment that they were still there.
Someone put their hands under his shoulders and lifted him up. He looked behind him, “Tony?”
“I’m here Derek; is there anything you need?”
“Yes; I need to know what part of ‘I never want to work with Team Three’ was unclear to Chief”
Tony smiled, “Aren’t you glad to see them? They did just save your life.”
Derek took another look around. Emma and Beatrice were stacking up the bodies of the men who had attacked them, and Wellsford was trying to talk to Laurie; who was already blinking with the fading sand; all in all the effect was peaceful.
“Are they taking over this case?” said Derek; he could still remember the sound of that rifle clicking, and he thought a little gratitude might not be too much to ask for.
“Well not exactly” said Tony, he looked like he was trying to dance around something “We’re all on the case together now; at least for this part.”
“All three teams?!” Exclaimed Derek; it was unheard of, but it did make a certain amount of sense. “Well then why didn’t we just do that from the start?! It would have been nice to have had that level of force before the super soldiers here tried to kill me!”
Tony put a hand on his arm, “Calm down,” he said, “the situation has changed; I’ll explain as we check on the bodies”
In the end though, Derek checked out the bodies alone while Tony checked out the helicopter. It was reasonable enough; Tony was the only one qualified to check the helicopter, and that meant that Derek was the only one left who could check the bodies; Wellsford was incompetent, Laurie was blind, and Team Three were only good at killing.
Tony finished his inspection quickly and Derek was waiting for him when he got out of the chopper. “What did you find?” he asked
Tony looked up, “The identification plate and the black box were removed” he said, “There were no markings and the communication presets were wiped when it crashed; someone really wanted to make sure that we couldn’t trace them back. You?”
“Same” said Derek, “Twelve men, young to middle aged, full combat gear, no dog tags or insignia, weapons and armour were milspec”
Tony nodded, “Can anyone think of anyone that meets that description?” he asked. Everybody shook their heads.
Tony glanced at the cube, “We can run a search on rouge military organizations when we get back to the office” he said, and he pushed himself off of the helicopter.
“Hold on,” said Derek, “You’re not walking away just yet! I still want answers; how is the situation different now?”
“Oh, sorry Derek” said Tony, settling back against the helicopter. He looked at the cube again; it was still sitting where it had been dropped; even Team Three didn’t want to touch it; everyone could see the energy that was still discharging itself from the shards in the top.
Tony looked thoughtful for a moment; then he said, “I better start at the beginning.”
“No I better, old timer” said Emma, “I was there” she was sitting on the hood of the 2CV she had driven in on and she swivelled around to face Derek. “It’s like this” she said, “Beatrice and I were just hanging round the office; waiting for our next mission to turn up, when your pxt turns up”
“My pxt?” said Derek
Wellsford chimed in to help, “It is a form of picture, sent by means of a mob…”
“Yes, thank you; I know what it is” snarled Derek, “But I never sent one”
“I did” said Laurie, “I thought it would make a good failsafe if we were caught, so I sent a pxt of the cube to the office”
“Right” said Derek, he settled back again. “What happened then?” he asked Emma
“Well Casper starts going nuts, right? Chief goes in to see him and next minute he’s in our faces telling us to move out and protect your sorry asses”
“Indeed” said Wellsford, “Five minutes later the chief realizes the mistake he made and pulls us off our own case to protect you from them” he indicated to Team Three.
Derek glared at Wellsford, “Is that what he said?” he said
Wellsford wilted, “Well as a matter of fact he said, ‘Try to get them to leave some alive for questioning’”
Derek cast a meaningful look at the corpses lined up; and then gave a meaningful look to Wellsford.
“Well I’m sorry that we didn’t get to you fast enough” he said, “It was just that…”
Tony raised his hand, “We managed to keep you and Laurie alive for questioning” he said, “And I think that was realistically a best case scenario from the start.”
Derek settled back again; listening to Tony.
“We followed Laurie’s phone to an old farmer down the road” he went on, “And once we had figured out how to translate what he was saying, we came straight here.” He pushed himself away from the helicopter and stretched, “That brings us up to the present” he said, “Is there anything else you need?”
Derek shook his head.
“Then let’s go” said Tony, “Our mission is to bring the cube back to the office safely”