Army of Devils, стр. 16

"No, thanks. I want to spend my pension."

"Two against twenty. We got them outnumbered."

"You do it. I want to see if the Feds taught you any special survival skills. Like how to reincarnate."

Laughing, Lyons coasted past the punks. He made a right turn, then he keyed his hand-radio. "That's the place. I see an alley back here. Garages."

"A whole lot of mean-looking dudes out front," Gadgets answered. "I don't know about getting in and out quiet. You want to rethink this?"

"Yeah, they got M-16s and grenades in there," Lyons said. "What happens when a hundred doped-up punks with automatic rifles go berserk?"

"That informer said the M-zipteens are upstairs?" Gadgets asked.

"That's where that organization has all the offices. Upstairs."

Lyons continued to the next block and parked in the darkness under a tree. In the rearview mirror, he watched the second rental car cruise past the alley.

Blancanales spoke through the radio, "The roof. We'll go up one of those other apartments, drop down into the office."

"Second the motion," said Gadgets's voice. "I don't want any firefights with that crowd on the street. I didn't pack that much ammunition."

Lyons turned to Flor and Towers. "My partners and I are going in. Bill, you stand by in one car. Flor, you drive the other one. We have a problem — things'll happen fast."

"This is for information only, yes?" Flor asked.

"We find those weapons, we'll call for the police."

"No heroes? Tell me, no heroes."

"Not me," Lyons assured her.

Two minutes later, Flor guided her car through the wide commercial alley. Lights illuminated rear entries and garages and parked cars. On the higher floors, balconies jutted from the back walls of the apartments.

The car rolled to a stop near a dumpster head-high with trash and garbage. The three men of Able Team slipped out into the alley's shadows.

The car eased away. At the end of the alley, it disappeared into the night. Surrounded by the trash and rotting filth, Able Team scanned the alley for movement. They carried no assault weapons. Their sports coats concealed their radios and shoulder-holstered autopistols. Gadgets carried a few hand tools and electronic devices in an airline bag.

Without a word, Lyons led them through the alley's darkness. He pointed to a derelict car sitting on four flat tires, then to the steel ladders and platforms of a fire escape above the alley.

The apartments' fire escapes doubled as balconies. Flowerpots and planter boxes covered the landings. Blancanales and Gadgets nodded. Lyons stepped up and onto the top of the derelict car. He tested the ladder, then went up quickly, his neoprene-soled shoes silent on the rungs.

Glancing into the lighted interior of the second-floor apartment as he passed, he saw a family gathered around a color television. A news commentator pointed to a map of Los Angeles. Lyons continued. In the next apartment, two young girls — perhaps ten years old — danced to a North American rock-and-roll standard sung in Spanish.

Lyons stopped at the top of the fire-escape ladder. He eased his head up over the wall and scanned the rooftop. The black silhouettes of vent pipes and antennas stood against the distant lights of downtown's high-rise towers.

The diffuse gray light reflected from the polluted night sky revealed a tar roof littered with trash and beer cans. Lyons snaked over the top. Crouching in a shadow, he unhooked his hand-radio from his belt.

"You two. I'm on top. Waiting for you." Lyons looked around. "Flor. You monitoring?"

"Monitoring," she answered.

"Mr. Detective see anything out front?"

"Zero. Will tell you if."

The steel ladder vibrated with steps. In seconds, Blancanales swung over the wall, followed by Gadgets.

Motionless in the shadows, they listened. City noises and snatches of music came from the streets below. A ventilator fan grated in its housing, ejecting the smells of cooking oils and mildewed apartments into the warm night air.

Moving again, Lyons crouch-walked toward the roof of the adjoining building. He felt his way past the guy wires of antennas, his eyes continuously sweeping the shadows and forms ahead of him for the motions of a sentry. He heard only the faint cracking of dust and grit under his shoes.

At the edge of the roof, he waited again as two shadows followed him. They peered over the low wall to the next building.

A loud stereo played beneath them. The tar of the roof, still warm from the summer sun, throbbed with the disco beat.

The bricks of the two apartment buildings met. There was no airspace or easement between the walls. Scanning the next roof, they saw another expanse of shadows and gray half darkness. They saw no motion on the next building or on the roof of the LAYAC building beyond.

"Electronic security?" Lyons hissed to Gadgets.

"You can hear it?"

"Hear what?"


Straining their ears, Lyons and Blancanales listened. A motorcycle passed on the avenue, the staccato popping fading. Quiet returned. They heard a high-pitched whine. Then a low rider's loud muffler blasted the avenue.

"Ultra High Frequency motion sensor," Gadgets whispered as he searched through his bag of gear. "Plus they'll have pressure sensors. And someone standing guard. Look around for some pigeon shit."

"What are you talking about?"

"They have motion sensors. If pigeons fly around up here, they have false alarms..."

"Pigeons don't fly at night."

"Use your imagination. Find some bat shit."

A dog barked, once, twice, then went quiet.

The UHF whine cut off. They saw the silhouette of a man moving on the LAYAC roof.

"That makes it easy," Gadgets whispered.

Lyons tapped Blancanales and Gadgets. "Berettas… I'm going ahead. You follow."

Lyons crept over the roof to a fan housing. He stood up with the bulk of the housing behind him. He watched the far building, looking for movement. Then he hissed to the others.

He saw them approach, slinking through the antennas and vents. A tangle of razor wire, two coils high, stopped all three of them.

They spread out along the barrier of concertina razors. They knew the group inside the building would have provided for rooftop escape. The razor fence would have gates.

Blancanales went slowly, feeling ahead of him for security sensors or trash that might make noise. He peered up at the barbed wire, then moved along, fingers sweeping over the gritty tar. He found a bottle, then another; he set them far to the side.

Suddenly a shape directly in front of him blocked his view.

Hands seized him, pulled him into the tangle of steel razors.


Two blocks away, Flor Trujillo waited in the rented Ford, the engine idling, the front seat covered with radios.

A portable police-band radio scanned the department's communications, electronic noise and voices filling the interior of the car.

An encoded hand-radio provided for an instantaneous link to Able Team.

A second nonsecure walkie-talkie linked her to Detective Towers where he waited a few blocks to the west.

She watched the street around her. Nothing moved. Despite the warm night, no one sat on the porches or talked with neighbors. No children bicycled or played soccer in the brilliant blue white glare of the streetlights. When she parked, she had seen the curtains of the security-barred windows of several houses part as the residents peered out. But the people remained hidden in the safety of their homes.