Army of Devils, стр. 22

Machetes flashed in the dark alley. First, the punks cut away Lannon's shattered legs. Then his fingers and hands. As the white man's screams echoed in the filthy corridor behind the buildings, the punks methodically reduced him to a flopping torso with a screaming head.

Cross fire of shotguns and department-approved .38 pistols drove the street gang back to their vehicle. Bleeding, their throats filling with blood even as they screamed defiance at the officers, the punks attempted to escape in their supercharged Chevy.

Officers fired shotguns and rifles into the engine, point-blank into the driver's head, then at the rear tires. The Chevy careered across the side street and into a tree.

Flames exploded. Orange light from the rising flames lighted the alley. Then the officers found the dead cameraman and the butchered sound recordist.

A wailing cry lead them to the thing lying in blood and a clutter of human parts. Only when they saw the arms and legs did the officers realize the flopping, bleeding meat had been a human being.

After another few seconds of pain and blind, silent anguish, Mark Lannon, the K-Marx man of the people, The Voice of Socialist Truth, finally went silent.

* * *

Storming through the offices and hallways of the LAYAC complex, Towers and his men killed everything that moved. There seemed to be no end to the punks in the building. They came from doorways, they came down the stairs, they rose from the heaps of dead to fight again. This was the crucial battle.

Towers rushed through one doorway and fell flat, expecting autofire. But he heard only the gunfire in the other rooms. Scrambling over the floor, he scanned the large room.

Black Nationalist posters plastered one wall. The three other walls had been painted stark white. He could not understand the purpose of the white walls until he saw the projection ports.

The room had been a theater with multiple projectors. Marks on the wall indicated mountings for now-gone speakers for a total-surround sound system. Wires and cables dangled from conduits around the walls.

His examination of the theater was interrupted by firing outside the door. Bracing his Colt Commander in both hands, Towers waited for a gang to appear. He heard a voice call out, "Police! Freeze, whoever you are!"

"We're on your side!"

"You're the Federals?"

"That's us — the Super-Feds…"

Towers recognized the voice of the Wizard, the electronics specialist who worked with Carl Lyons. He went to the door and announced himself. "Detective Towers coming out!"

Only then did he emerge. He saw the three men with automatic weapons and military gear standing with a group of his uniformed officers. He could not identify Lyons.

Blood crusted all three men. Blood concealed their features and hair color. Finally, Towers heard a voice that identified his ex-partner. "What about the woman? Any of you see her?"

"No," Towers told Lyons. "We came in through the front. Where were you?"

"We went in through the side. There's a first-floor hallway connecting all this together. We got hit by banzai charges of scumbags."

"Yeah, tell us about it. We met a few of them ourselves."

The blood-masked man that Towers could recognize only by voice stared urgently at him. "Flor has to be somewhere. We've got to search every room in this place. Did any of them get away? Other than that one truck?"

"Could they have her in the truck?" Towers asked.

"No chance," another of the Able Team soldiers answered. Towers recognized the sonorous voice as the voice of Lyons's Puerto Rican partner. "That truck went muy rapido. They wouldn't have taken the time to grab her. And I don't think they could have grabbed her. Not without leaving bodies."

An officer returned from checking the corridor. He said nothing.

"So what's down there?" one of the other officers demanded of him.

The officer lifted one of his feet and pointed at it. Blood glistened on his shoe. He had stepped in blood deeper than his shoe tops. "Does that tell you what's down there?"

As other cops went to stare at the carnage, Lyons called them back. "We're still looking for our partner. We got to find her."

"Sure, bad man, we're on it." Towers spoke into his walkie-talkie and directed his other officers to check every room and hallway. "If we don't find her here, we'll question the headman of LAYAC. We grabbed him down in the marina. He tried to get away in his yacht."

An officer reported. "We got civilians coming down the fire escapes. There're apartments up there that have got nothing to do with the gangs."

"Well, help them down. 'Protect and serve,' officer. Get to it."

As the three men of Able Team started for the avenue, Towers spoke into his walkie-talkie again. "We got three Federals coming out. Do the city a favor and hose them off before they get in one of our cars."

14

Flor Trujillo rode on the bumper of the five-ton truck speeding from East Los Angeles. The wind whipping her hair, she gripped the latch of the roll-up aluminum cargo door.

As her hands became tired, every bump and lurch threatened her with a high-speed encounter with asphalt. She watched for a police car, hoping to signal for assistance.

But the only patrol cars she saw flashed past in the opposite direction. Lights flashing, sirens screaming, the black-and-white units went to help the officers caught in the ambush she had overheard on the scanner.

So she held on. Few other cars traveled the streets and boulevards of the city. She saw the driver of one car do a double take at the sight of her — a young Hispanic woman in a wind-flagged green dress and high heels — riding the cargo truck's bumper.

Then the truck went onto the freeway. Gripping the latch, she eased herself into a crouch as the evening air tore at her hair and skirt. Behind her, she saw only two or three distant pairs of headlights. On this night after the slaughter of the Valencia family, no one risked the freeways.

A few minutes before, she had seen the truck swerve from the alley behind the LAYAC building. The truck had lurched for a moment as the driver clashed the gears. On impulse, she dashed from the rented Ford and stepped up on the bumper. She wished she had taken a hand-radio. With only her Detonics and a few extra magazines, she sped to a destination unknown.

She felt movement inside the truck. Pressing her ear against the roll-up aluminum, she heard voices and footsteps. The vibrations and noises of the speeding truck made the words incomprehensible. But now she knew she faced more opponents than only the driver and the gunman in the truck's cab.

Without slowing, the truck swerved onto an off ramp. The truck's body clattered and shook as the tires seized the asphalt, the acrid smoke of burning rubber swirling around Flor. The truck whipped through a right turn, then accelerated again.

Before Flor could catch sight of a boulevard street sign, the truck whipped through another right turn and sped through a gray district of wrecking yards and industrial buildings. She saw only empty streets and desolate parking lots under the blue white light of the mercury-arc street-lamps.

Finally the truck slowed. Flor heard the cab door open and footsteps run from the truck to the building. Steel clanked against a steel door.

Now came the danger. She knew she must somehow slip away from the truck without betraying herself. In the isolation of a manufacturing area, with only her autopistol against the rifles of the gang punks who guarded the truck, she had no doubt of the outcome of a pursuit and firefight.

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