The Equilibrium Files #3.3
When they reached the street they went immediately to the van with the intention of getting Charlie to the Equilibrium offices asap. ‘Wheels’ drove onto the through town freeway and merged with the traffic. After some time he looked into his rear view mirror at the stream of assorted vehicles behind. Nothing unusual. Then he caught sight of a Suzuki Mirage steadily making its way towards them. Its intentions became clear as it drew alongside them and held its position. The pillion passenger kept looking at them, apparently communicating with someone. ‘Wheels’ kept his attention on the road while the other two monitored the motor cycle’s movements. It stayed abreast of them, carefully mirroring their every manoeuvre. Then at the next intersection a car pulled into the stream of traffic and took up station directly in front of the van. It seemed they were being boxed in. These guys were professionals. After a few ineffective attempts at evasion ‘Wheels’ slammed on the breaks hard and fell back. The car and cycle were taken by surprise and sped forward. The traffic ahead had slowed but neither vehicle was able to avoid colliding with the cars ahead of them. There was an almighty pile up. The car attempting to block their front went over the freeway barrier, falling onto the traffic below. The cycle ran into the traffic ahead. The driver, miraculously, made his escape but the pillion rider was hurt and lay dazed on the road. The three took advantage of the confusion and grabbed the unfortunate man. Piling him into the back of the van, they made it to Equilibrium offices without further mishap.
Interrogation of the prisoner revealed that he was a mage hired by Theo Smith to help kidnap Charlie. Y50,000 was to have been his payment. The only other thing he could tell them was that Smith, who had been driving the Suzuki, had coordinated the whole affair. He had hired the mage and others on a need to know basis. Only Smith knew who was behind everything. It was easy enough to trace Smith using Equilibrium’s resources and Dreyfus, ‘Potty’ and ‘Wheels’ set off to his last known address, an apartment in an upmarket part of town. They gained access through the basement car park and took the service lift to Smith’s floor. Again, it was an easy job for Dreyfus to by-pass the security key of Smith’s apartment and they entered, quietly. It was a pretty standard apartment with bedrooms, bathroom and living area all empty but apparently still occupied. Further investigation brought them to an office. They saw someone, who they assumed to Smith, seated at the desk. There was no movement as they approached as stealthily as they could. There were close enough to touch him but there was still no reaction from Smith.
The reason became obvious as they swivelled the chair. A knife was sticking into his chest, holding a note there, and blood stained Smith’s clothing. The note read simply "FAILURE”. A search of Smith’s computer files showed that he was a fixer and did business with various people and organisations. A lucrative line of work, judging from the files. His last remit had been from Horizon Mega corps, or at least for someone inside Horizon. There the investigation stalled but the three agents knew they were up against strong opposition. As Dreyfus said, if they could eliminate someone with Theo Smith’s connections and resources they must be very powerful.