“Deimos? Deimos? Can you hear me?”
My ear bud crackled back. “Calm down, I hear you. I’m in position.”
“How many meters?” I asked.
“Five hundred, just like you said.”
“And you have a clear shot at both gangways? I don’t want my girls standing out there with their asses hanging out.”
“Calm down, I got it. I’m looking at the front guy through the scope right now.”
“Okay,” I replied, “hold for my order.”
Deimos was running Overlook with an Accuracy AX Sniper Rifle chambered in .308, and equipped with a Sig Sauer suppressor and a NightForce scope. I gave Deimos a lot of grief for being stupid, but he was an excellent sniper. He is one of very few that I would allow to shoot over my girls at that range. Artemis would have been the other, but since she and I weren’t really speaking, that was out.
I paused and thought about our brief interlude. Yup, her and her new satyr were an item now. In no time, she chose a Goat Guy over me. I bet my side of the bed didn’t even get cold. It still pisses me off. Whatever. I was going to take it out on these poor gobs in a minute.
I took out my infrared spotting scope and scanned for Phobos farther down the dock among the crates and shipping containers. He was in location and waiting on me. Our targets were two ships owned by Anthony Santiago. He was known for human trafficking, as well as multiple other crimes. With a two million euro bounty on his head, he was number one on my list. First we had to draw him out, and that meant seizing two of his ships that were carrying human contraband.
I turned to Hate and Jealousy, my two she-wolves.
“Ladies, you’re up.” Both wolves seemed to shimmer for a moment, then transformed into two beautiful Mediterranean women.
“Be careful,” I cautioned them. Both smiled, gave me a peck on each cheek, then sauntered out from the crates we were hiding behind. As I watched them switch towards the rear gangway, I counted the number of armed guards I saw. Seven. Two at the rear, two at the front, three on deck and one up outside the bridge.
As the girls got close, I heard the guard at the bottom of the gangway call to them. He was speaking Greek, but I couldn’t make out what he was saying.
The girls smiled at him. He smiled back with a sneer.
Then they attacked.
Hate shimmered first to a wolf. It always looked weird when they did it. Like an old movie projector skipped a frame and suddenly, a person was a wolf. She lunged past the closest guard and was up the gangway, ripping into the second guard before he ever moved. Meanwhile, Jealousy changed to wolf and mauled the first guard as he stood stunned at the scene. Both girls moved silent, but the guard near the bridge saw them, yelled, then opened fire.
“Deimos, now. Phobos, hold tight,” I yelled into the ear bud as I sprinted toward the fray.
Deimos’ first shot took the man off the bridge; his second, one of the men on deck midship. The rest scattered for cover. I reached the first man that Jealousy mauled and called her off. He was done, same with the one Hate got. At the top of the gangway we paused, and I gave them hand signals to hold position. Deimos had everyone on deck pinned down as I craned to see the situation. There were no more guards in sight.
“Okay, let’s go,” I whispered to the girls and we sprinted to the far side of the ship. We encountered one startled sailor, who I simply dumped over the side into the harbor.
Phobos’ voice came through the ear bud. “Guards coming off the second ship, at least ten headed your way.” There was a pause, some gunfire, then he said, “Make that eight.”
“Phobos, go. Catch those guys in the open, then storm the other ship.”
“Gotcha, brother,” was the only reply.
I heard Phobos when he opened fire. Then I pulled my two .45 caliber semi-automatics and peeked into a portal on the inside door. No one in sight. I opened the hatch and slipped inside. We studied the layout of the ship beforehand. Our intelligence said the trafficked mortals were all on this ship, transported in three shipping containers. We ran down the metal stairs, deeper into the bowels of the ship.
“Girls, girls,” I whispered, “go find ‘em.” Hate and Jealousy trotted off, sniffing at each container. I followed.
Phobos’ voice came through the ear bud. “All secondary guards are down. I’m on the second ship and will confirm no prisoners here.”
Deimos’ voice answered, “I got you, Twin, there’s four down, and three more pinned on the primary target.”
“Do it, Phobos,” I responded, “then get out of there and make your way here. I’m in the hold and we’re looking for the packages now.”
I heard both girls whine. They were near a large container in the center of the ship. It had to be something, I saw holes drilled along the top edge of the container. Air holes; it’s bad for profit to lose some cargo in transport.
“Who’s in there?” I said as I approached the door to the giant metal container.
A tiny voice whispered back in Greek, “Who is that? We heard gunshots.”
There was a padlock on the door. That wasn’t going to do much. I grabbed it and pulled it off, snapping the locking mechanism easily. When I opened the door, even my hollow heart was pained.
There were fifty mortals stuffed into the box. Young men and women as well as children. They were standing because there was no room to sit. Some were held up only by the others around them. Their long confinement meant most had soiled themselves and they were all standing in it. The group pushed forward as soon as the door cracked open.
“Wait. Wait,” I said, “I will not close this door, but you must stay in here until I am sure it is safe.” They seemed dubious, but the two snarling wolves gave them pause.
“Keep them in the box,” I said to the she-wolves. Both whined at me, then looked back at the mortals.
I turned around and two more guards appeared next to the container. They were no match on speed. Two shots to the foreheads and they were down on the ground. After that, the prisoners seemed less anxious to leave the metal sanctuary. I scoured the hold of the ship and found three more guards, who I dispatched easily. I headed back to the container. When I rounded the last corner, I cursed. There was a guard; I must’ve missed one. He stepped out from the shadows next to the girls. He pulled a pistol and fired several times at the she-wolves. Jealousy collapsed.
“No,” I screamed and started running.
I am no match for Hate when it comes to speed. One second she was sitting in front of the container, the next she was at his throat, mauling him. He fell back when she hit him in the chest and his gun clattered to the floor. I reached them and scooped Jealousy up in my arms, her body limp and lifeless. Hate continued mauling the shooter. He was already dead, but that didn’t slow her down. The last thing I saw before I teleported was Phobos running toward me.
I arrived at the warehouse with a popping noise from the teleport. I was in the back on the second floor, near the armory. I previously established a small medical facility there and I dropped Jealousy on the metal table. He had shot her twice. I grabbed the upper portion of her rear leg to check for a pulse. It was rapid and erratic. She whined and tossed, then transformed into a woman. One shot went through her left shoulder and the other through her hip.
“Jealousy,” I whispered urgently to her, “stop struggling. I got you.”
She opened her eyes. A flicker of cognizance, maybe recognition, flashed across her face. She pushed up and kissed me softly on the corner of my mouth, then she collapsed back on the table.
It was quite a while before I got her stabilized, but I did. She lost a lot of blood and was weak. I sedated her and stepped out of the treatment room. Phobos, Deimos, and Hate were all waiting for me. I was covered in blood, so Phobos handed me a rag.
“Here, brother, wipe your face off.”
“She’s weak.” I said as I wiped. “She’s weak. We’ll just have to see.”
“Did you get the bullets out?” asked Deimos.
“One was a pass-through. I got the other one, though.”
Phobos and Deimos nodded. Hate went to the open door and sat down, staring at Jealousy. Her sister still lay unconscious on the cold metal table. She looked back at me and whined. I walked over to her and slid down the door jamb onto the floor. She immediately put her head in my lap.
“We can only wait and see now, girl. We can only wait and see.”