Reginald pressed the button on the intercom. “Sir? Dinlas is here, unannounced, to see you.” He had kind of a half-smirk on his face. Ares seemed to like him well enough, and I guess that’s all that matters. I found Reginald to be a smug little son of a bitch. Oh well, I didn’t have to see him every day.
“Send him right in,” came the reply.
Reginald’s face fell a little. I guess he hoped Ares would send me away. Maybe old Reggie didn’t care for me much either.
“Better luck next time,” I said. I rapped my knuckles on his desk as I went by and into Ares’ office.
Ares was sitting behind his desk and motioned to a chair opposite. I slid into it.
“What’s up, Dinlas?”
”Well,” I started, “I came by to see if I could borrow a few things.”
Ares just stared at me, but lifted one eyebrow slowly.
“Okay,” I continued as I pulled out the now tattered manilla envelope Aunt Demeter gave me some time ago, “I have a job coming up that I may need a few things.”
Somehow, majestically, Ares managed to raise his eyebrow even higher.
“Dinlas, are you asking me for a favor?”
“Ares, please don’t make this any harder.”
He twisted his mouth around to the side for a second, then replied, “Yeah, sorry. I’m gonna make this hard. Do I not recall you announcing loudly and proudly to Hera that you didn’t want to owe me anything?”
“Well,” I said, “I think we are now in a different place then we were back then. After all, we have both helped each other out since that day.” I knew my outburst that day was going to come back and bite me in the ass, so I was ready.
“So, then, you’re ready to apologize?”
“Apologize?” I asked.
“Yes, apologize. I offered to help you with Zeus that day, no strings attached, and you practically spit in my face.”
“I knew this was a bad idea,” I said, more to myself than him as I stood up. “Never mind.”
“Oh, sit down,” he said. “I know better than to try and make you apologize.”
I hesitated and looked back at him. He motioned to the chair.
“Sit down,” he said again. “What do you need?”
I sat back down and opened the manilla envelope. As I pulled out the intelligence reports, pictures spilled across his desk. Ares picked up several and looked at them, then looked at me questioningly.
I began. “This is Anthony Santiago. Anthony has earned himself the distinction of being one of Interpol’s three ‘most wanted men’.”
“Hmm,” replied Ares as he picked the surveillance reports out of the information packet and began to skim them. He didn’t seem interested in saying anything else, so I continued.
“Anthony is wanted for smuggling, human trafficking, bribery, fraud, counterfeiting, extortion, well, really the list goes on and on.”
“You trying to eliminate the competition?”
“That thought did cross my mind. But even better, this guy’s price tag is two million euro. I don’t need to tell you that would help get Grandpa Zeus to shut up about tithes.”
Ares nodded. “Well, it looks like you have all the information on him. Exactly what’s your plan and what do you need to ‘borrow’ from me?”
“He’s got one weakenss. Gambling. I’ve had people following him for awhile now. Gambling is his go to vice. Not the cheap stuff, either. He has a villa in Monaco and can be found there regularly at some exclusive places dropping a lot of money.”
“So you want to grab him there?” Ares asked.
“Yeah, but it won’t be easy. He treats his people well and they are very loyal. I’m going to take Phobos and Deimos, but I need some weaponry.”
Ares replied. “I thought you had your own stuff.”
I smiled. “Well, since Markos, my armorer, got killed, I’ve been in short supply.”
Ares nodded. “Understandable. What do you need?”
“A couple RPG’s, some thermite grenades, and claymore mines if you have them.”
“Damn, Dinlas. Is that all?” How about a few T-14 Armata or M-1 Abrams tanks to go along with that?”
I looked at him seriously. “Do you have any?”
Ares shook his head, then suddenly stopped and looked again at the page he was reading. “Are you sure this is just about money?”
“Yeah, why?” I asked nonchalantly.
Ares ignored my question. “Where did you get these reports?”
“And why would Aunt Demeter care about this guy?” Ares pressed.
I knew I might as well just say it. “Because he’s sex trafficking women and girls. I found out young men as well when I started digging into this guy.”
“You know Demeter is playing you, right?”
“She’s included this little tidbit to get you all riled up…Santiago operates specifically in the Western Mediterranean, never traveling far from his base of operations in Spain. He does own a villa in Monaco and a vineyard in central Italy. Gambling is his only vice (see Appendix 2-C-A.1). Santiago also claims direct lineage to the Roman General Cyrus Aurellius, who fought under Lucius Mummius Achaicus in the Battle of Corinth. Aurelius was noteworthy for claiming, after his victory, to be Dinlas, the Greek God of Hate. He oversaw the execution of all males after Corinth was defeated in 146 B.C.E.”
Ares looked up. “She’s baiting you to do this by digging into your ego.”
I shrugged. “I’m aware. I’m proud of everything, well almost everything, in my past. But I didn’t oversee the fall of Corinth or the execution of hundreds of innocent men and boys. Besides, if he claimed to be me, then he claimed to be your son as well.”
Ares cocked his eyebrow. “So now you’re baiting me?”
I shrugged again. “Demeter, Persephone, Athena, Nana, Artemis all want this guy gone. You know Demeter is hard-boiled against anyone who would separate mothers from their daughters. If she is using me, so be it. I didn’t need the extra encouragement, but it will make it more enjoyable.”
“Where’s your head at after all this Artemis stuff?”
“What?” I answered.
Ares said again, “Your head? Where is your head at after Artemis dropped you?”
“Artemis didn’t drop me.”
Ares just looked at me.
“Fine. I’m fine. Look, I was pissed off before, but I am straight.”
“Really? I saw Deimos a couple days ago and he looks like went a few rounds with a titan.”
“Deimos deserved it. He wouldn’t shut up his needling. I am fine, Father. I am clear-headed and able to make good decisions.”
Ares drummed his fingers on the desk.
“Father,” I said, “Markos is gone. Uncle Heph is still flitting around the world hiding, moping, and bawling his eyes out over Mother. I have nowhere else to turn here.”
Ares clicked his eyes at me. “Don’t malign your Uncle Heph, he hasn’t had it easy. That being said, I can provide you with a couple claymore mines and several Russian RPG-29 Vampir rocket propelled grenade launchers. I don’t have any thermite right now, but I do have shrapnel grenades.”
“Excellent. That’s fantastic,” I replied.
“But first,” continued The God of War, “you’re going to go over your plan with me in detail so I can see if it has any flaws.”
I looked down at him as he spread the surveillance photos and maps out on the desk. “Is this what normal fathers and sons do?”