Chapter 29

October 25, 2011 at 4:47 pm (The Job)

Petrillo ached in every joint, muscle and tendon. At first he couldn’t recall what the hell had happened to him. Then it hit him. They’d taken him from his desk. Snuck up behind him and grabbed him right out of his chair. He’d fought them. It had been mostly a stupid idea, him against trained soldiers. But testosterone had ruled his body that day. Christ, he has no idea what day it was.

He attempted to open his eyes, but they were sealed shut. It hurt to move his hands far enough to feel his face. When his fingers brushed against his jaw, he would have screamed in agony but it hurt too much. The pain robbed him of breath. He tried to be gentle as he brushed his fingers over his eyes, but his hands felt as though they were three sizes too big. Or was it is face that felt that way?

He tasted dirt and realized that his tongue was hanging out of his mouth. His face was pressed against the cold dirt floor. It felt rather soothing against his cheek. He tried to lift his head and the fierce pain made the tears leak from his eyes. The moisture helped loosen whatever was gluing them shut. After a minute he was able to pry one open.

It didn’t help. Everything around him was dark. He thought maybe it was night time, but had no way to know. He attempted to assess the damage to his body by slowly moving each limb. His right leg was completely numb. He’d been lying on it for who knows how long. His left leg worked. He rolled slightly sideways, to settle on his back. Then his right leg came alive as though thousands of tiny electrodes had been jabbed into his skin. He knew the pain meant that everything was working, but fuck it hurt!

His ears pricked at the sound of a dog sniffing about. Scanning the darkness with his one eye, Petrillo thought he could see some light now. It came from far away and steadily got closer, bobbing up and down. It made him dizzy and he had to look away. The dog was gone and had been replaced by the sound of feet shuffling in the dirt.

Petrillo tried to use the pain to propel himself into a proper seated position. His back burned and his stomach muscles felt as though they’d been ripped apart. Sweat poured down his face and the salty moisture stung the open cuts on his face. He gritted his teeth, but that made his jaw throb. To test if it was broken, he opened his mouth to speak.

“Damn, I could really use a drink,” he muttered. It hurt, but he didn’t think the jaw was broken, just bruised significantly.

The shuffling feet had stopped when he’d spoken. Then it sounded as though they pivoted and headed straight for him. If they were coming back for round two, Petrillo didn’t doubt that his chances of survival were pretty damn slim.

“Petrillo?” a voice called out of the dark.

The light flashed across his face and his one good eye winced. “Christ, that hurts.”

“Your face looks like hamburger.”

“Thanks, that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy right now. Who are you?” he demanded.

The light changed angle and shone on the face of the man standing before him. Petrillo cocked his eye upward in an effort to identify him. It didn’t take long.

“Jack? What the fuck?” Petrillo wasn’t quite sure what he was asking the man.

Jack Tunn squatted down in front of Petrillo and grimaced at the close up view of Ingram’s handy-work. In truth, he doubted that Ingram had lifted a finger. He preferred to let others do the messy stuff. He cleaned up after them.

“Let me get you out of here and get you cleaned up and then we’ll chat.”

“Where is here?” Petrillo asked.

“You’re in the back of the stables, which aren’t used anymore. It’s on the lower level of the island, but thankfully not inhabited by anything from the island.”

“Which island?” Petrillo said.

The island,” Jack replied, emphasizing the first word.

“Oh Jesus, get me out of here!” Petrillo shrieked. He knew what was on the island. He’d set up the security consoles for Leinster. He’d seen the gorilla village and the crocodile pond and everything else. He started to thrash about in an attempt to get off the floor.

“Easy, Petrillo. We’ll take care of you.” Jack motioned two men over with the stretcher. As carefully as they could, they loaded Petrillo onto it and strapped him down. Lifting it between them, they followed Jack out of the stables and back toward the cliff. They had an armed guard consisting of fifteen men. They had rifles, grenades and specially crafted smoke bombs that could knock out a gorilla in five seconds flat. It wasn’t wise to take chances when coming out to the lower island.

They didn’t head for the elevator shaft. They had no need to use that route. Instead they continued along a crevice in the cliff until it dead ended twenty-five feet back. Flipping up a panel covered by faux rock, Jack punched in his entry code. With a soft, pneumatic hiss, a door popped open several inches. Jack opened it wide and gestured for the men with the stretcher to head in first. Jack followed and the guards brought up the rear.

The first level of the cliff was containment and storage. Jack and his group entered a large room that lit up the minute the door sealed behind them. There was no getting into the lab complex without going through one of these containment units. They were scanned, x-rayed and fumed to make certain no illegal foreign particulates had come in with them.

“Mr. Petrillo is wounded,” a computerized voice floated down to them from speakers in the ceiling. It wasn’t a shrill voice, but it was harsh and always sounded slightly accusing. Petrillo had set up the computer systems inside the lab. Everything that could be automated, was. Consequently, the lab was very familiar with his DNA strings and recognized him easily.

“Yes, he is,” Jack confirmed, rolling his eyes.

“He is bleeding from several locations. He has a fractured right arm and severe swelling over most of his body. There are many other injuries. Would you like me to list them for you, Mr. Tunn?”

“Not at this time,” Jack replied.

“What would you like us to do with Mr. Petrillo, Mr. Tunn?” the computer asked him.

“I would like you to clear him for lab entry and then we’ll take care of him.”

“Everyone has been cleared and approved for lab entry, Mr. Tunn.”

“Thank you,” Jack said, heading for the door.

“You are welcome, Mr. Tunn.”

Once they’d left the containment room Jack led them toward the elevator. He’d get Petrillo into the infirmary and let them patch the man up. Loaded into the elevator, he saw that Petrillo’s good eye was open and aware.

“Why couldn’t you have given the computer a sexier voice?” Jack asked.

“I tried to get Parker to do the recordings, but she refused. Said she didn’t have the time or the interest. I ended up using my wife’s voice.” And he cringed every time he heard it.

Jack laughed at the sour expression on Petrillo’s face. He could well imagine what the woman would say if she saw her husband right now. He’d met her only a handful of times, but she intimidated him like no other woman had ever done.

The infirmary was starting to fill up. The two men who had been guarding the elevator were there. They’d been drugged when Leinster’s guards had come out of the crack in the crevice. Ingram’s men hadn’t heard their approach. They’d felt the tiny sting of a dart and then they’d hit the ground. The guards weren’t prisoners, but Tunn didn’t want them running to Ingram with news of the lab, either. They would be released once this whole vote business was over.

The four guards who had gone for the boats were a little the worse for wear. They had interrupted a gorilla training session. An adult male had taken several younger males into the jungle to teach them how to hunt. They didn’t hunt for game; there wasn’t any on the island. They usually hunted crocodiles, but with men on the lower island, the gorillas had determined that they were easier prey. The guards would be dead if one of the guys manning the security console hadn’t noticed the pack moving in and ordered a patrol group to reroute to the gate to offer assistance. The doctors in the infirmary had patched up several bites and one shattered ankle.

Petrillo’s stretcher was placed on an empty bed. A nurse immediately took over, removing the straps and cutting his clothing away. He was rolled onto his side to remove the stretcher and then settled back against the bed. The nurse had the printout from the containment room, listing every cut, contusion and fracture on his body.

A second nurse used a sponge with warm water to remove most of the surface blood. Once the caked on mess had been cleaned from his closed eye, Petrillo was able to open it and see clearly. He was relieved to realize it hadn’t been damaged. The first nurse brought over a needle and jabbed it in his arm before he could think to protest.

“What is it?” he asked.

“Morphine.”

Petrillo thought he could already feel it working, rolling through his body like an ocean wave, soothing the aches as it went. He tried to sit up and immediately felt light-headed.

“Remain lying down, Mr. Petrillo,” the nurse ordered. She didn’t push him back, per se, but she nudged him with definite purpose.

Petrillo gave in and leaned back. He saw Jack’s face swimming above him. He smiled and his jaw didn’t hurt a bit.

“Petrillo, was it Ingram who came for you?”

“No, Ingram doesn’t have the balls for up front work, you know that. It was Willis.” He’d hoped that the morphine would make him sleep, but he wasn’t the least bit tired.

“Willis is Ingram’s main spy, correct?”

“Yes he is. He thinks he’s really slick and clever, but he’s not.”

“Then how did he get the drop on you?” Jack couldn’t resist teasing him.

“The drop on me? Hell, this is all a part of my plan,” Petrillo mumbled.

“And what plan is that?” Jack asked. Petrillo, though drugged, had still sounded sincere.

“To get you guys in the upper echelon to realize what a worm Ingram is and that it’s long past time for him to go. Willis didn’t find me. I left enough clues for a blind bear to follow. Hadn’t counted on the beating though, must admit.” Petrillo’s head lolled to one side and a small stream of drool slipped down onto the pillow next to him. “Ingram needs to be locked in a room with Parker for five minutes. She won’t even need the whole five.” His eyes slid closed as sleep claimed him.

Jack agreed with that last statement. Parker wouldn’t need the whole five and if he had the chance, Jack would see that she got that time. He pulled out his cell phone intending to call his chief of security when it rang. Seeing Leinster’s office number, he flipped it open immediately.

“Sir?” Jack answered.

“Jack, it looks as though Ingram is going to take a few men down to the stables to retrieve Mr. Petrillo. Would you mind rounding him up and seeing that he doesn’t bother these proceedings any further?”

Though Leinster’s voice was moderate, Jack could hear the annoyance behind the words. Ingram and Leland had manipulated things long enough.

“What shall we do with Leland, sir?”

“We’ll leave him where he is. Donovan still has to make it through the jungle. If he fails, then perhaps we’ll see what Leland has to offer.”

Jack ground his teeth at that. He’d wanted to send a patrol into the jungle to get Donovan, but Leinster was a man who liked to see what the fates would deliver. If Donovan was meant to survive the jungle, he would. Jack didn’t give a shit about fate. Smoke bombs to knock the gorillas into a deep sleep were as much a part of fate as good tactics and an excellent shot.

Smothering his annoyance, Jack called together a team of security officers to assist him with Ingram. Leaving Petrillo to the care of the doctors and nurses, Jack descended to the ground floor and strode toward the containment room. His team was already assembled inside.

Once cleared, he exited the cliff through the door in the crevice and made his way back to the stables. He’d ordered his men to bring lanterns to brighten the area. He didn’t want Ingram and his men to use the darkness to slip away once they realized their change in status. Not that they could go far. Jack doubted that Ingram would be willing to head into the jungle, knowing what was in there.

They didn’t have long to wait. They sat in the dark, Jack stationed near where they’d dumped Petrillo and his men spread out around the rest of the main stable area. They would surround Ingram before turning the lights on.

The stable door creaked as it opened. Ingram motioned for Willis to go first. He looked furtively over his shoulder, but didn’t see anything of concern. Still, he followed quickly after Willis. The remaining guards trailed in behind him, shutting the door up tight after them.

“Where did you put him?” Ingram asked Willis.

“He’s down at the far end, in one of the empty stalls.” Willis turned on his flashlight and led the way.

Willis had come to Ingram earlier to report what his guards on the lower island were planning. Either Graff had forgotten that there were other guards who used the radio channel, or he hadn’t cared. Willis had been intrigued to learn that Graff’s plan was to ignore Ingram’s direct orders. If Graff’s men weren’t going to take care of Donovan then he would have to distract them long enough for the jungle to kill the man. And Ingram would enjoy unleashing this distraction.

“You check on him recently?”

“Yes, I checked on him earlier this morning. He was still out cold.” In truth, Petrillo had been coming around, so Willis had put him out again. One more bruise added to so many would go unnoticed on his face. “He’s in this stall,” Willis said, motioning to a gate directly in front of them.

Ingram pulled the gate open and Willis flashed his light on the ground inside. He didn’t see Petrillo where he’d expected to find him. Searching the entire floor, Willis aimed his light a little higher and immediately the light flashed over Jack leaning against the back wall.

“Now,” Jack called out and the stable was flooded with lights. Several guards came forward and removed the weapons from Ingram’s men. They moved to pat Ingram down, but the he slapped the hands away.

“What the fuck is this, Jack?” Ingram demanded.

“This is you, Ingram, no longer being a welcomed guest of the island, per Leinster’s orders.” Jack raised the gun he’d held tucked against his leg and motioned to Willis. “Take your hand very slowly from your coat.” He stepped away from the wall as Willis removed his hand. He motioned with the gun for Willis to step closer to the guards.

Ingram was subjected to a pat down and relieved of his pistol, which wouldn’t have done him much good in the jungle, but it was more than enough to ruin Jack’s day. “Were you coming down here to shoot Petrillo?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Ingram muttered.

“We removed him just after your man Willis here punched him in the face. It wasn’t a particularly strong blow, because Petrillo was already coming around when we arrived. Don’t worry, he’s being well cared for inside.”

Ingram frowned, trying to understand how Jack could have gotten Petrillo into the house without his men knowing about it. For that matter, where the hell had Jack come from?

Jack led the way back toward the elevator and then carried on to the crevice. Leinster wanted Ingram right out of the way and the best place for him was inside the lab complex. They had the best jail facilities in the world. They needed it with some of the experiments carried out there.

Accessing the hidden door, Jack once again entered the containment room and listened to Petrillo’s wife accuse them of being clean and cleared for entry. The jail made use of the entire third floor of the lab. Half of it was another containment room, this one designed to keep people in rather than processing them through. The large room was sectioned off into cells for individuals. The most violent of the specimens were kept there.

Jack used his entry code to access the floor and led Ingram and his cronies to the standard cells. He opened the door to one and his guards hustled the men inside. Slamming the door shut, it auto locked in place. Jack turned away without giving Ingram another glance and stepped back onto the elevator.

Pulling out his cell phone, Jack called Leinster. “It’s done, sir. Ingram and a few of his guards are in the cells on three.”

“Perfect, Jack. Thank you. Now, what shall we do about those men standing guard outside of the house?”

“Leave it to me, sir,” Jack replied. He knew that some were loyal to Ingram and others were not. To make things easier, he would assume that all were loyal to Ingram. With Ingram now persona non grata, his guards were no longer welcome either. “There are plenty of cells down here next to Ingram’s.

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