Brother’s Keeper: Episode 5

New to Brother’s Keeper? Read Episode 1

‘He’s gone!’ …

***

Hotel staff and residents – most dressed in nightwear or bathrobes; some appear still drowsy or maybe drunk, some, mostly middle-aged men, make evident their varying degrees of frustration at being suddenly woken up, while the rest are utterly curious and bewildered by the heavy police presence – are quickly but carefully ushered out of the hotel by armed SWAT officers and led past the controlled chaos of the seemingly countless ambulances, police cars, and officers – plain clothed, uniformed, and more SWAT – to a large containment area across the street, which is surrounded by armed and somewhat nervy uniformed officers.

A SWAT officer barges through the entrance carrying one of the unconscious officers from the elevator over his shoulder and screams for urgent medical help. Three paramedics rush to attend to the unconscious officer and a dozen more are directed through the entrance towards the elevator.

Suddenly, there is a loud explosion and everyone instinctively ducks. Almost immediately, it becomes apparent that the explosion had come from the side of the building and the control on the chaos shatters. A lot of officers take off towards the explosion with their guns raised; the crowd in the containment area are in disarray, fuelled by deathly fear, confusion, and an incredible urge to flee. The uniformed officers desperately attempt to contain the crowd, but a substantial portion of the crowd escape containment and run like their lives depended on it away from the explosion. The uniformed officers order them to stop and threaten to shoot, but the officers won’t shoot; they literally have their hands full containing the rest of the crowd and a gunshot would only cause the containment to get exponentially harder.

Most of the escaped run into a large crowd of onlookers for refuge, but one of the escaped, Jay Matthews, dressed in pyjamas and a hotel bathrobe, carefully wades through the crowd.

Jay steps out of the crowd with the bathrobe now folded over his left hand and walks purposefully through the parked cars that were abruptly held up by the police roadblocks around the hotel and now abandoned by their occupants, who are now the captivated onlookers. He stops by a black BMW 6 Series Coupe, and a moment later, the car’s rear and headlights flash as the doors unlock. He unfurls the bathrobe to reveal the car’s remote key held in his left hand and several other car keys tucked in the bathrobe, all of which he’d pickpocketed while wading through the crowd. He wraps the other keys in the bathrobe and tosses it away as he steps into the car.

He ignites the car and smooth jazz music saunters through the stereo as the dashboard lights up. He smiles briefly; he likes jazz, conjures up good memories. He deftly reverses through the narrow spaces between haphazardly parked cars and turns into the next street.

He usually wouldn’t steal a car to aid an escape, although he has done it twice before, in Kuala Lumpur and Sao Paulo, but in both places the response to the report of a stolen car isn’t at all swift; to be frank, it isn’t much of a response. In New York it can be swift, but not when most of the officers are preoccupied with the fiery diversion, which also happens to be occupying the owner of the car.

His entire escape was planned, down to the minutiae. It is what he does; it’s beyond his excellent and exhaustive training. It’s based on experience; he failed once, almost fatally. Never again. The moment he steps into a building, a room, a vehicle – any new environment – he calculates how to get out, considering all calibre of opposition and all manners of constraints. He will be out in less than 5 minutes, and if he can’t work a way out in that time, he will terminate the mission immediately.

He drives carefully for a few blocks devoid of cars but full of pedestrians walking towards the hotel to get a better look at the chaos. Then he turns into 39th street and sees a roadblock ahead manned by a young female officer of oriental descent. He contemplates turning around, but it becomes very evident the officer has seen him.

She keenly watches the car as it approaches, and she raises her hand to stop it; he stops the car. She casually places her right hand on her handgun, which is holstered by her hip, and walks intently towards the car, appearing utterly confident, but she isn’t and he can see it in her eyes. He knows he’s going to have to put her down, and it will be vicious, because he has no weapon to do it clean and easy; all his weapons and kit have been destroyed in the explosion. He could run her over now, he should, but he doesn’t, and not because they are witnesses. He just doesn’t. He stares deep into her eyes as she approaches, as if silently imploring her to stop, turn around, and go home. Every step closer is a step closer to death.

Then the siren of a fire truck approaching the other side of the barrier stops her. She turns around to it and glances back at him. He smiles and nods respectfully, and in that moment she makes the crucial decision. She hurries back to the roadblock and opens the barrier to let the fire truck through. Immediately the truck drives past him, he drives up to the barrier; not giving her a chance to close it.

He doesn’t stop as he approaches the barrier, but slows down enough to say with a smile, ‘Thank you, Officer.’

She forces a smile back as he drives off.

He glances back at her in his rear view mirror as he joins the traffic towards the East River. He is sincerely thankful she made the right decision.

He checks his watch; the countdown timer reads, “00:07:22”.

Brother’s Keeper: Episode 4

New to Brother’s Keeper? Read Episode 1

He runs, incredibly fast, towards the elevator door as it slowly opens …

Jay slides feet first into the elevator just as its doors open wide enough for him to fit through and he immediately takes out the legs of a SWAT officer just beyond the doors.

The are four officers behind the first officer, and all are momentarily surprised and confused by the first officers sudden wild fall, but in that very brief moment of their indecision Jay jabs the electroshock baton into the first officers neck – delivering an electric shock that renders the officer unconscious – and jabs the baton at the groin of the next officer, who immediately collapses, unconscious.

The next officer behind attempts to aim his assault rifle at Jay, but Jay leaps to his feet and as he rises he pushes the gun’s barrel up towards the ceiling with his left hand and drives the baton into the chin of the officer – like an uppercut, which by itself could’ve knocked out the officer, but the shock from the baton renders the officer unconscious anyway. The officer falls backwards like a log and an extremely stocky officer behind him frantically stumbles away from the fall to far right corner of the small elevator as another officer in the left aims an automatic shotgun at Jay.

Jay doesn’t hesitate; he charges at the stocky officer as the officer attempts to regain his balance – he knows the officer in the left corner wouldn’t shoot the shotgun at him in such a confined space with his fellow officer squarely within range of the shotgun’s wide pellet blast.

The stocky officer aims his assault rifle at Jay’s head, but as he pulls the trigger Jay swings the baton at the rifle’s barrel and the bullet whizzes past Jay’s ear. Jay then uses his momentum to drive his left elbow into the jaw of the officer before the officer can repair his aim and fire again. The elbow strike stuns the officer and Jay jabs the officer’s ribs with the baton, but there is no shock as the baton is damaged from its impact with the rifle. Without pause, Jay swings the baton into the jaw of the officer three times in under a second, knocking the officer unconscious, and then tosses the baton at the right arm of the officer in the left corner, who is pulling out a handgun holstered by his hip.

The handgun flies away from the officer’s grasp and the officer ignores the intense pain in his arm and readies himself for hand-to-hand combat as Jay fast approaches. He swings a good tight right hook at Jay, but Jay deftly catches the punch, traps the arm, and uses it to pull him down. Jay viciously knees his head, drives it hard onto the floor, and drops an elbow onto the back of his head – all in one swift motion. Needless to say, the officer is unconscious.

Jay runs out of the elevator towards the window across the hallway. He leaps over the incapacitated officers and pulls out his M9 – tucked in his waistband. He shoots at the window three times in a tight cluster and the window shatters. As he approaches the window, he detaches to top of his large belt buckle, which has a seemingly unending very strong string connecting it to the belt. He stabs the sharp hooks of buckle into the wall underneath the window and dives head first out of the window.

***

The second elevator opens and six officers, wearing night vision goggles and their assault rifles raised, cautiously step out. Four of the officers remain by the elevator and intently scan the hallway while the other two others enter the first elevator. A brief moment later, the two officers return and one of them approaches the officer leading the team.

‘Unconscious but alive,’ the officer whispers to the team leader.

‘Alive?’ the team leader questions, without turning to the officer.

‘Yes.’

There is a moment of silence as the team leader ponders.

‘Radio for the medics?’

‘I tried. Radio’s still not working.’

‘Okay, take them down and bring up a couple medics.’

‘Sure?’

‘Yes.’ He gestures to the incapacitated officers in the middle of the hall. ‘They are alive too; still reading heat on the infrared.’

The officer rushes back into the first elevator and a short moment later, the elevator doors close and it descends.

The five officers, led by the team leader, strategically advance along the hallway, carefully sidestep the unconscious officers, and approach Jay’s open room door. The team leader tosses a flash bang into the room; it detonates, and three officers surge from behind him into the room. He and the last remaining officer wait by the door, alert.

Suddenly, there is a loud explosion outside the hotel. The team leader instantly turns to the shattered window, as it’s apparent the explosion came from that side. He and the officer standing by the door run towards the window and stare out into the alley below where a blaze rages. He then notices the string coming up from the alley and traces it to the buckle clamped on the wall.

‘Fuck!’ he exclaims. ‘He’s gone!’

Brother’s Keeper: Episode 3

New to Brother’s Keeper? Read Episode 1

‘Captain,’ Mr Smith says, with a soothing elderly Texas accent. ‘They are coming for you.’ …

Jay doesn’t speak and walks to the window. He discreetly parts the closed curtain and peeks down to the street. He can’t see the front of the hotel, but across the street a crowd of onlookers grows. They are staring captivated at the entrance of the hotel and also up towards the roof of the hotel. He walks back towards the bag.

‘I know,’ Jay says into the phone, with a cultured English accent. ‘We agreed no calls.’

‘It’s a secure line. Captain, you need to give yourself up.’

Jay picks out a matte black M9 pistol with an extended magazine from the bag. He ejects the magazine to confirm it’s full; it is. He reinserts the magazine, chambers a round, fully cocks the hammer, and engages the safety – all in one smooth sequence. He tucks the gun in his waistband by his right.

‘No, I won’t be doing that,’ he calmly says.

‘You have to. You have no other choice. You killed one of theirs. The wrong one,’ he adds with evident exasperation, which is very unusual as Mr Smith never shows emotion – well, he’s just a voice, so he never voices his emotion. He pauses, as if silently scolding himself for his mistake, and continues. ‘He was an 18-year veteran. The wife also saw your face. Now they’ve sent the cavalry for you. Give yourself up, Captain, and we will take care of you. But attempting to shoot your way out of there will create a sizeable international incident that we cannot … we will not … contain. You know we …’

Jay glances at his slick digital wristwatch, which displays a countdown currently at “02:54:38”.

‘It’s still three hours to extraction. I’ll be there in good time.’

‘No. The extractor is a sitting duck. The city will be crawling with police.’

Jay resets the countdown to fifteen minutes.

‘I’ll be there in thirty minutes.’

He ends the call and switches off the phone. He tosses the phone into the bag and wears it across his body – the bag is left open on his left side. He swiftly advances to the door – like a glide, making no sound – and leans his back against the wall by the doorway. He opens the door.

***

An NYPD SWAT team of six officers, who rappelled off a helicopter onto the roof, quietly step through the stairway door – which is across the hall from the elevator – into the tenth floor hallway with their assault rifles raised and tactically advance towards Jay’s room. As they approach the open door, a grenade gently rolls out of the room into the hallway and the door instantly shuts behind it.

‘Grenade!’ two of the SWAT officers simultaneously declare, and they dive away from the grenade.

The grenade detonates, but instead of an explosion a visible electric charge bursts from the grenade both ways across the hallway. The SWAT officers are incapacitated by the charge and instantly collapse, unconscious, as the entire floor loses all electric power.

Jay opens his door and steps out of his room wearing night vision goggles, but as he turns to run towards the large window beside the stairway door he hears one of the officers having an epileptic seizure. Jay feels the ground underneath his feet shake as the large officer’s body shudders violently against the ground. He hesitates, but then he runs back into the bedroom and a moment later runs out with a pillow. He rushes to the convulsing officer, uses his feet to push the officer’s assault rifle away from the officer’s head, and then gently puts the pillow underneath the officer’s head.

Suddenly, he hears one of the two elevators across the hall, which is now powered by an emergency generator, arriving on the tenth floor. He glances across the hall to the window, then towards the elevators, and then down to his watch. It reads “13:22”. He pulls out a sturdy electroshock baton – black and the size of a relay baton with two metal electrodes at its end – from his bag. He runs, incredibly fast, towards the elevator door as it slowly opens.