Matti!Canon > 2008 to End of Kira Case > My Own Way > Author: Matilda Hits: 512
The Consigliere sat in the back seat of the vehicle. Slouched down, the streetlamps highlighted him and then threw him back into darkness. If looks could kill, then his would have scorched a hole into the window miles back and so the two soldiers said nothing. He was an unpredictable arsehole, this one; and yet, following his plans to the letter meant fewer people killed and more operations coming through, against the odds, successfully. The Don wouldn't hear a word against him and that was dangerous.

His telephone rang suddenly, causing both men in the front seats to jump. The Consigliere just sniggered, immature and chilling. He answered his own call with a gloved hand, pressing the telephone amongst the long, black feathers which kissed his neck and head right up to the ears. "Yes?" There was a scowl of annoyance. "I told you, Rod, I'm overseeing things." The tone dipped. "Are you honestly saying that you don't trust me?" He made clicking noises with his teeth and then laughed. "Just learn to cope on your own."

The soldiers exchanged glances. There was something in the tilt of the Consigliere's voice that bespoke more than a working relationship. It was awkward, leaning towards disgusting. Unnatural. There were several things which were whispered behind his back. Some innoculous enough, like a faint humming of the Darth Vader theme tune as he strode out of earshot, but others could get a man killed. Just about everyone was agreed that the teenager in the back seat was a raving puff. They equally agreed that no-one dared teach him a lesson over it. But the thought that he had corrupted their boss was beyond the pale.

Bulmer swallowed down the bile and turned, "Mello, where now?"

The young blond glanced out at the street, "One moment, Rod." He lowered the 'phone. "Left and right again, then park up." Then he returned to his call, growling into the receiver. "Make the deal with our Colombian friends. They have less reason to renege on it than the Peruvians." Another pause, then a barking accusation. "What the fuck is up with you? I can look after myself and yes, this is to do with Kira."

Rhodes caught Bulmer's eye. As far as they could ascertain, this was nothing to do with Kira. The Consigliere had just been caught out telling a blatant lie to the Capo Crimine. Mello was slipping. This operation had stunk to the Heavens from the beginning, though it had taken a while for them to realise that Rod knew nothing about it. Mello was working off the record. It might have grown from the plans to capture Kira, but something about this did not ring right. In all that they had pieced together, it was an audacious plan, involving liberating a missile and its launcher from the United States military. The Consigliere had been working at his laptop, hacking into various departments to arrange the paperwork for delivery, but it did not seem to have been going well. Frequent eruptions of temper had meant that even Rod had kept his distance. Then Mello had idly asked if anyone had an associate in the world of top-class hackers and Rod had asked, in surprise, "Can't you do it, Mello?" That had not gone down well.

Rhodes and Bulmer had been approached by the genius Consigliere privately. Trips all over the world had ensued, with Mello increasingly irate at their reports. It was only when Rod had made a comment, concerning the babania, that both men had realised that the Capo thought they were checking on earners, not following leads on cyberpirates. That had been worrying. That had caused cold sweats all the way across the Atlantic and the mutual plan to shop Mello the second they could get the boss alone. But this mission had been different. Watching a group of junkie kids coming and going from an English flat, it had seemed unprepossessing enough. Mello had dismissed their daily updates with sneering contempt. Until Bulmer had accidentally spoken with one of their targets.

The girl was high. Cute as Hell and gagging for it, if the way she staggered over the carpark was anything to go by. She had literally collided with Bulmer, as he had returned from the little shop and had stared at the cigarettes in his hands with enormous eyes. Her pupils so big that it was a wonder there was a brain left unsaturated with chemicals. "Oh no. I forgot Matt's fags!"

"Who's Matt?" Bulmer had ventured, secure in the knowledge that her confused mind would not compute the fact that that was a bizarre question for a stranger to ask in the street. Nevertheless, he qualified it. "Boyfriend?"

"Oh no." The girl had giggled. "Matt's lovely."

Bulmer had caught Rhodes's frown, as he stared out from the car. But he gestured reassurance. "Ma'am, we're looking for someone called Matt. Is your Matt good with computers?"

"Good?" The girl gushed, laughing so much that tears formed on her cheeks. She leaned in, conspiratorially, and whispered. "He is Mariomatt, one of the best hackers in the entire world. He is so good. He..." She waffled on, but Bulmer was staring in shock. It was that easy. That random. Things like this would never be believed if they were in a movie; it just couldn't be scripted.

Bulmer had signalled to Rhodes, who left the car and joined them. "We would like very much to meet Mariomatt. How about I give you these cigarettes and you introduce us?" And the girl had.

The flat was a riot of noise. Soaring electronic beats and loud voices. It came as a surprise to realise that only five people were making all of that racket. Three of them were teenage girls, all as high as the one who had brought them into the place. They giggled over a mixing board. There were wires everywhere and more computer equipment than people like this should be able to afford. Empty cans and half-eaten food littered the ground underfoot. Despite the wreckage and noise, a boy, no more than sixteen years old, sprawled comatose or asleep on the settee. Another male danced on the balcony, calling down to passers-by. The Mafioso exchanged glances. None of them looked as though they would cause any problems, but people got killed over assumptions like that. "Which one's Matt?"

Their escort gasped. "Oh! I forgot, sorry." She pushed past them and banged on a door. "Matty, visitors." There was no response, so she opened the door. There was even more equipment in here. Little boxes that flashed and pulsed; several laptops, some scrolling code in endless repetition; at least four desktops and a spider's web of cables connecting the lot. No sign of their owner though. The girl stumbled on through and jumped onto the bed, peering down over the other side. She smiled and reached down. A handheld games controller was extracted and placed on the bed beside her, followed by an iPod. She turned back and grinned. "He's asleep. Or passed out. Or something."

Bulmer gingerly stepped over the wires and craned his neck to see behind the bed. There was a teenager curled up on the floor, but he appeared to be breathing. He completed his progress until he was towering over the prone figure. "What's he had?"

"Probably MDMA and a couple of pills. But he's been up for three days, so..." She frowned. "Are you police?"

"Bit late to ask that, darling. But no, we're customers." He smiled reassurance. "He's asleep on pills and MDMA?"

"Probably took some downers." She shrugged. "I don't know. It's Matt. He takes everything. I'm not his mother."

The hacker hadn't actually stirred until they were in the car, pulling up alongside the private plane. He had seemed to go from catatonic to keenly alert in an instant, pulling on his binds experimentally and gazing from one to the other with surprisingly intelligent green eyes. Rhodes had smiled, "Good morning, sunshine. Mariomatt, I presume?"

"FBI?" The boy had ventured.

Both men had laughed, but hadn't responded. They left the car and spoke to the pilot, an associate, who had brought them here in the first place. Suddenly there was a shout from the cockpit and they turned. The redheaded hacker was diving into the front seat of the car, already reaching with free hands to hotwire it. He had unpicked the handcuffs. The men had surrounded the car, their guns pointing until Bulmer had the door open and had thrown the teenager out onto the tarmac. A few kicks and punches promised much worse to come if he kept that up. Secured again, with a guard, he was safely locked into a cabin of the aircraft.

Now, he was in Los Angeles and Mariomatt must have a fair idea now of who had taken him. Bulmer glanced into the back-seat at the Consigliere and smiled. The blond genius had his limits then. Too inept to get their missile; too full of pride to communicate this fact to Rod. That was what this was about. Well, there had better be compensation for this. Something with which to blackmail the like of Mello was always good, but money and status was better. They pulled now into a warehouse lot. At first both men thought Mello was just cleaning, ensuring that they weren't being followed en route to their prisoner, but now he mentioned an errand. Rhodes dashed out to open the door for the Consigliere, who stepped out in heavy army boots, belying the delicacy of the rest of his garb. He could be mistaken more for a comare than the Consigliere, but only once. Bulmer was already out, stretching. Mello glanced at them both, "Stay in the car."

"Sir, you know we can't do that."

The blond teenager had been walking away, but he stopped now. He turned on the spot and fixed them with a lethal smile. "There are some things which can't be overheard." He gestured impatiently. "Check with Rod, if you like, then come running after me like frightened kids if you need to." He sneered and continued walking away with a confidence that stilled them.

Uncertainly piqued. A wrong move now could and would be a matter of life and death, but Rod had said enough times that Mello's orders were to be obeyed unconditionally. He had never made a wrong move yet. Bulmer sat back into the car and, after a moment's hesitation, Rhodes did too. They exchanged worried looks, neither wanting to be the one to articulate their misgivings, both giving the impression of watching the warehouse and streets around, just for something to do. A moment later, the car exploded.
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Matti!Canon > 2008 to End of Kira Case
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