Four

After they were removed from the SUV, their arms were bound behind their backs, and they were searched for weapons. Next, they were escorted up to the residence at gunpoint, but instead of going in they were taken to an adjacent garage. The garage was more like a small warehouse; it was large enough to hold about twenty cars.

When Piro entered the garage he was a little surprised at how empty it was. There were only four cars, a van, a box truck and a handful of people. As their escorts led them towards the people, Piro tried to determine which of them was the leader. It didn't take long to spot her. She was dressed in black with shoulder length black hair, and she radiated an air of authority. His assessment was confirmed when they were led right to her.

As they approached her, she turned around to face them. Piro registered the look of surprise on her face an instant before he heard Largo gasp and say, "You," in a venomous hiss. Piro watched as her look of surprise transformed into a devious grin as she said, "Largo, what a pleasant surprise."

Piro found himself as surprised by the woman's familiarity with Largo as he was with her appearance. She was definitely Asian, probably of Japanese descent, not Hispanic like he would have guessed. She was also very young; she looked like she should have been in high school. He wondered what her connection with the drug lord was, and what gave them away at the gate. He had so many questions that his head started to spin, but he knew better than to ask. This wasn't a drill, these people were dangerous; any action he took that provoked them could easily be his last. He knew that and his team knew that, but after Largo's reaction, he hoped that Largo didn't temporarily forget.

When she spoke again she looked directly at Largo. "Oh Largo, it appears that you still haven't forgiven me. It wasn't personal, you know; it was just, convenient. Oh well, we'll have plenty of time to catch up later. Right now we need to get going before any more of your friends arrive." Then she turned to face one of the guards and said in Spanish, <Make sure they're tied up good and put them in the back of the truck. I don't want them harmed, I plan to interrogate them later.>

The guard replied, <Yes Ma'am,> and started to carry out her orders until she stopped him and said, <On second though, I think I'd like him,> as she pointed at Largo, <to ride with me. Although, I still want him tied up good.> The guard replied, <Yes Ma'am,> while Largo and the woman stared at each other. Largo finally responded while the rest of the team cringed, fearing that he might loose his cool, but all he said was, "What's your game this time, Miho?" Miho displayed an almost imperceptible grin, then turned and walked away.

After Largo was taken the rest of the team was loaded into the truck. Before they locked it, Piro noted that Kimiko looked defeated while Erika seemed much more alert. Once in the truck, he found he was tied so securely that it was difficult to move, and he saw little chance of getting loose. Though he was thankful that they weren't gagged, there was little else to be thankful for. Once the doors were locked it was almost completely dark in the truck.

Piro was concerned about Kimiko's mental state. He knew that she needed to stay sharp in case any opportunity for escape arose. If she wasn't ready they might miss an opportunity. He wanted to give her hope, but wasn't sure how. After thinking a bit an idea struck him, "Erika, how long will that drone circle before it runs out of power?" "At least two days sir," she replied. Piro then asked, "That unit stores video, doesn't it? How much video will it hold?" Erika considered a moment before answering then said, "I believe it can store a weeks worth of video sir." "Hmm…" Piro said, "so the other team should be able to download the video and find out what happened to us. They should even be able to I.D. these vehicles when they leave and see which direction they head?" Erika replied, "Yes sir, I don't see why not."

Piro gave Kimiko a little time to let that information sink in before continuing. "Ok, just because help may be on the way soon, I don't want either of you to stop looking for a way out of this mess. We all need to stay sharp and look for any opportunity that presents itself." When Piro finished, Erika responded with a crisp, "Yes sir," and Kimiko followed with a more subdued "Yes sir," of her own.

"Well people," Piro stated, "It looks like we've got nothing but time. Feel free to speak up it there is anything you have to say." After a few moments of silence Kimiko was the first to talk.

"When we were being escorted to the garage there was one guard that kept bumping into me. I think I heard someone call him Sancho." Erika interjected, "Yeah, I saw him." Kimiko then went on, "Well, I did my best to ignore him, but one time he bumped me hard enough that I stumbled and almost fell. After that, I instinctively looked up at him. The way he looked at me… I just knew he enjoyed hurting people. I've seen his type before, he'll make trouble for us… for me, any chance he gets."

***

Largo was put into the back seat of one of the cars. His hands were bound together as well as his feet, and a cord was tied between his hands and feet. The cord was short enough that he had to keep his hands between his knees while he sat. Once his seatbelt was on, he was fairly well immobilized. He thought he might have been able to release the seatbelt with his elbow, but saw no point in trying. The only thing he would achieve would be to get tied up better.

After waiting for about twenty minutes Miho got into the back seat with him and all the vehicles departed. Once they were on the road Miho turned to Largo and said, "It really wasn't personal, you know." Largo looked at her and said, "No, then what was it?"

"You were simply the logical choice," Miho replied. "I'm sure you've guessed by now that I never intended to complete the training and join a team, but they don't just let you walk away from a program like that. They don't want you selling your skills to the highest bidder. So I needed a diversion to keep them off my trail while I escaped. Everyone knew that you didn't trust me, so you were the logical choice to frame for my disappearance. Plus, you were the sharpest one in the group. If left alone, you probably had the best chance of tracing me."

Largo couldn't help but be a little flattered by her explanation, but he couldn't see what difference it made. Instead of commenting on the past he simply said, "What do you want from me?" Miho frowned slightly and said, "Straight to the point, huh? Fine, I have use of your technical expertise and I want you to help me." Largo immediately responded, "Not likely."

Unfazed, Miho calmly responded, "Maybe, maybe not. We'll see what you have to say after you've seen all I'm prepared to offer you."

More out of curiosity than anything else Largo asked her, "And just what are you prepared to offer?" In response she stared at him so intently that he started to feel uncomfortable. Then she moved so close to him that he could feel the heat of her breath. Finally she put her hand on his thigh and whispered into his ear, "You'll see."

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