Thirty-two minutes later they were moving through the darkened halls of Louis Harbor High School. The place was closed for the weekend and they saw danger in every shadow. John led the way, holding up his hand at times to bring everyone to a halt and peek around corners.
Before they’d left them tied up, they’d managed to get the pilots to tell them what Murdoch had done with Agent Mathews. All during the briefing he’d been right there in their command center, tied up in one of the equipment rooms off the main training area. John just hoped he was still alive.
They couldn’t risk just coming in through the front door. Steve and Mal were hard at work overriding security. They had the biometrics panel pried open and hooked up to two different laptops. John was bouncing on the balls of his feet, a dart gun in hand.
“Almost there,” Mal said.
As soon as the locks released, John ran through. He knew the entire floor plan by heart, so his feet raced between the desks in the cramped office area with ease. The training room was his target, but his eyes still darted around into every corner, looking for danger.
Hinges screamed as he kicked in the gym door. Murdoch was holding a gun and trying to hoist Mathews up to use as a human shield. John snapped his tranquilizer gun up, his finger hovering over the trigger.
“Ah, that’s enough of that,” Murdoch said. He pressed the barrel of his gun against Mathews.
“It’s over Murdoch. Put the gun down.”
Murdoch’s face twisted in anger. He didn’t like a kid trying to talk him down. Out of the corner of his eye, John saw Steve and Mal sneaking from desk to desk. They were headed for the conference room.
“I’m going to walk out of here nice and slowly,” Murdoch said. “And you’re not going to stop me.”
“If you take one step forward, I’m going to tranq you.”
“Do you think I’m bluffing?” Murdoch asked.
“Yes. Yes I do.” John needed to stall as much as he could. “If you pull that trigger, you’ve lost all your leverage.”
Murdoch took a half step forward, pushing the semi-conscious Matthews along with him. Murdoch smiled when he saw John didn’t follow through on his threat. He was sure he had the upper hand. Then the lights in the conference room right next to him flipped on and the blinds shot up. Murdoch pulled away from the light boring into his eyes.
John didn’t think. Before his brain had even absorbed what was happening, his finger pulled the trigger.
Three darts hit Murdoch, two in in the chest, one in the forehead. Before he’d brought the pistol halfway back up, the powerful drugs had robbed him of his strength. He fell to the floor, taking Mathews with him.
It was twenty minutes before the medical team arrived. The EMT’s gave Murdoch a stimulant so his heart wouldn’t give out under the effects of three tranquilizer darts. John almost wished they’d waited to call for a few more minutes—it would’ve been no more than the traitor deserved. As they wheeled Mathews out on a stretcher, he turned to the three of them.
“You may have violated just about every rule in the book, but thanks. I don’t know if the CIA is going to be angry you broke into secure data storage or happy that you uncovered a terrorist plot, but either way they’re going to be impressed.”
“We can worry about that later,” Mal said. “Right now just concentrate on getting better.”
“Steve,” Mathews said. “Make sure you get this place locked down. They’ll want a sealed crime scene.”
He was trying to give more directions, but the drugs they’d given him for the pain were starting to kick in. He mumbled as he left for an undisclosed medical facility. They were about halfway to the door themselves when Mal clamped a hand on his shoulder. Her face was twisted in panic.
“What is it?” Steve asked. “What’s wrong?”
John looked around for another attack.
“It’s almost eight o’clock. John’s going to miss coffee with Brian.”
“Mal, grab your wireless hacking gear, I’ll pull the car around. John, you have two minutes to clean yourself up. Don’t worry, we’ll get you there. I have a plan.”
John smiled as he raced to the ready.