Книга Army of Devils. Содержание - 11

Glancing into the lighted interior of the second-floor apartment as he passed, he saw a family gathered around a color television. A news commentator pointed to a map of Los Angeles. Lyons continued. In the next apartment, two young girls — perhaps ten years old — danced to a North American rock-and-roll standard sung in Spanish.

Lyons stopped at the top of the fire-escape ladder. He eased his head up over the wall and scanned the rooftop. The black silhouettes of vent pipes and antennas stood against the distant lights of downtown's high-rise towers.

The diffuse gray light reflected from the polluted night sky revealed a tar roof littered with trash and beer cans. Lyons snaked over the top. Crouching in a shadow, he unhooked his hand-radio from his belt.

"You two. I'm on top. Waiting for you." Lyons looked around. "Flor. You monitoring?"

"Monitoring," she answered.

"Mr. Detective see anything out front?"

"Zero. Will tell you if."

The steel ladder vibrated with steps. In seconds, Blancanales swung over the wall, followed by Gadgets.

Motionless in the shadows, they listened. City noises and snatches of music came from the streets below. A ventilator fan grated in its housing, ejecting the smells of cooking oils and mildewed apartments into the warm night air.

Moving again, Lyons crouch-walked toward the roof of the adjoining building. He felt his way past the guy wires of antennas, his eyes continuously sweeping the shadows and forms ahead of him for the motions of a sentry. He heard only the faint cracking of dust and grit under his shoes.

At the edge of the roof, he waited again as two shadows followed him. They peered over the low wall to the next building.

A loud stereo played beneath them. The tar of the roof, still warm from the summer sun, throbbed with the disco beat.

The bricks of the two apartment buildings met. There was no airspace or easement between the walls. Scanning the next roof, they saw another expanse of shadows and gray half darkness. They saw no motion on the next building or on the roof of the LAYAC building beyond.

"Electronic security?" Lyons hissed to Gadgets.

"You can hear it?"

"Hear what?"


Straining their ears, Lyons and Blancanales listened. A motorcycle passed on the avenue, the staccato popping fading. Quiet returned. They heard a high-pitched whine. Then a low rider's loud muffler blasted the avenue.

"Ultra High Frequency motion sensor," Gadgets whispered as he searched through his bag of gear. "Plus they'll have pressure sensors. And someone standing guard. Look around for some pigeon shit."

"What are you talking about?"

"They have motion sensors. If pigeons fly around up here, they have false alarms..."

"Pigeons don't fly at night."

"Use your imagination. Find some bat shit."

A dog barked, once, twice, then went quiet.

The UHF whine cut off. They saw the silhouette of a man moving on the LAYAC roof.

"That makes it easy," Gadgets whispered.

Lyons tapped Blancanales and Gadgets. "Berettas… I'm going ahead. You follow."

Lyons crept over the roof to a fan housing. He stood up with the bulk of the housing behind him. He watched the far building, looking for movement. Then he hissed to the others.

He saw them approach, slinking through the antennas and vents. A tangle of razor wire, two coils high, stopped all three of them.

They spread out along the barrier of concertina razors. They knew the group inside the building would have provided for rooftop escape. The razor fence would have gates.

Blancanales went slowly, feeling ahead of him for security sensors or trash that might make noise. He peered up at the barbed wire, then moved along, fingers sweeping over the gritty tar. He found a bottle, then another; he set them far to the side.

Suddenly a shape directly in front of him blocked his view.

Hands seized him, pulled him into the tangle of steel razors.


Two blocks away, Flor Trujillo waited in the rented Ford, the engine idling, the front seat covered with radios.

A portable police-band radio scanned the department's communications, electronic noise and voices filling the interior of the car.

An encoded hand-radio provided for an instantaneous link to Able Team.

A second nonsecure walkie-talkie linked her to Detective Towers where he waited a few blocks to the west.

She watched the street around her. Nothing moved. Despite the warm night, no one sat on the porches or talked with neighbors. No children bicycled or played soccer in the brilliant blue white glare of the streetlights. When she parked, she had seen the curtains of the security-barred windows of several houses part as the residents peered out. But the people remained hidden in the safety of their homes.

From time to time, headlights streaked the boulevard. But no cars moved on the side street. Flor had set her rearview mirrors to provide overlapping views of the sidewalks and street behind her. As she waited for a signal from Able Team or Towers, she scanned her surroundings, her eyes always moving, from the neighborhood in front of her to the lawns and houses on the right and left, and to the images in the mirrors.

A chaos of voices erupted from the police-band scanner. Though Flor strained to understand, the police officers spoke in code words and numbers, only the urgency in their voices telling of what they faced. Then one voice said simply, "We're taking fire from the roof. Automatic-weapon fire! We're getting out of..."

A high-velocity shriek tore from the radio.

"They've got rockets! Someone up there's got..."

The band went blank for an instant, then other voices called out. Flor heard the word "ambush."

Turning down the radio's volume, she rolled down her window.

Autofire popped in the distance. She heard the tearing sound of a rocket and the crack of the explosion. Then came a sound only possible in that night of empty boulevards and unnatural quiet: the night screamed.

As police officers in a hundred squad cars all hit the same switch, sirens rose in one vast wail. The flooring of accelerators came next, by every officer — in uniform and plainclothes — who heard of the ambush.

Rolling up her window, Flor turned up the volume of the scanner. She heard a commander assigning response units. The commander ordered all other units to maintain their patrols. Flor keyed the Stony Man secure-circuit hand-radio.

"Able Team! This is Flor. Able Team!"

She waited for an answer. Then she keyed the transmit key again. "Able Team! Report. There has been..."

She heard autofire. This time not in the distance. The popping of automatic rifles came from the boulevard.

Slipping out her Detonics .45, she thumbed back the hammer to full cock. She slammed the rented Ford into gear and accelerated into the roar of the firefight.

* * *

Shoes scuffed on the asphalt roof. Lyons looked up to see Blancanales standing, his back arched, his hands gripping the hands closed around his throat. In the instant that Lyons evaluated the situation, two other forms appeared on the other side of the tangled concertina wire.

"Hijo de puta!" one voice spat out.

"Quien es?" another asked.

Then Lyons saw the silhouette of an AK-47 and heard the distinctive "clack" as a hand flicked the ComBloc weapon's safety to fire position.

In one smooth motion, Lyons swept out his re-engineered and silenced Colt Government Model, his thumb flipping the fire selector down to three-shot burst. He put the dash-dot-dash of the tritium night sights on the silhouette showing the AK.

A burst of .45-caliber hollowpoints sprayed the form's lungs and heart into the night. Lyons put the sights on the next form, squeezed off another burst. The three instantaneous impacts threw the silhouette back.

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