Книга Army of Devils. Содержание - 14

As other cops went to stare at the carnage, Lyons called them back. "We're still looking for our partner. We got to find her."

"Sure, bad man, we're on it." Towers spoke into his walkie-talkie and directed his other officers to check every room and hallway. "If we don't find her here, we'll question the headman of LAYAC. We grabbed him down in the marina. He tried to get away in his yacht."

An officer reported. "We got civilians coming down the fire escapes. There're apartments up there that have got nothing to do with the gangs."

"Well, help them down. 'Protect and serve,' officer. Get to it."

As the three men of Able Team started for the avenue, Towers spoke into his walkie-talkie again. "We got three Federals coming out. Do the city a favor and hose them off before they get in one of our cars."


Flor Trujillo rode on the bumper of the five-ton truck speeding from East Los Angeles. The wind whipping her hair, she gripped the latch of the roll-up aluminum cargo door.

As her hands became tired, every bump and lurch threatened her with a high-speed encounter with asphalt. She watched for a police car, hoping to signal for assistance.

But the only patrol cars she saw flashed past in the opposite direction. Lights flashing, sirens screaming, the black-and-white units went to help the officers caught in the ambush she had overheard on the scanner.

So she held on. Few other cars traveled the streets and boulevards of the city. She saw the driver of one car do a double take at the sight of her — a young Hispanic woman in a wind-flagged green dress and high heels — riding the cargo truck's bumper.

Then the truck went onto the freeway. Gripping the latch, she eased herself into a crouch as the evening air tore at her hair and skirt. Behind her, she saw only two or three distant pairs of headlights. On this night after the slaughter of the Valencia family, no one risked the freeways.

A few minutes before, she had seen the truck swerve from the alley behind the LAYAC building. The truck had lurched for a moment as the driver clashed the gears. On impulse, she dashed from the rented Ford and stepped up on the bumper. She wished she had taken a hand-radio. With only her Detonics and a few extra magazines, she sped to a destination unknown.

She felt movement inside the truck. Pressing her ear against the roll-up aluminum, she heard voices and footsteps. The vibrations and noises of the speeding truck made the words incomprehensible. But now she knew she faced more opponents than only the driver and the gunman in the truck's cab.

Without slowing, the truck swerved onto an off ramp. The truck's body clattered and shook as the tires seized the asphalt, the acrid smoke of burning rubber swirling around Flor. The truck whipped through a right turn, then accelerated again.

Before Flor could catch sight of a boulevard street sign, the truck whipped through another right turn and sped through a gray district of wrecking yards and industrial buildings. She saw only empty streets and desolate parking lots under the blue white light of the mercury-arc street-lamps.

Finally the truck slowed. Flor heard the cab door open and footsteps run from the truck to the building. Steel clanked against a steel door.

Now came the danger. She knew she must somehow slip away from the truck without betraying herself. In the isolation of a manufacturing area, with only her autopistol against the rifles of the gang punks who guarded the truck, she had no doubt of the outcome of a pursuit and firefight.

She peered around the side of the truck. She snapped her head back instantly when she saw the punk at the warehouse door looking at the truck. The truck lurched into motion and turned to enter the warehouse.

Desperate, Flor considered her options.

Run and be seen and pursued.

Stay on the bumper and be seen as she rode into the garage.

She could not run, and she could not remain immobile. Her desperation forced her into the only possible action…

Gripping the edge of the bumper with one down-stretched hand, she released her other hand's grip on the latch. Then she grabbed the bumper with both hands, and thrust a foot underneath it.

She hung below the bumper by her hands and one foot, her back only inches from the asphalt. Reaching into the undercarriage of the truck, she gripped the gritty steel of the chassis. She lost her high-heeled shoe as she struggled to maintain her toehold. She let her other shoe fall away as she moved her other leg.

The truck paused. Hanging underneath the truck, she heard the punk at the garage door shout out, "A la derecha. Poquito a la derecha."

With a lurch, the truck continued into the warehouse. She heard the steel door crash down. The punk jumped onto the bumper and released the truck's cargo latch.

Footsteps and voices inside the truck became feet and legs as a gang crowded out from it. She heard ghetto English and Spanish. Another voice spoke in softly accented English. Flor could not identify the accent as the man talked.

"To your positions, my warriors. Though we will be secure here, we must remain on guard. Soon we go to another city and continue Allah's work."

The punks answered. "Sure thing, brother… Waste those white devils."

Hanging by her hands and ankles, Flor waited for the gang to disperse. Only after the footsteps of the punks and their leaders receded did she ease herself down to the oily concrete of the warehouse floor. Crawling a few feet, she pressed herself against the double tires for concealment. She watched the activity in the warehouse.

Work lights in the high ceiling lighted the interior. The driver had parked the truck in the center of the building. Open concrete extended on all sides. A few boxes and crates and tables lined the walls. But she saw no open doors. Flor could not hope to snake from under the truck and dash out to the street.

The truck had carried her into a trap.

She could do nothing but wait.

Across the concrete space, she saw a stoop-shouldered black man in a dark blue suit. He wore his hair conservatively short. Glasses framed in black plastic gave him the look of an accountant. He directed two gang punks in blue nylon jackets and dirty jeans to open a wooden crate.

The punks crowbarred away the crate's lid. They carefully lifted out a block of Styrofoam and put it on a table. Then the black man took a knife from the punks and cut the tape that secured the Styrofoam.

When the packaging fell away, Flor saw a shortwave radio. The black man attached antenna leads to the back of the radio and handed a coil of wire to one of the punks. The punk took the wire up a flight of stairs to the roof. The other youth ran an extension cord to the radio.

Hiding only a few steps away, Flor heard every word the black man said.

"This is Shabaka. Calling the truck. Shabaka calling the truck…"

The black man repeated his call for minutes. Finally a voice responded. The monotonic, strangely disembodied voice alerted Flor to the electronic code guarding the conversation.

Like the hand-radios Able Team used, the longdistance radio employed encoding circuits to electronically scramble and unscramble every conversation. Only those with the radio sets could understand the transmissions. Any technician or amateur radio enthusiast monitoring the transmissions would hear only bursts of static.

"This is the truck," came the reply. "We're a hundred miles south of the border. No problems, we're making good time."

"The Los Angeles delivery is canceled."


"The Los Angeles delivery is canceled. We will take the delivery in Escondido instead. Do you understand?"

"It won't be going to L.A. We're going to drop it Escondido instead."

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