“It’s a trap,” Drake said.
“Probably,” Pike said. They were speaking into the microphones of the headsets they had to wear in the chopper. Even with the earphones, the drone of the engine was nearly overwhelming. “Even if it is a trap, it may be a chance to get Gemma back. I have to try. But you didn’t have to come.”
Drake merely smiled.
Two of Jimemez’s men sat behind them. The drug lord’s personal pilot flew the chopper. He wouldn’t take part in the rescue. The co-pilot’s seat was empty. Pike hoped that space would be occupied by Gemma in just a while. He looked at his watch. 2:40. Pike tapped the pilot on the shoulder.
“Are we going to make it?”
“Si,” the pilot said. He was a small man, younger than Pike had expected. Apparently used to flying with armed men, the man was as calm as if he were riding a golf cart on the back nine.
“Is it me, or does this crate still smell like chicken nuggets?” Drake said.
Pike just looked at him.
“So sue me. I’m hungry again.”
The lights of Cancun came into view. The chopper set down on a rooftop. Pike, Drake and Jimemez’s two men quickly exited.
“Where are we?” Pike said.
One of the other men answered in perfect English. “On a building that belongs to Mister Jimemez. About two blocks from our destination.”
They took an elevator to the lobby. A dark limousine waited for them at the curb.
Pike checked the time again. 2:53.
The limo dropped them off in front of the hotel next to the Imperial Laguna. All the resorts looked the same to Pike, like something a McDonald’s architect thought Mexico should be.
It was 2:58. Pike and Drake moved to one side of the Imperial Laguna’s front drive. The other two men covered the opposite side.
At exactly 3:00 A.M. a woman was shoved out of the dark opening of the lobby. She stumbled across the parking lot, her head and face shrouded in shadows.
Drake pointed a gun a the parking and said, “Go.”
Pike ran, his own gun in his hand. He knew this could be a set up and that he was exposing himself to enemy gunfire, but he didn’t see any other way.
As he neared the woman, he said, “Gemma.”
The woman took a step forward and her head was illuminated by one of the resort’s streetlights.
Her hair was red, but it was a shade or two lighter than Gemma’s. He recognized her face.
Elizabeth Crassberg, the Brotherhood archeologist, looked at Pike as if she didn’t recognize him. There was a large bruise on the left aside of her face. Her eyes were wide, scared.
With his free hand, Pike grabbed one of her wrists.
Elizabeth moaned and twisted in his grip.
“It’s me, Pike. Calm down. You’re safe now.” Of course, she wasn’t. Neither of them were, standing in the open drive with no shelter. One of Jimemez’s men approached, the one who spoke English.
“What do you need?” he said
“Someone shoved her out here. See if you can find him.”
The man nodded and gestured to his colleague. Both men entered the lobby.
As if she had surrendered to her fate, Elizabeth stopped her resistance. She allowed herself to be led to the side of the resort’s entrance.
“Where’s Gemma?” Drake said.
“I don’t know. I hope she can tell us.”
“Who brought her here? Don’t tell me this brotherhood has its headquarters in a damn resort.”
Pike started to answer.
Until he heard the gunshots from the resort.
To be Continued
© Mark Justice 2011