32: MUCKING AROUND IN MUNICH

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"I want a better gun," I said, checking and rechecking one of the handguns that had been holstered on me. I was nestled between Legion and Rebel in the back of a giant van, with the rest of our band of merry men seated before us. Sergeant had claimed the position of driver this time, and Gray was -- surprise, surprise -- in the passenger's seat.

"You can get a better gun from Ottokar," Rebel said. He was leaned against the window, watching the city slide by. We'd only been on the ground eight minutes, but with Sergeant's driving . . . we were making good time.

"You're assuming we'll have time to track down Ottokar," I retorted, sighing heavily as I gave the handgun an irritable look.

"Ottokar a friend of yours?" Legion asked from my other side.

"Weapon's dealer," Rebel and I said simultaneously. I spoke up immediately after, before Rebel could. "He's got good stock -- even found a way to get his hands on guns that are usually reserved for militaries."

"And he's in Munich?" Ilga asked curiously, turned in her seat so she could see us and the rest of the van.

"He is," Rebel agreed as I nodded. 

"You lot sound like you just know people everywhere," Elliot mused with a half-smile.

"It's annoying," Charlotte muttered, though even her own people ignored her that time. 

"None of us ever stay in one place for long," Legion spoke up. His crystalline eyes sparkled as he looked between the rest of Gray's people with mild boredom. "Occupational hazard."

"Sounds like there are a few of those, too," Ilga noted, smiling amusedly at Legion.

Legion merely shrugged one big shoulder, his attention passing them to focus on the back of his partner's head. 

I looked between he and Sergeant carefully, flicking the safety of the gun in my hand on . . . and off. On . . . off . . . 

We were nine minutes in now, and the atmosphere of the van was changing. Even from the back of the van I could see Sergeant's shoulders roll, and a fraction of a second later, Legion seemed to brace himself. Something was wrong. My attention flashed from Team Bravo to Gray, who seemed unfazed, before I turned my focus to Rebel.

Rebel's emerald eyes were already watching me. I could see him reaching for his own handgun, undoing the strap that held it into its holster . . .

Silence had settled over the van by that point, everyone stiffening, all minor chatter coming to a halt. It was so quiet that I could hear Rebel flicking the safety of his own gun off. 

That was when Sergeant spoke. "Ambush," he declared, clear and loud, the single word seemed to set the rest of the people in the van into motion.

"See, this," I declared, twisting around in my seat and zeroing in on the black sedan on our tail, "is why I like driving." 

"Like it's his fault they knew we were coming," Legion scoffed, tampering with his own weaponry as he spoke.

"Didn't say it was," I pointed out. 

"It might be a good idea for everyone to--" Gray began to say loudly, before the chatter of a machine gun tore through the air.

It was accompanied by the squealing of tires, and glass shattering, along with a yelp that sounded like it came from Desmond. Everyone had done their best to hit the floor the moment Gray had opened his mouth, and as a result, the bullets proved useless.

"--duck," Gray finished with a sigh that was barely audible over everyone else's movement. He twisted in his seat then, looking back toward us. At first I thought he was checking on the sedan, then he made eye contact with me, then Rebel. "Team Alpha," he said loudly, "now might be a good time to improvise."

Rebel and I exchanged a fast look at that. I arched a brow, and he gave me a smile I knew well -- one that was all teeth and mischief, with only the barest hint of joy. "Shall I jump onto their car, or would you like to?" 

"I hate improvising," was my only response. The gunfire started up again, and this time I didn't duck. A growl of frustration escaped my lips as I turned an arm toward them, fist raised as though I was wielding a shield. The bullets stopped short of hitting the van before falling away. I turned a fiery gaze toward Rebel, before waving the same hand toward the sedan and flashing a deceptively sweet smile at him. "I vote you jump onto the car." 

"We're taking a vote now?" Gunner asked, hanging out of one of the shattered windows as he began to fire at the sedan. 

In the same second, Rebel began to climb out of the back of the car, his guns holstered. No sooner had he leapt from our van onto the hood of the sedan than did Sergeant shout, "Everybody hold on!"

His warning was followed by a sickening crunch, and with that sound everything was thrown into a dead stop. I felt the air leave my lungs, and this time the chatter of multiple machine guns began to roar in my ears. 

The forced stop brought on by the van hitting another car turned permanent when I saw Sergeant rolling out of his seat and onto the pavement, lifting his own weapon as he did so. Gunner was hot on his tail, moving with the same efficiency. When I looked behind us, I could see Rebel had brought the van to a similarly unexpected stop -- he was yanking the driver out of his seat via the window.

And yet another car was coming. 

"Legion," I hissed loudly, yanking on his shirt before he could follow the rest of Gray's team out of the van. The mercenaries were all moving toward the SUV that had run into us, weapons raised, unwavering.

"Listen, Risky, as much as I love a good chat--"

"Desmond," I cut him off, jerking my thumb to the seat in front of us where the redhead was currently hiding.

Legion's vibrant eyes widened in understanding. "Oh, good point," he muttered. He nodded once, before pushing me toward the door, "I've got him. Don't worry about it." 

That was the last thing I heard him say, mostly because the moment my own shoes touched the pavement, another SUV began to roll up to the scene. "Rebel!" I shouted, sparing a brief glance at him to see he'd already dealt with the men from the sedan. 

My partner turned toward me quickly, his brow creasing before he saw why I'd shouted. His response was as I'd expected -- he rolled his eyes and jogged toward me. 

I let out an irritable huff, turning away from him and rolling my eyes in return. "That's all right, just take your time!" I shouted over my shoulder, my words dripping with sarcasm. No sooner had I spoke than did yet another black sedan arrive. I let out a growl of pure annoyance.

"As if you couldn't handle them on your own!" Rebel retorted. 

"Nobody likes a show off!" Gunner called back.

"Nobody likes rocket launchers, either," Sergeant said, evidently referring to the man climbing out of the newest SUV.

At that point I figured if I rolled my eyes any more, they'd probably fall out of my head. So instead of acknowledging any of them, I strode calmly toward the SUV first. A half-dozen men armed to the teeth climbed out of it, two of them already aiming toward me. 

I did not like to operate on my powers alone. Given my training, I was used to stealth and tactics. To outsmarting the bad guy -- maybe even taking their legs out of from under them. Brutal force could be fun, of course, but it wasn't nearly as fun as outwitting and outdoing everyone in opposition. 

But sometimes, you do what you've gotta do.

It helped considerably when I saw Rebel tear the back bumper of our van off and launch it headlong into the emerging men. 

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