The Cutlass‘ two small missiles responded like Zeus tossing lightning bolts.
The explosion demolished a large section of the concrete layer of the columns. Large chards of concrete spewed outward and spiraled to the lawn exposing the rebar modifications Nella had arranged to protect the Grandamme II’s stability. The result— to Triaca’s surprise—the columns, now a mere smoking skeleton of rebar… still stood!
With no firepower remaining, Triaca jumped from the Cutlass as its cockpit canopy jettisoned her into mid-air with a small parachute already affixed to her back. The Cutlass corrected its course and climbed into the morning sky—it’s near Marc 1 jet speed whined like a Banshee chasing an escaping Siren.
Then, The Cutlass darted across the Dawn sky heading back to its secret home base under The Thames.
Triaca landed amid the gentle sway of her parachute into the garden of her home, The Grandamme II. She unclipped the parachute with one fist jab and stomped around the garden only to be met by Rooftop’s fist socking her in her right jaw.
Staggering backward, but keeping her feet under her, Triaca retaliated with a blow to Rooftop’s solar plexus. The blow missed its mark. Rooftop crouched Wushu (Kung Fu) style and swung her right leg at the same time, thereby jolting Triaca backward and onto the garden’s lush grass. Triaca scampered up the trellis and onto the balcony to the master bedroom, in apparent retreat.
…inside the front foyer of the house, Rigger waited for the inevitable assault on the front door.
He did not wait long.
The RDX (royal demolition explosive) charge Mr. Raptor Kaine and his mercenaries had set moments ago, shattered a third of the front door into glowing orange fire sticks.
The remaining two-thirds of the massive four-meter high teak-covered metal fire door spun helplessly in mid-air inside the foyer.
The flaming and beleaguered door hovered like Mjölnir waiting for Thor’s outstretched hand.
Then the hapless remains of the on-fire front door crashed with a loud clamor in the otherwise ethereal silence, onto the foyer floor.
Then came the tear gas canisters pitched violently into the foyer, from outside the now gaping threshold, by person(s) unseen. Rigger hurriedly donned his tear gas mask. Unphased, he waited for his opportunity in silence among the chaos around him…
Meanwhile outside the garden wall to The Grandamme II…
The fake Colonel pulled on his tear gas mask and hurled himself rather ungainly, over the bushes of The Grandamme II’s garden hedge falling head over heels in a heap on the estate’s lawn. He climbed the trellis onto the balcony. He huffed and puffed as he moved past Triaca still crouched on the master bedroom’s balcony. Gasping for breath, The fake Colonel spoke to Triaca:
“…Blast it all, I am getting too old for this piffle (nonsense). My muscles are as stiff as old boots!”
Triaca smiled sympathetically, nodded, and motioned with a two-fingered command for The fake Colonel to advance forward into the master bedroom where unbeknownst to them both, only Nella’s fake image waited…
The fake Colonel lunged at the figure he had assumed was Nella only to find that he was grasping at air. Angered, he reoriented the infra-red app on his cellphone extracted from the breast pocket of his kevlar flack jacket.
His cellphone app then discovered the second of Nella’s fake images—the one at the bottom of the stairs in the foyer.
Still breathing heavily, The fake Colonel slinked and slithered down the steps. His tear gas mask protected him from the sting of the tear gas and its attendant discomforts. However, the tear gas mask blinded his peripheral vision.
Therefore, he did not see Rigger hoist himself from the floor of the foyer onto the steps behind him.
The last thing The fake Colonel saw before all went dark for him… was Rigger’s fist landing a knock-out blow. Rigger’s blow to The fake Colonel’s jaw expunged The fake Colonel’s tear gas mask as his unconscious body rolled down the spiral staircase onto the foyer floor.
But the assault had only just begun…
Over the next ten minutes, under Mr. Raptor Kaine’s command, three more waves of twelve mercenaries each, advanced in succession on The Grandamme II. The armed drones in the steeple of the home meant to guard against security breaches were no match for Triaca’s mercenaries’ semi-automatic weapons firing at will.
Therefore, Mr. Kaine ferreted out the real Nella on her perch on the steeple and carted her off—her hands bound behind her back with zip ties. He dropped her unceremoniously into a sofa in The Grandamme II’s master bedroom.
Parting the curtains that separated the master bedroom from its balcony, Triaca commanded Mr. Kaine,
“Don’t touch her…she’s mine!”
Then all went dark for Nella as her sister Triaca hustled into The Grandamme II’s master bedroom. Triaca jammed a syringe with ten cc’s of the paralytic drug, The fake Colonel had stolen from the British Museum, into Nella’s neck and whispered…
Meanwhile elsewhere in the Grandamme II…
Nella’s fellow Tailors, Rigger and his sister Rooftop hunkered down in the thick garden hedges of The Grandamme II estate, listening intently on their respective communication earpiece for the pre-arranged cue from the captured Nella, to deploy —”the surprise...”
[ Dream sequence begins…
Nella’s body jolted. She thought she was awake… but she was in a dream, from the unexpected hallucinogenic effects of the paralytic drug her sister Triaca had administered moments ago.
In her dream, which seemed to last for hours, Nella was stuffed into a small wooden box with one side swung open wide. Furthermore in her dream,
Nella saw, outside the door of her entombment in the wooden box, Cerberus seated. His immense form was almost stone-like but alive. One of his three heads was like that of the Sphinx in The Valley of Kings.
From what Nella could make out, Cerberus was guarding a very strange place with a river before it. She assumed in her mind that it was the Gates of Hell. Despite all her efforts, she could not move to leave the box. Each thought Nella formed in her mind to escape from the box somehow Cerberus seemed to sense it and thwarted her egress.
All of a sudden, a soft still voice in Nella’s mind, which sounded like her father said, “remember our family motto little one: ‘Sew honor into your armor and fight!'”
End of dream sequence…]
Suddenly, somehow fueled by the memory of her father’s words, Nella jolted and awoke from her nightmare —this time for real.
She sensed that she was still in the master bedroom at The Grandamme II; now, she lay prone on the posh Vincenzo De Cotiis original settee at the foot of her sister Triaca’s four poster bed.
Nella’s first sense of dark shapes through her closed eyelids (for her eyelids and optic nerve were also supposed to have been immobilized by the paralytic) was that of the ogre shadow of The fake Colonel.
She could feel the pressure of a dentist drill-like instrument pressing into her forehead through her nanobot chainmail armor.
Nella— acting the part, as if the paralytic her sister Triaca had administered near her jugular vein had taken effect—remained motionless.
***To Be Continued Next Week***