Written by M.J.C
“Niece! What the fuck are you doing here, girl!?” Beast was angry because she didn’t like surprises or being misled. KJ would answer for that.
“Is that AP?” Beast asked incredulously. “What. The. Fuck! Why are you two here? Your asses need to be back in California where it’s safe!”
Niwt recognized Niece from the friendsgiving parties but she didn’t recognize the other one called AP. Beast did though and Beast wasn’t happy.
Just then they all heard KJ’s voice coming from AP’s laptop: “Ladies, please stay on point. Leave now. Beast and Niwt, I will explain later. Take your cars back and meet at the motel. AP, record what you can now. Niece, get your arrow,” KJ said with a firm tone.
And then: “Everyone, we will talk in forty minutes. Good job. Now go!” KJ finished, leaving no room for questions.
KJ was everywhere. They were all still surprised when her voice just came out of nowhere. KJ could reach them at any time she wanted because they were all on her own private network at all times. She’d installed tracking devices on all their weapons, on their special phones, and on AP’s laptop. She also monitored them from any available camera and recording device. KJ herself was always “clean” and untraceable. She wasn’t on the dark web, as it was called. The dark web was all a ruse to make all the spy agencies believe they knew where illegal and illicit activities took place. They believed if they could crack certain codes, they could find digital criminals. And they could. But only because none of the real hackers operated on the dark web.
KJ was in plain site. Her codes were intermixed with codes from major sites, corporations, search engines, and even the dark web, and those codes were just pieces of her overall network. The codes sent instructions to offshore sites around the world, gathering more instructions at each server and then moving to the next server and the next country and so on, until a full set of instructions were created and launched simultaneously from multiple servers, countries, corporations. In effect, KJ had found a way to create a shadow world-wide network in plain view that was hidden from all hackers, spy agencies, and governments. They could see the equivalent of a blade of grass, or a single lawn at most, when KJ’s network was the size of a football field. Of all the football fields in America.
A little while later at the motel they stared at one another. Beast had showered and felt better. She was still angry, but she had calmed down. She even laughed when Niwt asked: “You actually worked out? Before or after you poisoned him? Beast chuckled and didn’t answer.
Then Niece said: “Look, we don’t need to wait for KJ. Here is what happened. She recruited me, she trained me, she prepared me for this mission. It’s simple, really.”
“It’s not simple, Niece. You don’t need to be here,” Beast said with authority.
“And you don’t get to tell me where I need to be, Beast!” Niece replied forcefully.
“But I am. You don’t need to be here and I will take you home,” Beast replied as a matter of fact.
“You can try, but then I’ll come back. I don’t work for you. And I don’t have to leave. I got the first kill, not you,” Niece stated, knowing it would piss Beast off even more.
Niwt, spoke up: “This was my kill, Niece. You took it from me and I don’t appreciate you doing that. Beast, what poison did you use?”
“Why did you choose that?” Niwt, asked, genuinely curious.
“Because he was rotten on the inside. Cyanide starves your cells and deprive them of oxygen, killing you quickly but not before you suffer. It effectively chokes you to death from the inside. As I watched him testify that is what I thought the most: He’s rotten and he needs to choke to death.”
“So, he did.” Beast said with stunning coldness.
“Well, he would have,” she ended, while giving an annoyed look at Niece.
“By the looks of his face, you did a pretty good job on him, too,” Beast said to Niwt, while still looking at Niece.
Niwt said: “Four front teeth knocked out, broken and dislocated jaw, a concussion, and a knife prick that she have gone through his neck.” Now, she was looking at Niece, too.
“The arrow-tip had acid in it, too. I aimed for his ear but missed slightly,” Niece recounted.
“You almost shot right through my hand, Ms. Hunger Games!” Niwt wasn’t happy about that and her words and her look at Niece were challenging.
“I am sorry,” Niece said, backing down somewhat because she was genuinely sorry to have surprised Niwt. “His head turned slightly just as I shot. I didn’t mean to scare you.” Niece was looking at Niwt now.
Niwt said: “Apology accepted.” And: “If one of your arrows ever get that close to me again, you’d better be sure it kills me, because I will take you out. Got it?”
“I got it, Niwt. I got it.” Niece said.
“What now?” AP asked in an attempt to ease the tension that was building.
No one said a word.
Then they heard KJ’s voice again. “All settled now?” she asked, her voice coming from the radio on the small nightstand next to one of the twin beds.
They all looked toward the radio.
“This first mission was only a start. I needed Beast and Niwt to learn to be together and hopefully they’ll learn to trust one another. I needed Niece to decide if she were in, or out. Now that those questions are answered, I have your first mission.”
“What do you mean, our “first mission”? What was this, Beast said sounding annoyed. She was pretty much always annoyed with people bossing her around.
“Think of this like a preamble, or pre-game, or pre-season. This was to work out the bugs and get you all used to one another. To get you in one place, on one team.”
Niece said: “Well, it’s not like we all worked together. Maybe Beast and Niwt did, I guess, but I didn’t work with them, or plan with them at all. And Beast is still looking at me sideways. We are not a team,” she ended while looking at Beast.
Niwt was quiet.
Finally, AP said: “I think we are a team. You are a team. I mean, look, you did something. There is a brewing revolution and a war. California is making preparations and so is the Federal government. There are people who need hope. This one cop does nothing for the movement. Nothing. But the fact that the four of us were able to get here, and you two were able to execute the plan, no pun intended, these actions mean something. I will write the story and edit the video that KJ has of you all taking action. We have stuck the first blow even if no one knows it yet.”
AP continued: “This is the moment history will look back on. Not the succession of California, or anything else. This moment, in the dead of the night will be the match. I will make sure. And while your names and faces will not show right now, they will when the full story is written.” AP finished passionately.
“You are drinking all the kool-aid, AP,” Niece said.
“I am. All of it.” AP was steel against Niece’s stare.
Niwt finally spoke up: “KJ, what is our real mission? Don’t give me another bullshit story. What is the mission?”
They all looked at the radio.
“Operation Velorio,” KJ said. “The next mission is operation Velorio.”
Then there was more silence.
“Dammit, I’ll ask then, Beast said, exasperated by the long silence that was only three seconds. What the hell is Velorio?”
“Wake,” replied Niece. It means “Wake.” Then Niwt said it again: “Wake.”
“Like, wake up?” Beast asked, confused.
Niece spoke softly. “No, it’s “Wake” as in funeral. A viewing of the body. The time before burial. A Wake.”
”Velorio is Wake in Spanish,” Niwt said to support Niece. Both spoke Spanish.
“We’re going to get the next fifty. At once,” KJ said to break the silence.
You are going to kill every one of them. Doing so will disrupt them and put them on their heels and make them question the safety of every killer cop there is and let them all know that none of them are safe. Ever.
“How will we kill fifty-five at one time, KJ? Beast asked. They are scattered around the country and there are only four of us; three who can kill, unless AP here counts killing them with her words.”
“Not funny, Beast,” AP said.
“So, how, KJ, How?” Beast finished. She was speaking for them all now.
After a moment, KJ said: “They will be at a funeral. There were two cops killed in the line of duty three weeks ago in a car accident and their funeral will be held at the same time, in St. Louis. There will be hundreds of cops there and I have made certain that at least fifty-five of those killer cops will be there. Don’t ask how I got them there. They will be there. On AP’s laptop is all the flights they arrive on or rental cars they’ll be in, their hotels and room number, and where they will stand during the funeral. Every movement and every moment of their time in St. Louis is on AP’s computer.”
They were all looking at the pictures of the cops and as AP scrolled they were able to see all the detail KJ outlined. It was all there.
And next to each cop’s name was one of their own names. They each had ten cop’s names that was next to their own names. Ten names to kill apiece.
“How will the other twenty-plus names be killed, KJ? What are you not telling us? Niwt asked.
Just then the door opened, surprising the group. In walked another woman. She wore all black and her make-up looked like it was just done. She was pretty. Her hair was dark and had large curls that were tamed just enough.
“Well hello, beautiful ladies”, she said, as if she were walking in on a party.
“Peg? Beast said. This is crazy and getting crazier. What are YOU doing here?!”
“I’m the bomb,” she said with a laugh.
They were quiet.
“I’m the bomb, she repeated, louder this time and drawing out the “m and b.” Don’t you get it? I’m the “boommbb” she said, making air quotes and elongating the word again. We’re going to blow shit up. Well, I’m going to. I’m. The. Bomb,” she finished with a flurry of movement that included taking a seat on the bed, opening her bag, and whipping out all sorts of facial products to clean, exfoliate, and prepare for sleeping.
“Now do you not get it? It’s a joke. Oh My. God. Why are you all so serious. We’re all here and we’re going to win the country back! With bombs! With me! Let’s have a drink before we do and, later, everyone gets a facial. Can’t have you out in the midwest sun without your faces unone and unprotected.
And with that, Peg started setting up all her facial equipment, two bottles of wine, a candle, and a small soft pillow, while the other ladies just stood or sat there stunned.
And then KJ broke the silence and said: “Drink up ladies, because your mission is tomorrow, and you have a six hour drive to St. Louis, and you all need to be in place by three pm; the funeral starts at four. Everyone except Peg should have your targets taken out by the time the funeral starts. Enjoy your facials and drinks, get some sleep, and I’ll give you further instructions in the morning when you hit the road.”
And with that, the radio started playing soft instrumental Adele music that Peg used while working.