Title of Story: Sacrifices to a Worthy Cause
Author: Joel T. Kant
Date Written: August 2000, heavily modified March 2, 2019
Chapter Title: Dupes
Chapter Number: Sixteen
Copyright: (c) March 2, 2019
"They're in a dark blue car. It looks sporty, but has a large trunk," Iris said, then added the license number, which she had taken care to memorize when they had stolen it.
Fritz ran out of the house and up to the squad car next to the hot rod. Chief Clymer had just gotten out.
Fritz gasped, "Jason and Joyce got away with the poison gas device."
Fritz repeated Iris's description, then added, "They're heading for the site marked on the map that Vicky got out of Tomlin's computer."
"McCormick told me the location he got from Vicky. I know the place. Step back, Fritz."
Chief Clymer jumped back in his car, then pulled out into the road. Fritz was miffed that Clymer had not given him time to get in the passenger seat.
Fritz looked at the hot rod. The mangled fender now had bullet holes in it, but the tires still held air. Fritz bent low and looked under the car. He did not see any leaking fluids.
Fritz shouted at the house, "Conrad, the keys!"
Conrad released his sister and pulled out his keys. He tossed them through the glassless picture window. Fritz caught them in midair. Fritz then jumped behind the front wheel. Despite the bullet damage to the vehicle, the engine started easily. Fritz shoved the gas pedal to the floor. The engine roared like a wild beast. The hot rod quickly caught up to Chief Clymer's car. Thinking of how much his brother liked fast cars and would like to have been here, Fritz flew past Clymer. Fritz was not worried about speeding tickets. Despite the mangled fender and bullet holes, the hot rod ran splendidly. Fritz knew no car could outrace a radio, but he didn't know if any police were near where the poison gas device was supposed to be placed or if the half-dozen government agencies charged with keeping security tight at the Convention Center for the President's speech would allow the Port City Police to act.
Fritz hoped he could catch the dark blue car on its way. Fritz noticed Clymer's squad car had gotten so far back that it had disappeared from the rearview mirror, but he could still hear the wailing of the siren.
Fritz approached the site mentioned on the map. The dark blue car had traveled at a leisurely, law-abiding pace, so was just pulling up to the curb. The rear trunk opened from the activation of an interior release. Fritz could make out the large poison gas device in the open trunk. Jason got out of the driver's door and Joyce out of the passenger's.
Fritz slammed on the car's brakes.
He heard Jason yelling, with some fear, "I saw that car before. It's Agent Fink!"
Fritz jumped out of the car.
Joyce said, "No, that's Fritz Falkowsky. I thought I killed him."
Holding a handgun, Dr. Ruby stepped out from an alcove. He was close behind Joyce.
He said, "You two are under arrest."
Joyce performed a side kick against Dr. Ruby's wrist. The gun fired, missing her, and sailed from his grasp.
As this happened, Jason charged at Fritz while bellowing, "Joyce failed, but I'll kill you!"
As Jason came in, Fritz approached him too. Fritz stopped suddenly. He spun and delivered a devastating spinning back kick. Fritz's foot loudly struck Jason's head. With that one solid kick, Jason fell heavily to the ground, stunned.
Fritz turned to where Joyce and Dr. Ruby were exchanging blows. Although not made unconscious, Dr. Ruby was knocked down. Fritz ran over and kicked Joyce before she could strike the downed man a blow that would have made him unconscious or dead. She was knocked away from Dr. Ruby, but she wasn't injured.
She began a flurry of blows at Fritz. Fritz blocked repeatedly and struck back. The blows were faster and harder than any Fritz had experienced in practice. Still, the skills he'd learned did work which was all that kept him from losing already.
Neither had gained a decisive advantage when Dr. Ruby shouted, "Stop, or I'll blow your brains out, Joyce! I'm too far away for you to kick the gun away this time."
Both Fritz and Joyce turned. Dr. Ruby had recovered his gun.
Chief Clymer screeched up in his squad car with the wailing siren. He went first to Jason, who was coming around already, and handcuffed the man's hands behind his back. Clymer then left Jason with Fritz and handcuffed Joyce, who didn't fight back as Dr. Ruby's aim was unwavering. Clymer put Joyce in the back of his car, then went back for Jason, who now had his eyes open.
Dr. Ruby retrieved a briefcase he had left in the alcove. He set it by the dark blue car's open trunk. When Dr. Ruby opened the briefcase, Fritz noticed it contained various screwdrivers, a needlenose pliers, a voltmeter, and a wire cutter.
Dr. Ruby left the case and peered closely at the poison gas device in the car's trunk. Rather than any of his tools from the briefcase, he pulled out his smartphone and waved it around. Fritz realized he was taking a video.
Fritz glanced at the device and said, "The timer is waiting at one hour, not even changing. At least is not like a movie or TV show where we got seconds to cut the correct wire."
Dr. Ruby said, "It's a devastatingly dangerous device, so don't touch it. Look at the thicker wires, though".
Fritz said, "Unbelievable! Joyce and Jason are such dupes!"
Dr. Ruby had Fritz back off, then said, "We'll bring in the experts for this. I think we're okay as long as we leave that red pushbutton alone, though."
"I agree," Fritz responded.
Dr. Ruby handed Fritz his cell phone and said, "I doubt Joyce and Jason will listen to me, but they might listen to a young man like you. If they haven't already taken their suicide pills, then show them the video I just shot. See if you can get through to them. I'll wait by the device for the pros at dealing with this show up and keep others away from that red button."
Chief Clymer had been in the process of putting Jason into a squad car. Joyce already sat inside. However, Clymer suddenly yanked down Jason's handcuffed hands. Jason had been trying, despite his handcuffs, to get his hands to his mouth. When Clymer yanked Jason's shackled hands back, a pill fell out of Jason's grasp and onto the blacktop.
Clymer stared down, "What is that?"
"It's a suicide pill," Fritz explained as he hurried over to help. "Joyce probably has one too. Obliterators are so quick to use them it's a wonder they have any agents left. Jason and Joyce, you'll want to see something before try anything like that again."
Jason snapped back, "You don't have anything I want to see."
Fritz said, "You might be wrong about that. It's just a very short video. Take a look."
Fritz started the video, Jason started to look away, but curiosity got the better of him.
Jason said, "It's the poison gas device. So?"
Fritz instructed, "I'll play it again. Look at the thicker wires, the red and black ones."
Jason watched again and claimed, "You faked this somehow."
"Not at all," Fritz said, then played it in front of Joyce's face.
Joyce said, "Jason, it's just a video of the device. Why do you look so bothered?"
Fritz stifled an urge to answer Joyce's question. Chief Clymer had peered into the phone screen when Fritz showed it to Joyce and Joyce. Fritz could tell the chief had figured it out, but he kept quiet too.
Jason blinked back tears, then finally spoke, "That red pushbutton switch is what Tomlin told us would start the timer. We were to have one hour to get away. The timer isn't even connected! If we pushed that button, then the gas would have gotten released instantly. Just look at the thick red and black wires and you can see it."
Fritz played the video again for Joyce.
Joyce said, "Tomlin was going to sacrifice us! We were never meant to get away!"
"Exactly!" Jason agreed
Joyce complained, "That snake!"
Fritz extended his right hand, palm up, to Joyce and queried, "Are these people really worth the sacrifice of killing yourself? Think about it."
Joyce turned slightly since her hands were handcuffed behind her back, then from her cuffed hands dropped a pill into Fritz's palm.
Jason looked at Joyce's pill, then looked at his pill as Fritz retrieved it from the ground with an expression of open revulsion. Fritz now had both poison pills in his hand, and wished he had time to put on gloves first.
Fritz looked from the pills in his palm, then at the two prisoners. He desperately wished that Jason and Joyce would experience similar revulsion for what they had nearly done to the population of the city of Port City as they now did for what they had nearly done to themselves. He could only hope that someday the enormity of their attempted crime would sink in. For now, these two Obliterator agents had been captured alive. They undoubtedly had valuable information that could conceivably help Entangle and other government agencies protect other cities from the Obliterator's attacks. Fritz turned away from the two criminals and looked out at Port City. Even from two miles away, he could see the tall buildings of the Convention Center. Fritz felt anger toward morally blind people like Jason and Joyce who had been willing to murder so many people. Fritz did not lash out or lecture the prisoners, though. He knew doing that could hurt later criminal cases against them.
Just after Chief Clymer had the two prisoners safely in the back seat of his squad car, other police cars pulled up. So did several vans, with one marked as SWAT and another as F.B.I., but the others unmarked. In addition, there were many nondescript sedans full of men in business suits. First one helicopter, then two, and then three circled overhead. The crime scene had grown very crowded. Fritz saw some men dressed all in black including black hoods that left only the eyes visible, looking like gun-toting ninjas, arguing with some uniformed Port City police officers as the officers tried to string yellow tape.
Many men in gray business suits encircled Fritz. They all wore the types of suits favored by Dr. Ruby. Each man had what looked like a large hearing aid, but only in one ear. A cord snaked out of each device and into each suit coat by the neckline. The men looked so much alike they might have been made by a cookie cutter. Fritz searched the crowd for Dr. Ruby, which was hard to do with so many men with similar suits, intermingled with uniformed cops and the ninja men. Fritz didn't see him.
One of the business-suited men listened for a moment to his earpiece, then said, "Fritz Falkowsky, we are taking you into protective custody."
Fritz complained, "I don't want that."
A business-suited man with an earpiece said, "You don't have a choice."
Some of the black-suited ninja masked men stepped around this stranger in the business suit, and pointed guns at Fritz as if he were the bad guy to guarantee he obeyed the orders of the man in the business suit.
The business-suited man ordered, "Drop what's in your hand."
Fritz opened his hand and the two suicide pills dropped to the pavement.
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