Jun 4, 2012


Rather than head to the Fujikawa Network headquarters, Liam instead went to the control center of the Holdsworth. Night had long fallen of Lisbon and the Steelewood soldiers along with a lot of the crew had left the ship. Liam was alone, which was exactly the way he wanted it. He needed space to think. Atop the table in the back of the room, he opened up their map of Boston. The map was roughly a year old, so it was not perfect, but it had all of Steelewood's modifications and defenses added. Liam made notes of everything Isadora warned him about in her notebook. He even labeled the secret tunnel Sergei showed them, but eliminated it as an option because it was no longer secret enough.

Liam scoured the map diligently searching for any kind of weakness he might exploit. The three entrances along the miles-long dual-layered fence were not an option since those areas were the most heavily defended. Liam considered attempting to somehow masquerade their way in using a disguise or something to that affect, but decided against it. He could of no way to make that work with enough certainty. Steelewood would definitely be on high alert and would be looking for just that type of trickery.

He sighed. There was no a way a straight assault would work on any front. Only about three-fourths of the Holdsworth crew knew their way in a fight, which amounted to just forty people against an army of over twelve-thousand trained soldiers in a fortified position. This was not a battle Liam could without a larger force. He needed his own army. And then he had the craziest idea.

The door opened and in walked his mother, who still looked tired and shaken. Lena's graying hair had lost even more color and she looked older than ever. But there was a new fire to her, a new anger. She came to the table and asked, “Everything okay?”

Liam sighed, “Mom.”

She knew something bothered him just by that one word. A mother could always tell. She said, “Liam, what's the matter?”

“Isadora's gone back to Boston. She gave me this,” he set down the notebook.

Lena opened it and shot him a quizzical look. “I don't understand, what is this?”

“It's Steelewood's codes, formations, secret access points in their headquarters; it's all of Isadora's little secrets.”

“Uh-huh,” Lena said flipping through pages. “So...?”

“She wants us to go back to Boston and kill Sergei for her.”

“What?” Lena's eyes shot open. She shook her head and before Liam could explain, she asked, “When do we leave?”

“Wait, what?”

“We're goin', right?”

Liam was breathless. “Mom, I- yeah, I agreed. I was actually kinda hoping you'd talk me out of it. We'll be fighting all of Steelewood if we go.”

“But Isadora gave you a way in, right?”

“She gave us help, but it isn't enough. There's twelve-thousand men between us and Sergei.”

She looked into his eyes and a smile sneaked up her cheek. She said, “But you have a plan.”

“Yeah, I do,” Liam said. He stepped away from the table and scratched his head. “But mom, it's insane and dangerous.”

“When the heck has that ever been a problem for us?”

Liam sighed, “Mom, this is on a different level. This is-”

“Liam.” She put her hand on his shoulder and then his face. Lena gently stroked her son's cheek and said, “Hey, tell me your plan and we'll go from there. But listen to me, Sergei's proven he's a bad man. He's gotta go. If Isadora says he's gotta go, then he's really gotta go. But I know he's gotta go cuz he made one big mistake: he made it personal. We gotta go and get him, Liam. You're the captain. How are we gonna do it?”

Liam explained his plan in detail.

Lena said, “Let's do this.”

The last time Isadora flew in a C-130 Hercules was twenty-five years ago. She was on her way out of a desolate airport in the middle-of-nowhere Siberia going to St. Petersburg. She and a group of ragtags including Hank and Lena had just finished bringing the man responsible for the apocalypse to justice. On the plane with her was a comatose Pastor Pavlov, a dear friend of Isadora's, and the body of Paul Holdsworth, Sergei's father. She tried not to think about the past, but it came to her anyway. There certainly was no consolation in the fact that her son had just betrayed her and everything she had worked for. And he had to die.

Her mind scrambled for alternatives to killing him, but none came. She knew what had to be done. The only possibility was that she could somehow convince him to relinquish power, but Isadora knew that was hopeless. Reality did not stop her, however, from wishing her son to live.

She would not do it herself, not unless every option was thoroughly exhausted. But Isadora worked, in her mind, to detach herself from her son as much as she possibly could. She imagined that seeing her own blood before her would reverse all of it, but she tried anyway. When she was in MI-6 and even later in Steelewood, she used certain techniques to turn her enemies from human beings to paper targets. In her mind, they became nothing and she killed them without remorse. This, however, was entirely different. For once in her life, she felt that she had a target she could not bear to kill.

Isadora reached into her belt and drew a Browning Hi-Power, the standard-issue pistol of the old British Army. At her request, General Bertrand gave it to her. It was to be her last resort should all else fail. She checked its load and thoroughly inspected the piece. The Browning was nothing like her Walther P99 she kept for so many years. She was not used to the larger pistol's extra weight, its sights, or the icy steel of the grip. The weapon was totally alien to her.

She put it away and prayed never to see it again.

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