As Diaz and LeMoyne dragged David away from the window, Lorelei tried to get a peek outside. She was pinned back by more muffled gunfire.


She scrambled across the floor to join them. “Automatic weapons,” she reported. “Sounds like multiple, suppressed.”

“Pizza Girl brought some friends to the slumber party,” snarled Diaz, trying to keep pressure on David’s arm wound.

“Bullshit,” Lorelei shot back, then addressed LeMoyne. “You got an evacuation plan?”

LeMoyne hesitated. “Well?” prodded David through a pained grimace.

“We have people stationed in the lobby,” stammered LeMoyne. “And in the parking garage.”

“David, you’re bleeding pretty bad,” murmured Diaz.

“Hang on,” said Lorelei, crawling low to an adjacent room as things went eerily quiet outside. She returned with a pillowcase and was already tearing it into broad strips, handing some to Diaz. “Here,” she offered. “For the record, this thousand-thread-count shit makes a rotten field dressing; try a Motel 6 next time.”

Diaz ignored her and went to work on David’s arm, having it stable just in time as an explosion sent a shudder through the room. Out of line of the shrapnel from the splintered door, but still too close to the shock, LeMoyne was stunned on the floor.

Diaz instinctively shielded David’s body with her own as two figures emerged from the dust, both in black paramilitary gear and packing MP5s. They quickly spotted David and moved in, weapons ready. Before Diaz could make a move for her sidearm, two quick pistol shots rang out from their flank, and the would-be assailants crumbled. Looking in bewilderment in the direction of fire, Diaz saw Lorelei, all business, her automatic drawn.

“Hallway’s clear. How’s your boss?” she asked, nodding towards LeMoyne who was already struggling to his feet. “We gotta go. Now. We’ll take the service elevator to Parking.”

“The parking level’s probably already overrun,” groused LeMoyne with ringing ears.

There was the sound of distant shotgun fire, and Lorelei raised her eyebrows.

“That’ll be my people, taking it back,” she said, then whipped out a two-way radio from her jacket. “Team Three Leader to all teams, converge on the parking levels. Make us a path.”

David, clutching his arm, looked rough but ready to move. To his surprise, Lorelei handed the assailants’ MP5s and magazines to Diaz and LeMoyne. She took point and hailed a passenger elevator, pressing several buttons without boarding. Diversion, thought David. Once all were herded into the service lift, Lorelei pressed every button between there and the parking level.

“Okay,” she said, “they’ll be watching the elevators, so we’ll get off on the third floor and take the stairs the rest of the way down to Parking.”

“What if the stairs are covered also?” asked Diaz.

“Then we’re probably gonna break a nail or two tonight, chica,” Lorelei grinned and winked. Diaz permitted herself a smile, and nodded.

As the elevator came nearer to three, Lorelei turned her attention to David at last. “There’s just enough time. We might get separated. You need to think ahead to the worst-case scenario.”

“Apart from bleeding to death?” David snarked.

“Let us handle that part for now,” she snickered. “You ask yourself: what if you’re exactly who Professor Koenig says you are? Why would anyone care? Who would try to use you, and for what purpose?”

The elevator dinged its arrival at the third floor.

“Remember the DNA sampling. How was yours obtained? Ask these guys about something called ‘Protocol Six’, and keep pushing until you get a straight answer.”

“Stand back,” she said, as the doors began to open.

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