Cold night air blew past the Defender. Couldn’t Aggei Aganovich find a less drafty place to conduct business? Closer to town would have made more sense, too.
Aggei entered the building, his large, rotund frame nearly bursting out of his suit. He slapped down a briefcase.
The Defender pulled a small camera from his white trench coat’s inner pocket and began recording. His friends at the militsiya would need proof to convict Aggei. Though they might need more than that with the corruption of the courts.
Aggei and the dealer each only had two men present. The Defender smiled. The others must still be recovering from their last encounter with him.
Aggei opened the case of drugs, and the dealer a case of cash. The Defender clucked his tongue and stopped recording. This would be enough for honest courts.
He slipped infrared goggles over his black mask and lobbed a small smoke bomb into the midst of the drug tradesmen. He jumped over a large crate and delivered a punch to the drug dealer’s torso.
A fan dissipated the smoke. The drug trafficker stood near a crate with a remote control. Dozens of armed men emerged from the crates.
The Defender dived behind a forklift as a hail of bullets followed him.
Aggei said, “At last, it will be the end of you, my predictable friend.”
And here I thought Aggei was the predictable one. Hefelt the wall. A termite crawled onto his finger. He shook it off. Good thing Aggei goes for the rundown warehouses.
The Defender reached into the pocket of his white trench coat, pulled out a small vile of fast-acting acid, and poured it on the wall behind him. The acid ate a sizable hole in the wood. He jumped onto the forklift, turned it on, placed it in reverse, and jumped back behind the forklift and out through the hole and into the alley before the massive machine could block his exit.
He dashed to his specially-equipped white 1991 Volkswagen van, but skidded to a halt. All four tires had been slashed. He whirled away. Now what?
Aggei Aganovich and thirty armed men came marching around the corner with guns drawn.
Aganovich smirked. “Your arrival here wasn’t unnoticed! You won’t get far on slit tires, especially with a potato in the tailpipe. Give up. You won’t escape, you’re outnumbered hopelessly, miles from anyone who could help.”
Not everyone. Almighty God, save your humble servant.
The Defender turned back towards the van to make a break down the road.
An American called from above in English, “Mind if I cut in?” A blinding flash of light came from the sky, and standing before the Defender was the Sword.
He rubbed his eyes. The greatest of all heroes, here in Russia? Saving his life?
The Sword grabbed the hilt of his glistening blade. It zoomed the Sword up in the sky and rapidly fired laser beams after Aggei Aganovich and his men.
Aggei ran towards a boat docked on the river. The Defender ran towards Aggei and arrived at the riverbank a few seconds after Aggei left the dock.
The Defender grabbed a knife, rope, and a set of handcuffs from his white trench coat before tossing it aside along with his white dress shirt. He jumped into the water, swimming towards the boat.
Aggei fired into the water. The shot glanced past the Defender, who dived underwater. Bullets continued to stream down from the boat.
The Defender surfaced for air to the left of the boat and threw his knife at the boat’s motor. The motor stopped. Aggei cursed and turned his gun on the Defender, who dived back underwater and swam towards the adrift boat. Aggei fired repeatedly off the stern.
The Defender swam under the rickety boat and slammed his body against the hull. The boat capsized, and Aggei landed in the water. The Defender grabbed Aggei’s gun and placed it in his pants pocket. Aggei struggled in the water. The Defender punched Aggei in the face, ending the struggle.
He turned sideways to the current and towed Aggei towards the riverbank. He tossed Aggei onto the bank and proceeded to handcuff and hogtie him.
The Defender patted the immobilized drug lord. “Don’t go anywhere.”
He raced back to the warehouse. Aggei’s henchmen had been tied up in groups of four, hanging from the building, shouting in Russian, demanding to be let down.
The Sword stood near the fourth group. The Defender panted as he caught his breath near where he’d dropped his trench coat and shirt. He was actually going to speak to the greatest legend living on Earth?
What if his English failed him despite all the years of study? No, this was not the time to be intimidated.
Perhaps a little wit would work. “You wrapped them so nicely.”
The Sword asked, “Know anyone who can pick up the present?”
The Defender picked up his coat and removed a cell phone from his inside pocket. “Major Karmokov will make sure they find their way to jail.”
“Call him, and then I have urgent business with you.”
The Defender’s heart leaped. The Sword had business with him? How could he have attracted attention from the great Sword?
Stay calm, Sagunov. The Sword is only a man, not God.
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