Hostile Takeover

Author: Nu-klear <nu_klear[at]>

Disclaimer: All characters belong to their respective owners

Feedback: Yes, Give me some! Good or bad, just let me know you're reading it already...

Summary: Hostile takeover is a familiar corporate term... that's about to take on a whole new meaning!


December 31, 1996
Rio, Brazil

The figure stood in the shadows and watched as its target moved through the crowd, receiving greetings just short of salutes from several of the scattered group of similarly dressed people as he passed. It had been following the middle age man for the past few days, using the preparations for the celebration to mask its presence as it waited for an opportunity to fulfill its contract, to present itself. But as it watched him pass the alley where it waited, it began considering the contingencies it had in place while silently lamenting over this being the last night in the 'safety window' the contractors had 'arranged' for the job. it shook its head and growled slightly in annoyed frustration as its target went into a club on the far side of the street. <Damn it, he hasn't even finished half of his second beer yet! Contractor's orders or not there is no way I'm going to try tangling with him sober, especially after what I saw in the files the contractors gave me on him…>

<I really wish they hadn't stuck us with a couple of green horns for this gig!> Sergeant Todd silently bitched as he walked thought the crowed streets nursing a beer, more for show than anything. He made his way towards the club down the street his team had said they would be at to check on 'his men'. <If they were that worried about me having a full team, they should have either given us leave or stuck us on guard duty until my men were ready for duty rather than give us a couple of rookies and send us to babysit a bunch of desk jockeys that seem to need us to even teach them how to safely wipe their own asses, until the rest of my team is ready…>

Finally reaching the club the sergeant began scanning the crowd for the familiar faces of his team. <I can't help thinking, and being offended, by the fact that this whole op is probably just an excuse to get us out of LA and minimize the risk of us blabbing about what happened to Dragan to the other teams. I mean why else would they want me to watch over a bunch of desk jockeys whose biggest threat seems to be getting alcohol poisoning? They've got the worst discipline I've seen in seven years of working for Dragan. And when they asked to join us for our training exercises the way they looked at the training weapons… I'd swear they had never even seen a gun before… and if I thought it was possible I'd say their shooting is even worse than that accountant brother-in-law of mine. Still, I guess they could've sent us to a worse location to be driven insane…>

Todd walked up to the table where most of the veterans of his team were gathered, talking and drinking as they watched a soccer game on the TV above the bar. After taking a quick head count he sighed and shook his head. "Has anyone seen Higgins? He hasn't checked in and isn't answering his cell."

A sound from farther down the alley it was hiding in drew its attention; a moment later the back door to the bar that made up the left side of the alley was thrown open and two large men stepped out and threw the unconscious body of a young man dressed in the same garb as its target onto a pile of garbage before going back inside. <Now this looks a bit more promising.>

After waiting for a couple of minutes to see if anyone was going to come after the kid, the being walked over to the sprawled form. As it entered the cone of light put off by the bulb above the door the being appeared as a non-descript dark-haired human male, the kind that you would simply overlook under most circumstances. Lifting his hand he snapped his fingers and two men moved out of the shadows, knelt down and dug through the unconscious young man's pockets until they found his wallet. They handed it to the man, who quickly went through it until he found a black card with a stylized dragon on one side, the kid's picture and personal data on the other. The man looked down at the kid and chuckled softly.

"Well, well, Corporal Higgins, it looks like you're having a very bad day…" the man motioned to the men that were still kneeling beside the young man, each grabbed him by an arm and lifted the kid off the pile of garbage, then pulled his jacket and shirt aside as their master's eyes turned yellow and a set of ridges formed on his forehead. "Too bad… it looks like it's only going to be getting worse."

<He may not be the target, but he's part of his team and that will have to do… > Grabbing a handful of his hair the master vampire pulled the young man's head aside and sank his fangs into his neck. After a moment the master vampire pulled away from the young man's neck, used one of his fingernails to cut the side of his palm and then shoved it into the young man's mouth as one of his Minions rubbed his throat to force him to swallow. <If they want their precious Sergeant Robert Todd so badly they can come get him themselves; they're not paying me enough to tangle with someone as good or crazy as his file makes him out to be!>

"No sir," The soldiers looked at each then back at there team leader. "Didn't he stay at the compound?"

"No, Eddy and Chris volunteered for babysitting duty." Todd frowned and shook his head, motioning the men at the table to follow him as he pulled out and activated the device that was lovingly referred to by the Dragon Arms teams as the 'get-your-ass-to-the-regroup-point-right-fucking-now' signal then cursed a few seconds later when everybody but Higgins signaled acknowledgment and started for the door. "Come on, we better find him before something that wants to eat him does…"

"Yes sir…" The men said nearly as one as they got to their feet.

By the time Sergeant Todd's group made it to the door the rest of the team, minus Higgins, had gathered at the regroup point across the street from the club. When he reached his team Sergeant Todd stepped into the center of the group and began briefing them on the situation. "We've got a missing man; Higgins missed his check-in a little over a half hour ago and didn't respond to the regroup signal…"

"Oh, give me a fucking break, Rudy..." the large man flinched under the glare of his superior for his breach of etiquette. "Sorry Sarge, but are you telling me I just walked away from a girl I had a good chance of getting laid with, because Higgins missed his check-in…" the team sniper complained even as he checked to make sure his weapons were still where he had concealed them, "more than likely, because he *is* getting laid!"

"If that's all it turns out to be, Horace, then you can all take it out of whatever's left of his hide *after* I'm done with him…" Todd growled as he glared at the offending team member. "Right now we are gonna spilt into teams of two and sweep every inch within a two-block wide grid between the club and the path from HQ to this club. Is that clear?!"

After each of the team members nodded acknowledgment, they paired off with their usual partners and took off in separate directions.

"Hey, what's going on in there?"

The master vampire glanced over his shoulder, seeing the police officers coming down the alley towards them. He took the limp body from his minions and threw it over his shoulder as he began to walk away, not even turning when he gave the minions his final command. "I'm taking my contractor's prize to the rendezvous point… Kill them and do it quickly, then you can go suck sunlight for all I care."

The cops only saw a man walking away, carrying somebody over their shoulder. Not knowing the danger they drew their weapons and picked up their pace. "Freeze! All of you stay where you are!"

"What about our pay?" the larger of the two minions, who were completely ignoring the approaching police, asked their current master after glancing at his partner.

"Payment upon completion, as was agreement…" The master vampire dropped an envelope on a trash can as he passed. "The other part of your payment back will be delivered to your lair by dawn… be there or forfeit it."

"We'll be there…" The smaller minion paused to backhand the first cop who upon reaching them had grabbed the minion by the shoulder. "But the payment had better show up!"

"Don't worry; you'll get everything you have coming to you…" With that the master vampire vanished around the corner right before all hell broke out in the alley.

When the sound of gunfire erupted, the nearest groups of Sergeant Todd's team quickly moved to investigate, using the logic that following gunfire when missing a man would probably lead them to who they were looking for.

"Shit!" Sergeant Todd cursed and jumped back, barely avoiding getting hit by a car with tinted windows as he ran out of the alley in his rush to track down the source of the intermittent gunfire; however when his group found the alley that the ruckus was coming from, all they found was a group of police attempting to subdue two rather thuggish looking vampires with little success.

Sergeant Todd shook his head, silently cursing over the waste time this diversion had already cost them in finding his missing man. As he grabbed the silver-alloy combat knife from it sheath he moved up behind the largest vamp, drove the blade between the ribs under its armpit and into where the creature's heart should be while stepping past and sweeping the vamps legs out from under it, allowing gravity to pull the blade from its soon-to-be dusting body as he moved toward where his teammate was tangling with the remaining vampire.

The vampire's back arched as the burning explosion of pain filled its chest. Gritting its teeth it managed not to cry out as it hit the ground and then rolled to the side of the alley. Instinctively holding its arm to its chest to protect the injury, it waited for the shock of the injury to pass and looked over the alley just in time to see a middle-aged man drive a knife into the chest of the vampire's partner and watch as it begin to crumbling to dust. Realizing that, as things stood, his probable lifespan could be measured in minutes the vampire raised his hand, used his fingernails to make two long cuts in his throat and then went limp, eyes staring straight ahead unseeing.

Todd looked over the alley and saw only the body of the vamps' victim and the two policemen that were still conscious, but seeing they were much more interested in the condition of their comrades than him he looked down at the pile of dust that had been the second vampire and snorted in disgust. Todd caught his search partner's attention, motioned for him to follow and headed back to the area they had been searching. "Great; not only was that little disturbance a total waste of time, but those leeches weren't even a challenge…"

As soon as the pair was out of sight the seemingly dead vampire slowly got to his feet and made his way out of the alley pocketing the envelope on his way. An hour later found the vamp sitting on a crate in an abandoned building that it and its partner had taken as their lair, examining the slowly healing wound to the side of its chest. <Damn it, if that blade had been any longer I would have been dust, heart on the wrong side or not! Why the hell hasn't this healed yet, and what in the hell was that blade made of? Why was it able to kill vampires like that?>

Hearing an engine outside, the vampire walked over to a window that was out of direct sunlight to see what was going on. Outside a non-descript van was backing up to the entrance of the abandoned building. Feeling a chill go up his spine the vampire decided it was better to be safe than sorry and moved back into the building's interior, grabbing something hidden behind a stack of old crates as he went.

The men frowned and tugged on the leashes attached to the collars of the struggling young women they were leading into the run down building. After looking over the entry and seeing nothing the men looked at each other and shrugged. "Hello? We have a delivery."

"Leave the payment there and get out…" A voice demanded from deeper in the building; when the men looked they could just make out a figure standing in the shadows between a couple rows of stacked crates, "and close the door on your way out, blood-bags."

"Whatever you say, buddy…" The men reached up, removed the leashes from the girls' collars then quickly left the building, closing the door behind them. One of the men pulled out a cell phone and hit a number on speed dial as they got in their van and began to drive away serenely.

"The delivery has been made… we will be at the air field in fifteen minutes," The van never slowed or sped up, not even when the windows and door of building they had left a half mile behind them erupted in balls of flame. "Yes sir, everything went as planned; the loose ends have been tied up… Thank you, sir."

"Fuck!" The vamp cursed as pebbles and dust rained down from the ceiling of the tunnel. Finally reaching its end, he pulled himself into the basement of the building next door and threw the walky-talky he was holding at the nearest wall, shattering it into an unrecognizable pile of plastic, wires and circuit boards. "God, fucking, damn it! What the fuck is the world coming to when a guy can't even get paid for doing an honest day's work without some shit head trying to kill him? Eddy, you had better be glad that asshole dusted you, because if he hadn't I'd be making you wish you had been right about now! If I hadn't set up that mannequin with the walky-talky--like you said *not* to--I'd be dust too… I told you that hooking up with that stuck-up ass was a bad idea! And now I don't even get the pleasure of telling you 'I told you so'… Today has just flat out *SUCKED*!"

The vamp continued to rant about his current situation until he smelled smoke and heard the sound of sirens coming closer. Fearing discovery by some over-eager firefighter or police officer in his current injury-weakened state, the vamp pulled up one side of the cover to the floor drain that led to the city's storm sewers and jumped in, allowing the grate to fall closed behind him.

January 2, 1997

"Your proposal is intriguing, Mr. Manners… however, are you sure the information you're basing this on is correct?"

The middle-aged man handed a file folder to a nearby aid who placed it in the center of the desk in front of his superiors. "Yes, sirs; while the party we employed did not retrieve his assigned target, we have verified the information obtained from the fledgling through three separate sources and have received identical answers. Since Dragan's collapse, he hasn't even been seen by his own people and that was over three months ago, all the signs point to him having entered a hibernation cycle which presents us with this singular opportunity. If you allow me to focus the firm's full resources to this project it can succeed… which would not only cover the expense of the operation but greatly expand our resources however we will need to move fast and unfortunately forgo many of the standard niceties we usually engage in during this kind of venture if we are to succeed."

"You do realize the implication, both for yourself and more importantly the firm, should you be allowed to attempt this endeavor and it end in failure?" The figures behind the desk looked at each other silently for a moment before speaking to the underling again. "If you are unsuccessful the resulting retribution will be both swift and extreme; what that could cost the firm in time and resources is quite possibly incalculable."

"I understand," the middle aged man nodded, then gestured at the folder. "However, can the firm let the opportunity pass to combine those kinds of resources with its own? It would give the senior partners an unparalleled power base and place it much closer, and in a firmer position, to achieving the senior partners' goals."

"Are you willing to accept responsibility for the success or failure of this project?" The speaker closed the folder and passed it back to the aid. "Very well, Mr. Manners, you have the permission of the senior partners for Wolfham & Hart to initiate a hostile takeover of Dragon Arms Security."



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