This is a continuation of ‘Have a Plan C‘
“You make one stupid move,” Michael growled, his knee pressed into Demers’s back, “and I’ll put you down myself.” He stood, grabbed Demers by the collar of his jacket and yanked him to his feet. As he swung Demers around to hand off to one of the men wearing a black camouflage uniform, his gaze landed on the figure limping towards him. “Didn’t expect to see you tonight.”
“You took my car,” Josh said with an edge. “Just making sure it’s still in one piece.”
“That’s what you’re concerned about? Your car?” Michael waved off Josh’s little boy look of protest, then pointed at Demers. “I need this bastard locked up in a secure location for a few hours. You can help with that?”
“Absolutely.” Josh pivoted and flagged over two of his men, who escorted Demers to the white van. “Be honest with me, Michael. Is that man in any way responsible for James’s disappearance?”
“He’s working with Adam Clarke, so, yes. In one way or another. Did he order James’s arrest? That I don’t know. Yet.”
“It’s all right.” Josh glanced in the direction of the van. “I’ll find out. And I’ll be creative in getting the information out of him that I want.”
Josh held out his hand.
“Really? You rolled in here with two cars and a van. What am I supposed to do?” Michael pressed his fingers to his eyebrow, dragged them across it and down the side of his face. “Do you see who’s missing? Clarke’s missing. So is Brian. And that’s bad news because it means Brian’s gone after Clarke, and if he finds him…”
“You’re going after them. Is that a good idea?”
“At the moment, there aren’t any other options.”
Josh threw him a disapproving look. “I’m taking my car back. But I’ll leave you one of the other vehicles, and Alex will go with you. You can’t, and shouldn’t, do this on your own.”
Michael gestured towards the Mercedes. “Key’s still in the ignition.”
“Do you even know where to begin looking for them?” Josh asked as they headed towards his car.
“I’ll track Brian’s phone. Shouldn’t be hard as long as it’s on.” When Alex joined them, he said, “You don’t have to do this.”
“It’s my job, sir,” Alex countered.
“All right. Let’s move.” Michael followed Alex to a black Dodge Charger and climbed in. Seconds later, the tires squealed as the vehicle sped out of the garage. They had only reached the corner when he shouted, “Pull over!”
“What’s going on?” Alex asked.
Michael bolted from the car and scanned the grass and cement sidewalk. He noticed the shiny object sticking out from under a trash bin. Brian’s phone. “Damn it!”
Brian looked up and down the deserted alleyway, his gaze travelling across the row of clementine-orange garage doors. He bent forward to remove the padlock from his storage unit, then pushed up the metal door. Took a step back and gestured Adam Clarke inside. “Move. Don’t make me say it twice.”
“Do you think you’re going to get away with this?” Clarke asked with a hint of panic as he shuffled into the dark space.
“Shut up!” Brian barked, placed his hand to the centre of Clarke’s back and shoved. Turned on a light and pushed the door closed. “Sit!” When Clarke didn’t move, he crossed to him and forced him down onto the metal bench.
“I don’t know what you expect to prove,” Clarke spat.
Brian didn’t respond as he unstacked the boxes at the back of the unit. Eight in total. The space itself was practically empty with just the bench, a chair, and the boxes. He tore the tape off a box, opened the flaps, and pulled out a tripod and set it up. That didn’t take long, and then he took out the encrypted phone he had concealed in his pocket and attached it to the tripod. Opened the camera app, ensured it was in video mode, and aimed it at Clarke. He hit ‘Record.’
“State your name and occupation,” Brian ordered as he dragged the chair across the cement floor and, when it was next to the tripod, dropped onto it.
“I’m not playing this game,” Clarke snapped.
Brian reached out to hit the ‘Pause’ button, then shot out of his chair. Dug through another box and removed a locked metal briefcase. It took him three tries to remember the combination, but he got it open. Grabbed the Glock 17 and attached the silencer. Returned to his chair and pointed the gun at Clarke. “You only get one warning and this is it.” He touched the button to start recording again. “State your name and occupation.”
“Adam Clarke. Director of the Agency, which is responsible for managing and mitigating national security threats.”
“What is your relationship to Angelique Romero?” Brian asked.
“No.” Clarke’s shapeless lips disappeared as he pursed them. “I will not —”
Brian squeezed the trigger.
Clarke fell off the bench and, with his handcuffed hands, clutched his leg as he cried out in pain. “Are you insane?”
“I warned you,” Brian said flatly. “Get back on the bench.”
“You shot me. I’m going to need some help.”
“Get on the bench,” Brian snapped. “Or the next bullet goes in your kneecap.”
Michael bolted upright and assessed his surroundings. Propped up on the brown leather sofa, he realized he was back at Coburg’s estate just outside of Alexandria. He massaged the back of his neck, then planted his feet on the floor and reached for his phone. The screen brightened and he flinched at the time. Ten minutes to ten.
After finding Brian’s phone on the sidewalk, he’d had no luck tracking him down. Unlike London, Ottawa had few CCTV cameras around the city. He’d asked one of the Agency’s technical analysts to review the footage in the two-hour period after Adam Clarke’s ‘disappearance.’ But neither Clarke nor Brian appeared in any of it. Damn it, Brian. Where the fuck are you?
Michael swung his head in the direction of the raspy voice and accepted the mug held out to him. “Thanks.” He took a sip and winced. “God, don’t give up your day job.”
“You’re welcome.” Josh eased into the club chair opposite Michael. “You finally got some rest.”
“How long was I out?” Michael asked.
“About five hours. If it’s any consolation, you still look like shit.” Josh flicked his angled eyebrows. “We brought the bag in from your vehicle and it’s in the bathroom down the hall. Get cleaned up and then we can figure out a new game plan.”
Michael tasted his coffee again. “Did you get anything useful out of Demers?”
“I need to find Brian before he does something stupid.” Michael stood. “What about Sam?”
“He insisted on going back to Ottawa.” Josh raised a hand. “I tried to warn him but he wouldn’t listen. Alex drove him back earlier this morning.”
“He’s pretty stubborn.” Michael started for the door, then spun around. “How good are you at digging up someone’s past?”
“Using James’s connections, there’s pretty much nothing I can’t find out.” Josh rose and closed the distance between them. “Why?”
“Find out everything you can on Brian before he disappeared,” Michael said, matter-of-fact.
“Aren’t you worried about what he might do when he finds out? Or better yet, aren’t you worried about what I might find out about you?”
“Brian faked his death and didn’t tell me. So, maybe I don’t know him like I thought I did or if he’s hiding anything else from me. Just do it. It might be the only way to find him.” Michael took a step forward, then looked back at Josh. “And, for the record, I don’t have anything to hide.” He waited a moment, for Josh to react in some way. Nothing.
Great, Michael thought as he left the room. He bought it.