Moreen grudgingly admitted that Akio Yasunaga had a nice place. It was a modern, two-story, cube-shaped building with large windows and an open patio atop the flat roof. It was also floating on Lake Union.
A narrow dock led out across the water towards it and two other neighboring floating homes, and they had a breath-taking view of the night skyline on the other side of the lake. An agent had confirmed Yasunaga’s presence inside half an hour ago, and Moreen was just waiting for the harbor patrol to get into position before moving in. She waited in an unmarked police car with the Illusionist in the passenger seat. The SWAT team was in a van parked behind her, and the only sound was a frenzied tapping.
“Stop that.” Moreen glanced at Yuna’s fingers on the door handle. “You’re making me jittery.”
Yuna’s fingers went still. Ten seconds passed in almost complete silence.
“Yasunaga’s mine,” Yuna growled.
“Excuse me?” Moreen felt a headache coming on.
Yuna glared forward, though she wasn’t looking out the windshield. “When we get in there, I’m going to take Yasunaga down. He’s the one who bribed Mitch. He’s mine.”
“Yasunaga will be ‘taken down’ by whoever ends up in the best position to do it—whether that’s you, me, or another agent. You’re getting paid to do your job, not live out a personal revenge fantasy.”
Yuna met Moreen’s stern look with a defiant glare, but it wasn’t long before her gaze wavered and completely dropped. “I owe him at least one punch in the face,” she muttered.
“Take that anger out on a punching bag later. Don’t let it make you reckless and stupid.”
Yuna didn’t answer. Moreen wondered if she’d made a mistake bringing her along. The kid hadn’t had nearly enough time to deal with Lightblade’s betrayal. Could she really keep her head in the game? But with Dave on Black Valentine duty and Yasunaga having Howl and who knew how many other super-powered guards, Moreen needed backup who could do more than just shoot a gun.
“Just stay calm and focused,” Moreen said. “We bring in Yasunaga, and that’ll get the chief off your back.”
Yuna’s eyes widened a fraction, but she didn’t respond. Maybe she was thinking that was a double-edged sword, and if Yasunaga got away, she’d fall under even deeper suspicion. She didn’t have much time to dwell on it, though, because the radio crackled alive, and the harbor patrol reported that they were five minutes out.
“Let’s go,” Moreen said.
She left two SWAT team members on the shore to guard that route of escape and led Yuna and the rest onto the dock. When Moreen had first gotten a look at the floating home, she’d thought it was a stupid place for a criminal hideout. The only way for the Kurodas to leave on foot was that single narrow dock. But that weakness was also its greatest strength: the only way for anyone to approach without a boat was the same path. As Moreen and her team crept down the dock, they were lined up like plastic ducks at a shooting gallery.
The moment one of the Kurodas spotted them, they’d be dead, so it was a good thing they had the Illusionist. Yuna couldn’t pull off true invisibility like Death, but at nighttime, she didn’t have to. She wrapped darkness around them like a curtain, concealing them as they moved forward. The illusion blotted out Moreen’s view ahead, hiding the city lights and their reflections on the water like ink spilled over a drawing. If she looked down, she could see herself and the boards of the dock, but only blackness lay in front of her. She kept her gaze to the side, counting the dock’s wooden posts. Once they passed number twelve, they’d be at the ramp to Yasunaga’s house.
The sound of water lapping against the shore created a deceptively peaceful atmosphere. Moreen strained her hearing, alert for any voice or hint of movement that would indicate they’d been spotted. Every time the wood creaked beneath them, she winced. A cool breeze carried over the water, keeping her from sweating under her bulletproof vest. The vest wouldn’t be much protection if the Kurodas opened fire before they got closer to the house. She and her team could jump into the lake and try to hide, but water didn’t stop bullets, and even hiding under the dock wouldn’t shield them for long. Their lives hung on Yuna’s illusion and a little luck. If Yasunaga’s security included an infrared camera, they were screwed.
The dim rumble of boat engines began as just another distant noise in the night, but as Moreen neared the house, so did they. Slowly, the noise grew louder and more distinct, and it spurred movement from within the house. The sound of a door sliding open came from the other side of Yuna’s illusion, followed by someone cursing. This was it. Moreen still couldn’t see the house, but she knew she was practically at the front door. She held up her hand to signal her team to wait.
“This is the Seattle Police.” A voice over a loudspeaker shattered the quiet night. “Akio Yasunaga, you’re under arrest. You and your associates are to exit the building with your hands in the air.”
Ideally, that would be that. Yasunaga and his men would surrender, and Moreen and her team would simply escort them to the police van. But most likely, she was going to have to go inside and persuade them to come out.
“I repeat: this is the police. You’re surrounded. Exit the building immediately with your hands in the air.”
Moreen forced herself not to jump the gun. Her finger twitched in urge to signal the Illusionist to move in, but there was a chance—a small, unlikely chance—that the Kurodas would surrender, and no one would have to get hurt. She’d give them a minute to consider it. The buzz of the boat engines seemed louder than ever, grating against her eardrums and setting her on edge. Raised voices were barely audible under the noise. Some kind of argument inside. Someone in there better be advocating surrender.
Seconds ticked by. Moreen glanced back at Yuna, unable to make out the details of her face in the dark. “Now—”
An ear-splitting shriek cut her off. She flinched, and gunshots shattered the night.
“Move in! Now!” she barked.
Yuna dropped the darkness around them. Moreen drew her gun and charged in.
Sorry for the late update due to holiday stuff. I hope everyone enjoyed the weekend. I made out pretty well at Christmas: Wonder Woman wall art, a Wonder Woman umbrella, a Wonder Woman lightswitch cover… My family knows who my favorite superhero is. 😉
The next update will be in 2017. Have a safe and happy New Year!