Paul was dumbfounded. He only stared at Irene. Scott on the other hand walked over to her side. He said nothing.
The Captain recovered from the ground. He looked at Irene, shock evident on his face.
“You would kill children?” he said. “What kind of monster are you?!”
Irene squeezed the trigger briefly, sending flame into the air momentarily. She grinned at him. “The good kind of monster,” she replied.
The Captain looked from Irene to Scott and back to Irene. The confusion in his eyes was understandable. How could two human beings condone incinerating children? Who did that?
The Captain then looked at Paul. “You would allow this?” he asked.
Paul frowned. “Why were you transporting powered children into the country? You knew what would befall them. You knew we’d come for you. Yet you did it all the same. You are the one who brought this fate upon them, not me.”
The Captain’s face fell into horror. He made to speak, but Paul raised a hand to shut him off. “You will answer for your crimes. You will also answer for their crimes. But we are not killing them … at least not now. Not here.”
That drew a surprised gaze from Irene. Scott didn’t look surprised. But he didn’t speak.
“What do you mean, boss?” she asked, uncertain. Her aim dropped. It was almost as if she didn’t like the prospect of not killing the kids. Paul wondered why he still had feelings for her, knowing what kind of a monster she was. It was beyond him.
“I mean we’re not going to set them ablaze,” Paul replied with a hard tone. “We’re going to dock them and transport them to a hospital, where they can be taken care off. Then we are going to find out where they came from and so on.”
Irene’s confusion only increased. She glanced at Scott for explanations. Scott shrugged. “Don’t look at me. He’s the boss,” Scott said.
Irene glared back at Paul.
Paul didn’t dignify her glare with one of his own. Instead he looked away. He tapped on the communication device in his ear as he walked over to the Captain. He pulled an electronic handcuff from his utility belt and cuffed the Captain. Then he hefted the man to his feet.
“Paul to the DSS lead, come in,” Paul said.
“This is Captain Ayomide, sir,” said a voice in his ear. “We have secured the vessel, but we are standing back while you do your shadow work. We are also keeping the media away. They somehow got wind of this operation.”
“Good man,” Paul said. “But I want you to allow the media access. I also want you to proceed into the vessel. We are taking prisoners…”
“Say again, sir,” the man interrupted. “Did you say you are taking prisoners?”
“Roger that, Captain,” Paul replied, refusing to meet Irene’s heated stare. “Prepare a bus. There are a lot of kids.”
“Roger that, sir,” the man said, “DSS lead out.”
“Thomas, come in,” Paul said.
“I heard it all, sir,” Thomas replied. “We’re allowing them access to the vessel. What do you want us to do with the sailors?”
“Hand them over to the local police,” Paul replied.
Thomas didn’t reply for a moment. When he did, e said, “Are you sure about that, sir?”
Protocol demanded they don’t leave hostages. The fact that there were shadow powered people was still a secret in the world. Usually, when they operated, they killed everyone involved so the news wouldn’t get out. Now, Paul was telling Thomas to let the sailors go, sailors who had seen them use their shadow powers. Sailors who could talk to the police. It was a massive breach of security.
“Do it,” Paul said.
“Roger that, sir,” Thomas replied.
Paul shoved the Captain in Irene’s direction. Irene didn’t take him. Instead, she smashed an angry fist into his right temple, sending him to the ground, unconscious. She tapped on her earpiece to disable it. Then she glared at Paul.
“What the fuck, Paul?” Irene bellowed. “You want to get yourself killed?”
Scott folded his arms. He was fuming, but he wasn’t saying anything.
“Pick him up and dock him,” Paul said in a measured voice. He was still wondering why they were all fighting him, when they knew he was just trying to save a bunch of kids.
“Fucking answer me, Paul!” she yelled.
Paul heaved a sigh. “If you speak to me like that again, I will have you arrespted, Irene,” Paul said, his voice totally calm. “Now, I gave you a direct order. You will obey me otherwise I will dock you as a sympathizer.”
Irene’s mouth fell agape, her face exchanging fury for shock. Her entire body trembled with rage.
“He gave you a direct order, Irene,” Scott muttered. Though he was calm, though he was obviously on Irene’s side, he spoke with an edge in his voice.
Irene shut her mouth up, frowned, and nodded. She slung the flame thrower over her back, shifting the gallon of petrol to her other hand. She roused up the Captain with a couple of slaps, before helping him to his feet and leading him out of the room.
Moments after she was gone, DSS agents began trouping into the room and helping the kids out. They found out that some of the kids were injured, while some were disabled. Paul ensured that the TV news crew that had gathered on the harbor were getting everything on camera.
The DSS lead agent had organized about thirty black, tinted SUVs to ferry the kids to the nearest General Hospital. Paul had ordered Thomas to go with the vehicles ensure that the transport wasn’t waylaid en route. Paul’s superiors could have sent another tac-team to arrest the vehicles and kill the kids. Thomas would ensure that didn’t happen.
The sailors and terrorists were handed to the local police. The DSS agent cordoned off the ship, stationing a unit of ten agents to keep the vessel cordoned off. A Shadow Corps clean up team would come to destroy the ship, since shadow energy was still very much evident all over the vessel.
Paul and his team of agents were the last to exit the vessel. The DSS has succeeded in sending off passersby, but they had left a couple of news crew behind according to Paul’s behest.
A fleet of four black Cadillac Escalades lined the harbor. The trunks were popped and the hidden armory was open right before the TV news crew, who were recording the whole proceeding. Paul and his team went on to remove their weapons and store them in the trunks.
Scott, Irene, and Paul shared the lead vehicle. Irene was the first to be finish loading her weapons in the trunk. Before she went into the car, she muttered into Paul’s ears, “You’re finished.” And she was gone.
Paul glanced at Scott, who had heard.
“Don’t look at me, boss,” he replied. “I warned you.” He finished up and went into the car.
Paul’s last weapon was a pistol, which he gingerly dropped in its casing before sealing off the armory and returning the plastic platform that hid the armory. He taped a button and the trunk closed up.
Paul heaved a sigh, swirled on his heels, and marched to where the DSS agents were keeping the TV news crew in line. He had one more thing to do before he was shipped off to Purgatory. He was going to give a speech.
To be continued…