Cosmos' Promise

Cosmos' Promise

Cosmos Promise 3

“I was following the transmissions and decided it might be prudent to keep an eye on any new traffic coming into Calais. It would appear Mr. Avilov might want to disappear but he isn’t above sending a few of his men to visit. Can you imagine? He actually thinks to harm Tansy’s family and kill you as well from the communications I intercepted,” RITA chuckled.

  Cosmos pushed away from the table, standing up and leaning forward with his hands splayed on the smooth surface. “How many and how long have you known they were in town?” Cosmos bit out in aggravation to RITA.

  “Oh, she told me about an hour ago but she said we should have time for you to get a shower and eat something,” Tilly replied as she quickly stuffed a piece of toast into her mouth and shooed Terra to hurry as well. “Angus needed to eat if he was going to be fighting for our lives. He gets low blood sugar and that is never good,” she added as she scooped up a forkful of eggs.

  Cosmos looked across the table at Tilly in disbelief. “You knew about this and didn’t tell me?” He demanded as he straightened up and glared at her.

  Tilly waved her fork at his plate. “Of course,” she admonished. “What good would worrying about it have done? They were going to come anyway. Now, eat something. You’ll feel better if you have something in your stomach.”

  “Tilly ….,” Cosmos began before he growled out in frustration. “Forget it. RITA, code Red,” he called out as he moved away from the small kitchen area and toward the living room. “Show targets on the screen. I need numbers, positions, and weapons description. NOW!” He stated as he stopped in front of the couch in the living area.

  Panels on the wall rose to reveal additional screens mounted into the surface. Soon, an entire wall of images showed different sections of the small town and the area around the warehouse. Six SUV’s were pulling up further down the street. Cosmos cursed loudly. Avilov had no respect for life, that included the lives of innocent people. They would be considered collateral damage as far as the billionaire was concerned.

  “How many?” Cosmos asked tersely as Terra, Tilly and Angus came to stand next to him.

  “Thirteen,” RITA responded. “I guess they aren’t a superstitious lot.”

  Cosmos ignored RITA’s ridiculous comment. His mind was already working on the different ways to contain what was about to happen. He didn’t want to involve the local law enforcement but if there were going to be dead bodies he might not have much of a choice. Still, he needed to minimize the possibility of an innocent bystander getting hurt.

  “Angus,” Cosmos said still watching the screens as the figures began moving up along the sides and back of the warehouse. Two split off and turned the corner coming around to the front of the warehouse. “I need you three to head to the lab, use the back elevator. I want you to take the women back to Baade. RITA, unlock the front, side and back doors once Angus and the women are secure. Seal the areas once the men are inside,” he bit out.

  He turned his head and frowned when he heard Angus grunt and saw him looking at him in grim silence. Tilly and Terra were standing looking at him with their arms crossed and dark frowns on their faces. His gaze shifted back to Angus and he released a dark oath.

  “Cosmos,” Angus said, pushing his glasses up on his nose. “I am not leaving you here alone. The women can go but I’ll stay. I may be an author but I can help you defend your home.”

  Cosmos opened his mouth to assure Angus that he and RITA were more than capable of handling the men coming when another voice interrupted him. All four of them swiveled around to look at the dark figures that were stepping from a shimmering doorway that had opened near the entrance to the kitchen. Teriff’s grim face greeted them.

  “He will not be alone. Angus, take the women to safety now,” Teriff snarled out, his eyes following the men on the monitors. “How many are there? I hope you don’t want any of them alive.”

  Cosmos looked at the huge leader of the Prime. He was wearing the typical black vest, pants and boots that Cosmos had come to know was their uniform of choice when they were about to enter a battle. Mak, Merrick, Brock and Lan had been wearing identical uniforms last night. A shiver went through Cosmos as he stared into the frigid eyes looking at him.

  “There are thirteen. I would like to keep at least one alive long enough to get information out of him,” Cosmos replied before turning to look back at the monitors. “One of them might know where Avilov is hiding. He has gone off the grid at the moment. He is the one in charge and the one I need to stop,” he added.

  Teriff looked at the men who had entered with him. There were five of them in all, including his youngest son, Derik, who had insisted on returning with them. Core, Merrick’s cousin, and one other member of the Eastern clan, plus one of his own trusted warriors were with him as well. His eyes lingered on the dark, almost pained look in his youngest son’s eyes. Something happened last night but Derik refused to tell him, even when he demanded to know.

  Teriff was having serious reservations about the interaction between Baade and Earth. The only thing that overrode his better judgment was the fact that his three eldest sons had found their bond mates here. Their searches for mates among the closest star systems had proven fruitless. It was the human male’s invention that had finally given them what they needed. Teriff’s lips curved at the corner as he thought of his oldest son’s mate, Tink. She was a tiny thing but full of spirit, just as her two older sisters were. His eyes moved to the two humans who birthed the three girls. He could understand where their spirit came from as he studied the male and female who were fast becoming two of his closest friends. There was just something about them that he liked. His eyes moved to the large male who was staring at him with a cold calm. It was the males of the species that he did not like – well, except for Angus.

  “Angus,” Teriff said again, addressing the older human male. “Take my daughter and your mate to safety. This male will not be alone.”

  Angus nodded in relief. “Come on ladies, you heard the man,” he said sliding his hand around his wife’s tiny waist.

  “But Angus ….,” Tilly began before she glanced over her shoulder at the monitors with a sigh of regret.

  “Tansy needs you,” Angus whispered quietly in her ear. “So do Hannah and Tink, sweetheart. The men are more prepared to deal with this than we are,” he assured her.

  “What about Cosmos?” Terra asked unable to hide her fear.

  Tilly slid her hand into Terra’s trembling one. “He is a lot stronger than you realize. Your father will help him. I would feel better if you examined Tansy as well,” she admitted. “I’m worried about her.”

  Terra looked down at Tilly before she turned back to Cosmos. Making a decision, she walked over to him. Placing her hands on his shoulders, she rose up to press her lips to his in a brief but fierce kiss. Her body trembled when she felt his strong, warm hands grip her hips tightly for a moment before he gently pushed her back.

  “Go,” he muttered softly. “I’ll come to you when it is safe.”

  “Do you promise?” Terra asked in a shaky voice.

  Cosmos smiled down at her, brushing a strand of her silky hair back from her face. “I promise,” he swore. “Nothing will keep me from your side – nothing.”

  “Cosmos,” RITA called out. “The first breach has been made. Eight men have entered the lower warehouse area.”

  “Go!” Cosmos said pushing Terra gently toward Tilly’s waiting arms. “I need to know you are safe.”

  Terra nodded before turning to walk toward the shimmering doorway where Tilly and Angus stood. Her eyes locked on the thunderous look on her father’s face for a brief moment before she hurried through the doorway after Tilly. Angus stepped through after her. Within seconds, the doorway was gone. Cosmos stood staring at the empty spot for a long moment, rubbing his chest which suddenly felt like someone had ripped his heart out. He jumped when he felt a hand grip him on his shoulder.

  Cosmos turned and looked into Teriff’s blistering eyes. “Stay away from my da
ughter,” Teriff growled. “I will not allow her to be with a human male. I should never have sent her here.”

  “Now is not the time to discuss this,” Cosmos bit out as RITA came on to announce another three men had scaled the warehouse and were now entering through the roof access. “Can you and two of your men handle the eight in the lower warehouse? RITA, are they contained?”

  “Yes, dear,” RITA called out cheerfully. “I’ve also contained the three coming through the upper level. The other two are about to enter through the front. They are heavily armed and the initial scan suggests they are wearing body armor.”

  “Core,” Teriff turned to look at the huge male behind him that had remained silent since he had entered. “You and Rav take care of the men on the top floor. Derik, you, Lal and I will take care of the men below.”

  Cosmos nodded. “I’ll take care of our guests at the front door,” he said walking over to the fireplace. Pressing a button under the mantle, a small compartment opened. He pulled out several small ear buds. Turning back to the men watching him, he handed one to each man. “Wear these. RITA will guide you to the hidden entrances to both areas. This way you will have the element of surprise. Be careful,” he said tersely. “I don’t want to lose any more men. RITA, open the front door and seal off all rooms except for the gym. Contain them there. I’ll be waiting.”

  Cosmos didn’t bother waiting to see if the men listened to him. They were more than capable of handling the men who were here to kill him. He walked back down the hallway to his bedroom. Striding over to his closet, he stopped in front of the back wall. Pressing his palm against it, he felt more than saw the scan that would open the passageway down to his private gym. Along the right wall just inside the entrance were three shelves filled with weapons. He quickly pulled several knives from the top shelf before reaching for two Ruger nine millimeter handguns. They would work the best in the close quarters. He slid one of the guns into the waist of his jeans at his lower back while he held the other in his left hand. He reached out and grabbed three extra clips, sliding them into his back pockets. He only needed to neutralize two men. He always veered to the side of caution, preferring to have more firepower than he would actually need in any given situation.

  “RITA, status report,” he asked quietly as he jogged down the spiral staircase.

  “Teriff, Derik and Lal have reached the downstairs warehouse. My sensors are showing eight body signatures plus theirs. I have turned off all lighting. My initial scans support that Avilov’s men are not prepared for fighting in the dark. Teriff and the other men have the ability to see well in near total darkness. It should not take them long to neutralize the threat,” she said cheerfully. “Core and Rav are just entering the top level. I’m afraid I can’t totally seal it. Since the windows near the top are small and the glass was replaced with ballistic glass made from polycarbonate, thermoplastic and layers of laminated glass, you decided it wasn’t necessary to add the additional metal panels,” she added in rebuke.

  Cosmos rolled his eyes and gritted his teeth to keep from making a smart-ass response to that observation. He knew better than to argue with her when she was in this mode. She had been on him about upgrading his security system for the past year after a crazy zealot tried to break in hoping to steal some of his inventions. Instead, the guy had tried to sue him when he fell off one of the fire escapes and broke his leg.

  “What about the other two men?” He asked instead.

  “Oh, they are in the gym now,” she replied. “Be careful, Cosmos. I’ve run them through every security database in the world. Both of these men are wanted by Interpol, the U.S. government, and about six other countries. They are extremely dangerous and well trained,” she added in a tone filled with worry that sounded so close to Tilly that Cosmos felt his lips curve.

  “I’ll be careful,” he promised. “I made a promise to Terra that I would come for her. I can’t break that now, can I?” He teased before pulling in a deep breath and flexing his shoulders to rid them of the tightness that came with the knowledge that he was about to enter a kill or be killed situation. “Give me their location then seal the door after I go through,” he demanded in a calm, steady voice filled with steely determination.

  “They have spread out. Target one is near the weight sets. Target two just passed the door to the sauna,” she whispered in his ear. “I’ve lowered the lighting so it will be more difficult for them to see. You know the layout of the room. I’ll do what I can to help you,” she added before silently opening the hidden doorway in the linen closet. “Good luck.”

  I hope Lady Luck is on my side after this as well, Cosmos couldn’t help but think as he tightened his fingers around the gun he was holding. If the look in Teriff’s eyes was anything to go by, I’m going to need it.

  Cosmos closed his mind to everything but the task at hand as he stepped out of the linen closet. He had a promise to keep. He couldn’t do that if he was dead.

  Chapter 4

  Cosmos slipped into the weight room closet. It opened out behind a false wall in the weight room and could only be opened using a coded password. He glanced through the two way mirror his security team had installed. He could see the room clearly without being seen himself. His eyes moved to the figures that slowly searched the equipment room. His eyes narrowed as he watched them. Both men moved with the ease of teamwork telling him they would be formidable opponents. Rolling his neck to ease the tension, he gripped the Ruger tightly in his hand. He needed to even the odds. One of the men was behind a set of trainers. The other was near the free weights. RITA reminded him that the men were wearing Kevlar vests. He would need to aim for either the head or lower extremities. He released the breath he was holding, ordered RITA to open the door and rolled out from behind the mirror, firing rapidly.

  He heard the low grunt of one of the men before he rolled behind a bench press. The thud of bullets whizzed by him, missing his head by scant inches as the men returned fire. He rolled over onto his knees and pushed up with one hand. Running as fast as he could, he fired as he raced to a thick support beam along the west side of the room. A low curse escaped his lips as he felt the burn from a bullet as it cut through the back of his left pant leg. A nagging pain and sudden moist heat followed the sharp sting. He ignored it as he flattened against the thick post, ejecting a clip and sliding another one into its place.

  “Palvo, Ви мобільний?” A voice yelled out.

  Palvo, are you mobile? Cosmos listened and waited to see if Palvo answered his friend. A dark curse in Ukrainian let Cosmos know that the man might be wounded but not bad enough to prevent him from still being a threat.

  Shit, round one goes to the bad guys, Cosmos thought in disgust. I should have taken the head shot.

  “Стріляти ублюдок! Не вбивайте його. Я хочу привілей робити це,” ‘Shoot the bastard! Don’t kill him. I want the privilege of doing that’ Palvo muttered in a voice filled with pain.

  Great! I don’t think either one of these assholes will be giving me any information, Cosmos thought as another round of bullets shredded the sheet rock covering the beam.

  Sliding down, Cosmos rolled to the right and returned fire. “Cosmos, according to my calculations if you hit the top metal weight at a forty-five degree angle the bullet from your handgun will ricochet into the villain standing near the door to the sauna,” RITA whispered in his ear.

  Just like playing pool, Cosmos thought before he muttered a quick ‘thanks’ under his breath. He jerked his hand up and aimed for the metal weight. He fired once more before ducking back behind the beam. Crouching, he ran along the short wall that separated his running track from the rest of the room before diving behind it as a series of bullets cut a path behind him.

  “RITA, what’s the status?” Cosmos bit out as he pulled his last clip out of his back pocket and exchanged it with the spent one.

  “Perfect shot, dear,” RITA said with glee. “You hit a bulls-
eye through the center of his forehead. I am detecting only yours and the other man’s respiration. Oh dear, I don’t think the one you injured is very happy with you. He is threatening some really outrageous things that he plans to do to you.”

  “You are dead!” Palvo yelled out in fury. “You think you can fuck with me, American! I’m going to gut you slowly until you beg for me to kill you.”

  Cosmos’ lips curved and he shook his head. Why did the assholes of the world think they could threaten you and you were supposed to just shake and give up? He wondered in disgust. Not only did it not work with him, it told him where the man was even without RITA’s assistance.

  “He is moving behind the Stairmaster. You never did like that piece of equipment if I remember correctly,” RITA speculated.

  “Not now, RITA,” Cosmos muttered. “Which side? Left or right?”

  “Left,” RITA replied. “If you shoot between the bars of the bench press at nine o’clock you will hit him in the right hip. He is covered otherwise.”

  “Thanks,” Cosmos murmured from where he was crouched behind the short wall.

  Rising up, he pulled the trigger three times. Wood splintered next to his head as the man returned fire, slicing into his left cheek. From the guttural cry, he had hit his target. Cosmos rose up, keeping his gun aimed where the man lay on the floor. He stepped cautiously around the edge of the wall and began walking toward the figure when RITA’s voice suddenly called out a warning to him.

  “He has a grenade, Cosmos!” RITA called out anxiously. “Cover yourself!”

  Cosmos turned and threw himself back over the wall just as an explosion rocked the room, followed by another one as additional explosives on the man detonated. Weights and other equipment flew through the room becoming deadly missiles. Cosmos covered his head as debris rained down around him. A metal bar shot through the wood of the wall missing his head by less than a centimeter. Alarms sounded throughout the room as the sprinkler system came on to douse the fire that had started. Cosmos grunted as part of his EMX 4000S landed on his back.