Chapter 17:

Beginning of the end

Max Caliber


With the meeting behind me and knowing exactly the date when the raid will take place. I only needed to get Yusuke under my thumb and then it’ll be all set and ready. This coming Thursday, it all will be over.Bookmark here

“Is that how it is? Then how am I supposed to fit into your plans?” asked Mikey who was taking me home and listened to me explain everything that went down. He had seemed to make peace with the fact that he was going to be helping me.Bookmark here

“Simple Mikey. How you are going to get inside is with Albert. He’s going to slip you in and then when those Kirishima boys hit. You two make a run for it. We’ll meet up the next day at the café to make sure everything is buried behind us. Don’t want any of us to be dragged back into this,” I said.Bookmark here

“Reinhard. I really hope everything goes as planned. I know you too well at this point. Once you really get going and something throws your plans off track. You tend to lose it,” he confessed with a shaking head and readjusted his grip on the steering wheel the entire time. He was nervous.Bookmark here

“It’ll work. Don’t get anxious now. Simply put your trust in me,” I reassured. I could feel my thumb run over the grip pattern of that accursed piece of steel. It was evil and wanted me to be consumed by it. But only until Thursday. That’s all I need.Bookmark here

***Bookmark here

The next day came quickly. I wished I could spend more time with Judy than I did. Because at her side I feel as if I don’t need to worry about all of this. But I was up bright and early. I needed to speak to Yusuke and get everything ready.Bookmark here

I rushed over to the café where we arranged to meet. When I pulled into the parking lot, I made sure to stop next to his. It was strange. Was this man really a police officer. He never seemed too busy with other work. Whenever I gave a call, he would answer immediately.Bookmark here

“Reinhard,” he greeted. Leaning on the side of his car. He was flicking that lighter of his that the sparks could be seen even in the broad daylight. But he was doing it at a far greater pace than usual. It seems even the rather cold Yusuke was feeling stress about something. I think it could be something to do with the Red Ash case. But you never know with law enforcement.Bookmark here

“Yusuke,” I returned the greeting and nodded my head. He unlocked his car and the both of us got in. He was quick to hand me a coffee.Bookmark here

“Now then, tell me everything you know,” he said as he took a deep sip of the coffee. I did the same, it was the cafés.Bookmark here

“Thursday. It’s all going to come to an end on Thursday,” I said and enjoyed the coffee. It must have been made by Margarette. It had her usual sweet taste when making it. Smolinski would most likely scold her for using more sugar than she was supposed to.Bookmark here

“Explain,” he replied.Bookmark here

“I know where their lab is. I know where they are cooking the stuff and I’ve got proof that will free the name of all my friend caught up in this,” I said. Carefully choosing my words. I did want this conversation to remain under my control.Bookmark here

“How’d you find the lab?” he asked. Pragmatic as ever. He didn’t care about the fodder information, only that what was worth something for him.Bookmark here

“Yohan, he told me and in fact. He’s my inside man. In exchange for his pardon of course,” I added.Bookmark here

“Of course. But how can you be certain?” he continued his questioning.Bookmark here

“Albert confirmed the information for me, and he supplied some extra details for me,” I said and before I could add it at the end Yusuke pounced.Bookmark here

“For his pardon of course. Alright, Reinhard. Now tell me what other matter you wanted to discuss. How come the strict date of Thursday?” he asked.Bookmark here

“Albert gave me information that apparently that they are going to have a meeting with Kirishima. So, they’ll have a lot of manpower drained by that meeting. Meaning it is the perfect time to raid the lab,” I explained. Not even question if my story spinning would be caught on to.Bookmark here

“Do you know where this meeting will be held?” he asked. Ah, Yusuke. You really are predictable. Trying to tie up everything in one neat bundle. Sadly, that won’t work this time. I’m in control.Bookmark here

“No. It’s on a need-to-know basis and I don’t think any of my informants can get that before Thursday,” I lied.Bookmark here

“I see. So, we have to act on Thursday then?” he asked again. Closing his eyes and tapping the back of his head against the seat.Bookmark here

“Yes, and it’s going to need to be one hell of a raid group. From what I’ve heard. The lab is armed to the teeth, and they are more than prepared to scuffle with the law. So, I doubt coming in with an arrest warrant will get the reaction you hope,” I explained. Trying to wiggle the last piece into place.Bookmark here

“But if we come with a show of force, it’ll be a blood bath,” he said. Quick-witted.Bookmark here

“Perhaps, but if we come with enough to make them think that it’ll be pointless to fight. Then perhaps we can scare them into turning themselves in,” I armored my argument.Bookmark here

“I see the angle you are coming from. But if we pull the entire precinct into this, we’ll have no one to cover any other major crime that night,” he complained.Bookmark here

“Does this opportunity not pose enough of a gain to be worth the risk?” I ask.Bookmark here

“It does, but I was hoping that I could have a group on standby. Just in case that meeting goes south,” he said. Damn Yusuke. He’s like a dog with a bone when it comes to this. Just drop the meeting.Bookmark here

“I get it, but I think stopping the Red Ash trade needs to take priority. Don’t you agree?” I ask.Bookmark here

“Yeah, I guess. But there’s something else,” he began. Thinking that I know what he’s going to follow this up with I quickly stepped in.Bookmark here

“I’ll be there as well. Backing you and your men up. If things get messy, you can count on me to have your back,” I said and finished the coffee. Placing the empty cup in the central cup holder.Bookmark here

“You say this as if you expect a massacre,” he complained and took the cup.Bookmark here

“Always expect the worst,” I said and was silenced by a raise of his finger as he drained his coffee in one go.Bookmark here

“That’s a negative mindset. But I agree,” he said and threw the paper cups out of his window. If I hadn’t seen the trash bin just outside the car. I would have been shocked by the blatant littering.Bookmark here

“Then I have to ask you. Thursday?” I asked and handed him a parchment from the inside of my coat. He opened it up and inspected the content for a short while. It had everything that I wanted him to know. After sliding in everything he gave me a satisfied look.Bookmark here

“Thursday. I’ll have the raid all set up with my captain. Then when we go, I’ll make sure to come to collect you,” he said and leaned over to open my door.Bookmark here

“See you Thursday then?” I asked as I got out of his car.Bookmark here

“See you Thursday,” he confirmed and started his car.Bookmark here

I walked laxly over to the dinner as I watched him drive off. Never did I expect to see a police officer so casually break the rules of the road. But I guess for Yusuke, this was something he couldn’t let go of. Because if it rested even for a single second. Then it would go cold. He knew it and I’m certain his captain will know it as well.Bookmark here

I stopped short of walking into the café and greeting everyone on my day off. But what I saw made me decide it would be best not to interfere. Mikey had his arms around Margarette’s waist as he gave her a kiss on her neck. They had their back turned to me but even I could tell. The two of them were happy together. Maybe this is why he has been so adamant about not getting involved? He’s always been an entity onto himself. Never having to worry about what he would leave behind or what he would miss out on. But it seemed this has changed. Maybe it was wrong of me to get him dragged into this?Bookmark here

While I was pondering this, I made my way back to my car and decided it would be best to go home. No, I thought. I need Mikey if this is going to work. Besides one last time isn’t that much to ask of someone. Is it?Bookmark here

I continued to ponder about my choices for what felt like a few short moments. But in reality, it was the entire drive home. I pulled into the driveway in a little bit of a trans. Still lost in thought I made my way to the door. I opened it a bit louder than usual and clearly, it must have frightened Judy. Because I could hear things jolt in the kitchen. That’s when I realized there was something else.Bookmark here

I looked up before closing the door. Yohan’s car stood parked on the sidewalk. The murmuring voice of a man could be heard in the kitchen. Curious I made my way over. No doubt about it. That murmur was Yohan’s voice. I burst into the kitchen.Bookmark here

Only to see him sitting on the counter and kicking his long legs as if on a swing. Judy was had just started washing dishes. This was obviously what that noise was earlier. But my sudden entrance made both their heads suddenly turn to face me.Bookmark here

“Honey,” she said.Bookmark here

“Reinhard,” Yohan said in unison.Bookmark here

“Hello, Yohan. Dropping by unannounced yet again?” I asked. Making my irritation clear. It wasn’t that I disliked Yohan coming over. I just really wished he would give a call to make sure he was intruding or something.Bookmark here

“Yeah, sorry about that. But I wanted to talk to you and decided to keep Judy company as we both awaited your return,” he explained. With a sweep of his arms. He launched himself from the countertop.Bookmark here

“Call next time,” I said earnestly.Bookmark here

“Oh honey, don’t scold him so. He was just trying to be nice,” defended Judy. She was right. I had nothing to be cross about, but clearly, Yohan had to talk about something serious. He rushed me out of the kitchen. Far out of earshot of Judy.Bookmark here

“Listen, you know how you took care of George because he was a snake in the grass?” he asked me as he kept looking over to the kitchen. His voice was hush, and his eyes intense.Bookmark here

“Yeah, what of it?” I asked.Bookmark here

“Well, I think he might have leaked some information regarding the main hideout. Because word on the street is Kirishima Clan are going to be coming for us. I know you want me and you to be on guard duty at the lab for the next few nights, but I think it’ll be better if we were at the main place,” he explained. This was no good. I needed him in place so that my plan could work.Bookmark here

“No good. Listen, I’m worth a lot of people but numbers are important. How about you get them to send a couple more guys to central. I’ll be able to fill their gap at the lab. Besides, I don’t want to get involved in another butchering if I don’t have to,” I offered.Bookmark here

“Yeah, that could work. I don’t really want to be at the frontlines,” he concluded. I was shocked hearing him talk like this. I knew I could convince him but not this easily. Maybe he did become a coward since coming back home?Bookmark here

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