Chapter 19

Deeper Holes

Caleb ended the call and slipped his phone into the webbing of his tactical harness, then turned to Parker and said, “They’re in the mine now. My source says that he’s lost contact over the radio, but the longest they could stay down there is another three hours. Of course, if the plan works they won’t last half that long.”

“I can’t wait around out here in the sticks for three freaking hours. Can’t you go in after them?”

“That what the whole point of this plan, boss. Everything looks like an accident, assuming anyone even finds the bodies.”

Parker snorted and said, “Well I’m not leaving this in the hands of some hick backwoods guide. Let’s go wait at the water’s edge so you can kill them if they come back to the surface.”

Caleb frowned. “Are you sure that you don’t want to drive back to town, boss? It wouldn’t do for you to be seen at the mine.”

“And miss watching that smug bitch die? No, Caleb, you’re going to take me to the mine and I’m going to watch when you put a bullet in her head. And if she never surfaces, I’ll spit in the water and celebrate her death. Did I tell you that she called around the company and tried to get reinstated? Now I’ve got Lance Jeffery, Lance freaking Jeffery, breathing down my neck and asking why the special projects division is hiring outside contractors to transport our gems.”

“But my source, boss. It’s one thing for him to see me, but I don’t want him to know anything about you.”

“Then I suppose you are just going to have to kill him too,” Parker said. “We can’t have any more loose ends on this job.” He pulled out his new phone and began poking at spreadsheets as if he had just asked Caleb to fetch him a coffee.

Caleb scowled, but put the car into gear and started driving towards the abandoned White Castle mine again. He wasn’t opposed to lubricating the gears of business with a little blood, any more than he had been reticent about defending his nation, or beating the crap out of the incompetent officer who had got half of Caleb’s unit killed based on bad intel, but Parker’s obsession with taking out this Delvare woman was beginning to grate on him. She posed no immediate threat to the company, as far as Caleb could see, and it was seriously bad for business to develop a reputation as the company which made contractors disappear.

Back in the days when his special operations commanders belonged to the Pentagon, rather than a dark branch of a corporation, Caleb had served under an officer who believed in viciously hunting down and exterminating every potential threat to national security. It had seemed like a good policy at the time, and Caleb couldn’t deny that he took a degree of pleasure in the numerous wetwork missions he undertook under that command, but it wasn’t long before the families of the men that Caleb and his team took out began to pool resources and intelligence. Soon enough the remaining leaders of the three largest drug cartels in Ecuador had joined forces and moved into a compound so secure that it made American military bases look like playgrounds. Worse, before moving into the compound they had laid a careful trap that had snared three members of Caleb’s team.