Ryan heard the beating of helicopter rotors seconds before he looked up to see a half dozen men rappelling through the open ceiling of the warehouse. Dark figures clad in black blocked out the sun and descended from the sky like fallen angels of death.
He pulled his sidearm.
"Incoming!" Reece yelled.
Ryan glanced at his partner, dressed in a navy suit over Kevlar like himself, who had also drawn his weapon.
His gaze darted to the transport van where men loaded the equipment. The cargo could be the only reason for the sudden intruders. The fact that the men lowering themselves from the sky wore semiautomatic weapons strapped to them was evidence they were not here to make a bid on the prototype.
Ryan fired, hoping to drop as many attackers as possible before they touched the ground and had a chance to take aim.
As Ryan's and Reece's bullets struck several of the rappellers, they opossumed upside down, held in place by their D-ring and harness.
"What the hell is going on?" Maxine Rider's gravelly voice sounded through Ryan's earpiece.
Reece spoke over the sound of his gunshots. "Well, boss, the prototype demonstration may be over, but the party's just begun."
Sharp Industries had hired Maxine Rider's Security and Investigation group as an extra layer of protection for the unveiling of their prototype weapon-a small drone capable of carrying a hundred bullet-size explosive devices that could be set to target individuals based on heat signatures or biosensors.
With the unveiling complete, prospective buyers had finished drooling and left. Only the prototype and a handful of security detail remained for the transport.
Three of the assailants touched down on the concrete warehouse floor and began laying weapon fire for the next incoming wave. Very soon, Ryan, Reece, and Sharp Industries' security team would be outnumbered. So much for a deserted warehouse in North Atlanta being an ideal place for a semi-secret meeting.
Ryan and Reece took cover behind steel beams that stretched up to the rafters.
Ryan squeezed his trigger. His bullet hit one of the black-clad men in the shoulder. He wondered at their credentials. Clearly ex-military though not from an elite forces team.
He glanced at the van. The cargo was almost secured. Two of Sharp's security detail defensively shot at the intruders to protect two more who tightened the clasps around the crate. There wasn't much point in hastily escaping with a twenty-five-million-dollar piece of equipment if it was going to get jostled and broken in the back of a getaway van.
"Cargo's in jeopardy," Ryan said.
"Yep." Reece's mustache twitched.
"You wanna drive or shoot?" Ryan asked.
"Do you have to ask?"
Ryan grinned and loosened his tie.
Reece reloaded his Beretta before providing cover fire as he and Ryan dashed for the van. By the time they reached the vehicle, three of the four security guards had been shot.
"Just like Tokzar!" Reece hollered.
Shit, I hope not, Ryan thought.
Ryan shoved into the driver seat and cranked the engine. In the driver-side mirror, he saw another six men touch down from the ropes connected to other choppers.
How many were they up against?
The automatic weapons' fire had ceased and sharp shooters took aim. Apparently they developed the good sense to not destroy the equipment they were attempting to steal.
When Ryan heard the sound of Reece slamming the back doors shut, he hit the gas. "We've got the cargo, Max. Need a destination."
"Claire," Maxine snapped.
Claire's strained voice sounded through his earpiece. "Working on it. Head north on Highway 19."
"Injuries?" Maxine asked.
"Only one of Sharp's boys made it. He's in the back with Reece."
"Well, this is Charlie Foxtrot," Maxine complained.
"Sharp has a