The Cuckoo's Progeny
14: Battlefield Evaluation

Copyright© 2016 Vincent Berg. All rights reserved.

“Let’s put some distance between us,” Al said as Gary drove. “I can’t imagine Colonel Powell letting us slip away so easily.”

They got as far as the corner when a black SUV with dark-tinted windows pulled in front of them, blocking their way. Guessing what was happening; Gary threw his car in reverse, despite the other cars arrayed behind him. “Have Zita warn everyone what’s happening.”

Before he could get far, two more black SUVs pulled up, blocking their exit. Glancing forward, four men in dark suits including Col. Powell, entered the street. Behind them, another group of suits exited the other vehicles. Both groups consisted of men with short haircuts wearing dark suits, ties and dress shoes. It was hardly the attire for a street brawl. They looked like they were taken straight out of central casting. The agents were all older—in their forties and fifties. They seemed to represent an older generation of law-enforcement more interested in beating confessions than in more modern techniques. None wore any identifying symbols for who they worked for, but their dress reinforced Colonel Powell’s power base—the CIA.

“Give it up,” Al said. “It’s clear he’s looking for something. Back me up, but let me handle things.”

“You got it, Captain. After all, that’s your job. Driving and defending you up is mine.”

They exited their car, as did the others. The Colonel waited for them to approach without speaking.

“Missed us, huh?” Al stopped eight feet away. The men ahead and behind them spread out, surrounding them, while Powell maintained his position.

“I’m interested in what you can do. You possess a particular ability to anticipate events. I’m guessing your friends are every bit as talented.”

“I’m not about to support your paranoid fantasies. If you have any evidence, investigate, but you can quit tailing us. We aren’t doing anything wrong, and no one has the mystic powers you’re imagining.”

“That may be, but that’s what we’re about to determine. We’ll see whether what I suspect is true or not. We’re not here to arrest you. My friends are going to test you. We won’t seriously injure you, but if you don’t defend yourselves, expect several broken bones at the least. Consider this a trial by fire. I doubt you’ve ever been fully tested. This is your chance. Are you brave enough to hide, or will you reveal yourselves?”

“You’ve got to be kidding! What happens if we record you assaulting us?” Several of Al’s group took their phones out.

The Colonel chuckled. “I doubt that. I’m guessing you don’t want any more attention than you’ve already attracted. If you film this, not only will provide the evidence I’m looking for, but the world will understand what you’ve been trying so hard to hide.”

Al glanced around. The neighborhood kids, their curiosity aroused, were gathering around watching events unfold.

“That’s what I thought. Put your damn phones away before they get broken.” He rolled his sleeves up as his men advanced. “I’m anticipating an entertaining show!”

“Gar, Del, protect the others. I’ll try to draw the core group to myself,” Al told everyone through Zita’s telepathy.

The women fell back, moving towards the center. Eli and Etta guarded them, as Gary and Delilah took up defensive postures. One agent rushed ahead. As he threw a punch, Delilah pulled her scarf over her head, catching his arm. She dropped back, pulling him forward while hip-checking him. He flipped over, landing on his back with a flat thump, and Delilah was back on her feet, stretching her scarf between her hands.

Another agent advanced on the others as Gary removed his jacket. Gary stepped behind him, wrapping his jacket around his neck. Pulling it, he yanked him off his feet. When he collapsed, clutching the material chocking, Gary stepped on his exposed throat. When the man clutched at his foot, he pressed down, cutting off his air supply. He had him indisposed and helpless, but Gary couldn’t defend the others. If he moved away, the man he took down would be free again.

“Ha! See, you’re pretty skilled for a couple young kids!”

“We’ve been training for this for years!” Gary stepped on the man’s throat and jumped away, leaving him gasping for breath. “We operate a dojo. We practiced hard to do this. This is the result of dedication, not any psychic powers.” He and his sister took up defensive positions around the others. The other men hesitated before trying their luck.

Two men approached Al together, cautiously. One threw a punch, which he easily sidestepped. The other threw a roundhouse kick, which Al ducked under, yanking the man’s supporting leg from under him. He fell on the asphalt with a splat.

“Geez!” Al shouted, focusing attention on him. “I’ve had zero training, and I’m dancing circles around your best CIA operatives. Where’d you get these old-geezer pencil pushers? The others are academics. They’ve never been able to defend themselves. I’m the one you’re curious about. Let’s see if you can bully someone twenty years younger than you. I’m guessing you can’t.”

Al observed kids running around the periphery, trying to get a better look, but realized he couldn’t do anything about it. He prayed none of them got injured, but focused on his opponents.

Taking up his challenge, two more agents closed on Al as the man who missed before came up from behind, using both hands aiming for the base of his neck. Such a blow might cripple someone. However, Al stepped aside at the last second, tripping him and causing him to pitch forward.

“Seriously? This is the best the CIA has to offer? You’re all old men. Next time, tell your men to wear sneakers when they try to sneak up on someone. I can hear these clodhoppers from a block away.”

“These are experienced agents with proven records,” Powell insisted, moving from foot to foot as he watched his men fumble. “They’ve had excellent training. No kid can best them without possessing superior skills.”

“Then you aren’t paying attention. They’re slow as molasses. They’re ancient. If this is the best the CIA offers, it’s no wonder we’re losing every war you engineer.”

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