Chapter 40 of The Holy Lance, a fantasy thriller

40 drafted, three to go. Comments are welcome.

CHAPTER 40

The small municipal station of the Department of the Police of the Republic of Armenia spends most of its energy making certain Echmiadzin’s tourists, the lifeblood of the local economy, are able to enjoy their stay without being fleeced, illegally that is, mugged, or otherwise encouraged to rip the city to shreds on any number of internet tourism review sites. Since the city’s main attractions are religious in nature, the job is far easier than it would be if the local constabulary had to stand watch over a collection of casinos and strip joints. This morning’s activity involving a Russian FSB Inspector, two young Russian women, and a middle-aged American laden with cash will likely dominate conversation around the station water cooler for years to come. The simple request for the private use of a desktop computer with internet access, had the American known, would have been granted at half the cost offered. As it is, five thousand American dollars bought both access and privacy.

Brinker and Druzhnikov sit in front of the desktop. The monitor displays a GPS map showing the location of the transmitter which they correctly presume is still attached to Sasha Krupsky’s car. Krazavitskaya and Chebushova are putting their talents to work on the three officers in the station to make sure that Brinker and Druzhnikov are not interrupted. The station’s day shift, consisting of three men in their thirties, having come to work this morning expecting nothing more than a few routine purse snatches, are delighted by the distraction the young women offer.

Brinker checks his watch.

“How long ago did he start moving?”

“About 10 minutes ago. Look. He stopped.”

Brinker calls to one of the police officers over his shoulder.

“Can you tell me what’s at this address?”

The officer retrieves his hat from Ludmilla and walks over to where Brinker and Druzhnikov are working. He looks at the monitor.

“A church, which is true of about half of the addresses in this city.”

“What kind of church?” Druzhnikov inquires.

The officer takes another long look.

“Russian Orthodox. It’s active again. It was a museum for years.”

Druzhnikov looks at Brinker.

“He didn’t strike me as the religious type,” he jokes.

“He’s not,” Brinker responds. Then it hits him. “He’s not going there to pray. He’s going to witness a coronation! This is it. We’ve got to get out there.”

“I can bust Krupsky on a count of murder, the rest as accessories, and I’ll throw in treason for the hell of it.”

“Okay. Let’s load up with hardware. I doubt they’ll come along quietly. Ladies, you’re with us.”

The four move quickly out of the station headed for their bullet-riddled car and a showdown.