54 Deck Figh
Only his years of agent training kept Rickie from reacting and reaching for the weapon. Instead, he adopted a conversational tone.
"Ani, I can't say that I have the same pleasure. How are you?" The gun retracted from his head, and he slowly swiveled until he faced the extremist.
Her pistol was now pointed directly at his chest, but her stance was relaxed, almost bored. On her right hand, a small black device was attached to the back of a wrist brace. Her assault rifle was slung over her shoulder.
"You have caused us a bit of bother, Ahmad. We expected you to be otherwise engaged with your European office. How did you end up so Johnny-on-the-spot, tonight?" She held up her right hand to stop any response, a small, slowly-blinking light catching Rickie's eye.
"Don't tell me; I'm sure it would be a fascinating tale. Too bad I can't stay and listen. Your satellite phone, please."
She held out her hand, and, with feigned reluctance, he placed the device in her hand, trying to discover anything about that box on her wrist. He was sure that was the trigger for the explosive; there was a small button on top but no other features that he could see.
He settled back down on his chair to wait for an opportunity.
"Why was it important to attack my business? And why now?" Rickie queried.
"When you made the agreement with PETRONAS last year, we knew that it was the perfect situation to show our might. A symbolic pillar of fire on your king's birthday, and the chaos of the festivals would help frame our achievement. In truth, this has been planned for almost two years, with this target the final decision."
"You know, if you cause that much damage, it will be catastrophic for the plants and animals in the sea. Why would you want that?"
Ani sneered. "If you really cared for the environment, you would have never created this thing we are standing on. This platform is nothing more than a symbol of pure greed, one that we are going to look forward to destroying."
A hissing noise emanated from the radio at her waist.
"The helo is coming back and I'm ready. Ani, take care, my dear." John's voice sounded tinny coming from the small speaker. Ani reached down for the radio, never taking her eyes off of Rickie and her gun still trained on his torso.
Suddenly, the loud retorts from semi-automatic weapons came over the gadget, as simultaneously the loud sound of an aircraft swooping over head reverberated through the office. She reflexively looked up, and Rickie launched himself from the chair, grabbing for the handgun and trying to take her down as the assault rifle skittered across the floor
Slamming her against the outside door, Rickie used both hands to grapple for the gun, forcing it up and over her head. She used a leg sweep to knock his legs out from under him, but he was able to maintain his grip and pulled her down to the floor.
Once there, they rolled around, crashing into the furniture as each tried to gain the upper hand.
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Rickie managed to punch her cheek and ear, causing her to loosen her hold on the pistol. He wrenched it away and threw it to the other end of the room, where it struck one of the monitors, and bounced off to land behind the desk.
Ani cursed and struck the heel of her hand against Rickie's nose. Pain blossomed on his face and his eyes immediately began to water. As he stepped back from her, she gained her footing and crabbed backwards towards the rifle.
Rickie knew that if she got a hold of that weapon, killing him would be easy. He swivel-kicked, catching her on her hip and sending her once again against the outside door. Rickie lunged at her, his priority the device on her right wrist. She reached behind her and opened the door, and they both spilled outside, Rickie landing on top of her.
The gunshots and the helicopter were much louder outside. As Ani struggled underneath him, Rickie ripped the kill switch off her hand and threw it over the railing.
As his eyes briefly followed the arc of the trigger, he felt a sudden, blinding pain to his abdomen, and looked down to see a butterfly knife protruding from his stomach. Ani had somehow gotten the weapon and stabbed it upwards, catching him just to the side of his navel.
He collapsed backwards; she wriggled free and stepped back from him. With a snarl, she turned and ran down the walkway. Rickie saw her form disappearing in the distance as his eyesight wavered. His last thought was regret that he never told Meaghan that he loved her.