Log Title: The Hunt
Location: Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Date: July 19, 2007
TP: Vanderpool TP
WARNING: The following log contains a scene of particular violence.
Lifeline is, at the moment, undergoing a minor surgical procedure to tend to some residual infection from his stab wounds. A minor thing, but necessary so he will heal properly and not re-infect.
Down the hallway from the operating room, a number of orderlies are preparing to transport the most controversial patient in St. Franciscus Hospital in Rotterdam. A number of armed guards stand outside the door as doctors enter to transfer Eli Vanderpool from his recovery bed to a wheelchair.
Outside of the hospital, there's a flurry of activity. Numerous black SUV's with tinted windows are parked in a caravan outside the front doors of the hospital. Also present are numerous agents and Interpol personnel.
Major Bludd sits behind the wheel of a green sedan which is parked in the car park near the exit to the main highway. He's donned a pair of wraparound sunglasses and is watching the front doors with his mirrors.
The hospital entrance is quiet for a while. Then, there's a sudden flurry of activity as several Interpol agents begin filing out and taking up protective positions around the doors. A number of other people come out in a hurry, and begin entering the black SUV's.
Major Bludd starts the car and continues to wait, still eyeing the entrance.
Meanwhile, inside the hospital, coming up the freight elevator from the basement to the first floor, MI-5 Agent Grace Riggall is smiling proudly. Her first major bust! What an accomplishment. And this time she *isn't* dressed like a nurse.
She glances down at her elevator companion. Eli Vanderpool seems remarkably calm and quiet, given the situation. Perhaps he's just resigned himself to his fate. He eyes her briefly, but says nothing.
The elevator dings, and Riggall begins pushing Vanderpool out, down the main hallway toward the exit doors.
Bludd puts in a cellphone call to his recently-acquired accomplices, hired this morning in a shadier part of town. "It's going," he says. "Get ready."
Some of the SUV's depart, rolling away down Rotterdam's main thoroughfares. It's impossible to see who's inside of them, due to extremely dark window tinting.
In amidst the hullaballoo of vehicles coming and going, an ambulance pulls up, lights flashing but no siren. The back doors open, but no patient or paramedics exit the vehicle. It simply sits.
"This is Riggall, the prisoner is ready for transport," Grace announces into her radio. Vanderpool shivers, looking annoyed and uncomfortable. "The least you bastards could do is give me a blanket, I'm ill," he snarks.
"I'll get that for you, sir," says a nearby nurse, mincing over to the wheelchair, leaning over, and draping a large comforter over Vanderpool.
Riggall rolls her eyes, and shakes her head at the display of comfort. In her mind, this man has earned no comfort whatsoever. "Hurry up," she says impatiently.
The nurse smiles sweetly, then quickly disappears down the hall. Vanderpool smiles slightly, curling up in his newly-acquired comforter.
Major Bludd smiles as he sees the ambulance pull up. "Thank you, my little Wizardess," he murmurs, keeping his eyes on the emergency vehicle.
Riggall resumes pushing the occupied wheelchair down the corridor. Vanderpool smiles at nothing in particular.
From outside, one can see them emerge, and Grace Riggall wastes no time in hot-footing it over to the ambulance with her blanketed 'patient'. Had Bludd been distracted by the decoys, he very likely would have missed this taking place.
In the rear of the ambulance, the ramp is already down for a quick load-up and getaway. "Remember, our target is the ambulance," Bludd says into his phone. "Just follow it, keep it in sight, until I tell you otherwise. Understand?"
"Yeah, got it," a deep voice says over the line. "Quit worryin'. We'll do what we're bein' *paid* ta do."
After Vanderpool is very rapidly loaded into the ambulance, the doors shut, and a couple more decoy SUV's depart before the ambulance finally rolls away from the curb. It turns onto the main thoroughfare, and from there, proceeds to the freeway.
Major Bludd puts the car into reverse and backs out of the lot, calling to his accomplices as he does so. "It's moving," he says, slamming the car into drive and rolling out onto the road. "Headed for the freeway, like I figured. Get on it."
"Aye, aye, cap'n," quips the deep voice over the phone. "Go," it says, presumably to the driver.
The ambulance is travelling the average speed, so as not to draw undue attention by moving too fast or too slow.
Eventually, the ambulance slows, and exits at what appears to be a private airfield. There's a guard gate beside the entrance to the airfield...presumably, the guard has to check credentials before he'll allow access. The ambulance stops at this checkpost.
Bludd pulls off to the side of the road just before he reaches the airfield's driveway and puts his emergency flashers on. He directs the other car to his location, peering toward the checkpoint. While he awaits his accomplices, he scratches his beard, pondering his next move.
The ambulance heads into the airfield, on the move toward a small, private jet. MI5 has spared no expense for getting this prisoner back to Britain.
Fortunately for Bludd and his companions, the fueling up, boarding, and safety checks for the flight will take some time.
In the meantime, the checkpoint guard sits there reading a magazine. This probably isn't the busiest airfield. All the better for government agencies to conduct their secret business.
Bludd draws his sidearm and pops open the glovebox, withdrawing a suppressor and fitting it to the handgun. He lays the gun in his lap and grabs a map from the passenger's seat, dropping it over the weapon. As he spies the other car approaching from the highway, he switches off the flashers and pulls into the airstrip's driveway.
"Wait by the side of the road," he instructs the others, "just like I did. I'll let you know when I'm ready for you."
Meanwhile, back on the private jet, Vanderpool is wheeled up a handicapped ramp to accomodate him onto the plane. While this is going on, the plane is also getting fueled up for the flight back to Heathrow.
"You've been quite cooperative thus far," Riggall tells Vanderpool. "Keep it up, and we'll allow you to remain uncuffed for the flight's duration. We'd really rather not have to cuff you, Mr. Vanderpool..."
Vanderpool looks at Riggall evenly, and smirks slightly. Then, he adjusts his blanket, sighs, and gazes out the nearby window.
The green sedan approaches the security checkpoint slowly, almost hesitantly. Out on the highway, the second car pulls off to the side just before the airstrip's driveway and puts its emergency flashers on.
At the checkpoint, the guard puts down his magazine, and tilts his head toward the booth's window. "Spreekt u Nederlands?" he inquires. "Or English?" he adds.
Bludd puts on a sheepish grin and looks up at the guard. "English," he says with a bit of a cringe.
"Ah! Not a problem, sir," the guard says reassuringly in heavily accented English. "How may I help you this evening?"
Bludd rubs the back of his neck. "Uh, look, I'm sorry," he says in an American accent, "but I got turned around on the road there," he jerks a thumb over his shoulder, "and I've no idea where I'm at." He grins a helpless grin at the guard. "I'm afraid I'm no good at reading maps."
"Oh! Okay, well you see, this is a private airfield," the guard explains helpfully, pointing toward the map (and the hidden gun). "If you wish to return to the freeway, you must go back in this direction." The Netherlands is actually one of the friendlier countries to become lost in, it seems.
Bludd frowns in confusion, lifting map and gun toward the guard. "Which way?" he asks, turning his head as if he's looking back at the road. The wraparound sunglasses hide the fact that he can't see much looking over his left shoulder due to his missing eye.
"Back down this road, you simply follow it to the west until it joins with the freeway," answers the guard. He's no longer looking toward the map -- he's pointing back toward the road.
Bludd grins broadly, pulls the map aside just far enough so he can shove the suppressed pistol's muzzle up against the guard's jaw and fire.
Not at all a loud sound...it could have been made from a car rolling over an empty drink cup. In an instant, the guard falls over, extremely dead due to missing the contents of his skull -- which are now located in a brainy, gooey pile a few feet away.
Other than the pile of brains, this particular kill is really very tidy. Amazingly, there's not a spot of blood on the guard's uniform.
"Come on in, boys, I've opened the door for ya," Bludd calls over the cell to his accomplices. He drops the gun back into his lap, lays the map on top of it, and drives on past the checkpoint. The second car turns into the driveway and rolls toward the now-abandoned checkpoint.
When Bludd and his accomplices head in, the road curves around until it reaches the airfield. It's pretty deserted, save for the MI5 jet, which seems to be undergoing a final external safety check.
Major Bludd rounds the curve and hits the accelerator when he sees the jet. "It's time for ya ta earn yer money, lads," he calls. "You see any security, you keep 'em busy." He drives toward the jet's entry ramp.
A couple of agents are near the ramp, getting ready to fold it up and get going, when they see the sedan approaching.
"Halt, who goes there? Identify yourself!" calls the first one. Both agents draw their handguns.
Major Bludd aims his vehicle at the pair of agents, slamming on the brakes and turning the wheel hard to send the sedan sliding toward them. As it comes to a stop, he grabs his handgun and leaps out the door, rolling to the ground.
The second vehicle comes roaring around the curve, a man leaning out the passenger side window and firing at the agents with a handgun.
The air is rife with the sharp cracks of gunfire and returning volleys. One agent falls to the ground, mortally wounded. The other takes cover under part of the ramp, reaching around to snap off a few shots at the second vehicle.
In the meantime, up in the plane's cabin, Riggall looks out the window. "Cor, what's going on out there...? It's a bloody war zone!"
As her attention is focused out the window, Riggall doesn't notice when Eli Vanderpool slowly reaches beneath his comfortable blanket, and wields the *other* gift bestowed upon him by his hospital friend...a Glock 30. He points it at the back of her head.
"Indeed it is," says Vanderpool casually.
The gun fires, and Riggall's lifeless body slumps to the floor.
Vanderpool smirks, and calmly begins wheeling himself toward the back of the cabin.
Major Bludd sprints up the loading ramp and into the jet. The second vehicle zooms past the green sedan and turns around sharply, its passenger still taking shots at the agent under the ramp.
The passenger cabin is mostly deserted. The pilot and co-pilot have come out of the cockpit to see what all the fuss was about, and now they're preoccupied with leaning over the dead body of Riggall, looking frightened and confused. Eli Vanderpool is not immediately visible.
Bludd dashes into the cabin, whipping off his shades and looking around the cabin. "Where is he?" he shouts. "Where is Eli Vanderpool?"
The pilot and co-pilot stare over in fright at the gun-wielding man. Was this Riggall's murderer?? "W-we don't know!" The pilot stammers. "He was brought into the cabin, we heard shots fired, came out of the cockpit, and this is how things were!"
Suddenly, the PA system crackles to life. "Are you looking for me, you one-eyed bastard?" asks a nasty, Dutch-accented voice.
Bludd glares at the pilot, then stalks off toward the rear of the cabin. If the pilot hasn't seen Vanderpool, he must be at the back of the plane... He removes the suppressor from his Beretta and sticks it in his jacket pocket. He sneers as he hears Vanderpool's voice over the PA.
"I should have figured the twins would send a flunky like you to come collect," Vanderpool chuckles. "Well, then, let's see what you've got. Bring it."
The PA system shuts off with a click, and from the rear exit/lavatory area, there's the unmistakable sound of a gun's hammer being cocked. *CH-CHAK*
(Who *is* this guy?) Bludd thinks, dropping into a crouch instinctively. He creeps toward the rear of the plane, keeping near the right side seats in case he needs to duck behind them for cover.
It's extremely quiet in the rear part of the cabin. Bludd's able to get closer and closer to the back...and if he gets close enough to the back exit, he may actually see the side of a wheel. There's definitely a *wheelchair* back there. And probably one riled-up crippled Dutchman sitting in it, waiting for Bludd to make a move.
Major Bludd drops to his belly and low-crawls the last few metres, withdrawing the suppressor from his jacket pocket with his left hand. When he spies the wheelchair, he gathers his knees underneath him, hurls the suppressor at where he hopes Vanderpool's head is, and launches himself at the chair, hoping to knock it and its passenger over.
This sudden surprise tactic works remarkably well. Vanderpool's weakness is his shattered knees -- he just can't make it anywhere without the aid of the wheelchair. That said, however, he still has a strong command of his upper body, as well as the Glock. He fires off a shot dangerously close to Bludd's head, and it lodges into the wall as he lands on the floor with a soft thud. With an insane fury only seen in Klaus Kinski movies, he grapples with Bludd, and tries to get his gun trained at his head.
Bludd grabs at Vanderpool's gun hand, trying to keep it pointed *away* from his head. Meanwhile, he attempts to kneel atop the other man's chest, using his body weight to further hinder his movements. There's not much Vanderpool can do with his legs, he figures, but everybody needs to breathe.
Vanderpool's eyes get round like saucers as Bludd applies pressure to his chest, and he gasps disturbingly. "Nnghh..." Apparently, this is a very good way to kill a cardiac patient, because it's causing him quite a bit of distress. "You send me to hell, I take you with me," he promises.
Bludd grabs the Glock in Vanderpool's hand, grinning down at him as he lowers his own weapon toward the other man. "Oh yeah?" he asks, sneering. "How you gonna do that?"
"...." This gets a surprised look from Vanderpool, who apparently didn't figure in getting his gun taken from him into the plan. After a momentary surprise, he makes a furious lunge for the Glock.
Major Bludd tosses the Glock down the aisle, where it spins and settles under one of the seats. He presses the nose of his Beretta against Vanderpool's throat, just beneath the jawline. "You know," he says, "if you tell me where you hid all the Twins' dough, I might think twice about capping you right here and now."
"You're full of shit," Vanderpool sneers, glaring crazily at Bludd. "Whether I tell you or not, you are still going to kill me. But I will tell you this much...I didn't 'hide' *any* of the money. Money is not for hiding...it's for spending."
"Aww," Bludd croons, shifting his weight on top of Vanderpool ever-so-slightly, "what'd ya buy? A trip to Disneyland?"
"Bought you a new eye," Vanderpool snaps back, making a pained face as his chest is compressed even more.
Bludd laughs, shakes his head at the man beneath him. "You got a sense o' humour," he says. "Wasn't expectin' that." He peers curiously at Vanderpool. "Do I ... *know* you from someplace?"
Vanderpool does look...vaguely familiar, from some place. "Perhaps we met when I was still under the employ of Extensive Enterprises," he muses, his breathing labored.
"You called me a 'one-eyed bastard', yet you'd never seen me ..." Bludd frowns. "Who are you, *really*?"
"Sure I did, when you got on the plane," Vanderpool points out. "I looked down the aisle, and there you were." He smiles slightly. "Who I am really is a secret that will die with me."
"Mebbe I'll keep ya alive for a while," Bludd drawls. "Mebbe I'll just ... *play* with ya awhile." As if for emphasis, he shifts his weight again.
Vanderpool begins to get agitated, and his face reddens as he tries to push Bludd off of him. Unfortunately, many things conspire against him at once: a heart weakened by several surgeries, blood pressure through the roof, and an awkward angle on the floor with his chest being compressed all contribute to what comes next.
"You can't play...when you...don't know the game..." he spits out angrily. With a weak sputter and a gasp, he flails in a weaker fashion, and then suddenly...dies.
Eli Vanderpool didn't even need to be shot. He succumbed to a massive myocardial infarction.
"Well, shit," Bludd mutters in mild surprise, getting to his feet. "Now I'll never know who this bastard was." He gives the body a nudge with his toe. "Hell, I hate mysteries."