Hope you were cheering Renee in the previous scene and that you will enjoy Frei showing her skills.
As, always, please excuse the typos.
Renee & Frei
A New Assignment
Act 3: Taking On Rachel and Pucker
Frei sidestepped an awkward attack from Rachel and flipped her onto her back. Although Rachel was no elite fighter, she was carrying all manner of weapons from knives to hidden pistols to some sharp spike attached to her wrist.
“Wire is metal. It will carry the current,” Stosur said in a tense voice.
Frei glanced at the lake and the two zipwires over it. She strode toward the remote and picked it up. “Jessie, is the signal being transmitted from this?”
“It’s sending some signal but I’m not sure if it’s deflecting the real location, Mom,” Jessie fired back at her in a harassed voice.
Frei caught the fist being thrown at her and shoved Rachel off balance. Parried a knife attack to the waist and removed yet another weapon from her. She threw Rachel back onto the floor.
Frei pulled out her kit and started to unscrew the remote. “I will try and disable it from here.”
“Mom, the signal is getting through,” Jessie squeaked then wheezed. “I need my inhaler and I don’t even have asthma anymore.”
“Calm, Jessie. Miss Renee will help,” Miroslav said in an equally squeaky voice.
Frei ducked, rolled.
She pulled her dart gun. Fired.
Hostile dropped in the roof doorway.
Rachel dived toward her.
Rachel kept charging toward her. “I’ve been immunized.”
Frei dodged the attack with another knife, pulled it from Rachel and threw her to the ground again. She wanted to detain her and get information. It would be hard unless she was subdued.
A breeze hit her.
Frei spun, grabbed the clip from her waist and shoved it onto the zipwire, sending it toward the lake at speed.
Frei ducked as the bullet zipped by her and sheltered behind a wall as Rachel fired the hostile’s pistol. She glanced at the lake and then undid the screws on the remote.
“Signal is through,” Miroslav squeaked.
Frei ripped the top off the remote.
“Renee, you need to get off that platform,” Stosur yelled.
Frei went to move—
“I got that bit,” Renee muttered under her breath. “Get the children and yourself away from the wire… I know I’m in a pickle.”
“Grab the clip, Black,” Frei muttered. Crack. Crack. She grunted as the bullets kicked up stonework at her.
Frei studied the wires, hovered. “Jessie, it’s a deflection device. Cutting the transmitter.”
Frei charged at Rachel.
She gripped the empty pistol and knocked Rachel back with her elbow.
A humming filled the air. Frei stopped. Stared at the lake.
“Got the signal, blocked it. It’ll stop the main trap,” Jessie yelled into the speaker.
Rachel, ripped the second clip from Frei’s waist and shot toward the zipwire with a smug smile.
Frei sped after her. “No!”
Rachel zipped down one wire as Renee zipped down another.
A flash shot upward from the lake.
“Disabled it!” Miroslav called with relief.
“It still fired a current,” Jessie mumbled.
Renee let go of the wire, tucked, rolled… hit the bank of the lake… barely and landed in a heap.
Rachel slid along, smoke trailing up from her unmoving body.
Frei lowered her head in prayer. Not sure if she could look up. Not sure if she could bare to see if Renee was moving.
“Renee, you had better be fine,” Abby snapped.
Frei shut her eyes, praying.
“No new haircut,” Renee wheeze out. “No Urs’ haircut.”
Frei let out a long breath, a tear squeezing down her cheek as Stosur and Renee talked.
“Jessie, Miroslav,” she said in a shaky voice.
“Mom?” Jessie whispered.
“Thank you.” She turned and hurried into the door in the rooftop over the sleeping hostile then paused and closed her eyes. “Thank you, Nan…” She glanced upward. “Thank you… a lot.” She hurried on. “Black, I want you on the first floor. We close in on Pucker’s location.”
“I’m assisting Stosur,” Renee said in a harried voice.
“I will help with that,” Aunt Bess said with a cheery tone as though she’d enjoyed darting countless hostiles. “You make sure Icy don’t forget we use darts.”
Frei ducked around the corner.
A hostile turned, then held up both hands and lowered his weapon. “Miss Locks has removed Rachel, Miss Pucker.”
Frei cocked her head and strode toward him, pistol still raised. “You are not trying to attack me?”
He shook his head. “No, Miss Locks.”
“Lavelle and Kiwi have fled the estate,” Fleming muttered in a grunt. “But at least we have evidence on him… and the children are safe.”
“Head back to look at what you caught him doing,” Renee said in a gentle tone. “Stosur will handle making sure the children are looked after.”
“Did you just tell me how to do my job?” Fleming shot in an angry tone.
Frei turned her earpiece down and nodded to the hostile. “I take it that Pucker wishes to talk?”
He nodded and led her along the corridor as the guards lowered and disarmed their weapons.
“Urs, can I dart her?” Renee grumbled into her ear. “We’re not engaged anymore… so it’s okay to dart her, right?”
“Renee, I am not turning over these children to someone other than the proper authorities,” Fleming snapped then Gould muttered something to her. “I know I agreed to allow it. Stop helping her.”
Frei headed down the large staircase to the first floor with her escort and stopped as Renee headed in through the front door, hair frizzy and sticking up, an harassed look on her face, and a slight limp.
“I thought you said you did not have my haircut, Black,” Frei shot at her and looked her up and down, beyond relieved she was okay.
Renee felt over her hair. “The swimsuit gives me static.” She shrugged and joined her as they followed the hostile through the house.
“Ladies,” Pucker said from a sofa in a large, overly decorated room with more fake gold than could ever be tasteful. “Please, take a seat.”
Renee glanced at Frei. “Should I say I’m your mistress and she’s not allowed to be?”
Frei ignored her and sat opposite Pucker who was near to Aunt Bess’s age, if not slightly older. Her eyes were creased at the edges and her face carried knicks from a long ago encounter with acne. Her eyes were wary and her lips glossed but she was still gracefully presented, her hair bearing streaks of white underneath the hair coloring and she seemed… less… Frei studied her… less like her nickname suggested.
“Miss Locks, Miss Worthington, I know you would have preferred a fight,” Pucker said in a wise tone. “But I have no intention of attacking you.”
Renee plonked down on the sofa next to Frei. “Good, because my hair is a mess enough already.”
Pucker smiled at her, like Renee was a pleasing child. “It doesn’t help your presentation, no.” She crossed her legs, brushing down her long pants. “I take it, you’ve removed my problem?”
“Rachel removed herself,” Frei said in a heavy tone. She couldn’t have stopped her slipping onto the zipwire but it still annoyed her that she couldn’t. “And the children and other slaves are being removed.”
“Good,” Pucker said with a soft smile. “My owner will be pleased you acted as he felt you would.” She picked up a glass from the side. “I would offer refreshments but I know you won’t take them.” She sipped at her drink. “Lavelle has been an annoyance for some years. My owner will be glad that he has fled.”
“Your owner?” Renee asked in a grumpy tone. “I thought you were the owner.”
Pucker laughed. “I’m glad my act worked on you.” She sipped at her drink again. “No, I was owned by the Bite family and when they were unwise and were removed, my papers passed to my current owner.” She smiled at Renee. “Mistresses aren’t always employed. Modern ones are much more well looked after.”
Renee thumbed at Frei. “I don’t take orders.”
“She does not,” Frei said but leaned onto her knees. “Why does your owner wish for Lavelle to be removed?”
“Because he only had some power due to his connections at his workplace and his evidence on one of my owner’s younger children.” Pucker leaned onto the armrest of the sofa with her elbow. “The younger child got into trouble with law enforcement… one of Lavelle’s colleagues inspired him to blackmail my owner into gaining some power for remaining quiet.”
“That’s just… dumb,” Renee said rolled her gray eyes.
“Yes, especially as my owner removed the Bite family.” Pucker met Frei’s gaze. “Thanks to Alanna’s real sister, Rachel, not the hired one.”
“What happened to Rachel?” Renee asked, fiddling with her hair.
“She married one of my owner’s children but found a conscience and tried to help Alanna.” Pucker looked out of the tall window beside her. “I believe you know that a young FBI agent helped her out of captivity.”
Frei nodded. “You know of Owens.”
Pucker smiled. “I know that Rachel left her husband for Owens and was subsequently removed for the insult.” She sighed. “An affair is allowed, running off with someone is not.”
Renee straightened out her hair, in character, every gesture like Worthington’s. “So, Rachel… the hired one… she was telling the truth.”
“Yes and no,” Pucker said smiling at Renee as though she really found her sweet. “Owens was law abiding, I believe, and wouldn’t entertain any thought of a relationship… she was also married herself at the time and faithful to them.” She raised her eyebrows as though that was confusing. “She treated Alanna as a younger sibling too.”
“You understand that she was killed,” Frei asked, glancing at the doorway where two guards appeared.
“Yes,” Pucker said and placed her glass down. “And you have now removed Lavelle so I must return back to my owner.” She got to her feet. “My owner is content, thanks to you, that Alanna has no memory of who she is and would have no claim on her estate… so he would not view her as someone to be dealt with.”
Frei held her gaze. “But she is married to Lavelle… or you are?”
“Not me, Alanna… well the hired Rachel posing as her,” Pucker said and leaned in to peck her on the cheek. “I’ve put through the papers for Alanna’s divorce from Lavelle because she was lost with Owens…” She leaned back and held Frei’s gaze. “Your evidence has satisfied me of that.”
Renee’s eyes softened as she leaned in to air-kiss Pucker. “You give her freedom.”
Pucker smiled at her, kindness flowing from her eyes. “She wanted to do the same for me… and my fellow slaves once.”
She turned, walked out with the guards escorting her.
Renee folded her arms. “Do you think Alanna will listen?”
“Yes.” Frei turned toward the door and strode out. Pucker was leaving, so no doubt, it was better they leave as quickly.
“As talkative as always then,” Renee muttered as she caught up to her.
“Yes.” Frei strode out onto the front driveway and sped up as they headed toward the gate.
Crack, crunch… clunk.
Renee ducked and then stared back at the house as it crumpled. “Guess they didn’t like the décor.”
Frei smiled and led her toward Aunt Bess and Stosur in a large truck.
“You look like you were upset,” Renee whispered to her, grasping her hand. “You couldn’t help Rachel.”
Frei looked down at Renee’s hand. “I am angry I could not help her. I am not upset.”
Renee searched her eyes. “I can see you were upset.”
Frei glanced away.
“You don’t have to be stoic all the time,” Renee said, her voice so gentle, so quiet that Frei let out a long sigh.
“I thought you were hurt.” She met Renee’s gray eyes and shrugged. “You were slower than Lorelei.”
Renee grabbed her and cwtched her. “I don’t think it would have been a good idea to put her in water that senses electrical charges.”
Frei chuckled. “And I am not sure we would have a suit that size.”
Renee pulled back, tears in her eyes. “I think she’d agree.” She bumped into Frei as they got to the truck. “And she’d be happy we rescued people, you didn’t get your hair messed up and I didn’t use vials.”
Frei jumped into the back with the children who all looked unharmed and excited. “When we find her and you’ve shot her, we can tell her about the slaves.”
“Ex-slaves,” Renee said and sat beside a tall girl who beamed up at her. “And that you care about me getting hurt.”
Frei opened her mouth but Renee held up her hand.
“Yeah, yeah, I know.” She rolled her eyes.
Frei smiled and leaned back as the truck roared away. “Don’t expect flowers, Black.” She chuckled as Renee groaned. “Just don’t expect flowers.”