Canyons of Steel – Still Just a Rat in a Cage Pt. 2
“…the world will always be changing. And something is coming. We have to be prepared for it. We must stand together, for the betterment of mankind.” Each word from the general was emphasized with a fist pumped into the air. The men and women on the floor of the gathering hall cheered as the speech came to an end. But up in the top level, where the other gunslingers gathered, there was no cheering. They’d heard the flowery speeches before. They knew what life was like for them and the agents under their command.
One of them knew only too well.
John Walker tossed the cigarette to the ground and crushed it with his boot as he moved toward the exit. “They knew you were smoking, Rose,” one of the other gunslingers said without looking up. “They’d have you killed.”
“Their minds ‘re more concerned with matters o’ politics, m’friend,” Walker replied calmly after he took a drag off the cigarette. “An’ those politics don’t include the cleanliness o’ air. ‘Sides, they already choke up the air ‘nough with their rhetoric.”
“Ya keep talkin’ like that, mate an’ ya’ll get y’self shot,” the Aussie next to him drawled. Omega Six. The man had served long enough with Walker in this organization, and had seen more than many of those in the upper hierarchy of the Illuminati. “The word’s lay low an’ keep quiet, innit mate?”
“Only in the field, Six,” Walker replied. He looked back toward the main stage as more speeches were being made to the gathered crowd. A futile effort to bolster courage. “C’mon, Six. We don’t need ta hear anymore o’ this bullshit.” He rubbed the knuckles of his right hand absently as he began walking down the hallway. Today was a bad day, today he actually felt old as his arthritis began to flare up. Not a good thing for a gunslinger to be afflicted with.
Omega Six glanced down to the convention floor before turning to catch up with Walker. “Things’re changin’, innit, Sir?” Six knew that Walker had an idea of what was about to happen.
“Yeah, Six. They are.” Walker collected his gear in his slow, methodical way as he spoke. “Remember the orders we got fer Ohio?” Six nodded sagely. “Well, I scouted the target out. They want us ta hit a university. Tag some kids. Kids that were the younguns o’ a coupla senators. Know how old they were?” His men said nothing, they only waited for some sort of reply. “Seventeen, maybe eighteen.” He inhaled from the cigarette deeply and closed his eyes. “Boys. It’s time I got out.”
A few of the other men began to protest, but a look from Omega Six quickly quieted them. They’d been in the service of the old gunslinger for years, and they knew of his convictions. When he’d made a decision, he would stick to it. “Whaddya want us ta do, mate?”
“Monty,” Johnathon Walker sighed as he dropped the formalities of rank. Malcolm Montgomery Watt had been his second in command for longer than even the old gun hand could remember. “You know how good we are at fixin’ things. Well, it’s ’bout time we fix things up real good, an’ make this here group think things went so south, that it were us that bought it.”
“Disappear,” Monty replied quietly. His commanding officer nodded in full agreement. Within a few moments, the decision had been made. And no one argued anymore. They’d back his play.
Walker was getting out.