Seventy-five

21.32

Poking her head just above the bonnet of the ARV, Tina saw the muzzle flash from the shooter’s gun up in the trees, but she still couldn’t see the shooter himself. It did, however, look like he was the only one firing. As she watched, a silhouette seemed to rise up from the ground twenty yards away and come jogging down the incline towards the convoy, keeping close to the undergrowth for cover, his assault rifle outstretched in front of him.

It was clear he hadn’t seen her. She could have stayed where she was but she wasn’t that kind of person. She didn’t turn her back on trouble. This was a chance to even the odds, and she knew it. But she was scared. Damn scared. She could see at least two corpses of police officers only feet away, their blood leaking on to the tarmac, and knew full well that could be her in a few moments’ time. Her whole body ached with exhaustion, and a heavy tension that made it hard to move.

A voice in her head told her to hide. It was a sensible voice — a voice of reason. To do anything else was madness.

But then she was jumping up and opening fire with the Glock, acting entirely on instinct.

Handguns are never the most accurate of weapons — a fact that’s not helped when the person firing them hasn’t fired one for a while, and is shooting at a moving target in near darkness — but Tina kept her hands steady and aimed low, cracking off five shots in rapid succession, before the gunman had even reacted to her presence.

But, crucially, she didn’t hit him, and she was forced to dive for cover as he returned fire, his bullets spraying the spot where she’d just been standing. She landed painfully on her shoulder, knowing that she’d missed her chance, and would probably not get another one now.

At that moment, the cop who’d been shot in the leg, and who’d been lying on his side, rolled round so he was facing the gunman and let loose a burst of automatic fire from the MP5. Tina immediately got to her feet and peered back over the bonnet, seeing the gunman now running towards them, barely ten yards away, firing as he went as he tried to take out the firearms cop.

Smoke flew up from the cop’s body armour as he took rounds to the upper body, causing him to buck and jerk on the ground. Taking advantage of the distraction, Tina jumped up again and cracked off another three shots. She didn’t know if it was her or the other cop who’d hit him, but the gunman suddenly went down on his side, dropping his weapon in the process.

She felt a surge of hope then that lasted the space of a second before suddenly Fox appeared in the van’s doorway, a gun in his hand. He raised the gun, looking straight at her. She just had time to react by throwing herself backwards, firing as she went, as he pulled the trigger, narrowly missing her.

As she landed, she fired again, but Fox was already out of the van, moving fast. Keeping low, he jerked round and shot the injured cop in the face, then fired another shot at Tina. It bounced off the tarmac behind her as she kept firing back at him, but then he disappeared from view around the front of the car, and suddenly everything fell silent.

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