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For All Nails Pt. 138f: Caging the Beast

Prescott's Point
Angel Island 
June 6, 1949

"I'm sorry, Sheriff." Major Miguel Rodriguiz was a decent man, more than a
captain of MPs at an isolated naval base in what was still mostly wartime had
any right to be. Bush and Rodriguiz had worked together several times; catching
a drunken soldier who ran down a small child with his joke [FN1] and a local
merchant who had been bilking sailors out of their bolsillo dinero. "You know I
respect your authority, but now that these terrorista have killed Mexican
sailors on this island, I have to declare martial law and put my men on the
streets. A full contingent can arrive here from Colorado City in the morning." 

Stay together. 

Bush sat perfectly still, his hands pressed flat against the cheap pulpaboard
desk, so hard that the creaking of the material echoed off the walls of the
small sheriff's office. His head hurt.  "That's...good. Make sure that it's
your men on the streets as long as possible; they're known here, and respected.
Federales publically sticking el bota could make the situation worse."

_Not that it can get any worse._ he thought as he forced himself to make
conversation with Major Rodriguiz, forced himself to lay out exactly how and
where he should deploy his extra military police, forced himself to even ask
about the major's brother, who was still posted somewhere in China. _We are no
longer a vacation town, no longer a tourist trap, no longer even the shark
city. We're just another town with a terrorista problem. Oaxaca. Pueblo.
Mazatlan. Us._

"If there's any assistance my office can offer yours, once martial law is in

Montoya's screams as the beast tore him to pieces like a child with a paper
doll. The quiet accusation in Garcia's eyes as he vanished beneath the sea. 

"You only have to ask." Rodriguiz had the grace to look even more apologetic.
"I'm sorry, Sheriff, but you know how that would look. If I was seen to be
favoring the local law, even after they had, euh-"

The sea of blood and dust and ash that was the United Mexican building. A face,
free of flesh, staring up at him. 

"had problems maintaining order, well..." The Major shrugged. "You've been in
the service, you know how that would look." Bush laughed, a short, explosive
bark. His head hurt. "Oh, yes...Caesar's wife, and all that." 

The form beneath the waves, black and fast as a torpedo. The radioman's blood,
blossoming up to the surface like the rising sun. 

Bush closed his eyes as the Army major left, then looked again to see Deputy
Daniel Ortega standing in the door, file in hand, his eyes like a sapper's
faced with a fragmentación mine. "I've got Juarez' report on the two gunmen, if
you're interested." He laughed a little. "If it matters, now." 

_There is no escape._ 

"Auto." Bush forced himself to concentrate on the mental images of gunfire
roaring over his head and the Maria bursting into flames and heat, incinerating
its passengers. It was terrible, but it was a far finer thing than the vision
of jagged white and two black eyes. 

"We actually managed to identify one of the terrorista by his teeth; Javier
Meaney, a local chico from Colorado City. If the cabron he arrived with is the
same one he died with, he was Sergio Fox, also a local. Meaney and Fox were
both largo tiempo Causa; they've got lamina as long as your arm." Ortega
paused. "The odd thing, though, is that they only arrived on the island on the
fourth; on the eight o'clock ferry. Almost the only ones coming onto the island
that night..."

Bush cursed. His head hurt. "Which means the UM building wasn't their work.
Which means...mierda. Which means there must be more terrorista on the island,
more ai smashers, and we have no idea who they are." He smashed the table. "And
why the hell would Causa rotura up a UM building, anyway? Half of their money
comes from...damn it!" Bush grabbed his intercom and smashed it against his
desk, again and again with every word. "And all this, and we can't. do.
ANYTHING!" The unit smashed into flinders. 

"Sheriff?" Bush and Ortega looked up to see Captain Juan Escobar in the door.
"That's not entirely true..."



(Unlike the Commie Liberal media, my weekend installments must necessarily be
shorter than weekday jobs. The Sunday supplement, though, will be in Living