In Good Graces – Synopsis (Work in Progress)

Synopsis

Just outside Nogales, Mexico, there is a cavern deep inside a mountain. Currently meeting inside it are a group of the highest ranking members of Mexico’s up and coming cartel known as La Triple Seis or LT6, and others.

It was a mission given to a group of misfits from Los Poderosos – a very wealthy, dangerous and powerful Mexican cartel.

It was considered a suicide mission to Alejandro, or “El Jefe,” who is the founder and leader of Los Poderosos (The Powerful.) Alejandro wanted to send a stern warning that there is nothing he wouldn’t try to keep his current distribution channel the only functioning and covert method to transfer goods and people to and from the United States. So he gave this assignment to his brother, Angel, also known as “Osito” by his family and close friends. Osito chose a few  of what he considered “disposables.”

The team’s leader, Erica, knew very well they were being sent on a suicide mission. However, suicide is not an option and she wanted to prove herself to “El Jefe.”

It has taken Erica over a year to get into Los Poderosos. Moreover, she has spent several months of planning, hard training, and preparing her team for this day. She was about to show Alejandro and all of Los Poderosos, just how much they underestimated them.

1 – BOOM

Silently observing El Triple Seis’ group, hidden by the shadows cast by the cavern walls, is a four person hit team consisting of three men, Jorge, Eduardo, Tito,  and one woman, Erica.

Suddenly the cavern erupts in gunfire, the air quickly filling with gray smoke and the smell of spent rounds. The three men yell out they are out of ammo. Erica yells at them “Ir de sonseguir el culo de aqui!” (Go..get your asses out of here!) She continues shooting, providing cover fire, as they retreat without hesitation to her commands.

The large group falls slightly behind giving her a chance to find shelter behind a large, gray boulder. Quickly Erica takes an HG84 hand grenade out of her cargo pant pocket, unlocks, pulls the key out and throws it towards the group chasing them as they came closer. Erica immediately begins to vacate the cavern and presses a small red button on an electronic device she has clipped to her gun’s shoulder strap causing more explosions deep within the caverns.

Meanwhile, the men finally reach the Jeep they parked outside and not far from the cavern. Just as they turn their vehicle on they hear, and feel, the explosions.  Plumes of smoke begin to bellow out of the mouth of the cavern, then bursts of flames follow.

After the blast, with the dust and smoke still swirling around, outruns Erica. She’s covered in soot, dust and blood. Her shirt is torn and her hair is blown over and sticking up on one side. Her left eye is swollen.

Erica drops a small black box off by a boulder nearby and yells at the driver as she jumps into the Jeep “Get out of here, this place is going to get worse!”

She didn’t have to tell the driver twice, Jorge throws the Jeep in gear and quickly leaves the exploding cavern behind them. Erica, hands Tito, who is holding on in the front passenger seat, some fingers.

Eduardo, who was sitting in the back, too, says, “Mierda Loca sopló todo para arriba!” (Holy shit, Crazy Girl blew it all up!)

Loca is their nick-name for Erica.  No wonder…

Erica smiles as she looks into the rear view mirror from the backseat, and tries to fuss with her hair and checking to make sure she still had her earrings.

The driver, Jorge says, “Yet she’s worried about her fucking hair.” The guys burst out laughing. Erica smacks Jorge in the back of his head and asks, “What the fuck are you talking about?” And she cracks a smile.

Los Poderosos, the most technically advanced cartel in Mexico, or any Latin country. She hopes that working with this group, blowing out the cavern and eliminating the big boys of LT 6, along with some others, will impress “El Jefe,” the master mind and kingpin of Los Poderosos.

“El Jefe”, Alejandro Morales, worth billions, the founder and leader of Los Poderosos, could be the most powerful man in the underworld. His money laundering ties include senators and other wealthy families from the United States to Russian oligarchs to Arab royals. As he is cleaning up Mexico of the ruthless cartels which once infested the country – the people of Mexico love him and call him the Saint Christopher of Mexico, the Government had become complicit while accepting a lot of praise, and the new president of the United States who claims the drastic drop in illegal migration from Mexico was due to his strengths and policies. It wasn’t, but unfortunately the weak in office stroke this man’s fragile ego.

As Jorge drives he takes out his cell phone and presses number 1 and it dials Osito.

Osito is about five feet, eleven inches, and stocky. He is Alejandro’s brother and his real name is Ricardo, but he will always be Mommy’s little bear. So “Osito” stuck and forty three years later he is answering a call from Jorge.

Osito asks, “Is it done?” Jorge immediately answers with a smile, “Still in progress, Osito.” Jorge holds up his cell phone in the air as they are driving away allowing Osito to hear the continuous and very loud explosions going on behind them. Jorge puts his phone back to his ear. He listens then says, “Ok, sounds good.”

Jorge ends his call and places his phone in his front pocket and says, “Osito is impressed, Loca, and he’s going to shit his pants when we give him those fingers. Who’s fucking fingers are they? I mean, who were these people?”

“Javier Espinoza, the one with the nail polish is Paula Milena’s, and Thiago … I forgot his last name.” Erica tells them.

“Dominguez?” Jorge asks with a very hopeful look on his face.

“Yea, yea, that’s it.” She recalls.

“Holy shit.” Jorge says. Eduardo covers his mouth in shock and Tito says, “Whaaaaat?!”

Javier Espinoza, the head of El Triple Seis, Paula Milena, an assistant to The Mexican Secretariat of National Defense , and Thiago Dominguez, a well known and most wanted weapons dealer from Columbia, and a nuisance to El Jefe, or at least used to be one.

“What the fuck is the National Defense doing in the bowels of the earth with these mother fuckers?” Tito asks looking at the fingers curiously, rolling them around in his hand.

“Good question.” Erica replies knowing the answer.

Paula Milena, the assistant to the Mexican Secretariat of Defense, has been under investigation by the CIA for close to two years. The CIA, the United States Border Patrol (USBP)  have been working closely as they try to locate the corrupt links in border security, among other things.

Paula has been seen during a vacation in Belize with Tomas Espinoza, Javiar Esponosa’s brother. The two were very intimate according to pictures taken by a security contractor.

The bumpy ride back to a main road takes Erica and the Team about ten minutes and by then the explosions had ceased. At this point, however, all you could see from the road are large billows of dark smoke rising in the cloud-free blue sky. The next hour to their compound is a much easier drive.

The crew in the jeep pull into the compound and are welcomed by a cheering crowd. They stop and park the jeep in front of The Compound’s warehouse and climb out.

“The Compound.” A large piece of land guarded by soldiers and surrounded by an electric fence topped with electrified barbed wire, is where many of the Los Poderosos’ live. The Compound contains twenty barracks which houses thirty Los Poderosos soldiers each. There are three large mess halls for those who reside in the barracks. Also in The Compound are senior officers’ quarters which are set up as small two bedroom Cabins. Although senior officers, they must share the apartment with another. Not far from the warehouse is the training camp which also has a few of its own barracks for these newcomers. The first time Erica arrived there it reminded her of boot camp.

The team of four are thrilled at the greeting. “How the hell did everyone find out already?” Jorge asks although not really caring as he loves the attention.

Shots of tequila are handed to the team and they drink.  The crowd roars.

Moments later Osito walks out of the warehouse and the crowd goes quiet and opens up to allow him access to the employees of the month. “This is a great day!” Osito yells as he makes his way towards them. “The news! It is already breaking news!” The crowd cheers as he walks up to Jorge and places his arm around him.

Erica has never met or seen Osito. The first thing she notices are dark brown eyes and black curly hair. His strong facial features, his broad shoulders, and long stride sparked Erica’s interest and she bites her lower lip.

Jorge introduces Osito to Erica, “Osito, this is Loca, the one who blew the place up and brought you back a few trinkets.”

Erica looks up at Osito and extends her hand to shake his, “It’s a pleasure to meet you, sir.”

He takes her hand into his monstrous one and shakes it, “I’m thinking the pleasure is all mine, and you can certainly refer to me as Osito.”

Tito pulls the fingers taken from the unlucky three in the cave from his pocket and hands them back to Erica. “Here, you give them to him.” He says.

“What the fuck are those?” Osito asks, knowing the answer, as he watches the exchange.

“Fingers.” Erica says.

“Clearly, but to whom do they belong?” He asks.

Erica answers, “Javier Espinoza, Paula Milena’s, and Thiago Dominguez.”

The look on Osito’s face is priceless. His jaw remains open for a moment or two before he says, “I know two of the names, and El Jefe is going to shit his pants when he hears this, but who’s finger does the painted one belong to?”

“Paula Milena. She was the assistant to The Mexican Secretariat of National Defense.” Erica informs him.

Osito is surprised with that information. He wonders what La Triple Seis would be doing with anyone from National Defense. “I’ll be sure to let El Jefe know, Miss Loca.”

Erica smiles and takes of lock of her messy hair and begins to twirl it and says to him, “You can refer to me as Erica.”

This catches Osito’s attention and thinks that tonight may be a good night.

“Listen, the four of you come inside and fill me in on everything.” Osito tells them as he turns and walks up the small set of stairs leading into the warehouse office.

They leave their cheering crowd behind and follow Osito into the office where they tell him everything that went down.

“Funny, with the fingers is a thumb drive. What a fucking pun.” Osito says as throws the fingers down on a gray metal desk next to a computer. Carefully he places the thumb drive into the USB port of the computer. He opens up one of the files and it contains schematics to what he did not know.  He tilts head like a puppy would when puzzled.

Erica, noticing that puzzled look on his face, asks, “May I look over your shoulder?”

He lets out a small chuckle and says, “Sure.  Maybe you can tell me what this is?”

Erica looks at it and then asks if she can take the mouse, Osito agrees.

After moving the document around a bit she says to him, “It looks as if this is some sort of satellite.”  This is all she wanted to say at this time. However, the schematics shows advanced weaponry as well.

“No shit.” Osito says in amazement.  He then pulls the thumb drive out and places it into his pocket.

“Everything you told me is remarkable.” Osito says to them, “El Jefe will be very, very pleased. I look forward to sharing the good news with him. Now, go and enjoy the celebration outside waiting for you. I’ll meet up with all of you in a bit, I need to call my brother.”

2 – Cap’n Crunch

NeptuneAfter swiping the strand of hair away from her face, Erica smiles, then waves at a Marine in the distance holding an M16.  A young Afghan boy is walking up to him and the Marine lowers his gun and looks down at the little guy.

Moments later there is loud bang and then Erica suddenly awakes from her sleep to the sounds of thunder.

It’s still dark in her bedroom but for the lightning that occasionally streaks through the dark sky. She looks at her cellphone and sees it’s 7:38 a.m. “Too fucking early on a Sunday.”  She says as she gets out of bed and heads towards the kitchen to start the coffee.

After hitting the loo she walks back down the hallway to the kitchen to fill her cup up with coffee she hears her cell phone go off.  She ignores it.

Erica pours a cup of coffee and walks into her living room to turns on the news.  She sits down in her “comfy chair” as she likes to call the big and overstuffed armchair she favors. Erica takes her first sip with one hand, grabs the remote with the other hand, and flips through the channels to put on the news. First thing she sees is the American president’s bloated face and him talking about taking people’s children away from them, and how it will stop “the illegals” from “pouring” over the border from Mexico and into the USA. Oh and El Triple Seis, they are going to take over.

She chuckles to herself about El Triple Seis.

Back at El Jefe’s house…

“She didn’t answer.” Osito tells his twin brother, Alejandro.  “Probably turned her cell off, it’s early. We’ll try again later.”

Although identical twins, Osito is the stockier one, whereas Alejandro is slender and a few inches taller. Could be why one played football and the other ran track in their school days.  Alejandro still runs tens miles every morning at 5:00 AM, no matter what the weather is like.

It can be said Osito still pushes the sled because it’s how he trains all of their new recruits. He participates in all the exercise programs he runs with the recruits.  All active soldiers are required to keep up with some sort physical regime, too.

“Yea, it’s early. Can I have some Cap’n Crunch now?” Luis, their older brother, asks.  Luis is kneeling on the TV room’s floor watching cartoons. He pinches his index finger and thumb together over and over again next to his head, as he rocks to and fro in place.

Luis is 28 years old and has Savant Syndrome.  He cannot function as an adult, nor can he color within the lines, or look directly at you, but numbers and hacking… he’s a genius.

“Si, mi amore. I will start making breakfast.”  A short, hunched over, silver haired, old lady dressed in a black dress and knee high stockings, says to him.

“Thank you, Abuelita.” Luis tells her.  Slowly Abuelita makes her way down a long pink marble hallway towards the kitchen.

Alejandro says to Osito, “So this woman masterminded this entire endeavor, brought back some fingers, a thumb drive, and told you she believes what you saw were schematics to a satellite?”

Osito replies, “Yup.”

“So you feel she may be the one to run security for our first ocean run?” Alejandro continues questioning.

“I have no doubt she can and I’ll be part of the team, too.” Osito assured his twin.

Alejandro places his hand on his chin, holding it while he nods his head slowly, squinting his eyes, and paces back and forth in a small area. Suddenly he stops and says, “Are those eggs and peppers that I smell?”

“I don’t smell Cap’n Crunch. I don’t.” Luis says as he stands up looking into the air and sniffing, “I don’t smell Cap’n Crunch.”

“First!” Luis yells and runs out of the TV room down the same pink marbled hallway.

Alejandro and Osito start pushing each other as they try to beat each other out of the TV room to the kitchen. Brothers…

After the men fill up with breakfast they kiss their Abuelita, thank her, and they head outside to a stone patio. It is there that Osito calls Erica again hoping she picks up.

“Yea?” Erica says not really paying attention when she answers her cell.

“This is Osito.”  He informs her.

Now paying attention, she turns off her TV and says, “Oh, sorry.  Yes sir?”

“El Jefe would like to meet with you today.  A driver will be by at noon to pick you up. Be ready.” Osito tells her.

“Yes, sir. I will be ready, sir.”  Erica says to him.

“Great.” He says and ends the call.

As the twins discuss their upcoming meeting with her, Erica scrambles to get ready and jumps in the shower. She can only assume it was about the mission from Thursday.

Once bathed she puts on a t-shirt, cargo pants, and military boots, she dazzles her ensemble up with small faceted earrings.  The kind that records her whereabouts. The kind that reports back to James, aka, Professor H. That’s what Erica likes to call him.  Makes him sound like one of the good guys in X-Men.

So James is an MIT Nanotech Engineer, and the first to harness and contain the self-replication of a nanotech device. Likewise, he has a way to activate deactivation of its self-replication. He has a crush on Erica.  He thinks it’s a secret, but the team knows.

Team? Erica, after an Officer Discharge, became an Independent Contractor working for the ISSA.  

The ISSA, International Secret Service Agency, is a privately owned company which offers private and military security and reconnaissance services to countries who are bound by International Law. The ISSA employs independent contractors and is a coalition of the most elite of former Special Forces soldiers, officers, and commanders from various countries such as the United States, Britain, Ireland, France, Norway, Japan, Germany, Mexico, Montenegro, India and Israel.

Anyway, Professor H., created many devices for Erica, including jewels that can record and pinpoint her location.

Erica puts on a little bit of blush-pink lip gloss, throws it in one of her cargo pockets, and waits for her pick-up.  About fifteen minutes later and $45 million in fake money gambled from her cell phone app, she hears a knock on her door.  She ends her game ahead and happy.

She opens the door and there stands a tall man with very blonde hair and pale skin, dressed in a tailored black suit. Erica asks, “Would you be my ride?”

“Yes, ma’am.” He says in a very deep voice.

She locks up behind her and follows him down the stairs of her apartment to the first level where a Pharmacia is.  She waves through the window that separates the Pharmacia from the stairs that lead up to several apartments in the building.  The woman behind the counter waves back.

The giant opens the door to the back seat of a military style Hummer. He then takes out a small step stools to make it easier for her.  Erica appreciates it and uses the steps. “Thanks.” She says and he replies with, “You’re welcome.”

The rest of the ride was silent.  All the better because she had nothing to talk about and enjoyed the scenery along the journey to wherever the hell they were going.

Turns out he was taking her to Ensenada, a port city on the Pacific coast of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula, and to a beautiful beach home.

“Did I under dress, Drago?”  She asks the tall pale man, trying to open him up using a Rocky IV reference.

“My name is Levushka, and it is not a black tie event, if that is what your question is.” Drago replied to her flatly.

She sticks her tongue at him.  He saw it from the rear-view mirror, but doesn’t care.

He drives up to a large white rod iron gate painted white.  A Los Poderosos soldier guarding it, of course. He nods at Levushka, punches in a few numbers on a keypad and the gate opens.  The Hummer drives through and the gate closes behind them. There before them is a pale pink stucco house, with white shutters and rust colored clay shingled roof. The gardening was amazing, as was the security.  The Hummer then stops in front of a grand stairway that leads up to another white rod iron gate with yet another soldier.

So Levushka opens the door for Erica and outside is the little step stool.  She just jumps out.

Levushka nods at her, closes the door and says to her, ” Ok, go up the stairs, they will take you from here.” And with that he climbs back into the Hummer and drives off.

Once up at the gate, another guard opens it up and lets her into a courtyard.  He says to her, “Take a seat over there.” He points to a fountain of Neptune and around it are cement formed benches that had sea shells stuck here and there in them. Erica picks one and sits.

Luis went outside and sat on a bench next to hers. “Hi, I’m Luis.”  He says to her.

“Hi, Luis. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”  Erica says to him not sure what to do or if this is who she was meeting with.

“He’s my favorite kind of God. Did you know there are lots of Gods?”  He asks her.

Erica realizes Luis is a precious and unique sort of individual and takes it from there, “Well, out of Sea Gods I can think of about, um… fifteen of them.”

“Wow!” Luis says with eyes wide open. “There are at least 17 of the Sea Gods.  I love the sea and my favorite one is Neptune. I like seashells, too. Did you see the ones in our benches?” Luis asks her with excitement.

“Yes, Luis.  Those were the next wonderful things I noticed!” Erica answers him.

Luis looked directly into Erica’s eyes and asks her, “Which one is your favorite?  Do you have a favorite? Mine is Neptune.”

“Yes, Luis, I do have a favorite one, and I bet you one hundred pesos that you can’t guess who it is.” She says to him giving him a challenge.

He puts his hand to his mouth as if he has to be quiet.  Then smiles under his hand, looking down at the ground. Luis takes his hand away from his mouth and takes a deep breath.  “If I were Neptune and saw a pretty girl like you, I bet he would think you are a Goddess. So I want to believe it’s Salacia!” He says with hopeful eyes.

How can you say no to that? How?

“Can you read minds, Luis? That’s not fair, you know how to read minds.”  Erica tells him as if she is amazed and hands him one hundred and ten pesos.

“No, I don’t know how to read minds. Or hear them. I like math, and computers, and Neptune!” He tells her so innocently.

“Well, you figured me right out, didn’t ya?”  She asks him.

“Like math, huh?”  He asks her trying to dissect her sentence.

“Exactly like math, Luis.”  Erica answers him with a smile.

Alejandro and Osito are looking out of a window watching Luis carry on a conversation with a strange woman.  Clearly he feels comfortable with her and it’s obvious she knows how to speak to him. “She’s got a special nack, I’ll say that.” Alejandro observes.

“C’mon, let me introduce you.” Osito says pulling on Alejandro’s elbow.  Osito was more eager than Alejandro to get out there and see her.

The two walk out to the fountain area, Osito says, “Hello, Erica, I see you met our brother, Luis. This is Alejandro.  El Jefe to the rest.”

She stands up.

Alejandro takes Erica’s hand and kisses the back of it and says, “Charmed.”

Yea, she wasn’t expecting that, but went with it. “Likewise.” She lies to him.

“So you brought back some fingers.  Where are the people that were attached to them?” Alejandro asks.

“Shot dead, blown up, burnt to a crisp.” Erica answers.

“Oooookay.”  He replies, then asks,  “Did you know who they were before you took their fingers?”

“Yes, sir. I studied everything about El Triple Seis.  I realize, Sir, that Tomas Espinoza is still out there.  If given the opportunity I would like to finish the job. You know…Tomas.”  Erica tells Alejandro.

Alejandro looks over at Osito and asks him, “Where have you been hiding this jewel?”

Osito looks at Erica and sees a diamond.

Alejandro went right for it and tells her, “I have a job which requires strong security and we were hoping you might be interested in it after you take out Tomas.”

“Tell me about it, Sir.” She tells him.

“Sure, but come on inside.  Let’s have a drink and discuss it.” Alejandro tells her.

3 – The Council Meets

Tecate MexicoAs the new leader of El Triple Seis, Tomas Espinoza, had a lot of catching up to do.  It’s been two weeks since Javier’s death, they’ve grieved, now it’s time to get back to work. So Javier calls for The Council of Six together right away.  They will meet at “The Hut.”

The Council of Six are six individuals responsible for making strategy for the gang, giving orders, appointing members and doing all the financial workings. The council of six has the final say on things and the main decision making power. “ The Hut” is what [they] call a small cinder block building in the middle of Bambuto where they hold their meetings.

Off in the near distance, on a tall hill scattered with brush, Erica rides up on a dirt bike. On it, other than herself, are several leather bags tied to the side and one in front of it.  She jumps off and begins to remove one of the bags which held the components to an RPG-7.  

As Erica assembles her RPG, In the Hut, the Council discusses their current affairs and the final topic is about the item they were hired to deliver to Ivankov.

Ludwig Ivankov, a notorious Russian mobster running errands for the Kremlin, and some oligarchs. This man is close to seven feet tall, muscular, with a tattoo of a large spider on his neck and a spider’s web on his bald head. He has a scar that runs from the middle of his eyebrow, over his eye, down to his chin. From this injury he wears an eye-patch. He is typically seen in a satin shirt, and his eye patches always match in color. He wears a heavy gold chain with a gold Russian Orthodox cross. His large pinky dons a gold ring with a blood red ruby.  

So Ivankov was hired by the Kremlin to acquire a certain thumb-drive containing the schematics of a weaponized satellite. The thumb-drive was supplied to an informant to El Triple Seis who was given it by someone from the USA, who was not yet known.

“It was with Paula, she had it.” Says Marco, one of the Six.

“So it’s gone, with my Paula, it’s gone.” Tomas gets up and punches the wall.  He quickly wishes he didn’t, it’s cinder block. “Fuck!” he yells wiping blood and cinder block from his knuckles.  He continues, “What do I tell Ivankov? He is expecting this thumb drive this weekend.”

There is a swooping noise from the hill and then a loud explosion a moment later. Erica watches the Hut blow up into small pieces, some of which is mixed with body parts. The plume of smoke is tall and dark.

She places the RPG down onto the dirt and rocks to allow it to cool off.  Then hops back onto her bike and rides down to the smoking and burning rubble.

Once there she dismounts the bike and begins to walk around the site looking for a souvenir.  After a few minutes she comes upon a piece of table that is rocking back and forth, as if it is balancing on something.  She removes the table and finds part of a torso, with one arm and half a blown off head. The head is Tomas’. His mouth is moving up and down, as are two of his fingers.  “Are you still alive? Holy shit.” Erica says to what’s left of Tomas.

The eye that is still somewhat in his head rolls, looking for the voice.  The eye finds Erica holding a machete. She says, “Yea, you are going the same way you had many others go.”  

It took only one wack to detach his head.  The eye no longer looked alive.

After letting the head drip out any remaining blood, she throws it into one of the side bags. Then she reaches into one of her pocket and pulls out a joint. She lights it up then sits down on a nearby rock to smoke it.  The first puff from it make her cough but she pulls it together and enjoys it.

So about ten minutes later she is finished, happy and climbs back onto her bike and rides back up to the RPG which has been cooling off.  After packing it she makes a call to Osito.

“Yea, I took care of Tomas, and I have proof, a piece of him.”  Erica tells him, then proceeds to fill him in on the hut and The Council.

Osito says to her, “You have a piece of Tomas?  Wait, what? You fucking blew up the Council of Six and Tomas?”  Osito asks with disbelief and putting his cell phone on speaker.  Alejandro was with him.

Erica answers, “Yes.  The other six were a bonus. Just wanted to let you know the job was done, Sir.”  

“Erica, this is Alejandro.  Please meet us at The Compound, by the munitions warehouse.”  

“Yes, sir. I can be there in about an hour and half.”  Erica replies.

They end their call.  

Alejandro says to Osito “So, it’s time to introduce Erica to Raul. Let’s take her to The City tomorrow to meet him and for a tour.” Alejandro tells Osito.  “And she is a jewel, brother.”

Osito smiles and thinks to himself, “Hands off the jewel.”

“The City.”  It’s what Alejandro, Osito, and those working on the endeavor, call a sophisticated underground infrastructure and distribution center which is located about a mile below the town of Tecate, Mexico. Beneath the town runs a water vein directly under a Shopping Mall in El Centro, California.  There are two other locations currently under construction, and almost completed.

The Distribution Center is almost as large as the town above it.  Steel, concrete, and pre-existing ancient buildings carved from the rock.  There are roads, air quality and exhaust systems, power systems, plumbing, docks to the rivers that run beneath, there are warehouses, offices, a hotel, and a medical facility.  It was a feat the US government would envy.

The Distribution Center was used for the shipping and receiving of people, weapons, drugs, documents, and other items which folks may not be able to bring into or take out of the United States.  

La Triple Seis was trying to build their own, but Alejandro wouldn’t have it. Besides, the Sixers’ wasn’t as nearly as large and elaborate as his, but nonetheless it was competition.

So about two hours later Alejandro shows up with Osito at the warehouse in the Compound.  Erica is sitting on the stairs, elbows leaning on her knees, and she is chatting with one of the soldiers.  As soon as the two see the big black Cadillac SUV pull up, the soldier bids farewell to Erica and walks away.  

Erica gets up and walks over to her bike and unbuckles a leather bag from its side.

Osito steps out of the Cadi, then Alejandro.  Erica walks over to greet them with her hand extended. “Don’t worry, I washed them.”  She giggles. Osito returns the giggle which disturbs him.

Alejandro looks at Osito with a squint wondering if his brother is a 14 year old girl, then turns to Erica and extends his hand.  “What do you have there?” He asks her.

Erica reaches into her leather bag and pulls out what’s left of Tomas’ head.  Both men turn green and have the sudden dry heaves. “Oh, come on.” She says to them in a disappointed voice putting the head back into the bag.

“Let’s go inside the warehouse office.  But leave the head.” Alejandro says to them walking away shaking his head and waving his hand in the air.

As soon as they go in, Alejandro points to Erica and then to a bottle of hand-sanitizer on a desk.

“So tell me, Erica…what is it with you and chopping off body parts?” Alejandro asks her.

“Doing what they do, ya know, giving it back?”  She answers.

“Got it.  I’ll have to remember that.” Alejandro answers, then says, “I have one more thing for you to do.”

“Sure, name it.”  Erica says to him.

“I need you to find the intended recipient of that thumb-drive.” Alejandro tells her believing it would be a long and difficult task unless she has connections.  This assignment should reveal much to him.

Without any hesitation Erica says to him, “I’m on it but I’ll need some cash.”

“Cash is not a problem.” Alejandro says to her.