The door was a solid thing. Fitz estimated that it had to weigh close to fifty kilograms; and was likely two inches thick. Such a portal was a first rate barrier, and had the added advantage of dampening sound greatly once it was closed.
Case in point: he could barely hear the men on the other side of the door even though there were half a dozen of them pounding on it, demanding to be let out.
The three enterprise men had found themselves in this dockside warehouse thanks to intelligence gained through a meeting with the leader of the south side.
Fitz had kept Teague company outside of the conference room where the meeting had been held, and where the troubleshooters’ outburst had near gotten the five of them killed.
Teague had apologized to their employer, and to the other three men who had been in attendance at the meeting, and had narrowly escaped a quick and violent death.
Luckily for them, this particular portal opened outward, so he was able to put one of his large shoulders against it.
Fitz, Gerald, and Teague had made their way to this warehouse in the south side of the city after Penrose had told them what transpired during the rest of the meeting with Signora De Luca.
Their employer informed them that apparently Vittorio had been secretly buying up businesses, and gathering followers in an attempt to take over from his own aunt.
She had given them the locations of several of those businesses and properties where the enforcer might have secreted Teague’s mother. The Signora had also given her assurance that as long as the enterprise men did not infringe on any of her legitimate interests, that there would be no repercussions for their actions against the rogue enforcer and his men.
Fitz had found it suspiciously convenient that when Mr. Penrose had been going over the likely properties, that Teague had come out with, “I have a boat!.”
The troubleshooter had been informed by the Pixie that they would need a boat. And apparently the fairy was going to be able to offer some form of assistance since the target building was on the water.
The big man had found it a tad unusual that Gerald had been intent on piloting the fifteen foot skiff. As far as he knew, the bruiser was no fisherman; but Gerald had insisted that Pecht wanted him to man the tiller.
The men on the other side of the oak door were trying their best to force it open. Teague was doing his best to help, but it was really Fitz that was keeping the portal closed. He simply took up too much space for the troubleshooter to effectively assist him. Even if Gerald was with them right now; there would be no way for the bruiser to help because there would be no room for him to throw his weight into it.
The trip in on the skiff had been interesting for several reasons. First was the fact that a few minutes after they had cast off from the dock where Hedrek moored his craft, a fog bank had materialized in an unnaturally swift time. Gerald had assured his companions that it was all according to plan, and that “Miss Tenkha”, as he called her, was behind the unusual weather.
Second was the uncanny way that Gerald navigated through the dense fog. Shortly after they had left the dock, the shore was lost in the Grey. They had been underway for about ten minutes when Fitz had asked about it. Gerald had told them that the gull was leading them. “Beg pardon?” Teague had asked.
Gerald had gone on to tell them, with a grin on his broad face, that it was like in the eatery when a family of mice had let him know where the artifact was located. Fitz had shaken his head in disbelief, but it wasn’t the strangest thing he had encountered in the last several days.
Even though the bruiser had seemed confident; Fitz still made sure to hold tight to the gunwale. He was a fair swimmer, and exceedingly strong, but he was concerned with the fact that he didn’t know in which direction lay the shore.
When the three enterprise men had made their way into the dockside warehouse, they had not encountered any rogue Italians. That was until they had opened the oaken door.
On the other side of the portal had been a group of men. Fitz hadn’t had time to get a proper count. Gerald had let out with “Bollocks!” and Teague had slammed the heavy door shut. That was Fitz’s clue to throw his shoulder against the door to keep it shut.
Almost immediately after the men on the other side started to try to force the door open. And a lone man appeared in the hall; he hadn’t been there a moment before.
Gerald had turned to the newcomer and was going to go after him, but the man held his hands palm up and said “one moment!”
Teague had asked him “and why should we not do for you?”
The mans’ accent and rather plain Mediterranean appearance marked him as one of the Italians. He told them; “your mother is up on the third floor in the room at the end of the hall.”
“I’m through with that devil,” with this declaration the man tossed a key to Gerald’s feet. He turned and fled before anything more could be asked of him.
The bruiser snatched up the key and turned towards Teague.
The troubleshooter thought for a moment and decided: “Gerald, get my mother and take her to safety.”
“What about Vittorio?” Gerald asked. Teague replied, “I told you I would handle him, and that’s what I aim to do.”
Fitz grunted with effort and spoke; “I don’t think there’s more than seven or eight of them in there.”
The bruiser looked indecisive for several moments till Teague told him again, forcefully; “get my mother out of here Gerald!”
That command forced him out of indecision and the bruiser gripped the key tightly in his large fist and ran away.
Teague found a portion of the door where he could apply some force to help keep it closed. All the while they could hear muffled shouts on the other side of the oak portal.
“What now Teague?” the big man asked. The response he got was; “let me think a moment.”
The troubleshooter considered several things. He knew that the police were out in force because they had been warned of a possible turf war between the Italians and the enterprise on the west side. This; coupled with the fact that Vittorio was going against his own leader, meant that they would not want to draw attention. This meant that they Italians were not likely to start shooting. Even if they did; at the moment they were on the other side of a heavy oaken door that, while not actually bullet proof; might as well be. Of course there were a lot of ways to kill a man that did not involve firearms.
Teague also thought that there was actually no way out from the room beyond the door. This thinking was based on what they had seen on the way in from the sea.
The men on the other side of the door had not stopped trying to open it. Teague knew that Fitz was strong; uncommonly so, but the big man was single handedly holding the door closed while maybe half a dozen grown men on the other side were actively trying to force it open.
He could see that the big man was sweating, and the door occasionally made small jerking motions as Fitz pushed his shoulder against it.
The big man noticed Teague watching him and through clenched teeth said; “I can’t hold this thing forever Teague.”
The troubleshooter considered options and it seemed best to him that he and the big man keep the encounter in the hallway. This would make it less likely that the other men would be able to get behind them, or overwhelm them in a press.
Teague moved back several paces and was going to tell his plan to the big man holding the door when he heard someone coming down the hall.
He turned to face the new threat and was surprised to see the big bruiser rushing towards them. “Gerald,” Teague exclaimed, “I told you to get my Mamm out of here!”
The bruiser nearly skidded to a halt a few feet from him and said; “the Mrs. said she could handle a skiff, and commanded me to go help her son!”
Teague let a smile touch his face; because he knew his mother. Just like her to boss around a big brute like Gerald. His mother was one of the more capable women that he knew; and he knew that there were fishermen in her family, so it didn’t surprise him that she could handle a skiff.
Teague made some space between the three of them and told his companions; “Fitz is going to let them fellows out, and we’re going to take care of them.”
Both of the other big men nodded in understanding.
The last words uttered before the big man stepped back and let the door fly open were; “Vittorio is mine!”
Then all hell broke loose.