BY: A. Tietz



27 Pages


Trace got into the back of the truck. As Cade came to meet her she blurted out some orders because she was feeling the pressure of time and mad at her own feelings.

"Go get the goods you brought and bring it back here, but give me the phone."

Cade looked a little puzzled but complied with the instructions.

Trace was going to change in the back of the truck. She was also going to check out Suz. She waited till he was out of the back of the truck. Time to stop playing acting. If Roddy’s gang were listening then they were going to make a move anyway. Time to get the communication in her own group straight.

"What were Roddy’s choices in telling me goodbye last time I saw him?"

She had to be sure Roddy had sent Suz. And Trace took the chance that Roddy had picked this tidbit since most other info could be gathered by CIA.

Suz sounded amused when she replied, "A juicy lip-lock or a loud and naughty goodbye as you departed."

Trace sighed inwardly and felt a twinge of annoyance that Roddy knew her so well.

"Okay, I need you to drive to end of this street and place the back of your van toward the dead-end. Tell me when you’re there."

"You sure?"

"I don’t have time for this just do it!"

"Okay, Okay, it’s cool. I’m turning down the Drive now. I see you guys."

Cade had come back with a bag. Trace was glad Roddy was on her side. The man did know her well because her favorite piece was in the bag, a 44 Magnum automatic. The bag contained the goodies she needed. One item was a headset hook up that linked all three players.

"Good we’ve got a three way hook up. Suz have you got your receiver? Okay, lets get off these phones. Just park and wait for Cade and I to get hooked up."

"I’ve already got my headset Jess," and he confirmed it by pulling it out of his pocket and placing over his ear.

She put hers on and spoke quickly, "You there Suz? Good. Now get out of the back of the van and just slip into the tall grass of the empty field and head south. Follow the fences. Gun drawn and heads up, this could get ugly. Five houses in. You there? Should be a blue shed and a garden in the backyard. Okay. See anyone? Who? A drink? Let’s hope he’s not a loud drunk. He’s gone? Good. I want you to stay there till I relieve you. Keep it quiet and watch for any company."

She abruptly turned and asked, "Cade what were Roddy’s choices in telling me goodbye last time I saw him?"

This guy had been cool in the operation so far but Trace still needed some confirmation, and she wanted to catch them both off guard now that they were hooked up on the same line.

Cade had a smirk on his face but didn’t look her directly in the eyes, "A wet kiss or a slutty loud goodbye."

"Good. You did good work back there when the prof came home. But like I told Suz this could get ugly. Hostile fire is like 80%. You ready for that kinda game?"

She didn’t know if either of them had ever seen this kind of operation.

She saw a slight surprise, then hesitation in Cade’s face before seeing a determined look come into his eyes, and his jaw clench as he said, "Jessie we got your back, that’s what he sent us for, that’s what we’re going to do."

"Yeah, Dobson told us it was serious, not this serious, but we’re here now, we’re in," was Suz’s comment.

Well they weren’t veterans but they weren’t innocents either. She was sending them to unload the truck at a vacant house she had found for sale on her previous reconnaissance. The truck could be hidden for a while. It might buy time if they were just being watched not listened to. And right now they needed lots of time and a hell of a lot of luck.

"Alright, here’s the deal, you’re gonna dump this truck about two blocks away on a street called Evergreen. About two houses in on the left side, its for sale and vacant. It’s a long driveway with lots of shrubs and trees. Hide it there. Take time and wipe ALL prints and do your best to wipe out the back of the truck, use leafy branches or something. Suz you’ll follow in the SUV Roddy drove here after I relieve you. Your van stays at the end of the street till we need it. We stay hooked up as we go."

She was now dressed in the typical black ops jumpsuit and was grateful for the grenades in two of the pockets. Roddy had also supplied heat sensor night vision goggles as well as the firepower. She had strapped on the 44 Magnum and a knife, checked her ankle C-9 semi automatic, and put on both vests before zipping up the outfit over her street clothes. She couldn’t take Robin’s whole outfit. But the vest she needed. She worried about leaving any hair for forensics, but it was up in a ponytail, maybe they’d get lucky. It was time to move.

"Here keep the bag Cade and put on the goggles. Can’t leave obvious DNA. Okay Suz, meet me at the east side of the house, then you’ll get the SUV and follow Cade. Remember lock on load, stay alert. Let’s do it!"

With her 44 Mag drawn she prowled toward the fence gate hidden by the truck. She paused under the dinning room window and saw the slight figure of a woman approach with quick cat like stealth. Her long shining black hair was tied up in a ponytail braid and she blended in well to the darkness in her black ops outfit. The brown/black eyes of this petite Asian woman were alert as she approached Trace.

"I didn’t see any movement at all," she whispered to Trace.

"Okay, Cade parked the SUV in front of the truck. Here are your goggles. Be on the look out for a tail," was Trace’s instruction as she motioned the woman onward.

"If either of you have trouble as you go let me know. Otherwise, we’ll talk when you get to the driveway on Evergreen unless you need to talk sooner. Keep your eyes open for surveillance. If you need to talk to me you say the word ‘report’ and wait. I won’t always be able to talk right away. If I can’t speak just wait for 60 seconds. If you still don’t hear me, say the word ‘report’ a little more loudly and wait. If I need your help I will call for it. Unless that happens, DO NOT come back to this house. If I still don’t answer you call Dobson. Got it?" Trace didn’t want them in over their heads.

Cade responded with confidence as they drove off, "Right, got it Jess."

Now that Trace was under cover of dark and well equipped she was feeling a little more confident and like the assassin she knew she was.

Okay Trace, so far there’s no obvious surveillance. It still doesn’t mean you’re alone.

Trace was talking to herself, trying to focus. It had been a hell of an emotional trap so far but the job was now getting to the part where her expertise would do them well. If she were lucky it would be a clean kill, no clues, then cut and run. The wrinkle was that she was going to be running with three instead of just herself. And one of those three may not come willingly. Trace prayed to whatever God’s there were that Robin would be willing. Hopefully their afternoon had provided some sort of trust connection.

She headed toward the spare bedroom window. The alarm light was not on. She’d looked at the system on her reconnaissance visit inside the house. It didn’t have any hidden tricks. She checked a few other windows to be sure. No lights. They hadn’t turned it on yet. She decided to go into the garage first. As she stood by the side door of the garage, the heat sensor goggles didn’t register any heat signature, besides the gas heater. She was in quickly and quietly. She paused to listen for movement and normal household sounds. It was all-quiet. No voices, no dishes clinging like dinner was being prepared. Trace was concerned that her behavior with the professor had gotten Robin in trouble somehow. But there were no sounds of arguing or even talking. Trace thought perhaps it was the cold shoulder routine. She was looking around the garage with the beginnings of an idea in her mind.

"Report." Cade was checking in.

"Talk to me."

"We’ve stashed the truck. What now?"

"Now you go take the SUV to an empty field and wait. There is a dirt road on the other side of the field in the back of these houses. You saw that pasture in the back right Cade? Suz you were in it. On the other side of it, at about two hundred yards, is a dirt road that runs parallel to the fences of the houses on Cascade Lane. That’s how you find the dirt road. Looks like a utility road of some sort. Be careful as you go, it’s a prime spot for surveillance. When you get to the road report before you start down it." Trace was worried about sending them out there, but she needed the eyes and ears.

"Cascade Lane, right, we’re on it Jess."

"Suz keep your gun drawn. Cade keep yours on the seat. This is for real. If you’re lucky, your bullets will do the killing and you’ll stay breathing. Now stay alert." Trace wanted to keep them scared. It might help them stay alive.

"We’ve worked for Dobson before Jess. He prepped us some. We get that its deep shit. We’re not in your league but we’re not as green as all that. Dobson told us, if we get sloppy and we don’t listen to you then we get dead. We’re as ready as we can be. I’ll report when I get to the road." That was the most Trace had heard out of Cade yet.

"Alright, just stay alert and expect the unexpected. Let’s hope I’m wrong. If I am, you’re insurance I didn’t need. Dobson picked ya, so that says something to me. Just be careful. I’ll wait for your report." She wasn’t good at sorry and thanks. That was the best she could do.

Since there was still no sign of surveillance, Trace was thinking of how to buy time. Her idea was that a fire could be a good cover up. It took time to put it out, determine arson, and identify the body. Trace wanted to get into the house. But first she needed to check the garage for some fuel. Something to make a fire burn hot and fast. Luckily she found a nice spare can of gas for the lawn mower. The laundry room led into the garage. It was all clear as she entered the room silently. She picked up some bleach out of the overhead cabinets. She stashed the bleach bottle, a few other chemicals, and the gas can beside the washer out of sight. Now she had to locate the occupants of the house.

Before opening the laundry room door into the house, she propped the goggles up on her head. If she met Robin she didn’t want to be too scary. If she met the professor it would just have to be quick. It was only 8:30pm when she checked her watch. She opened the door slightly and looked down the hall. She could see one bedroom door and the door to the professor’s den, all seemed quiet. She saw a light under the professor’s doorway down the hall.

Trace crept down the hall without a noise. The door was slightly ajar but she couldn’t see in very far. It was tricking but she finally saw him at the computer reading.


Trace heard Cade’s quiet voice. She quickly checked a room that seemed to be a guest bedroom. It was clear. Trace found a closet with storage boxes and some extra hanging curtains she could use as cover.

"Okay, you at the dirt road?"

It was Suz, "Yeah, there’s no movement that we can see. No dust, no bent grass, no fresh tread marks, no heat signatures. It looks pretty clear."

She was short and to the point, Trace liked that. Trace noticed the woman was also observant.

"Turn off your headlights. Wait till your eyes get used to the dark. Then drive the road about four houses in, go slow its bumpy. I’ll wait."

She looked at her watch it was about 9:00pm.

"Okay, damn its dark. There’s a few backyard house lights on. It’s not much. We’re in by four. Now what?" It was Cade’s report this time.

"Now just wait and listen. I need to get back to ……"

Suz spoke up before Trace could finish, "Jessie, I have some sensor equipment in my van, can I go get it? It might be useful."

Trace wasn’t used to working with a team. This excursion could be distracting. But the girl was right and she could probably get a good view of the street.

"Okay, Cade you stay in the SUV and stay alert for anything. Suz you’ll be on foot and in the open so remember gun drawn. Stay low. Silence unless you get company. If you do, try not to engage them. Just get away if you can, back to Cade if possible. I’ll hear it but I won’t be able to help you. I’ll have to move here at the house and take the woman. In that event then Cade you come get us first, then we help Suz. But it’s been silent here so far; let’s hope our luck holds. When you get to the van just say the word ‘report’ quietly. Good Luck. I’m going silent now."

Cade responded, "Right."

Suz took off for her van. Trace could hear the movement in her headset. She started to come out of the guest room to check on the two residents when she heard a noise in the hall. Trace quickly slipped behind the bedroom door but kept it slightly ajar to view the hall. It was Robin coming down the hall. She went into her bedroom holding a book. Robin closed the bedroom door.

Hmmmm, afraid or private? You do not have a cozy marriage, Robin.

Trace waited and listened. There was the sound of sustained running water.

Good, but is it a bath or a shower?

She had to get a closer look. Trace waited a moment to give the woman time to get into the shower or tub, then made her way toward their bedroom. She entered slowly, careful not to reveal her presence. The bathroom door was slightly ajar. Trace could see the tub. It was clear; the sound of water was from a shower. That was good and bad. It would be hard for Robin to hear Trace, but it wouldn’t be long. She needed time to spread the gas and bleach. She briefly checked on the professor then headed out on her arsonist errand.

Trace listened in her headset to sounds of fast walking. Suz stopped to listen several times. She was glad the woman was being careful. So far their progress went slow but unimpeded. She checked her watch, 9:15pm. Trace went into the living room spread some bleach, she had also spilled some gas in the laundry room. It was still clear, only two bodies registered in the house, none immediately outside. She was getting apprehensive about not being able to see outside the house very far. Trace was thinking she needed to have Suz scope the outside after the van excursion when she heard the water stop. Looking with the goggles she confirmed that the professor still hadn’t stirred. So Trace quietly went back to the guest room and waited for more activity.

In hiding again, she heard, "Report."

"Go ahead Suz."

"I was careful. Nothing so far. I’m at the van. I checked underneath. Didn’t see anything. So I’m gonna open the back door."

Trace was impressed that Suz had the presence of mind to check underneath the car for explosives or any obvious tampering. Although, a good agent could hide explosives in plain sight. Trace held her breath a little and got ready to move if it went bad.

Trace heard a slight muffled car door sound. Then Suz said, "Looks clear in the van and the street so far, real quiet. Equipment is still here, no tampering that I see. Got what I need now what Jessie?" Suz sounded ready for anything.

"I think now you drive the van to the dirt road. That’s where you need to be extra careful. Cade, what’s the color of Suz’s earrings?"

"What?!" Cade’s response was confusion.

"Suz has earrings on tonight, what’s the color?"

Trace wanted to see his response. She hadn’t heard any sounds of compromise, but she was making extra sure Cade didn’t have a gun pointed at his temple by silent unfriendly company.

She doesn’t have earrings on Jess. I don’t think she does. I mean I didn’t notice any. Why are you asking about earrings? I don’t…"

"Okay Cade, that’s fine. You pass. Any sounds or signs of movement by you?"

"No, well there were some dogs barking a little but not much."

"Just stay on your guard. Okay Suz, when you get back to Cade report in. I need to get back to business here."

"Gotcha Jess."

Trace heard a phone ring in the house. "Okay, got to check something I heard a phone. Silence."

She cautiously moved from her hide-a-way. She strained to listen. It was Robin on the phone in her bedroom. Her voice got louder and she opened her bedroom door. Trace moved behind the guest bedroom door, which was still slightly open. With her goggles, she could see the heat source moving down the hallway toward the kitchen.

Trace could only hear Robin’s side of the conversation. She was on the phone with her mom.

"He’s in the den. He always works late mom I’ve told you. I’m working on it mom. I will I told you. I’ll see, I’m working that week. Again, you just got back. I’ll see. He’ll probably be working. I’ll come if I can. I don’t want…"

Trace couldn’t hear anymore as Robin walked down the hall toward the living area. From the crack by the hinge of the door she was behind, she could see lights being turned off and heard Robin’s muffled voice. She only caught a few scattered words. It wasn’t the most pleasant sounding conversation. She heard the kitchen faucet. Then Robin was coming back down the hall in stocking feet, an oversized nightshirt, with a phone in one hand and a glass of water in the other.

"Maybe for part of it. I love my work you know that. No I don’t. Mom we haven’t talked in a while, I don’t want to get into…………"

Robin walked into her bedroom and shut the door sounding weary of the conversation. Trace was still hearing muffled talking. In a moment it stopped. She saw the bedroom light dim by the bottom of the door, but there was still some soft light on in the room so it wasn’t completely dark.

Trace started to move into the hall to check on the professor when she heard Suz, "Report."

"Okay report."

"It’s still clear. I’m back and all is quiet. What now." Trace had been concentrating on Robin. She had half listened for an explosion, gunfire, muffled noises of distress. But Suz was already back at the SUV.


"Cade I’m gonna bring you in when she gets back if all is clear. Hang tight."

Trace barely heard sounds of the Van being driven. It was a moment before any report.

"Nothing on the dirt road so far. Should I drive back to Evergreen and circle around to Cascade again Jess?"

Good idea Suz. Keep your eyes open for delivery vans or work vehicles like a plumber’s rig or a cable company van. Anything that looks like it could conceal people. We won’t be able to tell if they’re in one of the neighbor’s houses. But be ready for anything."

"Right okay, I’m off the dirt road now, headed for Evergreen. I don’t see anything suspicious so far."

Trace was frustrated about this. She had a team and still couldn’t find the surveillance. By the end of Suz’s rounds there was still nothing to report.

"I need you to come in Cade. I need your eyes. Stay alert and look around. I want you to check the perimeter of the house before you come into the garage. There is a side door on the east side of the garage. You can enter there. I’m in the guest bedroom on the street side of the house. Let me know when you’re in the backyard. Gun drawn, keep your ears open. Be ready!"

"Locked and loaded. I am on my way."

Trace was skeptical about this whole job. She just couldn’t believe a Viet Nam cover up would be treated normal. Or that Robin was not a known connection in her past. Crab was nasty when his butt felt any heat. Maybe it was "hands off" till they saw anything out of the ordinary. She hadn’t noticed any tail when she went to Roddy’s or since. That didn’t mean it wasn’t there. She was pissed at herself for being too emotional. She should have thought this through more. She sat in her guest room hiding place and ran it through her mind.

The meeting with Roddy wasn’t normal movement for planning a hit. Surveillance could see it as a personal romantic liaison only Crab knows how I work. They could’ve moved on Roddy but that conversation was too normal for him. He would’ve tipped me if it were a set up. Cade and Suz can’t be CIA. They knew the answer to how I said goodbye. Roddy wouldn’t give that up even if he was captured and tortured. He hates Crab too much. Plus these two are either great actor’s or they’re just as green to the spy game as they seem. No bug could’ve escaped Roddy’s fortress. His equipment would have nailed it. They have to be from him. It feels right. No action on us three yet so maybe no sound surveillance. But that just doesn’t make sense.

Could be a silent team, no big action. I might have a tail just to insure the job is done with no complications? But so far this hasn’t been routine if they’re watching us. Crab may not know if the wife knows anything, and did she talk to anyone. He didn’t have me check for leaks or do anything except the kills cause the bastard doesn’t want me to know about his Viet Nam cover up. That’s why there was all the bull shit about Trenton being an anti-military/government idealist. He wanted me to do the hit no questions asked. He had to make it look routine, normal. I might have if not for Robin. Why didn’t he include her picture? It’s happened before. He’s sloppy. Not on this though. Not if his tail is hanging out. How the hell is Robin in my dreams? That can’t be a coincidence. It has to be connected. Robin could be the real mark. Maybe this Intel on the professor was faked. No, it doesn’t feel fake. Too fucking much I don’t know. Okay, regardless of who the mark is, if I’m a mark too, and I must be, then they’ll frame me for the hit. Make up some fake background for me. Fancy woman cat burglar or something. They’ll leave my body here. So where the fuck are they?! There are so many damn pieces missing. I gotta call Roddy.

"Report." It was Cade.

"Where are you?"

"At the fence. Nothing so far."

Trace heard a slight grunt as he hurtled the fence.

"Check the sides and look out the front through the fence as much as you can."

"Right, I’m on the west side by the gate. Nothing here. No heat register. Neighbor’s is clear. Nothing out front. It looks the same as we left it. What now?"

Traces knew she had to believe her gut. Crab was in trouble, this wasn’t routine, she was a mark, and there was surveillance, they just didn’t see it.

"The garage is on the other side of the house. Be very quiet." Trace waited.

"Hey nice bike." The man sounded like he definitely wanted to be casing the house and taking a stash.

"You’re not shopping okay, or scoping. Nothing unusual I take it."

The irritation in Trace’s voice didn’t go unnoticed. "Uh, no sorry. All clear, really I was careful."

"Okay. Suz you good?"

"Still all clear."

"Okay you both stay alert."

Trace checked her watch,10pm. She check on the house residents again. She tread lightly, and opened the door just enough to see. Robin was sleeping. The professor had also fallen asleep on his couch in the den.

She checked in with Suz again.

"I’m with you, its quiet and clear Jess. Nothing."

"Me too Jess, It’s fine here." Cade confirmed

"Okay. I’m gonna disconnect. I need to call our friend on my cell and want to limit static. Be careful. This won’t take long. I’ll hook up again in less than 5 minutes.

"Right" she heard in stereo as she disconnected the headset and dialed Roddy.

"Hello Dobson."

"Well are we 3 or 4?"

"No. I’m waiting inside, and all is quiet?"

"Your landing was sacked. Did you leave crumbs today?"

Trace’s heart leaped to her throat. But she had to test Roddy.

"Hey sweetums, you know I’m nesting with you. And I am not out here rounding up some entertainment just cause I’ve got heart, you know. You haven’t started a party without me have you, you louse. If you don’t need me then just shack with whatever bitch you’ve got in your scummy little grasp!"

Trace knew Roddy would play this well and give her a clue if he was compromised. He would let her know if he had company listening in.

"My only company is an Old British Rogue. And the Besotted Queen is still holding court on the green. The Asian jewel and young blood I sent you are of a rare type. I only part with the rare for my select few. As for guests, there are sure to be other visitors about but they haven’t announced themselves. I’m solo waiting to start this shindig with you and your friend girlie-girl. Did you leave crumbs for the invisible guests to follow and join our humble event?

Trace easily decoded this essay. The British professor was on the case and Mad Mary was ready for her and whomever she brought in the park near Roddy’s place. Cade and Suz were from him and were the best he could find on short notice. He hadn’t been compromised by anyone, but was feeling like there might be surveillance on him so he had spoken in riddle.

"Those crumbs were more like chunks of Swiss cheese. They got a lot of holes, but filling it in is just a matter of time. So this is on Now. We’ll be in touch. The green, right?"

"Holding court and all."

"Right, we’ll be hot to trot. I’ll try to make our party only two not four."

"Your Royal crush will be waiting. Take care of those jewels Jess, they’re young and rare."

"I know."

Trace connected back with her team. They were both there and fine. Still no surveillance to report. But since they had sacked her room she had to jam.

"Talked to our man. It’s bad. Cade, I need you in here NOW! Come the laundry room door. Careful as you go. Suz hang tight, and be ready."

Trace moved into the hall. She saw Cade. His face was flush and he was breathing heavy.

"Follow me. I need you to guard the woman. Take a deep breath. I need you focused and ready. We have to move fast, but follow my lead. If she wakes up, just knock her out GENTLY."

They quietly entered the bedroom. Robin stirred slightly. Cade froze. Trace crouched and brought the man to the floor with her. She motioned that he stay crouched on the floor by the dresser. It was a good vantage point for the room. He could see the door and the bed and the window. Trace motioned him to stay put.

She went into the hall and whispered into the headset, "Stay alert, look for heat sources. If you see movement, tell me. Hide her in the closet and I’ll be there before you’re done speaking."

Trace had to get to work. The house was dark except for the lighted den. Still no heat signatures. She took the gas can and went to the den. It was time for the professor to cleanse his soul with confession. She turned out the light in the den and closed the door. He was not a light sleeper. She woke him up at gunpoint, clamping his mouth with her gloved grip. She sat on him driving her knee into his chest.

"You have very few minutes to tell me what you know."

She took off her goggles. She had scared him, now she wanted him to recognize her with the help of the light of the computer terminal illuminating the room. He squinted his eyes in anger as he recognized her.

"I told you things only happen in the dark when and if I want them to. Now depending on how cooperative you’re willing to be I might not kill Shannon." The man’s eyes widened in fear and shock.

"Oh yes professor. Your computer has already done a lot of talking. I know about Shannon. But then I knew about her before I showed up today."

That got his attention.

"Guess what, I’m not really a doghouse mover. Surprised? Yep I lied. I’m the one with the gun so I can lie. But if you lie to me, it could be deadly to your redheaded professor mistress."

She grabbed him by the throat and put the barrel of her 44 in his mouth. The man pissed his pants.

"Now that I have your attention its time for some questions. Remember lying makes me trigger-happy. Were you blackmailing Colonel Price?" The man shook his head.

"Were you blackmailing Harry Crabtree?" The man hesitated. He shook his head then nodded then shook it.

"Okay, then you did contact Crabtree about the dirt on the Viet Nam drugs and prostitution?" The man shook his head.

"Did you contact him with questions about history research?" The answer was yes.

"You had the dirt but did not blackmail him?" Professor Trenton eagerly nodded his head.

"Did you blackmail Lieutenant Jackson, and Captain Reager?" He affirmed that with a vigorous nod.

"Did you blackmail any other officers or persons regarding the Viet Nam dirty laundry?" He shook his head.

"Did you ever blackmail anyone else for any other reason?" And remember your professor redhead as you answer my question. The man shook his head emphatically.

"You did very well professor. But you did lie. You lied to Robin. There was no book writing was there professor. And your little plan did not include your wife did it? Did you need variety, or was it just too much to satisfy her? Is that it, Robin didn’t lie and tell you how good it was? Okay I won’t lie either. Say your prayers its time for your everlasting reward, you prick!"

The man started to struggle violently. Trace quickly stepped away and shot him in the heart. She took the gas can and threw the contents around the room. She had to get to Robin and Cade. Now it was she who had to continue the lies with Robin.

Yu bitch you just killed him for that.

She was not easy on herself. Her gut clenched as she thought of waking Robin and telling her someone had killed her husband. Trace stepped into the hall and felt her heart stop. She heard two silencer shots. There were three heat sources in Robin’s room. The darkly clad figure crouching beside the bed wasn’t Cade or Suz. Cade was lying prone on the floor. The silhouette was clutching his knee and aiming at Robin. That was the split second picture Trace had as she rushed the room at knee level firing at his head. The man griped his shoulder and aimed his gun at her. Trace fired at his groin, she knew he probably had no armor on there. That was a bulls-eye. Robin was awake and screaming.

She shot the still body in the head and smashed his headphones.

Trace ripped off her goggles and said "Robin it’s me. Suz report. Robin its Jessie, its me. It’ll be okay."

Suz sounded a little panicky, "Jessie what happened, Jess is Cade alright?"

"Cade!!!!" Trace was almost shouting.

"I heard a noise a little after you shot the professor. I didn’t know if it was Cade or you." Suz was crying now, "I’m sorry, I’ve never done this, I mean is Cade okay, CADE!!!!!"

Cade was not answering. "Has there been any movement at all Suz?" Trace was looking at Robin, her face was terrified and she was ready to bolt.

"NO!!! I haven’t seen a damn thing. Where is Cade?"

"Robin, it’s terrifying but I am here to help. You have to trust me. I have friends here that are going to help us. I’m talking to them on my headphones. It’s going to be all right. Just stay where you are." Trace was moving slowly toward Cade’s prone figure.

"Suz get out of the SUV and get to this house NOW. Use the creek. Be careful. I just shot an intruder and there may be more." Suz acknowledged and was on the run.

"Robin I’m with the government. We’re in trouble, both you and I. But Robin, you have to trust me. I need you to come with me."

Trace could see the bewilderment in her face. She saw the thought as soon as it registered in Robin’s mind. The woman was wondering for the first time about her husband.

"Robin, no. Listen to me. Look at me. It’s not good. You and I are the only ones left in the house. This man got to your husband. He didn’t make it Robin."

Robin starred mutely, blinking as if trying to come out of a nightmare.

"I’m in the backyard Jess," Suz’s voice was worried and urgent.

"Look on the east side of the house, gun up and be ready for action."

"Robin, I need you to get dressed. I need you to get on some jeans and a shirt."

Trace was looking through the right drawers; her reconnaissance had paid off now. Robin was staring off into space.

In a stunned and weary voice Robin said, "Shouldn’t we call the police? I mean…"

"No Robin. This is bigger than that. It’s the United States Government. I’m from the government and I am your only chance."

She heard a sharp intake of breath on her headphones, "Suz talk to me."

A van is coming down the street, but not fast. I ……."

"Get back to the SUV SUZ NOW, run! Floor that baby back here right through the backyard fence. Run, do it, Go!"

She was trying to encourage the dazed Robin to put on her clothes. All the while wondering how many CIA were on their way and where was the dead assassins partner. Trace reached down and felt for a pulse on Cade. She couldn’t feel it but he was still breathing. Robin’s shocked state made her move slowly.


Trace felt bad for shouting at the woman but it needed to register on her that her life was in peril and it needed to matter. It may have worked for the moment because Robin looked at Trace with fear and quickly started putting on clothes. Trace bent down and hefted Cade over her shoulder.

"I’m going to carry him to the back door. When I return, we’re moving, whether you’re dressed or not. They’re outside with guns Robin, and they’re after us both. So don’t move till I come back or call you."

Trace went into the hall looking for heat sources through her goggles. Bullets hit the wall shattering picture frames. Trace’s aim was into the darkened living room, but with the goggles vision she hit her mark. She left Cade by the sliding glass door and on her way back to Robin saw the heat source behind the front door. She ran down the hall to the sound of silently fired bullets behind her ripping into the wall and breaking more glass picture frames. The gunfire ignited the bleach Trace had spread on the furniture and the floor. As Trace ran down the hall she fired into the professor’s room to ignite the gas there, then she ran into Robin’s bedroom. She opened the window.

"They’re in the house Robin, jump out the window to me," was her instruction to the terrified woman as she hurdled herself to the ground outside.

"SUZ now, we need you now! Ram the fence."

"I’m almost there Jess. Have you got Cade?"

"I’ve got who I’ve got, keep your gun ready for cover fire. We’re in the backyard. Get here now or we’re dead.

"Jessie I don’t understand. What the hell is going on here? Where did they kill," she was about to cry, "I mean where is he? I just can’t believe this, why?"

"We don’t have time Robin. I will explain when I can. You have to come with me or you’re dead. PLLLLEEASE just do it."

"Suz report."

"I’m almost there, get ready."

They were in the yard. Trace motioned Robin toward the shed and saw a figure emerge from the side of the house with an automatic weapon. Throwing Robin behind the shed she aimed for the head and made the shot.

Just then the fence came crashing down. She shouted at Robin to get in the SUV keeping her body between Robin and the house. Then she bolted to get the boy. As she ran toward the back door one of Crab’s men was coming through the kitchen, some of his gunfire hitting her vest. She gulped for air but managed to fire a few rounds and winged him enough to stop his target practice. As she bent to pick Cade up, the wounded figure nailed her in her upper left arm. The blood began flowing freely. She put an end to him with a shot through the head. Trace threw the boy over her right shoulder and bolted for the SUV.

By this time, lights were coming on all over the neighborhood. Robin had gotten in the SUV safely thank the God’s. But more black ops figures were storming into the backyard. Trace had taken out a grenade and pulled the clip with her mouth. She tossed the live grenade at the enemy and threw Cade into the open door.

Hanging onto the SUV door she yelled, "Get us the hell out Suz!"

The tires squealed as they were slammed into reverse motion. Trace hung onto the passenger door and began returning the heavy fire at the other enemy agents when the grenade exploded. It did enough damage to slow them down and it took out at least one agent. But not before she got clipped again, this time in her right upper thigh. The adrenaline was pumping and kept her going as Trace took aim and dropped another one. She heard another bullet wisk by her ear and miss, she screamed an obscenity and took aim at another assailant. But the SUV was in forward motion and she had no shot as the vehicle plowed through the tall pasture grass.

"Get to the van Suz."

"What about Cade?!" Suz’s question sounded a bit hysterical.

"I’ll check as soon as I catch my breath, for now just drive!"

Trace had crawled into the back seat on the passenger side leaving Cade slumped in the front. She turned her attention to Robin to make sure the woman was still conscious and not injured. Wedged on the floor between the front and back seats Robin hugged her knees to her chest but didn’t appear wounded. She returned Trace’s look with eyes that begged an explanation. The only thing Trace had time for was a short reassurance.

"Hold on Robin. Nothing will happened to us if I can help it."

She turned to Suz and quickly gave another order, "Suz we have to out run them. I don’t see anyone in the rearview mirror, but they’re coming. We’re almost to the van. If we can, we’re taking the van and ditching the SUV. You have to keep driving, I need my hands free."

Trace saw the tears flowing down the woman’s cheeks but there was also a stern look of determination and possibly rage on her face as she nodded in understanding.

"We’ll do what we can for Cade as soon as possible Suz. But right now we need to live through this to help him."

Trace needed her driver focused. They were now at the van and Trace heard the sound of a distance engine.

"I hear them. Get to the van now, run!"

She picked up Cade and winced at the twinge in her left arm and thigh, Robin opened the back door, jumped in and immediately turned around reaching for the injured Cade. Trace laid the man down on the floor and hopped in. It appeared Robin’s nursing instincts were kicking in as she began looking the man over.

Trace closed the door behind her in a flash and barked out "Floor it Suz," as she turned to look out the window for their pursuers.

Trace could see the movement of the grass but no vehicle yet. She knew the SUV had been spotted and wanted to prevent the other side from getting a recognizable look at the van. They were now speeding out of the field and Trace was doing her best to cover every angle out the windows to locate the pursuit as soon as possible as she checked her magnum clip.

"As soon as you’re on Cascade Street get to the first light and turn left. We’re headed for northbound highway 13 and the Park by Roddy’s. But be ready for any detour we need to take to shake our tail."

Trace quickly looked out to see the CIA assassins before they could get a shot off. So far she saw nothing. But they were coming, she could feel them.

"Suz, do you see anything suspicious in front of you," she yelled from her post by the back door of the van.

"I don’t think so. I mean I know their coming, but I don’t see anything so far. Shit, Dobson told me I didn’t have to do it but I owe him. Only now damn it, he owes me and he sure as hell owes Cade. I don’t even know who you are lady, but please help Cade!" That was all she could blurt out before more tears began flowing. Trace had gone to the front once again.

Still looking out the windows on all sides she could see from the front passenger seat and she said, "Okay Suz I’m sorry. If you yell out as soon as you see anything suspicious, I’ll go back there and see if I can help Robin."

The girl just nodded while looking in the mirrors and the road. A slight groan escaped the wounded assassin as she got into the back of the van that had no seating except a floor cushion. Robin looked up at the tall woman and saw the blood running down her left arm. Trace saw Robin’s assessment of her state and asked, "What can I do to help you with Cade?"

"I cannot possibly save this man. He needs hospital medical attention."

If Robin couldn’t help Cade then he’d probably die.

Bending down to eye level with the nurse she said, "Robin, if we stop we attract cops. Cade does not want cops and neither do we. Please just do what you can."

"If you’re the good guys why can’t we stop? Why no cops? Jessie none of this makes sense. You’re supposed to be with the Animal Shelter. Now you’re what…… a…. some.. ah … an FBI agent? I’m supposed to live suburbia, but tonight it’s like a war zone. What’s going on? I’m a nurse not a doctor. This man needs surgery but you won’t stop! My God, give me something to go on at least."

It was understandable that Robin felt shocked, confused, frightened, and angry. But to her credit she had turned her attention back to the injured Cade and was taking off some of his clothes to have a clearer path to work.

"You’re right, you deserve some explanation. But it can’t happen here Robin. I have to concentrate. Just know that I’m doing everything in my power to keep us all alive. That’s my job, its what I do. I’m sorry but this is gonna get worse before it gets better. There are powerful people trying to kill us. They’re the bad guys. I’m the one trying to stop them. I’m the good guy this time. I know it’s not fair. But there’s no time for more. Just hang tight and see if you can help Cade."

"Suz, how’s it look," she asked the driver as she watched Robin’s face fill with bewilderment and anger then dismay before turning attention back to the injured man.

"I think we’re still good. I’m taking a short cut I know to highway 13," Suz reported.

"Good but before you reach a highway entrance let me know. I want to stop and look at the landscape before we move onto the highway."

Turning back to Robin hoping to encourage the woman’s medical instincts Trace asked, "Now what can I do to help you."

"Nothing, mixing blood’s not good. I need bandages," Robin began looking around for something that would serve as bandages.

Scooping up the bag with the black ops outfit in it Trace offered, "This bag has an outfit for you. It’s a little like mine. If you wear it we can use your clothes as bandages."

There was a look of surprise and skepticism in Robin’s eyes. But she just shook her head, took the bag from Trace without a word and started to pull off her T-Shirt. Trace quickly looked out the front window to give the woman a little privacy.

Trace was trying to refocus her attention when Robin’s voice broke through her concentration, "Come on, take that vest and your shirt off so I can look at the bullet wound."

Trace quickly turned to face the person speaking to her and saw Robin in her bra and panties, pulling up the pant legs of the black ops outfit. Trace was momentarily caught off guard. She had seen her share of lovely figures in her life thus far. But this wasn’t just any woman. This was a dream come to life and she was beautiful. Frustrated with her inability to keep the feelings in check and worried that Robin would look up and find her staring, Trace stumbled for something to say.

"We don’t have time…. I mean time for me. Let’s um….let’s…ah..just…… help Cade." She reached down to pick up Robin’s T-shirt to start ripping it into rags but the nurse blocked Trace’s reach.

"I told you, mixing blood can’t happen. So if you’re not going to let me stop the blood flow out of your arm then you can’t help me." Robin’s tone was angry and impatient as she zipped up her outfit and grabbed the T-Shirt to begin making bandages.

"You can play hero if you want, but you’re blood loss will only weaken you. You should at least let me bandage the wound," Robin looked up at Trace with pursed lips and disgust for obvious stupidity.

Robin looked at Trace’s left thigh and said, "It looks like there is a chunk out of your leg but probably no bullet. It should be bandaged too. But if you are in such a hurry then of the two, your arm needs more help." She met Trace’s eyes with an irritated glare.

Trace’s anger at herself, her feelings, at the unexplained dream come to life, and the set up Crab had orchestrated was all broiling under the surface as she tried to slip into the comfortable, familiar ice queen role she had cultivated over the years. Trace reminded herself she had killed the woman’s husband and that Robin’s hate for her was only a matter of time. She grabbed the T-Shirt in Robin’s hand, tore off a chunk and began stuffing working the cloth around her upper arm to bind the wound. It may be just the nurse in the woman but she didn’t need Robin to care about her. It would only make it worse when she learned as much of the truth as she could tell the woman. The woman was disgusted with the whole situation and maybe she could turn that disgust onto herself.

Stepping within inches of the woman she looked down into Robin’s eyes with as much ice as her melted heart could muster and said, "Oh, I’ll bleed to death nurse. That’s inevitable. It maybe today, maybe in 20 years, someday I’ll meet my destiny. But I’ll be damned if I die today before I murder the son-of-a-bitch that’s responsible for these bullet holes. And if you’re lucky, I’ll kill him before he kill’s you. That is if you do what I tell you, when I tell you."

Trace paused as she watched the disgust, anger, and finally fear wash over the nurse’s face. But she didn’t move or break their eye contact.

"For now, take care of him," she pointed at Cade while still staring Robin down, "I’ll take care of the bad guys as long as I’m breathing."

She threw the rest of the T-Shirt at the prone Cade and went to the back window of the van.

Trace peered out the back window looking for pursuit and kicking herself for caring that the beautiful Robin would soon despise her completely for the horror that her life had become.

"Suz, do you see anything?"

"Still good, we’re almost at the highway."

Without looking at Robin, Trace made her way back to the front of the van. "Okay, slow up before we get to that intersection. I need to see what might be waiting for us."

Suz started bringing the van to a slow roll.

"Okay not too slow, pull up to the light and turn on your blinker. We don’t want to appear anything but ordinary. It looks clear, so get on the highway when it turns green. But be ready Suz. We can’t see them now, but they’re here."

They turned onto the highway and met little traffic at the late hour of midnight in suburbia. This highway didn’t have a lot of activity, no businesses or many exists. That was good, it wouldn’t likely have police. But that was bad because they could be easily pursued.

"Keep your eyes open up ahead. Yell if you see anything suspicious. I’m going to the back again. Don’t go ten miles over the speed limit, we don’t need a state trooper running us down with a ticket and stay in the middle lane. When we approach an on ramp, move to the fast lane till you’re well passed it. Remember, they will be here. So we want to see them as soon as possible. Keep it cool Suz. I’ll do everything I can to keep them at a distance."

The woman’s face was determined but scared. "I’ll do my best. Shouldn’t we call Dobson? Could he help?"

"Just keep it straight. I’ll keep em off us as best I can. We’ll call Dobson as a last resort. Hang tough, you can do it. We’ll make it if we work together. Just drive, I’ll do the rest."

Trace knew this was gonna be rough. She picked up Cade’s piece and put it in her vest pocket for easy reach. Then without an excuse me or even a word, she reached into Cade’s pockets quickly and put his grenades into her own, as a surprised nurse looked on. Going to the back window, she placed the hand held machine gun on the floor next to where she stood. Roddy must have given Cade the machine gun. She had seen it on the floor when they changed vehicles. Hopefully Roddy had supplied them with enough firepower to possibly give them a chance.

The grenades were the last resort. The police were sure to have responded to the explosion and gunfire at the Trenton’s house. She didn’t need police responding to more explosions on the highway. They needed to get to Roddy and get out of sight without attracting police attention.

Trace was looking out the back window when Suz called out, "Check out the black van coming onto the highway Jess. I’m ahead of it; you should be able to see it soon. By the light on this freeway it looks like it’s got smoked windows, what do you think?"

Sure enough, the black van came into view. Trace was crouched peering over the back window; she didn’t want to give them an obvious target.

"I think you’ve got good eyes girl. Just stay at a steady speed for a minute. It may not be them, we just have to wait and see. Be ready."

They were in the fast lane. The black van was in the middle lane and was now beginning to gain speed.

"Okay, we don’t want them to catch us, so start putting on some speed but don’t floor it yet. Just stay ahead of em, if they turn on the speed so will we."

As Suz punched the gas a little, the black van continued to speed up.

"Faster Suz."

She put on more speed and the black van kept coming.

"Stay in front of them Suz."

Trace looked back at Robin and commanded, "Robin lie down on the floor. We’ve got company."

The nurse looked at her patient reluctantly so Trace moved quickly toward the woman and half yelled, "Lie flat now! Don’t move unless I say you can, no matter what happens. If you catch a bullet then all of the bullet holes and blood is for nothing. So get down and stay put!"

Though Robin’s stunned face made Trace cringe for being so harsh, she had to block it out and get back to business quickly. She abruptly turned to look out the back and saw the van pulling in close and the side door opening.

"Floor it Suz, and get directly in front of them," Trace barked as she took aim at the agent with the rifle pointed at their tires.

Suz put on a burst of speed and swerved in front of them. Trace held on, then looked out the back again. This time the agent was taking aim from the roof of the van, his head and shoulders visible but the rest of his body in the van. Trace beat him to the trigger and let off a round as she opened the passenger’s side back door. Suz swerved again to throw off the guys aim. The swerve made the back door slam shut as Trace hit the floor of the van just before a rifle round hit the back door.

"Get in the fast lane Suz," Trace yelled as another round shattered the back window.

Trace got into a sitting position behind the van’s back door on the drivers side. She turned the door handle but didn’t open the back door yet.

"Are you in the fast lane and where is he?" she yelled out her question to her driver.

I’m in the fast lane and he’s coming up fast in the middle lane, but he’s still some behind me," she said as a round hit the side of the van just behind the passenger seat.

"Swerve like you’re going to ram him Suz, then straighten as soon as possible."

When she swerved, Trace opened the door. She had a good view of the gunman on top of their van. He fired his automatic again as their black van straightened out. The round hit the passenger side window and the front windshield. Trace took aim with the machine gun and fired, then bolted to the front to help Suz. The window had shattered and was blocking her view. Trace took the windshield out with her feet and used the gun to take out the shattered passenger window. Their van was taking more rounds but Trace could tell by it’s sound it was a handgun.

The windshield was gone and Trace was now looking out the passenger side window from a crouching position. The gunman was gone so she knew she had hit her target. There was a white car in the slow lane and they passed by like it was standing still.

Get in front of them if you can Suz. Trace then raced to the back of the van once again.

"I can’t get all the way in front of them, he’s too fast," was Suz’s angry announcement.

"Just stay ahead of him as much as you can then. And don’t let him get too wide; it gives him a better aim. Just keep flooring it."

More bullets railed the side of the van near the right rear tire, they were using an automatic again and bullets kept coming. Trace ran back to the front, passing the still prone figure of the woman she was trying to save.

"Swerve like you’re gonna ram again Suz."

As the van swerved Trace returned fire out the passenger’s side window but couldn’t get the shot she wanted.

While continuing to fire at the black van she asked "Anyone in back of you Suz?"


"Good, then I’m gonna count to three. When I get to two, swerve again. On my three count I want you to use the brake but not too hard. Enough to allow them to pass us quickly but without bringing us to a screeching halt. I don’t want him disappearing on me too fast. I need to take out his tires. Before he takes out ours. So be ready to avoid their wreck."

The bullets were still coming and their group wouldn’t last much longer.

"One," she began counting to three, while taking her crouching position in front of the passenger seat.

"Two." She made ready while several bullets hit the seat cushion then her vest as Suz swerved the van. She felt it but couldn’t slow down.


She raised her gun as the black van quickly came into view passing them rapidly. Bullets flew and hit Suz in the arm. She screamed but held onto the wheel with her other hand and kept driving. Trace got off several rounds and took out their right rear tire. They didn’t wreck so she needed to take out the left tire too.

"Don’t get too far behind Suz, and get ready if they wreck," Trace commanded.

She took aim and began firing, as the back doors of the black van flew open, they saw the short range missile launcher setting up to take a shot. Trace kept firing and clipped the agent holding the launcher. Then she concentrated on the left tire. She had almost used two clips already and didn’t have time to reload. She knew her best aim was with the magnum so she blocked out everything, made the shot.

"Floor it Suz," she commanded as the black van spun out of control and onto the left shoulder of the highway.

"We may not have seen the last of them. They’ve got to have more people on the job. We stay alert."

Though Suz was wounded Trace’s next thought was of Robin. She might have taken a hit from all the flying bullets despite her staying put as she had been told. Trace hated becoming Robin’s nightmare. She went back to the prone woman who was still covering her head. She was so still Trace’s throat got tight from fearing the worst.

Looking for signs of any wounds she could barely speak but said the woman’s name in a broken voice, "Ro..bin?"

Trace held her breath, as there was no movement immediately.

"Robin," she said again in a more urgent voice, filled with worry, as she reached out toward the lovely figure.

The nurse moved and looked up at Trace whose eyes held the fear her voice had portrayed. Robin said nothing and had an odd, even surprised look on her face. Trace tried to cover her emotions quickly.

"I um, did you, I mean…..are you okay? Are you ..shot…or ah…hurt?"

Trace felt so exposed, and her job wasn’t done yet. She was angry with herself again for the foreign feeling of strong emotions that she often couldn’t control. Trace broke their gaze out of self-preservation and embarrassment as she realized her eyes actually held an unshed tear.

Robin’s voice was reassuring but also held a little hint of puzzlement as she said, "I’m okay Jess. I’m mean, I’m not wounded."

Trace had been kneeling beside Robin and now she just wanted to bolt. But she had a job to do. She looked everywhere but directly at the woman as she fumbled for something to say.

"Well okay. I, we…um, we lost them. I mean they ah, they wrecked…..back there…..we’re ahead of them. They aren’t pursuing us now."

"How much longer? I’m really getting tired."

That was Suz’s voice that broke through Trace’s fog. Suz was hurt! She had forgotten all about the wounded driver who had given her all in this so far. Shocked back into reality and Trace stood abruptly and went to the driver.

"Suz! Suz, okay. Hang on. Lets um, lets get off. Lets…slow down and get on the shoulder. I’ll take over. You’ve done such a great job."

As Suz was bringing the van to a halt, Trace turned around to ask Robin to come forward to help the injured girl and realized the woman was already on her feet and on her way toward them.

"Um Robin, can you please help her? It’s her arm. She took a bullet."

Turning back to Suz as the van stopped Trace was already unbuckling the seat belt that had a bullet hole just above Suz’s head.

"I’ll take the wheel now," Trace said as she was helping the girl get out of her seat.

"You did a great job Suz. Without you, we’d still have a tail, or probably be dead. Robin will look at that arm."

Trace handed the wounded driver over to the capable nurse and sat down to drive.

"We may not be out of the woods. But if it gets ugly again, you two just lie flat on the mat. We’re about 20 to 30 minutes out and there will start to be more traffic soon," Trace said as she pulled the van back onto the highway.

There had been little to no traffic that she was aware of during their dogfight. While stopped, no cars had passed them. And she didn’t hear sirens. That was the most amazing part. Now as she was picking up a little speed there was distant headlights in her side view mirrors. But fortunately the car didn’t seem to be speeding up to meet them.

Trace kept her eyes and ears open. She had expected more CIA on this. She thought of the possibility of Roddy having been compromised. Her mind was racing. At this point she could be driving into a trap. But there were no choices left. They needed medical attention but there was sure to be more pursuit before this was done. They were a good half hour away from the park and if they got a tail now, Suz couldn’t drive. And she didn’t want Robin out in the forefront of enemy fire driving a busted up van. Time to change plans on Roddy.

She called him, "Hey love. Can we do this some where other than the park? I mean its all romantic and stuff, but there have got to be some friends out here near Whiting Road we could camp with for a bit and have our fun. I mean I’m red with tired and so’s my friends. It’s been quite a night and I ain’t even got to ya yet Love. I’m feeling that the way this nights been going, I’m gonna get waylaid again before I make it to the park. If it ain’t one thing it’s another. One of ours is already passed out."

"Let me make some calls. Talk in a bit," was Roddy’s reply as he hung up the phone.

The more time passed, the more she knew there would be company any minute. Roddy had to come up with something.

"So how’s the arm Robin? Is Suz still awake?"

"I’m here Jess, but Cade isn’t so lucky. He’s still breathing, but he won’t make it to the park," Suz said in a voice that was obviously too shocked to register the truth she was speaking.

Roddy called back, "Okay, have you passed Grainger Road yet?"

"Um, I don’t know, I’m at Cavner Express Way Exit."

"Good, you’re just about on it then girl. Take the Grainger Exit. Is Suz awake then?"

"Yeah, she’s with me so far."

"Okay, she knows the yard I think."

Trace yelled back, "Suz, do you know where Bobbie’s yard is?"

"Oh yeah. Are we going there?"

"That’s what he says. Do you know the way?"

"Let me check with him on it."

Suz came up and took the phone.

"It’s the next exit," she declared as she said goodbye to Roddy.

"It’ll come up in about two minutes. We get off and head for this wrecking yard off of Grainger Road. Its called "Wrecks of Steel". I’ve only been there once. Roddy says that friends will be waiting."

"Yeah well are they ready for unwelcome company cause we got a tail," Jess asked rhetorically as she looked into the side view mirrors.

"Robin, the floor again, now," Jess demanded as she put on a burst of speed for the off ramp.

"I need to take the wheel Jess," said a sober Suz.

"I’m not gonna argue with you Suz. Can we do this?," Jess asked as she was trying to maneuver out of the seat without stopping the van.

"On three, you let go and I slip into the seat," said Suz with surprising confidence.

Jess counted, and the switch was made with a slight swerve and deceleration. Robin was on the floor as directed and Jess was headed for the back door again.

Her guns were drawn and the phone was to her ear, "We have more company coming to the party my boy. Is Bobby up for that?," Jess asked as Roddy answered the phone.

"She will be when I get off this phone," was Roddy’s only response before hanging up.

"Keep up the speed as much as possible Suz."

Jess was glad the road was not very populated with traffic or urban sprawl. They were headed down a roughly paved two-lane road with several empty fields around them. Unfortunately, there was a very fast black SUV barreling toward them with greater speed than the van.

"How much longer Suz?"

"About two miles on the dirt road I’m about to turn onto."

"Floor it then. But we won’t out run them in two miles, they’ll catch us."

Trace looked ahead out the front window and saw a glow in the distance. She assumed that’s where they were headed. They were beginning to pass old beat up cars on the sides of the dirt road, old washing machines and such. When she looked out the back again, they were only four car lengths behind and gaining fast on the bumpy dirt road in their SUV. Someone was hanging out the passenger side taking aim.

Trace grabbed the machine gun, lay on her back, kicked open the back doors and open fire. Her gunfire didn’t shattered their bulletproof windshield but she did get some rounds in the grill cause the thing was starting to smoke. Their gunfire shot out a tire and Suz struggled with the wheel trying not to wreck. The van spun side ways and began to roll, then there was a crunch of metal hitting metal as the van’s roll was stopped by an abandon-wrecked tractor. Trace was thrown out the back of the van. And would have been plowed by the Black SUV if she didn’t roll out of the way. She was about 35 feet from the back of the motionless van.

The SUV had been screeching to a halt and was now stopped in front of the van. Three black ops agents rushed out of the car. Trace scrambled for her ankle gun, as one of the agents took aim at her. But before she got off a shot all three figures stopped in their tracks and fell to the ground dead. She had heard the whisper of a silencer and thought the sound had come from behind her.

Trace notice there was no longer any lights shining anywhere except for the headlights of the van and SUV.

She heard a gruff voice say, "If I’s you, I’d stay put and get yer hands off that gun."

Trace complied as she heard sounds of someone checking out the black van.

"Now get up slow. Don’t do nothing stupid or I’ll shoot first and won’t get to ask no questions."

Trace wasn’t sure if this was friend or foe and she was at a distinct disadvantage so she did what she was told.

"Now keep yer hands up in the air where’s I can see um. Walk over ta the back oh that van. Slow now girl."

Again Trace did what she was told, thinking more and more that this was a friend and he just didn’t know it yet. Peering into a dark van she made out the prone figure of Robin on the floor. She couldn’t tell if she was alive or dead. Suz was slumped over the wheel and Trace was sure she had to be dead.

A flash light lit things up suddenly and a voice said," Anyone in there alive?"

There was no movement and Trace’s heart skipped a beat. She almost reached out for Robin, but stopped herself in time.

"They may be alive but unconscious. Can I check?," she asked urgently.

"Yeah I guess ya better. First, throw that gun over here in back of ya, nice a slow now."

Trace complied as quickly as she dared. She just wanted to see if Robin was breathing.

"Alright, now go on, check the one laying down, but slow, no sudden movements."

Trace scramble into the van feeling no pain from her injuries, since all she could think of was Robin. As she did, Robin finally moved and looked up at Trace terrified.

Trace began breathing again, and her voice came out in a croak, "Are you… hurt?"

Robin shook her head no.

Trace nodded toward Cade and Robin said quietly, "He’s gone."

"Alright, get on out here then, the two of ya."

Trace took Robin’s hand and helped her up.

"Come on, I doubt we have all this time, come on now," was the irritated instruction of the voice with the southern drawl.

They got out of the car and Robin clung to Trace.

"Can I check my other companion? I doubt she’s alive, but I’d like to check," Trace asked feeling that if he wanted to kill them, he would have done so.

"Right, get on with it then," the voice prodded, still irritated and a little closer.

Trace dreaded what she would find, but went to the drivers side window with Robin. Suz was slumped and still strapped in by her seat belt, which Trace had no idea how or when Suz had the presence of mind or ability to put on. Robin checked for a pulse.

Her voice sounded surprised and hopeful as she said quickly, "Trace, she has a strong pulse."

Trace was shocked.

"Can we move her then?"

The flashlight was on the scene again.

Robin bent to look at the girl’s head, "I think she just has a concussion, but I really don’t know her injuries. I need to look at her more but the light is difficult."

The flashlight was handed to Robin, "Go on, check her out, but we got to get movin here."

"As far as I can tell we can move her. But I can’t be sure Trace."

"Okay, let me get her out of the van."

Robin moved in quickly to undo the seat belt and they both carried Suz out into the headlights illumination.

"Alright now, just get her on into that SUV there and lets get on up the house. You’ll be driving, Miss tall and slender."

Trace could feel their progress being watched. Once Robin, Suz and Trace were in the SUV, the passenger door opened and a tall gangly man seated himself in the car pointing a handgun at Trace. She felt confident now, that this man was not alone, since the gun wasn’t the silencer type weapon she had heard used on the enemy.

"Drive up this road, steady like," he instructed while watching her and Robin.

It wasn’t more than two hundred yards up the road before they came to a tin covered building and Trace was told to stop. Then they were told to get out of the car. Robin climbed out and Trace came to help with Suz.

"Walk on into that door right there. There’s people waitin inside to see ya," he said. Trace looked him over quickly and decided the man was about 60, wearing a leather black hat, dressed in denim overalls and pointing to the door with his gun.

Trace couldn’t be sure, but she felt like they were still okay, maybe this was Bobbie’s. So cautiously, she opened the door and they went in. It was dark inside, but a light could be seen in a room further into the building. Then suddenly more flashlights were on them. The lights came on in the room and a woman sitting in a wheel chair was now at the doorway of the office type room they had seen through the dark.

"We’ve got wounded, lets get to it then," was her command.

Next Part

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