If you've read my other stories, you know that everything works out in the end. Feedback is always welcome and appreciated at Irishred1855@cs.com.
Live well, laugh often, love much and every day don't forget to smile, hold hands, give someone a hug or just a friendly pat on the back, for with just one small gesture you can change a person's life.
To Serve A Friend
Copyright March, 2004
Friendships best fate is when it can spend a life, a fortune, all, to serve a friend.
John Bertram Phillips
Dev stumbled as she was pulled along. Her eyes were blinded and her hands tied tightly behind her back. Everything seemed hazy and she felt weak probably due to the diet of bread and water she'd been allowed the last three days. She heard a sniffle alongside and felt the smaller body brush against her leg, turning her head to the sound she tried to stop. The kidnappers pulled her and she fell hard on her right knee. They didn't stop just continued to drag her until she could get her balance and push herself up. She could feel the bite of the cold air as it hit the cuts on her knees through her torn jeans. She limped as fast as she could as pain shot up and down her right leg.
"Dev," the child called out.
"It's OK sweetheart," she called out to her smaller companion, "it will be fine, just do what they say."
"Shut up," one of the men said and slapped her head.
"You are so gonna die," Devlyn thought to herself and concentrated on walking and the smaller child beside her.
"How did she get into this?" she thought back a few days, had it only been a few days, time had lost its meaning. She'd been with her family and Kelly in Santa Barbara for over three months and they called. This was important the President had said and he required her expertise considering it a personal favor. His chief of staff's daughter, who was also the President's goddaughter, had been kidnapped and held for ransom, not money, a political prisoner. She thought of her family and Kelly. Kelly had a bad feeling about it, didn't want her to go and they'd argued. "Would it always be like this?" Kelly demanded, "they call and out of allegiance or loyalty or whatever you want to call it you go running." Devlyn had told her that this was her, friendship, loyalty, honor "because of all the things in our lives that's something that can't be taken away, if you have nothing else you'll always have that," and she couldn't turn it down especially after she'd seen the girl's picture and heard the subtle pleading in the President's voice. Devlyn looked up at Kelly and asked, "could you? Kelly knew she couldn't and wouldn't and she'd reached for Devlyn's hand wrapping hers around it in silent support. "Besides," Dev said with a goofy grin and in a sing-song voice, "isn't that what you loooove about me?" Kelly laughed but still insisted she be allowed to go with her. Devlyn reluctantly agreed after Kelly promised to stay at the command post as Devlyn delivered the man, but somehow the plan had backfired and she'd been taken captive as well. "Kelly was right, I should have listened, boy she's probably royally pissed about now and I'm sure to hear I told you so, many times," which Devlyn silently decided would be a good thing.
Her forward momentum was suddenly halted and she almost fell over Ally Farrell, the 10-year-old daughter of Chief of Staff John Farrell. Ally clung to Devlyn's leg making it harder for her to stand. Devlyn sensed a larger room than the one they'd been held in and the presence of more than the three men who'd taken them.
"Dev, no," Ally called as she was pulled away crying and reaching for Devlyn.
Devlyn tried to move toward her, not really sure what she could do, but two men grabbed her by the arms. Struggling against them Devlyn twisted her body and threw one of them to the floor, kicking out she heard the other yelp. Turning toward the sound of Ally's crying, she cried out herself as someone kicked her in her sore knee and she hit the floor hard. Pushing herself up she stopped when her blindfold was ripped off and she saw the man they'd released holding a gun against Ally's head. "I wouldn't," he said.
Devlyn was breathing hard, immobile and staring at him. Her teeth ground tight against each other. She dared not move because she had no doubt that he'd do what he threatened.
Kelly had just about finished bothering everyone at the command post when her cell phone rang. "What," she yelled into the phone's mic.
"Kelly?" Patty's voice came over the earpiece.
"Sorry," Kelly said.
"Something's happened," Patty stated.
Kelly knew she couldn't hide anything from Dev's mother.
"She's been taken along with the man, they didn't release the little girl," Kelly said exasperated.
"Where is she Kelly?"
"We're trying to find out now, she was fit with a small tracking device but we can't get a fix on it."
"She'll be fine Kelly," Patty assured her.
"How do you know?"
"Because I have to believe that. I had, have the same feelings you're having now since Devlyn started her job with the government. I tried to talk her out of it and used my fear to rule my actions but soon realized that no matter what Devlyn couldn't be persuaded, she's not the office worker type, she's smart and resourceful and will find a way out of this."
"How do you live with the fear?" Kelly asked voice trembling.
"Because this work is who Devlyn is, it defines what's important to her, family, friendships, faith, loyalty, honor. I know it's hard sometimes and I'm not saying I'm not scared either, but this is what Devlyn believes in and if we love her, it's what we need to believe in too."
"Was I wrong in letting her quit?"
"It was Devlyn's choice honey but you have to realize that if you keep her away from what defines her, she won't be the same person we've grown to love."
"What do I do Patty?"
"Love her Kelly for who she it and support her no matter what she does, just love her."
"Always," Kelly said sighing, "and you're right, she'll find a way out of this."
"Call me as soon as you know something," Patty said.
"I promise," Kelly replied.
"Love ya," Patty finished.
"Love ya too," Kelly smiled into the receiver as she clicked the phone off.
Devlyn was pulled harshly up and leaned heavily on her left leg. She was then pushed down into a chair and her legs were shackled to the legs of the chair. "Play nice," he said. Devlyn nodded and offered no resistance for the man still held the gun to the little girl's head. One of the men came over and hit her hard against the left side of her face. While momentarily dazed they unlocked the handcuffs behind her and cuffed her hands to the arms of the chair.
He nodded toward another man who came toward Devlyn with a needle. "This will make you more compliant," he said and jammed it into her vein.
"Got it," someone yelled.
"You got a fix on her?" Kelly asked the agent in charge. Michael James nodded and signaled to the leader of a squadron of Army Ranger, "get your men to the copters."
Kelly followed Michael, several agents, the Rangers and a medic to the copters and started to get in.
"Oh, no," Michael said, "you're staying here."
"No way, I'm a licensed private investigator, I have a marksman rating and my best friend and lover is in there, I'm going," Kelly stood her ground.
"Doesn't matter, I promised Devlyn and so did you and I'm more afraid of her than you so you're staying," Michael replied.
"Then at least tell me where she is," Kelly asked.
"She's north, the bluffs along the river," Michael said.
"What's the plan?" Kelly yelled over the sound of the blades starting.
"Land as close as we can, from the surveillance photos it looks like a farmhouse, no visible protection or coverage," Michael called back, "ground forces will be there in 20 minutes, we'll make it in 10, I'll contact you as soon as I know something, don't worry."
Kelly stepped back and feeling helpless watched as the two copters lifted off.
Devlyn's eyelids fluttered as she moved her tongue around. The bitter metallic taste she recognized was blood. She tried to move but was still in the chair. Her head lolled against the high back. She heard a man talking, "I gave her enough to knock out a horse and yet she remains conscious."
"So what should I do?" he said as he pulled Devlyn's head back by the hair.
"Give her more," the other man laughed.
He laughed with him for a moment then a third voice said, "Finish, then put her back in the pit."
She felt them uncuff her then pull her up. She kept her body limp and heard them grumbling for they had to wrap their arms under her armpits and pull her along the floor. She was shoeless and felt the concrete floor scraping the tops of her feet as they dragged her and looking down realized they'd made a fatal mistake, they left her feet uncuffed. Halfway down the hall after checking to make sure no one was else was around she dug her left foot in and pulled the two men together. One elbow to one and a double fist to the other and they slid unconscious to the floor.
Devlyn found a set of keys and put them in the waistband of her pants. Removing their Uzi's she slung one around her shoulder to her back and after removing the clip from the other flung it against the wall. She also relieved them of their nine-millimeter pistols, removing the clip from the one she threw it near the discarded Uzi, shoved the extra clips in her back pocket and the pistol in her waistband.
One started to stir and she grabbed him by the throat and held him against the wall, his feet barely touching the floor. "Where is she?" Devlyn growled.
"I do not tell," he said and spat at her.
She hit him against the concrete wall, "I'm only asking one more time," she said choking him.
His eyes bulged and he began to lose consciousness, Devlyn loosened her hold, "where is she?" she repeated.
His eyes pointed to the left.
"Thanks," she said as she threw him against the wall watching as he slid to the floor again unconscious and turning she started down the hall.
Her eyesight was unsteady as the drugs began to take command of her body. "Gotta fight it," she repeated in her head. She stumbled and fell scratching hands and elbows on the hard concrete floor. She was breathing heavily as she took stock of her injuries. Her left eye was almost closed and she could feel wetness on the side of her face. She was sure her lip was swollen for she could feel the cuts on the inside. Her pants legs were ripped around the knees and blood had crusted around the right tear but she decided not to look any further for fear of seeing a white bone sticking through the opening. The tops of her feet were scraped from them pulling her down the hallway and she had no shoes. She was so tired and her mind dizzy as thoughts and images flew before her eyes. Her stomach rebelled and she quickly turned her face promptly vomiting. Choking and gasping for breath she coughed, tears filled her eyes and dribbled down the sides of her face onto the floor. She lay still for a moment meditating as she'd been taught until gradually the pounding in her head subsided. Through the slit of her one good eye she saw concrete walls. She shivered wanting so much to just lie here and sleep but she couldn't. She'd had worse she decided, about six months ago when she'd met Kelly. "Kelly," she sighed and the thought of leaving her or her family was not an option. Pushing herself up she began mentally repeating her mantra.
"She's moving," the corporal yelled over the sound of the copter blades.
"Which direction?" Lieutenant Ben Wallace asked.
"North," the corporal answered.
Wallace looked at Agent James who nodded.
"We'll land over this ridge and circle back on foot," Wallace ordered the pilot who changed course.
"No Dev," Ally said, "I'm not leaving you."
Devlyn had found Ally in one of the rooms and with the exception of lack of food she was unharmed. She'd had to kill the guard in front of the door but she'd learned to put that aside for now. They'd found their way out of the house and had headed north along the bluffs. Devlyn knew the kidnappers would follow and had stayed within the cover of the woods but she was slowing them down and could hear them close behind.
"You have to," Dev said softly, "they're following us, you hear those copters," she pointed up at the stark outline of the trees against a clouded night sky.
Ally nodded. "That's the good guys, they're coming for us, they'll probably land past the treeline, you have to head that way, I'll try and throw the kidnappers off your trail."
Ally shook her head no and Devlyn pulled her to her, "You have to Ally, to save both of us, I have a tracking device implanted in me so they'll know where I am," she pulled her head up to face her, "besides I came to rescue you remember, not the other way around although I appreciate the thought," she smiled down at her.
"Now go on, remember straight on till morning," she said with a smile wondering whether the line came from 'Star Trek' or 'Disney' she couldn't remember which.
Ally smiled and hugged Dev then released her hold as she took off toward the treeline and the sound of the copters.
"I have one figure heading toward our intended landing site," the corporal stated, "Devlyn's tracking device shows her heading along the bluffs."
"She's sent the girl to safety and hopes to draw out the kidnappers," James said.
"Copter Two, track Devlyn's signal along the bluffs and intercept any hostiles," Lt. Wallace ordered into his mic.
"Copy," Sgt. Maxwell replied, "breaking off to track O'Neill and intercept hostiles."
"We'll land and retrieve the girl," Wallace told James who nodded.
Devlyn ran along the bluffs, her figure outlined by the full moon. She had distinguished two copters and put her faith in James hoping that one was tracking Ally and the other tracking her. She'd talked with him about this possible scenario although she'd kept that from Kelly not wanted to worry her. "Whole lotta good that did, she's probably worried and mad as hell, not to mention my mother who will really let me have it when I see her," she smiled, "oh well, as least I'm optimistic."
Her knee ached terribly and her running had slowed to more of a lope. She was half bent with her hand on the side of her leg near her knee. Her breath came out in small gasps that showed in the chill of the night. She heard the crunching of dirt behind her. She looked to the bluff, "Damn," she said, "where are they?"
Bullets starting to ping the ground and bushes around her and she fell more than leapt over a fallen tree, swung the Uzi from behind and started to fire.
"Ground fire Lieutenant!" Sgt. Maxwell yelled into the mic.
Wallace's voice boomed back, "we have the girl, protect O'Neill, fire at will, we're on our way."
"You heard him boys," Maxwell hollered, "hold till I give the order, we don't want to hit O'Neill, where's she located?"
"Directly ahead, a hundred yards, she's returning fire."
Maxwell tapped the pilot on the head, "Get us in between them," he yelled.
The pilot nodded and turned the helicopter into the gunfire.
Devlyn ducked as the helicopter came up from behind, flew over her and positioned itself directly between her and the kidnappers. The copters machine guns came to life and fired on the trees from where the kidnappers were shooting. Army Rangers poured out of the open sides and took positions between her and the firing. Within minutes they had them on the run and were in pursuit.
She was sitting on the log when she heard footsteps coming up behind her. She turned expecting to see James or Wallace but instead saw the man that had held the gun to Ally's head only now he had the gun on her.
"Surprised?" he asked.
"Somewhat," she replied standing.
"I am in your language, a sore loser," he said as he aimed the gun directly at her.
She pulled the pistol from her waist but before she could fire two shots boomed out, then a sharp burning pain in her right knee forced it to collapse under her, she grabbed for her knee as she fell. Her eyes were locked on the man, the pistol still in her hand. She watched as he fell to his knees then pitched forward to the ground. She knew where his shot had gone but what of the other.
She was lying on the ground, pistol aimed and ready to fire as someone, no make that several someones led by Mike James and Lt. Wallace, came out of the trees. "Mike, Lieutenant," she said gritting her teeth as the medic rushed over to check her wound, "did you get Ally?"
"Safe and sound," Mike said.
"Thanks," Devlyn breathed out as she slipped into unconsciousness, exhaustion and injuries finally overtaking her. The medic and Mike James made there way to her.
"Wilson, Christopher and Clarke," Wallace called.
"Yes sir," they answered in unison.
"Stay here with Ms. O'Neill, Agent James and Miss Farrell, help the doc and relay them to the command post then return, I'll inform the pilot."
"Yes sir," they replied again.
"Take care Mike," Lt. Wallace said shaking his hand.
"You too Ben, we'll debrief later," Mike James said.
Even though Kelly had received the radio report that Ally and Devlyn were fine she still paced back and forth along the runway waiting for the copter. She'd heard Devlyn had sustained injuries that were being attended to by the Army medic and even though they weren't life threatening, she was still anxious and worried. Copter blades soon filled the air above her and landed. She waited until the blades had stopped then rushed to the copter.
Devlyn was in a gurney, right leg slightly elevated, a gauze bandage on the left side of her head, an IV in her hand. Ally was asleep sitting next to the gurney holding Devlyn's free hand. The medic woke Ally who looked at Devlyn. Devlyn rolled her head to look back. Ally kissed her, "Thanks Dev," she said.
Agent James wrapped his hand around Devlyn's and smiled, "Take care Dev see ya soon and if you change your mind."
Devlyn could see Kelly outside the door, "No," she murmured, a tear dripping down her cheek, "wanna go home."
"Ugh," Dev said softly smacking her lips as she woke up from the anesthesia, her mouth dry and throat raw.
"Easy sweetie," Patty replied, "you've just had surgery on your knee."
"Water," Dev uttered.
"Here's the straw, sip slowly," Patty said as she held up her head.
"Kel?" Devlyn looked up at her under hooded eyes.
"She's been with you the last 24 hours and Jack and the kids took her to get some food."
"She OK?" Dev said feeling fearful
"She's fine," Patty said, "we had a long talk."
"And?" she replied groggily.
"We decided to just love you," Patty said kissing her head.
"Love you," Devlyn muttered, "how am I?" she said trying to sit up.
"Here honey let me help," Patty said raising the bed, "torn ligaments in your knee which were repaired, probable concussion, several stitches needed in your lip, superficial cuts and bruises, you'll be fine."
The phone rang and Patty picked it up, "Hello." Suddenly she straightened her body and said, "yes sir, I'll get her.
Devlyn leaned back a question on her face and Patty mouthed, 'the President'.
Devlyn attempted to reach for the phone but Patty signaled her away saying he wanted to talk with her, "Yes sir, my family and I would be honored to attend a dinner with you and your Chief of Staff. How's Ally? Good," she looked over at Devlyn, "she'll be fine. Yes I think she can talk, can you hold for a moment?"
Patty held the phone to Devlyn's ear, "No sir, you don't owe me, it was an honor to serve a friend," Devlyn smiled as she squeezed Patty's hand and glanced at the door at Kelly who smiled back and mouthed 'love you'.
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