Adam watched as the large jet came in for a landing, then taxied over to the private hanger that Logan had arranged for this meeting. Everyone was really wondering who this guy was, and how they could possibly help with finding Ronnie. The last set of people that arrived were right now getting their things loaded into the vehicles, and getting some refreshments from their plane ride, and now they were waiting for the other guy.
It really surprised Adam when he found out how quick this guy could get here, but it worked out fine as they were already coming here today. Adam really was worried about little Ronnie, as they had grown rather close lately. But if this guy could help, then he was all for it.
The plane came to a halt just outside the hanger doors and the door to the plane opened up. Chang and Jory pushed the set of stairs up to the door, and they were just waiting for this guy to come down. Adam was a bit relieved to see that this guy was more to what he thought that an ex military guy should look like. He looked to be in his mid thirties, close cut hair, wearing slacks, a nice shirt, under a black leather jacket, as well as some rather nice, and expensive looking, cowboy boots. It was almost instinctively obvious to Adam, and through their link, he knew that Jory, Chang and Juan knew as well, that this man was wearing a gun under that jacket.
The man started down the Steps, and Adam walked out so that they could meet at the bottom of the steps. Everyone else stayed back, and Janet was confused as to why Jeremy would be hiding behind here if this man was his uncle.
When the man reached the bottom, Adam snapped to attention, and saluted, "Captain Reynolds, Welcome to Salt Lake City. Thank you for coming. I'm Colonel Adam Casey." He then waited for the man to return his salute.
The man returned his salute, and while looking a bit annoyed, he said, “You got me here now what exactly is going on, and how did you get that information you used to bring me here?” Adam was about to reply, but a voice from behind him stopped him and made him turn around.
“Uncle Mike?” Jeremy asked in a small, almost scared voice. He moved around Janet, and stood to her side. Janet, sensing that Jeremy was scared, reached out, and put her arm around his shoulder.
“Jeremy?” Adam heard the man say, and turned back to him just in time to see the man reaching for his gun. Adam quickly stepped back, and he heard Juan cry out “gun!” Before the man could do more then put his hand on his pistol, Adam had already drawn, and flipped the safety off on his pistol. “Sir, I would not advise drawing that weapon. We are not here to hurt you.”
Everyone stood there for a second, not really sure where to go from here, when things went from bad to worse. “Maybe y'all don’t wanna hurt him none, but I don’t got that problem and the first one is gonna be the woman now drop those guns right now.” Adam was shocked to see a small hand, holding a big gun, and just a little bit of this person's head in the entry way to the plane. Adam saw right away that the person was wielding a Sig Sauer nine millimeter and he had it pointing steadily at Janet.
Adam was getting reports from the other boys, and every single one of them said the same thing, they could not hit the boy with the way he was positioned.
Then man didn't move an inch, but he spoke up while Adam was getting the report. “Let the boy go and drop your weapons.” He said in a tone that brooked no argument. Adam was momentarily stunned, he couldn't understand why this guy would think that they were holding Jeremy against his will.
“Uncle Mike! Adam! No!” Jeremy screamed as he bolted from under Janet's arm and got in between Adam and Mike. Adam immediately lowered his weapon, and he no longer had a clear field of fire.
Jeremy turned to face Mike, and took a hesitant step forward. “Uncle Mike, no, these guys helped me, their friends.”
Before Jeremy could say anything else, everyone heard a voice from the side of the hanger. “God DAMNIT Mike, can't I even take a fucking piss with out you starting world war three?”
Everyone looked over to where this new voice came from, in time to see their earlier arrival, walking quickly towards them, trying to pull up his zipper.
Adam heard a small voice, the one attached to the big gun in the plane say in a startled voice, “is that...”
The man that was moving towards them really had made Adam wonder when they first got here. When the man stepped off the plane, he was dressed exactly as he was now, as he came across the hanger. He was wearing a sleeveless T-shirt, with a smiley face, that had a bullet hole and some blood running down, a pair of cut off jean shorts, long free flowing hair, and flip flops.
"He still can't keep it in his pants dad." Adam heard the young voice say again, and then giggles, followed by the man looking up towards the plane, flipping the kid off, and saying, “I heard that you little brat.” Which brought a few more giggles.
Adam looked back and saw the kid lower his gun, and Jeremy jump into Mike's arms, wrapping him up in a hug. Adam then holstered his weapon, and stepped back. Giving the two of them some space. He didn't even need to look back to know that everyone else had holstered their weapons.
“Tony?” The man asked in a shocked voice.
“What ya didn’t go blind on me did ya?” Tony asked.
Then the kid came bounding down the stairs and jumped into Tony’s arms screaming “Uncle Tony!” Adam could now tell that the kid was around ten or eleven, brown hair, and eyes, and an infectious smile.
“Hey munchkin.” Tony said, as he hugged the young boy to him.
“Ya know that’s only a myth don’t you and it’s a good thing it is too?” The kid said giggling again. Adam couldn't help but wonder what the kid was referring to, but he heard Logan snicker, so he figured he would have to ask later.
Mike was talking to Jeremy, and Adam could easily tell that this man cared a great deal for his friend. “Jeremy it’s good to see you. Are you alright?”
“Yeah, I’m okay Uncle Mike.” He said.
“I don’t understand what’s going on here baby?” Mike said softly to Jeremy.
“They really are okay Uncle Mike they saved me.” Jeremy responded.
“Jer where’s your dad?” Mike asked, and Adam inwardly groaned. Jeremy had not been able to talk about his dad yet with out breaking down, and Adam knew he had to try and put this off for a bit.
“Jer?” The man said again as Jeremy tears started to fall on to the man's shoulder.
“Ummm, excuse me sir, but I believe it would be best if we were to explain everything that is going on on the ride back to our base.” Adam thought that man might argue for a moment, but finally he just nodded his head.
Adam nodded his head, and looked back to the rest of the kids there, waving them up. He started issuing orders to get the plane's cargo bay loaded into the trucks, then turned back to Mike as everyone moved to the underside of the plane.
“Sir, we have vehicles waiting, and if you would like to have the rest of your party disembark, we can get started back to our base.”
Mike nodded his head, but then got a considering look on his face. “Alright but I got quite a group with me including two boys in wheelchairs.”
Adam simply nodded, “that will not be a problem sir.” He then moved back to where the other kids were loading their bags into the vehicles they had with them. Adam was now glad that they brought the big troop transport truck, and Mike wasn't kidding when he said he had a lot of stuff. He was also glad now that Logan had decided to rent them a small bus to transport everyone.
Adam helped get the stuff loaded into the back of their truck, along with the stuff the other family brought. He then turned and saw people start coming out of the plane. Adam also heard that boy Sammy ask Tony what was going on, but also heard Tony tell him later which was a good thing as he really didn't want to get into it sitting here on a public tarmac.
Adam was actually a bit surprised at how many people came out of the plane. There was Mike, an older woman, she looked to be in her early thirties, and Jeremy. Then came out twelve kids all ranging in age from about fourteen or fifteen, to one little boy who couldn't be any older then four. Adam did notice something a bit strange though when they all got down there. Two of the boys were obviously not members of this group. The oldest boy, and another boy of about eleven moved off to the side away from everyone else. Adam could also tell immediately that those two boys had some training. They were both looking around making sure they knew what was going on. Adam would have thought that these two boys were members of his Unit, but he knew they were not. He made a mental note, and passed it on to his brothers, to keep an eye on those two.
Once they all got down to the bottom of the ramp they all kind of milled about in a group. Adam noticed that two of the boys were identical twins. The twins, and a boy just a bit younger then them, obviously their brother by their looks, steped up close to Adam.
“Hey are those real guns?” One of the twins asked.
“Um yeah,” Adam replied when they all rapidly reached under their jackets and pulled weapons identical to what the boy Sammy had had earlier out and said “You mean like these?” With big grins on their faces.
'Oh shit,' Adam thought as his hand shot down to the holster of his gun, when he heard Mike yell out. “Randy! Kevin! Danny! Where in the hell did you get those?” He asked as just as quickly they disappeared again.
“What?” They chorused.
Mike just looked at them while Sammy giggled.
“Where?” Mike asked.
“Uh…well…we got em from Sammy.” One of the twins finally said.
“Sammy?” He repeated.
“Well we thought you might need some help.” The other twin chimed in with.
Adam turned to look at Sammy who had his innocent looks plastered on his face
“Sammy?” Mike asked again.
“Yes dad?” He answered
“Where did you get the guns from?” He asked him.
“Umm, the plane?” The boy answered.
“Where on the plane?” Mike asked
“Ahh well, in your office.” He told him.
“Sammy I do not leave guns lying around anywhere including my office.” Mike said.
“Oh I know that dad.” He said.
“Then kindly tell me where you got them from?” Was Mike's response.
“Do you really want to know?” Sammy asked with an impish grin on his face.
“YES!” Mike said finally getting annoyed. Adam really had to hand it to the man, he had the patience of the saint.
“Well, from your safe.” He said. 'Oh boy' Adam thought to himself, wondering if he should get in the middle of this.
“MY SAFE!!! How the hell did you get in my safe?” The man said obviously not believing it as Tony snickered.
“It’s not funny.” Mike told him as he glared in Tony's direction.
The three brothers were trying, unsuccessfully, not to giggle behind the man.
“Well I kinda know your combination.” Sammy finally admitted blushing a bit.
“Do I want to know how you know that?” Mike asked.
“Ummm, not really.” Sammy said and with that almost everyone broke out in giggles. Adam knew he had to do something quick, so he stepped forward and got Mike's attention. “Sir, If you’ll all follow me we can get going.”
They were loading all of Mike's family on the bus, when the other group of kids being herded by Elena came running up and got on the bus.
They all got loaded up, and the bus took off. Jeremy made it a point to sit next to Adam, who listened quietly to the conversation that was going on around him.
“Tony, Elena’s here and with the kids too?” Mike asked surprised as the bus got under way.
“Yeah Mike. I don’t how to tell you this…” he said before stopping and putting his hand up to his face for a moment but when he pulled it away it seemed that Tony looked suddenly years older than moments before.
“Mike, about a week and a half ago Miguel went to the movies with a friend of his. He didn’t come home.” Tony said and everyone could hear the pain in his voice.
“What do you mean he didn’t come home?” Mike asked suddenly very much afraid for the boy and what might have happened to him.
Sighing Tony went on, “Mike when they didn’t meet us out front I went in looking for them. We found his friend Carlos passed out in his seat, chloroform, but of Miguel there was no sign.”
“He’s been kidnapped?” Mike asked not wanting to believe it.
“Apparently. Carlos said they were watching the movie when suddenly something was put across his nose and mouth. He struggled but passed out rather quickly. He said Miguel fought back but that was all he could remember. We found blood at the scene and it wasn’t Miguel’s so he got at least one of them a telling blow. We’ve been tearing the countryside apart looking for him but haven’t had any luck. No ransom or demands either,” he told Mike.
Tony was silent for a moment while he let Mike digest what he was telling him. Elena started to softly cry in the background, and so did the other young kids from Tony's family. It was obvious how hard this was on them.
“About all we could find out is that a supposedly a boy threw a tantrum at some point and then later the boy’s supposed father took him home after he fell asleep. We think it was Miguel. We found out through some contacts that Miguel was brought across the border from Mexico into the United States and we came. Then we got a call from these people saying they had located Miguel as well as another boy who is with them named Ronnie who had also been kidnapped. Mike they had contact codes that no one should have, I can only guess they came from Jeremy.” He said looking over at Jeremy who looked away.
Adam wasn't sure what was going on with Jeremy right now, but he had a pretty good idea. He knew how hard this must be on the younger boy as well. Jeremy had said many times that he didn't want to contact anyone, he had said he just wanted to start a new life, and forget everything from the past.
Mike leaned closer to Tony and almost whispered. “Do you think they had anything to do with it?”
Adam had to bite his tongue at this point. He could understand why Mike would think that, but it still was annoying.
Tony looked pensive for a moment before saying, “No, I don’t think so Mike. I’m pretty good with people and I don’t get any bad vibes from them.”
Then he added, “But we’re somewhat equipped although not nearly as well as we would like to be if it’s needed.”
Adam almost laughed. They wouldn't need to worry about equipment, ever since the other Genesis kids got there, one thing they were not lacking for was equipment.
“Then we need some answers.” Mike said softly before leaning forward but was surprised when Adam suddenly turned and with a emotionless face said in the same tone, “Sir, we will address these issues in the briefing that will occur when we reach our base, you will need to hold your questions until that time when they can and will be answered.”
“Look…” he started to say angrily but looked surprised when Sammy put a hand on his arm saying, “Daaaad!”
Mike looked back and forth between Adam and Sammy, then it seemed like he decided to listen to his son. Adam was very glad for that as he really didn't want to go into things on the bus. Also they were just about to arrive at the helicopter, so it would save him from any further questions.
The rest of the ride was spent in silence, an uneasy silence but there were no more confrontations.
When they got to the landing zone, Adam heard Tony whisper in a disbelieving voice, “My God it's...” Mike's head popped up, and in a starteled voice he whispered, “...a Halo!”
Adam couldn't help but smirk, and he had to stop Will from making one of his normal smart assed comments. Unfortunately, this was not the time for those.
“Cool” Adam heard from behind him and turned to find Sammy staring captivated at the sight before him.
“No” he heard Mike say, and again Adam stifled a chuckle. He had a feeling that this Sammy was going to fit right into their group.
“But…” he started to reply but Mike just said again, “No!”
“Daaaad” He said with a pout and a dose of little boy puppy dog eyes.
“Not happening!” Mike replied and Adam knew that he was going to like this kid.
“Damn!” Adam heard while the other kids could be heard giggling.
Adam got off the bus first, and led the group over to where Charlie and Will were waiting for them.
“If you’ll all stand back we’ll get the truck loaded.” Charlie said, and everyone watched as Jack drove the truck onto the helicopter then Tony Vance, the Load Master of the Phantom followed it on and secured it.
Once it was secure, Charlie turned to Bill, “Okay Bill let’s get you strapped in and you can take us home.”
Adam watched Mike's jaw hit the ground again, and he had to admit he was taking a bit of sadistic pleasure in blowing the man's mind. 'Just wait till we get back to the base,' Adam thought to himself.
Adam couldn't help but notice the grin on Sammy's face at hearing the Bill was going to pilot them home, but Mike, of course, just came back with, “NO!” Sammy only smirked in reply.
Mike walked over to where Adam was standing a few feet away and asked “Ummm... did I hear correctly that the young boy in the wheelchair was going to be flying that?” Pointing to the helicopter.
“Sure is, today’s his check ride.” Adam replied, barely suppressing a grin as he began to walk off towards the rear of the aircraft where the entrance was located.
“Check ride?” Mike asked in disbelief which earned a few giggles that suddenly went silent. Adam knew that Mike had to have given them the patented “parent glare.”
Adam couldn't help himself anymore, so he turned and stopped a few feet away and said, in perfect, accent less Russian. “By the way to answer your other question, no, we’re not Russians,” he then turned and walked quickly off.
Once everyone was seated, the rest of the crew for the helicopter went around to make sure that everyone was secured properly.
Bill did extremely well on the way back Adam thought, although it was clear the Mike didn't think so. The entire ride back to base, Mike had a death grip on his harness to the point where Adam saw his fingers turning white. Adam found it kind of amusing, 'it must be an adult thing, mom was this bad the first time she rode with Will, and Jack still seems nervous every time one of the kids is flying. Although Dave says it's just the fact the Jack doesn't like to fly.'
Adam was also beginning to wonder if maybe the little demonstration that everyone had planned for Mike and Tony's family wouldn't just send him over the edge even more.
He knew that everyone was planning on being lined up in full uniform so that they could show off for the new people. It had actually been Janet's idea, and Adam knew immediately that it was a good one. Every single member of the Unit was very proud of what they had accomplished, yet didn't have anyone outside of the people here to show it off to. These people would be the first outsiders to really see them at their best. Adam had to be honest with himself and admit that he was a bit nervous too.
They touched down in the canyon, and Adam laughed again as Sammy played the cute little innocent kid, that it was clear he wasn't. Why Mike fell for it every time Adam couldn't guess, but it was certainly amusing. “Hey Sammy hold on a second.” He called bringing Sammy to a screeching halt and turning to look back.
“What’s up?” Sammy asked.
“Let's wait for everyone else.” he said, then helped the twelve year old crew chief unbuckle all the visitors. Everyone else, except Janet and Jack, were already off the helicopter, and by the time everyone was unbuckled, Adam knew they would be in place.
Once they got everyone unbuckled, Adam lead the way off the helicopter. Once he hit the ground, all the assembled kids went to attention and saluted.
“Wow, cool! You gotta see this dad.” Sammy said from beside Adam as they got to the bottom of the ramp.
Adam had to admit that the entire Unit looked sharp, and judging from Tony's comment of, “I don’t think we looked this good back in the day.” He was right.
“Sirs, if you would please follow me, the entire base has turned out, and would like the honor of being inspected by those who had been in the Special Forces.” Adam lowered his voice so that only those nearby could hear him. “You have to understand something before this will make sense. Every single one of these kids has been abused or neglected in one way or another. They've never had any sense of self pride, and the uniforms with the medals, are one which they have all earned. Their ranks are given based on their own performance, and accomplishments, and they take a great deal of pride in them.”
Mike stopped and looked around at the assembled group, and after a moment, Adam heard him say, “We would be honored...Very honored.” Tony nodded his agreement, and in a line, they went off to inspect them.
Adam saw that both Mike and Tony were affected by what he had said and were taking the inspection seriously as they diligently moved up and down the rows trying to find something wrong with the kid's appearance just as if it were a real military inspection. He knew they still didn't realize just what they were and thought of them as playing soldier rather than being ones. The two oldest children that Adam knew were named Esteban, and Marissa, were doing a very good job in keeping their younger brothers and sisters in order as they walked through the rows of Unit members.
Adam wondered how long their decorum would last when they got to the “cats” and the Intel team. But so far everything was going extremely well.
They got done inspecting the “support personnel,” and moved over to the “strike teams.” Adam was extremely pleased at how things were going so far, as neither Tony nor Mike could find anything wrong.
Adam was just leading them up to the first group when he over heard Mike commenting to Tony, “Those almost look real.” Adam suppressed a chuckled, but Adam couldn't let Tony's response go.
“Yeah they do, cute as hell though,” he replied in just as quiet a voice. Before Adam could say anything though, Mike responded. “They sure are aren’t they?”
Adam couldn't hold back any longer, he turned to the person he was right in front of. “Corporal Bethany, please hand me your weapon.”
“Aye Sir,” Was her response, as she handed the MP5 over, and Adam still had to wonder how she got such a thick English accent growing up in the lab.
“Sir, I am sure you will realize that these weapons are indeed real, and loaded. If you would like, you may discharge the weapon.” Adam said not really annoyed, but he knew that it may effect the kids. He didn't think they would like being called “cute.”
While Adam was holding the gun out to Mike, he finally got his wits about him enough to mouth the word “real?”
Adam just nodded and Mike was again floored by this. Adam could only imagine what was going through the man's mind right now.
He continued to hold the weapon out as Mike tried to figure out what to do. Finally, and much to Adam's relief, he took the weapon, while saying “I’ll be happy to inspect this soldier’s weapon.”
He expertly dropped the clip, handing that over to Tony, and went through the weapon. As he was inspecting the weapon, they heard a small voice pop up from the background. “Hey can I fire it, I’ve never got to shoot one of those before.”
That earned some laughter from Mike's and Tony's kids, as well as a few smirks from the Unit members. Mike just looked down at the little imp, “maybe they will allow it at another time.” He then proceeded to hand the weapon back to the Corporal telling her, “Immaculate condition soldier, very good.”
She simply nodded and Adam allowed himself a small smile as he turned away to continue the inspection.
They were almost to the end of the line when Adam stopped and turned to Mike and Tony. “Sirs, the rest of the group here may seem a little strange to you. They are sort of expecting a surprised reaction, and I will explain fully to you during the briefing. Just please understand that they had no choice in who and what they are.”
Mike nodded, and Adam turned and brought them to the next group which was the Intel team. Adam gave Logan a brief smile, then watched closely to figure out how they would all handle fourteen identical faces.
Adam was impressed to say the least with Mike. He didn't even bat an eyelash when they walked up the the line of clones. He heard Tony gasp, but that wasn't anywhere near as bad as they had expected.
It was then that one of Mike's little ones, Peter, walked up to Mike and said in a puzzled voice, “Daddy, they’re all the same?”
Adam squatted down so he was on the same level as Peter. “Well you see Peter, that's because they're all brothers.” Adam waited while Peter seemed to digest this. Finally the little boy nodded and said “okay.”
Adam stood back up, and looked at Mike. "Brothers? I don't think so."
“Well actually sir, they're all clones.” Adam said with a smile playing on the edge of his lips.
It took Mike a second to recover and finally he said in a flat voice, “That's not possible.”
Adam suppressed a grin as he just motioned to the line of boys. “Well if it's not possible... your really gonna love this.” With that he turned and started to walk to that last group of kids, while motioning over his shoulder for them to follow.
Right before they got to the cats, Adam turned to the group following him and said softly, even though he knew the cats could hear him. “Sirs, a bit of a warning. They really do not like to be called pussys.”
Adam grinned and winked at Khan who's face didn't move, but Adam could see the tail swish a little bit in a way that Adam could read as amusement. When they got there, Adam heard Mike stop and exclaim, “HOLY SHIT!”
Meanwhile, Tony gasped out, “Jesus, Mary and Joseph and may the saints preserve us.”
Mike glanced back to Tony, “Ain’t that the Irish?” To which Tony responded, “It’s fucking applicable!”
About the same time everyone heard Sammy’s, “Wow, COOL!” and then Alexei crying out in pleasure “KIIIIIITTTTY CAAAATS!!!”
Adam almost busted out laughing when he heard Kent's young voice cry out,
“They ain’t kitty cats they’re Thunder cats!”
Mike finally managed to gasp out “How? What?” before just stopping and staring some more.
Adam lost his smile and said “You ever hear of black ops?” But before he could even think to answer Alexei piped up with “Can I pet the kitties?”
“Ah…um” Mike said before he just gave up looking once more at them as they just looked back with a grin.
Alexei meanwhile had gotten tired of not getting an answer, and before anyone realized it he was standing next to Khan, and petting him right above the tail. Of course, Khan loved it, and even though he tried to remain stone faces, everyone could hear the deep rumbling purr start.
Pretty soon all the younger ones had found a cat to pet, and even a couple of the older ones like Derek had went over. Sammy was looking at Mike like he really wanted to join them but he was at least behaving for the moment. Finally Mike relented, and Sammy ran off, he ended up actually talking to Vishnu before gently stroking his fur.
It was about this time that Logan came walking up to them with a folder. He saluted, “You need to see this right now,” he said and handed the folder to Adam who took it and staretd to read through it. Distantly, he heard Chang cry out that the inspection was over, and that everyone was to return to their duties. The only ones who didn't leave right away were the cats who were still getting petted by Mike and Tony's little ones.
Adam's face turned red with anger as he read through the papers in the folder. Finally, he looked up to Mike and Tony, and almost in a growl he asked them. “Are either of you two familiar with a three star named Adams?”
Adam watched as both Tony and Mike's face got hard with anger. “You could say that although I think you somehow already know that.” Mike said as Sammy came running up with a face filled with concern.
“What’s wrong dad?” Sammy asked looking back and forth from Tony and Mike to Adam.
“I think we’re about to find out.” Mike replied not breaking his gaze from Adam.
“Well Sirs, it seems that General Adams actually had something to do with Miguel's kidnapping.” Adam was about to continue when he was interrupted.
“HE WHAT?!?!” Mike said while taking a step forward, his face red with rage. At the same time Tony exclaimed, “What the hell do you mean that son of a bitch had something to do with Miguel’s kidnapping?” Adam wasn't really afraid of a normal human, but the rage in Mike's eyes made Adam glad it wasn't directed at him.
“Who is this Adams you’re talking about and why would he kidnap my son?” Adam heard and realized that Elena had walked up and heard what Adam had said.
“Dad isn’t he that dick head you told us about when you told us the story of…” then he trailed off. Adam wondered why he stopped.
“Yeah SamSam that would be him,” Mike replied while still looking at Adam.
Adam took a deep breath, “Well, I wasn't going to bring this up in the briefing, as we had no proof of this till now. But it seems that General Adams has been planning for a long time to get revenge against the team you used to command. I will explain a lot more once we get to the briefing room, and I think now would be a good time to head there. If you would like, I can ask Janet to take care of the little ones, while we are busy.”
Tony looked to his wife for a few seconds while unspoken words passed between them. Finally he looked to mike and nodded. Mike then turned and looked at Adam, “I think that would be a good idea on both counts.”
Adam led everyone to the briefing room, he was dreading this moment, and had already decided that he wasn't going to go into the full brutal details right now. They didn't need to know everything. Before Mike and Tony entered, he stopped them and pulled them down the hallway a bit. “I will explain all of this in more detail later, I'm sorry to have to tell you like this, but about a year ago, Andy Rose was murdered. It happened when he tried to stop a robbery. You also need to know that Jeremy's time since then has not really been pleasant till he came here a little over four months ago.” Both Mike and Tony looked stunned as well they should at the news, and Adam watched as they turned away for a moment but not before he saw the tears they were fighting to control in their eyes. He left them and headed on into the room to give them a moment feeling terrible that he had to break it to them this way. Although he wondered if there was any good way.
Once everyone was in the room, and seated, Adam began the briefing. He turned one of the large boards over which had the pictures of twenty seven children. Every single one of them was a facial shot that they had taken from the videos.
“Before I begin on the briefing I would ask that you hold all comments or questions till after I am done. I will probably be answering all your questions during it.” Adam looked around and got nods from everyone in attendance. He still wasn't sure about having some of the children there, but it was the decision of the adults.
“These twenty seven children are all being held in a secure compound about thirty miles north west of our current location. We have been able to confirm that they are being used to make sexually explicit videos which are being sold on the Internet.” Adam then dimmed the lights, and turned on the projector starting to go through the slides that Logan had made up earlier.
“As you can see, they are located inside a walled compound that is very well defended. According to what we have been able to find out, they are a religious separatist group that has been paying off the local officials so that they can get away with what ever they want inside. No questions are asked, and no one complains because those that would are kept as little more then slaves who can't escape.
They have approximately one hundred and fifty people inside, not counting the children. However, only about seventy five of them are listed as targets. The rest are women and children too young to be used in their videos. We do know that they are heavily armed, and keep a roving patrol, however, we are certain that they are not worried about people getting in, it's more, that they are worried about people trying to escape.
Now, as to how your General Adams is involved. It seems that ever since your fated encounter with him many years ago, he has been plotting his revenge. We do know that he had a plan in place to kill off Jeremy's father, however, Andy was killed in a robbery just before he put his plan into motion. We have also been able to link him to the death of two of your team members that have been ruled accidents. One was a car crash, and the other a home invasion/robbery. We do know that it was Adams that had Jeremy's judge killed and made it so that Jeremy went through hell these last few months.”
At this, Adam paused and handed a folder to both Mike and Tony with the evidence that Logan and his team had been able to gather regarding those deaths.
“From what we have been able to figure out from his private and secret computer files, he wasn't just planning on killing you Tony, first he wanted to make you suffer, you and Elena over what happened ten years ago. He decided to go after your children to do that and this porn ring was a convenient tool to extract that vengeance upon you.
“Now I am going to make an assumption here, but I gather that at least some of you will want to go on the rescue. I have already factored that into the plans, and will have equipment ready for you once you let me know who is going to go. We are expecting stiff resistance, and do know they have a plan in place to kill the children at the first sign of an armed invasion. However, I can guarantee that before they know we are there, the cats will have the children secure. If I wasn't interested in killing all the mother fuckers there, I'd just go in and get the kids out quietly.” Adam took a moment to calm down before continuing.
“The current plan is to hit them tonight. We would have hit them two nights ago when we found out where they were, but when Jeremy saw Miguel in there, he insisted that we call you two. To be honest I wasn't going to agree to that at first, but then I got to thinking how I would feel if I was not allowed to get my share delivering justice to them, so we waited.” Adam finished up, and brought the lights back up to full. “Now, if any of you have questions, please feel free to ask them. But remember the full mission briefing will be happening later on once we figure out which of you will be going, and what you want to do.” Adam then waited to see if they had any questions. He didn't have to wait long. Mike, along with Tony, Elena, Marissa and Esteban all said at the same time, “Kill them,” and then Sammy said in such a cold voice that I turned startled towards him “I’m going with you.” Adam simply nodded with acceptance, and with that the briefing broke up and everyone started to file out of the room. Once they were out of the room, Jack told everyone they could follow him, and he would lead them to their rooms.
A little while after the briefing, Adam was standing at the window in the main conference hall, looking over the pictures that Logan had found for the hundredth or so time. It made him so angry, yet so grief stricken that Ronnie was in these pictures. Adam hadn't even been abused like this while he was in the lab, Juan had though, and from what Juan had allowed Adam to see through their link it made him understand why Juan was the way he was.
Adam knew that these people would not survive the night. Not if he had anything to say about it, and he did. They may have been able to pay off the local people to be able to get away with this kinda stuff, but there wasn't enough money in the world to pay him off. He would never look the other way to anyone, let alone a child, being treated this way.
He was startled out of his thoughts when he heard someone walk up behind him. Looking over his shoulder, he saw Mike walking up towards him.
Adam turned around and looked at Mike. “Why do I get the feeling that you have a few questions.”
Mike chuckled a bit, and in a very sarcastic voice, he said “Oh, maybe one or two.”
Adam couldn't help but laugh himself. “Well, where would you like me to start?”
“The beginning works, and what the HELL are those cats?!” Mike asked. Adam pointed him to a chair, and they both sat down.
“Well, the cats come a bit later on in the story, but let me start at the beginning, and understand, I am giving you the brief version.”
Mike nodded and Adam began the story. Over the next hour, Adam told Mike the hows and the whys of the Unit and how they got to be where they are. Many times through out his telling, Adam was brought to tears and so was Mike.
When he was done, Adam knew that Mike still had many questions, but those really could come later. For now there were other things to get into.
“There is something that I didn't bring up during the briefing, mainly because I didn't know how Tony and Elena would take it...” Adam trailed off while looking at Mike.
“I take it that it's not good?” Mike said, and Adam could only shake his head.
Adam snorted, “that's one way of putting it. I don't know how to explain this in any way that will soften it, you need to see these." Adam them handed the folder over to Mike letting him see in graphic detail what Ronnie and Miguel were going through.
“The first set of pictures is of Ronnie. He's one of my guys, and also the brother to the kid who flew us in here.” Adam said as he watched Mike go through the pictures.
Adam watched as Mike opened the folder and looked at the first picture. Adam knew all to well what the picture was of. He had spent many hours looking at it, and looking into the eyes of Ronnie, as he was being brutally raped and beaten.
“Sweet Jesus!” Mike gasped out, and Adam just shook his head. Just knowing what Mike was looking at was enough to bring tears to his eyes. Those pictures both of Ronnie and Miguel would be burned into his mind for the rest of his life.
Finally Mike got to the last picture, and Adam knew it was of the man looking over at the camera with a big smile on his face, as he brutally raped Miguel. Mike dropped the folder which Adam caught, and just stood there staring at that one picture. From the look in his eyes, Adam knew that this man would be on the top of Mike's hit list.
Suddenly, from the doorway, Adam heard a voice cry out, “Dad?!”
After the briefing Sammy had been bombarding us with questions about the Halo and flying, so we decided to take the kid down to our room where we’d be out of everyone’s way, and tell him about it. It was obvious that he really liked flying and had told us he flew his dad’s Lear all the time, and wanted to learn helicopters in the worst way.
We’d been down there for a while and it helped to take my mind off of Ronnie and where he was right now.
It was something that I didn’t want to think about even if I couldn’t stop thinking about it, I had promised to protect him and I hadn’t.
We had been talking about flying and I had told him all about Will teaching me and putting the special controls in that allowed me to fly, even being like I was and, I had even told him a little about some of the missions we had flown since I learned to fly.
Then he hopped up and after asking where it was headed off to use the bathroom.
I just smiled after him finally looking over with love at Will and asking, “was I that bad?”
“Nah, worse,” Will replied laughing as he bent forward and gave me a kiss.
Sammy came back in and I could see a million more questions in his face when he suddenly stopped letting out a little gasp as if he had walked into a brick wall.
“What’s wrong?” I asked as Will asked, “Sammy are you alright?”
I looked at the expression of shock and heard him say barely above a whisper, “Where did you get that?”
I didn’t understand what had gotten him so upset or what he was talking about, as there wasn’t anything over the way he was looking except the picture of me and my dad when I was little.
Will asked, “the picture?”
“Yeah,” was all that Sammy answered.
Why did the picture upset him so much I wondered.
“It’s Bill’s dad taken from when he was little.” Will said as Sammy turned and looked at us in shock and disbelief.
What the hell?
Will jumped up as I rolled forward and he asked him, “Sammy what is it?” But Sammy didn’t answer him for a minute, just standing there with that shocked look on his face.
Then so suddenly it was almost like watching Will or Adam move he had picked up the picture and was running from the room yelling at us, “come on you gotta come with me, now!”
We both started yelling questions to him but he never even slowed down, and I could feel Will grab my wheelchair and begin pushing it really fast after the departing boy.
He may not have been genetically engineered but he could sure move, I thought as we tried to catch up but Will could only safely push me so fast.
We did catch up to him finally but only because when we did we found him doubled over as if in pain and when he stood up it looked like someone had punched him in the stomach or maybe the balls his face was so white.
“Sammy are you alright?” I yelled but he simply shouted, “we gotta find dad right now!” Then took off running again.
We took off after him and followed him around the corner where he came to a sudden stop.
In front of us in the conference room were Adam and Sammy’s father.
I could see Mike was crying and he had something crushed in his hand as Sammy said “Dad,” and we all went the rest of the way into the conference room.
Sammy walked up to Mike who had been looking at something, “Dad, Are you alright?”
Mike turned away, and I saw Adam reach over and take something from Mike, just as Sammy wrapped his arms around him.
“Dad, what’s wrong?” he asked.
Mike couldn't answer for a moment, and I was really starting to wonder what he and Adam had been talking about.
“Nothing,” was the man's only response.
He pulled his head back and looked up at him silently for a moment before burying it back in his chest and squeezing him real tight then letting go.
“Dad there’s something you need to see” he said holding out the picture he got from my room. 'Why would Mike wanna see that?' I wondered.
“Okay,” he said and took the picture. He started to look at it and a small smile crossed his face. I didn't really like strangers seeing that picture. I'm always afraid they'll hurt it or something, and I don't have a copy. It's the last thing left from my dad.
“Sammy, where’d you get this? I thought we left it at home.” Mike said, and now I was really confused. What the hell was going on here.
“You need to ask him.” he said pointing towards me.
“It's mine,” I said as they walked over to where Will and I were at.
“Yours?” he asked startled, and it pissed me off. I really didn't like people having that picture.
“Yeah it’s me and my dad taken when I was a little kid.” I said.
“You and your dad?”
“Yeah, me and my dad.” I said, as I was really started to get annoyed.
I saw the tear splash onto the glass of the picture followed by another and another, finally he handed the picture back to me, still with tears falling down his face, and reached into his back pocket, pulling out his wallet.
He fumbled around in it for a moment then handed me a picture, I slowly took it, and looked at it. I couldn't believe what I was seeing, he had a copy of my picture. “Billy?” he asked, and my head shot up, I hadn't let anyone call me that in so long.
“Billy is that you?” He asked, and I couldn't believe it. 'Could it really be? It had to be!'
I launched myself from the chair, and into his arms. “Daddy?” I cried as he caught me, and hugged me tight to his chest. I was crying so hard, that I couldn't say anything, but these arms I knew. These arms I remembered from so long ago. Every night when the asshole beat me up I went to sleep thinking I was in these arms, and I always fell asleep peacefully, now... now I was in those arms again.
Bill cried himself to sleep in Mike's arms, and there wasn't anyone in the room that wasn't openingly crying. Mike picked up the smaller boy, and with a look to Will they went out of the room. Will grabbed the wheelchair, and led them down to the room they shared together.
Nothing was said the whole way down there, or when they got into the room. Mike gently laid Bill down on the bed, and Will pulled the covers up over him. With a nod of his head, Will indicated that Sammy and Mike should follow him out.
Once they were in the common room, Will grabbed soda's for everyone, handed them out, and sat down. He was still stunned by this turn of events, and didn't really know what to make of it.
It was then that something else hit him, and he couldn't help but gasp out loud. If Mike was Bill's dad, that that also meant he was Ronnie's. Will knew exactly what Mike had been looking at when they got there. Now Mike had to deal with not only a close friend's child being abused like this, but also the son he never knew about. Will's heart went out to this man who was sitting there starring off into space.
Finally Mike looked over to Will. “Will, what happened to Billy, why's he in that chair?”
Will just shook his head and stood up. He went over to his bag, and pulled a small tape recorder out of it.
“Telling you wouldn't do it justice. Here, listen to this... it should tell you everything.”
With that he pressed play on the recorder and I heard something that I would never forget, something that I had never forgotten.
I knew that Sammy hadn’t either.
“911, what is your emergency?” an adult voice said.
“Please I need help! My step dad is trying to hurt us, my brother isn’t moving, please.” A young boy’s voice could be heard crying into the phone and you could tell he was having a hard time speaking through his tears.
“Okay honey it’s going to be alright, what's your name, and where are you at?” The ladies voice said trying to reassure the terrified young boy and you could hear her typing on a keyboard in the background.
“Please!” the boy begged “He’s not moving, please help us,” the child’s voice continued.
“Honey listen to me you have to tell me your name and where you’re at, you have to or we can’t get help to you or your brother,” the lady said desperately and clearly trying to get the boy to calm down enough to give her the information she needed.
It seemed to work as the boy’s voice noticeably calmed as he began speaking “My name is Bill Tompkins, and I live at 335 south tenth st...” but he had just started when you could hear a loud pounding from a door somewhere nearby. After that you could hear a whimper from the boy and the chilling words “He’s back”, followed by the lady asking something that was interrupted by the unmistakable sound of a gunshot and then a door being kicked in.
You could hear the boy scream as the phone fell to the floor and then an anguished plea of “No Greg! Don’t Shoot!” from the terrified boy then various noises followed by desperate cry of “NO!” , a gunshot and then a piercing scream of agony.
You could hear the thud as the boy hit something on the enhanced recording and then nothing for a few seconds followed by sounds of a struggle somewhere and two more gunshots.
There was silence for the most part then a scream of such terror that it still made me jump when I heard it.
Silence again which was almost worse than the other when that boy’s voice yelled defiantly “Leave him alone” and I knew he was talking about his little brother.
Now you were able to distinguish other sounds in the background and voices yelling from far away followed shortly by the clearly articulated order to “Freeze” apparently issued by the police who had finally arrived on scene.
A domestic violence or family disturbance call was every cop’s worst nightmare and these officers were about to have theirs come true.
Then into the silence there was a gunshot followed by multiple more shots being fired and a man’s voice asking “Son are you okay?” and that same boy’s voice gasping out in a struggle with each word “I…Don’t…Think…So” before going silent.
You could hear the officer screaming for medical assistance on his radio that he had two kids, victims of gunshots and then the dispatcher coming back with an acknowledgment followed by the officer telling the boys that help was on the way and that everything was going to be alright but it was the words that came next that will always stick in my mind and heart.
In a barely audible exchange between the two brothers in what was clearly thought to be a goodbye the boy who had called 911 trying to save his brother’s life simply as his last act told him the most important thing of all.
“I love you.”
As the tape ended I could feel the tears running down my face as I realized who that boy had been and just what Billy had been through and done.
I had Sammy holding onto me for dear life and I could see him crying as well knowing that he remembered when that call had been played on the national news day after day.
I hadn’t known who it was obviously but the details had come out of the boy calling for help to protect his little brother and then throwing himself over his little brother’s body trying to save that boy’s life twice before taking the final shot that would leave him paralyzed for life.
They had told of how the boy almost died and how he had been abused for years but it was hearing that tape that put it all into reality for so many.
It had broke my heart then and hearing it now had broken it again.
When the tape finished, Will put it back in his bag, then looked over to Mike. He saw that the man had tears in his eyes, which made what he was about to say even harder. But he knew he had to, Bill was too important to him.
There was unbroken silence for several minutes until Will broke it with these words.
“Mike I hate to say this and frankly I can only hope you’ll accept it but Bill and I are together, we love one another” he said pausing and if I didn’t know by the final words the emphasis on ‘together’ certainly left no doubt as he continued “Please keep that in mind when I say this. He hasn’t had a lotta luck in the dad department and I’d really hate to see him hurt again. If you’re gonna hurt him or leave him, then just go now, cause if you hurt him…if you hurt him I’ll hunt you down and I WILL kill you”
His eyes were on fire as he said the final part then he simply got up and left the room leaving me stunned and not having the chance to tell him that I would never hurt Billy and that I also would never ever leave him again.
Around noon the next day, Adam walking into the room, where all the strike teams, pilots, and anyone else that would be going, where assembled, and went immediately up to the podium. As soon as everyone saw him walk in the room, they got quiet, and waited for him to start. He took a deep breath, knowing that this was going to be the first real test for some of these people.
“Okay, here is the plan,” he said, while turning on the projector. “First off, Bill will be flying the Chinook, Charlie will be flying one of the MI-26, with Dierdra flying the other one. Will's gonna be in the Black Hawk. We'll fly in low, and land about three miles out. At that point, we'll have to go on foot till we get to the actual compound. Once there, we will fan out around the building. Alpha and Bravo teams, along with Mike and Sammy, will take the front gate. Charlie and Delta, with Tony, Elana, Esteban, and Marrissa will take the back gate. The cats will spread out before hand, and before we go in, they will take out the guard towers, they head immediately over to the barracks where the children are being held. Juan, Jory, Chang and I will be going in with the cats, but we will be going for the guard barracks. Echo, Foxtrot, and Gamma team will wait in the second Mi-26, and come in as back up if needed.”
Adam paused there to make sure everyone was on the same page. Once he was sure they were, he went on. “Once the cats have the towers secure, both gates will get blown open, and the other teams will make their way to the barracks. Make no mistake here, the kids are the main objective. Get there as quick as you can, and drop anyone who fights. Remember, there will be non combatants on the field as well, pick your targets carefully, only those that fight back.”
Again he waited, this time he tried to catch the eye of as many as possible. Once he got nods from everyone, and was sure they understood, he went on. “Once the kids building is secure, and the area around it swept, Charlie will come in with the 26, with Bill and Will flying cover for him. Charlie, you need to land right here,” he said pointing to the area in front of the building. “Once your on the ground, we'll start loading the kids on board. Once that's done, and the kids are on board, Alpha and Charlie team will board, and you'll get the hell out of there.”
Adam looked over at Janet and smiled as he said the next part. “Remember guys, the kids will be real scared, you gotta try and reassure them as much as possible.” Janet just nodded with approval, and Adam went on.
“Once that's done, the rest of us will clean up and get out on with the Chinook, or the Black Hawk. Any questions?” Adam looked around, and saw no one had any questions, so he dismissed everyone with one last comment. “Okay, we have fourteen hours till we go wheels up. Get some rest if you can, and meet up in the hanger in thirteen hours. Until then, dismissed.”
Everyone got up, and made their way to the doors. Adam saw Mike and his crew hanging back, so he walked over to them. “Hey guys, how about that tour now?”
“Sure, sounds good about now.” Mike said, and with that Adam showed them around the base. About an hour later, they had seen everything except the hanger. Will and Bill, had come with them, and was dieing to see their reaction.
They had just gotten in there when Mike stopped dead in his tracks. “That can’t be a…” He said in a voice full of surprise.
Will grinned, “Yes it can only we did it right.”
Everyone got into position around the base as Adam had instructed them to in the briefing. So far everything was going according to plan, and they could see the people in the guard towers keeping watch. With it being this late at night, there weren't all that many people wondering around which was a good thing as Adam gave the order, and he, his brothers, and the cats all took off at a run. They hit the wall, and even Adam was impressed at the cats as they jumped up, and landed halfway up it's side. With the benefit of their claws, they were able to scamper up the rest of the way almost noiselessly.
There was barely a sound as the cats killed the people in the towers, then dropped ropes that Adam and his brothers quickly climbed up. Once they had all four towers secure, Adam gave the order for the rest of the teams to go. Almost immediately, there were two different explosions, and he could now hear the sounds of people screaming. Adam was in his element, this is what he was made for, and he felt more at home right then, then he had in a very long time.
Everything was going according to Adam's plan as they hit the building that housed the kids they had come to rescue. They hit the door, and went inside, only to find Vishnu waiting for them, with two dead adults laying at his feet.
“No more bad guys here, we'll be back.” The little cougar boy said with a grin, as he ran off out the door they had just come in.
“Okay... Gage, Jenny, you got the door, if they're not ours, drop them. David, Kelly, Alex, Andy, make sure this bottom floor is secure. The rest of you with me. We'll bring the kids down here, and secure them in this room. Once we have them all I'll call for the bird. MOVE!” Donnie then hit the stairs and took them two at a time.
When he got upstairs, he started going room by room. He found each of the rooms were locked from the outside, but a good kick by him sent the door flying inwards. Inside the room was two kids, both of them huddled up against the far wall. It took him some time, but he finally got the two boys to leave the room with him, and go downstairs. When he got down there, Donnie saw that the rest of his teams were doing what they could to comfort the scared children. “Any one seen Ronnie, or Miguel?” Donnie asked after he looked around, and hadn't seen either one of them. No one answered, so Donnie took off back up the stairs.
Five minutes later, Donnie was getting really worried and really pissed, he checks every room in this building and hadn't been able to find either of the two they were looking for. He had to get outside before he let his anger get out of control and scare the little ones even more.
When he got outside, he saw Mike walking up to him, with Sammy right behind him. “Well, it looks like everything went exactly according to Adam's plan.” Mike said with a small smile.
Donnie just shook his head. “Not quite everything... we can't find Ronnie or Miguel.”
“WHAT?!?!” Mike cried as he charged past Donnie and into the house. Donnie was right on his heals and saw the man frantically looking over the kids hoping to find either one of the boys.
“Are you looking for Ronnie and Miguel?” Came a heavily accented voice from the back of the crowd of kids.
Donnie looked, and saw a kid wearing a white hooded sweatshirt standing in the back row of kids. Mike just nodded emphatically, and the kid spoke again. “Follow me, I know where they're at. But their hidden.”
Donnie followed after the kid as he ran off, and knew that Mike, Sammy, Tony and the rest of his family were right behind him. Emily even joined him as they ran deeper into the house.
They got to what looked like the office, and they saw the little kid trying to move a filing cabinet. Donnie went right over, and helped him move it out of the way. Under where it was, they found a trap door, that the kid reached down and tried to pull open. It was a bit heavy for him, so again, Donnie leaned in and helped him. Once they got the door open, they saw a set of stairs that led down to another door.
Donnie drew his weapon, and started down the stairs with Emily right behind him, and the rest behind her. When he got to the door, he tried it and found it unlocked. With a deep breath he threw the door open, and went through with his gun at the ready.
He saw two adults sitting at what looked to be a television station's control room. They both spun around, and tried to draw weapons. Donnie dropped them both before the could even clear the guns from their holsters.
He moved into the room, making sure there was no one else in it, when he heard from behind him, “Oh my god!”
He spun around and saw Emily had a hand to her mouth, and was looking at the TV monitors. When he looked he felt his blood start to boil. On two of the monitors were Ronnie and Miguel, both of them had two other adults in the room with them, and both of them were again being brutalized.
The kid with them, sadly shook his head, and moved for the doorway. “Come on!” he called once he opened the door and was standing in a hall way. “Miguel is down that way, and Ronnie down this way.”
The two groups split up with Donnie, Emily, Mike, Sammy, and the little boy racing down the hallway to Ronnie's room, while Tony, Elena, Marrissa, and Esteban when to get Miguel.
Mike was the first one to get to the room that Ronnie was in, and didn't even slow down. He just lowered his shoulder, and rammed into the door, sending it splintering open.
When I reached the door the boy had pointed out to us I didn’t even stop but slammed into it and into the room placing a bullet into the man standing there watching while running forward to grab the other man and pull him off of and out of Ronnie, throwing him across the room as I did so.
Seeing nothing but red at this point as a rage I didn’t know I was capable of feeling engulfed me I put a bullet into his knee as he started to get up saying “You God-Damned Son of a Bitch!”
Then the gun was in it’s holster and my fist were pounding into him over and over again until I heard a whimpering voice say “Please don’t daddy, no more”
I stopped with my fist inches away from what was left of this guys bloody face and dropped him turning back to the bruised and battered form lying there on the bed.
I walked slowly over to the boy looking down at him “Ronnie?” I whispered as he coughed and some bright red blood burbled up from his lips.
Then it was as if time had reversed and it was another little boy laying there as I asked “Are you okay?”
“Not really” he gasped as I reached up in a daze remembering another little boy without thinking keyed my mic saying urgently into it “Josh I need you my position, man down and for God’s sake hurry”
I was brought back to the here and now by a voice asking “Who the hell is that and who is Josh?”
“We need a medic and we need him right now!” I heard Sammy say into the radio before I could reply
“Help’s on the way” I told him gently taking his hand in mine.
“I knew you’d come dad” he said through his pain and I could feel the tears in my eyes looking down at him.
“You did and how did you know I’m your father?” I asked a bit shocked.
Ronnie looked off to the back of the room where the boy had went to and smiling said “He told me”
I followed his gaze as the boy said “You didn’t think I’d let it happen again did you Papa?” as he began walking towards me.
There was only one boy who had ever called me that.
I gasped in surprise and disbelief as the boy walked up to the bed and taking Ronnie’s other hand pushed the hood back from his head.
“Oh my God, Pablito???” I asked stunned.
“Geez a few short years and he forgets me already” the smartalecky voice I never thought I would hear again said.
“Pablito?” I asked again not being able to believe it as the tears ran down my face now.
With that Pablito gently pulled Ronnie up amid whimpers of pain and hugged the small boy to him and I watched as a glow seemed to surround them.
“A friend of mine is helping me do this because I can’t and then we’ll get my brother next,” he said as the glow began to fade.
When it was gone Ronnie sat there smiling as Pablito stepped back all injuries gone now.
“We’ve healed the physical injuries but I can’t take away the memories Ronnie, they’re a part of you now and you’ll need them” Pablo told him.
Ronnie just nodded.
“How? You’re…You’re…” I tried to say but was at a loss for words.
“It’s called ‘dead’, papa,” he said with a smirk as Sammy and Ronnie both giggled.
I got up and walked around to his side of the bed as he looked up at me and took him into my arms pulling him to me tightly and determined to never let go this time.
As if he could read my thoughts I heard a giggle and then he told me “I gotta go, Papa.”
“No” I said into his head as I inhaled his scent but he simply pushed back from me and smiled up at me with that same impish grin he’d always had.
Then looking at Sammy he said “He sure likes to hug a lot don’t he”
“Yeah I know” Sam replied smiling.
“See ya round Papa” he said walking over to Sammy and wrapping his arms around him giving him a hug before saying “Welcome to the family little brother”
With that he began to fade away smiling at me and just as he was about gone he added “Hey tell Tony I can still kick his ass”
Then he was gone although the giggles lasted for a moment or two along with an admonishing voice saying “Angles don’t swear” and a response of “Whatever”
I went over and picked up Ronnie into my arms and holding him began to walk from the room but it was as we got to the door he said “Oh Pablito wanted me to tell you something”
“What?” I asked.
“The last thing you ever said to him he said to tell you ‘He’ll always love you too’” he said and I stopped remembering that day.
“It’s going to be okay.” I was telling one of the kids I was helping to the helicopter when I heard the scream followed by “ADAM!”
Before I could do more than begin to turn around something slammed into me just as I heard the report of a shotgun blast followed by fire from Sammy's gun along with a “Ooomph”
I pushed what I realized was a person off of me only to find Jeremy lying there groaning and that was when I realized that he had been shot, that and when I saw all the blood.
“MEDIC!” I yelled as I cradled him in my arms, “Jeremy hang on bro, helps on the way” I sang urgently to him.
Damn this was bad.
“You’re alright” the boy gasped as his face contorted in pain.
“I’m fine. You saved me” I said as I felt tears coming to my eyes “You saved my life so you hang on” I told him.
“Where the fuck is Chang” I screamed only to hear someone say “He’s coming”
He better come fast I thought.
Juan was there trying to staunch the blood pouring from the wound with me muttering all the while “Shit, shit, shit”
“Jeremy stay with me bro” I said as I saw him start to fade out.
“Tired” he mumbled.
Juan was crying as he said “Don’t be such a wuss, you stay here, you hear me”
“Tell Ty I love him please” Jeremy said
“No, you have to tell him yourself, you tell him” I said crying as much as Juan now or more.
“I don’t think I’ll be able to do that sir” the younger boy said smiling briefly before the smile turned to one of pain as blood bubbled at his lips.
“Adam…it….hurts…” he gasped out looking surprised that it did and then his head fell to one side as his eyes dimmed.
“NO GOD DAMMIT!!! NO!!!! JEREMY YOU STAY WITH US” I yelled
“CHANG!!!!!!!” I screamed as the medic came running
“JEREMY!!!” I cried as Chang pushed me aside to work on the boy at the same time Juan was crying “Jeremy no, no”
Then I had Juan in my arms and we were both crying as Chang worked to save the boy’s life.
Jeremy had saved my life.
He had thrown himself in front of the blast to save my life was all that ran through my head as I watched Chang try everything he could to save the boy.
We loaded him as quickly as we could into the helicopter and we were off. Charlie was flying for all he was worth, and he knew that call had already been made back to base. Mom would be waiting for us.
I held Juan in my arms, both of us crying while Chang and medics worked feverishly to save Jeremy. I only hoped it would be enough.
When we landed, a gurney was quickly brought in, and they transferred Jeremy onto it. He was still fighting, and that was a good sign.
“JEREMY!!!! NO!!!!!!” I heard as I exited the helicopter after the gurney. Tyler was there, and ran up and gathered him into my arms.
“What... what happened?” He asked, and I just couldn't bring myself to tell him that his boy friend died because I wasn't doing my job. So I just shook my head, and we followed the gurney down to the waiting room.
Janet stopped us with a look when we tried to follow her into the ER, so we sat down, and waited. I hated this place. It felt like only yesterday that I was here.
They slowly walked forward towards the crest of the hill, silently contemplating what lay before them.
This was not something any of them looked forward to, not something any of them ever thought, really thought would ever happen, not to one of their own.
Adam could feel the tears silently begin again as he looked over to Logan and saw a similar sight on his love’s face that mirrored his own.
He knew if he looked at the others walking with them that the same thing would be reflected in their faces, pain, pain and overwhelming loss.
He as well as the others always knew it could happen but to actually have it do so had hit all of them harder than any of them had ever thought possible.
To be here one moment and then gone the next seemed so…so wrong.
As those thoughts were running through his head the sad procession came to a stop surrounding the final resting place of a member of their family, a member taken too soon.
There was silence for a few moments before Jack began the service with a passage that was very apt to this particular scene.
“Greater love hath no man than he who would lay down his life for another”
He spoke more but Adam was lost with those words which meant so much to him now, for he had certainly done that.
Logan gently prodding Adam brought him back to the here and now along with the realization that everyone was looking to him as it was his turn to speak.
“I...” he began but had to stop and clear his clogged throat before continuing “I thought I would be able to get up here and say something that would make it alright but I can’t. Nothing will make it alright ever again” He said before hanging his head for a moment then saying “He gave his all to each of us and me in particular and for that he will be remembered, always. It’s my fault that he died and I’ll… I’ll always love him” but that was all he got out as he broke down and ran from the hill.
Logan looked over at his mother for a moment then ran after him trying to catch up to his distraught love.
He didn’t make it but knew Adam would be going to only one place and eventually when he got back to the compound that was where he found him, sitting in a chair and sobbing quietly with the words “Why?” interspersed between the cries that went straight to Logan’s heart.
“Adam” Logan said softly as he came up to his boyfriend gently placing a hand on his shoulder.
“NO!” Adam said angrily turning to look at him.
“It’s not your fault” Logan softly told him shocked at the haunted look of pain in Adam’s eyes.
Adam didn’t say anything for a moment then as if all the will to fight had left him he sighed turning his head away and said “Yes, it is, it is Logan”
“He chose to save you” Logan told him placing all the emphasis he could into the word ‘chose’
“If I had been doing what I should have been doing he wouldn’t have had to” Adam replied.
“Adam…” Logan started to say but Adam interrupted him saying “No, Logan he’s dead because of me, because I killed him. Everyone gets hurt or…or…dies that I care about, everyone” and with that Adam placed his head down and began to cry brokenly once again leaving Logan to stand there stunned.
He didn’t know what to do, how to get through to him, the pain he saw was more than he thought he could handle but if he didn’t know what would happen to Adam.
He could see Adam falling into a vast pit, had seen it since it happened, and for all the love he had for him he just didn’t know what to do about it, but did know he'd better figure out something and quickly.
“Adam, it’ll be alright, just give it some time” Logan told him.
“No it won’t.” His lover cried forlornly.
“No Adam, that’s not true” Logan vehemently protested but Adam had turned away again lost in his own private agony once more only uttering a soft “Yes it is. Maybe I'm just not cut out for this, maybe it would be better if I hadn't tried to escape so long ago. Maybe...”
“Hey... what's all the tears for? I ain't dead... yet.” Adam's head popped up at the raspy voice, and couldn't believe what he was seeing.
“DAD!!!! Oh daddy!!! Your awake!!!” Adam launched himself at Joe, and wrapped him up in a huge hug. He quickly let go of him however, when Joe started ot cough.
“Sorry dad! Are you okay?” Adam asked looking at Joe with concern.
Once Joe was finished with his coughing fit, he looked up at Adam and smiled slightly. “I am now... you know how long I've waited to hear you call me daddy?”
Adam busted out crying again, and gently hugged Joe again. “Oh daddy, I'm soo sorry. I was all my fault.”
“Shhhh, it's okay... just forget about it... it's over.” Joe said as he looked up at Logan with tears in his own eyes.
“Adam?” came a voice from behind them, and Logan spun around, and stumbled back at what he saw.
Standing there was, what Logan could only call, and Angel. He looked to be in his late teens with golden wings, and a glowing aura around him.
Adam jumped to his feet, and looked in awe at the Angel.
“My name is Mikey, and I'm sure your thinking that I'm an angel. Well your right, and wrong. I'm actually a Saint.”
No one in the room could do more then stare as this “saint” spoke to them. This was defiantly not something that you could prepare yourself for.
“Adam, why are you so upset?” Mikey asked, and Adam felt everything come crashing down on him again.
“I... I failed... and... and because I failed, Jeremy... Jeremy's dead.” Adam got out in between sobs.
Mikey looked at the boy with sympathy in his eyes. He knew just how bad this boy was hurting.
Adam looked up at Mikey with a pleading look. “Can... can you do something about it.... I'd give ANYTHING to have him back!”
Mikey looked into Adam's eyes, and saw that this was really tearing the kid up inside. He knew what he had to do, and if everything worked out...
“You'd do anything?” Mikey asked, and Adam just nodded his head, and said very forcefully. “ANYTHING!”
Adam had expected Joe or Logan to say something, but when he looked, they were both still as statues.
“Would you be willing to take his injury upon yourself, if that's what it took? Would you be willing to be nothing more then.. a... squishy I believe is the term you use.” Mike asked
Adam never even hesitated, “Yes... what ever it takes. I'll do anything.”
Mikey nodded his head, and suddenly he and Adam were in the emergency room on the base. Adam saw Janet and Chang working hard on Jeremy.
“Make absolutely positive that you want to do this. Once I do this, there's no going back.”
Adam watched as Chang and Janet worked so hard to save his friend, but he knew they weren't going to be able to.
Just then, the heart monitor starting buzzing, and Chang immediately started to do CPR. Less then a minute later, Chang looked over to Janet and shook his head. There was nothing more they could do.
“Yes!” Adam cried out. “Yes I'm sure, just don't let Jeremy die!”
Mikey sadly nodded, and walked forward to where Jeremy was lying. Suddenly he became visible, and Chang and Janet jumped back. Mikey raised his hand, and touched Jeremy.
“Adam, please come here.” Mikey said, and Adam moved closer. Once he was close enough, Mikey touched Adam, and all three of them started to glow.
Adam suddenly felt the worst pain he had ever felt before. He had been shot before, but nothing like this. It felt like his side exploded out of him, and he dropped to his knees letting out a cry of pain, then blackness.
Janet ran over to where Adam had fallen, “What have you done?!?!” She asked acusingly to Mikey.
Mikey sadly shook his head, and started to fade, “Exactly what he asked me to do.”
Janet reaction was cut off by Jeremy let out a loud gasp from the table. Chang looked Jeremy over quickly, and seeing no injury, he rushed to help Janet get Adam onto a table and start to treat his “wound.”
It took them nearly fifteen minutes to treat the wound, and to make sure nothing else had happened. Jeremy stood there the whole time, after finding a gown to wear, watching. Somehow, he knew what had happened, and what Adam had done.
Janet was just finishing up the bandage around the wound on Adam's side when he started to wake up. He groaned in pain, but then started to look around. When his eyes feel on Jeremy, he smiled broadly, then feel back into the bed.
“What did you do?” Janet asked. She was more then a bit pissed right now.
Adam, sensing her mood, struggled to his feet. He was very thankful at this moment for all the training he had in blocking out pain. He still felt it, but he could at least move around a bit.
Once he was finally standing, he looked over to Janet, and simply said, “what I had to.”
With that he stumbled over to Jeremy, and gave him a hug. He put his arm over the younger boys shoulder, and started walking to the door.
“Adam, get back here...” Janet started to say, but gave up when he turned, and she saw the look in his eyes.
He struggled out of the room, with Janet following right behind him. When they got out to the waiting room, everyone jumped up in surprise.
“Adam? Jeremy, what's going on?” Logan asked as he ran forward and grabbed onto Adam, helping over to a seat.
“Adam... Adam gave everything up to save me. He... an Angel came... and... Adam took my injury... the Angel said he's... just a human now.” Jeremy said with tears coming to his eyes as he thought about what Adam had given up to save him.
Logan looked into Adam's eyes and knew that Adam was scared. No one knew Adam like Logan did, and he knew immediately what scared Adam the most. He gently wrapped his arms around Adam. “I don't care what you are, Adam... I love you.”