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Old April 21st, 2019, 06:11 PM #21
scikaiju's Avatar
> scikaiju
Power Ranger
 
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 327
scikaiju
Power Ranger
scikaiju's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 327



<Episode 18>

"We got a slight problem," Jack said as soon as he saw Rachel. He was surprised to see her outside the warehouse they were hiding out at. Well, it wasn't much of a warehouse, it hasn't been used for as long as he could remember. He only knew about because his Uncle would hide out here every so often, usually after a hot "job". He was surprised that when his Uncle showed it too him it had a couple of escape routes built in, one were his bike was quietly resting. That amazed him when his Uncle showed him the place when he was younger. He couldn't blame Rachel for standing outside though. They both had been cooped up in the place for the last two days. Actually he wasn't to sure how much longer they could stay there and not get caught.

Rachel, who was having her own doubts about the place, sighed and started rubbing her forehead, "Do I even want to know?"

"Nick won't help."

"I knew I didn't want to know," she started rubbing with both hands now. "And why won't he help?

"Well, seeing how we're not only wanted by the police but the Army and the US government we are officially too hot to handle. He said he was doing me a favor by forgetting he saw me." He went to rub the back of his head but stopped, he was suddenly worried about moving the hood and foil. So he started scratching the beard that was growing instead. He really, really hated having to think about stuff like this now.

"Not to mention World Inc., the rebels and any Drakan not involved in this conflict we come across. I'm assuming you didn't tell him about that part.”

"What sane person would believe it without proof? Guess I could have powered up." Then he added when it looked like she was going to say something, "I'm joking."

"I don't see how you can." She looked at the night sky before asking, "You sure we can trust him to keep his word?"

"Out of all the guys my Uncle hung around with he was the one I trusted the most. Hell, I think I trusted him more than my own Uncle."

"I'm sorry, but I have to meet this Uncle of yours one of these days."

"Well if we're caught maybe we'll be lucky enough to get sent to the same prison. I'll make the introductions." She tried not to smile, but there was a small one playing on her lips. Things were still messed up between them but they were getting better. But he doubted things would be the way they were before this crap started. "We better get back and figure out what we're going to do now."

She nodded as they walked off. A sound caught their attention, somebody seeing him on the street was the first thought racing through his head. But it wasn't, two guys had apparently grabbed a woman off the streets. His guts were twisting on the inside, he wanted to help but.... Jack was trying to force himself to turn around and try to live with it, hope... pray this wasn't added to the nightmare. Then he got a good look at the woman, forgot everything he was just thinking and ran at them. "Let her go!", he shouted and threw a right hook as the closest one turned around, not holding anything back. The first guy spun completely around before falling to the ground. The second guy let the woman go and tried to run. "No you don't you son of a bitch!", he grabbed him and threw him further into the alley.

Jack waved him on, the guy tried to run past him. He caught the bastard and threw him into a wall. Holding him to the wall with his left hand Jack stated wailing away with his right, again holding nothing back. A one sixty two fastball finally made him stop. Jack looked at the guys face, his nose was bent to one side among other things, and let him drop. He grabbed some newspaper and tried wiping the blood off the glove and made sure the hood was still in place. The last thing he needed was to give Anderson a clear signal from this damn chip in his head. He caught the woman trying to look at him out of the corner of his eye. He turned away and deepened his voice, "Get out of here."

"What... who...," she sputtered. This was tearing him up inside.

"Get out of here!", he snapped. God he hated talking to her that way.

"But I wanted...," Jack didn't stay to listen, he just walked off praying she wouldn't follow. He saw Rachel looking at him dumbfounded. This was going to be a tough on to explain. "Wait," the woman said, "that's the girl they're looking for." He could feel her staring at the back of his head. Please not here, not like this. "Jack?", she put a hand on his shoulder and said a little more urgently, "Jack?"

He just looked straight ahead. Lie to her you moron, he told himself. Don't get her involved in this. Uncle Pete already screwed her life up as it is. Tell her Jack who. I don't know what you're talking about. Yell at her to go away. Break her heart damn it, something to get her away from here. Tears started to form in his eyes as she reached for his chin to make him face her. Jack grabbed the hand and felt it trembling. He closed his eyes, he couldn't to this, not to her. He finally looked at her and she put a hand to her mouth, looking like she just saw a ghost. God why was it so hard to speak. "Hey Mom."

***
Was he trying to drive her crazy? All right she could see trying to help the poor woman. But going ballistic like that and then letting her get a good look at him. What in the hell was he thinking? Jack looked at her then said something to the woman. Whoever this woman was nodded, said something to him and headed back toward the street. Jack put his hands in his pockets and walked toward her. "Are you trying to get us caught?", she asked but he kept on walking. "I'm talking to you."

"I'll explain it later."

"How about you explain it now? How could you take a stupid risk like that?"

"Stupid risk?" He turned to her and snapped, "Fine when it's your mother getting dragged into an alley I'll just keep on walking!"

"Wait... what?"

"That was my Mom Rachel, what was I supposed to do?"

"Your Mom," she was dumbstruck as he turned around. "But Mr. Anderson said his people couldn't find her." Jack stopped in his tracks, turning just enough to look at her.

"Ok, now we gotta talk."

***
The hour was getting late and quite a few of his personnel had already left for the evening. There was some paperwork on his desk that needed his signature that he was taking his time with. A rival CEO in his city had invited him to a banquet to support whatever needy cause was trendy this month. He should probably finish this up and go. Anderson had already blown off the last two he was invited to and he had to keep up appearances. Even if being in a room with that many humans made him nauseous. The way these inferior being pretended to be superior to everything else. Davidson had no idea of the favor he did for him by making his armor blue, not that he would ever understand it.

A knock at his door caught his attention and Taylor walked in. Well it would distract him from the papers on his desk for a few moments. At the very least it would allow him to be fashionably late for the banquet. "What is it Mr. Taylor?"

"I realize it's late sir but Dr. Armstrong called me last minute. The hand scanners are ready for field use." Anderson just nodded in response. The scanners were designed to pick up Davidson tracking signal at relatively close range by using a tighter and stronger beam. He made a mental note to have some attached to the cameras on the outside. A more cost effective way of searching for them other than having several of his men out there on foot. "He says the maximum range is about twenty feet."

"Hmm, I was hoping for a greater range but that will have to do for now. Is there anything else?"

"Yes sir there is," he said as he put some folders on his desk. "Like you asked I talked to Mitchell and we narrowed the candidates for the task force leadership, temporarily of course, down to three. All we need is you final approval."

"Fine I'll look these over in the morning," he picked one up and skimmed through it. He wanted Mitchell's personal opinion on these men before promoting any of them. Not that he didn't trust Taylor’s opinion on the matter, but Mitchell did train these men. It better be early in the morning, Mitchell was scheduled to go into the mark two program soon.

"We wouldn't have to do this if Mitchell selected a new second in command," Taylor commented. Anderson said nothing for a moment. They lost the previous second in the same conflict that delivered Davidson to them. He suspected that Mitchell held the fact Davidson survived and was bonded to the Fusion system over his own men against him.

"Perhaps," Anderson told him, "but few had the experience and qualifications he did. If he was in better shape when they found him I might have considered him for the program."

"Hmm," his VP uttered. "Can I ask you something that has been bothering me?" Anderson leaned back in his chair and told him to continue. "Why did you pick Davidson for the Fusion program? I've gone over the reports of the incident and the medical resources I have access to and I can't figure it out. Several of our men where qualified for the program. So what made him so special?"

"To be honest with you, I don't really know. And I have asked myself that same question every so often since the decision was made. We had several men in the program's prep stage. Several men who were very loyal and very dedicated I might add. But when I saw Davidson's mangled form floating there in that tube next to the others, something told me he was the one to green light. I very rarely listen to my gut, as they say, but when I do it is rarely wrong. And up until recently he did not disappoint."

"And you never thought this would happen?"

"I knew it was in the realm of possibilities. I also know we can handle the situation." He turned his chair around and looked out the window at the night skyline. "I just wish I had the foresight to green light another one at the time." As he sat there an idea came to him. There were a few still in the mark one prep stage. Surly one of them could be used. The person wouldn't even have to beat Davidson, just keep him busy and dispose of the occasional rebel until Mitchell was ready. "Mr. Taylor," he swung his chair back around, "have someone bring me the files on those who survived the incident. I want the information no later than two tomorrow." Instead of complying Taylor looked confused. "Is there something in that order you did not understand?"

"Excuse me sir, but you only green lighted Davidson?"

"I believe that is what I said."

"Then why was I recently handed a file on another one green lighted into the program at about the same time."

"Another one?", Anderson went back in his memories to when he gave the order. He personally gave the word on the spot, he pointed right at Davidson. There was no way another could have been green lighted without his say so. Allen, it had to be him. His files indicated he had everything to take over the company but not this. A back up plan perhaps, in case something went wrong or not fast enough. Perhaps something to personally take him out, that would be his style. Still somebody else had to know about this if Taylor was given a case file. "Is Armstrong still in the building?"

"I believe so."

"Get him up here. And bring me that file." He wanted answers and he wanted them now. Looks like he was missing that banquet after all.

***
Rachel sat on one of the cots they found while Jack took in what she just told him. "You told him to look for my Mom?", Jack demanded. Oh yeah, he was reacting just like she thought he would.

"I asked him to look her so you could talk to her," she explained. She was halfway expecting him to cut her off at some point. "I was trying to make things a little easier for you. But like I said Anderson kept telling me they couldn't find any info on her."

"I'm pretty sure they did," he sat in a folding chair by the ratty old card table that was set up. "That first assignment they sent me on, the safe house and the elephant. The same one with the trap that damn monkey set for me. That was in my Mom's old neighborhood."

"Please tell me you’re kidding."

"I know it's more than likely some weird coincidence, but it always seemed a bit strange to me."

"Jack I didn't think...", she was at a lose for words, "I mean I never believed..." She couldn't believe she handed Anderson a string to control Jack like a puppet with.

"I know it's not your fault," he said. Too bad she knew him well enough to know that a small part probably did. "We were both getting jerked around,” he gave her a sly grin, “and not in the good way either."

She got the implied meaning, "Did you have to go to the gutter for that one?"

"Yes I did," he answered matter of factly.

"Why for God sakes?"

"I'm a guy."

Before she could say anything a knock at the door made her jump. It was strange though, two knock, then four and the three. Jack got up and went to the door and knocked once then three times then he put a hand on the doorknob. She quickly figured out who was on the other side, "You didn't tell her where to find us?"

"Yell at me later," he muttered before opening the door. For some reason he looked down and said, "Oh no, Rufus," before backing up and letting his mother in. Rachel got a better look at her now, she had the same dark hair Jack did but her eyes were blue. She came in with a pet Taxi that she quietly put on the table. Jack just stared at the case as he closed the door. Nobody said anything for a while before he said, "Really want to make sure it's me don't you?

"I can't think of a better test," she said as she open the taxi and a brown tabby cat walked out surveying the area. It saw Rachel as she check it out and started rubbing against her arm. She scratched it behind the ear and it started purring up a storm. Jack's Mom looked at him and said, "Well?"

He sighed, "Make sure the cat doesn't runaway." He walked up slowly and held out a hand to pet it. The cat saw him and started hissing and swiped at him with its claws. Jack backed up, looked at him Mom and asked, "Happy now?"

Rachel tried to calm the cat down, "What did you do to this cat?"

"I told you animals don't like me."

"I don't believe that, you had to do something otherwise it wouldn't be acting like this."

"I didn't do anything to the damn cat!", he snapped. "Gah if you only knew how tired I am of saying that."

Then his Mom took him into her arms, "My baby's alive." OK now she was officially confused. "Rufus had hated him from the moment they set eyes on each other." She turned back to Jack and reached for the hood, "Let me get a good look at you." He quickly put both hands on top of his heads to keep the hood firmly in place.

"Trust me that's not a good idea."

"What do you mean...,” she got a good look inside the hood, “is that foil in there? Jack what's going on?"

"It's long story Mom."

"Oh trust me I got time. First I have a guy in a suit over a year ago telling me you're dead. Then I turn on the news a few days ago and find out you're wanted by the government."

"It's a really long story," he amended.

"All this time and you couldn't let me know you were alive?", she smacked him on the arm.

"I wanted to, do you have any idea how many times I drove by the house? And what was I suppose to do? Walk up to the door and say ‘Hey, guess what’ ?"

"It would have been better than finding out the way I did."

"I know, but things were... complicated."

"Does it involve little miss thing over here?", she jerked a thumb in her direction.

"Excuse me," Rachel crossed her, "miss thing?" Jack got between them.

"She's not the enemy Mom."

"Jack I can talk for myself,” Rachel told him.

"Yeah, but you never argued against her before."

His mom crossed her arms, "And what is that suppose to mean exactly?" Jack opened his mouth and saw the look on her face. He put his hands up and silently sat in a chair. "Whatever, I'm just glad my boys alive," she put a hand on his shoulder and he put one of his on top of it. To her she said, "I'm sorry honey, I'm still a little shocked about this whole thing."

"It's all right Mrs. Davidson."

"Call me Helen, all of Jacks friends do. I am assuming the two of you are friends."

"I like to think we were before the current situation," she told her.

"Right now we're just kinda stuck with each other," Jack added. Rachel was about to comment on that, all right go off on him, when he said, "I didn't mean it like that." Quickly changing the subject he turned to his mother. "I know I should be keeping a low profile these days, but when I saw those two drag you into the alley...", he couldn't finish the thought.

"Hey, I gotta pay the bill somehow." Rachel's eyes went wide as Jack groaned. She saw her discomfort and told her, "Honey, I'm joking."

It took her a moment to get out, "Well I see where you get your sense of humor."

"He should have taken more after me than he did his Uncle. What did you steal that got everybody in the country looking for you?"

"I didn't steal anything," Jack told her. Then he started rubbing his left arm, "Not that I had an option either way. It's the main reason I talking to you right now."

"Jack was in an accident, that much was true," Rachel took over, Jack looked a little uncomfortable explaining this. "He was fitted with an experimental life support system. I was his... uh... his case worker." It was close enough to the truth at any point.

"Case worker huh?", she wasn't sure if Helen believed her or not. She smacked Jack lightly on the arm, "So what happened, you miss a couple of payments?"

"That part is...," he searched for the right word, "complicated."

"So I hear," she told him. They both looked at each other and started from the beginning. Not everything of course, they both left the Drakan and rebels out of it, just the basic of the situation. Although Jack did say he did some things he wasn't exactly proud of. Helen took it all in quietly. Well, she did until Jack told her about his plan to split up and what happened afterwards. Then she went right into Mother mode. "You were going to leave this poor girl on her own when you had all that money?" She then proceeded to slap him on the back of the head.

"Ow!", Jack grabbed his head.

"I raised you better than that."

"Yes Mom." She slapped him in the back of the head again.

"And don't use that tone of voice with me young man." After a moment she did it a third time. Despite all the crap he put her threw lately Rachel tried not to enjoy the sight all that much.

"What was that one for?"

"For thinking what you were thinking."

"That your the best Mom in the world?", he said right before getting out of range. She put her hand to her face.

"Sometimes I wonder who he takes after more me or Petey."

"Petey was his Uncle right?" Rachel wondered out loud.

"He told you about him huh?” she sighed. “Petey moved in with us after I lost Ken in a car crash. Jack was only three months old when it happened. I try to stop myself from thinking about the type of man Jack could have been if he was around, and I wouldn't trade who he is now for anything in the world. Although there are times I swear Ken possessed Jack because sometimes they act almost exactly alike."

"I don't want to sound like I'm second guessing or anything, but considering his 'night job'," Rachel felt weird asking this after that, "was he really the best person to bring in to help?" Helen chuckled a bit.

“You would not believe how many times I asked myself that. And I told myself the same thing again and again, if you can't count on family who can you count on? Besides I've been handling my brother for years so he wasn't going to be a problem. The people he hung around with on the other hand," she went quiet for a bit. "It felt like an uphill battle on both sides at times, but I got us threw it." Helen put Rufus back into the taxi, glanced at Jack then turned to her. She gave her that same sly grin that Jack sported more times than she cared to remember and said, "So... how has my boy been behaving himself?"

***
Mom stayed for a couple of hour, mostly telling some embarrassing stories about him. Naturally Rachel told a few more currents ones. Naturally he spoke only when spoken to. Not out of respect, because if he complained about any of it Mom had some really embarrassing stories she was sitting on. And Rachel was going to hard enough to be around as it was. He was surprised at how well they appeared to be getting along now. At one point he went to get the make shift storeroom they had to get something to eat and came back they looked at him and stifled a laugh, both of them. He made a mental note not to tick her off anytime soon.

The night ended with his Mom saying she would try to see him again as soon as she could. He wasn't expecting it to be that morning with her pounding on the door. His concern quickly turned to worry as he let her in. "What wrong Mom?"

"You and Rachel have to get out of here. The police are coming, somebody saw you and followed you here last night." Once again he was asking why me?

"I'm gonna kill Nick."

"Nick was the one who told me, he was hoping I knew how to warn you."

He turned to Rachel who was already packing her things. Jack did the same while grabbing some cans of food. She caught a couple he threw at her asking, "Any idea when they'll be here?" The sound of sirens was followed by several cars screeching to a halt in front of the building.

His Uncle did say they were always around when you didn't want them. "Answers that question," Jack and his mom both said. He went to a wall and slide part of it back, revealing one of those hidden passages and the bike. Turning around he looked right at his mom. "This just got a bit more complicated," he mumbled. No way he was going to leave her here. He pulled the envelope of money out of his pocket and put it in the backpack. Handing it to here he said, "You two take the bike I'll go another way."

"Jack now is not the time to split up," Rachel argued.

"Listen to her," his mom added.

"We don't have time for a debate, go! I'll meet you in the back alley by Arnold." He pushed them toward the bike. As they got on Rachel gave her a slightly worried look. "She taught me how to drive these things so you'll be in good hands."

"What are you talking about, you’re better at driving these things than I am."

Rachel uttered an, "Oh God," as he closed the panel. He heard the bike's engine start up and fad away as he backed away from the door. There was another way out on the opposite wall and he could have made it if he already didn't make up his mind a few minutes ago. By the time the S.W.A.T. team busted in he was on his knees with his hands on top of his head. Jack was told to lie on his stomach by one of them as the others checked the warehouse. He hoped this bought them some time as they concentrated on him.

"All clear," S.W.A.T. number two said as his hand were cuffed behind his back and he was raised to his feet. "Where's the other one you were with?"

"What other one?", he said as emotionless as possible.

"Smart guy huh?" S.W.A.T. number one said as he pulled the hood off his head. And now Anderson had a good idea where he was. Number one saw the foil and pulled it out. "Hey looky here boys. Trying to keep the mothership from finding you?" He just bit his tongue to keep quiet. "Jack Davidson you are under arrest for theft of government property and treason. You have the right to remain silent...," he began as he was dragged out the door. He was surprised there wasn't a media blitz too as he was escorted to a nearby van. He was placed in and a guard joined him. As they drove off two things bugged him, one his guard wasn't really guarding him all that closely. Two, he knew he saw this guy before. Ten minutes in the guard pulled out a cell phone and dialed a number.

"We got him, prepare to switch vehicles in a few minutes." He closed the phone and gave him a big grin, "Bossman is gonna love seeing you again."

Now things were clicking together. "You're one of Anderson goons," That's were he saw him, he was one of the jackasses from the party. "Then I'm not gonna regret this later." The van turned sharply catching the guard off guard as Jack jumped at him. His shoulder rammed into the guards chest then he snapped his head up catching the guard under the chin. He went down and a quick kick kept him down, hopefully for long enough. Jack got the cuffs under than in front of him like his Uncle showed him and searched the guard for a key and found one. Nobody in front seemed to noticed and he briefly wondered if they had one of those devices Anderson used on him to keep the armor from appearing. Only one way to find out. Kneeling down on top of the fallen "cop" he raised his left arm across his chest to make the belt appear. Swinging the arm to the side he brought up his right arm, "Henshin!", and brought his right hand down.

A bit later the van stopped in front of a waiting unmarked van. One of the guards went back and opened the door. He was surprised to be staring into the red eyes of a blue metal insect crouching by the opening. Jack waved at him slightly before jumping at him and knocked him out without much trouble. He spotted a third guard taking to a guy dressed like a Men in Black reject. The third one charged but Jack grabbed him by the neck before he could react. Looking at MIB he said, "Don't think I'll regret this one either." Jack spun the guard around and tossed him at the other one. MIB caught him with no effort and threw him into the wall. "I don't believe this. Does he got pictures on you guys or something? Is that why you’re working for him?"

"Cute human," MIB said as he put his sunglasses in his pocket as horn grew from his head and he turned into a red goat.

"I don't know what you're talking about. I don't see a human standing," Jack said before he charged the Drakan.

***
Rachel held on as Helen drove down a back street. The ride wasn't as bad as Jack's when he was pushing the engine but it was close. "What's that?", Helen pointed to something. As they got closer she could see it was a S.W.A.T. van sitting there and several officers laying on the ground knocked out. Jack was not dumb enough to power up the system and take them out, was he? Helen stopped the KR-1000 where it was and made her get off.

"What are you doing?" Personally she didn't want to be this close to the police as it was, unconscious or not.

"Jack might be hurt," she said as she got off and looked around the area. "Maybe it was this Anderson guy you told me about got them." She was trying not to think of that but it was possible. Then they noticed the big hole in a wooden fence. More than possible. About then something blue and black flew over the fence and landed a few yards in front of them. She knew who it was but Helen was going, "Oh my God!"

"Oy." Jack got to his feet and looked at them, "Get her out of here!"

His mom recognized his voice, "Jack?" A red Drakan, looked like a goat, calmly walked threw the hole. Jack got out of the way as it tried to ram it with it’s horns. The Drakan grabbed the punch Jack aimed at his head. He went to a knee yelling in pain as it twisted the arm. Rachel went to the motorcycle and activated the lasers hidden by the headlight. It recoiled in pain as it was truck by the beams and came toward them. Jack grabbed it from behind around the waist and threw it back. He started punching and kicking it while he had the opening. At one point he grabbed it by the scruff of hair under its’ chin and planted a fist right between it's eyes then spun around and kicked it back. His hand went for the right pod but he hesitated and looked back at them. She knew what he was thinking and looked around. The building to their left looked abandoned.

"Jack that door by you! The door!" He saw it and nodded. Jack reached the goat as it was getting up and punched it where the laser burned its’ flesh. The Drakan bent over in pain as he grab and threw it head first into the door. Jack twisted the pod up and went in. She grabbed Helen by the arm and pulled her back, "You'll be safer back her, hopefully."

"What is going on?" An explosion came from the building that got her attention. "What in the hell?" After a few moments Jack came out in his street clothes. It took a few more moments but he finally looked in there direction.

"Helen...," Rachel tried to explain what happened before she cut her off.

"Complicated doesn't even begin to describe what I just saw."
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Old April 25th, 2019, 10:13 AM #22
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scikaiju
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Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 327



<Episode 19>

"Complicated doesn't even begin to describe what I just saw," Jack mom told her. Rachel wasn't exactly sure were to start explaining what they left out from the previous night. Jack slowly walked up, holding the back of his head. His exposed head she realized. He showed her the inside of the hood to confirm what she was thinking.

"Good thing I kept the foil in my bag," she muttered as she started rummaging through it.

"It’s not exactly Arnold's," he said as he looked around, "but it's better than nothing." She looked around too. God only knew how fast Anderson would get another team mobilized. Helen just stared at her son, who was trying not to look too uncomfortable from her gaze.

"They turned you into a...," she struggled, looking for the right word. "What was the name of that stupid show Richie made you watch? Kamen Rider, that was it."

"I try not to think about it that much," he told her.

"And what are you exactly in all of this?", Helen asked her. "I'm pretty sure you're not a case worker so don't try to tell me that again."

Rachel found the box of foil before she answered, "I'm... I was his mission operator."

"Mission operator?", she paced the alley. "And you sent him after those things?"

"We sent him after one side," she offered.

"And what in the hell does that mean?"

"Mom it's.... ,"Jack started.

Helen pinched the bridge of her nose and held up the other hand. "So help me if you say complicated I will beat both of you right here and right now."

Rachel leaned over toward back and whispered, "She really wouldn't do it, would she?"

"How do you think she kept my uncle and his friends in line," he answered. Rachel gave in to an urge to take a step back. "Not gonna help you," he said with a grin. Then he saw the look on his mom face and the grin disappeared as he took a couple of steps back of his own. "I'm done."

"Too bad I know better," she sighed. "Can you at least tell me why you're walking around with foil in that hood now?"

"There's a tracking chip in my head. According to Rachel it blocks the signal."

Helen took the foil from her hands. "Give me that jacket. I'll fix the hood while you two tell me what's going on."

"That's all right," Jack said quickly. "I'll just sit in front of you, we really don't have the time to argue about this.

"Then give me the jacket," she said firmly and held out a hand. Jack hesitated but he took the jacket off. Her eyes went wide as she saw the scars on his arms. She shot an accusing look toward her but said nothing. Helen sat down on the back bumper of the van and pulled out a length of the foil. "You better start at the beginning."

Jack sat inside the van in an attempt to block the signal as they told her everything else. The details of Jack's accident. The Drakan, Anderson and the rebels were a little harder to explain. Fortunately seeing the one Jack fought help things a bit. Helen quietly listened to all of it as she lined the hood and soon handed it back to Jack. As he put it on the guard on the inside started to stir. Jack knocked him back out with a quick punch, "Nighty night."

"Assaulting a police officer isn't going to help your situation," his mom scolded.

He jumped out of the van while double checking the hood saying, "That's not a cop. He's one of the guys working for Anderson that we were telling you about."

"Does he," she pointed toward the 'officer' , "turn into anything then?"

"I don't think he would have went down that easy if he was one of them."

"And the... Drakan you threw in that building? The explosion I heard?" Jack looked at the ground. She couldn't even look her in the eyes. Helen looked very sad as she said, "You did say there were some things you weren't proud of." She hugged her son.

"I'm sorry Mom," he said quietly. "I didn't want to get you involved in this."

She pulled back slightly saying, "Don't be sorry. You're my boy, you can drag me into just about any mess you get yourself into." He smiled at the comment. "So, how's your food situation?"

"I think we got enough to last us few days," Rachel told her.

Helen nodded. "Do you remember that lot a couple of blocks down?", she asked Jack. "I'll meet you there in a half hour with some more food for you."

"Mom, you don't have to do that."

"And," she went on like he never said anything, "if I don't see you there in a half hour I will track you down myself. We both know you don't want that."

"I'll be there," he said. Helen patted him on the arm and went off. Jack looked at the unconscious men around the area. A sour look crossed his face. "You thinking what I'm thinking?"

"About your Mom?" He nodded, "I'm afraid so."

***
As they sat waiting in the lot Jack tried not to let the queasy feeling in his stomach take him over. How in the hell was he suppose to ask his Mom what Rachel and him had talked about. Rachel put a supportive hand on his shoulder as they saw her come up. This was going to suck. He got to his feet and gave her a quick hug, "You're late."

She slapped him on the side of the arm, "Watch it young man." She reached into one the bags she had and pulled out two black motorcycle helmets. "I swung by the house to pick these up. I didn't see any at the warehouse when I was there. So I figured you could use them" To Rachel she said, "They belong to Ken and me, years ago. It almost seems like forever at this point. Oh I also thought you might want this too." She handed him a picture. Jack had to bite his lip to make sure he still felt anything. It was a picture himself and Richie, taken about a month before that damn accident.

"Thanks Mom," he put the photo in a pocket on the front of his jacket. Trying to hide what he was feeling he patted the helmet in his hands. "I don't know why you're giving us these. You know my head harder than this thing."

"And that's why I have to keep telling you things over and over," she smiled at him and he returned it. Now if only he felt like smiling at the moment. His mom looked at him funny, she knew what he was feeling, he had no doubt about that. He always had a hard time hiding things from her. She moved a couple of stray hairs out of his face. "It's all right Jack." She handed him the other bag she was carrying. "This should last you a couple of weeks. I'm not sure about Rachel but I know you can be a bottomless pit at times."

"Hey I've seen Rachel eat, she can pack it away." He ducked the empty pop can that was thrown at him, "It was worth it."

"Was he always like this?", Rachel asked her.

"Unfortunately, but like I told you I wouldn't have him any other way." She hugged him again, “I better get home. I know it's kinda dangerous for you but try to let me know how you're doing, huh." He grabbed her by the arm to stop her.

"Yeah, about that." This was sooo gonna suck.

"What is it?"

"Well, thanks to some stuff I just recently found out," his eyes glanced over to Rachel, "you might be in trouble."

"What Jack is trying to say is," Rachel spoke up, "Anderson knows about you. We both think there's a good chance he might use you to get to Jack."

"No offense honey but that boss of your sounds like a real bastard."

"He's a Drakan who sent me after his own kind. Trust me Mom that doesn't even begin to describe him."

"No argument there," Rachel agreed.

"So what am I suppose to do then?", his mom wondered. "That machine of yours isn't exactly built for three."

If this plan didn't make her knock him out nothing would. "You have to get out of town. It's the only way they can't get to you."

"And how am I suppose to do that without a ton of questions?", she demanded.

He looked over to Rachel who just shrugged her shoulders, "This part of the plan was your idea."

"Thanks a lot." Jack looked at the ground to set himself before facing her again. "You're gonna have to go to Nick."

She backed up and held up her hands, "You did not just say that."

"I know this sounds crazy but it's the only way."

"The only way he says," she said to the sky. "I've heard enough from my brother to know Nick doesn't relocate people for free. And I'm sure as hell not taking any of that money you have on you."

"I know, I know but listen to me I thought this out." She shook her head but she was listening. "Go to Nick and tell him that I'm calling in the Ashley incident back from ninety-nine. He'll know what I'm talking about and it'll get you to any city in the country."

"Do I want to know the story behind this Ashley thing?"

"Better if you didn't."

"This is what I get for letting Pete in the house," she mumbled. "Then I guess this is good bye then."

"I guess," his voice cracked slightly. He knew this was going to be hard, but nothing like this.

To Rachel surprise his mom went over to hug her. "Take care of my boy, you hear? I just got him back."

"I will," she promised.

"And if he gives you any trouble just slap him in back of the head. That always worked for me."

"I'll remember that Helen," she replied with a laugh. Then she hugged him and neither of them wanted to let go.

"Jack I just want you to know, no matter what you've done, no matter what you do or what you think you have to do, I'll love you no matter what."

"I love you too Mom."

"I know baby, I know." She kissed him on the cheek, "Take care of yourself, for my sake at least," and walked away. A few steps away she turned and said, "You better have told that poor girl thank you." As she continued on Jack promised himself he was going to find her again, no matter what. Right now he just had another reason to be pissed at Anderson.

Rachel came over while he was wiping a tear from his eye. "Are you going to be all right?"

"Yeah," he lied. Taking a few moments to get himself under control he asked, “What did she mean I better have thanked you?"

"I'm assuming," Rachel said, "she meant when I saved your bacon from that Drakan."

"I should thank you for that? You nearly fried my bacon with those lasers."

"Oh quit your bitching," she told him. Then she added, "Chipmunk." He knew he was going to regret the two of them talking last night.

"If your mom's a gabber you better pray to God I never meet her."

***
He spent a few minutes that morning to visit Mitchell and offer a few encouraging word before he went into the Mark Two program. Despite being only human he proved his worth in Anderson's eyes several times over. Mitchell should be very happy with the rank he favored him with. That afternoon he cleared his schedule and with Taylor, Armstrong and Perez, the new assault team temporary commander, drove to a dock on the edge of town Allen apparently owned. Anderson sat quietly in the limo, fortunately none of his fellow passengers were in a talking mood either. Taylor was doing something on his PDA. Armstrong was still engrossed in the other Mark One's file, he was just as surprised as anybody to learn about its existence. Allen was far more resourceful than anybody gave him credit for. Perez sat there by himself fuming, an hour after he accepted the job they received word they had captured Davidson only to lose him again. Not the best way to start a new position. Anderson himself should have been madder about the situation than what he was. Part of him was particularly pleased with Davidson performance, and that it once again proved he made the right choice. Although he doubted any of his companions would share his point of view.

The building they arrived at was unassuming at first glance. Perez gestured to the men getting out of the car behind them to survey the area. Perez himself doubled checked the clip in the gun before returning it to its holster. Anderson gave an amused look toward Taylor, tying to impress the boss on the first day. They approached the building and a door opened. Perez got in front of them as a man in his fifties and wearing a lab coat walked out. He asked had a metal flask halfway to his lips before he noticed them. "Oh bloody hell," he muttered with a bit of an accent as he quickly tried to hide the flask.

Anderson recognized him almost immediately, "Dr. Parker? I was under the impression you left the company some time ago."

"I don't know what you're talking about," he grumbled as he came forward. "I've been here over a year an a half on that special assignment you gave me." He put a hand on the balding spot on his head, "Starting to think Allen forgot about my assigned exile. Hey," he looked at the group, "were is the esteemed Mr. Allen? He usually comes here to scream at the top of his lungs at how slow things are going."

"Mr. Allen is no longer with the company."

"Explains why I haven't seen him in months. What happened?"

Anderson looked him dead in the eyes, "He went against me."

"Ah," Parker said while he looked at the group. He looked like he was going to try to run. "Couldn't happen to a nicer fellow, if you get my drift."

"Relax Dr. Parker, we're here to see the test subject."

"Finally come to check out what I'm doing here." He shot a look at Armstrong, "Or have you come to see to see how to do it right? If I heard the rumor mill correctly that is."

"There's a reason why I'm the one still in the main lab Parker," Armstrong said with an annoyed look on his face.

"So says the man who needs help."

"Just remember who's in charge of Research and Development."

"Only because you’re a gre..."

"Mr. Perez," Anderson quickly interrupted their “discussion”, "we'll be inside the building if we need you." Perez nodded while shooting a warning look to the scientist. Mitchell was one of the few humans who knew what they really were and he was in no rush to expand that number. When they were alone he said, "Dr. Parker, I assure you your rank had nothing to do with who was made head of..."

"The hell it didn't!", Parker exploded. "I stood by and swallowed every IQ test you could come up with that was shoved down my throat. Because who could ever believe a red could be more than just muscles. And the results were the same every time, I'm smarter than anybody you got under that roof of yours. Hell, I make this twit look like Forest freakin' Gump. But heaven forbid if a green should ever take an order from a red."

"Sounds like the rebel rhetoric to me," Armstrong said. Anderson had to admit he had a point.

"They probably appreciate me a bit more than you lot do." He pulled out a pack of cigarettes out of his coat and lit one up. "Come on then, the guinea pig is this way."

"Is it wise to be smoking around the test subject and the equipment?", Taylor asked.

"Probably not," Parker admitted between puffs. "Not exactly the most optimums of conditions to begin with." The inside of the building was the exact opposite of R&D. The room was barely lit, small and outside of themselves deserted. A familiar tube of blue liquid was in the center of the room. They all could see a man floating inside of it. Anderson checked out the rest of the room. An operating table was pushed against a wall, a still bloody sheet was on top of it. There were various charts of the human body. Graphs and things written on several chalkboards filled the room. Parker sat on the edge of a very cluttered desk and gestured toward the tube. "Well there he is, Fusion mark one."

"Where is the rest of your staff Dr. Parker?", Anderson asked not looking at him but at the person in the tube. He recognized this one from that night. Definitely in better shape now than he was back then.

"You’ve already seen him."

"You did all that surgery by yourself?"

"Even I'm not that daft," Parker sounded insulted. "Allen was able to sneak in some of your precious R&D boys and girl when I needed them.

"Who?", Armstrong demanded.

"Wouldn't you like to know," Parker answered with a devilish grin.

Armstrong started to say something but held his tongue. Instead he put his briefcase on the table, pulled out a red folder marked "confidential" and slapped it on the desk. "Since you’ve been out of the loop you obviously don't know about the improvements we made to the system."

"Yes," Anderson added, "we come a long way since the program started."

Parker took the file and leafed through it. "So there is another Fusion already out there," he muttered. A few moments later he put the file down and crossed his arms. "Impressive."

"I'm glad you think so," Armstrong said, but his tone said otherwise. "I think you'll agree we can implements these upgrades in a matter of weeks."

"No need," the man said suddenly, "I already put them in."

"Wha... ," Taylor sputtered, "how... ?"

"I believe Mr. Taylor is trying to ask how you accomplished these improvements and when?", Anderson said for him.

"It wasn't that hard to figure out," he finally flicked some of the ash off the end of the cigarette and letting it drop to the floor. "Hell, any half wit could see it. I put them into this bloke a few month after I got him." Armstrong was at a loss for words. People under him already knew about the upgrades he came up with before Davidson run in with Allen. Anderson made a mental note not to go near R&D until the fire died down.

Still, he might as well get to the point of why they came. "So when will the subject be ready Dr. Parker? Since you are so far ahead of the curve and all."

"Not anytime soon. The bloke was barely alive in that oversized fish tank when I got my hands on him. The boy was a mess, it's a miracle he survived this long. Especially in this mess, seeing how I'm all alone and all that."

"Consider that changed Dr. Parker." Armstrong clasps his hands behind his back. Starting today you will have a proper staff to order around." Armstrong looked betrayed but he didn't personally care if he was or not. "I just have one condition."

Parker expression soured and he muttered, "Knew it was too good to be true. So what's this condition?"

"According to the file this one's armor is still the default gray. I liked that changed to blue." Parker raised an eyebrow.

"Is that all?"

"Do we have a deal Dr. Parker?"

"I'd be stupid to say no then, wouldn't I?"

***
This was the moment she had been dreading for the past week. She was asked to come to the "war" room as some called it. Chris hated that name, but he recognized the need for it. Melissa stood outside the door for a few moments. The faint scent of Drakan blood came from the room. Thanks to Anderson's assassin she was marked with that scent too. Her scent would have joined with her bodyguard's if it wasn't for the Drakan Killer. Melissa's thoughts darkened, if it wasn’t for the Drakan Killer she wouldn't be in this situation to begin with.

Setting her resolve she opened the door. The other cell leaders looked at her, faces betraying nothing. Their emotions on the other hand was a different story. For a brief moment she felt several flashes of pride, disgust and annoyance. The biggest source of the latter came from Jason standing in the corner over there. His eyes narrowed as she looked at him. She never did trust that one, and she never saw what her brother saw in him either. There was an empty chair, Chris's chair she had no doubt about that. Reluctantly she took the chair. "Melissa," one of the older men said, he name wasn't coming to her at the moment, "Thank you for joining us." She didn't know what to say so she just nodded. He understood her discomfort and got to the point. "The council has decided, unanimously," he looked at a couple of the others like he was daring them to say something, "that you should be the one who should take over for Christopher." Well there it was and she hasn't imploded yet.

"I'll try to fill the post to the best of my abilities." He was satisfied with her reply. How in the hell was she suppose to fill the position that belonged to her brother? Fortunately this particular meeting was kept rather short. They basically they updated each other what their cell had been doing over the past week. She guessed they didn't want to bore the new figure head with details, how very kind of them. After about an hour everyone started to leave. "Lance," a blond headed man her and her brother knew for years turned and came her way. There was nobody in that room she trusted more than him.

"What is it Melissa?", he asked, his voice filled with concern.

"You might have guessed Chris told some of the things that went on in here. I'm embarrassed to say I never really paid that much attention, I'd figured this wouldn't be happening." She took a deep breath before continuing, "I was hoping you would get me up to speed on things."

Lance gave her a warm smile and sat in the chair next to her, "Of course. You might want to get comfortable this going to take awhile."

"I didn't think it wasn't."

***
Emily sat in her darken room and cleared her thoughts. A feeling that was rattling her bones told her something major was going to happen. If she was lucky the fates would give her a hint on what that was. She felt like she moved so she opened her eyes. The setting surprised her slightly, the Arena. Emily realized what she was seeing, Christopher's encounter with the Drakan Killer. There was the Drakan made of metal that she warned him about so long ago standing at one part of the arena. At the other was Christopher and one of his bodyguards. Silently she watched as the Killer pole vaulted over the group of Drakan that Melissa had sent to protect her brother. She watched as the Killer jumped up and aimed its’ right foot at him. She could not turn away as Christopher tossed his bodyguard to the side and took the blow.

The Killer turned and ran as Christopher flew back and exploded. It broke through and leaped toward a staff that was lying on the ground and turned ready for another attack. The other surrounded Christopher's body and heralded him to the afterlife. Emily studied the Killer. Strong feeling were coming from him, almost like a floodgate suddenly broke inside him. Confusion, hurt, sadness and surprisingly enough guilt. It ... he turned to leave then they came in. The troopers dressed in black surrounded the upper level of the Arena and open fired. Ignoring the massacre around her she studied the Killer. Those feelings that was coming from him disappeared, replaced by different ones. Betrayal, anger...hate, pure hatred came from him in waves. He was as sickened by this event as she was. He ran up the stairs and grabbed the closest trooper. Something was said and the Killer looked back into the Arena as another wave of anger and hate came from him. He took it out on several of the troopers as he made his way out again.

Emily closed her eyes as she felt herself move again. This wasn't what she was expecting but it gave her some insight into the Killer now and it gave her much to think about. She opened her eyes again, but realized she wasn't in her room. Well she was and she wasn't. It was her room, she recognized everything in here. But it wasn't because she was looking at herself and a young man she had never seen before. Emily knelt down to get a good look at him. He had brown hair and a light complexion. His brown eyes barely had the spark of life in them, like something dark and evil slowly took it from him. She looked at the rest of him, gym shoes, a black T-shirt and a pair of blue jeans. Nothing at all that made him stand out, well except those scars covering his arms. A light of realization hit her. This was the real face of the Drakan Killer. He was in the same room as her.

She looked at herself, she didn't look afraid. In fact she almost looked concerned for the young man. But why was he here, this event never happened. But she wasn't seeing something from the past was she? Fate always did throw you a curve ball when you looked for answers. But when was this going to happen? Emily opened her eyes again and was alone. She tried to absorb what fate decided showed her. Emily knew she had an idea about what was going to happen. And nobody, particularly Melissa was going to be happy about it.

***
Jack should have woken up Rachel a few hours ago to take over for guard duty. But if he had to be honest with himself he didn't want to fall asleep. From finding out about Anderson and the adrenaline of being on the run for the first couple of days the nightmare went away. Then they came back right after in full force. Of course his waking hours weren't much better. Like before he started seeing the Drakan he killed. Right now he watched as the red rabbit, Molly that's what Max said her name was, walk up and sit right in front of him. All she did was stare at him, just stare. Jack closed his eyes and muttered, "You're not there," over and over again. When he opened them she was gone.

Wiping the sweat off his forehead he pulled the picture out of his pocket for the hundredth time. There they were, smiling like a couple of idiots holding two fingers behind the other ones head. For the hundredth time he felt his heart sink faster than he thought was humanly possible. That man was his best friend, they do just about anything for each other no questions asked. But after all this time, ever since he woke up in that room at World Inc., he never found out were Richie was buried. God, what kind a friend was he? Was that why Richie always held him down in the nightmare?

A pair of headlight that stopped in front of the tunnel they were hiding in broke through his self pity and got his attention. Jack put the picture back and got to his feet with Rachel waking up from the lights, "What the hell?" A man with gray hair wearing coverall and a ball cap stood in front of the lights. He looked at them and then at a paper in his hands.

"You're the ones I'm looking for all right. Of course I could smell that before I even looked at this." Great another Drakan. Jack started to put his left arm up. "Whoa!," he shouted putting up both hands. "Down boy, heel! I didn't come to fight." Jack kept his arm part of the way up just in case as Rachel came up behind him.

“Who are you," she demanded, "and what do you want?"

"Name's Dustin," he raised his ball cap slightly, "but folks tend to call me Dusty. And right now, I'm the closest thing in the world you two got for a friend."
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Old April 30th, 2019, 04:25 PM #23
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scikaiju
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Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 327



<Episode 20>

Jack stood there as the old guy claimed he was there only friend they had in the world. He glanced back at Rachel who was just as confused as he was. Still keeping his left arm part of the way up he asked, "Why should we believe you?"

The other man just gave him a ragged grin, "Do you think y'all have another option?"

Wiggling the fingers on his left hand slightly he answered, "I'm pretty sure I can make one if I have too."

Dusty coughed out a laugh, "Bet you could too, and in record time I'd bet. But like I said I didn't come to fight I just come to help you guys out."

"How did you know where to find us?", Rachel demanded.

"It wasn't easy I'll tell you what." Dusty waved an arm wide, "Do you have any idea how many places there are to hide in this city? Well... I guess you two would have a good idea. The guy who asked me to find the two of you owes me a ton of gas money though."

Jack lowered his arm, but not by much, "Somebody asked you to find us? So you're not our only friend in the world." That was one lie he caught him in

"If you want to get technical, but I'm here and he ain't. That got to count for something."

"Who asked you to find us?", Rachel asked him.

Dusty looked hesitant to answer. "Let's just say he's a mutual acquaintance and leave it at that. Be trouble for him if the wrong people found out about this huge favor he asked me to do."

"I don't trust him," Jack mumbled.

"I agree," she replied, "but right now any port in the storm is a good one."

He looked at her in disbelief, "You can't be serious."

"Like he said we don't have a whole lot of options right now." To Dusty she said, "What do you want us to do?"

He pointed to the light behind him, "Y'all can hop in the truck and I'll take you to where you can be safe."

"I think," Rachel countered, "we'll follow you on our motorcycle." He mouthed the word 'our' but she ignored him. "Jack isn't in the mood to give it up just yet."

The older guy scratched the side of his head, "You do realize Anderson has his boys on the look out for that ride of yours?"

"We'll chance it," Rachel told him.

"Suit yourself," Dusty walked to the driver side door and opened it. "How do I know you two won't ditch me when I ain't looking?"

"How do we know you're not leading us into a trap?", he shot back.

"A bit paranoid ain't ya. Then again who could blame ya." He got behind the wheel of the truck and waited while Jack pulled his bike out of the tunnel and they got on. Dusty backed his truck up a bit and they got a good look at the rust bucket of a truck he was driving. He shouted out the passenger window, "Now don't out run ol' Bessie with that fancy cycle of yours."

Jack looked back at her, "You got us following a guy who named his Sanford and Son truck 'Bessie'."

"Would you feel better if he named it Mertle?", she told him. "Besides if he can find us so can World Inc. . If he's offering us a safe harbor we can at least listen to him. It not like you can't handle it if things go wrong."

He strapped on the helmet saying, "Why do I keep listening to you? You're not even my boss anymore." He started the engine and followed 'Bessie' down the road.

***
Dusty lead them to what looked liked an old car junkyard. Maybe not exactly old, there were a few newer model among the old. She could tell some of them were missing things like doors or a hood as they passed them. Jack tensed up as the truck they were following stopped in front of a beat up old shack. Dusty got out saying, "Home sweet home. Come on in, can I fix you guys some coffee? Maybe grab you a beer if you want?"

"I ain't thirsty," Jack said plainly.

"I never drink coffee this late," Rachel added. Dusty snorted in response. She didn't know if he was insulted or not. They followed him into the shack. Both of them looked around in surprised, things were way different on the inside. While the outside looked old and almost abandoned the interior was well kept and pristine. Outside from the various boxes and clothes on the floor that is. "Interesting," she ended up saying.

"I get that a lot," Dusty replied while sitting in an old easy chair. "Keep telling myself I'm going to fix up the outside." He chuckled, “Of course I've been telling myself that for the last twenty years. Relax and make yourself at home." They both sat on a couch that was close to the door. "Take that coat of your off boy and stay awhile."

"I'm fine," he said.

"Friedman already told me about that thing in your head. I took the proper precautions so don't worry."

"Friedman?!", they both exclaimed. Rachel asked, "How do you know Dr. Friedman?"

"And why you telling us now?"," Jack added.

"We went to the same medical school." He reached over and poured himself a cup of coffee. "That's when he found out what a Drakan was actually. We both got a bit drunk and I got a little too relaxed. I'll tell you, explaining that sobered us up real quick." He smiled from the memory. "As for why now, this is the only place I was sure we won't be overheard."

"You said you took precaution?", Rachel was curious. "What are you talking about?"

"I got a signal jammer set up in the house," he said casually as he took a sip. "Got some more around here that I need to get in place so you can walk around without that stuff around your head." He motioned for Jack to remove the hood. Reluctantly he did so, then he started scratching the back of his head for a couple of moments. Dusty chuckled again, "Bet that felt pretty good."

"You have no idea." Jack looked like he had a thought, "Are these jammers portable?"

The older man looked thoughtful, "Well I guess, if I could hook up the right kind of battery. I imagine so."

"Then hook me up man."

"You might want to rethink that after you see it." He pulled a shirt off of something near him. It was the size of an old portable TV. It had what looked like a small TV antenna on the top of it. Over all it was about a foot and a half tall.

Jack looked at it saying, "That's gonna be a little noticeable. You got anything smaller?"

"This is the small one." Jack looked a little dismayed. "This has got a range of about twenty five, thirty feet so you should be all right in the house."

"We're did you get this?" Rachel asked.

"I built it," Dusty said with a little pride. "I may be a doctor by trade but I need something to do between patients. Besides I always had a bit of a knack with this stuff so it wasn't much of a problem."

"How many more of these do you have?" Rachel said while finding herself looking out the window. She wasn't sure about Jack but she was expecting World Inc. task force to bust in. Rachel felt a little better when she caught Jack doing the same thing.

"About four or five,” he answered, "I still got to test a couple of them to make sure they work. I already have some spots marked out on the grounds. That should give you some room to stretch your legs. I know about being cooped up all to well. In the morning you can give me a hand if you want."

"Dude why is that thing so big? I seen people talk on cell phone that are about the size of credit cards."

"I got to work with what I got," he replied. "If I had the right parts I could make these things the size of a remote if I wanted too. Besides this one's a special build."

"I'm almost afraid to ask...,"Jack started. Dusty picked up remote and turned on the television.

"Don't want anything to mess with my shows," he said with a smirk.

"Hey, cool Gunsmoke."

"A man with taste."

"You two are going to get along great," she remarked to Jack. "So you’re a doctor and you can make things like that signal jammer?" Dusty nodded, "Can you take things apart, or maybe deactivate some things?" Jack looked at her tapping the back of his head, getting the idea.

"I suppose." Dusty rubbed his chin, "What did you have in mind?"

"The tracking chip in Jack's head."

"Don't ask for anything small do ya? Huh, gonna have to see if Friedman can get me the plans. Don't want to go poking around in there with out a road map, so to speak. Also gonna have to see if I can get the right equipment for the job. I can do a lot of things here, that ain't one of them."

Jack eye narrowed, "How exactly?"

"I got my connections."

"World Inc. ...."

Dusty leaned foreword, looking serious for the first time, "Boy, I don't deal with that particular devil."

"So you’re with the rebels then," Rachel said.

"Not exactly," he told her. "When they have someone too sick or injured that can't take care of they come to me. And sometimes to return the favor they let me have or borrow some things I need. That's about as involved in this mess that I get. But to do what you ask, it's gonna take me a few days to get everything set up."

"We're not going anywhere."

"There she goes talking for me again," Jack mumbled. She elbowed him in the side.

"I'll start making the calls in the morning. Right now I'm betting you two want to get some rest." He pointed down a hallway, "The bedrooms are that way. Bathroom is that door at the end of the hall. Room on the right is mine. You two can figure out how you're gonna share the one on the left."

"I got dibs," Jack said quickly. She elbowed his side even harder this time, "What was that for?" She just looked at him, eyebrow slightly raised. "Don't you give that look." After a few moments he looked away, "All right, I got dibs on the coach." Dusty chuckled as he finished his coffee and went to bed.

"I'm going to bed too," she said. Rachel got to the door than got in, "Enjoy the couch."

***
Anderson walked along the walls of the Command Center watching the others inside. Williams was going over some kind of read out in her hands. She was trying to things ready for the other Fusion operative. Maybe more, but there was no need to think that far ahead. Unlike with Davidson, however, they had to a shorter amount of time to prepare. "Mr. Anderson," she called out.

"Yes Miss. Williams," he said as he walked toward her.

"Are you sure about this?", he was expecting this to come up sooner or later. Perhaps it was better to get this out of the way know. "Having another person you know virtually nothing about I mean."

"And you think I should know better after Mr. Davidson?"

"More or less," he had to admire her, she wasn't backing down. "This person could turn out worse then Jack in any case you could come up with."

"A valid concern Miss. Williams. We have taken the proper measures in case something similar with Davidson happens this time around, just in case. I prefer to think of this one as a practice until Mitchell becomes active, maybe that will help you too." Williams nodded and took another read out from an assistant. Anderson excused himself and left the Center to let her work. Granted he was trying to placate her concerns, but even he had to admit that Dr. Parker came up with a rather ingenious solution to the potential problem. Armstrong, of course, wasn't all that enamored with the idea. Parker was more than happy to rub in the fact he thought of something the other man didn't. Strange how he never saw the, let's call it competition, between the two. Then again he was never down in R&D unless he had to be.

Anderson reached inside his jacket, pulled out a cell phone and stopped by a row of windows. There were two rings on the other end before he heard, "This is Taylor." He sent Taylor out to talk to several candidates for mission operator. Not for Mitchell, but for the recently discovered Fusion subject. This time he wouldn't make the mistake of hiring somebody so... human this time around.

"How are the interviews going?"

"As well as can be expected," his VP sounded tired. "But I'm pleased to say it looks like we have at least two potential candidates."

"Excellent. What were their reactions to the nature of the assignment?"

"Some what cautious sir. The Drakan Killer legend isn't exactly a well liked tale among our circle." That was one way of putting it. Some Drakan he had overheard went into graphic detail on how they would handle the Killer

"I expected as much. How many did you tell this to?"

"Chen and Douglas, the two I was talking about. If I had to be honest, I'd say Chen was our best option out of the two."

"What makes you say that?"

"Douglas's brother has rumored ties to the rebels, too much of a security risk. I almost didn't interview him because of it."

"That doesn't mean Chen is clean," he stated. "He could just be better at hiding his affiliation. Arrange meetings for both of them next week. Separately of course. I want to talk to them personally to feel them out. In the mean time we should tell Perez to have some of his people watch them just in case."

"I believe Perez already has a couple of men watching them as we speak."

The past few weeks have been full of surprises. "How did he manage that?"

"He tagged along sir. Perez wanted to personally check out these men himself. Something about making sure we didn't have another Haily to go along with potentially another Davidson."

"That seems to be a common fear going around," he quipped.

"Sir?"

"Nothing important Mr. Taylor. Have Perez report to me when you get back." Anderson ended the call and returned the phone back inside his jacket. He admired Perez initiative for joining in on the interviews and assigned men to monitor a potential leak. But part of him thought it was best to remind him that he was only temporarily in charge. Anderson knew he was more than qualified for the position, but he trusted Mitchell like no other. He chuckled to himself as he realized he trusted that human more then most Drakan he knew. Very high praise from him for someone he considered a lower species.

***
On her second official day on the "job" she finally understood why Chris spent so much of his limited free time in the gym. It was after hours and most of the others were asleep, except for a few guards roaming the halls. So no one saw her pound away at the beat up punching bag hanging from the ceiling. Melissa wasn't really worried about her technique. At the moment she was picturing the faces of those who were annoying her to no end. It didn't really matter who was picturing in her mind's eye. Those two jackasses on the council. Anderson and his circle. Those under her who can't seem to go to the bathroom without her say so. She pounded the bag even harder when she pictured the face of the Drakan Killer.

Melissa stopped and leaned on the bag. Thanks to the Lance and council she learned the Killer's real name, Jack Davidson. That was good news to her. That meant it was human, it wasn't some kind of demon from Hell. If the Killer was just human then how did it apparently kill her brother, his guards and the ones she sent to protect him? What kind of human could do that? She mentally kicked herself, that was the legend about the Killer talking. She seen him in action and Jack Davidson was definitely no demon. He was more than human, that much was certain. Melissa muttered, "What did you do to him Anderson?"

"Talking to your cousin again?", Emily voice surprised her. "Christopher did the same thing down here from time to time. Although he was usually hitting that thing using words I won't repeat."

"I've had a hard time still thinking of him as family lately." Emily just nodded as she took a seat on a near by bench. "So what have you been trying to tell me for the past two days?" The older woman was surprisingly quiet. "I don't need a special gift to see something eating at you." She sat next to her, "So what's up?"

"I had a vision," was all she said.

Melissa wasn't sure if she should be worried or not. She never had to drag what the vision was out of her before. "And...?"

"It was about the Drakan Killer," she said softly. "He was here in my vision."

"The Killer finds out where we are?" She found herself going over the various escape routes and plans in her head. "How did he...?"

"He wasn't attacking us," she said. "I was talking to him."

"Are you sure you where talking to him here?", she pointed at the ground to empathize her point.

"You know I can't leave the habitat, not without the proper precaution. No, I was talking to the Killer in my room. It looked like I was guiding him in something." That was a lot to take in all at once. Then Emily hit Melissa with her next statement. "I can only think of one answer as to way he was, or will be here."

She had to stop this line of thinking right now, "Emily please don't ask me to do that."

"I can't think of another way to explain it," she said calmly.

Melissa got off the bench and walked away. "Do you have any idea what kind of trouble that's going to cause? The cells have been splintering since Chris's death. That would pull them apart even further."

"And I wouldn't have told you of this if it wasn't important child. My vision are rarely wrong, you know this."

"And they're also open to interpretation," she snapped back. Emily was taken aback.

"You never doubted me before," she said, hurt evident in her voice. Melissa forced her self to ignore it.

"And I never had this many people relaying on me before. I can't make a decision like that on blind faith, not any more."

Emily looked very stoic as she stood. "The decision, as always, is yours. But I do ask you to think about it a little longer. As leader you have to weigh every option presented to you equally." She left her alone. Melissa screamed and pounded the bag in frustration before she left the room.

***
It took a few minutes for Rachel to remember where she was. As often as she woke up somewhere different lately she should be used to it by now. Apparently, judging by the clock, Jack and Dusty decided to let her sleep in that morning. Grabbing a fresh set of clothes from her bag she headed for the bathroom and took a shower that felt way too good. After she got dressed she found breakfast was already on the table. Apparently they decided to not wait for her. So she ate quickly and went to find them. It didn't take that long actually. They were a few yards away from the house placing another one of those jammers Dusty put together. She quicken her pace so she could lend a hand.

Dusty knelt down and flipped a few switches. After a few moments he said, "It's working." At those words Jacked pulled the hood back and wiped the sweat from his forehead. "You ain't getting tired on me already are you son?"

"I have foil wrapped around my head. Do you have any idea how hot it gets under here?" He looked over to her, "looked who finally decided to get up."

She ignored him and talked to Dusty, "Thanks for breakfast."

Dusty checked out a few more things on the jammer, "Don't thank me thank Jack over here. Best flapjacks I ever had."

"You can cook?", she said in disbelief. "You never told me that."

"You never asked."

"Son, that joke older than I am," Dusty commented while he arranged some junk to hide the jammer.

"Wait, I know your Uncle taught you, right?"

Jack snorted, "My Uncle can burn water." Dusty whistled as he got up.

"Now that's a bad cook. Come on we got a few more of these to set up."

"Anything I can do to help?", she asked.

"You wanna lift these things for a change?", Jack said while pointing at the remaining jammers.

"Sorry, but I already had things figured out before I found you guys. Even put up a couple of warning markers so he wouldn't go out of bounds on accident."

"He just needed a mule," Jack said dryly as he put the hood back over his head. "Say, you don't turn into a..."

"Son," he cut him off, "I'm only gonna tell you this once. Never ask a Drakan what his true form is. Height of rudeness don't ya know."

"Don't you know any better," she put in. Jack just shot her a look. Oh there was no way she could let that pass. "So, how was the couch?"

"Lumpy," he sounded irritated, "very lumpy."

"You know," Dusty said suddenly, "if you two want to share that bed in the guest room go right ahead, it ain't gonna bother me none. All I ask is that y'all keep it kinda quiet so this old man can get some sleep."

Rachel and Jack both froze in place. They looked at each other briefly than looked away just as quick. Jack took a jammer saying, "The couch is kinda comfy actually."

"I think I'll double check those markers," she said at the same time while leaving rather quickly.

Dusty looked at both of them, "Was it something I said?"

***
Jack sat on the hood of an old Chevy just inside the jammer range. But he still had the hood on just case. He wanted to be alone with his demons for the moment. Mainly he wanted to be alone, he was also trying to avoid Rachel. It was easy enough to do the lot Dusty owned was pretty big. Outside of Dusty's Drakan medical practice he also ran this auto part yard to pay the bills. So he could lose himself for awhile if he wanted to, and forget that the red bull walked with him for awhile. Of course it helped that Rachel was trying to avoid him too. Or at least he thought she was until she came into view, "Hi."

"Hey." They were quiet for a few moments. "Look Rachel..."

"Jack we...,"she started. They both laughed that they spoke at the same time. He patted the hood next to him and she hopped on. "About what Dusty said."

"Yeah, I know."

"Look, I wanted you to know that I care about you as a friend." She stopped and looked at him, "We are still friend right."

"Yeah, we are," he didn't even have to think twice in answering that one. "I care about you too, as a friend. That's way I'm staying on the couch." He wasn't sure but she looked relieved. "I don't what some of these old people are thinking, two people our age can't just be friends. Something has to be going between them."

"Exactly," she agreed readily. "I wouldn't be surprised if your mom thought the same thing."

"But she was smart enough not to say anything. Although that would explain a couple of the looks she gave you." She shoved him than smiled, he had to smile back. For a brief moment things felt like they were before everything went south. He didn't realized how much he missed that. Then a scream of pain filled the air. Jack and Rachel ran to try to find the source and quickly discovered it. A red kangaroo was fighting a blue bobcat. The bobcat raked it claws at the other one who used it's thick legs to jump out of the way. Jack raised his left arm across his chest to bring out the belt. He swung his arm to the left and raised his right arm, "Henshin!", and brought down his right hand.

After the armor formed he ran toward the fight but he slowed to a stop watching them. "Get in there!", Rachel yelled at him. "One of them might be Dusty. You got to help him."

"Which one?", he shot back. About then the kangaroo fell to its back and kicked the bobcat with both feet. The blue Drakan crashed into an old van and reverted back to Dusty. Rachel called out his name as she went to him. Jack got between them and the kangaroo, "Friend of yours?"

"No," he grunted as Rachel helped him out. "That's one of Anderson spies. I caught him checking you two out."

"How do you know...," Jack started before it charged him, "later." The Drakan threw a right cross he ducked easily. Jack countered with an uppercut but the Drakan jumped out of the way. He rushed in but grabbed nothing but air as the Drakan jumped again. As he stumbled and tried to keep his balance the kangaroo landed, jumped again and planted both feet right in the middle of his back. Jack pounded a fist into the ground as he got up and blocked a knee aimed at his head. He pushed it back and nailed a solid fist to its’ head. It covered up as he tried to get in another shot. Then it spun around sharply, Jack got ready for a backhand. He wasn't expecting it to go down and sweep his legs out from under him.

The kangaroo jumped up again. Jack got his feet up catching it in the stomach. He heard the breath quickly leave its’ body as it backed up. Jack kicked it under the chin. He quickly got up, threw it into a stack of cars and started pounding away. He backed up and let it fall to the ground. "Who do you work for?", he demand. Jack didn't know if Dusty was telling the truth or not, but he had to be sure. The kangaroo held up a hand for him to back off, maybe it was going to talk. Then it jumped to its’ feet and flew right at him. Jack crashed to his back from the impact, stunned. When the stars cleared he raised up saw that the kangaroo disappeared. "Son of a ...," he grunted as he searched the area. Rachel and Dusty looked around too. "Did you see where it went?"

"He was jumping around all over the place," Dusty said. "It was hard to keep track."

"I think it landed that way," Rachel pointed near the house.

Jack perked up as an engine started, one he knew all to well, "Ah hell no." He ran and leaped on top of a trailer. Some guy with blond hair wearing black leather was revving up his bike. All right now he was pissed. He leaped from stack to stack to gain ground. The long haired biker didn't see him until he was right in his path. He skidded the bike to a stop. Jack grabbed him and threw him off of it. The biker turned back into the red kangaroo as it landed. Jack didn't give it a chance to react as he ran in. It fell to the ground and he picked him back up. An elbow to the face caught him by surprised. The Drakan tried to kick him but he caught it by the foot and flung it into a post. The Drakan got up and Jack tackled it but he was flung off. The meter flashed as it tried to jump away. Jack went after it on foot, he twisted the pod down on the fly. The two mini turbines in the belt started spin as he saw his chance. He jumped up at the same time it did. Jack stuck out his right foot and caught it in mid air in the side. The Kangaroo jerked to the side as it direction was forcibly changed. It exploded before it reached the ground.

Jack landed and powered down the system as Rachel and Dusty ran up. "Is it me," she started, "or were you more worried about that Drakan taking your motorcycle than it telling World Inc. where we are."

"Rules of the road little lady," Dusty said, holding his side. "Never touch another man ride."

"Something like that." Jack walked up to Dusty and looked him right in the eye. “Do you mind telling me how you knew that was a spy?"

*end theme-Papa Roach-Sometimes*
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Old May 4th, 2019, 03:20 PM #24
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scikaiju
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Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 327



<Episode 21>

Dusty looked himself over in the mirror in the bathroom. Outside on the huge bruise that was forming on his side he seemed fine after his battle with the kangaroo. "Hmm," he mused as he examined his side, "nothing seems like its broken." He glanced over to her and grinned, "Guess being older than dirt and tougher than leather can be a good thing." She just smiled back. "Ah, don't you worry about me little lady, I've survived worse than this little mark."

"If you say so." Rachel looked down the hall at Jack. He was leaning against the wall not really paying that much attention to them. She knew that look all to well, his guard was up. And she should know, she had seen it enough times in the past couple of weeks. "So Dusty..."

"Y'all still want to know how I knew that boy was a spy right?", he finished for her as he buttoned his shirt up while he walked by.

"It crossed my mind a few times," Jack finally said.

"If your looking for a deep conspiracy, I'm afraid I'm gonna have to disappoint ya." Dusty sat in his chair slowly. "Caught that boy snooping around here a few times. Every time I run him off he’d yell I'd be lucky if he didn't tell Anderson what's going on here."

"Weren't you worried he say anything?", Rachel asked him.

"What was he gonna tell him? That a doctor is running an auto part yard? I didn't last this long without knowing how to hide things."

"Still doesn't mean it can't be found," Jack told him.

"That depends on how good the finder is and how much better the hider is." He grunted as he readjusted himself in his chair. "And that made no sense what so ever."

"We get what you mean," she told him. "Right Jack?"

"If you say so." Rachel shook her head. Dusty went to pour himself a cup of coffee, he was trying to look like he wasn't holding his side while he did it. Before either of them knew it Jack was already there pouring some into Dusty’s cup.

"Much obliged"

"No problem," Jack sat on the couch. "So why did you risk your neck and fight him?"

"Be kinda hard to explain why I'm hiding the Drakan Killer to every Drakan in town." Dusty took a sip before continuing, "Besides, I've kinda taken a shine to the two of ya already. Hate to see you up and leave so soon."

"I'd bet," Jack said flatly.

"Is that so hard to believe?"

"Seeing how most Drakan I've come across wants to kick my ass, yeah it is."

"Jack,” Rachel warned him.

"Rachel," he returned mocking her tone.

"Hey you two," Dusty interrupted. "If that's how he feels it's not gonna bother me any. Can't blame a guy for reacting to what life's been throwing at him." He looked over at her and winked, "Doesn't mean he couldn't be a little nicer about it though." Jack rolled his eyes.

Rachel smirked as an idea came to her. "Maybe we should make him cook dinner."

Dusty agreed, "It's the least he could do after being so rude to this injured old man."

Jack looked at both of them, realizing he wasn't going to get out of this one. He got up saying, "I knew it was going to be a mistake fixing breakfast this morning."

"Little lady, I like the way you think."

"You got to know how to handle him." Rachel looked into the kitchen. Jack pulled a bottle of some nasty looking yellow liquid out of the fridge. He looked at her and suddenly had an evil looking grin on his face. "Those bedroom doors have locks on them right?"

***
It took Dusty a few days to arrange to get the chip out of his head. He led him and Rachel to the back of the lot. Out of jammer range too, just his luck. They stopped in front of two semi trailers that were next to each other. They were so close together Jack couldn't even see a gap. Glancing over to Rachel he said, "At least one of them will be blocking the signal."

"You're assuming we're going in."

"Why wouldn't we?", Dusty asked her a he opened a door to the one on the left. "I mean I have to operate somewhere. I'm not gonna do it in my living room like some quack."

When the walked in Jack and Rachel discovered it was it was another one of Dusty’s special builds. The two trailers were joined together to form one giant room. Well two if you count the glass barrier and two doors on either side of it as a wall. The other side of the glass looked almost like an operating room. Jack ignored that chill going down up and down his spine. "I'm guessing you didn't do this on your own."

"What are you talking about son? I'm just that good," Dusty face was serious before breaking out into a grin. "I had a few friends with, as you say, rebel connections help out."

"Your friends are good," Rachel said.

"You be surprised what you can get done when you promise free medical care. Now just to be on the safe side," he walked over to a jammer that was near the sink and flipped it on. "I'm gonna scrub up, so you can change in that booth over there," he pointed to the door that was on the left. "Rachel, care to give me a hand?"

"I am so dead," Jack muttered as he opened the door.

"Boy you will be if you keep talking like that."

"You do realize I have no medical training what so ever," Rachel informed him.

"You ain't operating little lady, just hand me the things I ask for. Don't worry I'll give you a quick lesson on what's what before we start. I'm assuming you're a quick study because you have to keep up with all the crap he pulls," he said with another grin.

Jack had a comeback but kept it to himself. No point in ticking off the guy who was going to be poking around in his head. Well no more than necessary any way. He took off his jacket, gloves and shirt and put on a hospital gown that was in there. Opening the door that lead to the operating room and was hit with a scent that smelled like a hospital. That Drakan was definitely good at what he did, side job or not. Rachel and Dusty were already in there dressed in scrubs, she was nodding every so often as he pointed out the various tools he was going to use. Which wasn't many, much to his surprise. Just a couple of cutting tools and some kind of camera attached to a TV. "So now what?"

"Plant it there son," Dusty pointed to what looked like a massage chair. As he sat in it Dusty said, "I may have a fancy set up but I'm still just a back alley surgeon, so to speak. Right now the strongest thing I can give you is a local."

"Is that wise?", Rachel asked him. Jack was questioning it himself at the moment. "Shouldn't he be out if you're going to be doing surgery?"

"If I was going to do surgery, yeah. But today I'm just taking a look around to see where things are at in the great wide open here," Dusty tapped him on the head.

"Hey!", he protested.

"Please son, it's not like I'm hurting anything in there." Duty walked over to some plans that were on the table and looked them over. "Fortunately who ever designed this thing put an access tube leading to that little bugger in your head. Makes my job a whole lot easier, let me tell ya." He picked up a needle with a clear liquid inside and said, "Say howdy to the local."

Jack looked over at Rachel before he put his face in head rest. Her eye had a distant look to them, "Rachel what's up?"

"What?", she was startled. "Sorry, I was just remembering when you went back to the medical wing after your run in with Allen." She bit her lower lip, "You were in so much pain back then, I..." Jack took her hand, she squeezed back.

He gave her a small smile, "At least I'm in better shape this time around." Rachel smiled back as she put the mask on and gloved up. Jack leaned into the chair as Dusty pulled the gown away from his back. He whistled suddenly, Jack looked back at him, "You wanna take a picture and take it back to your bedroom?"

"Sorry Jack," he said, “but damn son they messed you up."

Jack held up his right arm, "You should get a good look at this one."

He tried to relax as Dusty was getting ready to stick him with the needle. "Now don't you worry son, this can be completely painless...," he stuck him with the needle.

"OW!!"

"...When I want it to be."

"I know that was for something."

"Let's just say Max was an old friend of mine." All of them were quiet as he stuck him a few more times, a lot less painfully this time around. "I know it wasn't your fault son. Hell I tested the compound in that dart myself."

"I was kicking myself for a few days after that one too."

Dusty grunted as he turned on the monitor. Jack felt his back go numb and he tried to get comfortable. Dusty asked for a scalpel and he felt the blade slice into him. Now that felt weird. He felt Rachel's hand squeezing his shoulder soon after.

"Relax," she told him. That was going to be easier said than done. Dusty asked for that scope on the tray and put in the opening he made. Jack left arm shot out suddenly and Rachel shrieked. He started laughing. Rachel realized it was a joke a moment later. "Vous âne!"

"Yeah," Dusty said plainly, "that one never gets old."

"Just trying to lighten the mood."

"Try pulling something this old dog hasn't seen before, ya hear." Dusty went quiet as he restarted the information. "Ok I'm turning the scope on. Now this might feel a bit weird for awhile. Might I also suggest that you keep from moving as much as possible." Weird, slightly painful was more like it, but he kept as still as he could. His foot was tapping like crazy, but his back was perfectly still. He should have asked for a couple of beers first. "Well," Dusty said after staring at the screen for what seemed like forever, "one thing for sure, this is definitely Drakan tech."

"Wait," Rachel spoke up, "Drakan Technology?"

"No offense little lady, but do you think humans could come up with something like this?"

"Get with it Rachel, even I figured that one out." Dusty breathed in sharply and he got this weird feeling on the back of his neck. "She's staring daggers at me isn't she?"

"Son, I'd say the only thing keeping her from whacking you one is this thing attached to you. I'd offer to keep it in but she might tear it out. And I got to return it by Friday." After another long ten minutes he said, "Ok, I'm getting close to the little bugger. So I appreciate it if you can stay quiet so I can concentrate." He closed his eyes and thought about just about anything else at the moment. Out of the blue Dusty said, "What do you know, there is a brain in there." Jack heard Rachel laughed for a bit. "All right I found it." He was quiet for a couple of moments, "I'm taking out the scope." It seemed to take longer going out that it did going in. "Rachel, put some pressure on that would you. I made the incision small enough so he shouldn't need any stitches."

"Sure." Rachel pressed some gauze onto his back. "Are you feeling all right?" He nodded. She started patting the back of his head, "Can you feel that?"

Without thinking first he answered, "Yeah." Then she smacked him in the back of the head, "Ow!"

"That was for that stupid so called joke and the 'get with it' comment."

He looked at her, "Damn, you hit harder than my mom."

Dusty chuckled as he watched them, "Well, your head gonna be ringing for a couple of hours and your back might be sore for a couple of days." Staring at the plans he called Rachel over and he put his hand up to keep the gauze in place. "How well do you know his systems?"

"Just the basic of what they told me, why?"

"Look at this." They spent a few moments as Dusty went over something in the plans with her. That fact he was keeping quiet while he was talking started to worry him.

Rachel eyes went wide, "I didn't know about that." Now it was official, something was up.

"Exactly how was a screwed over?"

"Well son, "Dusty began as he rubbed his chin, "I can take that chip out no problem. But they fixed it so the source powering the systems keeping you alive runs threw the chip. Anything happens to that chip and those lines get disconnected, those system loses power and well...".

"And bye bye Jack", he finished for him. "Great, just freaking great."

"There's got to be a way around it," Rachel said.

"I'm sure there is," Dusty answered, " but the thing is I can't do it here. I'd need some specialized medical equipment."

"Like they have at World Inc.", she added. Dusty just nodded as he rolled up the plans.

"Don't think they be up to doing me any favors anytime soon," he commented. Rachel just looked at him sadly.

"I'll fetch the truck to take you back up to the house. I want you off you feet for the next couple of days to be on the safe side." Dusty left them alone. Rachel looked at the floor.

"I didn't know..."

"I know you didn't," he said softly. "You wouldn't let me go through this if you did. At least I hope you wouldn't." He tried to get her to return the smile at least, no go. "I have to give those bastards credit for one thing though, they thought of just about everything."

***
Mentally he counting down from ten and twisted the handle on the detonator. There was a slightly muffled explosion and Jason looked over the barrier at the smoking concrete hut in the middle of the field. He walked over and opened the door and looked inside with a flashlight at the results. His newest mixture worked perfectly. There was not much he could do now a days. He appeared at those war meetings as a favor for the old man. But ever since they "elected" another green, a woman no less, he couldn't stomach being there any longer. Christopher was bad enough, but now every one was looking toward his sister for inspiration, someone else to bow down too. It made him sick to his stomach.

As he turned back to his barrier he saw the old man pull a notebook out of his backpack. "Was there a rule change about underling's privacy?", Jason said angrily as he walked up and snatched the notebook out of his hands. The old man didn't even show a hint of anything, and that infuriated him even more.

"I see you still working on plans to blow up the main World Inc. building," he said causally.

"It would end this a whole lot quicker."

"It could also give the others an excuse to join in Anderson's crusade. You have to think of all the possibilities Jason, not just the one you like."

"Are you done with the lecture yet?", Jason demanded as he packed his equipment into the backpack and zipped it up.

"I'm not lecturing, just giving out some advice. Advice you used to ask for if I remember correctly."

"Now we're going down memory lane."

"I'd figure we hold hands and sing next." The old man looked at him, obviously expecting him to laugh. He wasn't cooperating. "Right."

"Why are you out this way Nathan?"

"Do I need a reason?"

"You're never out here unless there's something."

"Unfortunately this time your right. Our cell is being absorbed into another one."

"They can't do that!", he exploded.

"Jason our cell is just the two of us. Even when Kendall was alive I was pulling every string and calling in every favor I had to keep us independent."

"Then we get more to join us."

"Nobody wants to join us. You're not exactly a people person. Both Kendall and myself were asked several times how we could stand being around you. Like it or not we're going to be part of another cell."

"Do you have any idea who's?"

From the look on the old man's face he knew he wasn't going to like it. "Melissa's."

"No!!"

"She personally requested it, I couldn't say no. Besides, I don't think any of the other leaders would have taken us together, if at all."

"I will not bow down to that woman!"

"No one expects you to."

"She's a green, of course she does."

"Have you ever seen or heard of her talking down to or demanding anything from a blue or red? I sure as hell haven't. She's been nothing but cordial to me every time I've dealt with her. We're damn lucky because I don't think any of the other cell leaders would be as generous."

He had heard enough. Jason slung the backpack over his shoulder, "You keep believing that Nathan," and he walked away.

"That attitude is going to get you killed one of these days, you know that."

"As long as I take the other guy with me who cares?"

***
Emily watered the plant on her table. Even in this dark environment a few buds were starting to sprout. She always took that as a sign that no matter how dark things were, life could flourish. And there were going to be some dark times coming up if things stayed they way they were. In fact she should be expecting a potentially dark moment of her own any time now. That's if she hasn't lost the ability to read her expected visitor correctly. After last time it was entirely possible she did. She was thankful when someone started banging on the door, "Come in."

Melissa stormed in and slammed the door shut. She waved some papers in front of her, "What in the hell is this?!"

"A detailed account of my vision."

"I saw that. I told you..."

"I know what you said child, and I told you that you had to weigh everything carefully. You can't do that without all the information involved."

The child looked conflicted, "Emily I can't do this. There are factors involved even I don't want to think about. Not without a crate of aspirin right next to me."

"Sit," she motioned to a chair. Melissa stood there. "Sit," she said a little more forcibly and the child did so. "I know you think you have the world on your shoulders. And right now child, if we have to be honest, you do." Melissa looked surprised she said that but said nothing. "Most people would break under that sort or pressure. But you have withstood it better than most of the others in the council probably expected. Child I have know you since you were a babe in your mother's arms, I know how strong you really are. I wouldn't add to your burden if I didn't think you could handle it." Melissa looked at the paper in her hands. "You have several options in front of you Melissa, it's up to you to choose the right one."

"What if I don't know which one is the right choice?"

"I'm going to tell you the same thing I told your brother." Melissa looked at her. Emily leaned in and placed a finger on the young woman's chest, "Look in here. People can lie and information can be false. But that voice inside you will never let you down, no matter how many direction you find yourself being pulled in. It will guide you down the right path."

"All have I to do is listen," she said. Melissa took one last look at the paper in her hands. She then folded them up and put them in her pocket. "I'd better go, I need to think about some things."

"I know you do child." Emily returned her attention to her plant. "I'm sure you'll find the right path to take us down."

***
Those couple of days of rest Dusty prescribed for Jack went by quickly. Dusty had him pegged as a complainer but he was proven wrong. Jack even refused any offer to sleep in a bed for those couple of days instead of the couch. Although he complained about being kept to light housework around the place after those days were over, again Dusty’s idea. He didn't want to be babied and felt he could pull his own weight. They didn't budge on the issue. Right now he was in the kitchen drying the dishes, or at least he was supposed to be doing that. When Rachel walked in he was leaning against the sink with his head down. As she got closer she could see his eyes were squeezed shut. "Is everything all right?"

He opened his eyes and looked up, but not at her. Jack was looking out the window, almost like he was searching for something. Then he relaxed and said, "I'm fine."

"Are you sure? I can get Dusty..."

"I'm fine," he repeated. Then he changed the subject, "The clean glasses are over there if you want to get something to drink." He reached into the sink to grab something else but there was nothing there so he pounded the counter top lightly.

"That's not why I came in. Dusty said he's expecting some rebel company tomorrow."

"We better make ourselves scarce for a couple of hours then." He threw the towel into the sink, "I don't think Dusty wants another fight around here anytime soon."

"You know," Dusty said from the doorway, "and I don't want to be telling you two your business, but sooner or later you're going to have to work with the rebels. Tomorrow might be a good place to start."

"I was changed and sent out to kill them. I don't think playing nice is in the cards."

"Not anytime soon any way," Rachel agreed with him.

"Then it might be time to start mending some bridges." Dusty pulled a piece of paper out. "They always tell me where they're going when they get a piece of info from inside World Inc. they have to check out. Just in case it's a trap and they can't move the wounded all that far, mind you." Jack took the paper and looked it over. "It's dried up river bed a mile or so out of town."

"I know where it is."

Jack put it down on the table as she said, “What do you want to do?"

"I think... I'm gonna take a ride." He walked past her and Dusty and grabbed his gloves and jacket. Picking up his helmet he looked at the other one sitting there and then to her. "I think I'll do this one solo, if it ok with you." She nodded.

"Here son," he said as he tossed Jack a phone of some kind. "Give us a call if you find anything. It's special build so you don't have to be worried about being traced."

"Sure thing."

"You better come back," she told him.

He put a hand on his chest," Please, it's me."

"That's why I said it." He gave her that stupid little sly grin of his as he pulled the hood over his head and walked out. "I hope he's doing the right thing."

"So do I little lady, so do I," Dusty said taking the paper. "Just out of curiosity, how long has he been having those nightmares of his?"

"It's been awhile, since before we left World Inc. I've tried to get him to talk about them."

"But nothing right? We might want to keep an eye on him."

Rachel watched as Jack drove toward the gate. "Trust me, I have been."

***
Jack sat on his bike in the darkness on the high side of the River bed. Even he could see this would be a perfect place for a trap, hopefully the rebels would figure that out too. Deep down he knew Dusty was right, he would have to deal with the rebels one of these days. Personally he was hoping for later, much, much later. Somewhere around the time they stopped being super pissed about him killing their leader. That might take fifty or sixty years, if he was lucky. Maybe he should have asked Barry what kind of warranty he was under. Probably got voided the moment after he "resigned" from World Inc. He adjusted himself in his seat as he saw some movement in the riverbed. A group of about seven could be seen in the moonlight. They were being careful, flashing the lights in their hands behind them and up the sides of the riverbed, they were expecting a trap too. Jack rolled the bike back a bit to make sure he wasn't spotted. The last thing he wanted was to be outnumbered by another bunch of Drakan.

Then he saw some movement across the way, then another one and another. A sound behind him caught his attention. Jack swung his helmet toward the sound, it crashed into the head of someone behind him, someone dressed in a black uniform. He knew that uniform, it was one of Anderson's troopers. Scanning the area he saw a couple of more on this side of the bed and figured there was more across the way. "Look out!", he yelled at the rebels. The looked up about the same time the troopers made their move. The Drakan changed into their true forms as a couple of guns on this side went off. An explosion rocked the ground behind them, even he knew there were probably more bombs further back, the rebels were trapped. He had to give them a hand. He raised his left arm across his chest and the belt appeared. He swung that arm to the side and raised his right. "Henshin!" and he slammed his hand on top of the belt.

The armor formed around him as he brought the bike to life. He drove up and down the side of the riverbed finding all the troopers he could and either take them out or make them jump out of the way. Bring the bike around he saw the troopers on the other side started running down into the river bed with those shock sticks in their hands. Jack brought the bike down into the riverbed and drove right threw them. All but one jumped out of the way, he skidded to a stop and kicked him square in the chest. That went flying back as he got off the bike. One of the troopers pointed behind him and he looked back. Jack, the rebels and the troopers just stared as the one he knocked down got up like there was nothing behind that kick. "How many Drakan does he have working for him?"

The trooper yelled and changed into a blue crab. The rebels took the opportunity to go after the other troopers. Jack stared at the claws on that Drakan, especially the bigger one. He turned to grab the staff off the bike, the crab moved quicker than he thought it would and wrapped a claw around his wrist. The pressure made him drop the staff. Then the crab threw him away from the bike. Snapping it's claws it came toward him. Jack sidestepped a lunge and kneed it in the gut. The crab acted like it wasn't affected, this one might take awhile. He got distracted as a trooper landed hard by him and the crab backhanded him. It got the big claw around his neck and started squeezing. Then it ran and smashed him into the bed wall and started pounding with the other one. Jack was gasping for air as a green furry hand grabbed on of its’ eyes and pulled. It screamed and let him go. Jack slide down the wall gulping in the air as a green wolf fought the other Drakan. A trooper reached him as he got to his feet. A quick jab took care of him. He ran in and shoulder blocked the crab back a few feet. Standing next to the wolf he asked, "You that same punk kid from the woods?"

The wolf nodded, "Consider us even," he said as he went after another trooper. Jack saw some cracks in the crabs shell on its’ chest. They almost looked like claw marks.

"Fair enough", Jack said as he targeted those marks. The crab kicked him under the chin flipping him over. Fido left a little too soon. He rolled out of the way and landed a hard punch to the cracks. The crab yelled and started swinging wildly. Jack ducked out of the way and went for a side kick when he saw a chance. The Drakan caught his foot and laughed sharply, the bastard was faking the whole thing. It pulled him in and started pounding away. Jack quickly got his arms up trying to block most of the assault. When he saw an opening he grabbed the bigger claw with both hands and started pulling. After a few moments there was a cracking sound and the claw started bending backwards. It screamed, actually in pain this time, and started backing away, he went in and stated pounding away. At its’ head, it's gut, the crack in it's shell whatever he saw a place he could get a hit in. He grabbed the Drakan and threw it to the side as the meter started flashing. He grabbed the right pod and twisted it down, and the mini turbines inside the belt started spinning. Running at the Crab he jumped up and aimed his right leg at it. His foot hit the cracks on it's chest and it flew back and exploded.

Jack stood there as he landed then looked around. There were troopers on the ground, some where still fighting the rebels, others were running away. The wolf and three others were just standing at there. They stared at each other for a long time. One of the rebels started to come at him but the wolf held up an arm to stop him. Jack looked at the ground and saw a walkie talkie sitting there, must have come off one of the troopers. He bent down and picked it up. Looking it over he looked at the wolf and tossed it to him, "You might find that useful." The wolf nodded once more. He went over to his bike and picked up the staff and put it back in its place. When it looked like nothing else was going to attack him he gunned the engine and rode off, letting the rebels handle what was left.

***
Anderson stood behind his desk looking out the window as Taylor gave a verbal report of the operation. Perez was less than happy to discover that there was a Drakan in his command without him knowing it. He'll handle that in the morning. Right now he had a more pressing concerns. They spent weeks setting up that operation, everything was planned to the last detail. Davidson involvement was not one of them. Looking away from the window he said, "Mr. Taylor."

He closed the file in his hands, "Yes sir?"

"Get in contact with Logan. I want to see him tomorrow."

"Logan sir?", Taylor said looking a little uneasy.

"Yes Mr. Taylor." He looked back out the window. "As long as Mr. Davidson stayed out of our affairs I would have waited for Mitchell, or at least for this other Fusion operative Allen had stashed away. But he just made himself a nuisance. It is time to take care of him."

*end theme - Papa Roach - Sometimes*
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Old May 8th, 2019, 02:33 PM #25
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scikaiju
Power Ranger
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Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 327



<Episode 22>

Rachel could only remember one other time she felt like this, when Jack went into that cave to face the rebel leader. Just like before the fact she didn't know what was happening to him was getting to her. But he wasn't just facing the rebels, Anderson's men were there too. Kind of like last time too. Not for the first time tonight she was thinking that she have talked him out of going, find another way to mend bridges as Dusty put it. Dusty, on the other hand, was sitting in his chair watching TV. The only sign she could see that he was worried was his tapping foot, something she never seen him do before. Rachel got off the couch and looked out the window before walking the floor, "Where is he?"

"Jack's alright," Dusty said. "No point in thinking otherwise. Bad vibes and all that crap."

"I should have gone with him."

"No offense little lady, and do what exactly?", he asked her. Rachel opened her mouth but nothing came out. She sat back on the couch, not sure about what to do. "Didn't mean to burst your bubble but I'm pretty sure you would have done more harm than good."

"I'm not used to being left behind," she ended up saying. God, that even sounded lame to her.

"If you say so," he replied. The way he said it told her that he didn't exactly believe her. Fortunately he decided not to push it and left it alone. After a few moments she got up and started walking the floor again. "Remind me to pick up some wood to fix that hole you're gonna make in my floor."

She ignored that comment. "Are you even sure that phone is even going to work? I mean how would we even know that Jack was the one calling?"

"I told you it was one of my special builds. And see that phone right over here?", he pointed to phone by his coffee maker. "It has two lines that I built into it. A regular phone line and a dedicated line connected to the one I gave Jack. If that second light starts blinking it'll be him." Right then it started flashing, she wasn't sure but Dusty looked like he relaxed a little too. He gave her a grin, "Speak of the devil. Here I'll put it on speaker phone for ya." There was a click before Dusty said, "Hello?"

"Yeah," Jack voice came over the phone, "I'm gonna miss curfew by a bit." She was glad to hear one of his stupid jokes.

"Well son, I won't ground you this time since you called," Dusty said with a chuckle.

"Did everything go alright Jack?", she asked.

"My God, both of you are still up? You got nothing better to do?"

"You just caught her getting a late night snack," Dusty covered for her with a wink.

"Oh," why did he sound strange? Then he went back to normal, "The whole thing was a trap by Anderson. His guys jumped out of the woods, set off a few bombs, one of them was a Drakan stuff like that."

"Are you alright?", she asked him. "You're not hurt or anything?"

"Nothing a couple of aspirin and a night rest won't cure." He paused, "That punk kid from the woods was there."

"Wait a second, he's still around?" To Dusty she whispered, "I'll explain later." He nodded in response.

"Yeah, and if it wasn't for him I might have went a couple of rounds with the rebels too."

"Not exactly what I had in mind when I told you about this," Dusty said looking a little dismayed.

"What can I say, that's been my life now a days," he said plainly. "I'll be back soon enough. I'm going to wait a bit and go back for my helmet before heading back."

"You’re gonna risk your neck going back for a helmet?" Dusty asked in disbelief. "That's a bit nuts son."

"That was my Dad's helmet," he explained. "My Mom would kick my ass if she found out I left that behind."

Rachel looked over to Dusty, "I met her, she would."

"Whoa," he said suddenly, "this phone just beeped. This thing got call waiting?"

"Sounds like the battery is getting low," he answered. "Hmm, could have sworn that it had a full charge when I gave it to you."

"Anyway, don't wait up," he told them.

"I'll put the aspirin on the kitchen table for you," Rachel told him. "See you in the morning." Dusty ended the call and Rachel fell back into the couch letting out a huge breath. Dusty chuckled as he got up.

"Told you he’d be alright. You can stay up if you want. But if you will excuse me this old man is going to bed."

"Night Dusty," she called out. Jack was alright, now why couldn't she stop smiling.

***
Lance agreed to join her as she questioned Arron and the others about what happened. Arron looked nervous standing there before them. He reminded Melissa of when he was trying to ask Chris if he could stay on. Chris wasn't sure if having the son of one of the area's most powerful alphas was a good idea or not. Emily convinced him some how that it was. Emily convinced just about everybody that it was a good idea. She was good at convincing people if something was a good idea or not. Thoughts for latter, right now she had other things to deal with. "OK Arron, why don't you tell us what happened last night."

"Keep in mind”, Lance added," that we already talked to the others." The youth nodded.

"Well we we're following the tip we were given. Everything was quiet then somebody shouted 'look out'. The next thing I knew Anderson's men were coming out of the woods, shots were being fired and there was an explosion behind us."

"Is that how it began?", Lance asked as he started circling the youth.

"I'm pretty sure, everything happened so fast it was hard to keep track." Lance glanced over to her looking annoyed. Not that they thought he was lying to them. Out of the seven she had sent who were there they had four different stories on how it started. The only thing consistent with each story was the shout out.

Now for the big question, "Do you have any idea who gave the warning?"

"No clue," she closed her eyes before he answered. Sometimes she could get a feeling off a person and she was now. Fear, anxiety, nervousness. Everything she learned to associate with one thing.

"You're lying."

"No, I'm not."

"Kid," Lance said, "if she says you're lying, you are lying."

"If you don't know who than you have a good idea who it was. Tell us who you think it was Arron. We're trying to figure out what exactly happened."

He didn't look at them as he whispered, "I think it was the Drakan Killer."

Lance looked up at the ceiling and groaned, "Why him of all people?"

"He did help us out during the mess afterwards," he mumbled. Melissa and Lance looked at each other. That was the only other constant part of each story, the Killer fighting Anderson's men and one of his Drakan soldiers.

"So do you have idea why he decided to help you?"

"I don't know" She knew he was being truthful.

"So why did you help the Killer with the crab?", Lance asked him.

"He was helping us out so I figured I'd return the favor."

"That's all well and good." Lance stopped walking and got in his face, "So why did you let him go?!"

Arron looked away, "I owed him."

"You owed him," Lance cried in disbelief.

"Lance," Melissa said to make him back away. "Arron, I understand thinking you owe him something." Oh Lord did she understand that. "And most of us wouldn't fault you for trying to repay your debt, but the other thought you were trying to give orders."

"I wasn't...."

"Did you tell the others about that debt of yours," Lance demanded. Arron didn't answer.

"Arron, why do we stay in our human forms when were in the habitat?"

"Because we don't know who is in what class when we’re human."

"Right that way we can remind ourselves we're all equal. Even then we have to be careful about the choices we make, particularly us greens. You might have thought you were repaying your debt but the others thought you were falling into old habits. No matter what you stepped out of bounds when you decided to let him go. What do you think an appropriate punishment would be Lance?"

"Two weeks hard labor in the garden center sounds about right," he said after thinking about it for awhile.

"That sounds good to me too. Arron report to the garden center in the morning. I'm sure Frank has some dirty jobs he needs done."

"Yes ma'am," he said and left them alone.

"Like the situation wasn't bad enough," Lance groaned while pinching the bridge of his nose. "Now the Drakan Killer not even sure what side he's on."

"Nothing is never simple Lance," She told him. "Friedman said Davidson left World Inc. on rather bad terms."

"He also said he attacked Anderson,” Lance reminded here, “but that was according to the company rumor mill. The only people who know what really happen are Anderson and the Killer. And that's if he really broke off from World Inc. This could be an elaborate trap for all we know. Hell nobody could know what's really going on."

Maybe not nobody, she fingered the folded up paper in her pocket that Emily gave her. "We got to take things one at a time I guess and hope everything comes out for the best. So when are you coming back?"

"In a few days for the next meeting. There were a couple of things that just started brewing in my cell when I left. I have to see if anything needs my attention so I'd better go."

"Lance, do me a favor would you," she pulled the paper out and handed it to him. "Read this and let me know what you think about it. I don't want an immediate reaction, think it over for those couple of days. I really need somebody else’s opinion on it."

"No problem," he looked a little confused. "I'll let you know in a few days." She nodded and watched him leave. She already had an idea on what she was going to do already. Melissa just wanted to know she wasn't crazy just for considering it.

***
"Why wasn't I informed there was a Drakan on my assault team?", Perez demanded. Anderson looked up at him over some reports Taylor had given him. The man did look rather upset.

"Which team?', he asked, allowing himself a small sly grin.

"What?!", Perez slammed his hands down onto his desk. His grin quickly disappeared. "Exactly how many of those bastards Drakan are working for me?"

"For you, none," he answered coldly. Perez backed off. He got his emotion under control after a moment. "However, there are several working for me. I kept quiet about it because of reaction such as yours."

"Me and the men don't like it one bit."

"I don't pay you and the men to like it, I pay you to follow orders. The rebels are a pain in the Drakan communities’ side as well as ours. With a common enemy an alliance, no matter how," he searched for the right word, "uneasy, is only natural. Mitchell understood that and the sooner you understand that the smoother things will run."

Perez crossed his arms and looked over him, "That worked great with Allen didn't it?"

Anderson mood and features darkened slightly, "I suggest, Mr. Perez, that in the future you check all of your facts before making similar comments. There were factors involved in the Allen situation that only Mitchell and myself were aware of." He rose from his chair and stared the other man down. Perez backed away even more. "You may not like it but that union is necessary, particularly now. Mr. Davidson is an x-factor in any plans we may have in dealing with the rebels. No one knows when he'll show up next and what he'll do. If you can not see the value of such an alliance than I will find somebody who can." Anderson straightened out his tie before he sat back down, "Of course the big question is how Davidson just happened to be there last night. I am not a big believer in coincidences, so I would suggest you find out how. Dismissed."

Perez said nothing as he left the room. Mitchell could not come out of the mark two program soon enough. Bastard Drakan indeed. On his desk the light on his intercom lit up, now what? He pressed the button, "Yes?"

"Mr. Taylor and a ... guest are here to see you Mr. Anderson." Finally some good news.

"Send them in." Taylor came in first and held the door open. An older man, with gray hairs playing at his temples, wearing a brown trench coat and sunglasses entered. Anderson rose but didn't smile, the other man wouldn't see it any way. The older man held a white cane out in front of him, but he didn't swing it from side to side. Instead every so often he taped it hard once on the ground in front of him. He stopped a few feet from the desk. "Mr. Logan, you are doing well I see."

"I can't complain," he reached out with his right hand and found the chair and sat down. "It's been awhile since I've heard from you."

"It's been awhile since I've had a target worth your considerable talents."

"That never stopped you before Anderson. So who’s the unlucky bastard that crossed you this time?"

"I assume you heard of the Drakan Killer."

Logan actually laughed out loud, "Now I know why you man seemed so shocked to see me."

"I didn't realize he be so unprofessional to say anything," He said mainly to Taylor with a raised eyebrow. Taylor started looking nervous.

"He didn't have to," Logan gave him a small smile. "Perhaps he needs a little demo. What do you say Taylor? Do you think you could put a hand on me before I can stop you?"

"I don't think that would be proper," Taylor said.

"You might as well comply Mr. Taylor," Anderson told him. "Mr. Logan will not leave until you do." Taylor nodded and silently walked behind Logan. The older man lowered and twisted his head slightly. Taylor reached out with his left hand, he was right handed so it was a good ploy. Logan cane suddenly came up and smacked his hand away as he rose up and shoved the chair into Taylor. A straight palm shot to the chest knocked Taylor to the floor and Logan placed the tip of his cane into the other man's throat. The choking sound he was making said the cane was being pressed in rather hard. Anderson rose up just enough to look at him. "Are you satisfied now Mr. Taylor?"

"Yes sir," he gurgled. Logan let him go and stood there as Taylor got to his feet.

"So, Mr. Logan, about the assignment..."

"Why do you want the Drakan Killer dead?", Logan asked. "Outside of the obvious reasons."

"Let's just say he's a mistake I want rectified."

"Hmm, I may have to raise my asking price for this one."

"Now wait just a minute," Taylor said before Anderson quieted him.

"The price is yours to name, within reason of course. We have audio feeds you can listen to of the killer in combat. I'll have somebody help you go over them if you want for your research."

"That will do for a start," Logan told him

Anderson raised an eyebrow, "For a start?"

"For a target as large as the Drakan Killer I'd rather witness him in action live."

"That might prove to be a little difficult Mr. Logan."

"If you want him gone bad enough I'm sure you'll find away." Logan headed for the door. He stopped just long enough for Taylor to open the door for him.

"He's asking for too much," Taylor said after they were alone. "There is no way we can arrange that."

"Mr. Taylor," Anderson sat back in his chair, "if we want this done we have to find away."

***
After talking with Dusty Jack found out there was a vehicle paint shop on site. Apparently the old Drakan was trying to expand his customer base a couple of years ago, it didn't go well. But he kept it up and all the equipment still worked, so Jack decided to paint his bike. Surprisingly Rachel agreed. Anderson's men did know what the bike looks like she said. Maybe a new paint job would buy him a little time. He took a couple of days and right now he was carefully spraying a coat of red paint. Putting the spray gun down Jack waited a couple of moments the carefully peeled away some of the protective paper he taped on to the bike earlier. Now instead of a black and gray motorcycle it was blue with black and red highlights. Of course now he was suddenly reminded of his armor color scheme but it was too late to do anything about it. Jack pulled off his face mask and took a moment to admire his work, "Not bad."

"Nice work son," Dusty said coming into the building. "I'd barely recognize that ride of yours."

"Yeah, I'm gonna let this dry then put a protective coat over it."

"Looks like you did this before," he said examining the paint lines.

"I used to work at a paint shop before it closed down."

"Huh," Dusty muttered. Then he glanced over to him, "What do you think Rachel is going to say about this?"

"I dunno," Jack said. "I don't think she would care." He went outside to get some fresh air, Dusty followed.

"You sure about that? She seemed kinda interested that you were interested to me."

Jack looked at him funny, "You implying something there Dusty?"

"Not at all son, just stating some observations I've made. Old doctor's habit I'm afraid."

"Well your observations are a little off," even he thought he sounded a bit defensive. "Me and Rachel are just friends. If something was going to happen don't you think it would have happened by now?"

"Who said I said something was gonna happen between the two of ya?", he said evenly and with a grin. "Besides who are you trying to convince there?" Jack found he couldn't answer the question. About then a shout could be heard.

"Rachel," he said getting worried. He ran off toward the source of the scream, almost knocking Dusty over. They found Rachel on the ground holding her right leg. She removed her hand and looked at it, a hint of blood could be seen on her fingers. He was kneeling down beside her in the next moment, "What happened?"

"I got stupid," she told him. Rachel pointed to a stack of cars, "That car there on top over there looked like the one my Dad used to have. So I climbed up there to check it out. I lost my footing on and fell. My leg scrapped against that one." Jack looked at the car, a rusty jagged edge of the door had a bit of her blue jeans hooked on to it.

Dusty examined her leg, "It looks worse than what it is, you scraped it pretty good. But I will say you are one lucky little lady, a little closer to that door and I'd be taking you to my operation room for some stitches. Then Jack would have to be my nurse, and I know you wouldn't want that," he grinned.

"Nobody wants that Dusty," he told him. Rachel couldn't help but laugh.

"Either way it's pretty minor," Dusty looked like he had an idea and looked at him, "Think you can handle this one Jack?"

"Not a problem." He helped Rachel to his feet, "Come on."

***
Despite her protest he put her left arm over his shoulder and helped her walk to the operating room. She was expecting him to say something like, "And you say I'm reckless," but he said nothing. They entered the trailer and he left her to get on the exam bed as he washed his hands and looked for a first aid kit. Rachel looked around a bit as well and found a spare towel. Making sure Jack wasn't looking she pulled her jeans down and got on the table. She used the towel to cover her under ware as he turned around with the kit and a tray. He put it down and held the tray by her leg. "You sure you know what you're doing?"

"Mom had us take a first aid class together," he said. "I'm going to have to clean this out and I'm telling you now, this is gonna sting. A lot."

She grimaced as he gently cleaned her scrap with some soap and water. "Aren't you supposed to say it's going to sting a little?"

"I thought you were big enough to handle it," there was light tone to his voice as he waved his hand over it, creating some wind that took away the sting. Then he put some kind of ointment on it.

"What ever, I'm just glad it wasn't closer to my butt."

"That's funny, I was just wishing it was closer to your butt."

She shot a dirty look at him, "You perv."

Jack got a tad defensive, "Hey, you've seen me naked. I'm just trying to even the score."

"What are you talking about?", right after she said that she remembered.

"Well for one thing when I first woke up at World Inc I had nothing but a towel covering the good," he motioned around his waste. "So that told me I wasn't wearing anything in that goop they had me in. And two you were there everyday checking in on me during my second trip in. I'm not just taking Anderson's word for it, I asked around."

She felt her face grow hot and looked away, "You were my key to steady employment."

Jack snorted, "That made my lie about not wanting to be guilted into staying sound genius."

She looked at him, "Your what?"

"My li...," his face went red, "my line... my.. my line," he shut up pretty quick. There was an uncomfortable silence as he finished dressing her wound. This was ridiculous, they were two fully grown adults. They should be able to talk this out with out any problems. Fortunately for her he changed the subject. "I'd been meaning to ask, how did you get involved in this Drakan mess?"

"You're asking me now after how long have we been together?"

"Never had a chance to ask. I mean there was usually a mission we were sent on, we been on the run stuff like that."

"Well it was kind of like you in a way," she said remember the day. "A few years ago I was on a college campus doing some late night studying."

"What were you studying?"

"Business management with a minor in psychology." Jack nodded as he started taping some gauze to her leg. "Well I was going back to my dorm when a Drakan landed right in front of me followed by a couple of the guys from the assault team. Of course I didn't know that at the time, so I freaked. They darted the Drakan and dragged him away and said I saw nothing and tell nobody. Like anybody was going believe me if I did. A couple of days after I graduated Anderson showed up at my house. He explained what I saw and offered me a job on the spot. I ended up working under Heather in the Drakan tracking center. She told me once that I'd be doing her job before either of us knew it," she smiled at the memory. "Actually she's the reason why I was made your mission operator."

"Really?", he said looking interested.

"Really. Mr. Anderson came into the Command Center one day and asked her if she could come up with any candidates for the job. She said she knew the perfect person and brought me into the conversation. The rest, as they say, is history."

"I'm going to have to thank her when this mess is over with," Jack said as he finished taping her leg up. "If she's still talking to us that is. I hope she's ok."

"I'm sure she is."

"Well, we're done here," he said. "Do you want me to head back to the house and grab you a clean pair of pants?"

"No need," Jack turned around as she removed the towel and pulled her jeans up. She had to smile, that was kind of sweet some how. "I can do it when we get back." She tested her leg, "Want to walk me back?" Jack got under arm and let her lean against him.

***
Things were kind of quiet for a couple of weeks. Jack and Rachel started helping Dusty fix up the outside of his house as payment for helping them out. One of the first things they did was replace the shingles on his roof. Rachel surprised him by being a pretty decent handy woman, according to her something her dad insisted on. One day Dusty said a load of siding was ready for him and he was going to need help getting it on "Bessie". Luckily there was only one guy there so they could load the truck while Dusty talked to him keeping his attention. The last thing any of them wanted was to be recognized. On the way back Rachel rode with Dusty as he took the lead on his bike. A shadow on the road next to him caught his attention before a red shape flew down and buzzed him. Jack nearly lost control of the bike as he skidded to a stop. The truck stopped right next to him as Dusty and Rachel jumped out. "Did you see that?", he shouted as he ripped his helmet off and looked into the sky.

"I didn't see where it went," Rachel told him while scanning the sky too.

"There!," Dusty pointed. A red owl landed a few yards in front of them by a bridge. It folded its’ wings into it's back started slowly walking toward them.

"Dusty," he risked a glance back at the old Drakan. He was already getting Rachel behind him. Jack returned his attention to the owl and raised his left hand across his chest and the belt formed around his waist. He swung his arm to the side and brought his right arm up to his face. "Henshin!," he shouted and slammed his right and on top of the belt. After his body was scanned he was wearing a black body suit with blue body armor. Jack got his hands ready to fight. At least with Dusty watching Rachel he wouldn't have to worry about her getting hurt. He started at the owl through the red lenses of his helmet as it stopped and stood where it was. Almost as once they charged each other.

The owl threw a punch that stopped him in his tracks. It spun and aimed a kick at his head. Jack ducked and landed a right to its’ gut. He threw a left at its head that knocked it back. The Drakan spun and charged suddenly knocking him to the ground. The owl tried to get on top of him but he was able to push him off. Jack got to his feet and waited as the owl charged him again. He grabbed the red Drakan and threw him over his head. The owl flew through the air and crashed on the street. Too bad he threw close to where Rachel and Dusty was. He went to attack it from behind but the owl turned it's head completely around and stared at him. "Gah!!," he cried out in surprised.

The owl backhanded him hard and he fell to the ground. It grabbed him by the back of his chest armor and hauled him up. The owl unfolded the wings from its’ back and carried him into the air. Then it went into a nose dive and slammed him into the ground. The armor took the brunt of it, but damn that still hurt. It tried to do it again but he had enough of his senses to start throwing elbows back at the owl and it dropped him. Jack landed roughly on the ground and the owl dove at him. He jumped backwards whipping his right leg up. The tip of his boot caught the owl under its’ beak and knocked for loop. It lay on the ground stunned as he took a moment to clear the cobwebs from his own head before continuing the attack. Jack started pounding and kicking away at the owl who could barely block his shots. It spread its’ wings quickly knocking him back and it tried to fly away. The meter started flashing as it kept getting higher and higher, Jack wasn't sure he could jump that high and not miss. He looked around and ran toward the bike. Jack got it on it wheels and popped out the lasers. Raising it up on its rear wheel he tried to aim them at the retreating Drakan and fired away. Two burst hit the owl and knocked it to the ground. A device of some kind dropped off it as it hit. Jack twisted the right pod up and ran at it. The charge went up his side and down his arm as the red Drakan got to its’ feet and looked at him. When he got close enough he threw an uppercut that hit it in the chest. The owl flew up from the charge and exploded.

Jack deactivated the armor and put his hands in his knees breathing hard. Rachel and Dusty ran up as he made sure the hood was still place. "Why didn't you let him go?", Dusty asked him.

"It saw what you looked like," he said between breaths. "Even if Rachel and me left your place you still be in trouble with the other Drakan."

"Didn't know you cared," Dusty said.

Jack looked at him and grinned, "I don't, well not by much any way."

"I feel the same way son," and he slapped him on the back. Dusty walked over to the device the owl dropped and picked it up, looking it over.

"We better get out of here," Rachel said to him.

"Best idea I heard all day."

***
An hour after Davidson killed his man, Anderson’s limo pulled up along side Logan. His driver got out and helped him into the vehicle, sitting next to him. As they drove off he asked, "What did you think?"

"I heard the battle just fine from the bridge," Logan told him. "Got a good picture of what to expect. Sacrificing your own man seems a tad brutal but it got the job done and the info I needed. Too be honest I was expecting somebody a little more dominate based on the stories going around."

"I think that's why he's so successful, people keep underestimating him. Almost like an assassin I know. So are you still up for the job?"

"Of course, how many times am I going to get a chance to kill a modern legend?"

Anderson smiled, "Excellent Mr. Logan."

end theme-Papa Roach-sometimes
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Old May 12th, 2019, 09:33 AM #26
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scikaiju
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Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 327



<Episode 23>

-opening theme-Waterproof Blonde-Just close your eyes-

Jack found himself alone in the house with Rachel. A couple of hours ago Dusty told them he was going to someplace to experiment with that device the owl dropped when he fought it the other day. Neither of them couldn't figure out why he couldn't do it here. Then again Dusty did things his own way so they didn't give it a second thought. At the moment the old Drakan was the last thing on his mind. He was standing in her bedroom doorway while Rachel was sitting on her bed. "You sure we should be doing this?", he asked her.

"It's not like we're going to be doing anything wrong," she told him. She patted part of the bed next to her, "Sit down and relax a bit. I'm not going to hurt you, much," she smiled.

Jack sat on the bed saying, "I gotta warn you, I can get a little dirty."

Rachel just kept smiling at him, "I'm sure I can handle what ever you think you can dish out." She leaned over, turned on the TV and old Nintendo system she found and handed him a controller. "I used to love playing this game when I was younger."

"Never took you for the wrestling game type," he told her as the game started. "I'd figured you played Tetris if anything at all."

"This was the only type of game I could beat my cousins with on a regular basis," she informed him while getting the options set. "I don't really care to watch the actual thing but I haven't found anybody who could give me a hard time at this."

"That's because you never went up against me."

"Let me guess, unofficial block champion."

"Actually that was Richie," they choose their characters. "He was the only guy who could beat me at video games."

"Well you're up against person number two now so get used to it," she hit start. Neither of them played this particular game in years so it took couple of moments for them to get back into the swing of things. After several minutes Jack put his left hand in front of her face while he kept pressing buttons with his right. "Vous âne."

"I told you I get dirty." Next thing he knew his character was on his back on the mat. "What the hell, you cheated."

"You're the one who put your in my face. And I didn't cheat."

"You did too." He put both hands on the controller and eventually got her character in a submission move, "Give up."

"In your dreams," she told him. They kept going until the time limit ran out. Rachel put the controller down and looked at him with a big ol' grin on her face, "I told you that would be fun. I almost had you there."

"You keep telling yourself that."

"Five more minutes and I would have beat you."

"No you wouldn't."

"Yes I would've."

They stared at each other for a moment before both of them said, "Rematch."

Before they could get another game going the phone by her rang. Before he could say anything she answered it, "Hi Dusty."

How the hell..., "Are you psychic now?"

She held up a hand and listen to the phone, "You want us where? I think I know where that is. No, you don't have to come and get us. See you in a bit, bye."

"Does he need me for a mule again? And for that matter how in the hell did you know that was him to begin with."

"No," she told him, "he wants to show us something. And Dusty told me that he's the only who now how to call into that special build of his, so it couldn't be anybody but him."

"Am I the only one who thinks he has way too much free time?"

"Yes you are," she said as she patted his knee and got up. "We better get going. Whatever he wanted to show us sounded important."

"Does this have anything to do with that thing the owl dropped?", she nodded as he followed her out the door. "Did he tell you what that thing was? Dusty kept changing the subject when I asked him about it."

"You too?", she turned to him looking confused. "That's weird."

Jack put on his jacket and handed her a helmet, "Here comes that bad feeling again."

***
They found Dusty where he said he was going to be, an old side street under a bridge. Dusty was sitting on Bessie's back bumper throwing a rock up in the air and catching it. Rachel removed her helmet, got off the KR-1000 and walked over to him, Jack soon stood beside her. "Hey little lady, Jack," he said to them. "Did you have any trouble finding the place?"

"No," she told him, "Jack knew where the place was."

"Is that so," Dusty gave him a quizzical look.

"Had a few friends race their cars here back in high school." She wouldn't have been surprised he was in few of them himself. The look on Dusty face told her he had the same thought. "So what's with the meet up in the middle of nowhere?"

"Y'all probably figured out it had something to do with this do dad," he reached into the truck bed for the device.

"We had a hunch," she told him. "So what is it?"

Dusty turned it on and showed them the screen. There was a small green dot beeping a little off the center of the screen. He pointed to the dot, "That's Jack."

"What?," he took the device from him. She could see from her angle that the dot actually got closer to the center.

"Friedman heard rumors about this thing back at World Inc.," he told them. "I wanted to make sure that this thing couldn't send a signal back to Anderson. Last thing any of us need is for him to find out where you are."

"We appreciate the concern Dusty,” she said. “But you could have told us about this before now."

"I wanted to make sure first before I said anything."

"So the foils not any good now?", Jack said pointing to his head.

"The foil kept Anderson men from finding us for this long," she told him. "This has to be using a stronger receiver."

"Friedman heard that too," Dusty confirmed.

"Do you know what kind of range it ha?"

"I was about to find out. Jack, do me a favor and walk away until we tell you to stop." Jack said nothing as he handed her the device and walked away. Rachel and Dusty watched as the dot get further away from the center of the screen.

"Jack stop right there," she called out when it disappeared completely from the screen. "How far do you think that is?"

"I don't like to eyeball," he said. Dusty reached into his pocket and pulled out a tape measure." Hold that if you don't mind." She took hold of the tab and walked toward Jack. When he reached him he took a look and called out, "Little over twenty feet."

"Plenty of space to get ready for something," Jack said.

"And Mitchell trained his men to be able to do just that," she added.

"Why couldn't we do this at your place?", Jack asked. "I got to sit down."

"Cause the jammers I designed mess that thing up pretty good," Dusty said winding up the tape measure. "But son, I'm afraid it gets a little worse."

"What now?", he asked wearily.

"One of the reason I took so long in calling you was I took a bit of a Sunday drive around town. I spotted a few things that looked like that contraption attached to various things. I'd bet dollars to donuts those are sending a signal back to World Inc."

Jack turned away saying, "Son of a bitch."

"Well, at least you don't have to worry about them at Dusty place," she said. It was the only thing she could say at the moment.

Dusty added, "Yeah son, you two got a safe haven as long as you need it."

"Thanks Dusty," he said softly before walking off. He punched one of the pillars in frustration before leaning on it. This was the last thing he needed to find out about. Now he had to worry about going into the city and giving his position away to World Inc.

"I think we better leave him alone for a bit," Dusty whispered to her. "Give him some time to get his head around it. Come on, I'll give you a lift back."

"No, I better stay with him," Rachel said while keeping her eyes on Jack. "I don't want him to start thinking he's alone in all of this." Dusty nodded and squeezed her shoulder before he left. She walked up to him and put an arm around his shoulders. He looked like he appreciated it. "We'll figure something out, just wait and see."

After a moment he said, "We lasted this long, right?"

She smiled, "Yeah, we just have to be a little more careful that's all."

***
Anderson walked into his office surprised to find a person already inside. Logan stood by the window, back to the door. Anderson closed the door and waited. He doubted that the other man wanted to kill him. If he did he wouldn't be breathing at this particular moment. But he kept his guard up never the less. The seer said no human could stop him, a Drakan with a vendetta was an entirely different matter. "Mr. Logan, this is quite the surprise."

"You’re guarded," he said turning around slightly. "I don't blame you. How fast do you think your troops would get here if I did anything to you? Would you even be breathing?"

He tried to keep calm, but this line of questions was making him uneasy. "I'm sure that would depend on the mood you were in at the time."

Logan laughed, "You're right."

He had a little better time keeping his annoyance under control, "I'm only assuming the job is done at this point. That is the only reason I can think to why you are here."

"No, I'm still tracking the Killer down. But I did have a few questions in need of answers."

"I'll do my best to answer them," Anderson said. “To a certain extent of course."

"Fair enough," Logan agreed. "When I observed the battle you set up there was a girl with him. Was it that Haily I was told about?"

"More than likely. All they have is each other at the moment. I doubt anybody would be helping them."

"I wouldn't be so sure about that," Logan chuckled.

"Somebody else was with them?" Who would willing help two fugitives wanted by the United States government?

Logan nodded, "A Drakan."

To say he was shocked would have been an understatement, "On of us is helping Davidson? Are you sure?"

Logan finally turned to his direction and faced him, "I wouldn't confuse a human for one of us. My question is why?"

"I would like to know the answer to that myself Mr. Logan." He thought it over, "Could it have been one of the rebels?"

"I doubt it, I've been keeping an ear on various things. I don't think an alliance between the rebels and the Drakan Killer could have been kept quiet for this long." Anderson knew he was right. His sources would have indicated such a union before now.

But still this displeased him to a certain extent, "Then we have a man who thinks outside the norm. Do you know who this person is?"

"I have an idea who."

"I'll send out a team to take care of this traitor then." He reached for the phone but Logan put his cane on top of it. Anderson raised an eyebrow in question despite the other man's blindness.

"I wouldn't trouble them over this," he said.

"He needs to be taught a lesson."

"I'll take care of this... heh... ‘traitor’ as you put it. Free of charge too."

"Really? That doesn't sound like something you would ever offer. Not in the years I've known you at any point."

"Perhaps," Logan chuckled, "but I could use the exercise."

"If you wish. So why didn't you tell me this sooner?"

"Didn't think it was that important," Logan answered as he left the office. "I'll contact you in two days to let you know if I found him or not." That was the problem with assassins, particularly that one. Even if he sent a team to correct the attitude he’d be down a team. Then he would have an assassin looking for answers. Perhaps he should start looking for some human mercenaries to deal with.

***
There were time she often wondered how Chris stayed awake during these cell meetings. Each one took a turn giving an update of their cell's situation. Usually it was the same thing every time. New members to the cause, had to find a new source for supplies. The latest skirmish with Anderson's army. There were a few times she found herself nodding off, like now. However they caught her this time. "Are we boring you Melissa?", Lance asked with a humorous glint in his eye.

She was still embarrassed, "No... I was... going over something in my head."

"Deep in thought huh?", said a balding man named Jerry who started grinning. "Christopher was often deep in thought during these meetings."

"He was so deep one time," Lance added, "it sounded a whole lot like he was snoring." He, Jerry and a few of the other started laughing. She should be glad they were comfortable enough around her now to joke around a bit. But she was still embarrassed and some of the others were annoyed at the situation. Lance looked at a couple of them and sighed, "Some people have no sense of humor."

"I don't see how this is the time for humor," Drake said. It was hard to miss him in any situation. He was the only person Melissa knew who had slicked back hair. And from the occasional feeling she got he was very opposed to her being here. While nobody said anything she knew he was one of the one of the few who wanted to vote against her taking Chris's spot. "Your brother would know that."

Melissa eyes narrowed slightly in annoyance, "That's an interesting point of view Drake. Because this seem like the perfect situation where he would try to lighten the mood."

"He did too," Jerry put in. "Hell I remember that one time he called Drake Dracula for an entire meeting." The other started laughing again while Drake was getting madder and madder.

"Alright people," Melissa said to calm them down. It took a few moments but things finally settled down. Lance gave her a small smile. They were finally starting to listen to her without him having to repeat it. That was one hurdle she didn't have to worry about for awhile now. Time to get back to business, "My cell discovered a potential lead on a World Inc. supply convoy."

"What are they carrying?" Drake asked.

"Medical supplies," she told them, "very specific medical supplies."

"Anything we can use?", Rhonda asked, she was a woman who had her red hair in ponytail.

"There are a few things they're carrying that we need. So I'm making the convoy a top priority."

"So we stop the convoy in route," Drake said. "My cell can do that in our sleep."

"I'm sure you can, but Anderson bumped up security on just about everything lately. I think it be better if we followed the convoy to its destination."

"If he has extra guards on the convoy he'll definitely going to have extra at where ever it's going," Drake countered.

"I'm aware of that," Melissa told him. "But like I said there's suppose to be very specific equipment."

Lance asked, "What's so special about this equipment?"

"Friedman was able to get a quick look at a partial inventory." She took a breath, hesitant to tell them this. "He recognized several pieces if equipment that was used to turn Davidson into what he is now." Their reaction was exactly what she thought it was going to be.

"He's making another Drakan Killer," Jerry started to sweat.

"We don't know for sure," she admitted. "That's why I want to find out one way or another."

"We have to take out the convoy," Drake interrupted, "We make sure they don't get those parts."

"He'll just ship more," Jerry countered, "and we may not find out about it next time. Besides we don't know if he’s building another one of these things."

"It's possible they're doing a partial delivery," Rhonda added. "That equipment could have already be delivered by the time we intercept the trucks."

"Either way we should we should stop the convoy. Take what we need and get rid of the rest of it."

"And what if he's has another one on the way?" Melissa asked him. "We need to find out sure one if he is or not. The last thing we need is another Drakan Killer out there. Especially one we know is working for Anderson."

Drake stood up and leaned foreword, "Your brother would know that we should take out the trucks."

Melissa slowly rose up and started him right in the eyes. She didn't even try to hide the anger as she spoke to him, "Don't presume to tell me what my brother would or would not have done. Even if he would have sent a team to stop the convoy I wouldn't, because I think finding out if Anderson is changing somebody else into a killing machine is more important." She looked around to the others, "I don't know what most of you expected when you voted for me to take over his position as leader. If you thought I was just going to sit her, nod when I was suppose to, repeat what ever you decided and look pretty then I suggest you start rethinking things. You made me the leader and that's exactly what I plan on doing, lead to the best of my abilities. Now, if any of you have a problem with that then you know were the door is." She sat back down and waited. This was coming for a long time. She prayed this wouldn't cause the cells to split permanently.

Drake snorted and headed for the door. She didn't need her gift to feel his confusion as he noticed nobody else was joining him. He looked at the others and got a disgusted look on his face. He slammed the door behind him and every one was quiet. She wanted to relax but couldn't. It could have been worse, but the absence of Drake's cell was going to hurt. Lance looked over to her and said, "I knew you had it in you kid." That made her feel a little better. But know she was glad she was keeping the plan about Davidson from them now. God only know how they would react to that.

***
Jack sat on the wooden steps of the house just staring out into space. When he was younger he heard the phrase "a prison with no walls". Back then he had no idea what that meant, now he had a pretty good idea. Why was it when things were looking up something came along to bring everything back down again? God, Richie was the lucky one. Dusty came out of the house and took a seat on an old folding chair across from him. He motioned the jacket he was still wearing, "Didn't think it was that cold out here."

"I didn't notice,” sad part is it was true.

"I can see why," Dusty said staring out at the horizon. "You got a lot on your mind. That's the thing about the mind though, you put too much on it and it'll start reacting in different ways. Like those nightmares of yours for example."

"I've been having nightmares for as long as I can remember," he replied getting frustrated. He was tired of talking about something so stupid.

"Yeah, but usually people go back sleep when they have one, not stay up for the rest of the night like somebody I know. That's gotta be coming from someplace."

"Dusty," he said sounding tired, not really in the mood to fight, "do us both a favor and stay out of my head."

"Alright son, what ever you say. But I'm here if you ever need an ear."

Jack gave him a small smile, "Bad enough I got Rachel telling me that every chance she gets." Dusty chuckled and they were quiet for a few minutes. To break the silence he asked, "What exactly is Rachel fixing in there any way?"

Dusty slapped his knee, "Wouldn't you know it, she told me and I've done forgot." He leaned foreword and shouted, "Hey Rachel, what did you say you were making again?"

She came to the door smiling, "My aunt Jambalaya. Trust me you're going to love it."

Jack got a big grin on his face, "Ah, that slop you forced down my throat back at World Inc."

Rachel stopped smiling, "It's not slop. God I swear you're impossible," and she walked back into the house. He had to laugh out loud.

Dusty started shaking his head, "Sometimes you two remind me of an old married couple, you know that?" Jack just shrugged. “Of course most of the time you two remind me of a couple who don't realize they're heading that way."

"You're implying something again Dusty."

"This old man ain't implying anything," he said trying to sound innocent. "I'm just sating one of those wrong observations you said I was making." He opened his mouth to say something but the Drakan cut him off, "I know, I know you're just," he made quote mark with his fingers, "friends." Jack waved him off and started to get up when Rachel reappeared. She looked right at him with no expression on her face and had something behind her back.

"Dusty she's gonna beat me with something."

"Well if she does you had it coming," Dusty told him.

"I probably should for that slop remark." Rachel knelt down and revealed the cupcake she had behind her back. There was a single candle on top of it. "I shouldn't give you this either." She smiled at him, "Happy birthday Jack." She handed him the cupcake and gave him a quick peck on the cheek.

Jack found himself blushing and speechless, "You shouldn't..."

"Yes I should have," she said matter of factly. "You obviously weren’t going to tell anybody. Fortunately I remembered the date from your file."

"Now you’re gonna have to find out when hers is," Dusty said, "seeing how you're 'friends' and all."

"He already missed it," she told him.

"What? Why didn't you say anything?", Jack asked her.

"You were getting your upgrade after the Allen thing. It's no big deal." She started to go back into the house.

"Wait," he blew out the candle and got to his feet. He broke the cupcake in half and handed her one of the pieces. "A very belated happy birthday Rachel." He leaned in and returned the peck on the cheek. Both of them kind of smiled as she went back into the house.

"Yup," Dusty said after a moment, "those observations of mine are waaay off."

"Would you shut it," he snapped.

"I was hoping the three of you would be here," A new voice said. Jack and Dusty both turned to the man with the sunglasses, trench coat and a cane who was a few yards away from the house. Where the hell did he come from? He wasn't there a second ago.

"You know this guy?", he asked Dusty.

"Never saw him before today," He replied

"I was afraid you were gonna say that," Jack pulled the foil lined hood over his head just in case.

"You know," the man said, "I'm not surprised to find you here with all this scrape Davidson. Maybe Anderson can use the stuff here to salvage whatever they used to make you the Drakan Killer."

That was all he needed to hear. Jack raised his left arm across his chest, the belt appeared around his waist and he swung his arm to the side and brought his right arm to his face. "Henshin!", he shouted as he slammed his right hand on top of the belt. Jack ran in after the armor formed around him. The man didn't change form for some reason. He threw a straight punch that the other man caught with no problem, then he planted a foot right into his gut that floored him. "What the hell?" The old man folded up his cane and put it into his coat before changing form to a red bat. Jack got to his feet and started throwing punches. The bat's ears wiggled slightly as it dodged every blow before landing an open palm shot to his chest armor that knocked him back, "Damn it."

"Is it a little early to say you're disappointing me at the moment?", the bat asked. Jack tried to kick its’ leg out from under him, but the bat flew up with the leather like wings under it's arms. He raced for his bike and snapped the staff to its full length. The bat landed and Jack slowly approached it. What got him was that it looked like the bat was actually nodding in approval. Jack circled the Drakan before attacking from behind. The bat blocked the shot but Jack kicked him in the side with his right foot. It stumbled and he swung the other end of the staff at its’ head. The Drakan ducked and swept out it's leg. Jack jumped over it and kicked his leg at him that it caught and the bat swung him into a stack of cars. He dropped the staff from the impact while the bat backed up from the noise as the cars fell around him. Jack slowly got to his feet shaking the cobwebs out of his head and charged the red Drakan. He connected with a right hook that staggered the back. He kept throwing punches until the bat caught one and flipped him to the ground. Keeping its’ grip on his arm the bat put a foot on his head then started pulling. Jack was screaming in pain as a blue bobcat tackled the bat to the ground.

"Jack, get out of here!", Dusty cried out as he tried to hold the other Drakan to the ground. The bat quickly knocked the old blue Drakan off. Before either of them knew it Dusty was pinned against an old Ford Mercury.

"I was going to save you for last," the bat said. "But if you're in such a hurry to die...", it raised it's hand for a killing blow. Jack quickly got up and threw the bat off of Dusty. He speared the Drakan with a tackle and drove him into a dumpster. The bat wasn't stunned long enough as it punched his way out.

***
Rachel ran up to Dusty as he returned to his human form. "Doesn't anybody listen to me when I tell them to get out of here?" She ignored him and kept her attention to the fight Jack was in. The bat threw Jack into the side of a trailer when she noticed it. The bat's ears moved as it backed away from noise. Jack recovered and waited a bit to attack again. He was being blocked t every turn, but she had the answer. Rachel picked up a pipe and Dusty asked, "What are you planning on doing?"

"I'm going to make a little music," she answered.

Dusty grinned as he picked up a pipe as well, "I see what your getting at little lady." Both of them ran off in different directions.

***
Jack landed near the staff, picked it up and swung with all he had. The Drakan caught it mid swing and threw him again. He skidded across the ground and slowly got to a knee. "Oy," he muttered between breaths. Then the banging started to the left of them. The bat looked in that direction as another banging sound started on the right. He grinned behind the helmet, sometimes it was good to have someone to watch your back. Jack started running and pounded his armored forearm against the cars he passed. The bat tried to figure out where the new noises was coming from but all three were moving. It waked into something, it felt like a metal barrel. The Drakan starting pounding it to counter act the banging. In moments it hearing was centered and he could focus on each sound. There was a click above him and the sound of something spinning. It turned itself toward the sound as Jack jumped off a trailer and reared his right fist back. The bat caught him around the wrist with both hands. Jack landed on his left foot as he kicked out with his right. The bat flew backwards and exploded a moment later.

Jack deactivated the armor and fell to his knees clutching his arm. He wasn't expecting the bat to hang on as he kicked it. Damn thing felt like it was going to pull his arm off and take it with him. Rachel and Dusty came into view "Jack is anything broken?", she asked looking at his arm.

"No," he grunted as Dusty checked his arm out. "But remind me never to do that again."

"No worry there son." To Rachel he said, "Come on, let get him to the operating room. Nothing's wrong but I still want to check him out."

***
Melissa was in Emily's room with Lance. Nobody but the three of them knew what was in that letter Emily gave her. All of them knew they were past the point of no return with her decision. "Lance," she started, "you don't have to be here when he comes, if he comes that is. There's going to be a lot of trouble when the others find out. It's best to keep yourself out of the storm as much as possible."

"Then you shouldn't have shown me the letter," he said. "Besides, somebody has to make sure you don't get yourself killed."

Melissa nodded, God she was glad to have him as a friend. "Friedman told me he knows where's he's at. I'm going to send Nathan along to make the offer. After that it's going to be up to Davidson if he takes it or not." She looked at Emily who nodded once, but she had that look on her face saying she knew he was going to take it. She started to hate that look. "As you know I'm keeping the other cells in the dark about this. I'm trusting you guys to keep this quiet for as long as we can."

"Of course kid."

Emily said, "No one will her this from me child."

"Good," she hung her shoulders. "God help us all if I made the wrong choice."

-end theme-Papa Roach-Sometimes-
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Old May 16th, 2019, 07:01 PM #27
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scikaiju
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Joined: Dec 2012
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<Episode 24>

*opening theme-Ana-We Are*

He stared out the window of his office tuning out just about everything else. Three days, it had been three days since Logan said he would contact him if he found Davidson or not. And if Logan said if it was going to be two day it was always two days, no matter what. That could only mean one thing and that couldn't be possible. That human could not be that good, could he?

Anderson chided himself, only a fool who believed in the Drakan killer legend would allow such thoughts to rule them. He knew better, he looked into Davidson eyes. The human knew how to fight, in that there was no doubt, but he didn't have the warrior fire within him. If anything did happen to Logan then Davidson couldn't have done it alone. Perhaps he and the rebels did come to an agreement of sorts. But which one, that was the question. Who would be able to keep something like that quiet for this long? And how did they convince the others to keep this secret as well. Christopher possibly, but he was dead. Anderson smirked to himself, whomever that person was belonged on his payroll.

The door open, drawing part of his attention. He waited a few moments before saying, "What is it Mr. Taylor?"

"I had Logan's usual haunts checked out."

Anderson turned around in mild surprise, "I didn't ask for that to be done."

"Rhodes contacted us sir," Taylor informed him. "There was a situation that he required Logan's talents for. We were the last ones to contact him. Since we were both looking for him I thought it was prudent to ask for his assistance."

Anderson grunted, he would never have asked assistance for anything, it was a sign of weakness. The senior Allen taught him that. But the damage was already done, "What did the good General have to say?"

"Logan hasn't been seen at any of his usual haunts. None of his contacts have heard from him in the past few days. Apparently he had a couple of assignments waiting for him after he was done with us."

He let out a small sigh, "And I suppose none of his contacts knew who the mysterious Drakan helping Davidson was," he already knew the answer, but he felt the need to ask anyway.

"No sir," he said confirming his suspicion. "Apparently he only shared that bit of information with you. Logan told no one his target was the Drakan Killer. Then again who would believe him?"

"Quite," Anderson returned his gaze to the city below. Although he kept his outside demeanor calm inside he felt an animal rage building. One of his own was helping Davidson, right under his nose. And that fool Logan had an idea who. In his younger days he would tried to force the identity out of him. Of course he would most likely be dead right now if he tried. Perhaps Logan was able to dispose of this traitor. "Is there anything else Mr. Taylor?"

"Senator Henning is trying to make some noise again. He demanding answers to why we haven't located Davidson and Haily yet."

That human was impossible to deal with. "Contact Jefferson and have him send something to the good Senator. If he didn't believe my warning from last time he should after that."

"Yes sir," he started to leave, "I almost forgot. Dr. Parker contacted us, Apparently Dr. Armstrong is denying him some equipment he needs for the other Mark one."

Anderson sighed again, this feud was getting tiresome, "I'll talk to Armstrong about it. If there is nothing else." Taylor nodded and left. His thoughts returned to Davidson. After a while he started to smile to himself. If by some small chance Davidson was able to defeat Logan then the Fusion system worked better than he ever dreamed. A small sense of pride started to grow inside of him. If he ever had the chance to meet Davidson face to face again he would have to tell that to him.

***
Jack sat on a barrel as Dusty stood by him looking at his house. The outside was pretty close to matching the inside. The old Drakan estimated they be done in another week tops, barring another Drakan showing up as he put it. Jack flexed his shoulder thinking about the last one, it was still a little sore after that. He wasn't complaining, if Rachel and Dusty wasn't around he doubted he’d be breathing right now. Come to think of it a couple of his last few fight he needed somebody help. Jack started wonder if he and Rachel would have to go on the run again if things became too dangerous for Dusty. He could take care of himself, but Jack didn't want that on his conscious

"Not bad son," the old Drakan said after a bit. "Never thought this dump would ever take shape."

"Just glad to help out," he replied. "It's the least we could do after all of the things you done for us."

Dusty grinned at him, "The least you could do is nothing at all. No, all I did was give y'all a place to stay, nothing important."

"Considering where we were when you found us...", he started.

"No need to finish son," Dusty said as he sat next to him. "I've been thinking, I got a decent size basement. With a little work we might make part of it into a small bedroom. That couch can't be getting any more comfortable."

Jack started to smile, "And you're bringing this up when we're about done with the outside."

Dusty snorted, "I know, I know, probably should have brought it up sooner. Actually Rachel’s been down there a few times getting some ideas for it. So you might wanna hurry up and get a say in the thing."

"I just need a bed Dusty," he told him.

"Good," Rachel said as she came out to join them. "Because that was all I was planning on. Well maybe a dresser to put your stuff in, but only if you were good" she teased as he handed him one of the pop cans she was carrying. Jack didn't notice she was looking at him with a strange glint in her eyes until he opened his. Pop sprayed him for a quick moment. He wiped it off his face with his hand as she started laughing, "I'm sorry I couldn't resist."

"Little lady that was a waste of good soda," Dusty complained.

"Come on Jack it as just a joke," she said as he remained quiet.

"That was pretty good," he finally said, "I didn't think you had it in you." He got up and grabbed the can out of her hand before she could react. "But of course you realize," he said with a slight southern drawl, "this means war." Jack started shaking the can as Rachel started backing up, he slowly followed. She looked over to Dusty for some kind of help.

"That accent was pretty good," he said after a bit. "That Cajun one couldn't have been as bad as you said it was."

"Dusty!", she cried out. Jack looked at him then back at Rachel with a raised eyebrow. He started shaking the can harder.

"Was I suppose to keep quiet about that?", the Drakan said innocently.

"Oh I am definitely gonna enjoy this now," Jack aid with a evil grin.

"Jack," she said sternly, "you don't want to do this.

"Oh yes I do," he shot back.

"I'm your mission operator and I'm telling you to put the down that can."

"You stop being that the moment we left World Inc."

"Jack I'm warning you," she ran out of room as she backed into the side of the house. She screamed as he opened the can in such a way that both of them got sprayed. "Way to go genius, you got yourself too."

"It was worth it," he told her "You got something right there," he wiped a drop off the tip of her nose with his finger.

"Oh thanks a lot," she replied sarcastically. They locked eyes for a few moments before he turned away, blushing a bit. He didn't notice she blushed a little too. Dusty looked at them with a knowing look on his face, he was getting really annoyed by that look. He was going to tell him to don't even think it when a new voice called out.

"I'm surprised you guys are still together." Jack turned sharply to the voice ready for anything. They all were when they saw who it was.

"Dr. Friedman," Rachel called out and went up to him.

"Doc," Jack took his hand. "Come to drag me back for a check up?"

"That would be a losing battle," he laughed. "No I just came by to see if you two were all right."

"I keep telling you they are Harry," Dusty said. "Grab a chair and stay a spell."

Friedman took a lawn chair to sit in. Rachel sat next to Jack on the barrel. "So has this old coot drove you two crazy yet?"

"Jack can be a pain in the ass at times," Dusty joked, "but he's bearable to be around. Personally I don't see how the little lady here stands being around him all the time. Oh wait, he said ‘old coot' didn't he?", they laughed.

"How have you been friends with him this long," Jack asked Friedman with a wink.

"Beats me, I should probably be approaching sainthood by now." They laughed again, "But I got to be honest with you guys."

Jack and Dusty both went, "Uh-oh."

"What is it?"," Rachel asked, she sounded worried too.

"I have another reason as to why I'm here," he looked back behind him and waved somebody foreword. An older man came foreword cautiously. Jack got a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach as the newcomer came closer.

"Nathan?", Dusty asked as he got up. He stood between him and Jack, "What are you doing here?"

"Good to see you again Dusty," he said before looking at them. "This would be Miss Haily and the rather infamous Mr. Davidson I presume."

"You would presume right," Rachel answered. "Dusty, who is this guy?"

"This, little lady, would be a rebel." Jack immediately shot up and stood in front of Rachel.

"Hold on, we came to talk," Friedman said quickly. "He has a proposition for you."

"Then maybe we should take this inside then," Dusty said. Jack moved to let Friedman and this Nathan character into the house. Before following he scanned the area looking for any sign of a trap. Rachel and Dusty did the same. Nice to know he wasn't the only one feeling paranoid at the moment.

***
Dusty, Jack and herself were all understandably nervous as they looked at the other two in total silence. Jack never took his eyes off of Nathan as he stood next to her. Dusty asked if anybody wanted a drink but nobody said anything. They kept staring at each other for several moments before Friedman said, "Well this is getting us no where."

"A little warning would have been nice," Jack told him.

"I got to go with Jack on this one," Dusty added. "I don't mind you dropping in out of the blue, but if you're gonna bring company I would have set something up."

"Or give us time to get ready," she mumbled. Jack grunted in agreement.

"I wanted to make sure you’d still be here when we came," he explained. "Let's face it, Jack and the rebels don't have the best of relationships."

"That goes without saying," Nathan said finally. "I guess I might as well get to the point to why I'm here." He took a deep breath. To Rachel it looked like he couldn't believe what was about to come out of his mouth, "I've been asked to offer you an invitation."

"To what?", Rachel asked as Jack eyes narrowed a bit

"To join us," he said. She and Dusty were shocked but Jack looked unfazed to her. "You don't seem all that surprised Davidson."

"Not the first time I heard it. Your leader made me the same offer when I faced him."

She was shocked again, "You never told me that."

"I try not to think about that day too much."

"Hmm," Nathan said, "knowing Christopher I wouldn't be surprised. I hope this day will end better than that one did." They all heard the edge in his voice. "But you might want to think about taking the offer. A Drakan or two already found you, judging by the smell around here. It's only a matter of time before Anderson's men find you here too."

"I don't scare easily," Jack told him.

"I didn't think you did Davidson, I'm just stating fact."

"Why are you offering this all of the sudden?", Rachel asked. "It's a bit out of the blue."

"I'd imagine it would have something to do with the other night. He did help our people out then,"

"I'd helped you guy out one time," Jack said plainly.

"Well twice if you count the dart you gave me," Friedman put in. "And you let the kids go too."

"Still," Rachel said, "it seems a bit strange."

Dusty added, "It smells like a trap to this old man."

"If I was in your position I'd be thinking the same thing," Nathan admitted. "But I was told by my current leader to assure you that you'd be safe."

"Maybe we better step out for a bit," Friedman said getting up. "Give them time to think this over." Nathan agreed and they walked outside. The three of them looked at each other.

"Any idea who this new leader is?", Jack asked Dusty.

"I told you son, my contacts with the rebels is kinda limited. I don't keep up on the coming and goings. Starting to wish I did though," he sighed. "What do you two think?"

"I think," Jack said as he started at the ceiling, “we're back in the run again if I say no."

"Not necessarily," Dusty tried to argue.

"The rebel would know were we are," Rachel countered. "There's bound to be a few rebels with a grudge who would come looking for him."

"And you want to walk into that?"

"Staying here might put you in danger Dusty."

"Anything happens to me and they lost their free medical care," Dusty told her flatly. "Hell if they do anything to you the same thing gonna happen."

"I think they can here you Dusty," Rachel told him pointing at the door.

"I don't care!", he said loudly. "You may have stayed here a little while but I think of you two like my own family. Hell it's not your fault you're in this mess, it's this damn war! The two of you shouldn't have to keep paying the price for their stupidity."

"Dusty calm down" She tried to get him to sit back down. "Even you said we have to deal with them sooner or later."

"I know I did darlin'. But I meant of equal ground, not like this."

"I don't want to leave either Dusty," Jack said softly. Dusty tried to hide hat his eyes were starting to water. "But I don't think we have much of a choice."

“Then I'm going with you to check things out," Dusty said after a moment. They started to protest but he cut them off, "No arguing, my mind's already made up. Besides somebody gotta make sure they treat the two of you right."

"Thanks Dusty," she said. "I'll let Friedman know our decision.” Rachel turned toward the door and saw Friedman standing there. He nodded and went back outside. Jack grabbed his backpack and started throwing his clothes in it. She figured she better do the same. Rachel took a quick look around the house, it seemed like it was just last night that Dusty found them. Now they had to leave when things were just starting to feel like home. She didn't want to even think about how this was affecting Jack.

***
This entire situation sucked. Again, why was it that when everything looked liked they were going right something happened to knock it down again? Of course now he was dragging more people along for the ride. Jack didn't think the situation could get any worse then Nathan said they had to be blindfolded. Now he had no idea where the hell they were going. Fortunately Dusty insisted that he drive them there in Bessie. That made him feel a little better. Dusty said that any of this felt like a trap he turn the rust bucket around and get them out of there. He should have insisted they bring his bike along too, just for the get away if they had too.

After what seemed like forever he felt Bessie come to a stop and her engine turn off. Jack was going for his blindfold when Friedman said they had to keep them on a little longer. Rachel let out a small curse as the door opened and they were helped out. Dusty guided them a little way before he heard a door open and they were led inside. The door was closed before Friedman told them, "All right you can take them off now." Jack quickly ripped his off, all he could see was a poorly lit tunnel.

"Quaint," Rachel said looking around.

"This is one of the tunnels leading to this cell's base," Dusty informed them.

"Cell?", Jack asked with a raised eyebrow.

"As in more than one?", Rachel looked surprised. "World Inc's Intel never said anything about there being more than one group of rebels. But I guess that makes sense, if Anderson located one then the other could keep going."

"I'm pretty sure Anderson thought it was need to know," Friedman offered.

"This way," Nathan took the lead. All three of them kept an eye on their surroundings. Friedman tried to make some small talk, find out how they been but he and Rachel pretty much ignored him. About half a mile later Nathan took a side tunnel, then another one after that and a few more yards stopped in front of a wall and knocked hard three times. There was a loud click and part of the wall swung in. As they walked in the guy on the other side stared at Jack, he gave him a quick glance before following the other down the winding set of stairs. A couple of flights and short walk later Nathan proclaimed, "The main square so to speak."

Jack and Rachel were staring at the sight in front of them. Under a bunch of lights was an underground community. A couple of house like structures were set up. Everyone, they looked human but he had a feeling they were all Drakans, were dressed normally enough but a few looked a little ragged around the edges. Children were playing and running around. Several of the adults stopped what they were doing and looked at them. Soon all of them stopped and looked in their direction. "This is only a small part of the habitat," Nathan explained. "Most of the tunnels lead to other parts, living area, eating area and so forth. I think I see her, come this way."

He followed but he was paying attention to everybody else. Some of the Drakan looked at him in contempt, most of them had fear in their eyes. Several parents held their children close to them as he passed. Then his gaze fell on a man with short blond hair with a look of disgust on his face. "I think I know him." he murmured.

"What did you say Jack?", Rachel asked him.

Jack looked away and said, "Nothing.” He started shaking his head, "I can't believe Anderson consider these people a threat."

"Us, maybe," a female voice said. "The idea we represent, most definitely." Jack saw a dark haired woman with blue eyes walk toward them. She was followed by guy with long blond hair and an old woman. He recognized her almost immediately.

"I don't believe it."

"Hello again Mr. Davidson, it good to see you under slightly better circumstances."

"You two know each other?", Rachel asked in disbelief.

"You could say that," Jack said.

"He saved my life once," she answered. "Although I'm surprised you took me up on my offer so soon."

"You're the leader?", it was Jack turn to be surprised.

"Thanks to you," she said bitterly, "yes. When I talk to somebody I prefer to see their entire face."

"Not sure that's good idea," he told her.

"We had the signal jammers in place for a while now so you don't have to worry about being located."

Jack turned to Rachel getting really annoyed, "Did everybody know about this bug in my head before I did?"

"In a way child," the old woman spoke up. She turned around and pulled up her hair to reveal a scar on the back of her neck, "It was one of Anderson earlier attempts to control the situation. Several of us have similar trackers implanted in our bodies.

"Anderson had his people connect them to their nervous system," Friedman explained, "in such away that if they were removed the damage would be permanent."

"Like I needed more proof he was a bastard," Jack mumbled.

"So... uh...," Rachel looked at the leader trying to get a name.

"Melissa," she offered.

"Melissa, why did you send for us? It seemed a little sudden. We could only think of a couple of reason why, but it didn't seem like much to offer an alliance."

"True," she agreed, "but as they say the enemy of my enemy is my friend. If were both have a common enemy then we should consider joining forces."

"If he's really gone from Anderson that is," the guy with her said.

Melissa turned her head and in a warning tone said, "Lance."

"Trust me, I have no loyalty toward Anderson," Jack told them. "He sent me after his own kind for crying out loud. He sent me after kids for God's sake. Why would I be loyal to him after all that crap?"

"The incident with the children happened a while ago," The old woman said. "Why did you stay so long then?"

"I was trying to figure out what was going on." He looked at the floor before he looked back at them, "That and we had a deal. One of you was responsible for putting me in this position. I help him and he would help me find that damn mon...," he trailed off as a light went off in his head, "monkey," he said softly and turned back to the crowd as he scanned their human faces. In his mind he was back in the mountains on that day. His legs and left arm were crushed by boulders. The blue monkey landed by him and turned into a man with short blond hair. Just like the one over there with disgust etched in his face. Rachel and Dusty tried to get his attention but he didn't hear them. Slowly the anger he was feeling started to show on his face. "You," he hissed between his teeth.

Screaming he charged the man. The other Drakan quickly got out of his way as the man stood there. Jack tackled him to the ground and started wailing away with his fists. The others didn't shy away from the fight. Dusty and somebody else had to drag him off the blond haired man. "Let me go!", he screamed as he struggled to free himself.

"Calm down son," Dusty told him, "you ain't helping yourself any."

"I told you he couldn't be trusted around us," Lance said but Melissa ignored him.

"What was that about?", she demanded.

"That's the monkey! Let me go damn it!!!"

Rachel looked at the man, who was being held back as well, then back to him, "Jack are you sure?"

"Would I be trying to kill him if I wasn't?", he shot back not taking his eyes off his target.

Rachel went to Melissa, "Listen to me, World Inc. heard some info on a rebel operative. A team was sent out but it was a trap. Jack and a friend of his was caught in that trap as well. The rebel was a blue Drakan monkey."

"Really?", Melissa asked as he stop struggling. "What was the date of this." That day was burned into his memory and told her the date without hesitation. "Please tell me you didn't have a operation that day."

"I'm afraid so," Nathan answered as she closed her eyes. "That’s pretty close to how Jason described it."

Melissa sighed before speaking, "Then it appears we are partially responsible for the Drakan Killer existence." The crowd started talking among themselves at the news. "We do seem to have a slight problem right here," she said looking at the two of them.

"Perhaps," the old woman started, "a call of honor combat is in order." Melissa acted like she was surprised she even said that.

"Honor... combat?", Rachel wondered out loud.

Dusty explained, "It's an old tradition. When somebody is wronged, I mean really, really wronged, the person can challenge the other to, well, combat."

"Does that mean I get to kill him?", Jack turned away just long enough to see the old woman nod once. "What she said, I call that."

"I accept," Jason said before anybody else could say anything.

Melissa shook her head and walked off with the old woman following. The crowd slowly disappeared, buzzing about what just happened. Jason grinned and followed them soon after. Dusty let him go saying, "Think before you call for something like that." He didn't care, he was finally going to get his hands on that damn monkey.

***
"Honor combat?", Melissa said as she paced Emily's room. "I'm trying to do this as peacefully as I can. I probably could have worked things out between the two of them. But you had to give them an option to tear each other apart." Emily just sat there tending to her plant. She hated it when she did that.

"I beg to differ child," she finally said. "I doubt even your brother could even handle that." That took her by surprise, to everybody else her brother could do just about anything. "Even I felt the hatred emanating between the two of them."

Melissa looked away, she didn't want to admit it but the power behind that emotion almost knocked her for a loop. "There has to be another way."

“Perhaps there is child, but until you find it the strife between them would eventually spread to the others. Trust me child, there is no other way. This must be dealt with now if we are to continue foreword."

"And if they kill each other in the process?" Emily said nothing. "I just hope this doesn't blow up in our faces."

***
"Maybe you can back out," Rachel said. Jack just ignored her, he just paced like a caged animal. Dusty gave them a quick lesson about the thing before he left them alone. She could use him right about know to try to talk some sense into this knucklehead. "Jack we're trying to make peace with these guys remember?"

"Not while he's here," he said. "We can talk about getting along after I kill him."

"Killing him isn't going to help us any."

"I really don't care," and he went back to ignoring her. God he could be impossible when he wanted to. About then two men came walking in, one carrying a bowl of something. "What do you want?"

"Tradition says that those in honor combat must be marked for combat," he gestured to the bowl the other was carrying. "Please remove your Jacket, shirt and gloves."

"What ever you’re gonna put on me isn't going to be seen for long." They said nothing, just staring at him. "Whatever," Jack bared his upper body. The two looked at the scars covering him then at each other. Then they began marking his chest with the grease like substance. She was expecting him to make a comment, a joke or something but he kept quiet. They lead them to an open area with a pit dug into the floor. It was already pretty crowded but she could see the human form of the monkey already in the pit. Without any prompting Jack jumped in and stood behind the line marked on the floor. Rachel looked around as the other Drakan were talking to each other as they pointed at Jack. A cold spot started to form in her stomach, dear God what was he thinking.

She could see Melissa raise a hand to grab everyone attention. "A call of honor combat has been made." A hand on her shoulder made her jump until she saw it was Dusty. He smiled and squeezed her shoulder as Melissa continued talking. "It has been years since one has been called for, but today we must heed it's call. Are the two ready?" The monkey changed into his true form and nodded, is marking could still be seen on his fur. Jack raised his left arm across his chest and the Fusion belt appeared. The Drakan started buzzing again as he moved his arm to the side and brought his right arm to his face. "No matter the outcome no one will do anything to the combatants after it is over, is that clear?" Nobody said anything. The spot in her stomach started to grow with each passing moment. They stood there in the pit just staring at each other, but she could see Jack finger on his right hand twitching slightly. Melissa raised a hand above her head, she didn't look pleased as she brought it down, "Begin!"

Rachel closed her eyes as she heard Jack shout out, "Henshin!"

-To be continued-

*ending theme-Papa Roach-Sometimes*
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Old May 20th, 2019, 12:35 PM #28
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scikaiju
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Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 327



<Episode 25>


*Opening theme-Ana-We Are*


Rachel and Dusty thought he was out his mind, but he didn't care. A Drakan woman he saved turned out to be the rebel leader, but he didn't care. He was surrounded by a bunch of people who more than likely wanted him dead, but he didn't care. He had stuff that smelled like crap painted on him, but he didn't care. All he cared about at the moment was that he was finally going to get his hands on the monkey. No nightmares, no Rachel getting herself in danger, nothing to get in his way this time. Damn it, he could taste it.

The rebel leader was making a speech but he zoned her out. All but the part where she asked if they were ready. The monkey changed into his true form and a fresh wave of rage flowed through him. Jack immediately raised his left arm across his chest to make the belt appear around his waist. Just as fast he swung his left arm to the side and brought his right arm up to his face and waited. They stood there burning holes into each others with their eyes as they waited for Melissa to let them loose. It seemed like forever but she finally gave the word and brought her hand down. Wasting no time he slammed his right hand on top of the belt and shouted, "Henshin!"

Jack yelled in rage as he charged and the armor formed around him. The monkey did the same and they quickly got within arms reach of each other. He threw a wild right the monkey easily ducked under and backhanded him. Jack nearly fell from the blow but he kept his balance long enough to sink a knee into its’ gut as it tried to grab him. The monkey fell to its’ back and kicked him away giving itself enough space to get its’ breath back. It then leaped up catching Jack by surprise and brought him crashing down on the ground. The Drakan started pounding away at his head. Jack took the blows before he could plant his left fist into it’s rib cage. It stopped long enough for him to push the Drakan off.

The monkey backed up to regroup then charged again. Jack jumped and flipped over the attack, as he landed he spun around and smashed his armored forearm into it’s face. Behind the helmet he grinned as he thought he saw a tooth fly out. He grabbed him by the back of the neck and forced its’ head down as he brought his knee up hard. The monkey rocked back holding its' face. His advantage was short lived as the monkey suddenly swept his legs out from under him.

***
How was that damn metal bug stronger than last time? That question entered his mind more than once so far. That wasn't possible and once again he pushed that thought to the side. Thoughts like that would get him killed. A point proven when it got up and spun around, its right foot coming out of nowhere and connected with the left side of his face. The killer jumped at him, but he had enough of his senses intact to duck. He jumped on its’ back and tried to break the Killer's neck. The metal bug was able to flip him over to the ground. It raised its’ right fist and aimed it at his head. Jason was barely able to roll out of the way.

Quickly seeing an opening he rushed in and got the bug off its’ feet. Putting as much into it as he could put into it Jason ran and rammed the Killer into the side of the pit. He allowed himself a small feeling of satisfaction as he heard its’ breath leave it's body. Jason did everything in his power to keep his advantage and pounded the Killer into the wall. It some how was able to block one of his punches and grabbed his left arm. He panicked momentarily as he saw a shot aimed for his elbow and quickly freed his arm. It hit him too late that what the Killer wanted him to do as that same fist smashed him in the face. How did that damn metal bug get stronger than last time?

***
Despite her better judgment Rachel opened her eyes and watched what was going on. This entire mess was almost as savage as the last time Jack and the monkey got there hands on each other. Last time she convinced herself that she stayed because she was Jack's mission operator. Now her concern for his well being made her stay this time. Deep down she realized that was the real reason she stayed that time too.

Jack ducked down and grabbed the monkeys legs to bring it down and started pounding away at its’ head. Besides here Dusty was screaming, "Come on Jack! Get that son of a bitch!". She took her eyes away just long enough to see the other Drakan's reaction to his out cry. If any of them were surprised that he was cheering for Jack they didn't show it.

Still, housing them was bad enough. There was no point in adding fuel to the fire. "Dusty calm down. You were against this too."

"I know darlin', but if he's responsible for Jack being turned into what he is than he got what he has coming."

No matter how hard she tried she couldn't come up with an argument against it. Almost silently she uttered, "Come on Jack."

***
Melissa spent what little time she had before this to steady herself. The wave of hatred from their previous encounter was evident and she needed to brace herself for it this time. Still she was getting sick to her stomach from it. Davidson and Jason were down there trying to tear each other apart and neither of them seeming to care. What was making her sicker was the fact some in the crowd was actually enjoying the debacle. She tried to calm herself and felt a hand on her shoulder. Emily's touch was able to calm her slightly, something she was grateful for at the moment.

Lance eyes never left the pit. "I never expected anything like this." Davidson went flying over Jason's head and landed with a thud. "I knew Davidson would be angry, but I didn't think this level was possible."

She did, she found out when Davidson saved her. In her head the Vulture had him pinned against the wall and said, "Come on Killer, you know we're exactly alike, why should we fight?"

Right before he said, "I'm nothing like you!", there was a brief spike of anger. Not as bad as when he spotted Jason in the crowd, but it was close. The vulture hit a nerve then, she realized that now. Her mind went back to the fight when Davidson caught Jason when he charge at him, spun around and planted him into the ground. A quick wave of satisfaction flowed though him. Some how Melissa doubted that she would get the feeling of regret that she got when Davidson killed the Vulture.

"I get the feeling there's more to Mr. Davidson than we know Lance."

***
The meter started flashing a couple of minutes ago. If he was smart he would have ended this then. But when the monkey went boom he wanted the explosion to be big. Now if only that damn Drakan would get back on its’ feet. Damn it, he wanted it standing for this. Jack backed away to let the monkey get to his feet, which it was doing slowly. "Come on you ugly son of a bitch!", he yelled at the monkey. "You are not crapping out on me now!"

Anger flashed in its’ eyes as the monkey swung wildly at him. Jack ducked it and grabbed the right pod as it stumbled foreword. He twisted it down and the two mini turbines in the belt started spinning and redirected the energy that had built up. Jack waited as the charged went down his leg and the monkey turned around. He launched a kick, no jumping, no flipping, nothing fancy. Just a simple straight side kick aimed right at it’s head.

***
Jason turned around and saw the metal bug's right foot coming at him. He tried to back up to avoid it but was stopped by the wall of the pit. Little arcs of electricity could be seen on the bottom of its’ foot. It was an eternity before he realized the foot wasn't coming any closer. The metal bug stood there with it's foot in the air. Jason looked at it in total confusion as it’s hand slowly became a fist. Suddenly the bug yelled, brought its’ foot down with a stomp and walked off. In moments the part of the floor it stomped on exploded out. Jason slumped to the floor staring at the bug, who had its’ hands on its’ head.

Then it looked at the ceiling and screamed. He barely registered the commotion of the Drakans around him. Jason was starting to get back to his feet when the bug turned back around, forced him against the wall and stared him in the eyes. After a moment it said, "We take down Anderson then we finish this. Agreed?" In a total state of shock Jason managed to barely nod his head in agreement. The Killer let him go and walked away. Jason slumped back down to the ground.

***
Rachel could not believe what she just saw. After all of that he was letting the monkey go. Jack powered the system down as he came toward them. Dusty offered a hand to help him out of the pit but he ignored it. "Son, I don't get what just happened," Dusty said.

"Not now," was all he said. He wouldn't even look at them, he just stood there shaking. The other Drakan backed away but he looked like he wasn't exactly caring at the moment.

Rachel looked back at the monkey and the rest of the Drakan. He was still sitting on the ground. Some of the others around him were pointing and talking among themselves. Their leader, Melissa, was no where to be seen. "I'm not sure," she said, "but I think you just humiliated him."

Dusty said he wasn't exactly sure if she was right or not. Jack grabbed his clothes and started walking away, but she did hear him say, "Good."

***
Emily stood there as Melissa and Lance stared as Mr. Davidson walked out of the pit. Much like his encounter with Christopher the fates kept the outcome of this from her. But even she was surprised at this turn of events. "He just walking away?", Lance said to no one in particular. "I saw Davidson twist that thing on his belt, just like you described. He had him dead to rights. Why is he letting him go?"

Melissa stared at Mr. Davidson intently. She kept her face neutral, but she knew the child well enough to see how conflicted she was. "Like I said, there's more to him than we know."

"But why? The way those two were going at it I was positive we were going to have to bury somebody."

"Perhaps," Emily spoke, "he realized things might go smoother for him if he let Jason live."

Lance looked at her with a hint of amusement, "No offense Emily, but I highly doubt that. I don't live in this habitat but I know of Jason’s reputation." He gestured at the remaining crowd as they walked away, "I'd bet you anything there be a few here that would be glad if Jason bought it just now."

"Perhaps young one," she replied. Fate might have hidden the outcome from her but she knew one thing for certain. Letting Jason live would make things harder for Davidson. The Drakan living here were nervous enough with him among them. Jason could very well use that to his advantage if he played it right. She would have to make sure she counteracted any ill will Jason could cultivate in the habitat. To them she said, "Mind reading is not one of my gifts and Mr. Davidson's thoughts are his and his alone."

"No one asking you to read his mind Emily," Melissa said, but she expected the child wished she could at the moment. "Hopefully those who would have wanted Jason dead are a very small minority and Davidson gained a point or two with the others."

"Wouldn't be much if he did kid," Lance told her.

"I know, but a girl in charge can hope right? Anything that would make the job a little easier." She attempted a smile but both of them knew she didn't feel it. "If you two will excuse me, I need to go over the sleeping quarters arrangement again. After what we just witness I think it might be a good idea if Davidson and Jason were as far a part as possible."

"Good idea, you don't want the two of them to go at it after passing each other in a hallway." Lance followed Melissa away from the hallway leading to the pit. Emily waited a few moments before leaving her own way. She heard Lance speak out loud, "But what kind of person lets the man he hates more than anything live?"

Emily smiled to herself and softly said, "A champion."

***
It took Rachel a couple of minutes to find Jack again. He was in some kind of storage hallway. From the look of things he was trying to get whatever they painted on him off and kicking any crate that was nearby. Jack finally saw her standing there after a few minutes. "I had him," he said, "I freaking had him! And I let him go!" Jack kicked another crate in anger, "Gah!"

Rachel sat on a crate that looked like it hasn’t been abused yet, "Which begs the question, why?"

"I don't know," he said turning away from her. "Something in my head said it be better if I let him live." He pounded the wall before leaning against it, "Why did I have to listen right then?"

"I wish I could tell you."

"So do I because he's the reason why Richie is dead and I was turned into a freak."

"Jack you are not a freak," she told him. "In fact you’re the most normal person I know."

Jack snorted and turned to look at her. "Now there's a laugh and a half. Normal people aren't covered in scars. Normal people don't turn into blue metal dragonflies with red eyes. Normal people don't kick or punch something and have it blow up. Me and normal parted ways a long time ago."

She just sat there and looked at him, "Do you feel any better now that you got that little rant out of your system?"

"No," he answered as he grabbed his shirt and put it on. "Thanks for listening anyway."

"What are friends for," she smiled at him. Rachel handed him his jacket as he smiled back. "But I have to admit, you do have a way to keep people guessing."

"Blame my upbringing."

"I'm telling you he's a real life Kamen Rider," a young sounding voice said. They looked down the hallway and saw a group of teenagers walk by.

"Is that part of that Power Ranger crap you keep watching?", one of the other asked.

The source of the first voice turned around and said, "For the last time it's not Power Ran... ," he trailed off when he noticed them standing there. The other turned around and stared at them with eyes wide open. Several awkward moments later the boys started running away in different direction. The one who called Jack a Kamen Rider stayed put the longest.

Rachel found the whole thing kind of amusing. Jack, on the other hand, stood there with a strange look on his face, "My God, they're every where."

"Jack we're surrounded by Drakan, they're going to be all over the place."

"That's not what I was talking about."

"Then what?"

"It's nothing, don't worry about it." Jack ran his fingers through his hair before putting on his jacket. "Come on, let's see if anybody brought our bags down yet."

"Dusty said he was going to get them, after he took care of something first," she told him. Rachel looked around and tried not to sigh out loud, "At least we got another roof over our head, for a little while at least."

***
"Both of them are staying?", Melissa asked. She wasn't sure how more surprises she could be today. The plan was for Davidson to stay here and work with them. That woman that came with them, Rachel that what Dusty said her name was, wasn't suppose to be part of it. Hell, Melisa didn't even know she was part of the equation.

"They're kinda a package deal little lady," Dusty told her. She would like to know exactly when he became Davidson’s personal spokes man. "You get one you get the other. They’ve been through a lot together. Personally speaking, I wouldn't dream about splitting them up."

"That going to but us in a bit of a bind Dusty."

"Maybe," he said, "but I keep hearing how you keep getting new members to the cause. They don't seem to be hurting you too much." His tone change to something more light hearted, "Besides Rachel can be a bit of a buffer at times. Jack can take a bit of getting used too. I got a long with him just fine of course, but for somebody not as easy going as me he might be a bit much at first."

Melissa crossed her arms over her chest and smiled, "Why do I get the feeling I was just insulted."

"This old country doctor just makin' an observation, that's all," he snickered. Then he got all serious again, "But I'm trusting you to keep the two of them safe. I would really hate it if anything ever happened to them, particularly if somebody under your watch ended up doing it."

Her eyes narrowed a bit, "Are you threatening me Dusty?". She sensed no malice coming from him, but still. She couldn't remember a time were Dusty made anything even close to a threat, why now? And more importantly what would he threaten to do?

"Now, I know what you’re thinking little lady and I would never do that. I'm a doctor and wouldn't turn away anybody in need of treatment. Hell, if Anderson was at my door near death I'd do everything I could to nurse him back to health. Might not make any new friends around here if I did, but that wouldn't stop me."

Al right, know she had to now, "Why are you fighting for them Dusty?"

"I consider them family to me," he said seriously.

She nodded, now she understood why he was doing this, "Then you have my word that I'll make sure none of my people will harm them. However, I can't make the same promise for my cousin."

"I wasn't expecting you too darlin'." For some reason he looked undecided on something. After a little prodding he ended up saying, "I probably shouldn't be saying this, but... Jack is going through some things."

"What kind of things?", now she knew she couldn't take any more surprises today.

"It's not my place to say, but you'll more than likely find out soon enough. He wouldn't tell me about it, and I'm not sure how much he told Rachel but I don't think it’s much. So I was kinda hoping Emily might be able get a word or two out of him."

"You know Emily doesn't work that way Dusty. Davidson is going to have to open himself up to her before she does anything." She suddenly remembered a part of the vision Emily had, particularly the part where she described Davidson. "But I'm sure Emily will be around if he needs somebody to listen." He seemed satisfied with that and left. Melissa sat back down in her chair, if only that vision Emily had let her in on what exactly was suppose to be haunting Davidson.

***
Jack and Rachel stood around the main area of the underground city, well calling it a city seemed a tad overkill, waiting for the person that was suppose to them to their rooms. He kept an eye on the Drakan around them. A few of them were doing their best to look like they weren't staring at them. He understood the logic behind having him here. If they were going to work together it’d be best if they were in the same place, and time could be wasted if he had to travel from Dusty place to here. Not to mention it increase the chances of World Inc. finding him if he did that. Now if he could get rid of the feeling that he just put his head on the chopping block.

"Judging by the bags I'm guessing you're the ones in need of a guide." They looked around until they saw a guy with blue dreadlocks coming toward them. Wow, how in the hell did they miss him. He looked right at Jack for a bit, "You know, I always pictured you’d be taller." He was so sick of hearing that. "Any way, think of me as the official welcoming committee. Just call me Sparky."

"Sparky?", Jack wondered out loud as he took the offered hand. He felt a painful jolt through the glove, "OW!" He took his hand away trying to shake away the pain.

Sparky was grinning ear to ear, "Want to guess what I am?"

"I got a pretty good idea," he said dryly. Sparky held out a hand to Rachel who politely declined.

"Hey, I never do the same trick twice in a row, and never to any one as lovely as you." Rachel blushed slightly while Jack narrowed his eyes at the Drakan. Sparky saw that and backed off. "Well, I guess you too are kind of tired, so if you will be so kind as to follow me." He led them down one of the hallways leading away from the main area. After a few yards Sparky started sniffing the air. From an upcoming corner a guy walked into view and came toward them. Jack tensed up just in case. "Hey new guy," Sparky greeted him, "how you doing? Remind me to give you the tour later." Jack and the "new guy" stared at each other as they passed. Sparky smelt him coming.

"Somebody you know?", Rachel asked.

"Never seen him before today," Sparky replied.

Jack stopped and looked back at the guy then back to Sparky a couple of times, "And he smelt like Drakan blood?" Sparky nodded and kept walking. Jack quickened his pace so he could catch up. "Wait a minute. You don't have a sudden urge to kick the crap out of him?"

"No, why should I?", Sparky asked.

"What the hell? Every time I come across a Drakan they usually want to tear me a new one."

"No offense man, but have you ever smelled yourself."

Jack straighten up a little, "Sorry, I haven't had a chance to grab a shower yet."

Their guide laughed, "That's not what I meant. Humans have a very unique smell to them. And you mix that scent with Drakan blood and it's kind of an insult to some of us."

"Do you have a problem with that mix of smells?", Rachel asked him, starting to get between them.

"Nah, I realize this is a war, death is gonna happen no matter what. Besides, I wasn't the one killed so I'm cool with the two of you. Even if I was killed it be a little late to have a problem with ya. Life's too short you know."

"Interesting way of looking at things," she said as her and Jack looked at each other confused. Sparky just talked away, telling them when breakfast, lunch and dinner usually were around here. Then they stopped in front of a door that he opened.

"And here is your humble abode." They stepped in and found a small brick walled room with hardly anything inside it. Just a single box spring and mattress and a dresser."

"Ok, where's my room?", Jack asked.

"This is your room," Sparky told him.

"Uh-oh," Rachel muttered, he was getting that same feeling.

"Then where's her room?"

"You're looking at it. We weren't expecting two of you and space is down here is at a premium."

Both of them stared at the bed in the corner. Jack raised a hand saying, "Can I get a cot or something?"

"I think I can arrange that. It should be here in a few minutes. Now you two behave yourself while you in here," he teased.

"We're just friends," they said at he same time. They looked at each other in surprise that the other one said it. Sparky grinned and left them alone. Oh this was going to be awkward.

***
Normally she wouldn't have done this with newcomers, but considering Davidson history it felt like a good idea to check on them. Granted she was still having some misgiving about letting the Drakan Killer in here. But as much as she hated to admit Emily visions were never wrong. Still, she’d be lucky if the whole thing didn't blow up in her face. She turned the corner leading to their room and quickly went back behind it. Davidson was leaning on the wall next to the door. What was he doing out in the hallway? Was he standing guard or something?

Then she heard it, "Come on he has to be asleep by now. We'll make him pay for all those Drakan he killed."

"What if he isn't in there?", a second voice asked.

"Then that girl probably is in there. She smells like death too, that makes her just as responsible in my book." The two of them came into this hallway and saw Davidson there.

He faced them saying, "You really might want to think twice about this." For a brief second she saw the man who saved her from the vulture in the alley. The two of them looked like they were ready to jump him.

She stepped out from hiding demanding, "What's going on here?" The two Drakan froze in place. Davidson turned his head just enough to look at her then back at them.

"Nothing going on," he lied to her. "These two were here to tell me when I can expect that cot I asked for."

She raised an eyebrow, "From my understanding it was already delivered."

"Really," he acted surprised as he opened the door. "What do you know there it is, already made up too. You guys are good." he gave them a thumbs up. "Well I guess this goodnight then," he entered and closed the door behind him. The other two were about to speak but she quickly cut them off.

"Not one word. I heard what you two were planning. I told all of you that there wasn't going to be any payback against him. If you don't like it that transfer to Lance's cell is still open. Right now I suggest the two of you get as far away from here as possible." They said nothing as they walked off. Melissa held her head and groaned, this wouldn't have happened if her brother was still alive.

***
Dusty told him last night that he’d be back this morning with his bike. When he asked if there was any place he could store it he was directed to a large garage looking area with various vans and cars parked inside it. There they told him if could clear out a space he could claim it for the bike. He found a spot and started clearing crates. Rachel found him after a bit and starting helping him. In no time they had a spot cleared out and were waiting. As they waited he sat next to her and said, "Rachel, I've been thinking. Maybe you should go back with Dusty when he leaves."

She looked at him suspiciously, "You trying to get rid of me again?"

"No, it just might be safer for you if you were with Dusty than with me."

"Jack, since I've been with you I've sprung my wrist, found out my boss was secretly a Drakan, became homeless and wanted by the US government. If that's the worse things that going to happen to me I'm doing pretty good. Besides I heard about what almost happened last night. Don't worry about me, I can take care of myself. I think I proved that to you a couple of times already." She put a hand on his shoulder, "We started this together and we're going to finish this together." He nodded, at least he wasn't alone in all of this crap.

Dusty pulled up a few minutes later. He and Jack were able to get his bike off of Bessie in no time. "Well," he said, "I hate to drop this ride of your off and run, but I got a guy looking at an old Ford engine in an hour or so."

"Thanks Dusty," she said while she hugged him around the neck. "I know we were a bother to you."

"Now listen here little lady, you two were no such thing. Hell, this old man was grateful for the company. And you haven't seen the last of me by a long shot. I'm going to be dropping by from time to time to make sure they're treating y'all right." He got that humorous glint in his eyes again and spoke a little louder, "And they better too or I'll start charging 'em through the nose."

"Then I guess we'll be seeing you later," Jack said as he shook his hand.

"You know it son." Dusty pulled him in close, "Now you take care of yourself, and the little lady too. Ya hear me?"

"I hear you Dusty." He said his goodbyes, got back into Bessie and drove off with a wave. Jack looked over to Rachel after a bit, "I wonder when life is going to throw us that next curve ball?"


*Ending theme-Papa Roach-Sometimes*
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