Chapter 1

Present — Samantha — WRAMC

I step out of the shower, get dressed in my Truth Network outfit, fix my hair and face and go into Ben's room. I look around but I don't see him or the cup of coffee he promised. I call out, "Hey Ben, where are you?"

Jim comes in with the coffee, hands me a cup and asks, "Where's Ben?"

I take a sip of coffee, look at him and say, "Thanks for the coffee - this is just the way I like it. I don't have any idea where Ben is. I took a shower and he was gone when I came out.

Jim goes to the closet, opens it and exclaims, "Shit! His clothes are gone. Jens is going to kill me if I let anything happen to him."

I finally notice a note on his bedside table. I notice it's addressed to Ms. Jennifer Donaldson. That's strange! I thought he always called her Jens.

Jim comes over and says, "Wow look at how terrible the handwriting is. I bet Ben wrote this with his injured arm. Are you going to open it and read it?"

I flip the note over and over in my hands while debating what to do. Finally Jim gets annoyed, grabs the note out of my hand and unfolds it. I see him turn white as a sheet while he reads it. He slumps down in the chair, hands the note to me and says, "I'm a dead man. Jens will never forgive me for this."

I read the note, let it fall to the floor and call Liz. I don't give a fuck about the time! I need to talk to her!

Present — Liz — Ramstein Air Field Germany

Shit! It seems like I've just gotten to sleep when my damn phone rings and wakes me up out of a wonderful dream. I grab the phone, look at the display and answer, "Samantha, this had better be important!"

She replies, "Liz, this is more than important - this is a fucking emergency! Ben's gone!"

Her words scare the shit out of me so I sit straight up in bed and ask, "Samantha, what the hell do you mean? Did Ben die?"

I can tell how upset she is when she answers, "No Liz, he's not dead, it's worse than that. He's missing! I took a shower and when I came back to his room Ben and his clothes were gone. All he left is a note addressed to Ms. Jennifer Donaldson."

I start trembling while Mira and Ira sit on the bed beside me and support me. I order, "Samantha read me the fucking note!" She reads the note to me and I yell into the phone, "Shit! That son-of-a-bitch! What the hell is he writing about, and what the hell is he doing?"

She replies, "Liz, I'm not sure what he's talking about in the note. It doesn't make sense to me."

I respond with, "Samantha, give me a second to think." I know what the fuck I would do if I was there, I would have a very friendly discussion with the doctors to find out what the hell Ben is talking about, but I can't ask Samantha to do what I would do to get the information. I finally decide on a course of action and say, "Okay Samantha, you need to figure out some way to find out what Ben's talking about. Bribe a doctor or a nurse but find out what sort of bullshit he's talking about. But before you do anything, call Jim and Linus and get their asses moving to see if they can find Ben! That reminds me, are things still in turmoil there?"

Samantha takes a deep breath and answers, "Liz, I'll find some way to get the information you need, even if I have to beat the crap out of a doctor or nurse. Jim is here and I'll have him call Linus and my other body guards right away. And yes the streets are still a big battle ground. Liz, I'm really worried about Ben being out there since he doesn't have any protection — Liz wait a second, Jim is telling me something." She comes back on the phone and says, "Liz, Jim gave me some good news. He brought Ben a pistol and his Ka-Bar last night and neither of them are in the room. So at least Ben will have some weapons."

I smile and consider that Ben with a pistol and a knife is more dangerous than most men would be with a machine gun. I tell Samantha, "Get moving on finding out what the hell he's talking about. Keep two body guards for yourself and send the rest with Jim to go out and find Ben. Call me when you have any information, and whatever you do don't let Jens know about this."

Samantha replies, "Sounds like a good plan Liz. I'll call you when I know more." She hangs up the phone and I put my head in my hands and start to cry. The twins are hugging me and Ira says, "Ms. Morgan, we understand from your side of the phone conversation that Mr. Blaine is missing."

I look up at them, collapse and babble incoherently.

Present — Mira and Ira — Ramstein Air Field Germany

Hugging Ms. Morgan is uncomfortable and hurts my ribs, but she needs our support right now and I will tolerate the minor discomfort. She is a very big mess and cannot even tell us why. It has something to do with Mr. Blaine so we need to find out what is going on. I look at Mira and say in our special language, "Mira, you comfort Ms. Morgan and I will make some phone calls to see if I can determine what is going on." Mira's ears are still bothering her and she doesn't hear me so I loudly repeat myself.

She loudly replies which makes Ms. Morgan jump with, "Ira that is an excellent idea. I have never seen Ms. Morgan this upset."

I leave the room, call Samantha and get the whole story from her. She even reads me the note and I make sure I memorize each word so I can tell Mira later. Next I call the nurse's station on Ben's floor. The secretary answers the phone and says, "Third floor nurse's station, unit secretary Jane speaking."

I reply, "Hello Jane, this is Doctor Morgan. I have been called to do a consultation on a patient of yours named Ben Blaine and I am wondering if I can get some information off his chart."

Jane answers, "Sure Doctor Morgan, let me get his chart and I'll be right back."

I start to get impatient because I have been on hold for ten minutes. Jane finally comes back on the phone and says, "Sorry Doctor Morgan, but Mr. Blaine's chart is missing. We've looked everywhere in the nurse's station and even his room and we can't find it."

I stamp my foot on the floor and say, "Well Jane if you do not have the chart, perhaps you could forward my call his primary physician."

She responds, "Now that I can do." She forwards the call to his extension but I get the doctor's voice mail so I hang up.

I walk back into our room and see Ms. Morgan curled up on the bed in the fetal position with Mira rubbing her back. Mira sees me and holds her index finger to her lips telling me to be quiet. I walk up, put my mouth next to her ear and whisper, "Mira, how did you get Ms. Morgan to go to sleep?"

She holds up a bottle of pills, smiles at me and says, "I gave her two of these. She should be asleep for at least six hours. Tell me what you found out."

I tell Mira everything I know, even reciting the note word for word to her. She looks at me and says, "Ira, knowing who held Mr. Blaine captive, I think we both understand that much more happened to him than he told anyone."

I answer, "Yes Mira, he went through terrible tortures that would be embarrassing for anyone to admit. And he has to have injuries from those tortures - it's the only thing that makes sense."

Mira asks, "Ira how can we help Ms. Morgan with this problem?"

I say, "We have to find some way to find Mr. Blaine for her. I was thinking, aren't there still some NSC agents in the United States?"

Mira smiles and says, "Yes Ira there are and they are in Washington DC. You watch Ms. Morgan and I will go give them a call."

I take Mira's place and she leaves the room to contact our agents.

Present — Ben — Washington DC

If I wasn't in such a bad mood, I could enjoy this beautiful spring day in Washington DC. I know I made the right decision but it was also the hardest decision I've ever made. To saddle Ms. Jennifer Donaldson with me, without me being able to give her what she really wants, would be a worse torture than what the bastard Hussein did to me. I'm glad I grabbed my medical records from the nurse's station when I left because the less information they have about me, the better. The first thing I did when I walked out the door was to head down an alley and toss the file into a barrel of flaming trash. Come to think of it, what's a trash barrel doing on fire this time of year? I get my answer when a gang of angry looking men step out of a side alley. One of them says, "Hey wat a whitey doin in our hood."

Another laughs, "Him lookz likez he'z wantin to die."

Another bastard says, "I'z wantz me a piece of dat fresh white azz fore you allz killz him."

I'm already in a foul fucking mood and I've heard enough. I pull my pistol with my left hand, my Ka-Bar with my right hand, and start running towards them screaming! "Fucking Bastards! I'm going cut off your balls and make you eat them!" It scares the hell out of them and they take off running like the fucking cowards they are. As I pass the alley they came out of, I hear a moan and I slide to a stop.

I keep watching for about three minutes to make sure the cowards are really gone and slowly slip down the side alley, pistol and knife in hand. It's a fucking mess and looks worse than the alleys in Iraq and Afghanistan. What sort of animals could live in this type of filth and mess? I understand when I come across the source of the moans, and wished to hell I'd killed the fucking bastards when I had the chance. There's a naked young woman tied spread-eagle across the hood of a beat up old car. She's had the hell beat out of her with bruises all over her body. The sadistic fucking bastards look like they took out their anger on her genitals and breasts for the most part.

I turn away in disgust that this could happen in the streets of our Capital. It would probably be more merciful to shoot her in the head, and before my last dream I might have done that. But I'm working under different rules now than before. My eyes travel up the wall across from her and what I see makes my blood boil. Taped to the wall, in front of my face is her driver's license along with three more licenses, just like trophies on the wall of a den. I yank them all off the wall and put them in one of my pockets.

Then I turn around, I walk up to her and see they even taped her eyes open. I look into her azure eyes and where I should see the spirit of a proud young woman, all I see is an empty shell. I use my Ka-Bar, cut her loose, put her over my shoulders in a fireman's carry and head back to the hospital.

The security guards see me coming with her on my shoulders but they don't even give me any crap. As I walk inside the ER, one of the nurses sees me and yells, "Oh my God! That's Sally he's carrying - she's been missing for a day and a half. Quick someone get him a gurney." I gently place her on the gurney and they cover her with a blanket as the nurse says, "We need to take care of her first, but I'll come out later with the police to take your statement."

They wheel her to an exam room so I wait a minute and head back out the door. I sure as hell don't need to be giving any statements to anyone. But I sure know what I need to do and it's not sitting on my fucking hands and waiting for the police. I have a plan, but first I need to make a few phone calls because twice today I didn't have the right weapons for the situation at hand.

Present — Samantha — WRAMC

I look at Jim and say, "Alright, Jim we need to get moving. Get on the phone and get Linus and the rest of the guys over here."

He just sits there and whines, "Jens is going to kill me."

I get in his face and say, "Jim, if you think Jennifer Donaldson is going to kill you, just imagine what Liz and I are going to do to you if you don't get off your ass and get on the phone."

He finally starts moving and I say, "I'm going to see if I can find out what the hell Ben was talking about in his note. When the team gets here, Liz wants you to leave two of them with me and the rest of you need to get out in the streets and find Ben. If Jennifer Donaldson calls make sure you don't let her know about Ben leaving."

I walk out of the room, head to the nurse's station, walk up to the desk and ask the unit clerk, "Excuse me, I was wondering if I could talk to Mr. Blaine's nurse?" She is reading a magazine and doesn't even bother to look up as she says, "I'm sorry, we had a nurse call in sick today and we're understaffed so she's busy taking care of other patients. Unless this is an emergency you will just need to wait until she comes into his room."

I clear my throat and raise my voice, "Excuse the hell out of me for interrupting your reading! What's your name so when I do my report I can make sure to let everyone know how helpful you've been?"

This shocks her and she finally looks up at me and says, "You're the young reporter for the Truth Network."

I smile and say, "You're only half right: Yes, I'm Samantha Stevens but also I'm your worst nightmare if you don't get me Mr. Blaine's nurse."

She looks around the nurse's station and replies, "I'm sorry Miss Stevens, I'd love to go get her, but there's no one else here and I can't leave the nurse's station empty."

Shoot, what to do now! I think and ask, "You just need someone to answer the phone, right? And you won't be gone long?"

She answers, "That's right Miss Stevens."

I reply, "I'll be glad to watch the phones for you until you get back."

She answers, "I really shouldn't do this, but I'll just be gone a minute." She takes off and I start ransacking the nurse's station looking for Ben's chart. Shit! I can't find it anywhere and I hear the unit clerk coming back so I put things back where they were and nonchalantly sit in the chair, she walks into the station and says, "Mr. Blaine's nurse will be here in a few minutes. She's busy finishing a sponge bath. You're welcome to stay in the station if you'd like."

I smile at her and answer, "Thanks but I'd better get back in Mr. Blaine's room please ask his nurse to come and see me there."

I walk back to Ben's room, and see Jim, Linus and Bernie have all arrived. Then Ben's phone rings. I look at it and say, "That's probably Ms. Donaldson. The last time I answered her call, she was a real witch and went off on me. Linus answer the phone and make sure you don't tell her about Ben being gone."

Present — Jens — Hospital Ramstein Air Field Germany

The fog clears and I see my Ben. He's wandering aimlessly through a city alley, in a not so nice part of town and he is sad - sadder than I've ever remembered him. His mind is awash in turmoil and I even see a tear or two slip down his face. I yell, "Hey Ben it's okay! I'm right here and I love you and always will!" He doesn't respond and it's like he can't hear me.

I get worried when I see a nasty looking group of men step out of a side alley and confront Ben. I can't really hear what's being said, but I can tell by the changes in my Ben that he's getting mad. Then he pulls out a pistol and a knife and starts chasing the men. He scares the poo out of them! It makes me giggle and I wake up. Wow, was that ever a crazy dream. It's funny Liz isn't here with me right now because she's been next to me through this whole ordeal - better than any sister I could ever wish for.

I stretch, yawn and realize I never did hear my darling husband-to-be's answer to Samantha's question. I look at the clock and figure Ben has to be awake by now so I decide to call him. On the fourth ring I hear, "Ben Blaine's room this is Linus speaking."

I ask, "Hey Linus, it's s-o-o-o-o good to hear your voice, but I'd rather hear Ben's voice. How about handing the phone to him?"

There's a short pause and he says, "Sorry Jens, he's not here right now, he's down at PT."

I giggle and say, "Yeah and I bet Ben's the one causing the Pain and Torture. Please tell him I called when he gets back to the room."

Linus answers, "Will do Jens. Is there anything else?"

I think for a moment and start with a question, "Linus, we've been really good friends for a long time haven't we?"

He answers, "Yeah Jens, we've both been through some good times and bad times together. Why do you ask?"

I answer, "Well Linus, you're one of the few that sort of believed I could sense Ben's feelings and since my surgery I can't do that anymore. So I wanted to ask you to tell me truthfully how Ben is really doing."

There's an annoying pause which seems much too long as Linus replies, "Jens, Ben's doing better than anyone imagined and will be leaving the hospital sooner than anyone expects."

I say, "Thanks Linus and don't forget to tell him I called." I hang up the phone and wonder. Something doesn't seem quite right to me, but I can't put my finger on it. Linus, well, seemed to be more secretive than normal, almost like when he was trying to hack my account on the laptop. I'm a little depressed because I can't talk to Ben so I decide to find out where the heck Liz is. I call her phone but hear, "We're sorry, the number you have reached is currently not in service. Please try again later."

I hang up the phone but now I'm really worried - something must be going on. I dial Ira's phone, she answers and says, "Hello Ms. Donaldson. Did you sleep well last night?"

Hmmm, she's being almost too nice! I reply, "I slept well, but had a really strange dream about Ben and woke up giggling from it. I called you because I tried calling Liz and her phone's not working."

She says in an 'oh so sweet tone', "Ms. Donaldson, Ms. Morgan didn't feel well last night and could not get to sleep. So Mira gave her some sleeping pills and she is still asleep. I think she will wake in about an hour and then we will come to your room."

I reply, "Okay thanks Ira. Tell Liz I need to talk to her as soon as she wakes up."

I hang up the phone and yell, "Rats, Double Rats, and Triple Rats!" It scares Matt so he jumps up from the chair he's been sleeping in and yells, "Where's the fucking rat bastards!"

I laugh and say, "Relax Matt, I'm just upset because I can't talk to Ben or Liz." I think for a moment and ask, "Matt, something feels hinky to me, please call Jim and ask how Ben's doing?"

I watch as he picks up his phone and begins to dial, but we're interrupted when the doctor walks into the room. Matt closes his phone as I give the evil-eye to the fricken perv doctor. He laughs and says, "Don't worry, I didn't come to examine you."

I sarcastically grump at him, "Yeah right! Then why in the fricken-fracken heck are you here?"

He laughs and says, "I came because you and your parents are doing remarkably well. In fact I would go as far as to say the speed of all your healings are a miracle..."

I interrupt, sass him and say, "S-o-o-o-o-o what in the heck does this mean to me?"

He smiles and answers, "It means all three of you can go home today. I've written the orders releasing all three of you so the nurses will be in to get all of you ready."

I continue to give him the evil-eye and ask, "You aren't playing some sort of dirty trick on me, are you?"

He laughs and replies, "No Miss Donaldson, just take a look at your chest wound. It's already totally closed."

I pull out the collar and peek down the front of my jammies and smile to myself - yes I did a very good job on this. Then I look at the doctor and he continues, "However Ms. Donaldson, I would like an opportunity to write a paper on the miraculous healing you and your parents have experienced."

I get back to accusing, "I knew you were a peeping Tom perv and just wanted another free look. There's no way in heck anyone is looking at this body other than my husband-to-be, Ben, and he doesn't even get to look until after we're married."

The doctor says, "Oh well, you can't blame me for trying. Anyway you're all released and I would suggest you start getting ready to head home."

The doctor leaves the room, Matt looks at me and says, "Jens what the hell is going on between you and the doctors?"

I look at Matt, bite my lip and wonder if I should tell him, then I decide to tell him part of the truth and say, "Matt, I've had my fill of doctors and I believe most are nothing but glorified drug pushers. Almost all of them never treat the illness, they just give you pills to mask the symptoms. I have more healing in my little finger than most of them do in their whole fricken-fracken bodies."

Matt blinks at me and challenges, "So when did you get your fucking medical degree?"

I laugh and say, "Matt, I don't need a fricken-fracken medical degree to know how to heal a human body."

Matt, laughs and replies, "Jens, I'm beginning to think you've lost it."

I start to get real sassy with him, but Liz and the twins walk into the room. Ira gives me a look and pulls on her right ear. I simmer down and say, "We're wasting time; we've all been released from the hospital so let's blow this Popsicle stand..."

Present — Ben — Washington DC

With the way things are in DC right now, there are no cabs to catch. In fact the streets are deserted and very few people are risking travel. But I need to get to my bank first. If it's open, then I need to hit a few other places. I head towards the bank at a lope, and think damn it feels good to run again! But I tire after about two miles and I have to slow to a fast walk.

I hear a car accelerate behind me and a bunch of yells coming from it.

"Hey, looks like we've got fresh meat!"

"Kick it in the ass Bob and let's get him!"

"I bet he's a fucking conservative!"

I pull the Taurus PT 24/7 Pro DS1 that Jim gave me and silently swear, wishing it was my Kimber. But it was the best he could do on such short notice. I did notice he kept a Kimber for himself, the bastard! I spin, face the car, kneel, bring up the pistol and take off the safety.

1 A double action/single action, double stack, striker-fired pistol in .45 ACP. Capacity is 12 in the mag and one in the tube.

I sure hope this pistol shoots straight because I haven't had a chance to test it. I wait, watch the car approach and take aim on the driver. I don't fire yet - I cannot fire yet. Everything has changed since the dream. Before I would have already taken at least one shot. Now, I must wait. They must make the first move. There's only one rat bastard that I can kill without provocation and he's still in Afghanistan.

Finally the passenger fires so I slowly squeeze the trigger. The Taurus barks, the windshield breaks, the driver slumps down in his seat, the car veers sideways and runs into a lamppost. I move my aim to the passenger's seat, and watch as the door slowly opens and a young man falls on the ground. I run over and see that he's seriously injured his back - but not from the wreck: The airbag deployed and he didn't have his seatbelt fastened.

I put the Taurus to the back of his neck and say, "If you fight me your dead." Then I pull the pistol out of his hand and look at it. It's a nice Glock 21. I drop the mag on it and notice its capacity is thirteen rounds and I demand of him, "Where the fuck did you get this."

He's moaning but finally says, "We found a dead cop and took it off him." That's what I thought. The odds of a civilian having a Glock 21 with a thirteen round mag are very slim. I stripped the mag and put the rounds in one of my pockets.

I command, "Lay still while I check on the driver." I walk around to the other side of the car and open the door. There's a forty-five caliber hole in the middle of the driver's face and the whole back of his head is splattered over the back window and seat of the car. I make a mental note: At forty-five meters this Taurus shoots one inch low. I'd been aiming right between his eyes. I toss the rest of the car and find two boxes of forty-five ammo. Right now that's worth more to me than gold.

It's all over and I look at the Taurus in my hand with more respect. I turn it over, see "MADE IN BRAZIL" and smile. I remember Mom and wonder if perhaps one of my family members helped work on this pistol. I was going to keep the Glock and ditch the Taurus, but for some reason I can't, not anymore. I decide, for a mostly plastic pistol the Taurus is not bad. There's only one problem with it and I can adapt, right now I have to fire it with my left hand and the thumb safety isn't ambidextrous. No problem, it will just slow me up about one second before I can fire.

I pull the driver's carcass out of the car, dump it onto the ground, use my Ka-Bar and cut out the airbag. Then I take a blanket and clean up the blood as well as I can. Once that's done I hop in the car and start it up - the motor smokes a little. The injured passenger yells, "Hey you aren't just going to leave me here are you."

I think: Son-of-a-bitch! Now I have to help this bastard. It was easier when I could just kill them or let them die.

I order, "Your door's still open. You have exactly one minute to get your ass back in the passenger's seat. If you can do that I will take you to the hospital."

I watch as he struggles and barely makes it back into the passenger's seat. I know I shouldn't do it, but I can't resist. His feet aren't all the way in when I take off and the door slams closed on his legs with a satisfying crunch followed by a loud scream. The bastard passes out. I spin the car around and head back to the hospital's emergency entrance. I pull up, open the passenger's door, kick his ass out and watch him crumple to the ground. Security yells, "Hey you can't leave him here."

I yell back, "I sure can, this bastard tried to shoot me with a service Glock from a dead cop. Make sure you call the cops and give them this weapon. I toss the empty Glock out on top of the bastard and drive off.

With the streets being so empty, I make it to my bank in record time. I don't believe it! It's open but there are armed guards in tactical gear out in front of the bank. I pull the car into the bank parking lot...

Present — Liz — Jens' hospital room Ramstein Air Field Germany

The sleeping pills Mira gave me knocked me out, but I'm not sure I slept very well because I still feel like shit. I wake up groggy as hell. Mira offers me some more pills to help me wake up which I decline. I need to be in total control of my emotions when I go to see Jens. I take a long cold shower which helps then have two steaming cups of strong black coffee and decide I'm as ready as I'll ever be to face her.

I'm so damn pissed off at Ben! What the fuck is he doing? After all he went through to get back to Jens and after all she's gone through to get back to Ben, he just decides to dump her! If he was here I'd have Mira and Ira hold him while I kick him in the balls until he came to his senses!

We head over to the hospital and walk into Jens' room. I can see she's already fired up and is giving Matt shit. I almost turn around to walk out the door but she notices Ira, simmers right down and says, "We're wasting time. We've all been released from the hospital so let's blow this Popsicle stand. But first I want to call my Ben and tell him to be ready for me!"

I start to panic and feel faint until Ira squeezes my hand and says, "Ms. Donaldson, I think it would be an excellent surprise for Mr. Blaine if you did not tell him. Can you imagine the look on his face when you walk into his room?"

Jens gets a huge smile on her face, starts squirming and says, "Ira! Thank you very much! That's an excellent idea. It's s-o-o-o-o stinkin' hard to do anything sneaky around Ben and I bet he will give me the sweetest kisses."

I breathe a sigh of relief because Ira has come to my rescue and distracted Jens. Now she wants it to be a surprise so she's not going to try to tell Ben about it. I ask, "Jens, are you well enough to leave the hospital?"

She smiles and answers, "No Liz I said WE are released from the hospital. That's me, Daddy and mom. I can't wait to get back to America, to see my Ben again and totally surprise him. His face is going to look so cool when I walk into his room. So sister, start getting the plane ready."

I ask again, "Jens, it hasn't been that long since your surgery. Are you really sure about this?"

She nervously glances at Matt and says, "Matt, you need to leave the room. Oh and close the door on your way out." He jumps up and says, "Great, I'm going to go get some chow and will be back in about thirty."

I'm shocked because as soon as the door closes, Jens hops out of bed like she's never been hurt, unbuttons her pajama top and says, "See for yourself Liz, I'm almost healed."

The three of us walk closer, I look at Jens chest and — well, the incision from her surgery is all closed up and looks really good." I ask, in a stunned voice, "Jens, how-how-how did this happen?"

She bites her lip, gives me the look and says, "Liz, Mira and Ira, can you guys keep a secret?"

I look at the twins and think, we're already keeping a hell of a secret from you, and we all say, "Yes Jens we can keep a secret."

She bites her lower lip even more, squirms some like she's battling something and finally says, "Girls, I think we need to pinky-swear on this."

Mira answers, "Ms. Donaldson, I do not understand. What is a pinky-swear?"

Jens is all excited and blurts out, "We all hook our pinkies together and promise that we will never-ever ever-never tell anyone this secret. If we do say anything bad things will happen."

Ira asks, "But what if I am not wearing any pink?"

Jens giggles and says, "Ira and Mira sometimes I think you two are the silliest girls I've ever met." She holds up her hand with just her little finger sticking up and says, "This finger is your pinky." Then she gives an evil little grin, holds up her second finger and says, "But don't ever confuse it with THIS finger or you might get a spanking." Then she giggles some more and says, "Time to pinky-swear."

We all join our pinkies and Jens says, "We all swear that the secret I am going to tell you right now will never be told to anyone else." She looks at us and asks, "Do you all swear?"

Mira and Ira give me a confused look and I say, "I swear." Then Mira and Ira say the same.

Jens breaks into her little dance and says, "Oh boy, I've wanted to tell all of you this, but I was afraid to. I know you all probably won't believe me, but here it is..."

Present — Mira and Ira — Jens' hospital room Ramstein Air Field Germany

The door opens to Ms. Donaldson's hospital room and the doctor walks in interrupting what she is going to tell us. Ms. Donaldson lets out a gasp, quickly closes the front of her pajamas and says, "Hey you fricken-fracken perv! What the heck are you doing in my room, trying to sneak another peek?"

The doctor looks exasperated but replies evenly, "Believe me Ms. Donaldson seeing you with your pajamas open does not excite me at all. I don't know how to tell you this so I will just let come out with it: Your gender is not my type."

I watch as Ms. Donaldson turns all red, then giggles and says, "You mean you don't like women?"

The doctor elaborates, "Don't get me wrong, I can appreciate the female human body for what it is, but I don't get pleasure from seeing women without their clothes. Anyway, I just came here to ask you one more time if you might consent to letting me do a medical research paper on the miracle of your quick healing?"

I watch as Ms. Donaldson bites her lower lip and says, "Well, since you are the way you are, I might consider it. I will let you know when we get back to America."

The doctor smiles and replies, "Thank you for the consideration and I look forward to hearing from you. Now I need to get to other patients."

He turns, leaves the room, Ms. Donaldson giggles and says, "I can't believe it, he's a fricken-fracken h-o-m-o!"

I clear my throat, pull my right ear and say, "Ms. Donaldson, you were going to tell us something important?"

She smiles and says, "I should make you all pinky-swear again. But I'm just going to say that's it's still in effect. Do you all agree?"

We all nod our heads and Ms. Donaldson wiggles, giggled and continues, "I can't really explain how I do it. So I will just show you what I do."

She walks over to me and asks, "Ira, may I touch you?"

I look at Mira, she shrugs her shoulders so I give her permission, "Yes Ms. Donaldson." She touches my shoulders, looks deep into my eyes and I feel warmth spread all over my body. It concentrates on my back where my broken ribs are. They get extremely hot, almost uncomfortable then the heat slowly leaves and takes all the pain with it. I look at Ms. Donaldson with amazement and cannot find any words...


I can barely hear what is being said because my eardrums were ruptured by the explosion. It saddens me to know there are many things now I will never hear again. But the most frustrating is not being able to hear conversations like before.

Ms. Donaldson does something to Ira, I can feel she gets very warm and all the pain leaves her ribs, then Ms. Donaldson walks over to me and I barely hear her say, "Okay Mira it's your turn."

She puts a hand on each side of my head, looks deep into my eyes and I also feel warmth start spreading over my whole body. Then it moves from the middle of my chest and into my ears. At first my ears start ringing like the Orthodox Church Bells of Moscow during Pascha. Then the ringing gets less and less and less. Finally my ears pop, it leaves and I can hear again. I start crying, run to Ira, hug her and say in our special language, "Ira, she-she-she fixed my ears."

Present — Liz — Jens' hospital room Ramstein Air Field Germany

I'm convinced that Jens' elevator doesn't go all the way to the top floor. She has finally gone insane. She's done something to Ira and Mira; I think she hypnotized them. They are both hugging each other and crying like I've never seen them cry before.

Jens walks over in front of me and says, "Liz, I'm really tired but now it's your turn. May I touch you?

I cross my arms, tap my foot and say, "Jens, I don't know what the fuck you did to Mira and Ira, but I'm not sure I want you doing it to me."

Jens looks at me and says, "Oh really Miss know it all smarty pants. Why don't you tell Mira and Ira about your health problems?"

I look down at the floor and remember the day the doctors told me I would never be able to have children because of an STD. How the hell does Jens know about this, I lie through my teeth, "Jens I don't know what health problems you're talking about."

Mira and Ira have stopped hugging each other and are looking at me. Ira says, "Ms. Morgan, what is Ms. Donaldson talking about."

Mira adds, "Yes Ms. Morgan, what is Ms. Donaldson talking about."

I lie again, "I have no idea what she's talking about."

Jens turns and looks at them, "Mira and Ira, Liz has some female problems that she's never told anyone about."

I gasp, how the fuck does she know. Mira orders, "Ms. Morgan, you must let Ms. Donaldson do this for you. She healed my ears." Ira adds, "Yes Ms. Morgan, she healed my ribs."

I resign myself to this ordeal and say, "Okay Jens, hit me with your best shot."

Jens walks over and touches my belly I feel heat and electricity surge into my body, centering on my uterus, then it travels up and into my ovaries. The feeling is so intense I have to fight to not pee my pants, then I let out a huge moan and have the most intense orgasm of my life. I shudder, my legs get weak and Ira runs over easily picks me up and carries me to a chair.

I look and see Jens start to sway but Mira runs over, barely catches her and struggles to take her to the bed.

Jens smiles at me and says, "Your fallopian tubes were scarred but not any longer. So my sister you'd better be a little more careful or you might get knocked up." She giggles and continues, "Liz, Mira and Ira, I'm really a tired-tired girl and need a little some sleep. Do you girls think you can have some food for me when I wake up, because I'm going to be a hungry-hungry hippo?" She drifts off to sleep with a big smile on her face.

I look at Ira and fumble to say, "How-how-how, what-what-what?"

Ira looks a Mira and says, "Ms. Morgan, we have no idea."

Mira adds, "I have heard rumors about this, but I always thought they were tails on old women."

For a second I'm confused but when I figure it out, I smile at Mira and say, "I think you mean old wives tales."

Mira grins, then she looks out the window and says, "Those bird are very noisy today."

I look at Ira and ask, "Ira do you hear any birds?"

Ira looks worried and says, "No Ms. Morgan I do not. Mira are you sure you hear birds?"

Mira looks at us and replies, "Yes and I also hear a nurse walking down the hallway towards this room."

I listen as close as I can but I can't hear anything. I look at Ira and she shakes her head, gets up and moves over by Mira.

Two minutes later a nurse silently walks into the room - she's wearing those nasty rubber shoes which aren't making any noise. Mira grins at both of us and I look over at Ira who looks as confused as I am. Then I reach down and touch my lower belly. Maybe I do need to be very careful...

Present — Ben — Washington DC

A security guard walks over to the car and orders, "Sir, please state your business at the bank."

I control my temper and reply, "I'm a long time customer and need to conduct some private business." He looks at me, sees my pistol and says, "No weapons are allowed in the bank. You will need to leave that in the car."

Dammit, this really pisses me off, but again I control my emotions and say, "I'm going to put it in the trunk, but I'm holding you personally responsible if this car and my pistol are missing when I come out of the bank."'

He covers me as I get out of the car, walk to the trunk, open it, put the Taurus inside and slam the trunk closed. I look at him and say, "Am I free to go into the bank now."

He replies, "Yes Sir, thank you for complying with our new regulations."

I walk up to the doors where another security guard states, "I need to see some identification Sir."

I look at him and explain, "I'm slowly reaching into my pocket and I'm going to take out my wallet." He watches me like a hawk as I pull out my wallet and show him one of my ATM cards. He adds, "Thank you Sir, you may now enter the bank."

I walk into the bank and except for about twenty security guards in full tactical gear, it looks normal. I walk up to the information booth and say, "I would like to speak with a personal banker."

She smiles and says, "I'll call someone for you right away."

Right away ends up being about ten minutes, but finally a personal banker walks up and invites me with, "Let's go back to my office."

I follow her to her office, close the door and take the seat across from her desk. She looks at me until she finally realizes who I am and says, "You're Mr. Blaine, the one who just captured the DC serial killer. Let me shake your hand and thank you!"

I wave off the shake, look at her nametag and reply, "Ms. Lopez, I'm not here for that. In fact I am counting on you being discrete about me even being here."

She's taken aback but recovers and says, "I'm sorry Mr. Blaine. How may I help you?"

I look at her and ask, "Ms. Lopez, with the current situation in America, is the dollar still a valid and good means of purchasing items?"

She answers, "Mr. Blaine, most people still accept dollars as legal tender. But some people are only accepting gold."

I question, "Can this bank issue gold instead of dollars?"

She shakes her head, "Sorry Mr. Blaine, but we cannot do that. We can only issue American dollars or foreign currency."

I think for a moment, then I take a piece of paper, write an account number on it, slide it over to her and say, "Ms. Lopez, I would like to make a five-thousand dollar withdrawal from this account. I would also like you to get me an ATM card which will give me access to this account."

She punches the account number into her computer. I watch as she blinks a couple times in surprise and remarks, "Mr. Blaine, you certainly have the funds in the account to cover this."

I give her a dirty look and state, "Look Ms. Lopez, when I walk out the door I demand that you forget I have ever been here and all the details about this account. If you can't do that for me then I need to speak with your manager."

The threat has the effect I want. As I see fear creep across her face, she answers, "No Mr. Blaine, there's no need to call my manager. I will comply with your wishes. In what denominations would you like your withdrawal?"

I reply, "Forty-five-hundred in hundred dollar bills and the other five-hundred in twenties."

She jumps up and says, "This will take me about thirty to forty-five minutes. Would you like a cup of coffee while you wait?"

I smile, because I didn't get my morning cup and say, "Thank you, I'd really enjoy that."

She says, "If you will follow me, I will take you to our waiting area. We have coffee with danish rolls and you can help yourself."

She takes me to the waiting area where there are about ten people waiting. Immediately someone recognizes me! A very fine looking redhead slinks over in front of me and says, "Ben Blaine, I'm Amanda and want to thank you for capturing the DC serial killer." Then she surprises the hell out of me by giving me a huge hug and a kiss on the lips. I keep my lips closed because her tongue is actively trying to get into my mouth. I struggle to get away from her, but she laughs as I say, "Excuse me Miss but I don't even know you."

Everyone has been watching and they all start heading over to thank me. I beat feet, head back to the information desk and ask, "I'm wondering if I can wait in Ms. Lopez's office. I feel uncomfortable staying in the waiting area."

The receptionist smiles at me and says, "Yes Sir, Mr. Blaine. I'd be happy to take you there myself. By the way, I want to thank you for capturing the serial killer." I fume as we head to Ms. Lopez's office and curse myself for doing those damn interviews. Now my face is entirely too well known.

After another thirty minutes Ms. Lopez comes back, sits at her desk and says, "Everything is all done Mr. Blaine." She counts out the money for me, I put it in my wallet and it makes a hell of a bulge. Then she hands me an ATM card, pushes a reader towards me and says, "Swipe you card and then enter a PIN number twice on the pad." I do as she instructs me and she continues, "Is there anything else I can do for you?"

I reply, "Just forget that I was ever here."

She answers, "I can do that, but I don't know about the crowd in the lobby waiting to congratulate you."

I blink and whine, "Oh Shit! Is there another exit out of the bank I can use?"

Ms. Lopez replies, "We do have a back entrance but you have to go through the lobby to get to it."

I think for a moment and ask, "Ms. Lopez, will you please leave your office and send in one of the security guards? I would like for him to escort me to my car."

Present — Samantha Stevens — Washington DC

Ben's nurse finally comes into the room. She looks very tired and harried. I smile at her and comment, "You look like you've had a hell of a morning."

She doesn't even smile and replies, "You don't know the half of it. We're always understaffed, but when someone gets sick, like Linda did today, we really don't provide our patients with good nursing care. I really need to get back to work - did you have a question for me?"

I think for a moment and come up with an idea, "You know I'm a reporter for the Truth Network, and I think there's a great public interest story in what you've just told me. After things simmer down, I'd like to come back and do private interviews with you and the other nurses about this. We would make sure your identities were hidden."

For the first time she smiles at me but then says, "Look, I wasn't born yesterday and I can see your offer also comes with a price. So what's the price?"

I hesitate to trust her, but I figure she's already in trouble for letting Ben escape, I answer, "First you should know Mr. Blaine has left the hospital." She starts to take off and I add, "Before you leave, please understand that our lawyers will hold you and the hospital directly responsible." She stops, turns, looks at me and says, "That's a shitty thing to do."

I hand her the note and ask, "I want you to read this and tell me what he's talking about."

She read the note, looks at me and says, "I was so happy those two were finally going to be back together. Now he's run off on her!"

I try again, "Tell me what the heck he's talking about."

She looks at me and I can tell she's struggling so finally I offer, "I know you aren't supposed to tell me, but I promise we won't broadcast anything about it and I'll make sure you and the hospital are cleared of any wrongdoing in Mr. Blaine's escape."

She motions me closer and whispers in my ear. I pull back, stare at her and say, "You have to be kidding."

She answers, "No I'm not. It happened when he was being held prisoner. I saw the test results with my own eyes. Now excuse me but I need to get to my other patients and file a report about Bennie Blaine leaving the hospital AMA1."

1 Against Medical Advice.

I worry that if the nurse files the AMA report, then other reporters will pick up on it and Ms. Donaldson will find out, so I ask, "I don't suppose you could hold off until the end of your shift on filing the AMA report."

She questions, "Why would you want me to wait."

I answer, "Well, we have people combing the city looking for Mr. Blaine. If we find him and bring him back, then you won't have to file the report."

She looks at her watch and says, "Well, I shouldn't do this, but I guess I can wait until the end of my shift. You have four hours until I have to file the report."

I say, "Thank you so much!" Then I pick up my phone, get ready to call Liz, when the phone rings, I answer and say, "Hello Darrell, what do you need?"

He answers, "Samantha, we just had a tip. Someone spotted Ben at the First National bank on the corner of Lexington and Concorde."

I answer, "Thanks Darrell I'm grabbing Bernie and we're going to get right over there."

I yell, "Bernie! Ben's been spotted at the First National Bank. Let's go see if we can catch him."

We fly out of the room, down to the first floor and out to our waiting van. I yell at our driver, "We need to get to the First National Bank on the corner of Lexington and Concorde as fast as we can."

We take off and I make a phone call, "Hey Jim! This is Samantha. Ben's been spotted at the First National Bank on the corner of Lexington and Concorde - we're headed there now."

Jim replies, "Thanks Samantha, we're about four miles from there and will head right over too."

We get the bank and it's pandemonium! There are news crews everywhere and I notice Jim and Linus arrive. The security guards won't let our body guards in with weapons but Bernie and I fight our way into the bank, push past a security guard and see other reporters interviewing customers. I walk up to a customer, put a mic in her face and say, "Hello, I'm Samantha Stevens from the Truth Network, would you please tell me your name and what's going on here."

She replies, "Hello Samantha." She waves and continues, "And hello Mom. I'm Amanda Fairchild and I got to personally meet Ben Blaine right here in this bank."

I ask, "Can you tell me more about this meeting?"

She smiles and says, "I sure can. He was getting a cup of coffee, right here in the waiting area. I recognized him, walked right up to him, thanked him and gave him a great big hug and a kiss right on the lips."

I'm sure glad we're recording this and not doing a live broadcast, if Ms. Donaldson heard this she'd fly back here on her broom and rip every red hair out of this sluts head. I continue, "Are you sure it was Mr. Blaine? I thought he was still in the hospital."

She gets a dreamy look in her eyes and replies, "Oh yes, I'm certain it was Ben Blaine and let me tell you he is the best kisser in the world." She giggles and adds, "I'm still aroused by his kiss."

Bernie gives me a hell of a look from around the side of the camera and I change the subject, "Amanda, do you know where Mr. Blaine is now."

She smiles and says, "Certainly, I've been waiting and watching for him because I think he wants to spend the night with me. He went down the hallway and is in the third office on the right. I saw him go in and he hasn't come out yet."

I look at Bernie and say, "Let's go and get him Bernie."

Our body guards finally show up and I yell, "Follow me, he's down here."

We make a beeline for the office, I throw open the door and see a man sitting there in what looks to be Ben's clothes!

Present — Ben — Washington DC

I need a fucking disguise because with all the news coverage of the DC serial killer capture everyone knows my face. Shit I about got a tonsillectomy from that redheaded slut when she congratulated me and I almost threw up after her kiss. Since I've left Ms. Jennifer Donaldson, I could never be with another woman. I will remain celibate for the rest of my life.

So I get an idea and have Ms. Lopez leave her office and send in a security guard. He walks through the door, closes it and says, "Sir, I was told you need an escort to your car."

I look at him, notice he will be just about right, and I respond, "Well that's not quite what I want. I need a way to get out of the bank without being recognized. What I really want is to buy your tactical gear from you."

I guess it's true: Everyone does have their price, because after a bit of negotiating I finally talk him out of his gear (less his AR) for one-thousand dollars. It's an exorbitant amount of money for gear that's barely useable but all I need it for is to get out of the bank.

The gear doesn't fit me like my own, but is confortable enough. I put on the helmet, pull the visor over my eyes and head out into the lobby. I made the deal right in fucking time because the lobby is awash with news crews and reporters looking for me. I almost laugh as Samantha and Bernie push past me and head over to the slutty redhead. I get concerned when I have to push past Jim, Linus and the rest of Samantha's body guards, but the disguise works.

Finally I'm out in the parking lot and head to my car. I start to open the door and think I'm finally going to escape, when I hear, "What do you think you're doing, that's not your car!"

I turn and see the security guard I told to watch my car earlier, I pull the keys out of my pocket and say, "You're right. Mr. Blaine asked me to drive the car around to the front of the bank for him. I even have his keys to prove it."

He looks at me, the keys in my hand and says, "Well, I don't really recognize you. But if you have his keys then it must be okay."

I unlock the door, jump in the car, start it up and leave the parking lot. I get three blocks away from the bank, pull over, take off my helmet and retrieve my Taurus from the trunk. Now I need to find someplace where I can buy a disposable mobile phone. This proves to be harder than it used to be. Normally I would pull into a convenience store to buy one off the rack. But most of those stores have been looted and closed.

Finally I pull into an open gas station, which again has armed security guards. I pull up to one of the guards, roll down my window and ask, "Do they sell mobile phones here?" He sees my tactical gear from the bank, smiles and says, "Yeah we've got them inside." Then he adds, "I don't know about you guys at the bank, but we all have so many hours of overtime we can retire when this is all over."

I grin back at him and answer, "Yeah, I've worked my ass off but the extra money's going to be great."

I park the car, head inside and look at the disposable mobile phones. I almost shit a brick when I see the price. The bastards have doubled the price since I last bought one. I guess the five big ones I got at the bank aren't going very far. I grab three phones, head up to the counter and pay for them. The cashier sees my tactical gear, and says, "It's a good thing you wore your gear, we give a discount to security guards. He rings it up and it not quite half as much as the marked price. I walk out and hop back in my car.

The security guard walks over to my car and taps on the window, I roll it down and he asks, "Hey you wouldn't want to catch and extra shift here would you?"

I fake a yawn and say, "Man I wish I could, but I'm beat. They closed the hotel I was staying in and I still need to find some place to crash. You don't know of some place that's still open that isn't a fleabag?"

He thinks for a couple minute and says, "Let me go ask Angelo."

He walks away, talks to someone I assume is Angelo, comes back to my car and says, "Angelo says the Sierra Motel on Framingham Drive is still open and not bad. Make sure you wear your tactical gear because if you don't they will charge you double."

I thank him, roll up the window, open up a mobile phone, assemble everything, punch in the numbers and make my first call. I hear a man say on the other end, "I sure as hell don't recognize this number. You've got ten seconds to tell me who the fuck you are."

I answer with our secret quote, "You know, I can't think of nothing finer than..."

I hear him laugh as he finishes the quote, " ... a fine naked woman holding a gun. As I live and breathe, it's Banzai-fucking-Ben. I'd heard you met up with a she-devil-dog and she has you by the short hairs. How the hell are you doing?"

It makes me think about Jens and how I wished she had me by the short hairs, but I shake my head and reply, "To be truthful, I've been better and seen better days. But it still sounds like you're an ornery, cantankerous, foul-mouthed old fart. Tell me, did that leg of yours ever heal up?"

There's a short pause and he says, "Oh you know, it's pretty damn stiff in the morning or when the weather gets cold and wet. But it's better than pushing up daisies. Listen I know you didn't just call me to shoot the breeze, so what can I do for you?"

I answer, "I'm in need of some special items which I think you might have."

There's a short pause and he says, "Banzai, are you in some sort of trouble. If so just say the word and we'll all be there."

I reply, "Dwight, I'd really rather not talk about this over the phone. You know how insecure mobile phones are. Do you still have your shop?"

He laughs so hard it rattles my ears, "Shit! I'll have the shop until the day I fucking die and then I'm going to be buried in it. In fact there's a few of us here right now to make sure no bastards try to break into it. So come on over and we'll drink some bourbon and tell some lies."

I smile and reply, "Great, I'll see you guys in about an hour. I'm driving a piece of shit silver Buick, so don't shoot my ass when I pull into the lot."

I hang up the phone, start the car and head towards the shop.

Present — Samantha Stevens — Washington DC

I look at the man sitting in the chair in Ben's clothes and yell, "Those are Mr. Blaine's clothes. Where the hell did he go?"

He gets a scared look on his face and says, "The gentleman told me he needed to get out of the bank without being recognized and asked me for my tactical gear. Since we pride ourselves on service, I complied with his wish."

I'm pretty sure part of what he's saying is a lie, but I don't have the time to grill the hell out of him so I just ask, "How long ago did he leave?"

He looks at his watch and says, "Only about ten minutes ago."

I look at Linus and say, "Ben's wearing tactical gear and still might be in the lobby."

We run out into the lobby and there's a bunch of security types all in tactical gear. Linus looks at them and then uses his command voice and orders, "All the security in tactical gear, please raise your visors. We suspect there is an imposter wearing tactical gear."

The guards start looking at each other and they raise their visors, I quickly scan all of them once and I don't see Ben so I scan them again and tell Linus, "I don't see him, he must already be outside. Let's move it."

We run outside and there aren't as many guards, so we start looking at each one of them and we don't find Ben. I yell, "Dammit, he's not here. We've missed him."

Linus says, "Yes Samantha, and I am afraid we will have a very hard time finding Ben. He is an expert at hiding."

With the missed opportunity of catching Ben, I decide to call Liz with the information I already have. Perhaps she might have some ideas on how to find Ben.

Present — Liz — Jens' hospital room Ramstein Air Field Germany

The nurse takes a look at Jens sleeping on the bed and remarks, "She sleeps and eats more than any patient I've ever had, especially when she comes back from visiting her parents. One time she was so tired I had to help her into bed. Anyway, I came to give her discharge instructions and she's sleeping again, I know better than to try to wake her up. When she's like this she could sleep through a hurricane. Well, let me know when she wakes up." Then turns and walks out of the room.

I look at Mira and Ira and they are smiling at me like twin Cheshire cats. I demand, "Okay you two, what's up?"

Mira says, "I think the third floor Ms. Morgan."

Ira replies, "The ceiling."

I get frustrated and say, "No, don't take me so literally. I'm asking you two what you're both grinning about."

They look at each other and Mira says, "Ms. Morgan we..."

Ira continues, " ... are very excited thinking about..."

Mira finishes, " ... taking care of your babies!"

Ira starts again, "We've always wanted..."

Mira adds, " ... to be nannies!"

I'm totally shocked and plop in a chair as they rush by my side and hug me. I'm distracted by my phone ringing and answer, "Samantha, what news do you have for me?"

She explains everything she found out about Ben's note. A couple tears slip down my cheek and Ira wipes them for me with a Kleenex. Then Samantha says, "Liz, I think we let you down. Ben was spotted at a bank, but by the time we got here he was already gone. Linus doesn't think we will be able to find him. You can fire me if you want."

I chuckle and reply, "Samantha, I'm not going to fire you. Even though you guys missed Ben, you're still doing a great job. Let me make some phone calls to see if I can get some more help finding him."

I stand up, and say, "I'm moving over in the corner to make some phone calls."

Present — Mira and Ira — Jens' hospital room Ramstein Air Field Germany

Mira looks at me and starts in our special language, "Ira, I do not know what Ms. Donaldson did to my ears, but I can hear much better than I ever have in my whole life. I heard Samantha on the phone with Ms. Morgan just like she was talking to me."

I ask, "What did she say about Mr. Blaine?"

She answers, "It's what we expected but even worse. He had two analyses that came back totally negative."

I cry just a little and say, "I feel very sorry for Mr. Blaine. I am sure he feels like is no longer a man."

Mira also cries and says, "I am also very sorry for Ms. Donaldson. I know she was counting on their marriage."

I giggle, "And other things which marriage brings."

Mira scolds, "Ira, get your mind out of the sewer."

I reply, "Okay sister here is something to think about." I reach over, grab her by the front of her body armor and pick her up with one arm. It surprises her, she flops around like a fish and I giggle...


Ira just picked me up with one arm and it is a big surprise. I struggle at first thinking she will hurt herself, then she sets me down and I say, "Ira, how-how-how did you do that?"

She grins at me and answers, "Mira I do not understand it. Ever since Ms. Donaldson healed my back, I have felt very strong. When I had to carry her to the bed, she felt like a doll to me." Then she grins and continues, "But I think you've gained some weight my sister."

I stamp my foot on the floor and say, "Ira, stop teasing me, I have not gained any weight. I am still a perfect size two just like you."

I think for a moment and ask, "Ira, now that Ms. Morgan can have babies, who will we find to provide the male component for her?"

Ira scrunches up her face and answers, "Well, Mr. Blaine would have been the perfect donor and knowing him he might have felt the obligation to marry her. But I think we will have a very hard time finding him and an even harder time convincing him to provide the male component. And then it might not even work."

I think and mention, "Ira, remember the story in the Bible about Lot and his daughters? Perhaps if we can find Mr. Blaine we can get him drunk and take advantage of him."

Ira answers, "And if we could capture him we could see if they have a surgery which would fix his problem. I will start looking for doctors which do this surgery. But first we must find Mr. Blaine."

I come up with another idea and tell Ira, "I just remembered how many Mossad there are in Washington DC right now. We should call and have them start looking for Mr. Blaine."

Present — Liz — Jens' hospital room Ramstein Air Field Germany

I've been on the phone, calling in favors, promising future favors and getting everyone I know to start looking for Ben. And if Jens is right, I'm going to need to be very careful about fulfilling those future favors. Plus I've been keeping my eye on Mira and Ira, they're off in the other corner gabbing away in their secret language and I can tell they're cooking up some scheme. And I bet it has something to do with me.

I'm talking to one of my oldest friends, when Ira easily picks Mira up with one fucking arm. I'm so surprised I drop the phone and hear, "Liz, Liz, Liz are you alright?" Ira sets Mira back down, I reach down, pick up the phone and say," Jerry, I need to take care of something. Let me call you back in a few minutes."

He answers, "Liz, no need to call me back. I have all the information I need. I'll contact you when we find Bennie Blaine."

He hangs up, I walk over to the twins and declare, "Ira, that was some circus trick you just pulled on Mira."

She looks puzzled and answers, "Ms. Morgan, I do not know any tricks from the circus. But I will learn some if you wish."

I smile again, "Ira, I just watched you pick up your sister with one arm, if that doesn't make you a circus strong woman than I don't know what does."

Ira's eyes dart to the floor and she answers, "I have been much stronger since Ms. Donaldson fixed my back."

Mira adds, "And I hear much better than before."

They both look at me. Their eyes are twinkling as they say, "We wonder if Ms. Donaldson is also right about you?"

Shit! This is the last thing I need. Mira and Ira trying to figure out ways to get me knocked up. Because these two are so good at their jobs, they just might figure out a way...

Present — Ben — Washington DC the "shop"

Things are better as I leave Washington DC proper and head into the suburbs. Oh the roads are still barren, especially for this time of day, but the prevalence of trash, both human and physical is virtually non-existent. If I didn't know of the hellacious upheaval going on in America, I would think it was a lazy Sunday afternoon.

I'm about three blocks from the shop, and I notice I'm being watched. They're good, but accidentally let the light reflect off the front surface of their rifle scope. I take a quick right, pick up the phone, get ready to hit redial when I see another one. This one's in a tree and made two mistakes: First his ghillie suit isn't quite right, and second he forgot camo for his hands and they stick out like sore thumbs.

I take another turn and finally dial the phone. Dwight answers, "Shit! Are you ever going to get here?"

I reply, "Hey Dwight, do you have couple guys out here with rifles pretending to be snipers?"

He chuckles, "I see you still have some of your skills. Yeah I have two guys who said they know what they're doing. I knew I should have checked them first."

I laugh, "Yeah, you know how it is now days. Everyone you talk to was a Navy Seal or Special Forces."

He adds, "Or Recon."

I laugh, "Shit if we had this many trained men, we would have won the war in a week."

Dwight says, "We all know most of them are really REMF2s."

2 Rear Echelon Mother Fuckers.

I add, "Well, they shouldn't be shamed with what they did. Shit! Most of us couldn't have done our jobs without the support they provided. Anyway, now that I know who they are, I'm headed in. See you in a few." I hang up the phone, drive to the shop and park by the retaining wall.

I walk to the door, knock, Dwight opens it and I walk into the shop. Seeing Dwight make me remember the first time I met him...

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Story tagged with:
Ma/Fa / Romantic / Heterosexual / Fiction / True Story / Military /