Chapter 1

'Damn it!' Finally I'm free of those 'assholes'. In fact, they were pretty good to me, but still; if I lived or died probably meant nothing to them. We said our good byes. Right, more like a few "No's" followed by "Hell No" and I drove off in my 4-wheel truck to the small but well appointed house near a National Park in Virginia.

I stopped by 'Da's'(Da Dominica's) in Tyson's Corner, for a drink or two and to say hello and see some of the 'good' and 'bad' guys. You never want to burn bridges. Dom, Mac and Bill were there, so were a few 'Spooks' and their ADD Jim. The 'General', 'Ollie" and 'Fern' seemed to be waiting for someone; they were at a separate table. That was some of the charm of the place, all the 3 letter agencies were always around, 'NSC', 'CIA', 'NSA'. 'DIA', and a few lesser known ones that did not have a name.

I was not a 'player' but was tolerated because no one really knew 'who owned me' and how much I really knew about them. 'Oh the webs we weave'. I had been followed several times, when I was let onto, Army, Marine, White House, Navy and NASA sites it got confusing. No one claimed me, there was no rank, ID or Serial number to follow just a Social number any civilian would have, so how could I go everywhere so easily?

Access to Snake River, SRS, Hughes and Nellis AFB sort of 'broke the Camel's back', I stated getting 'visits' and lots of questions. After about 200 hours of 'interview' tapes, videos and 'applications' for possible work or assignments, my references remained the same, I was a 'Consultant'; anytime, anywhere, anything as long as it was 'Legal'(Some have their own definition of that means).

All that was over, or so I thought, and at that time it was. My trip home would change that. It was after 9 PM and a little cold and wet, since it had rained earlier that evening.

I took a back road off the Expressway, turned the opposite way from 'Wolf Trap' and decided to get a few things in town before heading home. Never made it. Ahead a car was on it's side, smashed up with lights on, wipers running and horn blaring. Someone was inside. A small, but very sharp knife made short work of a ton of airbags. Under the mess and powder was blood and a body with long, silky blond hair. I tried to get her out. Tried lifting her and found she was pregnant.

Two choices call and wait or get her/them to a hospital. Leaving was not an option, it was obvious that whoever had hit her car, had done just that though. I did not even have a chance to choose something, when a Voice, yes a Voice I knew said something I will always remember. "We'll get her! Meet up at XYZ Hospital. We take care of our own, you are still one of us, Right Jack?"

Got to love them guys. It seems with no delay or questions asked, the girl had been moved to an OR. While I waited, my Voice told me the perp who hit her had been found and would have the 'pleasure' of 'our' company when she got out, if she got out. If not it would be just me. He merely asked again if I was one of them or not. I could only shake my head and whisper "Yes". He placed a hand on my shoulder then left. A nurse and Doctor came over and sat down on either side of me.

"It's hard to say, buddy." There is a lot of damage, she lost a ton of blood and we are just pouring more into her. I need to know something, Son."

"What?" I asked.

"If we take the baby, it is too small and will die, but she will stand a better chance to live. What do you want to do?"

"Doc, I don't even know her name. I was driving home and just saw her car."

"Ahh, your 'friends' sort of made it 'Top Priority' and we thought she belonged to you when you showed up."

"Doc, I can't tell you what to do. I can ask that you do for her, and her kid, the same as you would do if she was your daughter. I just can't imagine anyone doing this to her and then leaving."

He left, another hand on my shoulder. The nurse asked me if I wanted anything. She said I could go rest in a small room or go home, the girl would be in the OR a long time.

Why should I even care, she was nothing to me, I did not even know her name. The nurse handed me a purse saying it had been found in the car. I asked her where I might look through it and use a phone, a Sat phone in private. She led me to a small office. "You can use this, the Doctor will be busy for a while." She gave me a slight pat, like a to a lost puppy dog. I guess seeing the girl like that did have an affect on me. I started looking through the purse.

There was no real identification. A license and telephone number were inside. The 'Firm' had been thorough as usual. It was almost 11:30 PM when I called the number. A man answered. "Yes" he said.

"Are you missing a girl?" I asked.

"Who the Hell are you? What have you done to our daughter? You 'Bastard you', I'll ... he went on, a long time."

"Sir, I said, please let me talk. I found a girl on the side of the road while I was driving home this evening. She was badly hurt so we are here at a nearby hospital. I called this number based on the registration of the plates."

"Which hospital? How is she? We'll be right down"

"We are at XYZ Hospital."

"Where? We are in Los Angeles!"

"It's here, in Virginia, near Tyson's Coroner. Let me get a nurse to call you, your daughter is in the OR and there is no report yet on her condition or that of the baby."

"Baby?" I heard. "She is only 17. Baby?"

"A nurse will call you. What is your name and hers?"

"I am Major General R D Price, my wife is Samantha, and my daughter is Dawn. She ran away 18 months ago. Who are you?"

"My name is Jack, Sir, and I sort of work for your boss too, your civilian boss. You can't call me but I will call you as soon as there is any news. I'll have a nurse call you now. Sir, our people have found who did this to your daughter and 'we' all will be able to give him or them an appropriate response, whenever that is. Time will not, I say again, not be an issue with this. I will be with your daughter until you arrive. Our people have taken care of things so far. If you could bring some of her IDs and paperwork it would help, we have nothing here even with her name."

I ended the call, wrote the name Dawn Price and the LA phone number down and asked the duty nurse to call. I also asked if the offer of some food and a place to sleep was still open, I might be here for a bit.

Again, a damn hand patting me; waking me from a great dream, I was on this Island surrounded by ... Hell, I opened my eyes. I saw the doctor from before.

"This is one of the things I hate about this job. There is no easy way to talk to people when the news is not good. We lost the baby! We might lose the girl too. If you had not found her when you did and your 'friends' not gotten here when they did, they would both be dead already. I understand her parents will be here, I thought you said you did not know her? Her father asked if you would pick them up, he said you and he worked for the same firm."

"I guess we do, but I did not know his daughter nor that she was the girl I found. Fate. I guess."

He said they will be landing in a private jet at a place you know. ETA he said was in 3 hours local time. Dawn is in the ICU and if she lives, it will be at least 24-48 hours before she can see anyone."

I had enough time. I drove to a garage the 'Firm' owned and drew a large SUV to use to pick up the Prices. It was going to be a long day. I also remembered what the 'Voice' had said. 'We take care of our own.'

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