Coming Home: Book 1
Chapter 14: Safety in numbers

Copyright© 2007 by Brendan Buckley

Action/Adventure Sex Story: Chapter 14: Safety in numbers - A man returns to the town he left 20 years before to find that sometimes time doesn't heal all wounds. His old friends have new lives and the people he left behind aren't the same as he hoped to find. Can he enjoy a rebirth in the town where he was born?

Caution: This Action/Adventure Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa  

Jennifer Pearson was born with the name of Emily Horsham in a small town in Oregon. She came from a middle-class family and her home life was as normal as any kid's can be.

She was a champion at tae kwon do before her teens and learned to shoot a gun before she learned to ride a bicycle. She was always driven to succeed as a youngster and her quiet nature was mistaken for aloofness by her peers. Gradually, being ostracized led to exactly that, despite her parents' attempts to teach her to be friendlier. By the time she left for college, Emily had few friends.

She graduated from Oregon State and was working on a master's degree in communications at UCLA when her father and mother died in a car crash. Six months later she was approached by the NSA.

After 11 months of training she was assigned as a language specialist for a shadowy group called Omicron-10. It was with this group that the newly christened Jennifer Pearson first felt acceptance. Her new persona allowed her to be whomever she chose, and for a while she was. But the man in charge of her section, a man only a few years older than her, saw her true personality lurking behind the façade.

But instead of seeing it as a flaw, the man taught her to use it as a strength. When the others accepted her as she was, instead of trying to change her into who they thought she should be, her self-image grew. In less than a year she was an integral part of the team and one of the first ones sought out for advice — be it professional or personal. Her tenacity earned her the codename Cobra.

The shy girl from just outside of Coos Bay, OR, had become a woman with a purpose and force to be reckoned with.

Eric Cardwell had given Ian McDaniels the code name "Joker," because during the first six months of his tenure with Omicron-10, Ian hadn't cracked a smile even once.

Ian was born in New York City and he had no idea what his birth name was. He was abandoned by his mother at a shopping center shortly before his fourth birthday — or so the social workers had told him later. He spent his entire life in a state-run orphanage with the name of Thomas Sheffield.

He had no memory of what his life was like before his abandonment, but the scars on his back and pelvis told him it must have been horrible. Like Cobra, Joker had turned inward at a young age. The bullies at the group home thought he was easy prey — a fallacy he was forced to disprove every time a bigger kid was brought in.

By the time he was 14 he was a polished street fighter, but about the only way to force him into a battle was to pick on one of the smaller children. Tommy protected the younger kids fiercely — "just like you'd hope an older brother would," one of the caseworkers wrote. It was days before his 18th birthday when he caught one of the new kids — a 15-year-old — trying to rape one of the younger boys. He beat the teenager almost to death and he was given the option of joining the Marine Corps upon his birthday or facing trial for assault.

The Corps introduced discipline to Thomas' life. He was a smart tactician and he rose through the enlisted ranks quickly before being selected to a force recon team. He was 28 years old when his commander approached him about joining another group.

He took to the training at Omicron-10 like a duck to water. In no time at all he was selected as the team's hand-to-hand combat instructor and he was amazed when the team's leader deferred to him on all matters dealing with physical training. Allowing a subordinate to make unilateral decisions was not the military way of doing things — and that was about the only part of the military that Thomas (now Ian) didn't relish.

The leader's stock rose in Ian's eyes during the planning for their first live mission. Eric Cardwell not only asked for Ian's input, but accepted it. He allowed Ian to draw up the insertion and extraction plan and then asked him to lead the team. The leadership responsibilities opened up a new element to Ian's personality and soon the Joker tag was accurate. For the first time in his life, Ian McDaniels felt he had found a home.

Rick Masters was the son of the South. His father and grandfather were members of the Ku Klux Klan and did their best to raise the boy the same way.

He was born Barry Watters in rural Mississippi and he learned to hunt and fish from the time he could walk. But his elders could never ingrain the racial and religious hatred into the boy. In fact, all through school, Barry's best friend was an African-American neighbor.

It was the summer before his senior year when Barry's friend was found murdered in the woods behind his family's farm. Although no one could ever prove it, Barry knew his father was to blame. Barry Watters left home that night never to return. He hitchhiked to his aunt's house in Tennessee and she got him a plane ticket to his cousin's farm in Pennsylvania.

He got his GED when he turned 18 and joined the Army shortly afterward. His tracking skills and affinity for the woods were soon noticed, as was his fearlessness. By the time boot camp ended, Barry Watters was assigned to an infantry division and, a year later, tested for Ranger school. His success with a Ranger battalion led to his selection to an elite group of commandos known as Omicron-10.

The one part of the military Barry hated with a passion was the fact it was almost as segregated as rural Mississippi. The Latinos hung out with the Latinos; the blacks hung out with the blacks; and the whites hung out with the whites. Even the diversified Ranger company he was with was split along racial lines. He'd learned early on that the way you were treated most likely depended upon the race or gender of your superior officer. It wasn't the way things were supposed to be done.

Omicron-10 didn't operate that way. He found a small, tight-knit group. Latina women had lunch with black men; white men shared quarters with Asian-American men. Mostly, everyone was treated as an equal. The leader learned pretty quickly that Barry, now christened Rick Masters, could move through just about any foliage silently. Col. Cardwell would seek out his opinion on the best strategy to move people and equipment stealthily and trusted Rick to lead the rear guard on almost every operation.

Rick had heard stories about the way the man had dealt with the death of one of his subordinates — a Latina woman. Rick had seen commanders leave their people behind more than once. Even in training exercises that stuck in Rick's craw.

As close as he'd ever come to striking a superior officer was during SEARS school when the commander told the helicopter pilot to take off a full minute ahead of schedule and left two approaching team members — both black — behind. It was only a training mission, but a failure at SEARS school would wash the men out of the Ranger battalion.

"Don't worry, soldier," the lieutenant had told Rick. "They'll be plenty of more spades to use as fodder coming down the line."

But this commander wasn't like that. He gave responsibility to those who earned it regardless of race or gender. His second in command was a black female helicopter pilot, after all. To Rick Masters, Omicron-10 had almost seemed utopian.

Beau Whitley was at a crossroad. He was in his 50s now and his career was over. But he was too active mentally and physically to just retire. He'd been a soldier for almost 30 years. It was all he knew. Yet he knew he didn't want to be a soldier any longer.

Still, he couldn't see himself fishing every afternoon. He had been married once, many years before. His wife had plans for his retirement, that's for sure. If she had been alive, his days would be planned out from sunrise to sunset. But she had died more than a decade before, a victim of a drunken driver. His teenaged son had died in the car with her that horrible night.

He guessed that's why he felt so close to Eric Cardwell. Cardwell had joined Omicron-10 when Whitley was still an active member of the group. Eric's mixture of intense seriousness and delightful playfulness reminded him very much of how he hoped his son would have turned out.

Beau Whitley was known as Ervin Dockery back then. He'd reverted to his given name when he was asked to assume control of the group a couple of years later. Cardwell was the only person to know about Whitley's life. He was the first person the big man felt close to since his wife's death. He was the only person he trusted enough to share his grief with.

Before Cardwell's arrival, Omicron-10 was a typical military group. It had the same hierarchy and anomalies as the rest of the military. Cardwell changed that. In the first few weeks, he was treated as a peon by the established members. He took their crap silently, but exacted his revenge during hand-to-hand training missions.

Over the next year, Whitley reorganized the unit. He phased out the old guard and brought in newer members whose already present skills could be enhanced with minimal training. The powers that be were hoping for failure, but that failure didn't come. Instead a string of successes brought the group to the attention of the NSA, who convinced the president to give them joint control.

When Homeland Security was formed after Sept. 11, 2001, Omicron-10 suddenly had another master to bow to. It was then that Whitley used all the capital he could muster to be given almost total control of the group. For the next few years the team ran almost flawlessly. There were deaths, of course. In the military, there are always deaths. It's a way of life for a warrior.

Then the White House produced a series of blunders and Congress got its nose out of joint. Less than 18 months later one of the most successful organizations in the military was defunct.

Now Beau Whitley needed something else on which to focus his attention.

Jennifer Pearson's phone call set Steve's mind to racing. He simply couldn't think of anything more the world could force upon this small group of people.

From the treachery of her parents, to the perversion of her husband, to the theft of her daughter, Jane couldn't handle much more, he thought.

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