AN: So sorry it's been so long in updating. Had a lot of things going on at once. I have a new chapter here and another in the works hopefully will update by this weekend. Thank you all for the reviews and positve input. I love you all.
All of the years I've spent in search of myself
And I'm Still In The Dark
'Cause I Can't Seem To Find The Light Alone
Travis Quinn stood outside on the balcony of his room in the modest hotel where he was staying in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. He'd just spoken with his contact that would get him on a plane and headed for the states by noon. He'd had to call in a lot of favors and make some of his own to get a straight passage to Boston.
He'd have to head out in a couple more hours so he could get to the airfield without being detected, but until then he had time to call the one person he knew would have the info he needed on Spencer. The man wasn't exactly a friend, to say the least, but he would tell him what he wanted to know. And right now that was more important.
He knew he'd do this for Kat, he always did whatever Kat asked of him, but a small part of him was also doing this for Spencer too. The man was very good at what he did, and he'd never heard of Eliot Spencer ever owing someone a favor. If he did this for Kat, for Eliot, then maybe just maybe he'd have Eliot owing him for a change and not the other way around.
He sighed as he reached once again for his cell phone and punched in the number he'd remembered from a not so distant past. He'd needed this man's help once before and now he'd be needing it again, except it wouldn't be for himself; it'd be for Eliot Spencer. The man didn't have anything nice to say about Quinn, but he was always ready to help Eliot whenever he needed help. And Quinn suspected the man would know exactly who was behind this and how to help him to help Eliot.
"Yeah?" Came the caustic reply as Quinn remembered the man behind the voice.
"I just have once question, Colonel." He stated as he took in the starry sky overhead.
"Yeah? And what might that be, Quinn?"
"Who took Eliot Spencer and how can you help me save him?"
The man on the other end chuckled. "That's two questions and what makes you think I know where the man is?"
"Because, Colonel, you are the closest thing he's ever had to family and you'd know what's going on. The great Colonel Michael Vance would never miss not knowing what was going on in Eliot Spencer's life."
There was a long pause before the man on the other end replied. "And if I did know what was going on with Spencer why would you want to help get him back?"
"Because he's with a friend of mine and I don't want her dragged into whatever is going on here."
"Her? Does your friend have a name?" Vance asked taking in the tone of voice Quinn had used when he'd mentioned her. She was important to him.
"Katharine Wakefield. Or maybe you'll remember her full name…Katharine Malone Wakefield."
Again there was a long pause before the man replied. "I'm guessing Malone as in Lucas Malone?"
"Yes and she's more important to me than you could possibly know. She's the closest thing I have to family and she's trying to protect Spencer. You know how it goes with him, women fall down for him. She's not that type, but she definitely knows he's in trouble and wants to protect him. Seems he was near death and is still in dire need of medical help."
"As I recall Katharine is a nurse; so she's keeping him alive?"
"Yes. I'm on my way to Boston shortly, and I need to know what's going on and how to get them out of danger. So I'm asking for information and some help with this." Quinn hated needing help from anyone, especially the military, but for Kat he'd bow down and do what was necessary to protect her and by extension Spencer.
"I'm already in Boston heading out to speak with his team. Nate Ford contacted Whitmore who contacted me. How soon can you be here?"
"Tomorrow by midnight. I'm not in the states right now and I'm…tying up some lose ends before I can get there." He hated being so far away, but it couldn't be helped.
"Okay. Well tell me what you know and I'll tell you what I know and we'll come up with a plan."
It was exactly 5:40 pm when Nate Ford opened the door to his loft and found Detective Bonanno standing on his doorstep.
"Hello detective. You come up with anything new?" Nate asked as he stepped back to allow the detective to enter the room.
Bonanno noted that Hardison was at his usual spot working on several computers at once and Sophie Devereaux and the girl they called Parker were seated on the sofa. He noted that everyone with the exception of Parker seemed to be okay with his arrival. Parker seemed to be annoyed he was there. Like he was their enemy. He smiled to himself because he probably was their enemy of sorts considering what he knew about their previous profiles as well as what they were doing nowadays.
"Yeah, but what I'm about to say does not leave this room." Bonanno replied as he walked over to sit at the dining table with Nate following. Sophie got up from the sofa and headed over to sit down next to Nate.
"You have my word, Patrick." Nate said as he took in the other man and his disposition.
Sophie looked at the detective as she tried to read him. He was hard to read though, the man was very good at keeping his face as neutral as possible, but she could sense he had something important to tell them.
Bonanno took a deep breath and spoke. "It seems the remains are not Eliot's as I stated before and whoever he was, he was related to Eliot. What's new is that we now know the person was already dead at least 24-48 hours before being blown up. And we know that he was male and in his seventies at least." He paused before continuing. "I also know that there were three intruders. Two men for sure and the third was either a small man or a woman."
"A woman? Are you sure, detective?" Sophie seemed surprised that a woman would be able to get the drop on Eliot. But then again she was surprised anyone had been able to get the drop on him.
"Well, we're going off shoe prints and the third person is a lot smaller than the first two. My CSI guy thinks the prints belong to military boots and is working on trying to isolate a particular brand which could give us the particular branch of military they are most associated with."
Nate thought about that. Military made sense based on Eliot's spotty history. He knew Eliot started out in the military. "So when will you know for sure?"
"Anytime. I've told David to call me the minute he gets anything. But what I'm the most confused with is the fact that the remains were from such an older individual and related to Eliot. I spoke to his sister and she says her father is very much alive and he's nowhere near the age placed on this person. So that's a major puzzle hitting right in the middle of all this other crap going on."
"I know that's right." Hardison said from his seat across the room.
Bonanno looked confusedly at Hardison then turned to face Nate. "How does he do that? He's got the ears of a bat or something."
Nate smiled as he reached up and pulled his earbud from his ear and laid it on the table. "Something like that."
Bonanno looked at the device. "Is that…is that an earbud? The guy heard every word we said?"
"The guy can still hear every word you're saying'." Hardison said turning to smile at the detective.
"Okay." Bonanno said as he took that in. Then a thought hit him. "You wear these all the time? All of you?"
Nate knew what he was getting at. "Most of the time, but before you ask, Eliot wasn't wearing his. He must have taken it out. Hardison keeps records of when we're wearing them and when we're not. Eliot's wasn't transmitting."
"Damn." The detective said. "Wait a minute. No earbud was found at the crime scene. I'd know if there was. So where is his earbud?"
Nate looked at Hardison as the man returned his look. They both responded with "Damn!"
"I know – I'm on it." The man spun back around and began to furiously pound at his keyboard for a few minutes.
"What? What is it?" Bonanno watched as the guy seemed to be in another world.
"It's possible that even if Eliot wasn't wearing his earbud, he may have had it on his person. And Hardison has GPS trackers on all of us through our earbuds. It's possible it might be working if whoever took Eliot didn't know he was carrying it."
Everyone in the room turned to watch as Hardison worked. Finally they heard him give a resounding "Whoop!" as something flashed over the monitors in front of the sofa.
Parker got up and walked over to the lines that showed each of them in the room with green lines which indicated they were all wearing their earbuds. Eliot's line was red. Then another monitor flashed with a city map and there was an annoying red light blinking on the screen.
"Where is he Hardison?" She asked as she turned to him.
Hardison had been so excited when he'd first seen the signal coming from Eliot's earbud, then he felt his excitement abate. "City dump. Either Eliot is being held at the city dump or his earbud hitched a ride there."
The disappointment in his voice was so strong that all of them in the room knew. This was another dead end.
"Damnit Hardison!" Nate said as he got up and moved over to stand near Parker.
"I know. I tried to find him via his earbud as soon as you told me too, but at that time it was off, so I just assumed it'd been left at his house. I should have checked it again. Damn it, I should have checked it again."
Bonanno got up and walked over to the map as he took in the blinking light. "Okay, so the earbud was turned off then, but why has it been turned on now just to show you it's at the city dump? Why turn it on at all?" The detective turned to look at Hardison. "Why do that? Why not just leave it off so you could assume it was left behind."
"What are you getting at detective?" Sophie asked as she too walked over to the group.
"I'm saying that it's possible someone is wanting to either mislead you or possibly help you. Someone who knows about the earbuds. And I'm saying that there's a warehouse district not to far from the dump. Is it possible to scramble the signal a little to mislead you? And if so why?"
Nate looked between the map and the detective. "Someone knows about Eliot's team and they want us to follow this signal. There's no reason to turn on the earbud unless the person wants us to track it. Either they want us to walk into a trap or they want to help us out here."
"Hardison can you figure out if the signal is being scrambled?"
The young hacker grinned. "Can Elvis sing?" He smiled as he turned his back a moment to pick up a laptop from a bag under his worktable. As he set it up next to his main keyboard, he added, "I can do anything, man. All I need to do is run a program to eliminate the rhythms of the current frequency and thin out the signal. This should give me an exact location of the earbud, but it'll take a couple hours to run."
"Get on it." Nate said with a grin as the first real sign of hope crossed their path. "Just work your magic."
Roughly 6:00 PM
As Matthew Whitmore listened to the one-sided conversation between Vance and who he now knew to be Travis Quinn, he steered the SUV he was driving into the alley behind McRory's Bar. He pulled up to a stop next to a standard blue Crown Victoria cop car.
He didn't think anything of the car, even if it was a cop, they didn't know what was going on here with Spencer and there was no way they'd be able to help out much. He turned off the ignition and pocketed the keys as Vance ended the call.
"Well?" He asked.
"Eliot's alive, but barely. We have someone on the inside and it is Evan who has him. Quinn didn't have much in details, but he's heading here and should be here sometime tomorrow night. The insider is a woman and an old friend. She's Malone's sister." He said as he reached for the door handle and opened his door. "She doesn't know who Eliot is or who Evan is, but she's a nurse and she was hired along with a doctor to help keep Eliot alive."
Lucas Malone's sister and Eliot Spencer… together…that couldn't end well. "Is he in contact with her right now?"
"Yeah. But he's outside the states, and he won't tell me anything else until he gets here. Seems he doesn't trust us to go in and rescue them without causing any problems."
Matthew smirked at that. "Of course he doesn't." He paused as he reached in the back seat for the duffle he needed. "Can we trust her? I seem to remember the woman as being...very uncooperative when she'd been informed of her brother's death." That was an understatement, he thought with a slight laugh.
Vance thought back to that day. Mission gone bad, she'd been told. She hadn't bought that then and he knew she wouldn't buy it today. And she'd been right. Vance had wished he could have told her the truth, but things were..complicated. The military was always complicated. But one thing for sure, this woman as well as Quinn couldn't be allowed to find out the truth of who actually killed Lucas Malone. If they did, they could jeopardize this whole rescue. If they knew just how close they were to the person who'd killed Lucas Malone, they'd ruin everything. Because one thing Vance knew for sure was if Evan was holding Eliot, then the person who killed Lucas Malone was with him.