Sometimes I Feel Like A Man In The Wilderness
I'm A Lonely Soldier Lost At Sea
Drifting With The Tide, Never Quite Knowing Why
Sometimes It Makes No Sense At All
Roughly about 6:00 AM Uzbekistan time
Roughly about 8:00 PM Boston time
Quinn sat in the uncomfortable jumpseat of the large cargo plane that had just flown out of the small airfield not far from Samarkand International Airport. It had taken a small ransom to get his contact to fly him out this soon, but he'd be in Boston that much sooner.
His friend had a refurbished Bristol Type 170 Freighter that had probably been built in the ealy 60s, but he'd cut and pasted and tagged and whatever he called it to get the plane he now had. The plane was large enough to carry two or three large vehicles or other large cargo along with at least 10 passengers and they'd only need to refuel once before he got him to just outside of Boston since he was flying out with only Quinn as his cargo.
They'd have to refuel somewhere near Austria and he hoped he wouldn't have any trouble there. If everything went smoothly it would then be a straight shot for the old airfield near Braintree, Mass. From there he'd get a car and be at Ford's place by noon tomorrow their time. Less then six hours his current time, but he'd be backtracking.
He knew once they made it out of Austria he would relax a bit more easily. For now he needed to keep alert for any obstacles along the way. And this also gave him time to work over a plan.
He pulled his cell from his pocket to see if he had service. He punched in Vance's number once again and waited for the man to answer.
Vance felt the vibration of his cell in his pocket while he was watching the young hacker they called Hardison working his magic with his program on locating Eliot's earbud.
He pulled it out to see the number from earlier that Quinn had used. He knew the man must be on his way if he was calling. Either that or there was a new snag.
During his conversation with the man earlier, he'd learned that Lucas Malone's sister Katharine was the one with Eliot, but he didn't know where Eliot was at the time. He'd thought it better not to ask in case someone was listening to their conversation.
Hopefully he had gotten some new info from the woman that would help Hardison in his search for the hitter. He stepped back from the group standing around the screens watching the search progress and pressed the button to answer the call.
"Quinn, you got some good news for us?"
Quinn smiled at the thought of how much the Colonel was expecting Quinn to come through with all the details on Spencer. He hated to admit it, but he didn't have anything new to add right now. He knew better than to try to contact Kat so soon after their first contact. He knew Evan Chapman and he knew the man would be monitoring everything and everyone that had any contact with his prize.
"No news, Colonel. Not yet anyway. You know what kind of man Evan is and I wouldn't let Kat tell me anything over the phone. I am in the air though and should be there by noon tomorrow instead of midnight has I first thought. I do know that Kat will be monitoring Eliot closely now and he should be fine through the night. It depends on how much progress Eliot makes during the night healthwise. If he's healing, which we both know Eliot will push his health to the breaking point just enough so he can out of there, and you know as well as I do what that means."
Vance rubbed a hand over his face as he sighed deeply. "Yeah, I know. Evan will put his plan in motion if he thinks Eliot is getting stronger. He'll want Eliot somewhat capable of fighting back, but not strong enough to spoil his fun. He'll want a worthy advesary in his game."
"Yes, and we both know his game." Quinn paused as he got up and moved further into the middle of the plane to avoid the noise of the engines on either side. "Kat has no idea what she's in for with this and she has no idea how involved Eliot was in the death of her brother. If she finds out, I don't know how much help she'll be after that, because we both know Eliot'll take the blame for Luke's death. Even if he wasn't directly responsible, he'll tell her it's his fault and he won't explain. We both know who's really to blame there and who sent us on that mission that took Luke's life, but that won't stop Eliot. He's a die-hard martyr when it comes to the blame game."
"Yeah...look, we've made some progress here." Vance then went on to explain the earbud tramsmission and the location showing the docks down by the city dump. He didn't know how to explain the way Hardison worked, but it wouldn't matter beause Quinn wouldn't understand it either. So he just went with what he did know.
"Well whatever he's found, it can't be where they're holding Eliot, at least not right now. It may be a trap to get you as far away from Eliot as possible, or it could be where Evan plans to take Eliot later. Kat said she was in Evan's home, and there aren't any homes down there on the docks. Not any Evan would choose anyway." He paused as he tried to picture the area from the last time he'd been there during a contact operation several years ago. "I'll call Kat here in a couple more hours when it's closer to midnight your time. Chances are no one will notice if she answers her cell during the night as Eliot should be sleeping then. Hopefully she's not on Evan's radar to the point she needs constant monitoring. I'll try and get whatever I can from her without putting her in jeopardy anymore than she already is."
"Sounds good. Ill pass on anything we learn here when you can call back."
"We'll be refueling in a few hours and any contact after that will be sketchy. At least until we have crossed the ocean. I'm gonna need a military escort if things hit a snag. We're looking at refueling near Austria and I don't exactly have fond memories of the country. Nor do they have any of me." Quinn couldn't help the smirk he felt as he fondly remembered the daliance he'd had with one prominent Austrian military leaders' wife. Maria, he remembered. So worth the problems. At least at the time.
Vance smiled at that memory too. Quinn was too much like Eliot in the female daliance category. "Call me when you are about twenty minutes out, I'll have someone waiting for you. A military contact that will help you get through the country quickly." He looked at Whitmore who had turned to look at him and he nodded his head slightly at him to indicate it was Quinn. "You make it here, I'll give you a pass on your next...foreign excursion." He smiled as he said the words to the man who was almost as good a specialist as Spencer had been.
Quinn smiled himself at the Colonel's words. He knew a gift when he heard it. "I'll just have to take you up on that offer Colonel."
Roughly about 8:30 PM
Katharine still stood with her arms crossed over her chest, her eyes boring holes into Eliot as she waited for him to explain himself. "I repeat, how do you know who am and what the hell is going on here?"
Damn it, Eliot thought to himself. He'd made a mistake in using the nickname he'd remembered Luke Malone using when he had shown Quinn and him the picture of his sister. Eliot remembered that night just before he'd been taken and tortured by the doctor as the men had traveled to their destination.
"Hey Travis, you gotta see the picture Kat just sent me a couple weeks ago." The young Sgt. spoke to his childhood friend. "She's just beginning to show." The man pulled the worn photo from a hidden pocket of his fatigues.
Eliot thought it was nice to see the picture was well worn for the man having gotten it recently. It meant the picture was important to him. It meant he'd looked at it often. "That your girl?" He asked as he looked over Quinn's shoulder to see a beautiful blonde woman who was showing off the rounded curve of her pregnant stomach. "She's pretty."
Quinn looked back at Eliot. "It's Kat, his older sister. She's expecting. She's had a tough time conceiving and she's excited about this baby." Quinn held the photo for Eliot to get a better look.
She was more than just pretty. The woman glowed and even through the photograph he could feel the essence of her coming through. "Guess she didn't want to wait around for you, buddy." Eliot spoke to Quinn as he handed the picture back to Sgt. Malone. "She must have great taste in men then." He chuckled at the look on Quinn's face.
"Yeah, right. Kat is so way out of Trav's league." Lucas Malone said taking the picture and pocketing it once again.
Eliot felt the change in the man's demeanor though at his reply to Quinn. He didn't understand it, but didn't dwell on it. It was a family thing, he thought.
"Yeah right. Way outta my league. You laugh it up guys, but she so wanted me once upon a time." Quinn replied with a grin as he remembered the crush he'd had and probably always would have for his best friend's sister.
"Right. She so wanted you until she realized you weren't gonna be around anymore than I was." Luke said as a wave of meloncholy stole across his features. "She's found someone who makes her happy now, so she says. She doesn't have to wait around for your sorry butt to come back and sweep her off her feet." He added to Quinn with a gentle smirk.
Eliot watched the two men carry on their conversation. It was obvious that this sister, Kat was important to them both and he got a sense that Quinn had cared a lot more than he was letting on. Too bad that their lives would never include that kind of a life. They were destined to end up alone. Both he and Quinn knew what they'd signed up for, but Eliot could understand the look on Quinn's face when he'd looked at the smiling woman in the photo. He could feel something from her picture, she was more than just beautiful.
Yeah, it was too bad that they'd never get that kind of apple pie life. The love of a good woman and a child to carry on when they were gone. He turned to look out the hummer's window at the endless desert sand that spoke volumes of what really lay in their future; his future.
"Eliot?" Kat quietly asked as she took in the far away look in Eliot's eyes. Was he in more pain or was he just thinking... remembering a bad memory maybe. The way he turned from her at her question of what was going on here bothered her very deeply for some reason.
Damn it, she thought to herself. She was becoming way to attached to this man and that couldn't be good in the end. This kind of thing never ended good. She'd lost two brothers to war and she'd lost Quinn to the same dark stuff this man was involved in.
Eliot turned back to look up at her as he tried to think of an explanation for calling her by her nickname. "I didn't know who you were at first. Not until... not until the dreams started, just now. I...I knew your brother, Luke." Eliot turned to look at the Doctor before Katharine could comment. "I don't know what your game here is doctor, but right now you are the least of my worries. Whatever you're doing here now with Evan, you'd better realize you, even with all your... knowledge cannot outsmart him. He will take you down and he won't hesitate to use your knowledge against you."
Dr. Richards smirked at the man lying in the hospital bed. "He is a formidable advesary, but he doesn't really worry me." The doctor stepped closer to the bed. "The last time we met, I let you live. I saved your life then and I saved your life now. It's true I have my own agenda, but for now the most important thing is to find a way to get you out of here and away from Evan. He has plans for you that I just cannot allow to come to fruition." He smiled as he thought of those plans. "I didn't lie to you then and I won't lie to you now. I respect you as a more worthy opponent in comparison to your brother so you know that once we get out of here, I will put my plan into action."
"Wait a second here. I don't know what's going on, but I'm not going anywhere until someone tells me. And trust me gentlemen, right now I am the one with a plan."
Eliot turned his head quickly at that. "What do you mean?"
Katharine hesitated as she turned to look at the Doctor. She didn't want to speak in front of the man. She'd known the man wasn't all he claimed to be, but now she was just confused on what he was doing here and who he really was. She turned back to look at Eliot. "If you really knew Luke, then you should be able to guess."
Eliot narrowed his eyes at her as he started to feel the pain in his chest returning. He cursed the pain because he didn't have time to be laying here. "What did you do, Katharine?"
She turned to reach for another injection she had laid out on the dresser near the bed. "I did the right thing." She said and before Eliot could say or do anything, she injected the needle in his IV port and emptied the syringe. "I'm not gonna let anything happen to you on my watch cause damn it to hell you have gotten under my skin Eliot Spencer and no one has done that in a very long time."
As Eliot realized she'd just drugged him again, he tried to move his hand to grab onto her, but she was too quick. She dropped the used syringe in the bucket for it's disposal and all he could do was watch his hand fall limply back to his chest. "Kat, you shouldn't... have done... have done that." He paused to lick his dry lips as he watched the woman split in to. "I'm getting... getting... really pissed..." That was the last thing he could get out before the deep blackness took him under .
Katharine Wakefield turned to face the doctor once again. "I don't know who you are and right now I don't care, but know this Mark, if you lay one finger on this man, I will kill you. I have nothing to lose so one finger and it will be the last thing you do." She reached into her pocket and her fingers closed around the scapel she had tucked there when Eliot had told her earlier that she needed to be careful. "If you really care about helping me get him out of here, then why don't you find a way to get a portable pleurovac and a getaway vehicle big enough to roll him out of here. After that, I'll let you explain yourself, but until then remember I have already made contact with someone outside who knows where I am and what's more knows what's going on here and if anything happens to me or him, that contact will hunt you down. And know this too, that contact was trained by this man." She added pointing back at Eliot.
Dr. Mark Richards took in the woman standing there. She was going to be a much bigger problem than he'd first thought. But he couldn't help the smile that crept over his face as he realized, American or not, she most definitely had gained his respect.
"Okay, Katharine. I'll figure something out. But you should also remember that because you do not know what's going on here, you are in way over your head. I would really hate to see something bad happen to you. Truly I would." He didn't know who she could have called, but if she spoke the truth then whomever she'd contacted earlier when he'd been watching her, well they probably would be quite capable of hunting him down and he didn't need that. Not right now anyway.
AN: Thank you to all the great reviews and comments.