Storm Ravaged

Chapter 10

SATURDAY, JUNE 22ND - AMERICAN SAMOA (EARLY MORNING)

The large medical encampment was not the only one setup on the Samoan islands. A few expert disaster recovery facilities dotted the landscape to help the various injured and displaced citizens. A smaller but equally efficient operation was setup on the other side of the airport and this is where Sneakers Two found himself being treated. Upon being separated from his two friends, he'd wandered in an entirely different direction and miles from the others.

"I'm an America citizen." He was blessed to have retained a tight hold on his passport after the experience with the terrifying mudslide. Though it was a bit dirty and still wet, he shoved it under the volunteer's nose as he registered.

"Brian McNamara, from California. I'm an attorney on vacation."

With his relatively minor injuries cared for, clean borrowed clothing, and food in his belly, McNamara was scheduled to leave American Samoa for Honolulu sometime the next day when a handful of normal flights resumed and he couldn't be happier. He'd arrived with his colleagues and 'cargo' on a private jet in the dark of night almost eight days earlier. It had been the wee hours of Sunday, June 16th really and they'd barely received clearance to land with the cyclone so imminent.

McNamara remembered that date well because it was Father's Day and it would be first one he ever missed visiting his own father at the retirement home. He had sent him a rather elaborate gift instead and promised he would make up for it after a most important case he was working on. He knew his father would understand; the man always did. But when it came to his father, it was the one person that could inspire a feeling of guilt in him. Unable to avoid this particular trip, they had arrived and then that same jet had departed just as quickly in order to protect itself from the coming storm. It had not been able to return due to the persistence of tropical storms, and they'd technically all had become somewhat stranded. He had been in a mood for the first few days of the trip and Williams had suffered for it.

Gazing out at the still turbulent ocean, McNamara supposed the islands were a vacationers' paradise other times of the year, however he couldn't wait to leave now. In fact, he needed to leave to make his commitments on time. McNamara was now quite willing to take a regular flight back if it meant getting off the storm ravaged mud hole that he'd been forced to endure.

Even though he had no idea where his colleagues or Williams were or even cared if they still lived, he was due to appear on Monday as part of the prosecution team representing the State against his real employer, Allen "Darry" Darien. He would be on time, assist in the opening argument, and he would be prepared to present the framework of the case as it related to the money laundering charges.

Money laundering was something he personally knew quite well. His "case" against Darien had certain well orchestrated, seemingly accidental "holes". Behind the scenes, McNamara had omitted details, conveniently left out particular facts, and tampered with a significant amount of evidence. He and worked diligently to coordinate many of the numerous letters and notes against some of the now very frightened jurors. He had taken inordinate pleasure in those notes delivered to the key witness and even more delight in the abduction.

Even though Brian McNamara was not a principal in the law firm, he was a very busy man.

Beyond the case, the physicality of the kidnapping and limited rules also appealed to his violent tendencies. He hadn't especially been required to treat Williams kindly and was almost given carte blanche to pummel the captive at will. It was a breath of fresh air to work outside the norms of his typically straight-laced role as a professional lawyer.

McNamara rubbed his knuckles as he thought of the animalistic joy he felt during William's last one-on-one session. As a white-collar lawyer, his pugilistic background interested most of his peers. Prior to becoming an esquire, he had his sights set on a professional boxing career but 'Mac' McNamara wasn't quite good enough to break through the upper ranks. Not only was he not quite good enough, his ethics were sorely lacking and he'd built a rather notorious reputation for dirty dealings.

Now, his hobby only amused many of these same co-workers who enjoyed his stories of "what might have been" when he was a younger man. He still trained daily and sparred three or four times a week after long days in the office. He had kept much of his strong, stocky physique and under expensive tailored suits, it often impressed those in the courtroom. He knew it, used it to his advantage, and he liked the aura he projected.

Old habits died hard; for McNamara, they didn't seem to die at all.

Come Sunday, he would resume his role as one of the lawyers for the prosecution team and ready himself for Monday's opening statements. By Wednesday at the latest, Williams wouldn't matter anymore regardless of what the Commander might do on the stand. By Thursday, another hefty deposit would be made to his "father's" off-shore account on the Caymans.

Enough would have been done by that point, and he would have helped in coordinating the mastermind behind the pending mistrial. And then after that edict, he was already dreaming of a week-long vacation in sunny Monte Carlo.


SATURDAY, JUNE 22ND - AMERICAN SAMOA (EARLY MORNING)

Their opportunity to escape Frank Madison's clutches came unexpectedly when the man suddenly lost his balance on a steep rise. He'd fallen hard on his injured side ripping open the sutures that Doctor Ramirez had so deftly stitched. Ellen and Danny didn't wait to see the expanse of redness which dotted his shirt as he tumbled half way down the hill before he had time to try and shout for help; not that either captive would have actually assisted the man.

They simply reacted to save themselves, and then tried to run in a stumbling, half-hop sort of way.

"Go!" Danny cursed as his body rebelled and Ellen pulled and tugged him along to distance themselves as quickly as possible. His feet were ruined and he was beyond exhausted while starved muscles seized from over-use. The nurse was bullying him along and taking a great deal of his weight as she also began to falter.

They'd managed to get a decent way before Ellen stumbled and then slipped over rocky uneven terrain. There was a loud snap, a muffled cry and she grabbed her ankle as it bent in a gruesome angle. Seconds later, they were dragging each other under as much dense growth as they could find before finally collapsing.

Fifteen anxious minutes after that, they were still in their small hiding place and Danny groaned when Ellen shook him hard from a pained stupor. Her boot was now off and she was trying not to cry out from the rippling pain that encased her entire ankle. She was intent on trying to move her toes and had her fingers clasped around her instep and sole.

"No, you can't. You have to help me now. Please ... try." He watched her as she fished out two water bottles, bandages and then found two large straight sticks to use as a splint. He looked at the injury and was shocked to see her ankle already swollen over twice its size.

"Ellen. It's ... bad." If she could have, she would have rolled her eyes at the obvious. Her face was pale and her lips tight with pain, but she kept moving.

"Thank you for that, Danny. The good news is I can wiggle my toes. Now you ... drink." Her first demand was for each of them to have water. He gladly accepted the bottle and took a long but shaky swallow which brought tears to his eyes when he gagged and then coughed. Slouching down, his eyes closed unexpectedly as his head bobbled on his neck and Ellen poked his arm.

"Stay awake. Here. Hold this ... tight, but not too tight." He eased forward on his side and used his right hand where she directed him. Before allowing him to move away, she pulled two syringes and a vial from the same pack. Panting heavily, Ellen drew the liquid into the syringe and then plunged its contents into her thigh. She readied the second syringe and grabbed his right wrist.

"Come here. Morphine." He watched blandly as she injected him too before finally sinking down into the still wet bed of ferns. She tossed her arm over her eyes and heaved in slow shuttered breaths. After a minute, Danny dropped his head to his fist and wearily closed his own eyes. In the back of his mind, he knew that they might not have very long, but he needed at least five minutes. He was lost in that thought as darkness seeped in to the corners of his mind.

He could feel her a few minutes later but couldn't bring himself to respond to her growing and very bossy urgings. "Five minutes." He murmured quietly. "Just ... five."

"Please ... Danny ... wake up." When she roughly tore a pinching circle into his bicep, he groaned in resentment but still refused to move. "Danny, open your damned eyes and look at me!"

A sharp pungent odor made him rear back. His nasal passages felt as if they were suddenly on fire and he jolted under Ellen's hands.

"Danny. Wake up." His posture was automatically defensive as the sounds of jungle birds entered his awareness and he fought to remember where he was ... and why. Ellen was an inch from his nose as she shook his arm. She was holding an ammonia inhalant pod and he stopped her hand when she went to use it again for a third time.

"I'm good. I'm good." She had resorted to using the inhalants to get him on his feet. The tactic wasn't very nice, but it was unfortunately the only thing that was beginning to rouse him from his deep, pained exhaustion. It had taken longer this time though, and Ellen was more than a little upset with him. When his eyes finally focused, he realized too that she was holding a gun.

"Gun. Forgot," he breathed out with an appreciative sigh. She tapped her ear, lifted a finger to her lips and he stilled once more. Then he heard the heavy breathing and pained moans coming closer to where they lay hidden. The sounds stopped for a moment and then they heard branches breaking as the person continued on up the trail.

There was no doubt that Frank was after them. His fall and any injury would only make him meaner and Danny rubbed the sweat off his forehead. He needed to create a diversion before he kept his morbid promise to kill Ellen. Her face was twisted in pain despite the morphine and she'd never be able to walk far. The two of them were now quite the pair.

"Ellen." Danny fisted the ground with his right hand and pushed weakly upwards and then reached for the gun. "He needs me alive."

"What! No ... no way, you can barely move! Ponch will know by now ... we need to stay together and wait!" Ellen hissed as she objected to the plan but he only shook off her hand, pocketed Ponch's handgun and forced his body to obey. One knee became an unsteady crouch to a partial hunched position and breathing raggedly through his mouth, he eased himself from the small copse.

"Too risky ... not to," he muttered.

"Damn it, Danny. Get back here!" As he left, he allowed himself a grin at her expense because her furiously hissed tone was so very familiar.


Ellen couldn't believe that Danny had just done it. He had left her barely under his own steam and it wasn't necessarily to draw Madison away. "I'm going to kill him." She half sobbed as he disappeared from view with the gun firmly gripped in his right hand.

Left alone and unable to walk on her broken ankle, Ellen sternly fought back tears as she forced herself to open another bottle of water from her pack. She knew that her husband had to be nearby ... surely after all these hours, even if he had taken longer in surgery than at first expected, he would be searching for them by now. Her ankle had at least two broken bones and it had swollen nearly twice its size since she had taken her bad mis-step. The minutes ticked by in agony and all she could do was sit and wait.

Ellen narrowed her eyes as she caught a small movement far off to her right. She was laying on her side and low to the muddy ground when she saw it again, followed by another darker flash through the foliage. Morning had brought a much stronger sun and nearly all the storm clouds had dispersed. When she saw it a third time, she knew she was seeing people.

"At least three," she muttered to herself, almost too hopeful to think it might be Ponch with help. Searching where she lay, she found a rock and rolled her eyes at the dismal idea of a weapon. But then she didn't need to worry when she heard the low whispered urgent tone. She would know that voice anywhere and then she did cry.

"Alphonse!" She was half dragging herself out from under her hiding place when he suddenly burst in next to her. He didn't say a word as he pulled her into a tight, relieved hug and then began checking her earnestly for injuries.

"It's just my ankle." She gave them both that minute and then was pushing him away. "I'm fine. It's Danny."

He was staring at her neck though and she could see his rage beginning to perk under a very shallow surface. "I'm fine." Ellen tried to calm him, but he was beginning to implode for the livid bruise from where Madison had choked her in the tent. Self-consciously, she tried to cover it with her disheveled hair, but he was angrily pushing it back and gently touching the dark colors.

"Alphonse! Please. Danny. You need to go after him!" Ellen looked up and gasped as Steve and then an M.P. made room to hunker down in the small treed copse. In total disbelief, she blinked her eyes rapidly as she looked at each man.

"Steve! You're here. Why are you here ... how did you get here so fast?" Tears were streaming down her cheeks as she grabbed for his hand. "Danny. He left about fifteen or twenty minutes ago. He thinks he's going to take down Madison by himself."

"He what?" Steve ground out as he stared in shock at the downed nurse. She was covered in mud, exhausted and urgently now pointing in the direction his partner had gone.

"He has Alphonse's gun. But only the one clip." She was crying openly now as her husband insisted she lay back so that he could examine her throat better and then her ankle. "He needs help."

"Go. Get out of here. Madison is a lunatic ... go help Danny," Ponch demanded as he knelt next to Ellen and began unpacking his knapsack. He was barely in control, but exceedingly gentle as he cut away her makeshift splint. One M.P. stayed with the doctor and readied the portable stretcher.

The second M.P. was instructed to take a parallel line to where Ellen pointed and then after that, it was all Steve needed to leave them behind.


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