Storm Ravaged

Chapter 26

Ponch bolted out of the room he had been in with Steve and into mass confusion. Virtually barging through a wall of moving bodies that were being evacuated through the main area, he zeroed in on Chin and the three motionless shapes that were laying in ever-expanding pools of blood.

The doctor he had handed Brian McNamara to was one of the three and feebly moving towards one of the downed nurses who was bleeding from a wound in her arm. But the third nurse was just slightly out of reach and not moving at all. Ramirez felt a pang of guilt and fear for his injured friends and the one motionless nurse. Advancing towards Chin with care, he tried to stay low as he frantically searched the halls and every frightened, passing face for his wife.

"Ellen!" His voice boomed out menacingly as he failed at finding her quickly enough to satisfy his pounding heart. Torn, his medical training kicked in and he lurched towards the injured lying so helpless on the floor.

"Get down!" Chin hissed as he pulled the big doctor behind him and then nodded towards the downed doctor who had pulled the one nurse into his lap. She was frightened and Ponch saw the bloody crease across the doctor's forehead. But ever so slowly, the two began working themselves out of the line of fire.

"We're good," the man gasped as he finally edged to a far corner of the hallway. Chin sighed in relief as he spared Ponch a worried look for the second woman who was still not moving.

"I can't reach the second nurse to find out for certain. We're going to have a wait." Chin was talking in a fast rush as he knelt in the hallway. One hand was firmly wrapped in the fabric of the big doctor's white coat, but his eyes were on the farthest area and his gun was still aimed unerringly towards the blind spot.

"Where's McNamara?" His anger bubbled just below the surface as he surveyed the mess in his emergency room. A gurney was over-turned, blood stained one wall and was tracked by varying shoes in a multitude of directions on the linoleum floor. He had wounded to care for and hopefully no dead, but he couldn't yet find his wife. Ponch was tense as he looked again for the injured ex-lawyer.

"Where is he? I don't see him." The hesitation was subtle and Chin's voice dropped at least four octaves as he motioned to the farthest corner of the room.

"With Ellen. There." An invisible knife twisted in Ponch's gut as he stared at Chin in total disbelief and his eyes followed the gesture. He had to move a little to see them.

Both crutches were thrown to the floor and Ellen was balanced on her good leg with an HPD officer protected behind her. The man had been wounded in the leg, was leaning on the wall near his wife, and was barely on his feet.

Ellen Ramirez though was eye to eye, toe to toe and ... weapon to weapon ... with McNamara who had a third nurse by the throat.

"Oh, God. What the hell happened?" His eyes were huge and Ponch's stunned brain almost back-fired but Chin forcibly kept him down with another warning growl of anger. He knew his wife and he saw the incredibly steady hand. Both had served together in the Army with long admirable careers. True in the medical field and retired, but both could handle weapons quite competently. In fact, Ellen Ramirez was the much better shot and he knew that she was about to prove it. The difference between them being that her personal, emotional fall-out would be eventually much more extreme.

"McNamara was being recuffed to the hospital bed and he got out of the ties on his wrist," Chin explained, his voice held an astonished tone as he shared the unbelievable news. "He was loose in seconds, physically took down two guards and got one of their guns. He was just waiting for an opening ... playing possum."

Chin had seen Steve's own unbelievable training at its most dangerous height. He had rarely thought that someone outside of trained SEAL or elite military could do the same; and yet, McNamara had. Perhaps with not as much finesse, but he had an incredible strength and the dire results were the same.

"Ellen was in the hallway." He was still talking fast as he tried to get a line of sight on McNamara for a clean shot. "When he shot the HPD officer, he fell into Ellen and ... this is what happened."

The astonished tone was still in Chin's voice as Ponch finished the story himself. With her own military past, she had reacted to take the officer's gun and stepped in front of the man to protect him. Now, she was in the middle of a petrifying standoff with a killer.

He watched McNamara's hand flex and then tighten around the nurse's throat. His face was a grotesquely bruised and distorted mess from his altercation with Steve. His jaw hung partially open and off to the side, and he must have bitten his tongue for the trickle of blood running from the side of his mouth. He was also slightly hunched and leaning heavily into his hostage for balance.

The trapped nurse's hands were wedged under McNamara's forearm but she couldn't budge his strangle-hold and her attempts only made him more angry. "I'll kill her or you will take me to him ... now. I want him now!" His jaw hardly moved and the slurred words were full of pain on a thick tongue, but McNamara glared at Ellen while he reiterated his demand. "Take me to Williams."

He shifted his arm and hand to instill that threat and they all watched the nurse react in her growing fear. "I'll kill her."

She gurgled, fought briefly and then sagged as he took even more of her air; it was all Ellen needed and neither husband nor wife flinched, though Chin did.

The nurse was thin and off center just enough; Ellen's one shot took McNamara down between their TAMC nurse's neck and his own carotid artery. His fingers clenched again before relaxing and the nurse screeched as she finally tore free and fell weakly to her knees. But the ex-lawyer stayed up on wobbly legs and Ellen took a full step backwards with her gun still aimed directly at his head. But she didn't need to do anything more.

With McNamara still a threat, Chin took the second shot which spun the man on a 45 degree angle to face both Chin and Doctor Ramirez. His expression was one of utter disbelief and not so oddly, anger and Ponch would later describe, as shocked at his own mortality.

Chin set his jaw as Mac staggered towards them gripping his own throat with fading light in his eyes. His third shot was center mass and enough to finally push the ex-lawyer over the edge and permanently down to the ground. Then he, Ponch and other officials were running forward to secure the dead man and care for the injured. Ramirez only had eyes for Ellen though who was still hopping on one leg as she tried to gently roll the injured HPD officer to the floor.

"Ellen?' His voice was full of a harsh strain and his throat bobbed uncontrollably. She barely looked up though while firmly grabbing the officer's bleeding thigh with both her hands to stem the flow of blood. He watched her as if watching a movie as his fists clenched and then unclenched in the open air.

"He wanted Danny." Her voice was steady but a darkness lurked in the tone. The three words were her explanation for killing the man, added to the justification of her own nurse's safety. "He took Christina and now, he would have killed Alison, too. He really wanted me to take him to Danny so he could finish him off. Just to prove a point."

"Ellen. Please." He tried again knowing what she would say and she certainly didn't disappoint him.

"Later, Alphonse." It was a curt response. Only he heard the minor quaver in the tone as she demanded help for the injured officer and another nurse came running over with a medical kit. She would talk and crash later; he would willingly pick up the pieces. But regardless of her ankle and the now dead criminal, Ellen needed to work. Since he knew that too, he allowed it as the second nurse and then another doctor intervened.

"He's going to bleed out." She hesitated briefly for his sake, her pupils blown in shock and dark with pain. Her gaze went beyond him all of a sudden though and she nodded for him to get moving.

"Get your patient back to bed, Alphonse. Get this mess under control; they need you." Medical staff were milling about again and security was attempting to control the last of the mayhem.

"My patient?!" The doctor barked in confusion. "Ellen!"

As another nurse took his wife's place and helped Ellen to her feet, he turned partly towards where her chin pointed. Mutely, he stared at the woman who had Steve propped on her shoulder.

"She's fired," Ponch finally coughed out as he forced his feet to walk towards the ailing Commander. "She is so very, very fired."

But his false threats were cut short as two HPD officers rounded the corner pushing a wheelchair. Danny was pale and his eyes were as big as Ellen's as he tried to absorb what he was seeing. Turning on them next, the doctor was at wit's end as he balled his fists in abject frustration.

"You! Stop right there!" His hand flew up to halt their progress as Danny stared at the prone form of Brian McNamara. He never saw Chin or Steve; and he certainly didn't hear the doctor's furious spouting. He only saw the chaos, the blood and the body of the last man that had terrorized him.

"Both of you are fired, too!" The two officers in Danny's detail rocked to a stunned halt and immediately apologized. They had heard the commotion over their radios and then their charge had insisted and then demanded to be taken down to the emergency room as reports declared the all clear. But for Danny, everything tunneled to a deafening standstill as he tried to breathe suffocatingly heavy air into his lungs while staring into McNamara's lifeless eyes.

"Danno."

With the nurse's help, Steve was barely wrapped in a white gown. It was askew and she had only been able to quickly tie the thin, fabric belt in a sloppy knot at this back. Leaning heavily on her shoulder, he pushed forward to waver unsteadily on one leg while hissing through the thick band of pain in his abdomen. His knee was on fire and he could barely see straight but Danny was looking right through them all. He tried to get Ponch's attention but it was still to no avail as the man stalked away to finally take charge.

"Doc!" But the man was busy with the more critically injured, and Ramirez barked commands as the chaos came to an orderly halt. A wheelchair was found for Steve and he sat near Danny as Chin waded in to secure McNamara's body, the weapons, and helped to identify the injured. Staff was organized into pods of teams and soon everyone was being properly evaluated under the big doctor's guidance.

Danny's eyes were blinking but not a word came out of his mouth as he stared across the room. He blinked reactively when someone walked in front of him or blocked his view of the body. Minutes passed and then some of the noise finally began to enter his sense of being when he thought he heard his name being spoken out loud.

"Danny. Hey, brah." Looking down, Danny found that his right hand was being choked in an incredibly tight grip. He followed the strong fingers to the wrist and then got stuck on the thick black watch.

"Danny?" Calm, dependable, demanding but not overly so and he knew it was Chin before his eyes settled on the man's worried face. He almost lost it again but then Steve was there and unlike their friend, he was immediately in Danny's air space and then almost just as quickly ... gone. Steve rounded on the two HPD officers much like the doctor had on his nurses, and Danny merely watched it as if disembodied.

"What the hell were you thinking in bringing him down here!" Steve was verbally lambasting the two HPD officers and it wasn't entirely their fault. It wasn't their fault at all. Danny wanted to explain that it was only due to his own demands. He'd made them do it after the all clear was sounded. He'd insisted when the hospital alarms went off, then the radio's buzzed so alarmingly. He had bristled angrily; and Danny had won the fight as the radio communications continued and the officers keenly felt their communal need to be with their own.

They had heard the all clear, but he didn't expect to see what lay before him now. Danny's eyes flickered away from Steve and towards the injured TAMC staff being moved now to gurneys for continued triage and then back to McNamara. He blinked again when someone had the foresight to lay a sheet over the dead man's entire body.

In the background, Ellen was up on her crutches and giving direction; he had no idea that she would be the one to have pulled the first fatal shot. Chin's two bullets had only been for insurance at that point. The white sheet covered the man now, but the blood was still pooling and seeping out in various directions. It was mesmerizing and Danny swallowed hard as one edge of the sheet seemed to flutter in a breeze made by so many hurrying people. He saw just enough of the strong fingers, the swollen knuckles and then part of the man's even thicker wrist.

"Daniel. Look at us ... right now." He was scaring them and damn ... if he wasn't scaring himself, too. But he was back in the nameless, dark room with the bad smell again. He hadn't ever seen McNamara's face or heard him speak. In fact, he hadn't known the man's name but for Sneakers Two. For some reason now, he was helpless to stop staring at the man's sheet-covered corpse.

"Danny!" Steve was almost desperate with worry as he drilled his fingers into Danny's right shoulder and then gave him a firm shake. Danny's head bobbled weakly on his neck and his distant eyes refocused on Chin and then over to his partner.

He frowned when he saw the bruises, bandages and terrible swelling that closed Steve's right eye. Danny's mouth gaped open as he drew in a shuddering deep breath of air and he realized that Steve was drenched in a cold sweat and actually trembling. His voice started as a hollow, toneless sound but then gained some strength.

"You look like crap, Steven." His left hand twitched in the heavy cast where it lay on his lap, before his right hand flapped in an aimless gesture. "We're sitting in the middle of a damned military hospital. Why isn't someone taking care of you?"


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