Wave The White Flag
Several hours later, Jordan sat in Kurt’s kitchen with her head in her hands as she contemplated the only reasonable course of action at this point. She raised her eyes and studied her reflection in the sliding glass doors across the room. Her outfit was much different than the clothes Kurt had thrown away from the previous night. She wore a thin performance top of red and black with the team logo running down the side. Her black leggings irritated the raw skin on her legs and she moved stiffly from the past days aches and pains. In her weakened state, her boots felt like two cinder blocks fastened to her feet. She had thought it best to face this threat in full uniform. Luckily, she had left a spare at Kurt’s house when they were dating. It amazed her that the last time she had worn these items her world was so much simpler.
Nona, her sister, was her closest and most beloved friend. CLU was a constant irritation, not her second-in-command. Kurt was the love of her life. And Jordan Michael Redfeather was just a lieutenant in one of the dozens of Colorado fire departments. Now she was the Firebird, and everyone knew. There was no way to put this genie back in its bottle. She had come up with only one solution, one that was unanimously rejected by everyone around her.
“There has to be another way! You can not turn yourself in.” Kurt had practically bellowed at her, his face a mixture of anger and sadness. “What about last night?”
Jordan couldn’t deny how good it felt to be near him again. They had both hoped this would be a new beginning. Taylor had sat in a corner chair crying, showing Jordan what she had always suspected. This was no life for a child; it was no life for any of them. She sighed, and then winced as her ribs protested.
“I don’t know what else I can do Kurt. I’ve been over it in my head a hundred times. It’s the only way I can see out of this, for everyone.”
“Yes, for everyone but you! What happens when you surrender? Do you think they’re gonna be content with just locking you up?”
Unfortunately, Kurt’s concern had begun leaking sideways into anger. Though his main concern was her safety, his anger was quickly getting the best of him because he also saw no other solutions. When he noted the look on her face, he immediately softened his demeanor.
“I’m sorry. I just ... don’t want to lose you again…”
“I know but ... if all goes according to plan, I won’t be in custody long enough for them to do any real damage. I’ll simply turn myself in, take responsibility for the team’s actions and wait for my prison break. Hopefully, the others can find the leak quickly and contain it. Then when they break me out, we leave town… for good.”
She hated that last part most of all. She hadn’t lived here long yet it felt like home. Now, however, staying was no longer a viable option. Kurt had moved to the other room to make arrangements for her surrender, acting as a reluctant go between in exchange for immunity. He would never have guessed he would be the person to get Jordan arrested. The police agreed to let Jordan surrender in public so neither side would have an advantage. The meeting had been set for 6:00 that night, barely two hours away, in the middle of downtown Denver where this whole debacle had began. Kurt was certain the local media would be present, which worried him as they had a way of aggravating situations.
He walked back into the kitchen to find Taylor huddled under Jordan, holding her as tightly as she dared with all her guardian’s injuries. The teenager hadn’t said a word all day but it was clear she didn’t like the current plan, especially the part where she left town without Jordan.
“It’s all set. And I’ll be there to watch your back in case things go sideways.” He informed them, his mood lifting considerably, especially since he thought he was going too.
“No, no! You are not coming with me. What if things go,” she hazarded a glance at Taylor, “not according to plan? I don’t want you getting hurt, or…worse. I would feel better about this if I knew that both of you were safe.” She squeezed Taylor reassuringly but the young girl only sniffed and buried her face in Jordan’s chest.
“SAFE? How can I think of my own safety when you’re putting your life in the hands of strangers? Need I remind you that less than two days ago you almost died? Even you can get back into fighting shape that quickly. If things get rough, you’re at a serious disadvantage.” Jordan sighed and released Taylor. She stood, ready to object when he pulled her into him. “If anything, else, happened to you, I could never forgive myself.”
Jordan stiffened at first, unsure of how to take Kurt’s confession. If things worked out, though, maybe there was a chance for them to start over. She relaxed some leaning heavily against his chest.
“Fine.” She murmured, wrapping her arms around his back. “But you keep a safe distance and I want you gone at the first sign of trouble. The others will be there too, in case we have to scrap this plan altogether. If things get rough, you and Taylor head out IMMEDIATELY, no questions.”
“Good. Let’s get this over with.”
5:59. Jordan thought she might jump out of her skin if something didn’t happen soon. Kurt stood several feet behind her, partially hidden in a nearby alley, wanting desperately to be by her side despite the danger. She wrapped her leather coat tighter around her to still the shivers that were not from the temperature. As her impatience began to grow, she was suddenly bathed in blinding white light! It was a police helicopter, circling overhead. As if on cue, a dozen police vehicles pulled to a halt all around her.
“Get down on your knees with your hands behind your head,” a disembodied voice ordered from the chopper.
She did as she was told, not daring to look around to see where the others were positioned. She knew they were out there, where didn’t matter, as long as they were close. One of the cruisers doors swung open and an attractive young Latina climbed out. She looked a few years older than Jordan, probably early thirties. Her gun was drawn but she approached casually. She stopped a few feet in front of her and knelt down to Jordan’s eye-level.
“Sargent Robin Vasquez. You don’t remember me, do you?” She asked the question in a casual manner as though they had just bumped into each other on a busy street.
“No. I don’t. I’m sorry.” Jordan replied, evenly. Vasquez waved a hand dismissively.
“It’s okay. I’m not surprised. You were pretty out of it the other night, took quite a beating. I can see you’re still healing.” The officer gestured with her gun to the bruises still visible around Jordan’s cheekbone. Jordan did her best not to react, she knew Vasquez was testing her, gauging her aggression. “It’s actually quite impressive. Most people would have been in the hospital for at least a month and yet here you are. Where’s the kid?”
“I don’t think I know who you mean.” Vasquez gave Jordan a knowing look. Jordan returned her steely gaze, in essence saying, “If I knew I wouldn’t tell you.” Vasquez continued her line of questioning.
“I ask because she gave us quite a bit of trouble the other night when she took you out of our custody.” She emphasized the word “took”, implying it was a criminal act.
“I apologize for that. I take full responsibility for her actions and the actions of the other members of my team. I surrender to your custody.”
Jordan made it clear she was done answering questions as she looked straight ahead, even though the lights on the cruisers were almost blinding from her vantage point. Vasquez felt a growing respect for this woman. Were she in her shoes she might have reacted the same way. It was the responsibility of every good leader to protect their subordinates, no matter the personal cost. Vasquez didn’t know what would be done with Firebird but she knew it wouldn’t be pleasant. She took one last look into her eyes and gestured for officers to come secure the prisoner. Jordan only blinked, saying no more. Outside of the barricade, a crowd was beginning to gather; mostly media that busily snapped pictures while the officers placed a series of manacles on the woman. As they pulled Jordan to her feet, a young woman stepped out of the crowd.
“Jordan?! What the hell is going on? Don’t let them take you!”
All attention turned to this new distraction. Vasquez felt her blood run cold when she realized it was the ‘perp’ from the other night. Impact, had that been her name? What kind of game was she running? Less than two nights before she had beaten Firebird within an inch of her life and now she was concerned for her safety? Jordan looked as surprised as everyone else, what little color she had regained draining from her face.
“Nona? What are you doing here? How...?” Jordan was stammering and it now appeared as if the officers flanking her were holding her up. Impact or Nona, Vasquez was confused as to what to call her, ignored Jordan and crossed the barricade towards them. She seemed as lost as anyone, though it was her actions that had caused this mess. Had she not attacked Jordan, there would have been no blood samples to test and no positive I.D.
“Let her go, she hasn’t done anything wrong. Take me instead.”
Though she offered to be taken, Impact maintained a combative stance. Vasquez heard the officers behind her shift to aim their weapons. Jordan was slightly aware of movement out of the corner of her eye, and Kurt was nowhere to be found. She assumed CLU was preparing to pull everyone, in case this day just kept getting worse, yet she couldn’t draw her attention away from Nona.
Questions raced through her head at light speed.Could this really be her sister? Or was this the woman that had attacked her? More importantly, would they live long enough to find out?