12 Wounded

Wounded

© Copyright 2009

Written by Banzai Ben and Amazing Anastasia

banzaiben@gmail.com

 

 

Wounded Chapter 12

 

Monday 10 December

 

Present – Ben - Hospital – Ramstein AFB Germany

 

I'm pissed as hell, but for a change, thank God, it's not at Jens. I don't think I could handle being angry at her right now. We both keep our promises and I can sense she did promise Glen she wouldn't repeat what she found. I will honor her promise to him. But I think Liz knows and she will tell me.

 

Jen's cuddling with me, "Wow, you're sure upset for someone who's about to go back home."

 

"Yes I am! I wish you could tell me what went on with you and your parents. But I know you promised Glen so I won't push it. But you can be certain I'll beat it out of Liz if I have to."

 

She smiles at me and says. "Ben, do me a favor and just drop it. I've already taken care of everything."

 

I think there is no way in hell I'm dropping this. I start trying to figure out what went on and why Jens would get so pissed at Evelyn.

 

"I can sense your devious mind trying to figure this out," she says as she starts nibbling on my neck and trying to distract me. I ignore her.

 

She starts to sniffle, "This isn't how I expected things to be when we got back together. I-I-I hoped we could put everything behind us and just be happy about being together."

 

Oh shit, she's really upset now. I squeeze her tight and try to explain, "Jens, you've had months to come to terms with this. I've had a few days and I’m not really sure what I’m up against. I don't see how I can put something behind me when I don't know what to put behind me."

 

She sniffles some more and pleads, "You could trust me." I could bring up the way she trusted me about the girls but I know that would be a huge mistake.

 

"Honey, trust has nothing to do with this. I trust you totally and know you took care of this. But I can tell you're still really upset about it, and anything that upsets you, upsets the hell out of me."

 

She looks at me and says, "Darling, yes I'm still upset about this and I always will be upset about it. It's not every day you get knifed in the back by the bitch that's supposed to be your mother."

 

Present – Jens - Hospital – Ramstein AFB Germany

 

Dammit! I said too much to Ben. I get so upset when I think about this, then I don't think straight and I shoot off my mouth.

 

Ben gives me a hell-of-a strange look and starts to open his mouth. I can see in his face when he changes his mind, "Jens, I will try my best to let this go for now. But when Liz comes back I am going to get all the information on this. And if I need to do something I will. But for right now being with you and loving you is more important."

 

I can't believe what my Man just said and I break down and start to cry.

 

"Jens, what the hell is wrong now? I thought you'd be happy," Ben asks.

 

I sob, "I-I-I am happy. These are tears of joy, not sadness." Then I snuggle up tight against him.

 

Present – Ben - Hospital – Ramstein AFB Germany

 

Wow, 'knifed in the back by the bitch that's supposed to be your mother.' I could sense pure hatred for Evelyn when Jens said it and immediately knew I needed to stop bugging her about it. This can wait until Liz gets here. It's funny, I'm the one with the physical wound, but Jens's emotional wounds are far deeper than my physical wound. She needs my love and support more than I need hers.

 

Then she starts crying AGAIN and I think she's still upset. When she tells me they're tears of joy I purposely think - women can't live with them, can't trade them for a good dog.

 

She pinches the hell out of me and demands, "Hey I sensed the trade me for a dog crap! Where the hell did it come from?"

 

I knew it would distract her so I start to tease, "Well, you know there are more than fifty reasons dogs are better than women."

 

She gives me a dirty look and adds, "Like hell there are! Name a few."

 

I grin at her and start, "A dog's time in the bathroom is confined to a quick drink."

 

"And I'm sure you'd want to kiss the dog on the lips after it was in the bathroom? Come on name another," she demands and then gives me a hot kiss.

 

I rack my brain for one I know will get her, "A dog's disposition doesn't change every twenty-eight days."

 

"Ha and neither does mine! You know I don't get PMS! So come on and give me a good reason… I'm still waiting."

 

I think it's time to up the ante so I grin really big and say really loud. "Dogs don't notice if you call them by another dog's name."

 

She pinches the hell out of me and threatens, "You'd better not ever call me by another girl's name. Especially that Susan bitch."

 

The MPs in the hallway hear what’s going on and start laughing. "Hey you bunch of-of-of men out there. You'd better be quiet or I'll come out there and kick your butts," Jens yells at them.

 

I smile at her, "Dogs never nag."

 

She looks at me, "Well, I mostly don't nag you. Do I?"

 

"No Jens, you don't nag me at all."

 

She gives me a devastating smile, "Good you had me worried because I don't want to be a nagging wife." The smile slips into an evil grin and she adds, "But I do know why I'm better than any damn dog."

 

I sarcastically demand, "Oh really, please tell."

 

She scoots up right next to my ear and whispers in a sultry sexy voice, "If you have sex with me you won't get in trouble."

 

I look at her and blush. And blush. And blush.

 

She finishes, "And you can't have babies with a dog."

 

I love the look of anticipation on her face. I hug her tight and give her a kiss on the forehead, "Jens, you're right because my woman is much better than any damn dog."

 

She pinches me and asks, "So how about an apology? For the ‘I can't live with them can't trade them for a good dog’ comment."

 

I hug her and promise, "Jens, I can't live without you and I don't want to try."

 

She sighs, melts against me and we both start to relax. There's a knock on the door, Jens stiffens until we see Matt and Jim walk into the room, both looking a little pale.

 

Matt says, "You two sure look cozy."

 

Jim adds, "Good to see you again Ben."

 

Jens replies, "You two sure got here fast."

 

"Yeah, we ran into a couple jet jockeys we knew, they had empty back seats and we finagled a ride with them." Matt says.

 

Jim continues, "And that's the last time I'll ever do that. They spent the whole trip trying to make us puke."

 

I ask, "Jens said you two aren't Marines anymore, so how'd you pull it off."

 

Matt stood up straight, "Shit! We may not be in the Corps, but we're still Marines and always will be. We just don't have to kiss the old man's butt anymore."

 

"Damn bastard sent us to Thule and we almost froze our asses off," Jim grumps.

 

I was going to ask why until Jens squeezes my arm and smiles at me. "Well, we're glad you’re here. Just so you know you're both on the clock."

 

They look at the doorway, "Yeah we figured that. How'd you get the blueboys to stand guard at the door?"

 

Jens starts to get upset again but I hug her and explain, "I don't think it was very pleasant and you probably don't want to know."

 

Matt smiles, "Well you two will want to know your flight is ready."

 

Jens gets excited, "Oh goodie, I can't wait to get back to America with Ben so we can plan our wedding."

 

The guys look at us and ask, "You two finally getting married?"

 

Jens hugs me and proudly replies, "You betcha! As soon as Ben gets well enough."

 

"It's about fucking time." Matt says.

 

"Hey, I wanted to marry her today but she wants a big wedding with all the hoorah and crap." The guys gave me a surprised look and I knew I'd made a mistake.

 

I look at Jens and she just smiles, "All the hoorah and crap huh? Spoken like a real Marine. Just for that I think you'll have to wear a tux."

 

I start teasing again, "What, I thought we'd both be wearing camo. Don't they make a camo wedding dress and tux?"

 

Matt states with a completely straight face, "I think you can only get those if you're marrying your sister and you're from the Ozarks."

 

Jim adds fuel to the fire, "Then you take your new wife to your cabin strapped across the hood of your rusty old pickup."

 

Matt continues to add fuel, "Then you and your hunting buddies stand around, drink beer and brag about the ones you poached earlier."

 

Jim finishes with a topper, "Why, then the little missus can make you all samwitches."

 

"Hey, we've got a cabin in Colorado and I've got a shiny new truck. You'd look beautiful strapped across the hood. How about it Jens?"

 

Jens is glaring at all of us and exclaims, "I think there's way too much testosterone in this room! You three wait until Liz gets here. We just might have the three of you try on tuxes for a week until we find just the right ones."

 

I look at her, figure she's teasing and start laughing. Jens joins in and then the guys pick up on it. Then Jens says, "Isn't the season for bucks longer than the season for does? You know Ben, you would look pretty nice strapped across the hood of my Jeep. At least I could keep my eye on you there."

 

The guys laugh and Jens adds, "Well enough of this. Let's get on the plane and get back to America. Matt and Jim, you can tell us about Liz and the new bodyguards on the flight." Jens and I both notice they blush when she mentioned the bodyguards.

 

Jens rings for the nurse, who promptly comes in with the discharge instructions and a wheel chair. "Okay SM Blaine hop in the chair."

 

"Like hell I will, I don't need one of those."

 

"It's hospital regulations, if you want to leave here, it has to be by wheelchair," she says.

 

"What about Ms. Donaldson, doesn't she need a wheel chair?"

 

Jens grins and taunts, "Dr. Crispin said I didn't. Besides I'm going to drive your wheelchair."

 

"What no way in hell! If you drive the wheelchair, I'll have an accident and have to stay in the hospital even longer."

 

We all start laughing and Jens says, "If you boys don't behave I'll even drive us to the airport."

 

That shut us up and Jens starts pushing me out the door. Jim is in front, Matt and the blueboys are bringing up the rear.

 

Present – Mira and Ira – Dushanbe, Tajikistan

 

We get ready to leave Herr Henrick's shop and I say, "Ira do you think Kostia is waiting for us?"

 

"I am sure he is and knowing him he is waiting out front."

 

"Ira, do we take him here or later?"

 

"I do not want to take him this close to Herr Henrick's shop."

 

Herr Henrick opens the door, and I yell. "Herr Henrick, please do not go outside."

 

We're too late and hear a gunshot! Herr Henrick stumbles and falls in the doorway, "Someone has shot me."

 

I run to the door, pull him back in the shop and three more rounds hit close to me. I slam and lock the door. "He is okay because he is wearing body armor."

 

We watch as Herr Henrick starts to stand, "Do not worry my angels. I am fine."

 

Ms. Morgan says, "I bet it's that bastard Kostia - I'm going to get him." She takes off towards the front door but Ira dives and tackles her to the floor. "Eyahhh, Mira I have hurt myself. My rib feels like it is on fire."

 

I run over, pull out a pair of handcuffs and handcuff Ms. Morgan to Ira. "Ms. Morgan. Now you will need to stay here and take care of Ira." I reach down and touch Ira's face, "I love you my sister and will make sure he pays for everything he has done to us."

 

"Be very careful Mira. Just kill him and don't do anything fancy."

 

"Mira, release me right now! You can't fight Kostia yourself," Ms. Morgan yells.

 

I smile at them and reply, "Ms. Morgan, this is our battle. But with Ira being hurt, now it is my battle. Kostia does not have a chance."

 

I drop my dress to the floor and kick off my shoes. Herr Henrick comes over and hands me a package. I pull out a black body suit and slither into it. Then I start putting on the tactical pads which are also body armor, the shoulders and the arms, then finally the legs.

 

Ms. Morgan says, "That's the blackest suit I've ever seen."

 

I rub my face with black face paint and grin, "Yes Ms. Morgan, it is another of Herr Henrick's inventions."

 

"Ach yes, she will be as dark as a shadow. And with the sun setting will be very hard to see."

 

I put on a web belt with a Micro Uzi1 on the left side and a GKD Ruger MKII2 pistol on the right side. I rack the bolts on both firearms to chamber a round in each.

 

1 Micro Uzi – The smallest Uzi in 9 mm parabellum. Not highly accurate but a very high cyclic rate.

2 GKD Ruger MKII – A custom made internally suppressed .22 LR pistol. Looks just like a standard Ruger MKII

 

Herr Henrick comes over and hands me a rifle, "Take this my angel, you will need it."

 

I grin and kiss him on the cheek, "Thank you Herr Henrick, I will take good care of your XM83." I drop in the mag, tap it, slam it home and rack the bolt.

 

3 XM8 – Was a developmental rifle to replace the M4/M16.

 

I walk over to Ira, "I know you will feel better in a little while. When you feel better, get Ms. Morgan to safety.

 

"Mira, please do not take any chances. Even though Kostia is old he knows us very well."

 

"Ira, I promise and I love you."

 

"I love you to Mira."

 

I smile at them, "It is time for me to take care of some garbage. We will see you all soon." But I felt strange and a little nervous because this was the first time I will face someone without having Ira as my backup. And she was right - Kostia trained us and knew all our moves.

 

Present – Jens - Hospital – Ramstein AFB Germany

 

I'm so fricken glad to be headed home and I even get to push the wheelchair! I tease Ben some by acting like I'm going to run into things. I start to giggle as he tries to dodge them and I taunt, "What's wrong Ben, don't you trust my driving?"

 

Matt and Jim laugh. "Hey, since we rode with you in Afghanistan we don’t blame him for being nervous."

 

We make it to the waiting Humvee without further injury to Ben. He gives me a relieved look and says, "Jens, if you drive like this when we get to America. I'm going to hire a chauffeur."

 

I smile at him, lean close, and whisper "Are you sure you just don't want to see me in a skimpy chauffeur's outfit."

 

He blushes and I kiss him on the cheek. The fat bastard Glen kept his word and we have an escort right up to the plane. I was hoping he'd let me down so I could un-invite him and the bitch to our wedding.

 

The Humvee stops and I yell at Matt and Jim, "Okay you two. Go earn your keep!"

 

They are already headed out to check the plane and Jim yells back, "Okay slave driver boss."

 

Ben looks at me. "Jens, aren't you going a little overboard?"

 

"Ben, the Russian mafia has already tried to grab Liz twice. Your friend Ivan and Yasmeen's parents barely escaped with their lives. You tell me, am I being too careful?"

 

I watch his face as he thinks. God I've missed watching his expressions. I see him look at his arm and wiggle it some and then he finally answers, "Jens, if my arm was well I'd really fight you over this."

 

I look at him and lightly slap his face. "Ben, since I have your attention, you should understand I'm not going to ever let you use your arm as an excuse for anything. Shit, you just got through taking down five MPs and almost kicking their butts. You're not an invalid and you're not disabled so get any of those thoughts out of your mind. You're damn lucky to be alive and you're the best man in the world. That's what you are!"

 

"Then why do we need the bodyguards and the escort?"

 

I hug him. "Because my big strong man. We have a bunch of bad guys after us, so we need a bunch of good guys helping us. Didn't you even have help from the girls when you escaped?"

 

He doesn't get to answer because Matt motions for us to board the plane. We jump out of the Humvee, walk up the stairs and into the cabin. Matt hands both of us a Kimber, mine in a back holster. I slide mine in the back of my pants and Ben looks at his and asks Matt, "Cocked and locked?"

 

Matt grins. "And ready to rock. Just don't shoot down the plane with it."

 

Ben puts it in his sling and grins, "I feel much better now."

 

The pilot puts on the fasten seatbelt sign and we buckle in. Once we're at cruising altitude I look at Ben and order, "Okay, it's time to get you out of those scrubs and into some real clothes."

 

Present – Ben – Evergreen Air flight home

 

"Jens it would be wonderful, I can't wait to be out of these scrubs. Did you bring some MCCUUs for me?"

 

She smiled and says, "Don't I always take the best care of you? You shouldn't have any doubts." She brings me a pair of BDUs.

 

"Jens, don't tell me the Marines changed their uniform and went back to the Army camo again?"

 

She grins at me and explains. "I was going to tease you but you've been through too much already. Once Liz told me about everyone looking for you I decided to make it harder for you to be found. They will all be looking for a Marine and you'll look like you're in the Army. So let's just say your camo got camo. Now let's get you out of those scrubs so I can finish your transformation."

 

"What transformation," I ask.

 

She grins and says, "You'll just have to wait and see."

 

We head back to the bathroom. Thank God it's roomy on these planes and she helps me out of my top. I watch as she starts crying. "Ben, my Ben what did they do to you?" she says as she sees the new scars on my upper body.

 

I hug her, "It was all worth it to get back to you."

 

She takes a soapy washcloth and gently cleans my upper body, stopping to kiss each scar. She rinses me, looks in my eyes and explains, "You know I lied to you when I said I dig scars. I hate each and every scar you have. I hate the pain and the torture you went through with each one. And I want to tell you Mister, you have too many scars on your body and I don't want you collecting any more. Now drop your pants."

 

I blush but start to explain, "Jens, we aren't married yet. Just give me the underwear and the washcloth and I will do my privates and put on my underwear. You can come in and finish my legs."

 

She grumps. "Hey I've seen it before."

 

"And you'll see it again when we're married." I swat her on the butt and add, "Now get out and I'll call you when I'm ready."

 

It is hard to clean myself but I was concerned if Jens was here cleaning me we might end up doing much more than cleaning. As hard as it is to clean myself, getting into my underwear is worse. I work up a sweat before I'm finished. "Okay Jens, I'm done."

 

She walks in and gives me an evil grin. "Are you sure you don't need me to make sure you're clean?"

 

"Nope, I did just fine." She pouts and then notices I've been sweating. "Wow, you worked up a sweat cleaning up. Now I have to wash you again." As she starts in again she asks, "Hey what's this patch they have on your shoulder?"

 

"I don't know. Crispy said I needed it and I've felt much better since they put it on me. They change it every once and awhile."

 

"Did you ask them what it was?"

 

"No, I didn't think it was important."

 

Jens gives me a look of utter disbelief and complains, "Ben, everything they do to you is important. You need to ask them about everything."

 

"Sorry Jens. They started putting them on me when I was pretty well out of it and I was in no condition to ask."

 

When she pulls a box out of a bag, I ask, "What's all that crap?"

 

She grins at me and replies, "Well my dark-haired Romeo, you're about to get your wish and become a blonde."

 

"I never wished to be a blonde, and like hell I am!"

 

She snuggles up to me and asks, "Don't you know blondes have more fun? Haven't you noticed something about my hair?"

 

"I did notice the ends were pretty dark, I thought it was some sort of reverse highlights."

 

She pulls away and smiles. "You might call it that. I became a brunette while I was looking for you and it's taken forever for it to grow out."

 

"Jens, there's an easier way, just cut it all off."

 

"Sorry Ben, but everyone knows what you look like with your Marine haircut. You're going to start wearing your hair longer and we're keeping it blonde, at least for a while," She explains with her most determined look.

 

I knew I'd lost. "Oh, all fricken right!"

 

"Hey, be thankful I don't want to dye all your hair. You do know what you get when you stand ten blondes on their heads?"

 

I'm going to look like a clown and she's making jokes! "Ten blondes which are even more dizzy than normal?"

 

She spanks my butt and provides the answer, "Hey I am not a dizzy blonde. And no, you get eight brunettes."

 

It was so good that I almost chuckle. She starts on my hair and I remember a joke. "Jens, what do you call a blonde that dyes her hair brunette?"

 

"Don't tell me you're starting blonde jokes now? You know I hate blonde jokes," she grumps.

 

"You call them artificial intelligence."

 

She pinches the hell out of my butt. "That's about enough of those jokes. I put up with them when I was a kid and I don't have to put up with them now."

 

She finishes my hair, pulls out a pair of scissor and starts cutting and styling. She finishes and says, "Wow, you look better than I thought."

 

I turn and look at myself in the mirror and barely recognize the face looking back at me. It's actually not bad but I can't let her know. "I guess it will do. I hope it grows out for the wedding."

 

She grabs me and says, "I hope it doesn't because then I can prove to you blondes do have more fun."

 

She gets ready to wash my legs, squats down but then falls over. "Ben what the hell went on with your feet and legs? What are all those little square scars and scrapes?"

 

"Jens come here and hold me," I ask as she stands up and we embrace. I look in her eyes and tell the tale, "Jens when I was first captured they kept me tied up to the ceiling all night long." I shivered and shook remembering the hell I went through but continue, "Once it got dark, the rats came out."

 

She starts crying. "Rats, those are fucking rat bites. Ben I'm so sorry I never looked at your legs so I didn't know. The fucking bastard Hussein, I'm going to kill him." I hold her as she sobs, after about ten minutes she is done and looks me in the eyes.

 

"Ben those must have hurt like hell. How did they ever keep from getting infected?"

 

I don't want to tell her but she needs to hear the truth. "Jens you might not like to hear this. No one took care of them at first and I started getting very sick. But later Zarika would bribe the guards to let her come in each night and take care of my legs."

 

I wait for the attack on Zarika and instead Jens says in a calm voice. "Ben what did she have to bribe them with?"

 

I can't tell Jens so I look at the floor and blush. It's enough so she figures it out. I watch as she covers her mouth in amazement.

 

She raises my head, kisses me on the lips and says. "Ben, I owe you and Zarika a big apology. I didn't know she used her body to help you. Can you tell me what else she did for you?"

 

I look back to the floor. "Not now Jens my love. It was hard enough telling you this little bit. I think I feel sick."

 

I make it to the toilet just in time to puke my guts out. Jens holds me the whole time. When I'm done she wipes my mouth, smiles at me and says. "No kisses for you until we brush those teeth and tongue."

 

She finishes washing my legs and yes she kisses each and every rat bite, except for the ones on the bottom of my feet (only because I won't let her). She helps me into the BDUs and a pair of Vibram Five Fingers. It feels so good to have a pair of Five Fingers on again I get excited. "Jens get your ass up here. I want to give you a kiss."

 

She stands up. "Not until we brush those teeth and tongue." She hands me a toothbrush and a few minutes later I'm done.

 

I give her a kiss, a long passion filled kiss. We finally break and she looks at me. "If I knew you were going to get this excited for a pair of Five Fingers I would have waited for our honeymoon."

 

I pull her close with my good arm, let it slide down and pinch her butt. "Don't worry there are other toys I'll get excited about on our honeymoon."

 

We head out of the bathroom and take our seats. Jens grabs a blanket, reclines the seats, we cuddle together and fall asleep.

 

Present – Glen - Hospital – Ramstein AFB Germany

 

Son-of-a-bitch! Jens isn't kidding when she says they are in danger. They no sooner got off the ground than the freaking hospital on the fucking airbase comes under attack.

 

I guess they somehow got past the gate and then rammed a Humvee into the front of the hospital. A bigger truck dumps out a bunch of mercenaries who storm the hospital, start taking hostages and shooting anyone who resists. I grab Evelyn and we take off for the basement bomb shelter. A couple MPs tag along and I look at one of them and order, "Give me your fucking rifle."

 

"Sir, I can't do that." I grab it out of his hands anyway. On checking it, there isn’t even a round in the chamber. I jack a round and then order, "Now give me all your extra mags."

 

He looks at me and apologizes, "Sorry Sir, they only give us the one."

 

"What sort of fucking joke is this?" I yell at him. "Do you have an armory in this building?"

 

"No Sir, this is a hospital and they don’t think we need one."

 

I look at Evelyn and declare, "We're changing our plan because we need to get the fuck out of this building."

 

"MP, I order you to get us to the back door as quickly as possible. And make sure your weapon is loaded and on safe," I yell as I look at the other MP.

 

Evelyn takes his side arm and he complains, "Ma'am you can't take that."

 

She glares at him and responds, "You probably can’t do anything with it anyway, so shut the fuck up and get us to the back door before I get pissed and shoot you."

 

We round a corner and the MP gets shot by a merc. I grab him, pull him back behind cover and look at his wound. "It's okay boy, it's just a flesh wound."

 

I peek around the corner and the merc sprays the wall with a couple of bursts. I duck back just in time. I look at the uninjured MP. "Do you know how to fire your rifle?"

 

"Yes Sir, I learned in basic training."

 

I look at him for a couple of seconds. I want to ask him when the last time he fired a rifle, but we don't have the time. I hand him his rifle and I take the wounded MP's rifle. "Okay son. You're going to stand high and poke your rifle around the corner and let loose a couple of bursts."

 

"But Sir you're a General," He complains.

 

I look at him and explain, "But I'm a Marine first and all Marines even Generals are riflemen. Now do what the fuck you're told." I lie on the floor and look at him then start to count. "Okay, on three. One, two, three."

 

He sticks the rifle around the corner and holds down the trigger and it's spraying rounds everywhere, I poke my head around the corner and fire two quick shots hitting the merc in the face. "Airman cease fucking fire and quit wasting our ammo." He releases the trigger.

 

I run around the corner and approach the merc. Evelyn and the two MPs follow. I start stripping the tactical vest off the merc. I hand Evelyn the MP's rifle and take the mercs AK. Now we have a better chance, since I have ten mags, four frag grenades and four flashbangs.

 

I pull the radio off the merc, stick it in my ear and listen to the chatter. I look at Evelyn and ask, "How's your Arabic?"

 

"Not good." She replies.

 

I look at the MPs and ask, "Do either of you know Arabic?"

 

"No Sir," they say in unison.

 

I want to ask what the fuck they're good for, but not now is not a good time to start another battle. I guess I can use them for cannon fodder if nothing else. I look at the wounded MP. "You're going to have to keep up with us because I'm too old and fat to carry your ass. Do you think you can do it?"

 

"I will try my best Sir."

 

I stand up straight and look at him. "Trying your best is not good enough! You will keep up with us and this is an order! Do I make myself clear?"

 

"Yes Sir! I will keep up with you."

 

I grab the uninjured MP, give him Evelyn’s M4 and order, "You take the lead and don't get shot like your buddy, you might not be so lucky." I reach over and make sure the M4 is on single shot. "And whatever you do, don't waste anymore ammo." I take his half-empty M4 and hand it to Evelyn. "Here try to remember how to use one of these."

 

I watch as she checks the weapon and the mag then puts it on single shot. She looks at me and I see a little change in her as she sharply replies, "Yes Sir."

 

I get everyone in a huddle. "Okay, let's not run through here like maniacs. We don't want to run into another merc around a corner. Besides, by now they will have all the doors covered so when we do reach a door we will have to fight our way through it. When the time comes make sure you're very careful when you first step out the door. By now the building is surrounded and I don't want any of us getting shot by trigger happy airmen."

 

We take off and the lead MP starts running like crazy. "Halt, didn't you hear what I said?" It's too late because he rounds another corner and we hear a bunch of gunfire which ends with the distinctive sound of an AK. I look at Evelyn and the other Airman. "Okay, I guess I'm going to have to show you how this is done."

 

Present – Matt – Evergreen Air flight home

 

Ben and Jens are spending a hell of a long time in the bathroom. Jim is sure they are joining the mile high club. I just laugh at him. "Jim, those two are going to wait until their wedding night. So get your filthy mind out of the gutter."

 

"Then what are they doing in there for this long."

 

I see Jens come out and stand by the door. "Why don't you go and ask Jens."

 

He looks at her and quietly answers, "No way, she'll chew my head off."

 

"Jim, I'll bet you a hundred dollars I can go ask Jens and she won't chew my head off."

 

"You're on, but I get to follow and listen."

 

We walk back and I ask, "Hi Jens how's it going? What are you and Ben doing?"

 

She gives us a sad look. "I'm cleaning him up and helping him change into some clean BDUs."

 

"Why are you so sad?"

 

She looks at us and I notice the tears. "Guys I finally saw all the new scars he has. I guess I'd never really noticed before. The bastard Hussein put Ben through hell." When she finishes I see a fire in her eyes.

 

"We're going after him, aren't we?"

 

I swear her violet eyes are flaming fire red when she looks at us. "I will chase the bastard to the gates of bottomless perdition if I have to. And when I find him, he will beg for death for a month." She is so intense it makes us both uncomfortable and we hear Ben yell that he's done. Jens says, "Excuse me guys, I need to finish Ben's transformation and then wash his legs." She heads into the bathroom and we head back up front.

 

"Okay Jim, that's another hundred you owe me."

 

"Matt have you ever seen anyone that pissed off?"

 

"Never! I tell you what, Hussein had better hope he dies before Jens gets a hold of him."

 

I watch as they come out of the bathroom and can't believe my eyes: Ben's now a blonde. I get ready to tease them until I notice Jens is even more upset. "Jim, don't look now but Ben's a blonde. And whatever you do don't tease them, Jens must have found something else because she's even more pissed."

 

Jim chuckles. "He looks better as a blonde than Jens looked as a brunette. Man, she is so pissed off!"

 

We watch as they settle down and fall asleep. "Jim do you really think she is asleep?"

 

He watches her a while and then answers, "No, she's just cuddling with Ben."

 

We take our seats and start to get comfortable when the flight deck door opens and the flight engineer motions to us.

 

Present – Jens – Evergreen Air flight home

 

I watch as Matt and Jim get motioned into the flight deck. I run up, keep the door from closing and ask, "What's going on?"

 

The flight engineer says, "We received word from Ramstein: The hospital was attacked shortly after we left. I guess a large group of armed men have taken control of the hospital. They are holding hostages and have killed those who have resisted."

 

I study him. "And what else aren't you telling us?"

 

"Ms. Donaldson. Your parents are still in the hospital."

 

I falter just a little but ask, "Pilot, can we push the speed of this plane to maximum cruising speed?"

 

"Ms. Donaldson, we have the fuel to do this. But it won't leave us much reserve if we have problems when we reach Bethesda."

 

"Thank you Sir. Would it be possible for your flight engineer to discuss some options with us?"

 

"Certainly, just let us know what we can do for you."

 

We walk out of the crowded flight deck and sit at one of the tables. I look at the flight engineer and make introductions, "I'm Jens, this is Mat and Jim. Your name is?"

 

He shakes our hands. "I'm Robert, how can I help you?"

 

"When you guys file a flight plan, does it contain a manifest of the passengers?"

 

"Yes Miss, it does."

 

I get very upset and explain, "Okay, here's the problem. The people who attacked the hospital are looking for Ben. They think he has an important piece of information they want. As you can see, they are willing to kill anyone to get it."

 

Matt says, "So you're worried they will find out he is on this flight and either try to force us to turn around…."

 

I interrupt and finish, "Or they will be waiting for us in Bethesda."

 

Robert adds, "How well armed are they?"

 

I look at him with a question, "Why do you ask?"

 

"Well, I just thought of something else. If they have any fighter aircraft available, we are a sitting duck in the sky."

 

I glance back and Ben is still sleeping. "Shit! I wished I had asked Glen for a fighter escort."

 

Matt snaps his fingers and asks, "Do we go anywhere near Thule?"

 

The flight engineer answers, "Sure we have to."

 

Matt continues, "Jens, we know the base commander pretty well and even a few of the fighter jocks. They even owe us a few favors. We might be able to call him and see if he can do anything."

 

"Good! Matt you work on it. Now I want only honest opinions from each of you, do you think we should still land at Bethesda?"

 

The flight engineer says, "I can try to determine the alert status on the base and see if they're worried about an attack like the one at Ramstein."

 

"Good Robert, Please go do it."

 

He leaves and I look at the guys. "I think we might need to land somewhere else and I'm looking for suggestions."

 

Matt says, "I don't want to land in Thule unless we have to."

 

Jim says, "Canada might be good, but they won't like our weapons."

 

Robert comes back and informs us, "There are no alerts on any American bases."

 

I look at him and ask, "Robert, I want you to give me some viable alternates to landing in Bethesda."

 

"What are the parameters?"

 

"First I want someplace which is safe. Someplace which is not on any list for those trying to find us. Ben's going to need surgery, so being close to a major hospital would be nice."

 

"One minute let me check something." He goes up to the flight deck and comes back in a couple minutes with a map of America. He does some calculations, draws a big loop on the map and explains, "Any city within this circle is possible with the normal margin of safety.

 

As we start pouring over the map, Matt laughs and suggests, "We should take him to New York City."

 

I look at him and reply, "Matt, we should do it and tell him it's your idea."

 

"On second thought, I don't think it's such a good idea," Matt recants.

 

Jim says, "You know we could land anywhere and then take a vehicle to the final destination. It's probably safer. Do you still want to take him to Bethesda for surgery?"

 

I think for a minute and reply, "The vehicle is a great idea, but I'm not sure about Bethesda."

 

We continue to discuss options.

 

Present – Glen - Hospital – Ramstein AFB Germany

 

One god damn MP got himself killed, the other one's wounded, so now it's up to Evelyn and me to get out of this hospital.

 

I look at my wife and explain, "Evelyn, you need to become a soldier if we're going to get out of here."

 

She gives me an unsure smile and asks. "Glen, what will happen to us if they catch us?"

 

"Evelyn, I think they are here after SM Blaine. Jens asked me for armed guards right before they left but wouldn't tell me why, so it's the only thing which makes sense. If they know SM Blaine, then they know us. If they catch us, it will be torture and probably death."

 

I see a determined look on her face, "Glen, I will do whatever you order me to do. We will get out of this hospital."

 

I swat her butt, "We just might have a chance! We're going to scoot down these hallways taking turns covering each other. But first we have a terrorist to take care of around the corner. I'll flashbang him and then we'll both shoot anyone that's there. One thing though, try not to shoot any hostages."

 

We slip up to the corner, I pull a flashbang and bounce it off the wall and wait. It detonates and we both peek around the corner and the terrorist is gone. "Shit I guess they're on the move and I wasted a flashbang."

 

We come to a cross hallway and I peek around the corner. There are two terrorists and when they see me they start firing. I pull another flashbang and flip it up the hallway just when one comes bouncing towards us. I turn my head, close my eyes, plug my ears and wait until I hear two bangs. I open my eyes, peek around the corner and shoot one guard, the other one returned fire, I guess he did the same thing as I did.

 

I'm tired of fucking with this guy so I bounce a frag grenade up the hallway. After it goes off I look and see both of them are down. Evelyn says, "Glen I can't hear or see shit." The MP yells the same.

 

Son of a bitch, I have two dead weights now. After all the problems Evelyn has caused me through the years, I briefly consider leaving her. But dammit, I still love her.

 

I grab the MPs hand and put it on Evelyn's back and yell, "Hold on to her and don't let go." I grab Evelyn's hand, put it on my back and again yell, "Don't let go Evelyn." I start up the hallway, stop at the two dead fucking terrorists and start stripping gear from them.

 

I put one tactical vest on the MP and the other on Evelyn, hand them each an AK and yell, "Don't let go of me or you'll get left. I'm surprised when they both answer, "Yes Sir!"

 

I don't have to worry now about traveling too fast since I can't rush with both of them hanging from me like a small train. I figure we have about five more minutes before they can see and even longer before they can hear. The time's not important because any chance of beating the terrorist to the back doors is gone. Now we just need to get there without getting captured or shot and then fight our way outside and hope we don't get shot by friendly fire.

 

I hear some noise coming down the hallway so I open a door and step inside a room. Evelyn starts to talk and I put my hand over her mouth so she stops. I glance around the room and see some scared hospital staff huddled in one of the corners. At first they look frightened of me but I hold my hand over my lips signifying for them to be quiet.

 

 I listen as the mercs pass, sneak the door open, gun down three more terrorists then explain to the staff, "Sorry, I heard the fucking terrorists and didn't want any of you to make any noise and attract them. Can any of you use a rifle?"

 

One young man I hadn't noticed rolls up in a wheelchair, "I can general, give me a rifle and I'll kill all the Arabic bastards."

 

I look at him with his missing legs and ask, "Marine?"

 

He laughs and answers, "No Sir. Corporal Cohen - IDF4."

 

4 IDF – Israeli Defense Forces

 

I want to ask him what he's doing here, but we don't have the time. I hand him a rifle and order, "Cover me while I go and retrieve their gear."

 

He checks it, spits on the floor and curses, "Piece of shit AK."

 

I go to the door and he follows right behind me. I slip into the hallway and start to pick up the gear from the mercs and then hear rifle fire behind me. I turn and see that Corporal Cohen has taken down two more terrorists who came around the corner. He rolls out in the hallway and gives me the thumbs up. "Being out here and killing these Arabic bastards is better than sitting around in the room waiting to die. Sir, please give me another rifle, a bunch of mags and how about some of those grenades. It feels good to be fighting again."

 

I look at him and ask, "Do you speak Arabic?"

 

He spits on the floor and replies, "Yes I do."

 

I pull out the radio and headset, hand it to him and direct, "Let us know what you hear."

 

He puts it on and I hand him another rifle, a bunch of mags and grenades. He starts tucking them all over his chair. Then we head back in the room to pick up everyone else. "General, let's drape a couple of those lead aprons over my torso. It's not body armor but it's the best thing we have."

 

We cover his torso with the lead aprons, "Okay let's get out of here. Get someone to push me, I have terrorists to kill."

 

The wounded MP says, "Since I can't shoot, I'll push you."

 

Corporal Cohen says, "Give him a lead apron too." He grins at us and adds, "Now you can call me Frank the tank."

 

He listens for a bit to the radio and explains, "General, it looks like they have all the doors wired. If I know these Arab bastards it's probably something pretty simple. I used to do demo so if you can get me to a door I can probably disarm it." Then he looks where his legs used to be. "And if I can't, I'll just blow it up since there's not much reason for me to live without my legs."

 

I call everyone into a huddle. "Here's the situation and the plan. Terrorists have seized this hospital and are killing hostages so you're not safe just sitting in this room. We're leaving and trying to get to a door where we can escape. It's going to be dangerous, because these bastards are shooting first and asking questions later. You all are welcome to come with us, but you have to stay quiet and obey every order we give."

 

One man in a suit stands up, "First I want to know who made you the boss. And second, I think we should negotiate with these men and see what they want."

 

Frank laughs and says, "You can't negotiate with fucking Arab terrorists."

 

I hold up the AK. "This and the stars on my shoulder make me the boss. And mister, you just earned the right to stay here because I'll fucking shoot you if you try to follow us. Now does anyone else want to stay here and negotiate with the terrorists?"

 

No one else did. "Okay let's move out. Frank you're in the front, I'm right behind you." Evelyn can sort of see again. I hand her a rifle, "You've got our six and keep checking behind us. I don't want you to get shot."

 

We open the door and move carefully out into the hallway.

 

Present – Evelyn – Ramstein AFB Germany

 

The transformation in Glen reminds me of when we were first married - I haven't thought about it in years. God he was such a good looking young Marine! The first time I saw him in his full dress uniform I knew I had to marry him. I didn't think about his rank, all I thought about was my deep love for him… I wonder… could this be anything like Jennifer feels… no, it can't be.

 

I thought for a minute he was going to leave me in the hallway after the flashbang when I couldn't see and hear. But he took care of me, he's always taken care of me and I guess I haven't appreciated it. I know I haven't thanked him for it for a very long time. He tells me to watch our six and we get ready to move out. I grab him and give him a big kiss.

 

"Evelyn, what was that for?"

 

"Thank you Glen!"

 

We head out the door and I look at the idiot who wants to negotiate, he looks scared. "If you stay quiet you can follow behind me. But if you make one sound, I'll shoot you."

 

He nervously says, "Thank you ma'am," and falls in behind me.

 

He doesn't realize he's the last in line and the first to get shot if someone comes up behind us. But my ears are still ringing like the church bells after our wedding and I can't hear much.

 

Present – Mira – Dushanbe, Tajikistan

 

I open the back door, check the area and do not see any sign of Kostia so I slip out into the alley. Ira is right - killing Kostia is going to be harder than anyone we have killed before. He knows how we think and how we move because he taught us. If Ira was with me I know we could do this. Without Ira, I hope I can do it.

 

When he shot at me in the doorway I could tell he was up high in a building somewhere. I want to get to higher ground to see if I can spot him. I run up and across the alley to a larger building and enter the doorway. Then I take the stairs two at a time till I get to the locked doorway to the roof, I shoot the lock off the door, slowly open it and crawl out on the roof. I head to the side of the building where I can see the front of Herr Henrick's shop.

 

I rise up and look over the edge of the building and three rounds splatter on the edge of the roof so I duck my head quickly. Shoot, Kostia either saw me or knew I would go up high to try and find him. The bad thing is I could not get any idea where he was. I crawl back across the roof and run back down the stairs.

 

I am very careful as I step into the alley, but there are no shots. I move up the alley towards the front of the shop, trying to keep hidden. It is surprising there are no shots. Scanning the buildings close to the shop, I decide which one would be most likely for him to hide in. It will be very hard for me to get to it, but I need to do this for Ira and Ms. Morgan.

 

I use the cars for cover as I cross the open space but no shots are fired and I make it to the front door of the building. Looking at the door I can see where the lock has been forced and I know Kostia is in this building so I carefully open the door, slip inside and start up the stairs.

 

The door to the roof has been forced too. My hands sweat as I open the door to the roof, but still no shots. Where is he? I slip out onto the roof, look carefully around and I see him crouched at the corner of the roof with a rifle.

 

For a second I think about just shooting him from here and being done with it, but I want to look in his eyes as he knows I beat him. So as silent as a lioness stalking her prey I slip out on the roof and move closer. I stop ten meters away and order, "Kostia stand up slowly and turn around." He doesn't move.

 

I get ready to shoot him when I hear a voice behind me and my blood turns cold.

 

Kostia orders, "I have you now you ungrateful little bitch. There is an assault rifle with armor piercing rounds aimed at your back and I will fire if you make any sudden moves. Slowly throw your weapon away and lay face down on the roof with your hands sticking straight out."

 

I pause for a second and he shoots the roof by my feet and orders, "Do it now bitch!"

 

I am humiliated. I have failed and all I can hope to do now is use my life to buy Ira some time to get Ms. Morgan to safety.

 

I throw the rifle away and slowly lay down on the roof.

 

Kostia says, "What a good little bitch doing exactly as you're told. It will be such a shame to kill you. So did you like my fake twin on the roof?"

 

I will humor him to buy Ira more time to get away. "Yes Kostia, it was a very good plan and I did not think about it."

 

"I had him made a few years back and kept him hidden from both of you. I knew one day he would come in handy."

 

"Kostia, are you not worried about my sister?"

 

"Yes I am. It surprised me when you two did not come after me together. I know you like to hunt together. So why don't you tell me where she is and I will make your death a little less painful."

 

I decide telling him part of the truth will keep him talking longer. "She took Ms. Morgan to the American Embassy to keep her safe."

 

He laughs evilly. "Do you realize how big a mistake you made? By dividing up you made it much easier for me to kill both of you. You are used to having each other to watch your backs and without your sister I was able to sneak right up on you. It was such a rookie mistake. But I grow tired of talking with you."

 

I need more time so I say, "Kostia, we know where the girls and the gold are."

 

He is quiet for a minute or two. "And of course you are willing to tell me right now to save your life."

 

"Yes Kostia, I will tell you if you spare my life."

 

He laughs evilly again. "Which sister are you?"

 

I am upset because he still cannot tell us apart, "I am Mira."

 

"Well Mira. You are the lucky sister today because I will kill you quickly so I can get to Ira. She, I will take my time with. I will take huge pleasure torturing and 'training' her until she tells me where the girls are. Then I will not kill her, I will sell her into sex slavery. After I'm done with her, I plan on doing even worse things to Ms. Morgan. So tell me are you ready to die?"

 

I cry for my sister because I know Kostia will do what he promised. I fear for Ms. Morgan because he will be even more brutal to her. Yes I am the lucky sister. I wait for death to come, for Kostia to fire the rifle.

 

I hear a boom, jerk and feel wet things hit me, but it doesn't hurt. I hear two more booms and more wet things hit me. It reminds me of Papa and Momma being shot. I often wondered what death would feel like, I thought it was supposed to be painful, but – I do not feel anything. Then I hear…

 

"Mira! Are you okay?"

 

It is – I do not believe it – it is Ms. Morgan. I quickly sit up and turn around and see a huge bloody mess where Kostia used to be. Ms. Morgan is holding a shotgun and looking at me.

 

"Mira! Did the fucking bastard hurt you?"

 

Tears of joy and embarrassment flow down my cheeks. I crawl over in front of Ms. Morgan. "Ms. Morgan. Please shoot me because I cannot live with the embarrassment of failing you as a body guard."

 

She sits on the roof and holds me as we both cry. "Mira, stop being a foolish child, you did your job perfectly. You distracted Kostia so your sister could take care of him. Isn't this how you and Ira sometimes do your job?"

 

I argue. "But you are the one we are supposed to protect."

 

She pulls away and says, "No, I'm your sister. And when I told you I would die for you I meant it."

 

"Where is Ira? She should have stopped you."

 

Ms Morgan smiles at me and explains, "She was getting ready to come and help you, but I knew she was hurt too badly. She started taking off the handcuffs and I used them to handcuff her to a pole in Herr Henrick's shop. She is very upset at me. Then I forced Herr Henrick to give me this gear and shotgun."

 

I think, yes Ira will be very angry and probably even swore at you in our language. "How did you know where Kostia and I were?"

 

She answers, "It was easy. I saw you run across the street and into this building. I followed as quickly as I could but he already caught you by the time I got here."

 

I heard a noise and pulled the Uzi. The movement makes Ms. Morgan spin around with the shotgun. I smile when I see Ira come up on the roof. She sees what is left of Kostia and tries to run over to us and then gingerly sits down next to us.

 

"Ira, you are still very hurt. Why are you here?"

 

"Mira, I came to rescue both of you. But it looks like you do not need to be rescued."

 

"Ms. Morgan saved me."

 

"Mira, I am so angry and embarrassed at her for tricking me. What should I do?"

 

"Ira, you think you feel bad. I feel even worse, she saved me from Kostia."

 

We both look at Ms. Morgan and I say. "Ms. Morgan, we are both terribly embarrassed and cannot work for you anymore."

 

Present – Liz – Dushanbe, Tajikistan

 

Well I did what I needed to do and killed Kostia. I wish I could have tortured the hell out of him first but he was getting ready to shoot Mira. I was so thankful he had her lying on the roof because with this shotgun I might have hit Mira too. The bastard described how he was going to torture Ira and he meant it. Good riddance to bad rubbish!

 

But now I have a huge problem because I have embarrassed both of them and hurt their feelings. How in the hell am I ever going to fix this. They are my sisters but don't accept me yet, so I only know of one thing to do.

 

I stand up. "Mira and Ira! I order you to stop feeling sorry for yourselves and follow me back to Herr Henrick's shop. We need to clean the pieces of Kostia off Mira, get Ira some more pain medicine and then go clothes shopping. I'm not letting this dead piece of shit ruin shopping with my sisters."

 

I turn, start to walk away and just like I thought, they follow me. I hear them talking behind me and know they are working things out.

 

"Mira, I do not understand her. She ordered us to follow her."

 

"Ira, I think I know what she is doing. She is very smart and knew Kostia taught us to always follow orders."

 

"Mira, I am still embarrassed and wished she would order us to jump off the roof."

 

"Ira, she will never do it. She-she-she loves us. I could tell by the way she ordered us. How is your rib my sister?"

 

"It hurts very much and I cannot move very well."

 

"You know she will order you to take more pills at Herr Henrick's shop. I think you should take them before she orders you."

 

"I guess we do not have to worry as much about her as we thought. Today we have seen a side of Ms. Morgan we never heard about. I never dreamed she would be the one to kill Kostia. But you are right I will take the pills."

 

"And I will tape your ribs this time."

 

"But first Mira, we need to get you out of your gear and have Herr Henrick destroy it. You are covered with parts of Kostia and stink."

 

"Ira, do not tell me. Just thinking about it makes me sick. I am going to throw up."

 

I hear a noise, turn around and see Mira throwing up. I run back to her. "Are you hurt?"

 

She looks embarrassed and says, "Sorry Ms. Morgan the thought of having Kostia all over me made me sick."

 

"Well having the bastard on me would make me sick too. He was an evil man."

 

Ira nods at Mira, "Ms. Morgan, he was not a man. He was an animal. We have never hated anyone in our lives except him."

 

Ira continues, "We owe you forever for killing him for us." They both add together, "sister."

 

We head back to Herr Henrick's shop. He meets us at the door and is incredibly worried.

 

"Ach, you are all well. I was worried." He looks at Mira. "Mira you have blood all over you. Are you hurt?"

 

Ira replies, "Herr Henrick, it is not Mira's blood it is Kostia's blood."

 

Mira finishes, "I need to change out of these clothes because they are ruined forever."

 

I decided to try something and add, "I think we should take those clothes and burn them. It would be just like burning Kostia."

 

The twins look at me and grin, Mira says, "I would like it very much." Ira continues, "I would like it even more."

 

Mira starts stripping off her clothes. Ira says, "Hurry Mira. I cannot wait." Then she adds, "Herr Henrick may I please have two more pain pills." He walks in the back and comes out with the pills and some water and Ira takes them both. I watch as Mira puts tape over Ira's ribs and think, that's going to hurt like hell when it gets pulled off.

 

Herr Henrick is grinning and comes over to me. "Ms. Morgan, you are not just a beautiful woman, you are very wise for one so young."

 

"Herr Henrick, I am giving them something I never had, a chance for closure. I took it from them when I killed Kostia."

 

He eyed me. "Ach, I can tell you and my angels have had some of the same terrible experiences. Ms. Morgan thank you for letting them have some closure to their experiences. I do wish someday you can have some closure to your experiences."

 

I kiss him on the cheek. "I don't think it will ever happen."

 

Mira and Ira yell, "We are ready. It is time to burn Kostia."

 

We walk into the back room and I'm shocked. It is one of the most complete laboratories and manufacturing facilities I have ever seen. Ira says, "Yes Ms. Morgan, it is shocking the first time you see it."

 

They took all Mira's bloody gear and Herr Henrick dumps it in a big metal bucket. He pours in some liquid and hands Mira and Ira matches. They both light them together, throw them into the bucket and the flames start rising. They start dancing and frolicking around the bucket like a couple of children. Giggling and laughing and talking in their special language.

 

Herr Henrick comes over, stands by me and some tears trickle down his cheeks. "Ms. Morgan, I have never seen my angels act like girls before. Thank you for returning their childhood."

 

As the flames die we both watch the twins slip back into their hard exterior. Herr Henrick goes over and puts a lid on the bucket, snuffing the flames. Mira starts putting on her 'normal' clothes. Herr Henrick dumps the ashes from the bucket into a little plastic box, seals the lid, and hands the box to Ira. "Ira and Mira, you take this box and anytime the bad dreams of Kostia come back you and Mira look at it and know just like you watched the clothes burn, Kostia is still burning in hell."

 

They smile bigger than I have ever seen before. I look at my watch and it's late, but never too late to go shopping.

 

"Well my sisters, shall we go shopping?"

 

They both look sad and then Ira says, "Ms. Morgan, we are dying to go shopping with you. But after everything which has happened we think it would be wise if we went to your hotel, pick up your things, then to Kostia's and pick up our things and go to the Embassy."

 

I look at them and realize they are right. "Okay sisters you are right. But as soon as we get to America we're going to spend all day shopping."

 

They both grin and come over and hug me. Mira calls a cab and we head towards my hotel.

 

Present – Glen - Hospital – Ramstein AFB Germany

 

The MP is wheeling Frank the tank down the hallway heading towards the closest exit. It doesn't take long until we round a corner and encounter a group of terrorists. Frank lets go with both AK's and rips them a new asshole. They did get off a couple shots, but the lead aprons stopped them. We stop and gear up again. Frank calls me over, "General, I heard on the radio they have some sort of large bomb and plan on destroying the hospital if they can't find the patient they're looking for."

 

"Did they say who they're looking for?"

 

"Yes it's someone named Blaine. They've checked his room and he's not here."

 

I look at Frank, "That's because he's on his way to America with my daughter."

 

He gives me a serious look, "They will destroy the hospital and many innocent people."

 

I finally remember my fucking mobile phone, "Everyone, quick into this room."

 

We walk into the room. "Corporal Cohen and Evelyn, guard the door."

 

I whip out my mobile phone and make a call to the base commander on Ramstein. "Listen Jim, this is General Donaldson."

 

"Glen, where the hell are you?"

 

"We are currently in your hospital and have found out you have a huge problem here. The fucking Arab terrorists are looking for a patient who left several hours ago."

 

"Glen that sucks, what do they want him for?"

 

"It's not important, I just know they don't give a fuck. They are killing anyone they find. We also know all the doors are wired and they have a WMD and will destroy the hospital rather than give it up."

 

Jim replies, "Glen we've got the hospital surrounded."

 

"It won't matter.  Listen I'm calling Böblingen and getting a bunch of Marines over here by chopper. I don't have shit for troops with me: My wife, one wounded MP and a hell of an IDF Corporal that's fearless. We're going to keep roaming the hallways and killing the bastards until the Marines show up."

 

"Glen, don't you think you're going overboard?"

 

I get pissed at him. "Listen Jim, I'm telling you there's no way out of this other than killing all the bastards. Make sure you clear things for my troops."

"Yes sir, I will."

 

I hang up my phone and call MARFOREUR (Marine Forces Europe) in Böblingen, Germany. "Listen, this is General Donaldson. We have an issue at the Ramstein hospital. I want all and the best Marines you can muster in full battle gear on choppers headed here in fifteen minutes. This is not a drill. I am in the hospital, call me when they arrive and we will open a door for them"

 

"Yes Sir, anything else?"

 

I think for a moment Then add, "You'd better send the best demo squad we have. They have a WMD."

 

"Yes Sir, we will be there."

 

I hang up the phone, hesitate and then call Jens. Thank God she answers the phone.

 

"Glen what the fuck are you bothering me for?"

 

"Jens listen and don't give me any crap. We're in the hospital, fucking Arabic terrorists have taken the whole hospital, and are killing hostages. They're looking for Ben. Sooner or later they will figure out he's on the plane with you. Whatever you do don't turn back. I'm going to call Bethesda and see if I can get them to go on alert."

 

She doesn't say anything for a moment, then she says, "Daddy, take care of yourself."

 

I almost cry because it's the first time in a long time she's called me anything other than a swear word or Glen.

 

"Jens, I will. Is there anything else you need?"

 

She replies immediately, "Glen, do you think they might try to attack the plane and force it to land."

 

I don't want to tell her about the WMD but if they have a WMD who knows what they might have. "Jens, I will see about getting you a fighter escort. You take care of yourself and Ben. I hope to dance at your wedding."

 

I wait and hear, "Daddy, I'm still pretty upset at you, but I do love you."

 

I make the other two phone calls. It takes some work but I get the fighter escort and get Bethesda put on alert.

 

Now we need to kick some butt and take some names.

 

Present – Ben – Evergreen Air flight home

 

I wake up because Jens isn't beside me. I look and she's upfront around a table with Matt, Jim and another guy. I walk up just in time to hear her being relatively civil to Glen and it surprises me. I put my hand on her shoulder and it scares the hell out of her so she jumps up and gets ready to take me down.

 

"Back off Jens, it's just me."

 

She's upset, "Don't you ever do it to me again. I hate it when people sneak up on me. I could have hurt you."

 

I pull up a chair and sit down with Jens sits right beside me. I notice Matt and Jim are smirking and I think it must be my hair. "So what's going on?"

 

Jens starts with, "Ben the hospital at Ramstein has been captured and the terrorists are holding prisoners."

 

Matt adds, "We were trying to figure out if it was safe to continue to Bethesda, but Glen came through with a fighter escort and has put Bethesda on alert."

 

I look around the table and state, "You all are the worst bunch of liars I've ever seen. There's something else you aren't telling me."

 

I wait but no one says anything. "If I don't get some answers. I'm going to have this plane turned around!"

 

Again no answers so I get up and head to the flight deck. Jens follows and says, "Honey, don't be difficult."

 

I look at Jens and explain, "I'm not being difficult. This concerns me and I have the right – no I demand the right to be told everything that's going on."

 

They still don't say anything so I knock on the flight deck door. It takes a while but it gets opened. "Yes Sir, what can we do for you?"

 

"I am requesting we turn this flight around and head back to Ramstein."

 

Jens is beside me and says, "Don't you dare turn this flight around and head back to Ramstein."

 

I look at Jens and threaten, "You've got a choice. You can tell me what's going on, you can turn this plane around or you can let me out right here."

 

The copilot laughs, "We're over the ocean so I don't think you're getting out right here."

 

I look at him with a stone face and ask, "How well can this plane fly without an emergency exit."

 

He gets a worried look and states, "You wouldn't dare!"

 

Jens grumps but replies, "Yes he would. Ben sometimes you're the most unreasonable person in the world."

 

I interrupt and add, "I learned it from you."

 

"Like hell you did. Quit being a Marine and come back to the table. I'll tell you everything."

 

We walk back to the table and sit down. I grin at Jens and she says, "You'd better wipe the smug look off your face. You're lucky I'm in a good mood, otherwise I'd throw you off this plane."

 

I lean over and kiss her, then pull away and say in a sarcastic tone. "You're so cute when you're in a good mood."

 

Matt, Jim and the new guy start chuckling until Jens gives them a dirty look. "Okay Ben, I will tell you everything but you have to promise to listen to reason."

 

I grin at her and state a fact, "I'm always reasonable."

 

"No you're not. I'm afraid you'll want to charge off and do something crazy, or something Marine."

 

I just grin at her and wait, but I don't say a word.

 

Jens gets frustrated and says, "Ben please don't make the plane go back to Ramstein. I don't want to lose you again."

 

I still wait.

 

She gets pissed off. "Ben why the fuck won't you talk to me?"

 

I look her in the eyes and reply, "Jens, you're the one who started this not talking crap and I can keep it up for days. So quit stalling and tell me what is going on."

 

She sighs and asks, "Ben I'm asking you nicely not to go back to Ramstein."

 

I start tapping the fingers of my good hand on the table and wait.

 

I see Matt and Jim fighting back a huge laugh. Jens finally gives in, "Honey you not talking is torture - you win. What we didn't tell you is the terrorists are killing hostages."

 

I look at her and restate the situation, "Jens they want me and I should go back. But I know it won't make any difference to them. They will still kill the hostages if we go back. Is it being taken care of?"

 

First she gets a relieved look on her face, then she starts getting angry. "You-you-you made me go through all this for nothing!"

 

"Jens, you didn't answer my question. Is it being taken care of?"

 

She gives me a nasty look but replies, "If you were well I'd kick your butt. Hell yes it's being taken care of because Glen is trapped in the hospital."

 

"Good, I'm sure he can handle this." I grab her arm, head back to the seats and say, "Now come back to sleep with me. I miss you."

 

We walk back and climb into the seats next to each other. Jens says, "Ben." I shush her, " Jens, I expect you to tell me everything. All you do when you hide things from me is get me more upset. Now I'm not going to ask you about Glen and Evelyn, because of your promise, but I will find out the truth someday. Is there anything else I need to know?"

 

She looks at me and says quietly, "Ben I never told you why I received a dishonorable discharge."

 

I kiss her and then say, "I bet you ended up shooting some of the troops they had trying to capture you."

 

She looks at me and I see tears in her eyes, "Sometimes you're too smart."

 

"No my love, I was just thinking what I would do in your situation."

 

"Well Mr. Smarty pants, you're only half right here. I also took the blame for everything Liz, Jack, Linus and the guys did."

 

I'm shocked, "Did you say Jack? I hope he's not in trouble."

 

"My Ben, I told you I took all the blame. This is the part of the fucking deal with Glen I can tell you about. Everyone else got of scot free and they threw the book at me."

 

I hug her close, "Jens, I am so proud of you."

 

She snuggles close, "Ben that's almost everything. There were a couple of incidents in prison but they both deserved it."

 

I hold her close and I can sense she's finally at peace with me. She has told me everything she needs to tell me.

 

"Jens, I wish I could just tell you right now about what I went through. But you saw what it did to me in the bathroom. It will be a long time until I can tell you almost everything. But I think there will always be things I can't tell you."

 

She hugs me so hard it hurts, "Ben we have a lifetime for you to heal from this so don't be in a hurry."

 

Jens slips off to sleep and I think to myself that our lifetime can only start after I take care of a few loose ends. There's the whole thing which went on between Jens and her parents and there's still one more rat that needs to be killed.

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