14 Wounded


© Copyright 2009

Written by Banzai Ben and Amazing Anastasia



Wounded Chapter 14


Tuesday 11 December


Present – Ben – Evergreen Air flight home


I wake up but can't get back to sleep. I keep thinking about everything, trying to look at it and wondering if I'm doing the right thing. A huge part of me wants to turn this plane around and go back to Ramstein since I feel that's where I belong - taking care of the trash. I've done it for so many years it's now second nature to me.


But this ordeal, the capture, the escape and the wound have changed me. When I was captured, I kept waiting for rescue to come because I knew it would – no man left behind. Finally when rescue didn't come, I did it myself.


When Zarika, Yasmeen and I were fighting our way to Dushanbe, I kept hoping to run into our troops looking for me. And then when they weren't there, I did it myself.


And now this arm, this worthless piece of shit arm – no it's not an arm, it's just a fucking meat club now. I should have died an honorable combat death, which was my calling. "Die young and leave a good looking corpse." Jens, Jens, Jens, what can I do now? I've given my whole life to the Marine Corps and now what? What can a disabled sniper do to make a living? I sure as hell won't become like dad and sit on the porch of the cabin and drink all day. I look at Jens noticing her eyes are open and she's watching me.


"Feeling sorry for yourself? That's not like you," she says.


I start to open my mouth but she kisses me and adds, "Don't say a word and listen to me. You've been through hell, you've been let down by everyone, even me, and your whole word has been turned upside down."


I interrupt, "Jens you never let me down."


She looks at me and answers truthfully, "Ben, I didn't die trying to rescue you. I know you would have done it for me, so I failed you."


It was my turn to get upset. "Jens, you saved me! Hundreds of times I wanted to just give up and die. But thoughts of you, thoughts knowing you were waiting for me, and the feeling you needed to be rescued kept me going."


She looked at me like she didn't understand. "You thought I needed to be rescued?"


"Yes, the dreams I had of you being in prison showed you were in trouble. I wasn't sure exactly what it meant, but I was coming back to rescue you."


I see a few tears start, she kisses me and says, "So you fought through hell to rescue me and now we're together again and you're going to give up?"


"Jens, I'm not giving up."


I see the fire in her eyes, "You are if the thoughts I just sensed are correct. Life will be different, but it's not over.  And I promise you I'll make life better for you than it's ever been before. But you also have to promise me you'll try."


I turn my head and look away so she pinches me. "Hey what's going on with all the pinching?"


"Don't you turn away from me and answer my question. Do you promise me you will try?"


I look deep into her eyes, see the anticipation and the promise, and answer, "Yes Jens, I promise you I will try."


She grins and adds an afterthought, "I should get it in writing!" Then she looks at my arm, "but not right now," and finishes with a giggle. It's contagious, I don’t believe it, but I'm now laughing about my arm.


Present – Jens – Evergreen Air flight home


I understand most, but not all, of what my Ben's feeling and going through. I went through much of the same already but I'm still fighting some of it.  When I was captured and failed Ben I wanted to die. I should have died because he would have died for me. But the shock of finding out what the bitch did to us kept me from thinking straight. Then the fucked up deal with Glen to keep everyone except me out of prison made me feel like a used up dirty whore.  And I still feel that way!


Mmmm, that's a nice kiss Ben's giving me. What's he doing?


He pulls away and whispers in my ear. "Jens, you're my used up dirty whore and I love you."


I look him in the eyes and say, "Hey, you weren't supposed to sense that."


He grins at me with the grin which normally gets me upset and explains, "I've been practicing."


"You sensed all of it?"


He grins wider, "Oh yeah, every thought."


"Hey, I'm not sure I like this!"


He laughs and says much too loudly, "Payback’s a bitch. So tell me more about this 'used up dirty whore' dream of yours."


I pinch him and blush, "Shhh, Matt and Jim might hear you."


He laughs and replies, "They're married. Don't you think they already know all women are whores?"


I start to get upset but realize Ben just said it to distract me so I turn the table on him, "Is that how YOU really feel?"


He just grins at me but doesn’t say anything.


"I take your grin to mean yes. This is good to know because now you'd better make sure you bring a bunch of money with you whenever you want sex from me - cause I'm not giving it away for free."


Well that wipes the smirk off his face and he whines, "Jens, come on I was just teasing."


He tries to give me a kiss but I pull away and add, "That reminds me, you need to start paying for those kisses too. No free lunches for you anymore."


"Jens you know I was just teasing you."


I smile at him and confess, "Yes I do and I was teasing you back! And just so you know, I don't really dream of being a used up dirty whore so get those perverted thoughts out of your mind. Ben, we both fought to get back to each other because we're meant to be together. And as long as we're together nothing can stop us."


He holds me and says, "I can't wait to marry you, move to the mountains and raise babies with you."


My Bravo Sierra detector goes to red alert. I sit up and poke the hell out of him. "Don't you dare try to lie to me! I know that's not what you're planning!"


He looks like a puppy dog caught doing something bad. I explain to him, "I know your plans for Hussein. I feel them all the time. Only this time it's not going to be just you going after him. I'm more pissed at him than you are.  We're getting you well and then taking the bastard out together."


Present – Ben – Evergreen Air flight home


"Jens, I'm not letting you come with me. It's my battle and it's too dangerous."


She gives me her most determined look and argues, "You're not stopping me this time. And it's our battle, not yours. If you think I'm going to sit by and let the bastard get away with what he did to you, you've got another thing coming."


I start to argue with her when we feel the plane start to descend and the fasten seat belt sign comes on. The pilot announces, "Please fasten your seatbelts and bring your seats to the upright position. We've started our final descent and will be landing in ten minutes."


We start getting ready to land and I say to Jens, "This discussion isn't over."

She smiles and answers, "That's right because we have tactical plans to make."


"Jens you're not coming with me!"


"Ben there's no way in hell I'm staying home. I know you've even thought about knocking me up so I couldn't come. But get the thought out of your mind because it's not going to happen. What is going to happen is we will take six months rehabbing you during which time we will be making and refining our tactical plan. Then we will go over to fucking Afghanistan and take care of the fucking bastard."


I can see this might be the biggest battle I've ever fought, but this is not the time to fight it. Jens looks at me and agrees, "You’re right, this isn't the time to fight it. Make sure you understand though, I'm winning this one."


The plane touches down and it’s my first time on American soil in such a very long time. It excites me and everything else is temporarily unimportant. I look out the window as the plane taxies to a stop and see a large crowd of people. "Jens, it looks like we have a welcoming committee."


She leans over, looks out and says, "Shit I didn't plan this! I wanted to sneak in here without anyone knowing. I need to talk to Matt and Jim about this."


She unfastens her seat belt, jumps up and I follow her.


Present – Liz – Dushanbe, Tajikistan


We finally make it into a cab, but not for shopping. First it's my hotel room to pick up all my gear and then to Kostia's flat to pick up all the twins stuff. There are so many questions I want to ask them, but it needs to be done where there are no extra ears. It's very comforting for me sitting in the back seat between the two of them. They're back into their bodyguard mode, scanning the sidewalks and other cars. But they're also unusually quiet.


We reach the hotel, Mira gets out first and motions for me to stay in the car. I watch as she scans everything, then she motions for me to get out. I slip out with Ira right behind me. We walk into the hotel and the young desk clerk who looked bored almost snaps to attention. Ira walks up to the desk, "Ms. Morgan's room key please."


He almost falls over himself getting the key and hands it to her. She looks at him and asks, "Has anyone asked for Ms. Morgan or does she have any messages?" He looks a little guilty and stammers, "I-I-I let someone borrow her room key about two hours ago. And here is a message they left for her."


Ira takes the message, grabs him by his tie and threatens, "You are coming to her room with us. If anything is missing I will make you pay." I almost laugh as Ira pulls him by his tie, just like he's a pull toy on a string, to the elevators.


In the elevator the young desk clerk is obviously very nervous because he's almost trembling. Ira and Mira start talking to each other and I swear he's going to piss his pants.


Present – Ira and Mira – Dushanbe, Tajikistan


I am very upset at the stupid young desk clerk for letting someone into Ms Morgan's room. We were concerned this would happen because it doesn't take much money in Dushanbe to buy whatever you want.


"Mira, how hard do you think I should be on this young idiot?"


She looks at him and replies, "Ira, he's so afraid I think he will wet himself. I am not sure what they did in her room, so we will stand back and make him open her door."


"That was what I was thinking. Should we demand the money he made?"


"Ira, he wears a ring and is probably married. I think we should let him keep the money but let him know if he does this again to Ms. Morgan his bride will become a widow."


I see the young desk clerk sweating, "Your name?"


"Yes miss, my name is Slava." I start to pull a notepad out of my purse and write it down then I see the note and I hand it to Mira.


"Hey the note's for me," Ms. Morgan complains.


Mira smiles at her and answers, "Ms. Morgan, we have no secrets from each other." Mira reads the note and I notice concern causing wrinkles on her forehead. She reaches over and presses the button for the floor below Ms. Morgan's room and pulls her gun. I see her going for her gun and I pull mine. We are both surprised when Ms. Morgan sees what we're doing and draws her gun. Slava takes one look at the three of us and wets himself.


"Ira be kind and do not laugh at him."


"Okay Mira, but what did the note say?"


"It is from the Russians. They said are going to take great pleasure eliminating her for killing their men."


I look at Ms. Morgan, "Ms. Morgan, are you sure you need the things out of your room?"


She looks at me, and I see the questions written on her face. "Ira, I need to know what's going on. Mira give me the damn note."


Mira hands her the note, but I hold her hand to keep her from reading it. "Ms. Morgan, the note just says the Russians are upset about their men and are going to get even with you."


She gives me a feisty look and exclaims, "Ira, let me read the fucking note!" I take my hand away and watch as she reads the note. I see the anger as it crosses her face and she says, "Okay you two, the note says a lot more than what you told me. Mira I thought you said we didn't have any secrets?"


"Ms. Morgan, I did not think you needed to hear the unsavory details of the note so I summarized it for you."


The elevator stops and we all get off. I'm still dragging the boy by his tie. I know we are in trouble when Ms. Morgan steps back, crosses her arms and starts tapping her foot.


"Mira, we are in big trouble. I remember when she did this earlier."


"Yes Ira, she is angry with us."


We both look down towards the floor but Ms. Morgan clears her throat. We raise our heads and look her in the eyes. She glares at us and says, "What did I tell you two about looking at the floor."


"You told us never to do it again."


She continues, "Sisters." I notice the young desk clerk get even more nervous. "I am a news reporter and I thrive on details. You will never summarize anything for me again. Do you understand?"


I look at Mira and we both nod our heads. She says, "So my sister-bodyguards what's the plan."


Mira nods at me and answers, "Ms. Morgan. We are concerned the Russians might have planted a bomb in your room. Since Slava let them in your room, he will open the door while we wait a safe distance away."


Slava lets out a gasp and faints to the floor. Mira laughs, "Ira we are more of a man than he is. So what is the plan now?"


"Mira, we will handcuff Ms. Morgan to this dead weight and then we will have to check the room."


"She will be very upset at us."


"It is for her own good. Mira, you do it because I am still slow from my rib and the pills."


I watch as Mira slips her hand into her purse, Ms. Morgan steps back in a defensive position and says, "Oh no you don't! I've seen that move before. You put those handcuffs back in your purse."


Mira laughs, "Ms. Morgan do not be silly, you cannot hurt me."


"Mira, I order you to put those handcuffs back."


"Ms. Morgan, the only way I will do this is if you listen to us and follow our directions."


"Mira, I thought you had to obey my orders?"


I laugh and explain, "Ms. Morgan, you told us we are not your slaves so we will obey many of your orders unless it interferes with us keeping you safe. Now will you listen to us or we will handcuff you to Slava."


She looks at me but it is a standoff. Finally she says, "Okay you two win this time, just because I don't want to hurt my sisters."


I grin at Mira, "She thinks she could hurt us."


"Ira, remember, she is the one who killed Kostia. We must not underestimate her again."


"Okay Ms. Morgan. Let us use the stairs."


We left the young desk clerk and hunted for the stairs.


Present – Liz – Dushanbe, Tajikistan


I was ready for Mira this time. I could tell after reading the note my sisters were going to try and pull a fast one on me. I saw her hand go in her purse and knew the handcuffs were coming. We had a big discussion about it and I got my way, sort of. I need to do something with my sisters because they're body guarding is going to hamper my work.


I still don't totally trust them not to handcuff me, so I watch them like a hawk as we head up the stairs. Mira is in the lead, and when we get to the door, she stops. I watch her pull out her mobile phone and a coiled up thick black cable. She unrolls the cable and connects it to her mobile phone then slips the end of the cable under the door. I peek over her shoulder and find she's looking at the whole hallway - it's a portable snake camera.


She finishes and pulls the cable out from under the door. Then she wraps the cable around her neck and lets the camera hang around her neck. It sort of looks like her phone is on a lanyard.


I whisper, "That's really cool, I want one."


Ira says, "We will pick one up for you tonight."


With the hallway clear, we work our way to my room. Mira stops three doors down, takes a key out of her purse and opens the nearest door. There's a couple in the room in the middle of hot sex. The man starts yelling until Mira flashes her badge. I almost giggle as his wood and attitude instantly deflate.


"Ms. Morgan you will wait here, while Ira and I check the room."


I start to complain and I see her hold up the handcuffs. "You will stay in this room. You are lucky we are letting you get so close."


Present – Mira and Ira – Dushanbe, Tajikistan


I did not like Ms. Morgan being so close to the room because if there is an explosion she could be hurt.


"Ira, we need to do something about Ms. Morgan she is impossible to take care of."


"Mira, we need to talk about this and work things out. Remember what happened when Kostia tried to control her."


I giggle remembering how badly she embarrassed him. "Yes Ira, it was so very funny. I think I fell in love with her, like a sister when she did it."


"Me too. Mira, use the snake to check under the door."


I pull the camera off my neck and slip the snake under the door. Ira moves over and we both watch as I move the cable and scan the room. "Look Ira, it is an assassin waiting in her room."


"Mira, I am going to kill the young desk clerk."


"Do not waste your ammo on him. Shall we put on the suppressors and get rid of this trash."


"Mira, can I take the right side of the door because of my rib?"


"Of course, we can switch sides."


We put the suppressors on our pistol and each take one side of the door. Ira took the key, put it in the lock and twisted it. Two shots came through the door and embedded in the wall across from the door. I thumped the floor to make it sound like someone fell and we waited. We saw the doorknob turn and I nodded at Ira. We each fired two shots and then pushed the door open. It only opened part way because the dead assassin was blocking it. We put our shoulders against the door and pushed the trash out of the way.


"Ira, I will clear the room, please cover the hallway. It is good working with you again my sister!"


"Yes Mira, I know we need to learn how to work separately, but we make such a good team."


It was easy to clear the room because I knew Ira had my back. I double check the room just to make sure there are no bombs, go to the door and drag the trash into the bathroom. I roll him into the bathtub and close the shower curtain. I look at the blood on the floor and don't know any quick way to hide it from Ms. Morgan. I go back to the door and can tell Ira is hurting, probably from helping me with the door. "Ira you stay here and I will bring Ms. Morgan."  I touch her face and walk down the hallway.


Present – Liz – Dushanbe, Tajikistan


I'm impatient and pissed as hell! Mira and Ira have ordered me to stay in this room. But I have to chuckle about it because the prostitute the guy was banging took off. He begged her to stay but she had to get back to work. I saw him and I don't blame her because he wasn't very well endowed. And Mira and Ira sure scared the hell out of him, in fact they scare the hell out of most people we meet.


The guy starts hitting on me. "Hey pretty lady, since my friend left perhaps you would like to join me in bed?" he offers and waves some money at me.


I stand up, go over to him, pull the sheet off him and laugh. "Tell me, is your brain even smaller than your dick?" I'm about ready to continue the insult when Mira walks in the room.


She gives the guy an incredibly dirty look and I think his miniscule dick shrinks even more. I laugh again and he snatches the sheet out of my hand.


Mira walks over, "Ms. Morgan your room is now safe."


I see concern on her face, "Mira, what's wrong?"


"Sorry Ms. Morgan, Ira is not feeling well."


"Is it her rib? Perhaps we should take her to the hospital."


"Yes Ms. Morgan it is her rib. But the hospital would not help because they cannot do much for broken ribs. I will try my best later tonight to make sure it's in place."


"Mira, won't it hurt her very much?"


"Oh yes Ms. Morgan, I will have to give her a stick to bite on. And then I will have to hold her as she cries until it feels better."


We start to walk out of the room, but Mira stops at the door and looks at the man. "Do not ever bother Ms. Morgan again."


I watch as he turns white! Mira smiles at me as we walk to my room. "Sorry he bothered you, Ms. Morgan. I should have talked with him when we left you in his room with the prostitute. I want to warn you Ms. Morgan there is blood on the floor of your hotel room and please do not look in the bathtub."


I look at her and ask, "Someone was waiting for me?"


"Yes, it was Cyril. He was a very famous assassin."


I stop, grab her arm and ask, "Would he have killed me if I went to my room?"


"Yes, you will see."


As I walk up, I see six bullet holes in the door and blood on the floor with a trail leading to the bathroom. Ira is sitting on the bed so I run over and sit beside her and gently hug her. Even being gentle I cause here to wince.


"Ira, I'm sorry you're hurting so much. Is there anything I can do for you?" I feel so badly because she aggravated her rib injury keeping me from going after Kostia.


She bravely smiles at me and says, "I think I will feel better when we get to the Embassy and I can rest."


"Mira, we need to pack things as quickly as possible, get them to the car and then get Ira to the Embassy. Then you and I will go pick up your gear." Mira starts packing my suitcases, I help Ira lie on the bed, then I jump up and help Mira finish.


Mira keeps me out of the bathroom and packs up my toiletries. We're done in a few minutes. Mira calls the front desk and orders them to get the bellhops to the room. Two minutes later they arrive and carry all the bags downstairs. I don't know when she did it, but there's a new cab waiting at the curb.


The bellhops open the doors for us and I order, "Mira, you and I will sit up front, Ira you lie in the back to rest and please don't fight with me." They look at each other and something is exchanged during their glance. For once they listen to me as we head to the Embassy.


Present – Ira – Dushanbe, Tajikistan


Ms. Morgan has both of us very confused! Working for her has not been anything like we thought it would be - it is many times better. We would have been happy if she treated us like her slaves. When we knelt in front of her and swore our allegiance that is what we were really doing: We were becoming her slaves. Our life in Dushanbe had become intolerable because of the beast Kostia. Now just thinking about him almost makes me sick.


We had never seen the soft and caring side of Ms Morgan so it surprised us when it showed. I was going to argue with her when she told me to lie on the back seat but Mira's look told me to not fight Ms. Morgan. No one has cared for us like this since Mama and Papa. After I get the tears out of my eyes, I slowly sit up, because even though my rib hurts very badly, I still have a job to do. Mira notices right away because she has her compact out and is using it check behind us. I see her smile at me and I return the smile. I pull out my compact and take over scanning behind us.


Ms. Morgan asks, "Mira, where did you two learn Krava Maga?"


Mira answers, "We spent one year training in Israel with the Mossad1 when we were both sixteen. It was the best year of our lives." I remember the year because it was the best time of our life until now.


1 Mossad - the national intelligence agency of Israel.


Ms. Morgan continues, "Why was it the best year of your lives?" She is such a reporter and is always asking questions.


I cannot help myself and I blurt out, "Because it was the first time we were away from the beast since we were ten."


She turns around and sees me sitting up, "Ira I thought I told you to lie on the seat."


I lie just a little, "Sorry Ms. Morgan but the bumps bother me more when I am lying down."


She looks at me closely and accuses, "Ira, are you lying to me?"


I look down and answer, "Yes Ms. Morgan. I am very sorry."


She snaps her fingers, "Hey, what did I tell you about looking down. Now you lay back down on the seat and stop lying to me. I can tell when either of you lie to me."


I obey for now, but when she is distracted again I will continue doing my job.


Ms. Morgan says, "I bet it was wonderful. Israel is such a beautiful country, it's a shame they cannot live in peace."


Mira answers, "Yes, we very much enjoyed our time there." And I thought yes, even though the Mossad kept us very busy with assignments, not having Kostia beat us and 'train' us was a vacation.


"I noticed from your passports you two have traveled extensively but didn't stay very long in any country."


Mira replies, "Yes Ms. Morgan. Sometimes we were assigned to help our government with issues in other countries." While I think Ms. Morgan is suspicious about what our assignments really were, I will be very happy not to do the assignments our government gave us. Many of them involved seduction and death.


Ms. Morgan laughs, "And I bet if you tell me you would have to kill me."


I answer, "No Ms. Morgan we cannot even tell you."


She checks to make sure I am still laying on the seat and I smile at her. The minute she turns around I sit up. Mira is watching in her compact so I stick my tongue out at her and she has to bite her tongue to keep from giggling.


Present – Mira – Dushanbe, Tajikistan


Ira is teasing me from the back seat. I should tell Ms. Morgan she's sitting up to get her in trouble, but I won't because she is my sister and she is doing her job.


Instead I decide to distract Ms. Morgan. I lean close and whisper in her ear, "Ms. Morgan are you not worried about killing Kostia."


She gives me a concerned look and answers, "I wasn't until you just asked me. Should I be worried?"


I smile and whisper, "I called the office and told them he was killed by an assassin so you are safe. I also picked up the shotgun shell casings so there is no evidence. I will call them later and tell them it was Cyril and have them pick up his body out of your hotel room."


"Wow, you had me worried for a minute. So what's the plan with you two and the NSC?"


Ira can't resist talking so she is going to get in trouble. "If you approve we would like to pretend we are still working for the NSC until we board the flight to America. There are certain benefits for us to continue working for them until we leave."


Ms. Morgan turns around, but Ira is just able to lay down before she's caught.


"Ira, were you sitting up again?"


I giggle because I know Ira cannot lie or Ms. Morgan will know. Ira answers, "Yes Ms. Morgan I was, please do not be upset with me."


"Ira, do I have to come in the backseat and hold you on my lap?"


I giggle and add, "If we were not already at the Embassy I think you would."


Ira sits up and declares, "Finally, I can sit up!"


The taxi pulls up to the gate and the guard looks at the three of us as Ms. Morgan says, "I'm Liz Morgan and Ambassador Clark is expecting us. He looks over at me and I give him a big smile; he looks in the back and Ira does the same. They open the gate and the taxi drives right up to the front door.


I see a distinguished older looking man, dressed in a very fine suit come out the door and towards the taxi. I open the door and step out, 'accidentally' letting my dress ride up higher than it should. Ira joins me and we block the man from seeing Ms. Morgan.


I hear instructions from behind me, "Mira and Ira that's the Ambassador, he's okay."


As he walks up to us his eyes are roving across our bodies, "Ira, I do not like him already. He is a lecherous old man."


"Mira, be nice to him. I will have a talk with him while you and Ms. Morgan pick up our things from the beast's apartment."


We move forward and let Ms. Morgan out of the taxi.


"Greetings, you two must be Miranda and Irina. It's such a pleasure to meet you." We hold out our hands and he kisses them instead of shaking them. Liz pushes us apart, "Sam, it's good to see you again. How are things?"


He reaches towards Ms. Morgan's hand and I grab his wrist and put him in a wrist lock. Ms. Morgan swats my rear and it surprises me, "Mira, let go of his hand."


"Sorry Ms. Morgan. No one touches you until we are sure they are safe."


"MIRA! You and I will talk about this later. Sorry Sam, these are my new bodyguards and they take their job very seriously." She shakes his hand and then he hugs her and I watch as his hands get too friendly with her. I want to reach over and break his arm, but I restrain myself.


"Liz, let me get someone to bring in all your stuff. Then we will have some dinner."


Ms. Morgan steps back, crosses her arms and looks at him, "Sam, first tell me how things are coming with the twins visas."


He gives her an evil grin and replies, "Liz, I know how important this is and how appreciative you'll be. The visas are ready all we need are their passports."


She is not done yet, "And their naturalization paperwork?"


His grin became even bigger, "I think you'll be even more appreciative since it's in the works and it's expedited. Now, how about dinner?"


She replies, "Sam, dinner has to wait for just a little bit. We didn't pick up Mira and Ira's things yet."


I watch as the grin leaves his face as Ms. Morgan explains, "Ira is hurt and I'm going to leave her here while I go help Mira get their things." I see him give Ira a lecherous look and watch as Ira winks at him.


Present – Liz – Dushanbe, Tajikistan


I see Sam give Ira the once over and hit him on the arm, "Sam, I know what you're thinking and you'd better cool it. The twins are off limits to you."


I walk up to him and whisper in his ear. "Sam I'm going to be so appreciative for all you've done. See you soon Sam."


"Ira he is interested in you. See if you can wear him out so Ms. Morgan doesn't have to-to-to let him 'train' her."


"Mira, I will do my best. But do you not think Ms. Morgan will be upset at us?"


"She said WE couldn't offer to take her place. She did not say anything about him asking to train one of us. If he does I know you will wear him out because he is old."


"Mira, I do not know. I think she will be very upset."


I walk up to my sisters and ask, "Okay you two, what are you talking about?"


They both smile at me but don't answer so I say, "Listen both of you. I think you're making plans which have something to do with Sam. I'm telling you right now…. No, I'm ordering the two of you to not train him or let him train you."


Mira argues, "But Ms. Morgan what if he wants to train Ira? She likes him."


I look at Mira, "And I can see a lie a mile away. Mira if you lie to me again I will order Ira to spank you."


Ira laughs and then grabs her side, "Eyah, my rib does not feel well."


"Ira let's get you into the Embassy and then into bed right away."


Sam says, "I'd be glad to help."


I give him a really dirty look and say, "Sam, remember what I told you about my sisters. It would be a shame if I had to invite your wife to our dinner tonight."


He cursed and replies, "Dammit Liz, you certainly know how to ruin my fun."


"Just remember, Mira and Ira are totally off limits and you'll have lots of fun later. I promise." I then give him a big smile.


We get Ira into our room and I'm shocked because we only have one bed. I look at Sam and he's grinning at me so I tease him, "You old lech you! What sort of relationship did your perverted mind think I had with my sisters?"


He continued the grin and replies, "Liz, I wasn't sure but thought you three might share a bed."


"Pul-eze, sometimes you are such a pervert! Sam, get two other beds in this room right now."


Mira interrupts with, "Ms. Morgan we only need one more bed. Ira and I always sleep together."


I look at Ira and she nods her head so I relent, "Okay Sam, one more bed and how about some pain pills for Ira?"


He takes off and leaves me with my sisters. I look at Ira and ask "Ira, are you going to be okay or do we need to get a doctor for you?"


I watch and see her fight back the tears. "Ms. Morgan, I will be fine. Just please hurry back with Mira, we do not like to be away from each other." I watched as an incredibly pained look crosses her face. I look at Mira and see the same look.


"The bastard! He used the threat of keeping you two apart to control you, didn't he?"


I see both of them start to cry and I get pissed off all over again. "Well that's never going to happen again because he's dead. Ira you can even come with your sister now if you want, but I think you should stay here and rest."


"Mira, it is pretty bad and I would like to stay here and talk to Mr. Clark. Will you be okay by yourself?"


"Ira, you need to stay. I will work on your rib later tonight and then it will feel better. I will not be alone because I have Ms. Morgan with me. But I will miss you terribly."


"Good, but do be careful. Ms. Morgan isn't as good as I am."


'Yes Ira, she cannot replace you. No one can."


I wait until my sisters work things out and Ira says. "Ms. Morgan we agree. I will stay here and rest while you go with Mira to the beast's flat and pickup our things."


I look at Ira and re-state, "And no monkey business with Sam."


She gives me a puzzled look and asks, "Sam has monkeys working here?"


I fight the chuckle but answer, "no Ira and Mira, it means you'd better not let him train you or get familiar with your body."


She smiles at me, "But I can still talk with him?"


Sam walks into our room, "I hope I can talk with this young lady, I need someone to entertain me while I'm waiting for you."


I take the pills out of his hand and check to make sure they aren't roofies2, then I hand them to Ira along with the glass of water. I watch her take both of them.


2 Street slang for the date rape drug Rohypnol.


Sam figures out what I did and accuses, "Liz you don't trust me!"


"Sam, I know what a horny old goat you are, so I do not trust you where my beautiful sisters are involved." I look at Ira and Sam and continue, "Now both of you behave while I'm gone." They both smile at me, and I’m sure I don't trust them. But since I don't have a choice I turn to leave. Mira and I head to the taxi and drive off to pick up their things. I do hope those two behave themselves, otherwise I'm going to have to kick some butt!


Present – Ben – America!


I follow Jens to the front of the plane and she says, "Matt and Jim, it looks like we have a welcoming committee we didn't count on. You two go outside and start scanning the crowd. Make sure Glen has a security detail here and make sure they know this is serious. I need to take care of something else."


She kisses me on the check, "Ben I'm going to ask you nicely to wait here, inside the plane, for ten minutes. I have to do something and I promise you it will be worth your wait." She didn't wait for an answer and took off towards the back of the plane and the toilet.


I look at Matt and Jim and ask, "What the hell was that about?"


Matt shrugs his shoulders and replies, "I have no idea but I know when Jens starts acting like the Queen we need to do what we’re told. Come on Jim let's follow her orders."


They both put on tactical gear, the flight engineer opens the plane door and I hear a big cheer and then a boo as they step off the plane. I sneak over to the door, look out and hear another cheer - shit this crowd is for us. I hoped all this crap blew over while I was gone, but I guess not. I walk back and sit in a seat and look at the floor.


I hear Jens clear her voice and look up. She is dressed to the nines! She has on her short and tight black dress, pearls, slinky nylons and high heels. As a bonus, she fixed her hair and makeup.


She giggles and says, "Close your mouth Ben or you'll attract flies."


"Jens, what's this all about?"


She grins and asks, "Did you forget our situation when you were in Afghanistan? I'm still you're arm candy and with our public here I need to look the part. Do I pass the muster Mister?"


I stand up, she takes my good arm, and I say "You most certainly do! I wasn't going to leave the plane. But with you looking this way I can't resist."


She hands me a hat and sunglasses, "Put these on and leave them on. I don't want anyone to know about your blonde hair."


We walk towards the door and Jens is doing a great job, "Wow, you sure walk better in those high heels."


"Thanks Honey, I've been practicing. But I can't wait to get out of them and back into comfortable shoes."


She pauses right before the door and asks, "Wait here a second, Ben." She looks outside and a cheer erupts, then she waves me over and the crowd cheers even louder. We stand on the top step and Jens is waving to the people, I raise my good arm, wave and they all cheer. I look at her and ask, "What the hell are they so excited about?"


"Shh. Ben, don't forget the cameras can hear you. I guess you didn't know you’re a hero for escaping from the Taliban and making it back to America." I start to get bummed out and she hugs me and gives me a kiss. "Don't you dare get bummed out - you need to smile and be happy for the crowd."


She's right and I pretend to be happy, but then it hits me: I'm really back in America. We walk down the stairs and stand on the tarmac, I look at Jens. Then I kneel down and kiss the ground. The crowd goes crazy!


She helps me up and then she kneels and kisses the ground. Again the crowd roars. Then she kisses me on the lips and says, "Wow that was good improvisation."


"What do you mean, it was the only thing I could do."


We walk to the waiting vehicles, jump in the back and they take us to Walter Reed Army Medical Center.


Present – Jens – America!


I certainly wasn't expecting a hero's welcome for us and I wasn't ready. I wanted to sneak Ben into the hospital without anyone knowing. I did see Jon here videoing so I knew we needed to put on a show.


It's funny, even though I'm an ex-con, America still loves me. Liz ran all sorts of polls and they feel I was treated unfairly, and were pissed as hell at Glen and Evelyn. I'm sure Liz swayed the public opinion with her reporting. She kept pounding on the fact Glen never tried to recover the bodies.


And once Ben turned up alive, most people felt my actions were justified and we were once again America's couple. They even demanded my criminal record be expunged - I'm sure it's more of Liz's doing.


I threw on my arm candy outfit and did my makeup and hair the best I could in the short time available. I would look good unless they did a close-up on me and Jon was too good to let that happen.


I snuggle up against Ben in the back of the Humvee enjoying the ride to WRAMC and notice the streets are lined with people waving as we go by. They are even throwing flowers. I yell to Mat and Jim up front, "What a fricken zoo. I thought we were being sneaky."


Jim replies, "Yeah, Jon said Liz wasn't able to keep things quiet so she figured she'd make an event of it."


I look at the Humvee and remark, "At least this is armored, not like a limo." I look at Ben and he's unusually quiet, so I squeeze him and ask, "What's wrong my husband-to-be?"


He has some tears trickling down his cheeks and answers, "Jens, it's not fair. Why am I the only one who gets a homecoming like this? Every soldier who comes home should be treated this way."


I smile at him and say, "Perhaps you should explain this to everyone because they might listen to you right now."


"Jens, I want to hold a news conference about this. You think we can get Liz back here?"


I'm shocked! Ben, my BEN, wants to hold a news conference. I decide to tease him so I start, "Everyone, stop the presses! For the first time in the history of man, Banzai Ben wants to hold a news conference."


He looks at me, smiles and affirms, "Yes Jens, I want to hold a news conference. I need Liz."


"Ben, she's taking care of things for us in Tajikistan and I don't think she can make it back right now."


I watch as disappointment covers his face and he slips back into his sullen mood. "Damn, you're right. What we need is a second Liz."


"Come on Ben, don't be grumpy. If you cheer up I'll do something special for you."


I notice how he perks up and asks, "Something special, you'd do something special for me?"


I suddenly realize I've never said this to Ben before and perhaps I've discovered something new! "Yes, if you cheer up I'll call Liz and we will find a way for you to do a news conference, even if it's a remote news conference."


"Jens, I would really like it if you pull this off for me." He smiles and stays in a good mood all the way to WRAMC.


Present – Glen - Hospital – Ramstein AFB Germany


I gather everyone into a huddle and announce, "You've all heard what I just said on the phone. Corporal Cohen has found out the terrorists have a WMD, a large bomb and will destroy this hospital before they give up…."


CPl Cohen interrupts and says, "I have spent my whole life living in fear of and then fighting Muslim terrorists like this. The General is right, they will destroy this hospital with all the patients they haven't already killed or raped. They don't care about civilians, just like they didn't care during America's nine-eleven attack."


I add, "You've just heard CPl Cohen and because of this I've decided to change our plan and it's going to become much more dangerous. I’ve already called for Marines to help. My new plan is to roam the halls killing as many of these Muslim terrorists as we can until the Marines arrive. Then we will open a door for them and let them take care of the rest of the bastards. All of you are welcome to either stay here or come with us, but I need to know right now because we're starting our new mission."


As I look at the group, a young nurse steps forward and says, "My name is Kat and I don't know about anyone else, but I'd feel safer with you. Besides I'm mad as hell these terrorists are killing my defenseless patients. General I didn't say it before, but I grew up on a farm and used to shoot guns all the time, but they were single shot rifles. You think you could show me how to use one of those fancy rifles."


I smile and instruct Evelyn, "Evelyn give her a rifle and teach her how to use it." It ignited a firestorm and almost everyone wants to 'get even with the Muslim bastards' as one old battle axe nurse said.


It takes longer than I planned but soon we have everyone ready. I have one last command, "Listen to me - this is important. You all are our backup so do not fire your weapons unless I specifically tell you to. Cpl. Cohen and I will do most of the fighting and we will only call on you if we need help. I don't want you to accidentally shoot one of us."


We open the door, check the hallway and Frank the tank takes the lead.


Present – CPl. Cohen - Hospital – Ramstein AFB Germany


I am a little worried because the General gave guns to so many civilians. I worry I'm going to get shot in the back by one of them before I get to kill more of these bastards. I'm pissed as hell about losing my legs because it wasn't in combat. I was on R&R right here in Germany when a bomb went off in a local Israeli restaurant. Most of the patrons were killed, including my lovely fiancée Ziva! They told me I was lucky, but I sure would like them to explain how losing your legs is lucky.


I've heard mixed reviews about General Donaldson. They said when he first took over the USMC he did an incredible job, but the longer he's been in command the worse the Marines have become. My brother in the Mossad even told me there is a huge rumor about a cover-up which happened just this year. Any reservations I had about him before are gone now. The decision to kill all the Muslim terrorists is the right decision. It's the only decision because they've been systematically going from room to room and executing the patients and raping the women. This is a military hospital and we're in a war. I just hope I can kill as many of these bastards as I can before I die and get to be with Ziva.


The MP pushes me down the hallway and I impatiently wait with my fingers beside the triggers of the AKs. As we roll by the patient rooms we can see the aftermath of the Muslim terrorists.


Present – Evelyn - Hospital – Ramstein AFB Germany


I can finally see again, and I almost wish I couldn't. The images of murder and rape in the patient rooms are ghastly. We are in the maternity area and what those animals did to the women and babies is worse than barbaric.


Several of the women, even nurses, puke. I fight as hard as I can to keep from joining them. We're all sniffling. Glen stops, turns around and says, "You're making too much noise. Stop your crying because this is a fucking WAR! What you see is why we have to stop these bastards or die trying."


I wipe some tears out of my eyes, tears not only for the mothers and babies, but tears of pride in my husband for fighting animals like this his whole life. And tears of regret for my part in making him less effective, for giving him bad advice and for the disgrace I brought him by my selfish actions.


I marvel because we all stop sniffling. Glen's short speech and the brutality around us, has given us the resolve we need. I look at the women around me, and realize we've become an army of pissed off bitches with guns and those fucking terrorists had better watch out. You don't fuck with mothers and babies.


Frank the tank and Glen are kicking butt and taking names, but we aren't getting to release any of our pent up hostilities because we are in the back and following the guys. So it just keeps building in us until it becomes like a pressure cooker ready to explode.


Finally one of the women hears something behind us. She turns, yells "I'm going to kill you bastards," and starts firing. I turn around and see a bunch of terrorists hotfoot it around the corner, and yell, "Let's go get the bastards ladies!"


We take off after them, round the corner and catch sight of them again. One of the ladies yells, "Come back you fucking cowards," and starts firing at them. We all join in and wound two of them. They don't stay wounded for long because we're no longer ladies, we're bitches out for revenge and trample and kick the two of them to death as we keep chasing the others.


I don't think the fucking towel heads knew what to think about a large group of angry screaming women with guns. We chase them around a corner and hear a bunch of gunfire. As we round the corner, they're trapped between Frank the tank and us. Frank stops firing and we tear into them from this side. Frank, Glen and the guys then rip into them from the other side. It's bloody, messy, hand to hand combat, ten minutes later the floor is littered with the remains of the terrorists.


But our anger is barely satiated. One lady yells as she kicks a mutilated body, "That's for the women and babies you bastard."


Glen commands, "Ladies, you need to control yourselves and follow orders."


A nurse barks back at him, "Control your own damn self, and who the fuck are you calling us ladies. Let's go kill some more of these fucking cowards." We take off running down the hallway screaming at the tops of our lungs in search of more terrorists.


Present – Glen - Hospital – Ramstein AFB Germany


I am speechless because the women are berserk and on a rampage! They chase a group of about eight terrorists right into us. Frank the tank took out one and wounded a couple before this screaming, yelling mass of women flew into the terrorists and physically rip them to pieces. It was the most gruesome thing I have ever seen. When two terrorists are left they start begging for mercy but it doesn't help. I remember being warned to never fight with a woman and NOW I know why.


I try to regain control of the women, but now they've had a taste of victory, they want revenge. I look over a Frank and the guys, "Shit we need to catch them or they might get hurt."


Frank starts laughing as we push him, "I never thought I'd feel safer behind a bunch of women than in front of them!" And he is right - they are running over the top of the terrorists.


The women have the element of shock on their side. They round a corner and the terrorists see only women and pause. Just long enough to either be shot or physically attacked. Shit if I had a platoon of berserk troops like this I could take over the whole Middle East.


They finally corner a large group of terrorists in a dead end hallway, several women get shot and the rest get flashbanged. They blindly stumble around the corner and start hurling catcalls at the terrorists,


"You bunch of fucking cowards why don't you come and fight us like men."


"I think they should take off those man dresses and wear burkas."


"I'd like to take their burkas and shove them up their cowardly asses."


I look at Frank and say, "How many frags do you have left?"


The women hear me and start the chant, "Frag them, Frag them, Frag them."


One of the terrorists yells, "Allah Akbar!"


A woman yells back, "I'd like to see what you can do with your seventy-two virgins after I rip your dick off and make you eat it."


Frank hands me three frags. I bounce one down the hallway and the women cheer and clap when it goes off. We hear the terrorist who aren't dead start running up the hallway and yelling. The women run to meet them and it's mass carnage again!


I look at the mess and the panting, exhausted women. They've been running amok now for close to an hour and have killed - no mutilated - I don't know how many terrorists. Frank starts laughing and I look over at him. "General, the terrorists are shocked at the mutilation of their dead and can't figure out what sort of troops we are using against them." The women all start cheering as he continues, "They're falling back to the WMD because they don't have enough men left to defend the perimeter."


It's time for me to take control of this angry group so I address them, "Woman warriors!" They all start cheering at the name, "Please listen to me. If you attack the terrorists at the WMD they will destroy this hospital and any hostages who are still alive." I watch, I have their attention so I continue, "You have done a phenomenal job. I have never seen fighters like you." Again another big cheer, "But we need to get the doors open and evacuate any hostages still living and let my experts come in here and finish the job."


They start talking between each other and one of them finally says, "He's right we need to save the living hostages. Come on ladies let's find the living hostages and get them to a door.


Then I realize Evelyn is missing so I yell, "Has anyone seen Evelyn?"


They start looking around and finally one of them says, "I haven't seen her for a while."


I look at Frank and the MP and order "Get the women to the door I need to go find Evelyn. Tell my Marines to gas the bastards at the WMD and take them out. No survivors."


I take off retracing the path they took. It's not hard because the path of destruction looks like it came from a tornado. I notice Kat is following me and she offers, "I thought you might need some help. I'm a trauma nurse." I notice she still has her AK and think: A trauma nurse and one hell of a warrior.


Present – Ira – Dushanbe, Tajikistan


Ms. Morgan leaves with Mira to go and pick up our clothes and other items from the beast's flat. This leaves me with the Ambassador, Mr. Clark. The pain pills he gave me are very strong and I'm feeling much better.


He asks, "You're Irina?"


I give him my cute smile and respond, "Yes, but please call me Ira. It is what my friends call me."


"Okay Ira, would you like something to eat?"


I flirt a little with him by licking and pursing my lips, "Mmm, I am very hungry."


He holds out his hand and helps me up. I wince just a little so he asks, "Are you sure you're okay?"


I take his arm as we walk towards what I assume is the dining room and say, "When I was shot today protecting Ms. Morgan, even though I had on body armor, the bullet still broke one of my ribs."


He stops, stares at me and I can see the amazement on his face. "You were shot today and have a broken rib from it?"


"Yes Mr. Clark, would you like to see the bullet holes in my best dress?" I turn and he sees the holes. He doesn't ask but just reaches out and touches the holes. It hurts just a little and I wince and gasp. His hands wander lower. Right before he touches my rear I turn and smile at him, "Mr. Clark, what did Ms. Morgan tell us?"


He blushes and responds, "She doesn't have to know."


I give him my best smile and reply, "Mr. Clark unfortunately I cannot lie to Ms. Morgan. She can tell when Mira or I lie to her."


I see disappointment on his face so I continue, "But it does not mean sometime in the future you cannot have your wish. Mira and I will need to come back to Dushanbe occasionally."


I watch his lecherous eyes roam across my body and fight to keep from shuddering. "Ira, I am a smart man and know such an offer must also come with some strings attached."


I am confused so I ask, "Mr. Clark, I do not understand what strings you are talking about."


He laughs and I want to break his neck but I control myself. "Ira, 'strings attached' means your offer requires some payment from me." When he explains it I pretend to laugh at myself and he laughs again.


I bait him more, "Mr. Clark, Ms. Morgan bragged to us on how very intelligent you are and I think she underestimated your intelligence and charm."


His hand starts wandering up my arm and I stop him right before he touches my chest, "Mr. Clark, remember. I will have to tell Ms. Morgan everything. Yes our offer does have, as you would say, some strings attached."


I watch his face as he realizes the offer includes my sister, "Ira, just tell me what the cost is. I'm a very powerful and important man and can give you and your sister many things."


I pull away from him and smile, and then I remember the words Ms. Morgan used. "Mr. Clark, Mira and I would be very appreciative if you would not train Ms. Morgan tonight."


He gives me a puzzled look and I worry I used the words wrong, then he laughs his annoying laugh again and says, "Ira, for a moment I did not understand you. 'Training' Ms. Morgan means having sex with her?"


I nod my head. He claps his hands together and rubs them - it scares me. I jump back and almost take him out. He throws up his hands and says, "Ira, sorry. I didn't mean to scare you. So let me make sure we understand each other. If I don't 'train' Ms. Morgan tonight, I will get to 'train' you and Mira the next time you're in Dushanbe."


I smile and nod at him. He takes me by the arm and we walk into the dining room and he helps me into my chair. He calls and has dinner served for both of us, "Ira, would you like a glass of wine with your dinner?"


I hate wine, but I smile at him, "Mr. Clark are you trying to get me drunk and take advantage of me? You know I cannot drink wine with the pain pills you gave me."


Present – Liz – Dushanbe, Tajikistan


As we drive to Kostia's flat I worry about Ira and Sam. He's a huge lech and with the way Ira looks he might disregard my threat and still try to get in her panties. Mira notices I'm upset and asks me, "Ms. Morgan, I think you are upset or worried about something?"


I bite my lip but reply, "Mira, I am worried Sam might try to train Ira."


Mira blinks at me twice and then laughs uncontrollably. I wait to hear what's so funny and when she's almost done laughing, she looks at me again. Then she's laughing so hard she starts crying.


"Mira what the hell did I say which was so funny."


She finally simmers down and looks at me, "Ms. Morgan, you do not know much about us, but Ira has Mr. Clark totally under control."


"Mira, so I don't have to worry about them training each other?"


"Ms. Morgan, Ira would have trained Mr. Clark until he couldn't walk, so you wouldn't have to train him. But you ordered her not too and on this she will not disobey you."


I'm curious as hell so I ask, "Sam is a very powerful man and he is used to having his way. Just how is it little Ira will control him."


Mira smiles at me and replies, "Ms. Morgan, she will promise him everything, but give him nothing. And if that does not work she will threaten him."


I look at Mira and half of it makes sense. It's the same way we've controlled men since the dawn of time – the promise of sex. The threat part reminds me I have other questions I want to ask. "Mira, it reminds me, why does it seem to me everywhere we go people are afraid of you and Ira?"


"That is easy Ms. Morgan. It is because they are afraid of us. Let me demonstrate." She starts yelling at the driver and even though he's huge and has done nothing wrong, he profusely apologizes. Just like a puppy which has done something wrong and has been whipped.


This is fascinating: The whole country is afraid of two young ladies. "Are they afraid of you because you're NSC?"


She grins and answers, "It is only part of the reason. Unfortunately I cannot tell you the other reasons."


I start analyzing all the facts I have about Mira and Ira and I still can't quite figure it out. We pull up to the curb and stop in front of a very nice building. Mira motions for me to stay in the taxi as she gets out and looks around. She then motions me out of the taxi. The minute we leave, the taxi takes off without even getting his fare.


Mira giggles as he drives off and adds, "Sometimes it is so much fun."


We walk up to the door, she opens the door and we walk into a very posh carpeted hallway. It reminds me of an upscale condo in New York City. "Wow, this place is really nice."


She glances around, "I guess, we never really looked at it because it belongs to the beast."


We take an elevator to the top floor and head to one of two apartments. The only way I can tell were not in the nice NYC condo I mentioned earlier is the huge steel outer door. I almost laugh when I think a door like this might be a good idea in NYC after all. She unlocks the steel outer door and then a very nice wood inner door and we walk into a huge, very tastefully decorated flat. I'm dying to ask Mira who will own this flat since Kostia is dead, but I know it will get her very upset. I make a mental note to get the name of a trustworthy (is there such a thing) lawyer from Sam.


The minute we walk in Mira's attitude changes from being calm and in control to frantic and out of control.  


I wander through the flat, but Mira takes off for a back room. I walk by a huge bedroom with a queen size bed in it and figure this is where unthinkable evil happened. When I find the room Mira is in, it's a very small bedroom with no furniture and just two clothes racks. She's pulling clothes off the racks and putting them in suitcases. I walk over and help but ask, "You know Mira, we don't have to do everything tonight. We have all the time we need to move your and Ira's things. I think we should get the essentials tonight and then I will talk to Sam and we will hire someone to pack all your things in boxes. We will have them taken to the airport and put right on our plane."


She looks at me and I see her frantic look slowly start changing to one of calm, "Ms. Morgan, thank you for offering this. I did not think about it and was worried we would lose everything. I think it would be better if we had someone else pack everything so Ira and I do not have to come here again."


"Mira, I agree. I will hire someone to pack everything other than the furniture and take it all to the plane. Once we get to America where we are safe, we can unpack it together."


Mira asks, "Will they pack the beasts things too?"


"Do you have anything of yours in his room?"


Mira replies, "Just one very important thing he never saw." As we head towards the big bedroom, Mira pauses for a second at the doorway, then strides into the room. She goes over to a corner and pulls the baseboard away from the wall and takes out a very old picture and brings it to me. I look at it and recognize Mira and Ira with two lovely and happy adults.


"Mira, are these your parents?"


"Yes Ms. Morgan. It is the only picture we have of them and was taken a month before…" and suddenly she stops talking.


I look at the picture and then I look more closely at her mother and ask, "Mira, we can take this picture and make it look brand new again. Would you like that?"


I watch as she almost sparkles, "Oh yes Ms. Morgan. And if we could get one more made for Ira then we could each have one."


"We certainly will, we can get hundreds of them made if you want." She kisses me on the cheek, "Thank you Ms. Morgan. I will go get our essentials and the weapons we have hidden here."


I start looking around Kostia's room and it just feels evil. There are pictures of him when he was younger and in the military, pictures of him with Mira and Ira when they were young in exotic locations. Unfortunately the girls were dressed very inappropriately and he had his hands all over them. I find one of him with a boy and pick it up and look at it. Then I look at it even closer. I take the picture back to Mira and Ira's room and ask, "Mira, who is this boy in the picture with the beast."


She looks at it and says, "It is Alexander, the boy of one of his friends. The beast had something to do with the boy's parents adopting him."


"Do they live in Dushanbe?" She replies yes and then gives me their name and address.


I walk back into Kostia's room and look around some more.


Mira walks to the doorway with two suitcases, "Ms. Morgan, I hate to ask you, but I have two more suitcases in the back bedroom. Will you please carry them for me?"


"No problem sister." I walk to the back room, grab the suitcases and meet Mira at the door. She looks around and finally smiles, "This will be the last time I will ever come to this evil place. We have dreamed our whole lives of this day and thanks to you Ms. Morgan our dreams are now real."


We head downstairs, find a new taxi and head back to the Embassy. Mira holds my hand, just like the sister I've never had, as she scans the streets to keep us safe.


Present – Mira – Dushanbe, Tajikistan


I am glad Ms. Morgan came to the flat with me. Ira was hurt very badly and I could not have come here by myself – it would have reminded me of the time when-when-when – I was here alone.


She is such a big help especially when she says she will hire someone to pack everything so we can leave. I pack our most precious possessions, the picture of our family, the few mementoes left from our childhood, some changes of clothes and all the weapons we keep in the flat. Then we walk to the front door. I do not like the fact Ms. Morgan is in the beast's bedroom because the room holds nothing but bad memories for me.


I hate having Ms. Morgan help me with the suitcases, but I do give her the light ones which only have clothes. Mine are so heavy from our weapons I can hardly carry them. When the outside metal door clangs closed, I know it is finally the end of our long ordeal. Ira and I are finally free to become the women we've always wanted – to be just like our idol Ms. Morgan.


I call a cab and it is waiting for us. The driver comes over and helps us put the suitcases in the truck. He complains when he picks mine up, "What do you have in here? The missing gold bars everyone is talking about?"


I give him a dirty look, he realizes who I am and apologizes, "Sorry miss, I didn't mean any disrespect."


I decide to be nice and say, "Do not worry. I am not offended. Please take us to the American Embassy."


Ms. Morgan and I sit together in the back of the cab and I hold her hand, just like I hold Ira's hand when I can. And I do my job – keeping my new sister safe.


I decide I need to play a little game and say. "Ms. Morgan, we need to have a serious talk about some things!"


I glance at her and notice the surprise on her face. "Okay Mira, I'm all ears."


For a second I am confused by her statement then I understand and say, "Your actions are keeping Ira and me from being able to do our job well."


Even though it is dark, I watch her face for a reaction. She gets a determined look and replies, "Mira, I have the same complaints about you two. The way you two reacted to the Ambassador was embarrassing."


I smile on the inside because we knew she would say this since Ira and I have this all planned. She was very lucky, especially when she risked her life going against Kostia. If it had happened two years ago, before we started slowly adulterating his food and drink, he would have killed her.


"Ms. Morgan, our job is to keep you safe. It is our responsibility. Your responsibility is to not make our job harder by doing foolish and dangerous things."


I watch her face flush. Good, she is angry at what I said and she responds, "And Mira, my job is to report the news and I do it in many dangerous places. And you and Ira are keeping me from doing my job."


I decide to get her very upset and suggest, "Then perhaps you need to change your job?"


Oh yes it works. She is furious at me! "Mira! I love my job and I will not change it. So you and Ira will just have to learn to work with me."


I pretend to be equally upset and declare, "Ms. Morgan! We love our job and will not change it. So you will just have to learn to work with us."


She is very surprised by my outburst, looks at me for a while, grins and hits me in the arm. "Mira, you are such a sneak. You and Ira had this all planned to show me your job is as important as mine."


I look at her and grin as she continues, "Okay, the three of us will sit down and figure out a way to work together."


It makes me happy because she is astute enough to see some of our little plans. I reach over and take her hand again, until her mobile phone rings.


Present – Liz – Dushanbe, Tajikistan


Well, I have just been played beautifully by Mira. I've been thinking those two are experts at manipulation, and now my feelings are fully justified. These two will certainly keep me on my toes. When we finally agree to discuss things, my mobile phone rings - it's Jens.


I start to answer it and Mira reminds me, "Ms. Morgan, remember your phone is not secure."


I answer the phone saying, "Greetings long lost and seldom heard from sister. How's it hangin' and who ya bangin'."


I hear Jens giggle on the other end as she says, "Liz, I don't know where you come up with so many creative ways to answer the phone. But it's great to hear your voice again and you know very well I'm not bangin' anyone, not until my wedding night."


Secretly I'm relieved since I still harbor a very small hope there may still be a Ben and me. "Jens, what's going on?"


Jens answers, "Liz for the world's best news reporter you're more out of touch than I've ever seen before."


Her comment causes me extreme worry and I reply, "Yeah Jens, I've been quite busy here. Lots of things are going on which have captured my attention. I'd love to tell you about everything, but if you want all the details it will have to be in person or through a letter."


Jens replies, "No details right now, unless it's about Ben's friends. But I have news for you. Does it have to wait until we're in person?"


I understood she doesn't need the details of what I'm doing right now. "Jens, you know I like to hear the all news, especially if it's not life threatening."


Jens replies, "I totally understand sister. First thing, Matt and Jim are with us and we made it to WRAMC just fine. My lovely fiancé is resting soundly in his room."


I start to wiggle on my seat because I'm excited they are safe and Ben is finally in America. "That's the best news I've heard in a very long time."


Jens questions, "Liz, you haven't been watching television have you?"


Now I'm really worried, "No sister, I've been so stinking busy I haven't had a chance. Is there something I should be watching?"


Jens drops a bomb shell on me. "I want to let you know Bernie and your new reporter, Samantha, are doing a bang up job covering the attack and hostage situation at the Ramstein hospital."


I drop the fricken phone and scramble to recover it, "Jens sorry, I dropped the phone. What the fuck did you just say?"


I can tell she's worried but she continues, "Liz, you need to get to a television set. Muslim terrorists have taken control of the hospital at Ramstein and there are rumors they're killing the hostages. Bernie and Samantha are on top of it."


I'm speechless and I hear, "Liz, Liz, are you still there?"


I come to my senses and reply, "Jens sorry, I just can't believe it. Dammit! I get busy for one fucking day and the second biggest news story in the world this year breaks. You think this happened because of the situation we talked about earlier?"


She even had more concern in her voice as she answered, "Liz, it is directly related. I do have some other concerns, but I can't mention them right now."


I rack my brain trying to figure out what they could be, then I chance it and ask, "Jens have you seen Glen lately?"


I get my answer when she says, "I had a phone call from Daddy. He's still where he was before and is very busy. One more thing and this will really blow your socks off. Ben wants to do a news conference! He says if he can't get you he wants Samantha. Finally Liz, I have to say I love you and I finally know and understand all your feelings. Tah-tah-for-now."


The phone goes dead and Mira is looking at me, I can see the concern on her face. "Ms. Morgan, I gather it was Ms. Donaldson and something is going on. How may I help you?"


I tell her, "Mira, from the sounds of things all hell is breaking loose in Germany. We need to get to the Embassy right away." The taxi driver overhears and says, "Yes I saw this on the Truth Network from some cute new reporter they have. Muslims have taken over the hospital."


I yell, "Mira get us to the Embassy now."


She starts yelling at the cab driver and he floors it. She keeps up the yelling like a jockey whipping a thoroughbred until we roar up to the gate and get stopped. I give the guard shit until he lets us in. I jump out before the taxi even stops and yell at Mira, "Take care of the luggage and the fare.


Present – Jens – Walter Reed Army Medical Center - WRAMC


I get my Ben all settled in our temporary new home. He flips on the TV to watch the coverage of Ramstein as I cuddle beside him and we watch the story.


Ben asks me, "When did Liz hire the new reporter? She's really young and inexperienced but is doing a great job."


Before I can answer Jim adds, "Not only that, she's one hot little number!"


I clear my throat and ask, "Jim, what do you think Sally would say if I mentioned this to her?"


He laughs and comes back with, "Jens she'd say looking is okay but I'd better not touch."


I then answer Ben, "I don't know when she hired her. But I think Liz did a great job. Because you guys are right she's cute-as-can-be and is covering this very well."


Ben squeezes me and adds, "Well if I can't get Liz to interview me, I want her."


For a very brief second I get jealous, but I look at Ben and determine he's watching me and grinning.  I ask him, "So, seeing if you can make me jealous?"


He starts to answer, but his attention is captured by one of those skanky Carl's Junior hamburger ads – you know the ones with the hamburger sluts. He then starts bugging the hell out of me for a hamburger. All he's talked about, other than me, during our private pillow talk times has been how he wants a big juicy hamburger and pizza.


I make Ben promise to be a good Marine and wait in the room while I go call Liz and send Jim to get burgers, fries and milkshakes for all.


I'm shocked since Liz has no idea at all about what's going on. This tells me she's been incredibly busy with some problems of her own. And it reminds me, we never did ask Matt and Jim about those new bodyguards of hers.


I walk back in the room and Ben's still watching the TV. I hop back into bed with him, he looks over at me and smiles, "Sorry Jens about being so distracted by the television. I keep wondering if I made the right decision to not turn around."


I sneak my hand over and pinch him to get his attention, "NOW I have your attention, I'm going to tell you it most certainly was the right decision."


He grumps at me, "I don't know what's going on with all this pinching crap, but the next time you pinch me I'm going to tickle you until you pee."


"Ben, I need some way to get your attention. Because you're hurt, I decided to change my ways and not slap you to make you aware of me."


Well I really have his attention now! "Jens, I never liked the slapping but I tolerated it because I love you. And the pinching I dislike even more, so why don't you just talk to me. I promise I will pay attention to you."


I bite my lip, think about it, and decide he's probably right. Besides I hate being tickled and I know he will keep his promise. "Ben I talked to Liz and she doesn't even know about Ramstein."


He ignores the TV and looks at me. "That's strange. Did she say why?"


I start to tell him and Jim walks in with the food. This time Ben is too distracted to talk, but it's so much fun watching him devour his burger I don't get upset.


Present – Liz – Dushanbe, Tajikistan


I run into the Embassy and find Ira and Sam having a nice dinner. It makes me wonder what the hell went on while I was gone, but there are more important things for right now. "Sam where the hell is the closest TV set."


"Liz, it's good to see you. How about having some dinner with us?"


"Sam, fuck dinner. The Ramstein hospital is under attack."


He jumps up and I follow him into a side room and Ira follows a bit slower. He flips on the TV and it's fucking CCCN. "Sam, what are you watching their crap for flip over to my station?"


He flips over and I see this young kid I've never seen before doing the news. It's obvious she's never done a news report in her life, but she's doing a great job.


Sam remarks, "Wow Liz, when did you hire her? She's really good."


I look at him and say, "And….?"


He finishes, "….and really cute!"


I watch and she's asking great and hard questions, almost as good as I would ask. Ira stands on one side of me and then Mira shows up on the other. Ira asks, "Who is the new reporter Ms. Morgan?"


I look at the girls, "I honestly don't know. My best guess is Bernie hired her."


I almost pee my pants when she even gets an interview with the base commander.


Samantha asks, "General Smith, is it true you have men on the inside fighting the terrorists?"


Gen Smith answers, "Sorry miss, but I can't answer this question right now."


She smiles at him and comes back with, "Come on General, we can hear the yelling and the gunfire all the way out here. Plus I've been listening in on the terrorist's tactical frequency and your troops have them scared and retreating."


He looks at her like he wishes he was anyplace else right now, even in the hospital and replies, "Ms. Stevens I cannot comment on the situation right now. Please excuse me. I see the Marines have arrived."


She answers, "Thank you General Smith for taking the time to talk to us." Then she turns towards the camera, falters just a little and then giggles and says in the most endearing of ways. "Sorry everyone I've never done this before and it is so exciting. We just finished interviewing General Smith and while he would not tell us anything. I can tell you I have been listening in on the Muslim terrorist's frequency. They have been speaking in Arabic, but because I speak Arabic fluently I have the following details for you. First the terrorists took over the hospital because they were looking for one specific patient."


I hold my breath with worry, but she doesn't mention Ben's name and instead she continues, "Next they have been brutally killing and raping the patients and staff. And they have a WMD, that's a big bomb and have said they will destroy the whole hospital before they will surrender."


I see a few honest tears in her eyes, then she sniffles, pulls herself together and continues, "But even in this darkest of hours there is a light. I have heard recent communications from the terrorists and an American team in the hospital has struck fear into their hearts. And even as I speak to you they have forced the terrorists to regroup around their WMD. We can only hope the team of mighty warriors can prevent the destruction of the hospital and the remaining patients and staff."


She continues reporting but I stop listening. The room is totally silent and I look at Sam, "Sam, I need to speak with Mira and Ira in private. Please excuse us."


"Certainly Liz, I will have dinner brought to the room for both of you."


We head to our room and I look at my sisters. "Are the two girls safe where they are?"


Ira answers, "Very safe Ms. Morgan. If they were not we would have taken them someplace else which is more safe."


"I want your honest opinions, what did you think of the reporter?"


The girls both look at each other and then they look at me and Mira starts, "She reminds me a little of you. But not as strong." Ira adds, "I like her because she uses her inexperience as an advantage." Mira continues, "Plus she is very pretty, did you see the way Sam looked at her?" Ira finished, "Yes he wanted to see her without clothes."


"Thank you, sisters! It's almost exactly the way I feel. Now for the hard question, do you think we should head over to Ramstein?"


They don't even confer and Mira says, "No Ms. Morgan she is doing fine and you don't need too take over." Ira continues, "We should stay here and finish our work her and let Samantha handle Ramstein." Mira adds, "But you should call Bernie and make sure he doesn't need anything." And Ira finishes, "And make sure he has Samantha sign a contract."


I'm just a little disoriented from the 'tennis match' of talking to them, but they are right. "Why don't you two go out and tell Sam we'll eat dinner at the table, I'll call Bernie."


I call Bernie but he answers the phone and says he'll call right back after he gives the camera to Samantha to run. I wait and he calls me back, "Bernie, you guys are doing great! Do you need anything?"


He sounds tired and replies, "I'm glad you like the job we're doing. Thanks for asking but we don't need anything. How do you like Samantha?"


"Bernie, she's fricken fantastic. Where the hell did you find her?"


He chuckles, "She was here as a camera operator for a German station, trying to break into the business and it was her first time out with them. The reporter was telling her the only way she'd ever get in front of the camera is if she got in front of his dick. I heard it, needed a reporter and hired her on the spot."


I silently cursed remembering how I 'broke' into the business. I say, "I hope you had her sign one of our contracts?"


He replies. "Liz, you know me better than that. I coached her a bit and we did one report. The minute she was done I knew we had a winner and she couldn't wait to sign a contract."


"So is she German?"


"No Liz, that's the best part she's true, blue, flag waving, conservative American. I guess she talked to all the other networks in America, but no one was interested."


"Thanks Bernie, remind me to give you a raise. How about you take over the camera and let me talk to Samantha."


He laughs and says, "Liz you're a hoot. You know we each own part of the network. I'll have her call you back in a bit."


I wait and a couple minutes later I get a phone call. I hear a very unsure voice, "Hello is Ms. Elizabeth Morgan there?"


I smile and think about how naïve she is, "Hello Samantha, thank you for calling but I need to get one thing straight with you, please call me Liz. I also wanted to thank you for coming to work for the Truth Network and tell you you're doing an incredible job! Keep up the good work."


The phone is silent and then she says, "Thank you Ms… uh Liz, for giving a nobody like me a chance. I'll try my best to not disappoint you."


I bite my tongue to keep from laughing, "Samantha, you just keep reporting the way you are because you're doing a fantastic job! I loved the part where you said, 'But even in this darkest of hours there is a light.' It's the philosophy of this network: We will report the truth but we will always do our best to give the viewer any hope we can."


"Thank you Liz. I know the philosophy of the Truth Network because I've studied your network ever since you started it."


I'm a little perplexed so I decide to ask, "Samantha, Bernie told me you tried to get a position at all the other American networks, why didn't you come to mine?"


The phone is silent for a bit, then she answers, "I didn't think I was good enough and wanted to get some experience first. Then when everyone else turned me down I was too disheartened to even try with your network. I just happened to find this job in Germany as a camera operator."


"Well Samantha, again I want to thank you for working with us. You are now a part of the team. I'm in Dushanbe taking care of some business and I'm very happy you're doing such a great job of covering for me. Also, if I'm not done here when Ramstein is over, your next assignment is heading back to America to interview SM Blaine and Jennifer Donaldson his fiancée. Oh, that reminds me, thanks for not mentioning SM Blaine's name as the one the terrorists want."


"Thank you Liz for giving me a chance and I know better than to put those two in anymore danger. I will start studying your previous interviews with them to prepare."


The phone goes dead. I look at it and wonder if some of Ben's good luck has finally rubbed off on me. My stomach growls and I realize I'm starving. I head into the dining room where Mira, Ira and Sam are having diner and watching the news report about Ramstein. As I walk in I hear Sam remark, "Good Samantha's back on."


I know she's good so I only half-way listen to her reports. My mind is still on my conversation with Jens. She called Glen 'daddy' and said he was where he had been. I wonder if he could have something to do with the troops in the hospital. I sure wouldn't think it, but then he is a Marine and Marines can be surprising.


But even more troubling was her last statement, 'finally Liz, I have to say I love you and I finally know and understand all your feelings.' I gasp and the twins both give me a quizzical look. Jens surely can't know about my love for her and Ben, but she did say 'all your feelings' with the emphasis in the right places. I think about it, wonder about it and finally I smile.