CHAPTER TWENTY FOUR

"Randy, we have a little problem. We're going to have to get away from here, very soon."

"I'm not leaving. I gotta stay with Sam."

"Don't worry about Sam, Randy. We're taking him with us. But we have to move as soon as possible after he comes out of surgery, before those people who are after you two find us." Kurt sighed and mumbled to himself, "I just have to find an ambulance that'll take him without waiting for the doctor to okay it, that's all."

Randy looked at him. Kurt could almost see the wheels turning in the man's head. "You mean, we gotta sneak Sam out of here?"

"Yeah, Randy. Unfortunately. There's no way the doctors are going to let him go just on our say-so."

"Okay. Let me think." Randy moved over to the window, overlooking the emergency entrance. He frowned in concentration. Kurt stared at him. The man was serious. Shaking his head, he moved over to the bank of phones and started looking through the phone book. Before he could dial, he was tapped on the shoulder. Randy was right behind him.

"Follow me."

Kurt gaped at the figure moving purposely down the hall. Sharing a look with Daryl, he followed.

Randy stopped once, at the door to the employee locker room. Signaling to Kurt to keep watch, he pulled a small piece of wire from his pocket. Kurt looked at him, questioning. Randy smiled sheepishly back.

"One of their pictures is hanging a little loose." Bending down to the lock, he quickly inserted the wire and wiggled it around. He had to work at it for a moment before there was a satisfying click and the door swung open. Randy quickly disappeared inside. Before Kurt had a chance to get nervous, he was back out, a slight bulge under his jacket.

"Okay. Let's go." He was once again on his way down the hall, Kurt following. He had no chance to ask where the hell Randy had learned to pick locks.

They stopped finally just outside the emergency room entrance. They could see a parking area outside, three ambulances facing the street. All were unoccupied.

"I've been watching them all day. There's always at least one parked here." Randy turned, nodded to his left. "The surgical unit is down that way. They come right by here on their way from the surgery to the elevators." He looked at Kurt, a strange grin on his face. "Nothing to it."

"Are you nuts?" Kurt spoke as quietly as he could, but the incredulity was obvious in his voice. "We can't hijack a patient like that!"

Randy glared at him. "You got a better idea?"

"Well, no, but..."

"Then be quiet and do what I tell you to. You tell the nurse you want to know as soon as the surgery's over - not when they've got him in recovery but when they actually finish the operation. Then you and Daryl make sure you're right here when they come out. Flash those guns of yours and they'll back off quick. Then straight out the door into the ambulance - I'll pull up front as soon as I see you through the windows there. We load him in and take off."

"Sounds easy, Randy. But..."

"But nothing. Where did you plan to go?"

"Uh, we've got a place about 70 miles from here. It's safe, believe me."

"Okay. Bring the doc with you then. We'll let him off just before we get there."

"We can't kidnap a doctor!"

"And we can't haul Sam out of here without someone who knows how to take care of him, either."

Randy had a point. Damn. Shaking his head, Kurt finally gave up. Things had gone so far into the crapper, what was a little kidnapping thrown in?

Randy grinned that strange grin once more, clapping Kurt on the back as he headed back to the waiting room. Kurt wandered along behind. The change in this guy over a few hours was unbelievable. Whatever the hell was in those pills of his, Kurt wished he had some.


*****

Carla had read over all of the reports from Barish. She had to admit, her men had done well, under the circumstances. She'd also received the results of the vehicle search - there, too, her men had done everything the way they should have. Not a single fingerprint had been found, inside or out. Barish's man had not seen the second car, Daryl's. They were successfully stymied at this point.

The problem was, of course, that they did have a starting point to begin their search anew. They would start with truck stops, gas stations, restaurants. They would also be checking police and hospital reports for anything unusual. It wouldn't take long for them to find out about Sam.

Carla had already called their facility outside Dinosaur. Everything was arranged. For once, she was glad Stockwell demanded an almost robot-like compliance to the rules from his subordinates. When she put herself down as the only one to notify on the 'client's' progress, no one had said a word. Granted, it may not last long, but hopefully long enough.

There remained only one problem in that arena. The medications. By her reckoning, they had less than half of their supply left. She had no idea what they were, and there was only one place to get them - Barish. There had been a note - she'd almost missed it. They had changed the composition of the pills somewhat. Concern expressed at not being able to monitor that situation. She didn't know what might happen with that, either, or what would happen if he ran out. She didn't want to have to deal with that on top of everything else. She would have to think about it. She may have to force a meeting with Barish. Later, though. Not just yet.

For now, she had to decide what to do about the investigation. Despite his words, she knew Stockwell was suspicious of her. It wouldn't surprise her to find that he had a second investigation going. She sighed heavily. If she were conducting a real investigation, her first step would be to tap the phones of all the people closest to the team. Which included Maggie Sullivan.

Well, she would have to make a call herself before that phone was tapped. Forewarned is forearmed, after all...


*****

Randy had made a couple forays out to the ambulance bay, no one noticing anything unusual in the ambulance attendant cleaning up. An 'out of service' card placed in the front window, cleaning supplies left sitting out, obvious. Daryl had moved the rental car close by, and surreptitiously moved their meager belongings into the ambulance. The rental had then been moved several blocks away, and cleaned thoroughly. When it was found, it would be exactly what it was, an abandoned rental, and nothing more. They were ready.

Sam came out of surgery in the late afternoon. Almost seven hours after going in. The diversion had not gone without a hitch - they hadn't counted on the security guard trying to stop them - but they had gotten away. The guard would have a pretty good headache for a while, but at least he was still breathing. Had Randy had his way, that might not have happened. Only the sharp reminder that they needed to get Sam out had stopped him.

The energy Randy had exhibited earlier in the day had evolved into almost pure aggression. Kurt wondered how long the effects would last. He remembered the night before. The strain that had been apparent between the men at the camp. And that precipitous flight. This man, driving the ambulance, who had struck down the guard from behind and wanted to keep striking, must have been the man who snuck out of the camp the day before. The man who made decisions and then stuck to them, regardless. The man who would let no one interfere with those decisions.

Had it been the shock of the attack on the fake cop that had crumbled that resolve? Or had Kurt - and the cop - merely been lucky? Had they reached Randy as the medications were wearing down? If the attempt to stop Randy had occurred earlier, would the outcome have been the same? Or would the cop have ended up...badly? Would Kurt have been able to just walk up to Randy and take charge? Or would he be laying by the side of the road?

Kurt looked at Daryl. Daryl was keeping an eye on a very nervous - and angry - doctor. The partners exchanged quick glances. Kurt liked working with Daryl. They knew each other's moves, thoughts, patterns. That's how Kurt knew that Daryl was having the same thoughts, the same doubts, that he was having. Kurt acknowledged that he felt better knowing it would be two against one, if it came down to that.

When it came down to that.