CHAPTER TWENTY SIX

Randy walked beside his friend, up and down the hall. Over and over. He knew Sam wasn't supposed to overdo, but he had neither the ability nor the desire to dissuade him. Both men wanted out of here. Fast.

Randy was watching Sam closely. He had cornered the head honcho in charge of the case the day after they arrived. He smiled. Literally cornered the guy. He'd gotten a visit from a couple of the security people later that same day, but he didn't care. All that was, was talk. He'd tuned it out. He'd gotten what he wanted. So now he watched to see if Sam was showing any signs of the problems he'd been told about. So far, so good. Even with crutches, Sam favored his right leg; not unreasonable. He wasn't talking much, and seemed somewhat distracted, but nothing that appeared abnormal. Randy would keep an eye on it.

He himself was feeling good. Better than he had in months. It was almost as though he was thriving on the stress. If this continued, he wouldn't need those pills any more. Just as well; he only had about a week's worth left anyway. It didn't worry him. He remembered what he'd been like before, when he'd been at the VA, and in Minneapolis. It was obvious he'd needed something back then. Not now. Now he was feeling...whole. Well, almost. He had noticed a 'slippage' into past behaviors occasionally, usually as it neared the time to take the next pill. But it was only a slippage. He was confident that would be gone by the time he finished with the pills. Just about the time he'd be taking Sam out of here.

They'd talked about that for some time. Always in the hallways, as they walked. Never in their rooms, never when others were around. Sam, of course, couldn't do much, except trade ideas and scenarios with Randy. Reconnaissance was left to Randy. There were some areas he was barred from going; otherwise, he was free to move around the grounds. It had taken him a couple of days to realize that, although security was tight, it was tight from the inside out. Security was not to keep people in. It was to keep people out.

And that made it all easy.


*****

Maggie was still fuming, a week after talking with that Carla woman. They were 'bugging' her phone! Of all the unmitigated gall! Maggie had reminded her of privacy laws, doctor/patient privilege - it hadn't mattered. Oh, she had been assured that it was only for appearances. That Carla's 'people' were only interested in one particular phone call. Which was why Carla was warning her.

"Well, thanks so much. I'm sure my patients will appreciate your concern. Just remember one thing, lady. If I find out that anything on my patients has been recorded, written down or otherwise discussed, I will blow your whole scheme to kingdom come. I draw the line at involving my patients in this. Do we understand each other?"

"Most assuredly, Doctor."

So Carla didn't like the threat. Big Deal.

Well, nothing Maggie could really do about the 'bug' anyway. And no doubt Carla was smirking about that. All she could do was wait for Murdock to call again. She'd have to warn him somehow not to say anything. And figure out how he could contact her without Stockwell's people finding out. Carla had made it clear that she was putting up a front for Stockwell with the bug; it was the only way she could keep things from unraveling. She made a point to remind Maggie that neither of them wanted problems right now. Not until Face was safely with the team again.

Maggie was really beginning to dislike that woman.


*****

Kurt watched the two men walk up and down the halls. He knew they were planning their escape. He'd known that would be coming from the moment they arrived. He and Daryl had been doing their own planning along those lines. Thankfully, Carla had concurred with them. It was clear that, although she had directed them here, she wanted them gone as soon as possible. Kurt wasn't sure what Carla had going, but he'd realized, possibly too late, that she was in some kind of power play with Stockwell. Dupes or not, it would not bode well for him or Daryl should Stockwell win. It had been simply another assignment. Now, Kurt felt he and Daryl had a vested interest in Carla's success. And that meant Randy and Sam's success.

Kurt stepped back into the suite. Daryl was re-reading the report they had gotten back from the lab. A copy had already been sent to Carla. Kurt had glanced at it. His background wasn't medicine, or even science, and it made no sense to him whatever. Daryl, however, had seemed fascinated by it. Much as one was fascinated watching a spider devour its prey.

Kurt wandered over to the windows, checking once again the huge landscaped courtyard in front of them. Out of habit, he checked the rooftops, the myriad doorways, the drive which disappeared between two buildings and led to the fortified front gate. Whoever was in charge of security was smart. There was no set schedule for the rotation of the guards, no set pattern for patrol. It seemed to be some kind of zone defense. And yes, it was defensive. The guards did not seem that concerned about the inmates.

Kurt wondered if Randy had realized that yet.


*****

Sam had started palming the painkillers yesterday. He'd spent enough time in La-La-Land already. It made the walks with Randy just less than unbearable, but he'd live. The important thing was to get his head on straight and get the hell out of here.

He watched the man walking next to him. He knew Randy was watching right back. Ironic. He knew they were both worried about the same thing - that the other wasn't acting like he should. At least Sam knew where his deficits were. He could compensate; God knew he'd done that enough over the years. No, he knew what he needed to do to stay on track. It was Randy he didn't know about.

There was something about this 'new' guy. He'd caught a glimpse of him when they were on the road, and knew it was because of those new pills. He didn't like it. Things had gone too far from the old Randy. Way too far. Granted, the Randy from Minneapolis would have been totally useless here. This guy was more than competent to get them out. Randy had actually laughed when he told Sam about the confrontation with the doctor. There was almost a sparkle in his eye as they discussed various escape plans. In fact, the whole situation seemed almost fun for him. Which made Sam just a bit nervous.

Sam looked around him, at the stiff suited security people seeming to wander about. He knew these types. All business, no imagination. Just follow orders. He may not like all the changes in this new Randy, but he knew very well how to work with him. He smiled. What the hell. Maybe it was time he, too, had a little fun again. It had been a while.