CHAPTER TWENTY NINE

"I don't understand. Why now?"

"Because it suits my purposes, Dr Sullivan. I would think you would be glad. This can be over and done with now."

"It's just very sudden. Before you didn't want the team to know only little tidbits, now you're practically handing him over. You'll forgive me for being suspicious."

"You don't trust me. Fair enough. No reason for you to. If you don't want to tell the team, that's up to you. I'm sure Colonel Smith would understand."

"Oh, don't worry, Carla. I have no intention of not telling them. I'm sure 'Colonel Smith' will look at the information with all appropriate caution. He's not a stupid man."

"No, indeed. He's definitely not stupid. I've never thought that. At any rate, I believe our association is at an end now. There should be no reason for further communication."

"Wait just a minute. You never told me the reason this whole charade."

"Is it really necessary to know that? You have what you really wanted. And much sooner than you expected. Maybe you should count your blessings and let it go."

Maggie would have argued the point, but found herself talking to a dial tone. Damn that woman.

Hank poked his head around the door. "All finished? Was that the call you were waiting for?"

"One of them. Sorry to take up your office space, Hank. I've got one more call coming in a few minutes, and then I'll get out of your hair."

"No problem, Maggie. I just don't like you being involved in all this secret stuff. It just sounds too dangerous. All these strange phone calls, not being able to use your own phone..."

"I know, Hank, but it's okay. It's just about over."

Hank just shook his head and walked away. He'd hoped all the intrigue of Maggie's life would have been over when Smith and the rest had been executed, but it was almost as if they were still wreaking havoc from the grave. Maggie may have enjoyed the drama of having fugitives as frequent guests, but, terrible as it sounded, he had been more than relieved when they were finally captured. Certainly made his life easier. Until now.


*****

"Sam, I know this is going to be hard to accept. But please, just hear us out before making any decisions, okay?"

Sam was already suspicious of these two. They weren't working for Barish; that was a point in their favor. But they had so far refused to name who they were working for, or why they'd been following Sam and Randy. And, to be honest, the fact that Randy had so readily accepted them made him uneasy. These two didn't know Randy like he did, and he didn't want them pushing Randy into decisions he shouldn't be making. But Kurt was right. He couldn't make any decisions until he heard what they had to say. He had to know where they stood. Sam nodded for him to continue.

"Daryl and I were assigned to follow you, that's true. At first, that was all we were supposed to do. Then things changed. We were to make sure you weren't interfered with. Our 'employer' wanted you to get wherever you were going. Only recently we found out that the real objective was keeping you both away from this Dr. Barish. Never, and I'll repeat that, Sam, never were we given instructions to cause either of you harm, or delay you unnecessarily."

Daryl coughed, embarrassed. "Hitting you with the car really was an accident, Sam. I am so sorry for that. I just didn't see you in time."

Sam shrugged his shoulders. He'd never thought it was anything other than an accident.

"Recently, we received some very disturbing news. I, uh, appropriated one of those pills Randy's been taking, and had our lab evaluate it. I don't know if you were aware of the makeup of those pills...?"

"The doctors have been adjusting them over time, based on my reports to them. What the actual medication was, I don't know."

"Well, that's one of the questions we had - what your role in this whole thing was, how much you knew." Kurt sat silently, waiting for Sam to explain.

Sam knew this game - he who stayed silent longest, won. Kurt lost.

"Well, maybe you'll feel like explaining after you've seen the lab report. We brought you a copy. Basically, these doctors have Randy on a kind of cocktail of uppers, downers, and other mood altering drugs."

"Uppers and downers? That doesn't make any sense."

Daryl spoke up, feeling more comfortable in this area. "The various dosages were carefully calibrated, Sam. There was also another substance that we couldn't identify, but I'm speculating it was some kind of synthetic drug, designed to make the others work together more smoothly. Regardless, it's obvious that they were attempting to control the way Randy worked, the way he thought. If we had samples from the earlier dosages, it might be possible to determine exactly what they were trying to do, but right now we can only make an educated guess."

Again, Kurt and Daryl waited for a response from Sam.

"So you know what's in those pills. Now what?"

"We've talked with our boss, and basically, she's cutting out on the whole thing. Apparently she's accomplished whatever the hell she wanted to. Her last instructions to us were to get you two out of here before Randy runs out of those pills. She's afraid if you stay beyond that, it will attract attention, and then the wrong people will find out about you, and she doesn't want that. And if she doesn't want it, it better not happen. Now, we know you and Randy have been doing some planning anyway. So we're offering our help. Any assistance you need from us, you have. And that includes after we get out of here."

Sam stared at them. He felt another headache coming on...


*****

"Hello, Murdock."

"This phone is okay?"

"Definitely. I have news."

"Okay..."

"Face is definitely alive. As of today, he's in a so-called 'secure facility', run by Stockwell's organization, just outside Dinosaur, Colorado. I say as of today because my contact has indicated he will be moved in the next few days, maybe even the next few hours. Where, she doesn't know."

"She?"

"Don't ask, Murdock. Please. We're not out of the woods yet."

"Okay, okay. When you say a 'secure facility', you mean a prison? Or...?"

"My understanding is that it's some kind of hospital, but why he's there I wasn't told. All I know is that he's supposed to be leaving there soon. He will be with three other men, at least at first. One is someone he's been with since the beginning. The other two are actually working for my contact."

"For your contact? Not Stockwell?"

"No. I don't know what's going on, exactly, Murdock. But it sounded very complicated. And dangerous to Face and the others if Stockwell finds out about them."

"Finds out? You mean Stockwell doesn't know where Face is, either?"

"That's my understanding. Look, I don't begin to understand what's going on here, Murdock. I get the impression that my contact has actually been protecting Face, for whatever reason. But she's pulling out - apparently she's accomplished whatever the hell it was she was after. So Face is basically being thrown to the wolves."

"Damn. What about these other guys? Are they pulling out, too?"

"I don't know. Like I said, they'll be with him at first. My contact didn't say for how long. Murdock, that's all I have. I really don't know how much good it is."

"It's enough, Maggie. It gives us a starting place. Which is a hell of a lot more than we had before."

"What are you going to do now, Murdock?"

"What else? We're gonna go get Face."