CHAPTER THIRTY ONE

Kurt and Daryl had walked out of Sam's room, feeling they were in even deeper shit than they had imagined before. Sam knew not only Stockwell, but Carla. And at the mention of Stockwell, Sam had almost physically deflated. He wouldn't explain how he knew them. In fact, he wouldn't say anything more, except that they should get Randy and get out. Now. When Kurt said it would take a little time to get all four men out, he just repeated himself - get Randy out. He hadn't responded to another word they said.

"So now what, Kurt? Sam seems to have given up, and Randy won't go without him, you know that."

Kurt stopped, trying to gather his thoughts. They would get no help from Sam, for whatever reason. He agreed with Daryl. Sam had given up. And he had serious doubts that Randy would accept their help if Sam didn't tell him to. And yet he had to get them both out of here, soon. Not only because of Carla breathing down their necks. He just knew there would be a leak somewhere, sometime. They were dealing with too many heavy hitters. And lastly, he had come to like both men and wanted to see them out of this entire mess. Despite themselves.

"C'mon, Daryl. I need to see the staff schedules. Time we started setting the rules around here."


*****

"Ah, good morning, Carla. I had a very interesting conversation with Dr. Barish earlier today. It seems that someone in our Colorado location thinks our friends may actually be right under our very noses. He contacted Dr. Barish to let him know."

"Oh, really? Why did he contact Barish instead of you? That seems pretty outrageous. And who was it?"

"One of the doctors. I have the name. He'll be dealt with, of course. I don't like breaches in my security systems. Any more than I like things happening in my own facilities that I don't know about."

"What else did Barish have to say?"

"Obviously, the good doctor was quite upset. Thought perhaps I had reneged on our agreement. In the end, I promised, naturally, to check this out thoroughly. If it is true, I'll have no choice but to allow Barish's retrieval team in."

"I'll check into it right away, General."

"No, I don't think I need trouble you with that, Carla. I already have someone else handling Colorado. He should be reporting back later this afternoon."

"Oh, very well, General. It would be no trouble, however."

"No, I'm sure it wouldn't be, Carla. But I think you will be quite occupied with some other things I have going. There's a project going on in the Ukraine that needs someone with your, uh, expertise. Your flight leaves this evening."

"Very well, sir."

Carla headed back to her office, seething. She would find out who leaked the information to Barish, and whatever Stockwell had in mind for him, would be nothing compared to Carla's wrath. The Ukraine, indeed! Well, if Stockwell thought he had her, she still had that security chief under her wing. By the time Stockwell's man got there, there would be no record of any of the four men. And damn it, she didn't care how they disappeared.


*****

Murdock moved casually across the lawn, talking animatedly to Billy. He'd kept the dog around, for the Ables' benefit. Despite paperwork to the contrary, no one really believed he was suddenly sane. And Murdock did nothing to dissuade them. It had worked to his and the team's advantage far too often.

BA tinkered with the van's engine, three bored Ables scattered a few yards away. They couldn't understand how a man could spend so much time on a van that ran so smoothly anyway. Almost every day he was making some kind of adjustment on the thing. The man needed a new hobby.

Hannibal was sitting in the living room, reading a book, peacefully smoking his cigar. The Ables had asked him time and time again not to smoke in the house, but he always ignored them. Many times he'd grin at them as he lit up. At least he was just reading today, and not baiting them, another favorite hobby.

Frankie was on the basketball court, shooting one lay up after another. He'd tried to get a couple of the Ables to join in on a one-on-one game, but they'd ignored him. So he just dribbled the ball around and kept shooting.

Eventually, Hannibal put the book down, stretched his arms and moved out to the balcony. From there, he could see Frankie bouncing the ball around the court. Frankie glanced up, took a couple more shots, and stopped to wipe the sweat from his forehead. Letting the ball roll away, he grabbed a can of pop and moved off the court, heading in the general direction of Murdock's stroll.

Frankie stopped halfway between the court and Murdock, gave the pilot a casual wave, did a couple toe touches, and moved off again, this time away from Murdock. Murdock returned the wave, patted Billy and moved toward the front of the house, where BA worked on the van. Stepping up to the front of the van, he started loudly telling BA about the squirrel Billy had treed, until BA took a swing at him. Murdock jumped away and, loudly complaining about the lack of fraternal interest BA showed, headed around the corner toward the back of the house.

Frankie stopped to re-tie his shoelaces, surreptitiously reaching for the timer's button. Showtime...


*****

He hung up the phone. He had thought all of this crap was behind him when he took this assignment. He should have known better. Nothing ever stayed buried when it came to Stockwell. And she was just as bad. Shaking his head, he moved out. The sooner this was taken care of, the better he would feel.

He caught up with Kurt and Daryl first. He noted they were very close to the restricted personnel office. Figured. They tried to act very innocent, to no avail. He 'escorted' them back to his office, assuring them they did not want to create a scene.

Randy was equally easy to find; he was, as usual, in Sam's room. However, he had no qualms regarding a scene, particularly with Sam urging him to fight back. It took a very firm threat to Sam's well-being to bring him under control. Soon, the three men were in the security chief's office, with a very worried Sam left seething in his room. He soon left his worries behind, as the IV dripped a rather potent sedative into his system.

Kurt, Daryl and Randy were led to a rather dumpy-looking van, and found themselves cocooned in smelly laundry bags, tied and gagged, 'just in case'. After a long and bumpy ride, they were released to find themselves in the back of a seedy-looking motel.

The security chief looked at the three disheveled men. They better be worth it.

"Okay, your buddy will be here shortly. We had to take a few extra steps to get him out. I strongly suggest you forget all about Dinosaur. As of now. Where you go, what you do, I don't care as long as the hospital or its people aren't involved. Understand?"

The men nodded, not daring to believe they were still breathing. With a final hard look at them, the Chief climbed back into the van and left them in a cloud of dust.