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The Return of the Gray-haired Avengers
Jack led the way into the building. A double, bullet-proof window was situated beside the only other door in the small lobby. There were no chairs, nothing on the walls. Just a stark, white room.
Behind the window was a heavy-set woman with curly brown hair, hazel eyes, and a warm smile. "How can I help you folks?"
Daniel pushed forward. "I'm here for my grandmother, Muriel Jackson."
The woman began to type on the computer in front of her. What came up on the screen surprised her. She sat back, her eyes wide. "Sergeant Greevy will be here in just a moment."
With a nod, Daniel shoved his hands into his pockets. Paced slightly back and forth, as much as the small room would allow, given that Jack, Sam, and Teal'c were standing there as well. Are you all right, Angel? Are they hurting you? I'll be there, Casey, I swear to god I will be!
The door swung open. "Doctor Jackson?" the tall, uniformed man asked.
"That's me," Daniel said, moving to stand beside Jack.
The officer studied Jack for a moment, then checked his notes again. "General O'Neill?"
"Would be me," Jack replied.
"I'm Sergeant Greevy, Public Relations Liaison." The cop eyed Sam and Teal'c, who stood closely behind Jack and Daniel, making it clear that the four were together, then nodded his head. "This way."
The team followed the uniformed man into a narrow hallway. He studied the four silently when he pushed another door open, one that led into a small room. The space was completely filled by a table and half a dozen chairs, at which Greevy waved with one hand. SG-1 exchanged worried glances, then hesitantly sat down. He muttered into the radio on his shoulder, propped the door open with one of the chairs, then dropped into a chair he had pulled toward the head of the table.
"What are the charges against the ladies?" Jack asked immediately.
"Well, after talking to um…" the man checked the notes on the clipboard he carried, "General Hammond, seems that the Lieutenant isn't too anxious to charge them with anything."
"I see," Jack said, tossing a smile at the rest of the team.
"Two of the responding officers talked to witnesses, who said the man that the driver, uh…Emma Hanks," Greevy read from the notes, "tried to run over had been chasing a young woman and a teenager through the mall. Several witnesses reported seeing a weapon in that man's hand, as well as one carried by the man who was with him."
"Okay," Jack said, to let the police officer know he was listening, and following.
"The problem is, the…ladies…have been damned insistent, to the point of being combative, that we find the cars that witnesses saw racing out of the parking lot." He continued to read for a moment. "Two black sedans which seemed to be in pursuit of the two who were still on foot. From what the ladies told us, the men prevented the young woman and the teen from being able to get into their car…a 1966 Dodge Charger."
"So it goes without saying that whoever was in those sedans, are after Casey and Johnny," Jack said pointedly.
The sergeant frowned, checked his notes, his lips mouthing the names repeatedly. "Ah, here we go…yeah, Casey is the name of the woman being chased. We didn't have an ID on the teenager." He scratched his pen across the paper. "What's Johnny's last name?"
"O'Neill. Two 'Ls'," Jack replied quietly.
Greevy glanced up. "Your son?"
"He's related to you, though, right?"
"In a manner of speaking," Jack replied.
"Has anyone been dispatched to look for those vehicles?" Daniel asked impatiently. Heaved a silent sigh when Jack looked at him and barely shook his head.
"No. Not yet."
"So, it is possible that the woman and youth have been captured by those men?" Teal'c asked bluntly.
The police officer sat back in his chair, a look of surprise on his face. "Captured?"
"If Casey and Johnny were being chased, then obviously the men chasing them were doing so for a reason," Sam said, speaking slowly and distinctly…as if she were dealing with a child. "Those men wanted Casey and Johnny in their custody."
"We have no reason to suspect kidnapping at this time. The officer on the scene just…" the officer's voice faded. He frowned, shifted uncomfortably, and continued to look at the notes.
"The officer…what, Sergeant?" Jack asked coldly.
"It seems he figured it was a domestic dispute. There haven't been any calls about any disturbances, so…" He shrugged his shoulders. "We just figured it had been worked out between the parties by now."
"Oh, god," Daniel muttered. He turned worried eyes toward Jack. "If those bastards hurt her-"
"I know, Danny," Jack murmured. "How long ago did all of this happen?"
Once again the sergeant checked the paperwork. "The first call to 9-1-1 came in from the mall…um…about two hours ago."
Red-hot rage shot through him, propelled Daniel to his feet. "Two hours? You've had my grandmother here for two hours? My Wife has been in danger for two goddamned hours?"
Jack was on his feet as well, one arm across Daniel's chest. "Stand down, Daniel," he said quietly.
Greevy turned pale. "Your wife?"
"Casey Jackson," Jack said. "I'm certain Emma, Muriel, and Janelle would have mentioned that."
The sergeant began to flip through the pages of forms and notes. His face went from pale to red. He hastily shoved the ranking officer's report to the back of the folder. "Guess somebody missed that," he muttered. Silently cursing Tully for yet another public relations fiasco. That bastard was the most inefficient idiot he'd ever had the misfortune of working with.
"Who's your immediate supervisor?" Jack asked. Any pretense of civility had evaporated the moment he'd learned how long Casey and Mini-me had been in danger. Because of bureaucracy and police chains-of-command and rules-of-operation…and asinine assumptions. Two hours was a hell of a long time to be on the run. Chances were, they'd already been caught…and that wasn't a good thing at all.
"Lieutenant Fisler. And he's busy right now," Greevy replied automatically.
Jack pulled his phone from his pocket. Never took his eyes off the sergeant, who again shifted nervously in his chair, as he dialed. Tense silence hung in the air. When Jack spoke, his voice was cold. "General Hammond? Seems we might have a bit of a problem here…No, sir, we haven't seen the ladies yet. We're being briefed by a sergeant…um…" Jack made a show of checking the man's badge. "Greevy. Sergeant Greevy."
Sam looked over at Daniel. "You should probably call your attorney," she said softly. Gave a smirk when she glanced at Greevy and noted that he'd begun to sweat just a bit.
With a sharp nod, Daniel pulled his own phone from his pocket. After his supposed death at the beginning of the year, he and Casey had gone to the legal department of NORAD, and had made out new wills. The JAG officer who had helped them with the paternity case, when Amelia Harmstead had sought Daniel out, had been a great deal of help, and offered what was certainly sound advice. Casey had insisted that he add Captain Ingall's number to his phone. He'd not really thought about it before, but he couldn't help but wonder if her gift of sight had been behind her request. Sighed with frustration when his call immediately rolled over to voicemail. "My Wife is out there, either being chased by those bastards, or being abused by them. And you're sitting on your collective asses doing nothing!" he hissed.
The sergeant cleared his throat, then motioned that the two men should return to their seats. "Look, we can only operate on the information at hand-"
"Which my grandmother and her friends gave you!" Daniel insisted.
"So it would seem,' Greevy acknowledged sheepishly.
"Yeah, so what are you going to do about it?" Jack asked. His attention went back to his phone. "Yes, sir. I believe so. I agree, I think a call to the Police Chief might be in order."
This time the police officer turned a light shade of green. "Oh, shit," he mumbled. "If you folks will excuse me, I have a couple of asses to kick over this," he said, holding up the clip board.
Jack nodded. "Good idea."
Daniel walked toward the front of the room. "What about my grandmother?"
"I'll take you to her in just a few minutes, you have my word," Greevy promised.
With a nod, Daniel watched the man flee from the room.
"Yes, sir. Well, apparently they're just putting together that Casey is Daniel's wife. From what the sergeant told us, the police responding to the call, which by the way, was two hours ago, thought it was a domestic dispute." Jack held the phone away from his ear as General Hammond expressed his disbelief, and then his outrage. "It never hurts to put an extra fire under certain asses. Yes, sir, I agree. Yes, sir." Jack looked at the faces of his kids, offered a grim smile. "General Hammond is calling this lieutenant back. And then he's going to make a call to the police chief. And if we aren't walking out of here with those little gray-haired avengers in an hour, we're to let him know. Oh, he also said there had better not be any charges filed against them."
It was impossible not to smile just a bit. "Hey, did anyone think to call Gary? His aunt is here," Daniel asked.
"I don't know," Jack admitted. "He's not here, so I'd guess he doesn't know yet."
His phone still in hand, Daniel pressed the number that would connect him to his father-in-law. "Gary…Daniel. There's been some trouble…" As briefly and fully as he could, Daniel told Casey's father what was going on. Was promised that not only was Gary on the way to see to it that Janelle was released, but that he was bringing his 'crew'. It was a bit of good luck that the three men were already at the SGC, had been because of the briefing earlier in the day. Daniel was willing to take all the help he could in finding Casey. Particularly when Gary and his friends weren't bound by SGC contracts, nor would they be concerned with any other…legalities.
When he'd finished his phone call, Daniel found himself unable to remain still. He wanted to go charging out of the building, to find his Wife. He could start at the mall. And then…go where? Would there still be anyone nearby who had witnessed what had occurred…anyone who could at least give him an idea of what direction the two cars had gone? Had anyone in the nearby neighborhoods seen a young woman and teenager running for their lives? He ran one hand through his hair in frustration. Where are you, Angel? Are you okay?
The call to Gary spurred a thought in Jack's mind…without an identity of the teenager, there had been no way to contact any family. Johnny's foster father had every right to know his charge was in serious danger. Jack walked to the corner of the small room, made another call to Hammond. His request was met with full approval, and the promise that the man would have a full escort to the precinct where SG-1 was waiting.
A A A A A A
Thirty minutes later, Johnny's foster father hurried into the police station, his escort left behind in the military police car that had picked him up at his office and had sped him, red lights flashing and siren wailing, to the police station.
Phil Hastings stopped short of actually entering the room, and watched the man his son had been cloned from. He'd read Jack O'Neill's complete military record as part of his briefing on what Johnny had been through. What Johnny remembered. Hell of a thing for a 15-year-old kid to have the memories of a 49-year-old special ops soldier. Johnny had never, not once, revealed a single detail of any of those missions. Even when he cried out when those memories caused nightmares.
He might not know all of the details of the missions General O'Neill had been on, Phil thought, but he didn't need to know to understand. He'd been an OSI agent for twenty years. He could well imagine the things the general had been called upon…ordered…to do. He recalled the day when he'd received a phone call from the general…well, O'Neill had still been a colonel at the time. Wanting to meet somewhere 'privately' to discuss Johnny. The teenager had been in his home less than a week at that point, if he was remembering correctly…
The two men had met at a bar, and had sat in a booth near the back. A clandestine meeting…something both men were more than familiar with.
"You've read my service record," Jack had said.
"The president thought it would help," Phil had replied, just a bit defensively. He well understood how unpleasant a concept having one's entire military record laid open for a total stranger…someone outside of the chain of command…could be.
"You have quite a…colorful…record," Phil had allowed. He would never forget the crooked smile that had been the result of his comment.
"Ya may notice, as Johnny gets older, that there will be certain…similarities…to me."
"Okay. How similar?"
"Oh…probably almost positively identical. He is a clone."
"He's also a person in his own right." The feelings of protectiveness had surprised him that day. Now those feelings were as familiar as the love he held for his biological children.
"Not denying that. Just sayin' that if he gets a little…well…mouthy…it's because I've never been one to keep my mouth shut."
"Then he won't be any different than any other teenager, will he?"
The colonel had laughed out loud at that…a laugh that had warmed his brown eyes. Eyes so much like Johnny's. "Probably not. Just more of a handful."
"Colonel, I can appreciate your concern. And I'll keep your…warning…in mind. But I think we might see a totally different man emerge, as Johnny gets older." Phil still firmly believed that.
"With you in his life, I think he's got one hell of a good chance of doing better than I did," Jack had said quietly.
"You're a good man, colonel. Don't short-change yourself. If Johnny is half as good a man as you, I'll be proud." He'd lifted his drink in salute, and finished it off. Knowing that the conversation had reached its end, he'd tossed a few bills on the table, nodded at the colonel, and walked away.
A A A A A A
Keller smiled malevolently as he dialed his phone, watching as the three men he'd hired pushed and shoved the two captives into the small office of the old, empty warehouse. "Don't hurt 'em. But make sure they can't get loose," he called.
"You got it, boss," the leader of the goons acknowledged.
He'd been concerned - not to mention angry - when he'd seen the black sedan in the mall parking lot. When he'd recognized Michelson, he knew that the only chance to make money on the deal was to get to the kid, and the woman, first. Lady Luck had smiled on him. Not only had he reached them before Michelson's driver was able to get turned around, his driver had been able to disappear from the area without Michelson seeing them. Everything was going as he'd planned. Mostly, he admitted to himself. Grabbing the two hadn't been easy…but he had them. That was all that mattered. "I have them," Keller said into the phone. "I'm at the warehouse. Pick me up, and we'll discuss my fee."
"I'll come get them," Michelson's voice echoed in Keller's ear.
"I don't think so," Keller replied. "Ya see, my guys are here. If you try to take my prisoners, they'll kill you."
"Are you out of your mind? Marshall isn't going to stand for this!"
"Marshall will do exactly what I say, if he wants those two 'alive and well'. Now, you'll pick me up, as I don't have the colonel's personal cell number, we'll go to your hotel room, where you will then explain the facts of life to him. I'm certain he'll be willing to…negotiate…with me. And don't get any crazy ideas. If I'm not back to get the kid and the woman, my men have orders to kill them. And then find you and kill you as well."
"I'll be there in twenty."
"Good." Keller ended the call, savoring the feeling of being in absolute control of the situation. If Colonel Marshall, NID Director, wanted the kid named Johnny O'Neill, and the woman named Casey Jackson, he was going to have to pay for them. Not just a few measly hundred grand, either! Nope, those two were worth a least a million. Each.
A A A A A A
Jack noticed the man hesitating just inside the door. He gave a small smile, and waved him in.
"Have you found him?" Phil Hastings asked anxiously.
It was impossible not to detect the fear, the worry…the love…in the man's voice, in his eyes. "Not yet. But we have an idea what happened."
"NID. We think they're after him because…well…because…"
"Because of what he knows. Because of…um…you," Phil finished.
Jack nodded. "We figure that getting Radar…er…Casey…was just a bonus for them."
Phil glanced at Daniel. His briefing had included information on each of the members of SG-1. Not as much as he'd been given on O'Neill, but enough to understand that the four people in the room with him were a team…and a special team at that. He'd actually met Casey Jackson, when she'd talked to Johnny when he'd become so overwhelmed he'd wanted to run away. Johnny had admitted to missing being part of the 'entity' known as SG-1. And the comfort of being able to talk to the 'team seer'. "Any clue on where they could be?"
"No," Jack replied, shaking his head.
"I know a few people in DC. A couple of them owe me a favor or two. I could call in those favors," Phil offered quietly.
Jack frowned, studied Hastings for a few moments. The determination in his eyes was unmistakable. As far as the OSI agent was concerned, Johnny was his son, Jack realized. "Here's the info we have so far," he said, handing over the police report.
Phil read the lines of information as he fished his phone from his pocket. "If this is who I think it is, some of Robert Kinsey's cronies are involved in this."
"You recognize the description?"
"Yep. The guy with the scar on his face is a regular on the circuit. Does whatever nasty little jobs any politico might have. For the right price, of course."
"Of, course," Jack said drolly.
"If Michelson is involved, all we have to do is turn up the heat. He'll disappear like the coward that he is. If he's hired local talent to help him, and that's something he always does, then they'll be left swinging in the breeze, not a clue what they're supposed to do."
"That might not be a good thing," Jack warned.
"We both know that getting Johnny…and Mrs. Jackson," he nodded toward Daniel, "alive and well is the order of the day. No doubt that's already been established. Whoever has them isn't going to want to hurt them for fear of bringing down trouble on their own heads."
"You're sure?" Daniel asked, grabbing desperately at any feeble hope that Casey wasn't…and wouldn't be…harmed.
Phil nodded. "We had a case built against Michelson in the disappearance of an Air Force officer assigned to the NID during Kinsey's tenure as the Director. Kinsey managed to pull strings, and every shred of evidence just…vanished."
"That son-of-a-bitch," Jack muttered. "Do I look surprised? Tell me I don't look surprised. 'Cause I'm not."
Holding up his hand as the call he'd placed went through, Phil made a simple request for information regarding a specific case.
SG-1 exchanged glances at the terse, cryptic conversation that followed.
"It's Michelson, all right. And some new player named Keller. Seems this Keller managed to totally screw up grabbing Casey Jackson in Las Vegas a few weeks ago."
"I knew it!" Daniel hissed. His memory of the man he'd seen fit with the description his grandmother, Casey's aunt, and Emma Hanks had given of the man chasing Casey.
"Knew what?" Jack demanded.
"Remember that guy…the one I told you had been watching Casey? We saw security officers escort him out."
"He's the one who accosted Casey on the way to the salon," Sam said, nodding.
"Yeah, I remember that, too," Jack replied.
"I take it that she wasn't alone at any time?" Phil asked.
"Just from our room to the salon," Daniel said, feeling sick to his stomach at the thought of how dangerous it had been for her. And determining that she was never setting foot outside of their home without him at her side.
"She must have surprised him," Phil muttered. "He wasn't expecting her."
"She was at the door of the salon when it happened," Sam explained. "Janet and I were right there…we stepped out at the same time two security officers approached. The guy…uh…"
"Keller," Phil offered.
"Right. He tried to back away, headed toward the pool, but the security guards were right behind him."
"They had him in hand as soon as he stepped out the door," Daniel said. "We saw that."
"How in the hell did anyone know we were going to be in Vegas?" Jack demanded. "That decision was made damned near on the fly…we flew out two days later!"
"Out of Peterson?" Phil asked.
"Civilian," Jack replied.
"My bet is someone has a tap on either phone lines, or has a Trojan on one of your computers."
Sam was shaking her head. "I know for a fact that our computers and phone lines are clean. And we made most of the arrangements from the SGC computers."
Phil frowned. "Paid by credit card?"
The blonde colonel nodded.
"Someone in the NID has a flag on your credit card accounts," the retired OSI agent sighed.
Jack grimaced. "Okay, kids, first thing we do when we have Johnny and Casey safe, is get new credit cards."
"How long will it take them to get a flag on new cards?" Daniel asked.
Phil gave a tight smile. "Well, with the information I have, I can see to it that your accounts are marked as classified. That means that not even the President of the United States can ask for summaries on the card without your written and verbal consent."
"That sounds great," Daniel allowed, "but we're talking NID here. Rules and laws don't mean squat to them."
"Ah, but they have to make requests to the credit card companies. They can toss out a 'national security' excuse, and the banks will automatically cooperate. A classified account can't be accessed by just anyone in the banking system. Only specially certified accountants can call up the accounts," Phil replied. "It's how all of the FBI, CIA, OSI, NCIS, Secret Service, and every other such agency keeps their records confidential."
"Won't there be questions?" Jack asked.
Phil shook his head. "Not if the order comes from the White House."
"And we have the pull to get that order," Sam said softly.
"Well, that's a problem we'll deal with tomorrow," Jack said determinedly. "Right now, we gotta find Radar and Johnny. Before they do something stupid out of boredom."
Daniel couldn't help but smile. Casey could be hell as a captive. Just don't piss them off, Angel, he thought. Don’t give them a reason to hurt you.
A A A A A A
Daddy Long Legs had disappeared…if he could trust the mumbled conversation of his captors, the 'boss' would be back later. Without the 'boss' to tell them what to do, the goons would be hesitant to use any real force to subdue escaping prisoners. Johnny surreptitiously watched the men tasked with keeping him and Casey 'safe'. They were busy talking, sounded as if they were discussing their plans for the pay they'd soon be receiving. If he was going to make a break for it…if he and Casey were going to make a break for it…now was the time.
It hadn't been easy - not wanting to call attention to himself, he'd been unable to lean too far forward to see out the open door. But Johnny had seen enough. The car they'd arrived in was still sitting there…he could see one headlight. That car was their ticket out of there. And to get to the car, they had to take out the goons. To do that, they had to get out of the ropes. To do that... "Okay, Radar, bat your eyes and shake your assets at those guys. Keep them busy while I work these ropes loose."
"Feminine wiles, Radar. Time to utilize them," Johnny replied calmly.
"Excuse me? Do I look like a slut to you? Someone who bats her eyelashes and flirts with anything and everything wearing pants? Because I'm not some two-dollar trollop, you know!" Case snapped in return. She could feel the heat rise in her cheeks at the thought of trying to seduce their captors.
Johnny rolled his eyes. "Casey, you're the least slutty woman I know. But you've got the best weapons against those guys…damn it to hell, they're the only weapons we have, and we have to use them!"
"Language," Casey warned the teenager absently.
"Radar," Johnny hissed. "Work with me here!"
"Just what am I supposed to do?" she demanded to know in a fierce whisper.
"I dunno! Be sexy!"
Johnny heaved an exasperated sigh. "You're the blonde bombshell! You tell me!"
"Blonde bombshell?" Casey gasped, her eyes wide. "Kid, you need your eyes examined."
"Look, can we have this discussion after we're outa here? Just…I dunno…pretend the ropes are too tight or something."
"And then what?"
"Bat your eyelashes. Wiggle a little bit."
"Wiggle a little bit?"
"Yeah, you know, get his attention on your uh…you know…your uh…" Johnny nodded toward her chest. "Your assets."
"I hate this idea."
"I'm not a slut."
"I know that."
"This won't work."
"Yes, it will."
"No, it won't."
"Casey, will you please bat those eyelashes of yours?"
"I don't bat my eyelashes."
"Well, do something!"
With a sigh that their captors could have heard, but thankfully hadn't, Casey glared for just a second at the teenager beside her. "I really hate this idea."
"Radar, paste a smile on and get to flirting, would you?"
"Are you serious? Flirt?"
"Radar! We're prisoners. We have to use whatever we've got. Luckily, we've got you. Now…keep those guys busy while I work this rope loose!" Johnny hissed. He glanced at the big guy who was supposed to be watching them. "Casey, I know that…flirting…isn't something you can do...at least...hell...this is…this is an emergency. Life and death here."
She frowned. She could flirt though, couldn't she? She flirted easily enough with Daniel…although, she thought, he was her husband, so it really didn't count. And, she flirted with Tony Sabotti…to a point. Once she'd learned that he fully understood that she was crazy-in-love with Daniel, she'd begun responding to his fun-filled comments and innuendoes. Daniel, it seemed, found their rather suggestive banter amusing. How many times had he laughed out loud when she'd informed him of the latest 'Tony incident'? And she'd shocked herself with her reactions when Colonel Cameron Mitchell had shown up at the SGC. He'd teased her, let her know that nothing he said was serious. Just fun, his eyes had told her. That, she thought silently, was exactly what it had been. He'd flirted with her, and for the first time in her life, she'd felt the freedom to respond, without feeling as if she were slut or a cock-tease. Because of Daniel's love, she'd been able to smile and flirt like she'd never been able before. But the key was, Cam Mitchell had flirted with her first. All she'd done was responded. She pushed away the memories of how Cam had reacted to her when she'd reciprocated. That had everything to do with the Hathor-gene, she told herself firmly. She glanced at the men who were standing beside the van, involved in a conversation of their own.
"No way in hell would I ask you to do something like this if there was any other way to escape," Johnny said softly.
She looked over at the teenager, and could see the man who lurked deep in his eyes. How difficult was it for him to make it through each day…a teenager burdened with the memories of a man…not just any man, but a military officer with special training? A man who had been part of military operations so 'black' that only a dozen people in the world, including the men involved in the missions, knew what had actually occurred? In that moment, she understood those memories, those experiences, were going to help them stay alive. How absolutely ironic was that? She barely refrained from heaving a sigh of defeat. "Okay. Here goes." Sure as hell hope this works!
When Goon Number One, as she'd christened him in her mind, the bigger of the three men, glanced her way, Casey did her best to give a small, trembling smile. It must have worked, because he frowned slightly.
"Please, the ropes are so tight…my wrists are chafing," she said softly.
Without even looking at his companions, the man started toward her.
"Hey, wha'cha doing?" Goon Number Two asked suspiciously.
Goon Number One shrugged. "No way for 'em to escape. No need to be brutal, ya know."
Goons Two and Three exchanged a look, seeming to agree that it made little difference to them what the bigger man did.
"Let's take a look," Goon Number One said gently. He put one large hand on her shoulder, easing her forward slightly. "Yeah, those are pretty tight." He shot a look of annoyance at his partners. "Those idiots don't know nuthin' 'bout tying ropes," he muttered - almost apologetically. The hand on her shoulder was beginning to gently caress her, the other tugging a bit at the rope.
"You might check his, as well," Casey said, nodding at Johnny. Tried to fight down the panic that this guy might take it into his head that she could be used for a bit of entertainment. The thought of rape had always left her terrified. A rush of unadulterated fear raced through her when she noted the interested looks on the faces of the men across the room. She cleared her throat, licked suddenly dry lips. Barely managed to rein in her rampant thoughts. "He's just a kid…" She let her voice trail off.
"Yeah, just a kid," the goon echoed. He leaned closer to the beautiful blonde. She smelled so damned good! Like flowers and vanilla. In spite of all the running she'd been doing, she smelled like spring…and flowers…and vanilla. He pressed his nose against her hair.
"Hey!" Casey objected.
Shaking himself slightly, Goon Number One backed away. "Uh…sorry," he muttered. Not quite certain what had come over him. His orders were clear…and succinct. Capture the kid named Johnny O'Neill. If anyone tried to stop him and his men, they were to be taken out. However, when the blonde had shown up, determined to screw up their plans for taking the teenager, his boss had quickly rescinded that order. He didn't know what was going on, but the look on Keller's face had been absolutely feral. Keller had then told him the woman and the kid were to be taken unharmed.
He couldn't stop himself when his gaze went over her slender frame, pausing to admire breasts that pushed against the tee-shirt she was wearing, mostly because of the way her arms were pulled behind her. Round and high and firm…he could tell they were nice and firm…He swallowed the saliva that had suddenly filled his mouth at the thought of tasting her sweet skin. Couldn't stop his mind from conjuring up images of those breasts naked…were her nipples pink, or were they rosy? Were they big or small?
"Hey, what about me?" Johnny said sharply. He didn't like the way the goon was looking at Casey. In fact, he was getting a distinctly uncomfortable feeling about the entire situation. Asking her to flirt with the guy had been a major mistake. If this guy tried to hurt her, tried to do anything to her, he'd… I'll do what? he asked himself worriedly. Tied up the way he was, weighing at least a hundred pounds less than the clown who seemed to be the leader of the goons, there was precious little he could do to protect Casey.
With a shake of his head, the goon moved toward the teenaged boy. "Yeah, the ropes are tight." He looked over his shoulder at his companions. "Ain't nobody ever taught you how to tie up a hostage?"
Again Goons Two and Three exchanged troubled glances. "Uh…you said to make sure they couldn't get loose," Number Two muttered.
"Ya don't have to cut the circulation off in their hands," Goon Number One retorted. "Fer' chrissakes!" He pulled Johnny to his feet, turned the teenager around, and untied his hands.
Johnny let his arms drop, as if they were already useless to him. Shook his hands a few times.
Goon Number One gently helped Casey to her feet. Untied the ropes and began to massage her arms.
Casey gave a sideways glance at Johnny. Watched him shake his hands again. Hoping that the fact that her back was to all three of the goons in the room would prevent them from seeing her, she raised one eyebrow. Smiled and winked when Johnny barely dipped his head.
"Better?" Goon Number One asked.
"Yes, thank you," Casey said. She turned around; pretended to catch her foot, leaning heavily against the muscular man. She could feel the holster beneath his suit jacket.
His arms went around her automatically. "Hey…you okay?"
Okay, time to bat the eyelashes. "I am now," she replied breathlessly. She ran her hands over his chest, to his shoulders, then slowly back down.
Every lustful thought the goon had was in his eyes. He was watching Casey closely, his breathing just a bit faster, shallower.
"What's goin' on?" Goon Number Two asked suspiciously.
"Go get in the car," Goon Number One barked, his gaze locked with Casey's. "No decent place to sit in here."
"I said go get in the damned car! If we have to wait for Michelson to show up, we can at least be comfortable."
Goon Number One turned slightly, unwilling to risk having the pretty little blonde move her hands from his chest. "I said get in the goddamned car." His voice was low and threatening. "And shut the door on your way out."
"Sure, whatever you say," Goon Number Three replied.
Goon Number Two watched for a moment, then shook his head, and followed his companion out of the room and into the main part of the warehouse.
Casey had the gun in hand before the goon had fully turned back to her. "Johnny, grab those ropes. Let's tie Mr. Hero so he can't get away."
"You bitch!" the goon snarled. He started to step toward the slender seer, stopped immediately when she cocked the gun as if she did it every day. The fact that the gun never wavered, and was pointed directly at his face, told him she knew how to use the weapon.
"I have absolutely no problem with dropping you right here and now," Casey warned the man.
"We should gag him, so he can't call out to his friends," Johnny said, tying the goon's hands tightly. "Have a seat, Sumo Boy." He pushed at the man's shoulder. The man refused to budge.
"He said sit down," Casey said coldly. "Or do I need to blow your kneecaps away?" She aimed at his legs.
The goon dropped onto the chair where Johnny had been sitting. Watched with almost unnatural detachment as the teenager tied his feet. That kid had learned how to tie some damned intricate knots! One test pull and he realized that the more he struggled, the tighter his bonds would become.
Johnny carefully looked around the room. "Might want to let our friends out there know that you and Mr. Hero there are about to get it on."
Casey raised an eyebrow. "Seriously?"
"My bet is they're listening. Not closely, but if they hear what they think they're gonna hear, they'll spend a few minutes debating whether or not they want to crash the party," Johnny explained.
"Oh. Okay." Casey walked closer to the door. Gave a soft moan.
"Hey, get your hands off her, you bastard!" Johnny called out. He was rummaging through the desk that was the only other furnishing in the room.
Casey slapped her free hand over her mouth to prevent her giggle from escaping.
"Hey, look what I found!" Johnny whispered, triumphantly holding up a roll of masking tape. "This should work." He began to tear off strips of the sticky tape, making sure each strip reached from one ear to the other on the goon. He used the entire roll to make certain that the man couldn't do more than groan. Which, if things worked out the way he was planning, would keep goons One and Two in a dither just long enough for him and Casey to get away.
"Now what?" Casey asked.
Johnny pointed at the ceiling. "Air conditioning vents. We should fit well enough to get into the next room."
"Where two goons are waiting," Casey pointed out.
The teenager grinned. "Yeah. But not expecting us, right? You'll have to shoot fast."
Casey nodded her understanding. "I can do it."
"Okay, I'll drive the car-"
"Like hell you will," Casey argued.
Johnny's face went expressionless. "I've done this before, Radar."
Casey shook her head. "Jack O'Neill did this before."
Once again she thought about the memories in Johnny's head. "I'm so sorry Thor couldn't take all that away," she said softly.
For one moment, the teen's brown eyes misted over. "At this particular moment, I'm glad he didn't."
She gave a curt nod. "Let's do this."
A A A A A A
Gary followed a young police officer into a large interrogation room. Waiting there were the members of SG-1, a man he didn't know - but immediately recognized as special ops of some sort - and three elderly women he did know.
Janelle rushed across the room and grabbed his arms. "Gary, you have to find her! Those bastards are after her and the boy…no one here will listen to us! You have to find Casey before they hurt her!"
"Whoa," Gary asked gently. "Don't worry, Janelle. I'm already on it. My crew is waiting outside. We just need a few details."
"I'm just afraid you'll be too late!" Janelle fretted. "Everything happened so fast at the mall, but then they brought us here, and we've been sitting and waiting, and no one would listen to us-"
Hugging the older woman tightly, Gary tried to recall when his aunt had ever been so worried…so frightened. Janelle Franklin was a tough old bird, and she didn't scare easily. Whatever she'd witnessed had knocked her for a loop. "Casey is my daughter. I'll be damned if I let them…whoever 'they' are…hurt her."
"We know who we're dealing with," Jack said quietly.
He raised one eyebrow slightly. "That's good news."
Gary studied Jack's brown eyes. Then groaned. "You're kidding!"
"Nope. And last word we had was that this is not a sanctioned activity."
He felt his world begin to spin. An unsanctioned operation out of the Pentagon, a plot cooked up by the NID, meant that his daughter was in deep trouble. There would be no-holds barred from keeping her captive.
"They want them alive and well," Jack continued.
Alive and well didn't equate to healthy, Gary thought. They could beat the crap out of the two and still consider them 'alive'. If they could talk, they were 'well'. He turned to his aunt. "Did you see the men who were chasing her?"
Janelle nodded. "One was tall, thin. The other looked like a football player."
"One of the men had a scar on his face," Muriel added hesitantly. "He was in the second car…not the one that blocked us, the other."
Jack and Phil looked at one another. "Michelson," Phil said flatly.
"Know this guy?" Gary asked.
"Worked for Kinsey. Now seems to be working for none other than Colonel Marshall, Director of the NID," Jack said.
"Real nasty piece of work," Phil added. "Coward, but nasty."
Gary barely remained on his feet. He looked over at Daniel. Took in the pale, drawn cheeks, the frown that wrinkled his forehead, the deep creases around his eyes…the look of absolute desperation that filled those blue eyes. "We'll get her."
"I know," Daniel replied quietly.
"This time, you're with me," Gary continued.
Daniel nodded his understanding.
Jack shifted slightly. As a civilian, Gary could operate on a totally different level than he was limited to, being an Air Force Officer. Daniel was also a civilian. Casey was the daughter of one of those civilians, the wife of the other. Neither man would let things like rules, regulations, or laws stand in the way of doing what was necessary to find Casey, and bring her home. For a moment, he envied them that freedom. Then determined that he was in a position to be able to cover their tracks, if necessary. And would do so with vigor.
"Why don't we take Emma, Janelle, and Muriel home," Sam said quietly. She too, understood that what needed to be done, had to be done quickly…and quietly.
"Good idea, colonel," Jack nodded.
"We'll update my crew," Gary said. The calm of his demeanor belied the chaos of emotions roiling through him at that moment.
"I've gotta let Terri know what's going on," Phil said quietly. He'd called his wife at home as soon as he'd spoken to General Hammond, saying only that something had come up. Telling her that the young man they'd taken into their home - into their hearts - was missing wouldn't be easy. For either of them.
Another young police officer entered the room, taking note of the occupants.
Muriel hurried over to him. "I don't know what you did, but thank you," she said quietly.
"Don't thank me yet, ma'am," the young man said. "I reported Tully to Internal Affairs. I don't know how long it will take for them to do something about this."
"Well, you managed to get that horrible man to let Emma make her phone call," Muriel insisted.
"Not soon enough."
She patted the young officer's arm. "You did what you could."
"Uh…is this your family?"
Muriel smiled. "That handsome young man over there, the one in the dark blue shirt - he's my grandson."
The young man smiled at the pride in her voice. He nodded when the bespectacled man caught his gaze. Didn't take offense at the immediate frown the covered the man's face. He'd be upset if his grandmother had been subjected to harassment and arrest as well. Probably a good thing the grandson doesn't have all the details yet, he thought with a hint of amusement, I'd wind up arresting him for assaulting an officer. "I'm sure you probably want to get out of here."
"Yes, actually," Muriel said. She remained silent about the fact that she was certain the men in the room with her and the young officer would be hitting the streets like tornado, searching in every conceivable hiding place for those criminals who more than likely had Casey in their grasp by now.
"Well, I just wanted to say goodbye."
"Goodbye, then. And thank you, again."
With a smile and a nod, the young officer ducked out of the interrogation room. He had a meeting to get to. One that he hoped would see Tully off the street…out of the police force…by the end of the day.
A A A A A A
Johnny pulled the chair Casey had been sitting on to the opening in the ceiling. Climbed up and pried the vent loose.
Something Goon Number One had said continued to poke at the back of her mind. She whirled to look at the man who sat tied and taped. "Did you say 'Michelson'?"
A glare was the only response she earned. "I know that name. I just have to figure out where I've heard it before."
"Think later. We have to go." Johnny pulled himself into the shaft. "It's gonna be tight."
"We'll make it," Casey said encouragingly. She glanced over her shoulder. "Make sure your friends think you're having a really good time." With a wicked smile, she tucked the revolver at the back of her jeans, and climbed up into the shaft. She wished for just a moment that they could have pulled the vent in after themselves.
"I thought the boss said he didn't want the blonde hurt," Goon Two hissed. He began to pace when he heard his companion groan loudly behind the door.
"I wonder if she's giving him a blowjob? Man, I love blowjobs," Goon Three sighed. "If she is, I’m gonna make her suck me off, too. I'll fuck her mouth-."
"Shut up!" Goon Two demanded. "You're not going to do anything! If that dumbshit is in there fucking her, we could all go down for disobeying direct orders!"
The carnal smile that had tugged on Goon Three's lips disappeared. "We should stop him."
Goon Two wiped the back of his hand over his mouth. "If it's just a blowjob, well, that ain't hurtin' her none, right?"
"Right," Goon Three replied hesitantly.
"But…the boss might not consider it a very…nice…thing to do."
"Boss never said we had to be nice to them," Goon Three argued. "We just ain't supposed to hurt 'em." Another loud groan from behind the closed door. One that made him think of blowjobs and pleasure and coming. He reached down to rub his swelling cock.
The two men had moved closer to the door, were practically pressing their ears against the wood surface. Another long, low groan had both men breathing open-mouthed.
The vent didn't go as far as Johnny had hoped. He could see the goons almost beneath him. If he could get the vent loose without dropping it, he might be able to get to the concrete floor without them noticing. He listened to the conversation, hoping that the two would hesitate just a few more minutes. If they don't, this escape will be short-lived.
Carefully, his concentration divided between the vent and the goons, Johnny worked the metal grate free. He managed to pull it into the shaft, and tucked it beside his hip. Slowly, so very slowly, he eased his body through the opening, holding onto the sides. When he was literally hanging by his fingers, he let go, dropped, and rolled immediately toward the stack of tires he'd seen when they'd arrived in the warehouse. He poked his head up far enough to note that he hadn't been heard. A miracle he'd thank the Tooth Fairy for later.
Casey stuck her head down just long enough to assess the situation. From what she could hear…which wasn't much…it seemed that Goon Number One was groaning continuously now. Trying to get his idiot friends to come get him, she thought with a silent chuckle. From appearances, Goons Two and Three were damned near panting. Hopefully they were so busy trying to visualize what was happening on the other side of that locked door, they wouldn't take notice of a woman dropping to the floor behind them. To make certain the metal grate that covered the vent wouldn't fall over and make noise that would get her discovered, she laid it flat, and crawled over it. Then copied what Johnny had done, hanging for just a moment before relinquishing her hold, hitting the cold, hard floor. She landed on her shoulder, grimaced in pain.
Johnny had noted the look in her eyes. "You okay?" he whispered.
"I'll live," she replied in kind. "Let's get to that car and get out of here." Holding her arm, trying to keep her shoulder as immobilized as possible, she followed the teenager in a crouch toward the waiting car.
He carefully opened the driver's door - which was conveniently located on the opposite side of the car from where the two Goons continued to stand. "Shit!" Johnny muttered.
"What?" Casey whispered.
"No keys," he whispered in reply, nodding toward the ignition switch.
"Crawl in…stay low," Johnny said. "I'll see what I can do."
Doing her best to remain below the level of the windows, Casey slid into the car, wincing as she bumped her shoulder.
Sliding onto the floorboard of the car, grateful that the car was nearly twenty years old, he looked up at the bottom of the dash. Johnny reached for the wires he knew would be there. Followed the bundle with his eyes…good, these three… He yanked the ignition and run wires free, quickly twisted them together. Found the solenoid wire - distinguishable by its location - ripped it free, and arced it against the frame. The engine turned over. He pressed his shoulder against the accelerator pedal, causing the engine to roar. Moving into the driver's seat as quickly as humanly possible, he threw the car into reverse and stomped on the accelerator.
Goons Two and Three spun around in surprise when the car behind them came to life; shocked to see the woman and teenager who were supposed to be tied up on the other side of that closed door peeking through the windshield of the vehicle where they were supposed to be sitting. Both reached for their guns, began to fire as the car sped backwards.
"Hang on," Johnny yelled. He sat up, put his arm over the back of the passenger seat, watching behind him as he continued to gain speed. With a deft flick of his wrist the car spun sideways. He shifted into drive, and mashed the gas once again, sending dirt, chert rocks and gravel flying into the air. On the positive side, the debris that spun heavenward halted the approach of the two goons…who were still shooting.
Casey rolled down the window of the passenger door, leaned out and began to return fire, ducking instinctively when the rear window was blown out, filling the backseat with shards of glass. "Time to leave the party!"
"No kidding," Johnny replied. The car fishtailed slightly on the gravel road that led away from the abandoned warehouse and toward the main road. "One of them is probably on the phone to Daddy Long Legs," the teenager said. "Not knowing where he is, or who he has with him, is a liability. We have to get rid of this car, and find a different one."
"Steal a car?" Casey asked, wide eyed, forgetting in the heat of the moment that she was sitting in a car she and Johnny had just stolen. She checked the magazine of the handgun she'd taken from Goon One. Half a dozen rounds left. "We're not going to be able to hold them off with this," she said, waving the Glock slightly.
"We don’t have a shit-load of choices here, Radar."
"Head straight for the nearest police station."
"Say what?" the teenager asked incredulously.
"I said, head for the nearest police station," Casey repeated firmly. "We can call General Hammond from there, and be safe at the same time."
Johnny frowned. The idea certainly had merit. Although part of him wanted to find out who the goons were, and exactly who had hired them to snatch his ass.
"Or not," Casey murmured, watching the black car that was heading directly for them.
"Well, peachy," Johnny spat. "We're gonna have to play chicken."
"Better grab onto something," he cautioned.
Casey braced both hands against the dash in front of her, ignoring the protest of her shoulder. "Ready," she said quietly.
The two black cars continued to race toward each other. They were dangerously close in just a matter of seconds.
When the other car was barely one hundred feet away, Casey glanced at the teenager beside her. "Johnny?"
"It's okay, Casey," he murmured.
Just before it seemed that a high-speed, head-on crash was inevitable, the other car swerved wildly to the side. The passenger, a man with a scar running down his face, glared at her as they passed. Another familiar face peered through the back window…
"Chicken," Johnny grinned. He increased his speed.
The black car had turned sharply, nearly going off the side of the road as the back-end swung out-of-control.
Casey looked over her shoulder. "Right behind us."
"Base!" Casey almost shouted.
"Head for the base! You'll have to blow the security stop, but that will get the MPs involved. I don't think those guys are stupid enough to follow us to the base. We can explain everything once we're there."
"Good thinking," Johnny nodded approvingly. "I'll take as many back-roads as I can. I'll see if I can't lose them on the way."
Wind swirled through the car with gale-like force, sucked in through the missing back window. For the first time since the car had left the warehouse, Casey noticed the sky. Dark, heavy clouds were beginning to gather. From the looks of the storm front, they'd be getting rain soon. She shivered slightly. Her tee-shirt wasn't going to be very warm if the temperature continued to drop. A thunderstorm at night always brought cool breezes as well. Hopefully she and Johnny would be safely home before the storm broke.
A A A A A A
Dancer, Lucky, and Jesse were standing next to the black Cadillac when Gary and Daniel left the building.
"I need a map of the city. Specifically warehouse and industrial complexes," Gary said, as soon as he was close enough.
Jesse pulled a leather case from the backseat and plopped it on the trunk of the car. Opened it to reveal a laptop. Connecting his cell phone to the computer allowed immediate Internet access. He typed in the parameters of his search, and hit enter. He gave a low whistle. "This could take awhile."
"Look for anything abandoned or not in use, or not finished yet," Gary said.
A nod, and fingers flew over the keyboard. "That's better. Seventeen abandoned warehouses, twenty-two not in use or not open on Mondays, and thirteen still under construction.
Gary frowned, and began to pace back and forth.
"What's the closest hotel to where Johnny lives?" Daniel asked quietly. He shrugged slightly when the men looked at him curiously. "If I was in town after someone, I'd want to stay nearby. That would make it easier to get to him. Or her."
"Good thinking," Lucky said amiably.
"Check for any warehouses that fit our criteria near the same address as any hotel's near…" he glanced down at the note in his hand, read off the address. "Daniel's right, they're not going to want to be in the open with the kid for long. Too much risk of the kid drawing attention to them."
The radio of the police car parked next to the Cadillac crackled to life. The window was down just enough to be able to hear the call coming through.
"Attention all units in the vicinity of North Cascade Avenue, cross street Sunflower Road. Be advised of older black sedan, missing back window, southbound at high speed. Witnesses report sounds of gunfire, and a second black sedan in pursuit. Approach with caution."
Daniel looked at the cruiser, then at his father-in-law. "Two black sedans?"
"Has to be them," Gary nodded.
"What the hell is going on?" Lucky asked.
Gary was heading for the driver's door. "Get in, we'll tell you on the way."
Jesse grabbed his computer, dove into the backseat. Sat crushed between Dancer and Lucky.
Daniel dropped into the passenger seat. "Long story short," he began. He gave them a rundown of the morning's events, at least what they'd been able to piece together.
"Well, dayum," Dancer muttered, absently adjusting his tie; a habit he'd developed when he was mentally preparing for a fight.
"They'd been on the run for two hours before we got word that anything was wrong," Daniel added, his voice a low growl.
"If one of those cars is missing the back window, and is being pursued by the other black sedan, I'd say we know who's in the first one," Lucky chuckled.
"That's what I think," Gary replied. "Jesse, navigate!"
Jesse, who'd had his cell phone in hand, was calling up the street names that had been given on the police radio, put one hand on the roof of the car to steady himself. "Right at the next light."
"With that call going out, we can expect to run into police interference," Dancer pointed out.
"Not necessarily," Daniel said. He pulled his phone from his pocket. Punched the number two…his thumb hesitating over the number one. If she was on the run, she didn't have time to talk to him. Not if she was driving the car. "Jack? There's a car chase happening right now. Two black sedans. We heard it over the police radio. What we don't need is for the police to get in the way."
On the other end of the line, Jack finished climbing into the seat of his truck. He was still in Emma's driveway, having dropped the ladies off, eliciting sworn promises from all three that they'd stay put. Swearing in return that as soon as he knew anything, he'd call. "Where?"
"North Cascade Avenue."
"That's in industrial area, isn't it? North of Colorado College?"
"Yep. Apparently reports of shots fired and two cars in a high speed chase were reported there," Daniel replied. "We're heading in that direction now. With luck we'll see them"
"Got it. Shouldn't take me more than ten to get there."
"What about the cops?" Daniel asked. Being stopped for speeding wasn't something they had time for.
"Sam is calling the general right now," Jack promised. He looked at his wife, who nodded and dialed her phone.
"We'll see you there."
"Right." Daniel ended the call, slipped the phone back into his pocket. "Sam is calling the general."
"With luck, he can keep the boys in blue out of the way," Gary said. "Less paperwork for them to have to deal with."
Daniel snickered. It would be more convenient for Gary and him as well…no chance of being arrested for attempted murder. He wouldn't actually kill any of the assholes who had his wife. But he'd sure as hell make them wish they were dead!
It was one of those little things. A detail that none of them had paid attention to. Something that would now benefit the team. Okay, it would help him. Same difference, he thought. Teal'c had driven his truck to the police station, following just minutes after he, Daniel, and Sam had left the base. Amusingly enough…or not, depending on how one wanted to look at it, because of traffic, they'd all arrived at the same time. Someone would have been left behind, or left calling for a cab when it was time to bring the elderly women home, had the team been together in his truck. Had to be the Tooth Fairy, he thought, with gratitude.
Jack glanced over at Teal'c, then looked back at the house. Then shook his head. Three white heads were clustered near the open window of the living room. And since his truck door was still open, and he was only a few feet away, he had no doubt the old hens had heard every word of his brief conversation. "Teal'c, do you trust those three to stay put?"
Teal'c looked toward the house. "I do not, O'Neill. Their concern for Casey Jackson will have them acting on impulse," the Jaffa replied.
"What we don't need is to have to worry about them," Jack sighed, nodding toward the window. Where, he noted, the heads had disappeared. Probably already trying to plan their escape, he thought, momentarily forgetting that the red Dodge Charger had been impounded. He frowned when that thought crossed his mind.
"It would not be unreasonable for them to call a cab," Teal'c said quietly, his thoughts mirroring those of his friend. "Nor would any cab driver be able to withstand the combined pleading that they would do."
He couldn't help but grin. "You've noticed that, too, huh?"
"Well, then, someone needs to make sure that those three don't take it into their heads to become involved again," Jack sighed.
"I will remain," Teal'c offered.
"Are you sure?" Sam asked. "I can stay."
"I am Jaffa. Their attempts to persuade me to leave will not be successful."
Jack bit his lip to keep from laughing out loud. He had no doubt that before the crisis was over, Teal'c would be at his wits' end after dealing with Emma, Muriel, and Janelle. "Thanks, buddy."
Teal'c nodded regally, then got out of the truck. He walked up to the front door, tapped lightly on the frame.
Emma opened the door, eyeing the large black man suspiciously. "Is there something wrong, Teal'c?"
"There is not," Teal'c replied. "However, it has been decided that I will remain with you until this current situation has come to a conclusion."
"Well, hell," Emma muttered. One look at the general's face, and she knew that arguing was of no use. "Come on in, then. I might as well fix us something to eat."
Teal'c disappeared into the house. Jack let loose the grin he'd been holding back. "He's a braver man than me."
Sam snickered. "Well, it is true, he's Jaffa. He'll probably just enter a meditative state or something."
He chuckled out loud as he the started the engine. The smile faded. Casey was out there with Mini-me. And they were both in trouble. He pulled out of the driveway much faster than normal.
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