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The Return of the Gray-haired Avengers
Johnny glanced at the rearview mirror. The black sedan behind him was gaining. The problem with going faster, he thought, even as he pushed harder on the accelerator, was that within just a few blocks, the street would become residential. Which meant kids and pets. Disasters of the most heartbreaking kind lurking behind every parked car, in every driveway. Heading to one of the major thorough-fares wasn't much better…traffic could prevent him from being able to move quickly enough to get away, and those assholes behind him would have no qualms about shooting at them, regardless of how many innocent people might be nearby.
Not having much of a choice, Johnny made the hasty decision to keep the chase off the residential streets. Tires squealing, he spun the car around the corner. The sedan hopped the curb, nearly taking out the sign that proclaimed the area to belong to Penrose Hospital. Hurtled across four lanes of traffic, oblivious to the sounds of screeching brakes and car horns.
Casey frowned as the car lurched around a corner. The road they'd just turned on seemed familiar. "I think the Academy is behind us," she said.
"The Air Force Academy. Going the other way. This is North Nevada Avenue. This is the route Daniel always takes to get to the Academy. We follow this street until it ends, catch I-25 until we hit the base, then drop down to the south gate."
It took a moment for Johnny to recognize the street. But when he did, he knew that getting to the military school was their best hope; it was certainly much closer than the SGC by at least twenty miles…less chance of innocent bystanders becoming victims of the mad race he was in. "Hang on!" he yelled.
Casey grabbed the dashboard again, wincing as pain shot through her, from her shoulder to the tips of her fingers. She clenched her teeth in an effort not to cry out.
Johnny spun the car one-hundred and eighty degrees. The look on the face of the other sedan driver would have been funny if he'd had the time to laugh about it. As it was, he had to increase the distance between the vehicles, and avoid getting into a collision with any of what seemed to be hundreds of cars on the wide avenue. If those goons figured out where he was heading, there was no doubt in his mind that they'd do whatever was necessary to stop him. That was not a good thing!
Gary blatantly ignored the stoplight - and the speed limit. If there were cops, highway patrol, or sheriff's deputies who wanted to object, they could just wait until his daughter was safe to write out any tickets. With luck, Jack would give the description of his car to the local law enforcement, and he wouldn't have to deal with it.
"Take a left at the next intersection. It's the ramp that will take you to I-25."
"The freeway?" Daniel asked.
"Fastest way to get where we wanna go," Jesse replied.
Dancer had pulled his cell phone from his pocket, and began sifting through information on the screen. "If my scanner isn't lying to me, the boys in blue have been waved off this one. And apparently the black cars have turned around. They're heading north again."
"Someday, you're gonna have to explain to me how you find some of those apps," Lucky said drolly.
"You'd be amazed at what's available to the discerning client," Dancer chuckled.
"Oh, no doubt," Lucky replied.
"According to the friendly scanner, chatter has them on North Nevada Avenue," Dancer added.
Daniel had his phone in hand as well, checking the online map site Casey had downloaded for him. "Okay, if Casey and Johnny are in that car, they're going to want to head somewhere safe, right?"
"That would be a good bet," Gary answered. He didn't bother slowing down for the curve of the on-ramp, tossing his passengers sideways as he sped onto the freeway.
"Johnny has all of Jack's memories of his Special Ops days," Daniel continued, more to himself than to his companions.
"So you tell me," Gary said.
"What would his first move be?"
"Probably to get the trouble off the streets. He'd want to avoid residential areas, that's for sure."
Daniel frowned as he continued to examine the map. "You said they're heading north again?"
"Yep," Dancer replied.
"The Air Force Academy! They'll head there! They'll have to blow the gate to get inside, but chances are the assholes chasing them are not gonna want to be caught on Air Force property," Daniel declared.
"Which way?" Gary demanded.
"The other direction," Daniel said.
There were turn-arounds for police use every few miles on the interstate. Gary located the closest, and raced the Cadillac across the rough dirt, the tires screeching and spinning when they reconnected with the pavement.
Hang in there, Angel, I'm on my way, Daniel thought frantically. Once…just once…he was going to be there for her! Knowing that Jack would be on Cascade Avenue soon, looking for two speeding black sedans, he pressed the number two again. "Jack?"
"I'm here, Danny."
"They've turned around, they're heading back north. I…we…think they're going to try to make to the Academy," Daniel explained.
Jack frowned as he maneuvered around traffic. "That's good thinking. It's what I'd do."
"Exactly," Daniel chuckled. "From that direction, they'd head for the south gate."
"We'll let the folks at the Academy know. Meet you there."
Jack glanced over at Sam. "I don't suppose you know the number for the guard shack at the south gate entrance to the Academy, do you?"
"No, but I know someone who can find out," Sam replied. She calmly dialed her phone. "Walter? We need to get a message to the south entrance of the Air Force Academy, directly to the guard shack." She paused, looked at her husband. "What's the message?"
"Be on the lookout for a black sedan. It's gonna be moving fast, and will blow the stop at the entrance. Let 'em through, they're ours," Jack said.
"Did you get that?" Sam asked. "Good…That's right...two sedans actually, both black…Probably a good idea…Thanks, Walter." She slipped her phone back into her pocket. "Security will be waiting for them. They'll let the first car through. Anyone following them will be apprehended."
Jack felt the pressure in his chest ease up, just a bit. If Mini-me and Radar could make it safely to that base, there wasn't a doubt in his mind that they could catch up with the NID pukes who were causing all the trouble.
Casey turned slightly in the seat. "Looks like they're gaining."
"Yeah, this old clunker wasn't made for this," Johnny muttered. The sedan was trying to get up beside him. He'd wait another second or two, then swerve. That would gain them a few seconds. He hoped. A loud 'BANG' from the rear of the car had both passenger and driver ducking, the accompanying metallic twang echoed just as loudly.
"What the hell was that?" Casey demanded.
"We have a major problem," Johnny replied. The cloud of smoke from the vicinity exhaust pipe wasn't encouraging.
She turned slightly in her seat. "I think one of the goons shot at us."
"He made one hell of a lucky shot," Johnny muttered, watching the cloud of heavy gray smoke that was starting to seep from beneath the hood.
"Oh, swell. We're in a high speed chase, trying to get away from goons, and we pick a car that's gonna give up the ghost on us!"
Johnny put his foot all the way to the floor. There was no increase in the speed at all. He watched as the heat indicator continued to climb. "How close to the base do you think we are?"
"Not close enough," Casey responded. "We still have to get on I-25!"
"We may have to run for it."
"Here? Oh, peachy."
The car bounced over a rough spot in the road. Shimmied slightly.
"Oh, this is so not happening," Casey moaned softly. Another look told her that the pursing vehicle was on their tail…literally. "Do you think they'll try to get up beside us?"
"I dunno," Johnny answered honestly. "We know these guys want us in one piece. Shooting us isn't going to make their bosses happy."
Just a little good luck, she thought desperately. Just let that SG-1 magic help us out, just this once.
"Hey, look! Signs for the Academy!" Johnny crowed.
"Thank the goddess!" Casey whispered, sending up another fervent prayer.
"Take this exit," Jesse steadied himself with one hand flat against the roof of the car as the Cadillac barreled down the off-ramp. "Take a right."
"If I'm reading this map right," Daniel murmured, "They could be behind us."
Gary glanced at his son-in-law. "Behind us?"
"Yep. They'll have to take Nevada Avenue to 25, then back down for the south gate."
Gary slowed down slightly. "If we head back, we could miss them…no way to get over to the other lanes."
"So, we wait at the gate?" Lucky asked.
"Don’t see that we have much of a choice," Gary sighed.
Daniel felt the knot in his stomach tighten. I'm here, Angel. Where are you?
The sedan continued to lose speed. The men in the car behind them seemed to be in a quandary as what they should do. The car was so close Casey could see two of the occupants arguing animatedly. "Johnny, I don't mean to nag, but we really need to get going."
"I know, Radar," Johnny replied calmly. "But the engine of this heap isn't being cooperative."
"This totally sucks. I do not want to play captive again today."
"Neither do I."
Keller glared at the blonde he could see in the car in front of him. Not more than thirty minutes ago he'd been in complete control. Michelson had called his employer. The colonel had agreed…after a bit of a 'discussion'…to pay his price for the kid and the women he was holding as prisoner. They…meaning he, Michelson, and the goons Michelson had hired…had been on their way back to the warehouse to make the 'exchange'. As soon as he had confirmation that the funds had been transferred to his account, he would hand the O'Neill kid and Casey Jackson over to Michelson.
What they'd found, however, had been the black sedan he and his men had used, speeding toward them, the kid driving, and the woman shooting a gun…probably one belonging to his men…behind her.
Then…he closed his eyes. For several long, terrifying moments, he was certain his life was going to end in a fatal, high-speed, head-on crash.
Michelson had gloated that the kid hadn't managed to get away from them, saying that they only had to follow him to wherever the two were going. When he'd pointed out that if the kid drove to his home, or that of the Jackson woman, grabbing them would be damned near impossible, the scar-faced man had laughed coldly. In spite of the orders from the NID to keep the operation 'black and quiet', Michelson was going to let nothing stand in his way of taking the two.
Now…now the sedan was slowing down. Certainly not something the young driver of that car wanted. Debate raged on what should be done. Traffic around them was heavy, making any attempts to force the car off the road risky. Although Michelson was declaring that they could tell any and all possible witnesses that they were federal agents, apprehending wanted criminals.
"That's ridiculous," Keller spat. "A kid and a blonde? No one is going to believe they're dangerous criminals!"
"All we have to do is mention the word 'terrorist'. That will make everyone edgy," Michelson snapped.
"And just how the hell to you intend to stop them?" Keller challenged.
"That car isn't going to go much farther," Michelson gloated. "We just wait until it dies."
Keller sat back. If Michelson managed to get his hands on the kid and the woman before his money was transferred, he could kiss that cool two million goodbye. No doubt he'd be shot for his trouble, as well. It was in his best self-interest to prevent Michelson from succeeding.
"If Jack is on his way, maybe he can spot them," Daniel suggested.
Gary nodded. He swung the Cadillac into the parking place the gate guard had pointed to. The young man had received a call about the approaching black sedans. Two security Humvees, three security vans, and at least a dozen military police officers waited tensely. "Possibly."
Daniel pressed the number two on his phone again. "Jack? Take Nevada to 25. Chances are you'll see them."
"They should be there by now," Jack insisted.
"I know. But they're not. And," Daniel glanced at Dancer, gave the man a weak smile, "we're not hearing anything about any change of direction."
"Shit. This doesn't sound good," Jack declared.
"I'll find them," Jack promised.
"Holding you to that," Daniel replied. His hands were shaking as he shoved his phone back into his pocked. "Where are you, Casey?" he murmured softly.
If the chase hadn't gone where they thought, those two cars could be anywhere by now, Jack thought worriedly. Not knowing meant not being able to help. Not being able to help meant that the NID could recapture Johnny and Casey - and whisk them away to who the hell knew where. Not a good thing. He gritted his teeth, flipped the switch for the emergency flashers, and gunned the Ford truck. Swerving around slower moving vehicles, ignoring angry faces and the tooting of horns. He was determined to find two black sedans. One of which Radar and Mini-me were using to make their escape from hired goons.
Sam held tightly to the seatbelt that crossed her chest. "Shoulder," she said suddenly.
"Take the shoulder. It'll be loud as hell, but faster," she replied.
"Colonel, you're a genius," Jack grinned.
"Now, as long as nobody gets in the way…" He continued to weave around traffic, which seemed to be getting heavier. When he crossed the yellow line onto the paved shoulder, the sound created by the rumble strip was damned near deafening. He could only imagine how loud it was for those he passed.
They'd already gone at least six miles, Sam fretted. If Casey and Johnny were headed for the Academy, they had to be nearby…"There they are!" she cried out, pointing to two black vehicles. Both were in the outside lane of the freeway, and judging by the cars passing them, not moving very fast at all.
"Something's wrong," Jack replied. He planted his hand firmly in the center of the steering wheel, the horn of the truck wailing its response. He cut in front of the car coming up beside him, revved the engine and passed two more cars before cutting in behind one of the black sedans.
Casey had turned around to find the source of the continuous car-horn. Felt tears fill her eyes when she saw Jack's pickup whipping through traffic. "It's Jack!"
"We stick to the plan." Johnny knew that to stop the car now would result in a shoot out at the very least. He and Casey grabbed again by the goons at the worst. As long as the car they were in was moving, he wasn't about to stop.
"Right," Casey replied.
Jack eased the truck around the black sedan. It was older, with five passengers. "Show 'em your weapon, colonel," he said quietly.
Sam pulled her personal gun, a twenty-two caliber Ruger, from her purse. Made a show of disengaging the safety and loading it, shoving the magazine into place. Aimed it toward the driver.
"Keep the driver in your sights," Jack said.
"Got it." She rolled down the window, leaned out just enough to be able to keep a bead on the driver's head.
Now beside the older sedan, Jack looked over at the passengers. Mini-me was driving, and the look of relief on his young face was obvious.
Johnny rolled down the window. "Engine is dying. Think we blew the exhaust manifold," he yelled toward Sam. Then pointed to the black smoke that curled from beneath the hood, winding its way toward the roadway.
Sam nodded. "I can smell it," she called in return. "They're not going to make it much farther," she said over her shoulder.
Jack had caught a whiff of burning oil as well. "I don't think stopping is an option."
She looked at the men in the second sedan. The looks of anger on their faces was not a good sign. She could see that three of the men had their own weapons in hand.
"The exit for the Academy is just ahead," Jack said. "Tell the kid to wait until the last second to take it. I'll be right behind him. I can push that thing through the gate."
"And if the goons behind us hear me?"
Jack frowned. "Shit."
"I have an idea," Sam said. She tilted her head until she could see Casey. While she was aware of the fact that Casey wasn't capable of reading minds, she was certain that if she concentrated hard enough, the young seer might be able to pick up the gist of her thoughts.
"Sam's up to something," Johnny muttered.
"She's staring at you."
"Why?" Casey asked. She ducked down in the seat. Was immediately mesmerized by Sam's eyes.
"Casey?" Johnny asked nervously.
"I think she's trying to tell me something," Casey replied.
"Well, pick it up fast, the exit is coming up. That side road to the base won't have much traffic on it…those goons will take their chances there," Johnny warned her.
Casey closed her eyes.
The meadow was bright and sunny, birdsong filled the air. "Miss Eloise? C'mon old woman, I literally have seconds here!"
"Sam is trying to send me a message," Casey said without preamble. "How do I pick it up?"
"Well, that's interesting," Miss Eloise mused.
"Old woman, I have about three seconds to figure this out," Casey warned.
"Look in her eyes, Casey," the old seer said softly. "You'll see it."
Casey looked up at Sam again. Shook her head mentally. Concentrate, Sam!
For her part, Sam was beginning to worry. The exit was a mere five hundred feet away. If Johnny turned that car too soon, the NID pukes would be able to follow them, and Jack wouldn't be able to force them to the shoulder, as she knew his plan was. "Come on, Casey, use that gift of yours!"
"Wait," Casey mumbled.
"Huh?" Johnny asked, glancing at her.
"I dunno…wait! Last second! Wait!" Casey cried out.
Johnny frowned. "The exit! They want me to wait until the last second to take it." He nodded his head. "That's a good idea."
"Hang on. This could get bumpy."
A A A A A A
Teal'c watched as Emma scurried into the kitchen. Frowned slightly when Janelle and Muriel seemed content to stand in front of him. He carefully locked both the screen door and the front door before excusing himself, and followed the owner of the house.
Emma was already on the phone. "I'm just calling about my car," she said defensively.
The Jaffa raised an eyebrow, but said nothing. He did, however, check the lock on the backdoor, noting with satisfaction that the door had a very distinct squeak when opened.
When it was apparent that the large man wasn't going to leave the room, Emma huffed a sigh, then asked for the local police department. After explaining who she was, and why she was calling, being transferred to no less than four different offices, she was finally able to learn where the Dodge was located. She would have to wait until the next morning, she was told, before she'd be able to retrieve the vehicle. She was also told that all fees and fines had been waived, for which she was grateful. With the call completed, she rubbed her hands together. "Since we missed lunch, I could fix sandwiches or something."
Janelle, who had followed Muriel into the kitchen as soon as Teal'c had left the living room, nodded appreciatively. "That would be lovely, dear."
"What about you, Mr. Teal'c," Emma asked. "Are you hungry?"
"I would not refuse a meal," Teal'c replied, smiling warmly.
"Well then, let's see what we have," Emma said, heading toward the refrigerator. She gave a slight nod in Janelle's direction.
That woman edged toward the door that led into the dining room.
"It would be most appreciated if the three of you would remain in this room together," Teal'c said immediately.
Janelle and Emma stared at the tall man. Then Janelle began to snicker. "Don't trust us, huh?"
Muriel laughed. "Well, can't say we haven't brought that on ourselves."
Emma rolled her eyes. "How much trouble can we get into?" She paused, her cheeks reddening slightly. "On second thought, let's just have lunch, shall we?"
"Indeed," Teal'c replied.
"Teal'c, do you think Casey is okay?" Muriel asked worriedly.
The smile he offered was reassuring to all three women. "I do. Casey Jackson has training that will see her unharmed by any captors, and certain to break free from them as soon as the opportunity presents itself."
"But she and that young man are already-" Janelle broke off, lowered her eyes. "We sort of overheard the conversation Jack was having."
His cheek twitched noticeably. "Indeed. Which is why I am here. To prevent you from following your hearts and making an attempt to help her. In doing so, you might inadvertently exacerbate the situation."
Janelle frowned slightly. "That's certainly a possibility."
"Trust that my teammates will bring the matter to a satisfactory conclusion," Teal'c said gently.
Emma nodded slowly. "If I'd have just been a bit faster, we'd have been there for her," she bemoaned.
"Casey Jackson often says that events must play out for a reason," Teal' offered.
"My mother-in-law used to say that. She had the gift of sight," Janelle said. "That's where Casey inherited hers from."
"You never mentioned that," Muriel said, pulling up a chair at the kitchen table.
"Oh, yes. Mother Franklin was able to tell us when it was going to rain, how long, and if we'd get any hail with it. She knew what was happening with her kids without being told about it," Janelle said. "I remember one time, when John and I had just purchased our house…"
Emma gathered the ingredients for sandwiches, and placed them on the table. Started a pot of coffee…and set a kettle of water on to boil for Teal'c…and the group sat down to listen to Janelle's tales about the senior Mrs. Franklin's psychic gift.
A A A A A A
Daniel was pacing in front of the guard shack. His eyes scanning the road for any sign of a black car. Most specifically, the black car his Wife was now in, running for her life from the NID. And once again, he wasn't there. Hadn't been able to protect her.
Gary stood, feet planted shoulder width apart, arms folded across his chest. Told himself that it as much as he wanted to, he could not kill the bastards who were after his daughter. At least, not as long as he…and they…were on Air Force property. If they crossed his path elsewhere, however, all bets were off. He watched his son-in-law as he marched back and forth, clenching and unclenching his fists. Didn't bother to hold back his smile. He wouldn't have to worry about Daniel killing the assholes. But no doubt if the opportunity presented itself, those fists would be flying.
"Getting word of a Ford F250, and a blonde brandishing a weapon," Dancer grinned. "And apparently they're beside two black cars. One of which is missing the back window."
He closed his eyes, whispering a prayer of thanks. Jack and Sam were there. They'd see to it that Casey and Johnny made it safely to the base. "Any word on where they are?" Daniel asked.
"They're on I-25," Dancer replied.
Gary tensed. "They'll be here any minute."
Lucky approached the waiting security officers. "Looks like the show will start directly."
The captain in charge nodded his understanding.
"There will be three vehicles. The black sedan with the missing back window and the Ford pickup are the good guys. The other black sedan is full of bad guys."
"Got it," the captain replied.
Jesse rolled his head and rotated his shoulders. There would be a fight. No doubt about that. The best that he, Lucky, and Dancer could hope for was to prevent Gary and Daniel from killing whoever these NID assholes were. And with luck, he'd be able to throw a punch or two in the direction of the bad guys as well. Damned bastards, hacking into a system he was protecting!
The sedan was nearly past the exit. "Hang on!" Johnny yelled. He jerked the steering wheel, gunned the engine as much as possible. He watched as steam began to pour from beneath the hood.
It was the moment Jack had been waiting for. He followed the sedan, cutting off the second car, clipping the front fender with his back bumper. Even though their speed had been greatly reduced, the impact was enough to send the second black sedan into a spin, tossing them into the ditch beside the ramp. He eased forward, put the nose of the truck against the trunk of the car.
Johnny glanced into the rearview mirror. "Yes!" he crowed, knowing immediately, and instinctively, what Jack was doing. He dropped the car into neutral. It would prevent the engine from seizing up completely, and make it possible for the truck to push him as far as necessary. He'd be able to maintain steering control, and hopefully make it to the base before the goons were back.
"Call General Hammond," Jack said. "Let him know where the bad guys are."
Sam flipped the safety on her pistol, pulled the magazine free, and pushed both into her purse. Then she grabbed her phone, and dialed the SGC. The general assured her that local police would pick the men up, then hold them until Security officers from the mountain could arrive to take them into custody.
"Get this thing back on the road! We still have a chance to grab that woman and kid!" Michelson ordered.
"Are you nuts? They'll have base security swarming that road! We won't get near them!" Keller argued, watching Michelson's three hired goons carefully. It seemed they were a bit smarter…and a whole lot more determined…than the men he'd located and employed. He silently damned his bad luck as the driver maneuvered the car back to the asphalt. Within less than two minutes they were speeding down the ramp, toward the slowly moving truck and crippled car.
"Take out that pickup. Without it, they're dead in the water," Michelson said coldly. "Take out the driver and that blonde, too."
"Got it." Two of the men were loading a number of weapons - half a dozen hand guns, and two honest-to-god Uzis.
Keller felt his stomach drop. Kidnapping was one thing. He did so with little thought, and no remorse. Killing was something else entirely. If caught, a man could wind up very dead from a lethal injection for killing.
Michelson turned around and looked at Keller. "You totally fucked up, Keller." Without another word he raised his own weapon, and planted a bullet between the man's eyes. "We'll dump him later," he told the two who sat on either side of the now dead man.
He could see the turn-off that led to the base. Johnny continued to watch the rearview and side mirrors. Jack was busy trying to maintain the momentum, keeping the bumper of the truck against the back of the car. The height of the truck was proving to be a problem. If Jack attempted to go too fast, the bumper slid over the top of the trunk. The best they could do was to maintain the slow, steady pace they'd achieved.
"Oh, crap," Casey muttered. She'd been watching the mirrors as well. The black sedan was barreling toward them.
"No time!" Jack yelled from the truck. "Get in!"
Johnny slammed on the breaks and shoved the gearshift into park. Casey was already bailing out of the car. He followed suit. Casey had jumped in beside Sam, he grabbed the side of the bed and hurled himself over it. "Go!" he shouted banging the cab of the truck as the sedan moved closer.
They'd lost precious seconds, and the sedan was right behind them as Jack took off. There wasn't anything he could do…he wasn't armed, and there wasn't anything in the back of the truck to throw at the pursuing vehicle. Johnny ducked down, and prayed that the assholes who were now shooting weren't able to hit any of the targets he knew they were aiming for: the driver, the tires, and the gas tank. Any of those would cause a very nasty conclusion to the chase.
"Don't hurt that kid or the woman," Michelson warned his men.
"Not gonna be able to prevent that if you want that truck stopped," one of the armed goons replied coldly.
"Just shoot at the tires," Michelson replied.
The sound of gunfire split the air as three weapons began to send hot metal toward the speeding truck.
"Son of a bitch!" the driver swore, when Jack suddenly swerved to one side. Trying to remain behind the vehicle, the driver followed suit. The passengers were thrown sideways. When the truck careened to the other side of the road, again the driver followed. And again the passengers were unseated.
"Stop it!" Michelson screamed. "Get up beside him!"
"Oh, I don't think so, asshole," Jack declared. He waited until the front of the car was even with the bed of the truck. With a deft flick of his wrists he sent the truck into the path of the vehicle. Listened with satisfaction to the squealing of rubber against the pavement. Floored the gas pedal, and managed to put half a dozen car lengths between them in the time it took for the sedan driver to regain control and accelerate again.
"There's our turn," Sam said triumphantly.
"Here we go," Jack said. The turn was sharp, Sam and Casey grabbed onto each other as the truck pitched sideways.
For a few seconds, Casey was terrified that the truck was going to flip over to its side. Her pounding heart slowed slightly when they remained on all four tires. The gate was visible now.
Johnny peeked over the tailgate. Radar had been right. The black sedan was slowing slightly. They had a decision to make. One last attempt to take him and Casey - or give up. He shook his head when the car began to gain on them. "Stupid idiots," he muttered. He flattened himself once again, bracing his arms and legs against the wheel wells.
"I don't believe it," Jack said, looking in his mirror.
"They're desperate," Casey said quietly.
Again the sound of gunfire. Then the unmistakable sound of a tire being punctured. Jack tried to maintain control as the back of the truck began to fishtail wildly. The curve wasn't sharp, but it was enough to send him into a spin…
Daniel could see Jack's truck. And only one sedan…which was behind the truck and closing fast. What he couldn't see was whether or not Casey was with him. The echo of gunshots wafted on the breeze. Someone was shooting. When the truck began to pitch sideways, then spun around completely, his breath caught in his throat.
"They just lost a tire," Gary said. "Let's go."
"Oh, god!" Daniel moaned, watching as the truck seemed to move in slow motion. When tires hit the gravel at the side of the road the truck began to sway. The shoulder was steep, and the truck lost traction. Instead of sliding, however, the vehicle rolled to its side. "Oh, god!"
"Let's go," Gary repeated.
Daniel was in the passenger seat before his father-in-law had opened the driver's door.
Lucky took the time to grab a bag from the trunk, then he and Dancer climbed into the backseat. The canvas gym bag was emptied in just a matter of seconds. The men slammed the magazines into place on twin M60s.
Jesse gave a sharp nod, and stepped back toward the nearest security vehicle. For the moment, five men was one too many. And Daniel had every right to be involved. "Get 'em, boss," he called, as the black Cadillac squealed out of the parking lot. He turned to the security officers. "No doubt we should head out there. We'll have a body count instead of prisoners if we don't."
The captain smiled grimly. "Guess we'd better go, then. You can ride with me."
Accepting the invitation, Jesse climbed into the Humvee. And tried to ignore the onslaught of bad memories the vehicle dredged up.
Johnny held on as best he could. When he felt the truck leaving the pavement, he knew they were in trouble. He rose up, leapt from the bed, pushing away as hard as he could. Landed on the ground with a resounding thud, which knocked the wind out of him. He lifted his head in time to see the truck roll over, onto its side.
Jack shook himself slightly, still gripping the steering wheel. Gravity was pulling him toward Sam. Who was sprawled on top of Casey. Who looked to be unconscious…with a streak of blood on her face. The window was broken, had probably broken on impact.
"What about the airbags?" Sam asked.
"They should have-" Before he could finish the sentence, there was a loud 'POP', and the airbags deployed. He was hit in the face with such force in nearly knocked him out.
Sam had borne the brunt of the other bag, which threw her against the back of the seat. One arm was twisted behind her, the other draped over the seat.
He reached one arm toward his wife. "Baby, are you okay?"
She felt as if she'd been hit by a ton of bricks. "I think so," Sam murmured
Sam reached down to check the slender seer's pulse. "Alive. I think she's out cold."
"You, in the truck! Get out! Now! And keep your hands where I can see them!"
Jack groaned slightly. Now would be a really good time for base security to arrive.
Johnny crouched behind the twisted bed of the truck. There was no way those guys hadn't seen him jump. And there wasn't anywhere to hide. The ditch was steep, but bare. Gunshots caught his attention. Because those shots weren't coming from nearby. Daring to raise up a bit, he saw a black Cadillac tearing up the road, coming towards them. And hanging out of both sides were men who were firing friggin' machine guns! He wanted to shout with joy…it seemed that the good guys were going to take the day after all.
Michelson stared at the approaching vehicle. In the time it took for him to comprehend what was happening, the car was close enough that he could see the men who were firing at him. Self preservation had him dropping to the ground. Determination had him firing back. He was so focused on his targets that he missed the string of vehicles that had appeared behind the Cadillac. Panic filled his entire being when his pistol made the hollow clicking sound that indicated an empty magazine. From the lack of fire behind him, he was left to assume that his men were out of ammunition as well.
The Caddy squealed to a halt, the car shuddering slightly. Gary stepped out of the car, his Glock in hand, pointed at the little bastard on the ground. The one with a long scar on his face. "Don't even flinch, or so help me god I'll kill you!" he ground out.
Daniel was out of the car, racing to the truck. "Jack?"
"Give me a minute," Jack called back.
"Is Casey okay?"
"Not sure. She's out cold."
He closed his eyes. She was there, and she was alive. In just a few hours, a couple of days at the most, she would be absolutely fine. Probably madder than hell, but she'd be okay.
Jack fought against the door, trying to get it open. "You're gonna have to climb down here," he said, panting as a result of the attempt. "I can't get the door open."
"On my way," Daniel said. He slid down the steep side of the ditch, dust rising behind him as he did so. Caught sight of Johnny, who was leaning against the hood. "Hey, are you okay?"
Johnny lifted his head, managed to nod. "Jumped before the truck went over. Just landed hard."
"We'll have the doctor take a look at you," Daniel said quietly. He turned to look at the ledge of the ditch - the sound of numerous MPs reached him. "Hey! We're gonna need a couple of ambulances!"
"Just one," Johnny shouted. "I'm okay."
One of the security officers hurried to the edge of the ditch. "You got it," he replied, then disappeared again.
Dancer and Lucky were out of the back of the car, and had the driver of the sedan and his companions lying on the ground, hands in front of them. "You guys want em?" Dancer asked the captain.
"Not really. Got a call a bit ago from General Hammond at NORAD. Seems he'd like to have a little talk with these jokers," the officer replied. "We've volunteered to give 'em a ride."
"Now that's right friendly," Lucky grinned.
Gary reached down, grabbed Michelson by the back of the collar, and hauled him to his feet. "You messed with my little girl, asshole. You'll pay for that."
"You can't do anything to me. They," he nodded at the military police officers who stood nearby, "will see to that."
Eyes blazing with righteous anger, Gary buried his fist in the man's stomach. "Think so?"
"That's assault!" Michelson gasped, bent over, trying to breath through the pain and nausea that assailed him from all sides.
"What assault? I never touched you. I was helping you to your feet, and you slipped and fell," Gary snarled.
"No way! They saw what happened!" Michelson's pale face turned even whiter when he realized that every one of the military police were either dealing with his men, or were heading to the ditch where the over-turned truck had come to rest. He looked back into blue eyes filled with hate.
"You're a waste of skin, asshole," Gary said. He pulled Michelson upright, then shoved him toward the nearest security Humvee.
"You don't know who you're messing with," Michelson hissed.
"Neither do you," Gary replied. His voice was as cold as his eyes.
Tremors of fear ran from the top of the scarred man's head to his feet. The icy stare made him shiver.
Daniel climbed onto the side of the truck. He tried to force the door open, but couldn't get enough leverage to push it all the way. He looked over at Johnny. "Climb up on the hood. I'll shove it as hard as I can, you try to catch it."
The teenager nodded. Steadied himself with one knee against the curve of the cracked windshield, the other knee on the side panel, just behind the door. "Ready."
With a grunt of exertion, Daniel pulled the handle of the cab door. Cursed when the shiny aluminum came off in his hand. "Jack, you're gonna have to operate the handle," he said, tossing the broken piece to the ground.
Jack nodded, the trickle of blood from his nose annoying enough that he swiped at it with his sleeve. "On three. One…two…three."
It took effort to push his fingers between the door and the cab, but Daniel managed to do so without losing his balance, straddling the side of the bed. He heaved with all his might, watching the door swing upwards.
Johnny missed by just inches. He slid closer. "Again," he said, after the door had slammed closed.
"One…two…three," Jack counted.
Again, Daniel managed to shove the door upwards. Held his breath as he watched the teenager reach for it.
"Got it!" Johnny announced, pulling the door toward him. "I'm gonna have to hold it."
"Won't take long to get out," Jack promised. He unfastened his seatbelt, grabbed the sides of the opening and lifted himself out.
Casey moaned loudly.
"Don't move, Casey," Sam warned gently. She reached down to release the lock on the belt.
"Did we lose them?" Casey asked.
"Sort of," Sam smiled. "How do you feel?"
"Like a freaking train hit me. I think my shoulder is dislocated."
"That happened when were breaking out," Johnny said quietly.
"Sam, you're gonna have to climb out," Jack said. "Radar, can you get up here? Daniel and I can pull you out if you can reach us."
"Sure, sure, whatever," Casey mumbled.
Sam carefully climbed from the cab, grateful for Jack's help when he locked his arms around her waist and began to pull her free.
"Casey? Angel?" Daniel said softly.
"It's not my fault," Casey murmured. "I was trying to call you, and that bastard trashed my new phone."
He couldn't help but smile. "We'll worry about the phone later. You're gonna have to help us out here, babe."
With a groan of effort, Casey turned on the seat. Looked up into the worried blue eyes of her Husband. "Am I glad to see you!" she declared quietly.
"I'm glad to see you, too. Give me your hand, Angel."
It took concentrated effort, but Casey lifted her good arm…trying to ignore the shoulder that was causing blinding pain. She'd landed on it in the warehouse, and the same shoulder had been pinned against the door, shoved against the glass and metal when Sam's body had been thrown against her. "That's as far as I can reach," she gasped, trying to fight back waves of nausea.
"I've got you," Daniel replied, his hand wrapped around her forearm. "Wrap your other hand around my arm."
Casey struggled to do so. "Just do it, Daniel, I'm about to pass out here," she whispered.
Jack had taken up position on the side of the bed, where Daniel had been earlier. He leaned forward, and was able to grab the back of Casey's shirt. "I'm gonna have to grab your shoulder, Casey."
"Do it," she ground out. Cried out in pain when Jack did so.
Pulling with every ounce of strength he could muster, Daniel managed to get Casey waist high out of the cab. Johnny appeared beside him, ducked beneath his arm, reached in and wrapped his arm around her legs. "Just another minute, Angel," Daniel panted.
"Back up, Danny, just walk backwards," Jack said, his grip on Casey's shoulder preventing her from sliding away from them.
He obeyed, stepping slowly until the incline of the ditch forced him to stop. He pulled again, and felt her weight drop on him, knocking him to his back against the side of the ditch. He locked his arms around her. "Still with me?"
"No," Casey moaned.
"We need a stretcher!" Jack called up to those who waited at the top of the ditch.
The wail of sirens reached them, as an ambulance, four police cars, and two Highway Patrol vehicles arrived on the scene.
Daniel continued to hold his Wife until the EMTs were ready to load her onto the stretcher. "She needs to go to the military hospital, Cheyenne Mountain Complex."
"Memorial North is closer," one of the EMTs replied.
He shook his head. "No-"
Jack walked over to stand behind Daniel. "There will be an ambulance at the gate. We can transfer her there."
The EMTs exchanged a doubtful look.
"She's not in critical condition," Daniel said. "If she were hurt worse, I wouldn't argue with you."
Again the emergency responders exchanged a look. One of the men sighed. "Okay. You win."
Jack managed a slight grin. "Good. Keeps me from having to pull rank on you."
Daniel gave a small grin as well. "He's an Air Force General. Assigned to the Cheyenne Military Complex."
"Could have just said that sooner," the younger of the two EMTs complained.
"Let's get our patient moving, shall we?" the older man suggested. It took both EMTs, Jack and Daniel to get the stretcher out of the ditch, and onto the road. The men took a moment to catch their breath, before hurrying her to the waiting ambulance.
Gary hurried to the ambulance. "Is she okay?"
"Her shoulder," Daniel replied.
The older man nodded. Reached down to brush a lock of blonde hair from her face. "Hey, baby."
"What are you doing here?"
Gary smiled. "Helping to take out the trash."
Casey rolled her eyes. "That makes no sense."
"I'll explain later."
"Good." She looked around, became frantic when she couldn't see the teenager she'd spent the afternoon trying to help. "Johnny? Where's Johnny? Johnny!"
The teen ducked away from the EMT who was examining him. "Hey, Radar, chill out," Johnny said, reaching for her hand. "I might have to rethink catching a ride with you, next time you offer."
She chuckled softly. "Yeah, I might have to rethink chasing after you the next time I get a download."
"Thanks, Casey," Johnny said gently.
"Any time. You're SG-1," Casey smiled.
Johnny glanced at the men standing beside the gurney the stretcher was now resting on. Decided he didn't give a damn what anyone thought. He leaned over a placed a kiss on her forehead. "I didn't get Brandy's number."
"That's okay, she'd have played you for a sucker," Casey murmured.
"How disappointing," Johnny grinned.
"Just don't say no if her friend calls you and asks you out."
"Huh? Her friend?"
Casey frowned. "Who's friend?"
Johnny grinned from ear to ear. "Gonna take that advice to heart, Radar."
"You're a pain-in-the-ass."
"Yep. So are you. Talk to you later."
"You can count on it."
Daniel put his hand on Johnny's shoulder. "Thanks."
Johnny nodded self-consciously. "She's the one who warned me."
"And you helped keep her safe."
The teenager ducked his head. "I owe her," he mumbled.
He couldn't help but smile. "She'd say differently. You okay?"
"Yeah. I'm fine."
Daniel patted the young man on the shoulder, then climbed into the ambulance. When one of the EMTs looked ready to argue, he shook his head. "My Wife. Where she goes, I go."
Johnny watched as the ambulance pulled away. The lights were flashing, although for the moment, the siren was silent. He glanced around, rolling his shoulders slightly. "I should call my dad," he said, looking up at Jack.
Jack pulled his phone from his pocket. "He's at home, waiting for word."
Johnny nodded his understanding, and his thanks. He accepted the phone and stepped away so that he could have a private conversation with the man he called 'Dad'. A smile tugged at his lips when he heard the relief that echoed in Phil Hastings' voice. Assured him that he was all right. "Can I get a lift home?" Johnny asked.
"Be glad to take you, son," Gary said amiably. He turned to the military police officers nearby. "I don't suppose one of my guys, and those two-" he pointed to Sam and Jack, "could ride to Cheyenne Mountain with you?"
"Not a problem," the officer grinned.
The civilian law enforcement officers were told to call General Hammond at NORAD if they had any questions. It was obvious those four men and two women weren't at all happy at being 'brushed off', but there wasn't anything they could do about it. When the Feds were involved, the locals were always pushed aside, they grumbled to one another.
Gary ushered Johnny to the Cadillac. Lucky and Dancer crawled into the backseat. Jesse gave a wave, and joined the members of SG-1, as they crawled into one of the security vans. "Where to, Johnny?"
Johnny gave the address. "It's fastest to catch 25 from here."
"Okay." Gary glanced at his passenger. Noted the look of fatigue in the teenager's face. Was stunned to realize it was the same look he'd seen on Jack's face, dozens of times. He shook his head mentally. He wasn't even going to try to understand the whole 'clone' thing. It was just too much to comprehend, and he was too tired to try.
"She's tough as hell," Johnny sighed.
"Yes, she is," Gary said proudly.
"Can I ask you a favor?"
Gary caught the grin on the young man's face. "If I can."
"When she confronts those assholes, and I know Radar, she'll figure out how to do it, can you get a copy of the surveillance video for me?"
He laughed out loud. "You got it," Gary promised.
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