A Release, A Reprisal, and A Revelation.
Disclaimer. As per Chapter One. If you recognise it……etc.
A Release, A Reprisal and A Revelation.
“I’m not going to believe it until I see him myself.” Said Audrey.
“Hey, c’mon I got no reason to doubt Red……You certainly aint.” Replied Faith.
Robin and the two women were in transit to Area 51 in Nevada, following Willow’s phone call telling them that she’d succeeded.
Jack Bauer was coming home. Sometime in the next twenty-four hours. It was the waiting now that was causing Audrey stress.
None of them had had much to organise since the dispatch the previous day of the troika to the holding cells in Washington.
It was a first, in more ways than one. These three were going to be tried under human laws, for crimes against the Nation, the Constitution, and subversion of the Presidency…..
Faith would have rather killed them outright. Or used them as practise for the girls, but the fact remained that there was human flesh on the outside. That made the difference, whether the original people had been killed, or died legitimately, it was up to the lawyers to prove them guilty. Vuric demons only had a life span roughly the same as humans, so even if they were just imprisoned, nature wouldn’t do them any favours.
The flight attendant brought the air phone to Audrey.
“There’s a call for you, Mrs Raines. A Mr Buchanan.”
Audrey smiled and took the call. Her face gradually fell as Bill told her of the accident involving the prisoner transport.
She looked at Faith and Robin. “The Wagon blew a tyre and rolled down a ravine. Driver and a guard were killed, along with two of the prisoners.”
“And the third.” Asked Robin.
“Graham escaped. They’ve organised a search but there’s a lot of open country out there, and the helicopters with thermal imaging can’t fly due to the weather.”
“Anything we can do?” Asked Faith. “I should’a just slayed ‘em.”
“No, Faith.” Said Audrey. “We agreed that this was the way to go. It closes the door on the Logan fiasco once and for all, and it shows the people that we‘re not covering anything up.” She paused. “I think it might look suspicious if young girls started roaming the forests out there looking for a dangerous fugitive. So, no. Nothing at this stage. Bill assures me that the State Troopers have it in hand. He’s already fed them your line about them being PCP addicts, so they’ll expect a guy who appears stronger than normal.”
“I agree, if the media pick up on our activities it’ll open a whole can of worms we don’t want aired.” Said Robin.
“Let’s just go and meet Jack, and show him some friendly faces. Okay?” Said Audrey.
Graham had gotten out of the area faster than the State Police could have predicted. A passing eighteen wheeler hadn’t even noticed the figure leaping onto his load of timber and hiding amongst the beams.
That had got him out of the State. The driver had stopped for a break at a truck stop, and Graham had stolen some clothes from his cab, swapping them for the bright orange boiler suit he’d been forced to wear as a prisoner.
He still needed to get further south. Nevada. He had friends there, sanctuary. His immediate need was for transport. Spotting a parked row of motorcycles he walked towards them looking for one which one might suit. The one in the middle. Obviously the leader’s, it was the shiniest and the best maintained. He sat on it. A shout came from inside the bar and ten mean looking hells angels came rushing out.
They attacked the puny looking man with knives and baseball bats. Unlike demons though, they only came in one at a time, there was something about humans and their timing, he’d never been able to understand it. It was as though they didn’t want to miss him and hit each other. His advantage.
The leader came at him last of all. The dispatch was swift and deadly. Graham had ceased being nice and subtle. He wanted blood. Faith, the Slayer, or that Watcher of hers, or maybe the President. Jack Bauer’s though, that was a certainty……
Nevada was hot. Robin had changed to a lighter suit, and even Audrey had bought lighter clothing for the climate. Faith, opted for the dark suit she’d worn at the prison interrogation of Logan. It looked better than the leather for standing on the tarmac waiting for a plane, carrying a prisoner who wasn’t supposed to exist.
As they got off the plane a Hummer pulled up alongside. James Heller got out of the rear.
“Dad, what are you doing here?” Asked Audrey.
“I was in the area. Thought I’d come and show Jack a friendly face.”
“When’s the plane due?” Asked Robin.
“A couple of hours. It had to refuel at Hawaii, and pick up Lo Cheng and his uncle for the return flight. He’s been recalled by the Premier, he found out what he‘d done, and, well …not best pleased.” Said James.
He pulled Robin to one side. “I had an interesting call from the prison where Logan is the other day. Seems the President paid him a visit and, well he hasn’t been quite the same since. You wouldn’t happen to know anything about that……. Would you?” His head was shaking left to right as he said the last sentence.
“Of course not. How could I? I’m a high school principal, I don’t move in the same circles as the President.” Replied Robin, innocently.
“I thought not.“ Said James. His face cracked into a huge grin. “Remind me to buy you a drink when I’m in town next.”
It had been a long hard ride to Nevada. He’d made it to the safe house and called his contact at Wolfram and Hart. They had given him the information that he’d needed. And he was in the right State. He just needed to get into Area 51. His friends provided the access point he needed, avoiding the security guards.
The Hercules taxied to a halt on the tarmac. Jack still couldn’t believe it. Maybe it was all some mind game that Cheng was playing, and he wasn’t really back in the US. Keep alert. Play along until you see an opening. Then make a break for it. They’d cleaned him up, let him shave and given him new prison issues. Not exactly haute couture, but if he was still in China, he’d need to blend in.
He saw Lo Cheng stand up and assist an older man to the doorway. They left and after a few moments the ramp at the rear of the plane began to lower. Sunlight and heat filtered into the plane from the rear. The guard unfastened his manacles from the seat and helped him stand.
Jack and his guard shuffled to the end of the ramp in silence. They stopped him short of seeing outside and proceeded to unfasten his leg irons and cuffs.
Indicating that he should walk down the ramp unaided he became cautious. Was this the point that they’d decided that he was a liability and they were gong to shoot him…….
He stood as straight as he could. A lack of exercise over the months and being kept in cramped, dark and filthy conditions had taken their toll on his physique. He’d lost weight and he looked gaunt. Not that he’d seen a mirror until the day they gave him a shave………..If they were going to do it he hoped they’d make it quick.
He shuffled down the ramp waiting for the burst of pain, and then the darkness of release. It didn’t come. He reached the bottom of the ramp, squinting as his eyes adjusted to the brightness.
He was still alive. The brightness abated as his eyes adjusted. Still squinting slightly he shielded his eyes, and saw the entourage waiting to meet him. Secretary Heller, Wayne Palmer, and ….Audrey. He stumbled slightly as they came towards him.
Audrey made it to him first. She threw her arms around him and virtually sobbed into his shoulder. This must have been as hard on her as it had been for him. He found his voice.
“Am I back …. home?” He asked.
Not speaking for the emotion in her throat, Audrey merely nodded profusely, and started to pull him towards the others. James was up next, he shook his hand and guided him to where Faith and Robin stood.
“Jack, I’d like to introduce you to two people who’ve been very instrumental in securing your release. Miss Faith Lehane and Mr Robin Wood."
He shook hands with them, and nodded his thanks. As he looked at Robin, Jack found his voice. “You look like Wayne Palmer. I thought….”
James interrupted. “Jack, there’s something you should know. It’s President Wayne Palmer now. He was elected two months ago, and he wants to meet with you as soon as possible. He’s sorry he couldn’t be here today…
Jack was nodding and listening, Still trying to take it all in. He surveyed their surroundings, still gauging where they were. Jack’s eyes and skills as a trained agent were coming back with a rush now he knew he was really safe.
Heller was still talking as this was all going through Jack‘s head. “There’s one other person, but I’m told she’s unavailable today, she has a wedding to arrange., I guess you’ll meet her soon……Jack. Are you okay?”
Jack had spotted something coming towards them from across the airfield. …… A motorcycle.
Graham opened the throttle wide. He needed to get across the open space quickly. Luckily there was a minimal security presence there. Obviously they still didn’t want anyone finding out about all this, that’s why there were no extra guards around. No witnesses…He might just get out in one piece.
He lined the bike up with the aircraft so that the group were unable to spot him until the last second. Drawing the Uzi he rested it on the handlebars to prime it and released the safety. The first burst scattered the group. Two Secret Service men appeared from behind the Hummer and dived in front of Heller and his daughter. Bauer was there, dressed in Chinese prison garb and standing next to….Oh joy, the President himself. Two birds with one stone.
Jacks training kicked in with a vengeance. He pushed Audrey toward the Secret Service man, and dived in front of Robin, shielding him from the attacker who was using an Uzi, the vibration from the motorcycle didn’t give it the greatest accuracy, but it was impossible to predict where the bullets might fly. From the corner of his eye, he saw the woman Faith Lehane take off to the opposite side upon seeing him cover Wood, and he glimpsed briefly the speed at which she accelerated. The idea that she might be on a par with an Olympic athlete flashed across his mind.
He and Robin hit the floor and stayed low. Jack couldn’t return fire as he had no gun. Then he felt the pain in his shoulder as it registered that he’d been hit.
The Uzi stopped firing. The motorcycle scraped along the tarmac, spluttering to a stall and for a moment silence fell on the scene. Jack struggled to a sitting position as he heard James Heller giving orders to his team.
He saw the brunette, grinning and retrieving an extremely wicked looking knife from the chest of the now dead motorcyclist. He didn’t recognise the man. He had questions. Lots of questions but now, there was the pain registering again. He winced as Audrey ran back to him and put her arms around him…
The scene became a blur as ambulances and more security arrived.
Jack recalled later that he saw the older Chinese man again, and briefly he spoke.
“You saved his life. Live free, Jack Bauer. The vision is fulfilled.”
Thank you for reading. I Hope you enjoyed it.
This has been my take on what might have been the real reason behind Jack’s kidnap and how his release might have been secured.
Enjoy the new season of 24 on Fox Network in the USA. Starts Sun. according to the internet. We don’t get it in the UK until two weeks time.