December 29, 2009
He opened his eyes to the sight of a hundred stars dancing before him. They sure were pretty, all different colors and sizes, sparkling like sun on new snow. He frowned for just a moment, wondering why they seemed so close, when usually the stars were so far away, but after another moment he forgot the question and went back to watching the pretty, dancing stars.
“Get ready to go on my mark,” Chris said softly into his headset. Multiple soft responses came back.
Team 7 was in position around Tomas Domingo’s private compound with four other ATF units and the FBI. Domingo was a known gun trafficker and currently a suspect in a kidnapping case involving a federal judge’s daughter. Judge Travis had been called by the judge, who also happened to be an old acquaintance. With the FBI’s reluctant okay due to the Denver ATF’s familiarity with Domingo and his compound, Larabee was coordinating the effort to apprehend Domingo and rescue the judge’s daughter.
The five ATF teams and the two dozen FBI agents involved were working together, though only under threat of permanent postings in Podunk, Iowa if they didn’t. Between Travis’ growl and Larabee’s glare, they had managed to keep things civil and so far on schedule.
“Now,” Chris said, pulling his gun and moving from his position out into the open. JD and the FBI computer specialist had hacked into the compound’s cameras and were feeding looped video of the grounds. Buck and Josiah were leading the men who would subdue the guards. Chris and Nathan were teamed with others who would scour the house and apprehend Domingo. Meanwhile, Vin and Ezra were scaling the side of the house to the room where the judge’s daughter was being held. Several of the FBI agents were covering their ascent.
Chris sent a prayer skyward that everything went smoothly and none of the Feebies screwed up.
“Hurry up, Ezra,” Vin urged adjusting his hold on the rope he was currently dangling from.
“I’m going as fast as I can,” Ezra grumbled as he worked on unscrewing another bolt on the iron bars over the window.
“Knew I shoulda brought another drill,” Vin muttered.
“You’re supposed to be watching my back,” Ezra snapped back, not pleased at how long it was taking to remove the rusted bolts.
“Ain’t nothing down there,” Vin sighed, looking around again just to be sure. “’sides the Feebs that is.”
After a few more minutes, Ezra sighed aloud. “There! Help me pull the bars off.”
On their headsets they could hear that Domingo was still missing and several of the guards and other employees had barricaded themselves in one part of the house. That was the main reason they had for going in the window, to avoid unfriendlies and hopefully get the girl out without anyone the wiser.
The two men carefully removed the bars and lowered them to the ground via a third rope that they had tied to the large barrier in the beginning. Now they just had to get in the window and whisk the girl to safety.
Vin applied the suction cups to the window and held on while Ezra scored the glass and tapped gently on the cut outs. At Ezra’s nod, Vin gave a tug and the circular glass piece popped out. He looked below and tossed the cut-out, suction cup and all into some bushes below.
Ezra put his hand into the hole and quickly released the lock and quietly opened the window. They peeked through the curtains to see what the situation was, not wanting to scare the girl on the other side or alert any guards that might be in the room.
No one was visible and no one rushed the window, so Vin swung a leg over the sill. “I’ll go first,” he whispered putting words to action.
Ezra rolled his eyes. “By all means.”
Vin entered the room and paused to let his eyes adjust, it was the bedroom as they’d planned, but no one was here. The girl could be in the connecting sitting room though, so he started across the room, weapon drawn, just in case. He heard the slight whooshing of the curtains that told him Ezra was in the room too as he slowly turned the door handle to the other room and opened it.
Wide brown eyes met his, a mixture of fear and warning in them. Vin had enough time to register those emotions and the fact that the girl was tied to a chair before the stars exploded before his eyes and darkness took over.
“Vin! Vin, wake up!” a familiar voice said, sounding a bit frantic. Somebody patted his face a bit roughly, but the darkness drew him back.
Some time later, he opened his eyes to the sight of a hundred stars dancing before him. They sure were pretty, all different colors and sizes, sparkling like sun on new snow. He frowned for just a moment, wondering why they seemed so close, when usually the stars were so far away, but after another moment he forgot the question and went back to watching the pretty, dancing stars.
A familiar voice intruded on his star watching.
“Vin? You with us yet?”
Vin blinked and tried to focus. He could ignore a lot, but this voice demanded his response, even if he wasn’t able to respond. The stars blinked in and out and then faded away as a room came into view. A face floated into view.
“Hey, Vin,” Chris said with a grin. “Guess your head is harder than even I thought.”
“Wha?” Vin croaked, his throat dry. A glass of water was offered. “What happened?”
“Your cranium met with an equally unyielding object,” Ezra drawled, his relief quite apparent in his tone.
“Huh?” Vin asked, not yet up to deciphering Ezra-speak.
“You got hit in the head,” Nathan translated. “Luckily, you only have a slight concussion, no fracture, but I expect you’ll feel the concussion is bad enough.”
Vin struggled to sit up. Chris held him down with a hand to his chest, but pushed the button that raised the head of the bed. That’s when Vin realized he was in a hospital. “Ah, hell,” he groaned. “What happened?”
“We were attempting to extricate the fair maid from the diabolical clutches of Tomas Domingo,” Ezra said, earning a blank stare from Vin and five groans from the others. He sighed and started over. “You and I were about to rescue the judge’s daughter, only Domingo had left a man to guard her and took the added precaution of tying the girl up. The man conked you over the head before I could reach you. I entered a brief hand-to-hand scuffle with the guard and won,” he paused as if to say ‘of course’, then continued. “Once he was subdued, I checked on your status. You were out cold. I could almost see the stars and hear the little birdies floating around your head,” he said with a grin.
Vin grinned back, thinking about the stars he really had been seeing. “So we got the job done?” he asked, looking at each of his friends to see if anyone else had been hurt.
“Yep,” JD said. “Piece of cake,” he frowned, “well, except for you ending up here.”
Buck grinned and patted the kid on the back. “Sure, but junior’s gonna be just fine, right Nate?”
Nathan nodded and smiled ruefully. “Yeah, he’ll be good as new in a few days. I swear, Vin, you must have been born under a lucky star.”
Vin grinned broadly, then squinted his eyes at the headache. “Maybe, doc, maybe. Least that’s one thing I remember my ma used to say, so it must be true.” He looked around at his friends and closed his eyes. The stars were still there, they might be caused by the concussion, but they sure were pretty and he’d enjoy them while he could.
Feedback is greatly appreciated. JudyL