~ Chapter Two~
"Hey Alison. They need you down in crypto-analysis."
Bobbie Sullivan walked up to the petite blond and tapped her on the shoulder. She didn't turn around, instead she grabbed his forearm and heaved him over her shoulder. Seconds stretched to hours as he thought he might meet his maker sooner than he realized. His body hit the ground and before he could regain his breath, her hand captured his windpipe in a vice-like grip.
"You're not Alison, are you? Bobbie croaked.
"What was your first clue, hot shot?" Her voice was more high-pitched than sultry, more child-like than adult, but there was no doubt as to whether she could kill him or not. Kaye Corday was not someone people messed with, which is what made her such a good operative.
He massaged his throat as he backed away from the blond wonder. "I think it was the super-human strength."
Kaye didn't seem like she was big enough to bench press more than 60lbs, but she could flatten a 175lb man like he was no heavier than a feather.
"Remind me to never sneak up on you again, and to not get on your bad side."
Bobbie rubbed his throat, sure there was an ugly bruise forming.
"Was that really necessary?" His throat struggled for air making his voice sound raspy.
"In my line of work, if you don't react with intention and force... you die."
"I'll remember that." He introduced himself to Kaye. He was sure he had never met her during a mission before, and he would have remembered since she looked exactly like Alison."You don't happen to know anything about crypto-analysis, do you?"
"Sorry, sport. That is her gig. I'm more of an action kind of gal." It was obvious Kaye had been down in the gym working on her boxing moves. Her hands were still bound with tape.
"I see that." He breathed deeply, finally feeling like the air had returned to his lungs, but his heart beat a rapid-fire rhythm.
"If you do see her, tell her I'm looking for her." He edged around Kaye making sure not to touch her or even accidently brush against her. He didn't want to experience that feeling of helplessness ever again.
Bobbie scurried from the hallway and to his office in Com. When he was alone again, he breathed a sigh of relief. How could he have mistaken Kaye for Alison? They may have looked alike, but as people, they couldn't be more different.
"Alison," he whispered to himself. "Where are you?"
"I'll let you get back to your fascinating, yet incredibly shallow existence." Jazz Demarco didn't mind putting off her customers. She knew they would come back for more. Everyone always came back for more. The Wolf's Den was the most popular club in Europe.
While the bartender went on break, Jazz took the opportunity to slide behind the counter and interact one-on-one with the fray of London.
"Well, if it isn't my favorite blind, nowhere man." Jazz smiled at Ethan but her grin was lost on him.
"Jazz. There is no mistaking that throaty purr." Ethan Fairchild said, sliding onto a barstool.
"A curse of genetics," she said with a laugh. What will it be tonight?"
"A beer in the bottle and a side dose of twenty-twenty vision."
She sat a dark ale in front of him. He could hardly hear her set the bottle down. The club was noisy which was per usual during the weekly rush. She leaned in closer to pickup his low baritone a bit better. The blue lights of the club's interior slashed across his face in horizonal stripes making Ethan look more like a Smurf than a spy.
Jazz didn't have much time to look upon Ethan's handsome face before two known Black Council operatives came in through the back door while three entered from the front. She knew Ethan's vision was not a good as it could be, so she dragged him into the back room toward her office.
"What's going on, Jazz?" Ethan asked as he stumbled along.
"You've got to get out of here!" Jazz tried to pull him toward the back room, but he chose that moment to stand his ground. She stepped in front of him and pushed on his chest. "You're nearly blind for God sakes! Now is not the time for this macho crap!"
The danger man still stood his ground awaiting the BC troopers. "Ethan Fairchild does not run away from a stand off." His voice held a hard edge that said he was ready to go down fighting.
"You may not usually run away like a frightened girl, but you do now!" Jazz motioned for her bouncer to head off the three BC operatives angling in from the front while two of her regulars approached the men in back.
"You can't see, so I'll be your eyes." Jazz grabbed his hand and led him to the exit next to her office. They weaved in and out of narrow hallways until her office appeared, brightly lit. Ethan winced at the sudden illumination.
"Jazz, what am I going to do when they eventually come in here? I had more room to fight out in the nightclub. It's not like I can race out the back way and hop into my sporty red convertible." Ethan motioned toward his eyes. "I'm nearly blind!"
"Don't you think I know that, you idiot? I'm not going to hide you in my office. I'm going to get you out of here." Jazz grabbed her purse and Ethan's hand. They had made it to the alley when a lone BC agent stepped into the single pool of light staining the alleyway. A red laser sight painted Ethan's chest.
"It's over." The operative aimed his gun at the two people. The man's unexpected voice halted both of them. Two single shots flew in their direction. It sounded no louder than a puff of air. Jazz and Ethan both crumpled to the ground in front of the stranger.
By the time the emergency vehicle had arrived at the apartment building, Jared Quinn had inhaled enough of the noxious gas to render him helpless. The EMTs found him unconscious slumped in the doorway to the bedroom with the phone still in his grasp.
The Legacy cleaners arrived shortly after the ambulance, taking in the scene and extracting any clues about what had transpired inside the bedroom. One item they extracted was the still smoking blue candle.
Hours later, Jared was roused when a man's shouting disturbed his slumber.
"You've got to let me in there," the voice shouted. "I need to see her."
The sound of busy feet scuffled to intercept the man. "I'm sorry Mr. Sullivan. But you can't go in there. Miss Corday's condition is grave. We don't expect her to live."
"No!" he said with a strained voice. "She has to live. You have to save her!"
To Jared the conversation sounded far away, as if at the far end of a hallway, but somehow he knew they were closer than that.
"We're doing everything we can, but we have a similar situation with another operative. It must be pretty hush-hush because even the Director himself was down here an hour ago."
Jared struggled to gain complete consciousness. He needed to know what was going on and where exactly he was. From the smells in the room, he guessed it was some sort of hospital environment. It was then the name Sullivan registered in his head.
"Bobbie," he said with as much effort as he could muster. Something had really knocked him for a loop. "Bobbie Sullivan!"
It took every effort Jared had to focus on the doorway anticipating Bobbie's entrance. The noise level in the corridor quieted when the door to Jared's room opened. The form filling the doorway appeared blurry. Jared blinked to clear his vision.
"What happened," he asked the man, assuming it was Bobbie Sullivan.
"Thank God you're all right." Bobbie Sullivan, Legacy controller and resident genius, pulled up a chair to Jared's bedside and sat down.
"You have to tell me what happened." Jared asked slowly, the words falling from his mouth like molasses. "Is Kaye alive?"
"Kaye? Of course, she's alive. I think she's pretty upset at the moment because the doctor's won't let her in to see her sister, Alison."
Jared released the breath he hadn't realized he had been holding. "Then she's okay? What happened at my apartment didn't cause her to die?"
Bobbie was confused and his face mirrored his emotion. "I think you must have the twins confused. Lord knows even I did that earlier today. But Alison was the twin at your apartment, not Kaye. Kaye is perfectly fine. Alison, however, isn't fairing very well, I'm afraid."
His heart hammered in his throat. "It was Alison and not Kaye?"
"Right," Bobbie said slowly. "Didn't you know that?"
Jared didn't answer, instead he asked a different question. "What happened to her -- to us?"
"We've only had a few hours to research it, but from what we can tell, someone sent you a message via a candle calling card."
"The candle? The candle did this?" Jared's head throbbed.
"Yeah, we're pretty sure. Besides the noxious fumes pouring out of the candle, the jerk who sent it left you a little note."
Jared leaned up but Bobbie pushed him back down onto the bed. "There is nothing either one of us can do for her now, so try to rest, and I'll try not to strangle Nurse Lurch in the hallway out there." Bobbie laughed as he left the room.
"Calling card?" Jared whispered to himself. "I have to get out of here and find out what is going on." He tried to sit up, but his body refused to cooperate. A few moments of exertion drained all his energy. It took only a few minutes for his body to surrender to the exhaustion.
"What is she doing here?"
Bobbie Sullivan wasn't exactly sure how Dyan Ransom had located her sister in the secret Legacy infirmary, but he wasn't about to confront her on the issue. She looked as mad as a hatter and twice as mean.
"Where is she?" Dyan spoke with a low, firm tone, as if some sort of evil was bubbling up from inside her soul. "Where in the hell is my sister! If someone doesn't start talking..." She let the threat hang in the air. Everyone, including Nurse Lurch, was pretty sure she could make good on any promise. Bobbie backed away from the scene but Nurse Lurch approached the woman, she obviously didn't have a similar respect for herself and her own preservation as he did.
"I'm sorry, but only authorized personnel on this level. Please leave before I have you forcibly removed." The nurse may have been twenty years older than Dyan, but her age didn't effect her confidence. She had that in spades.
From behind Dyan appeared a well built man wearing a designer suit, silk shirt and shoes that cost more than the nurse's weekly pay. His eyes were stern and it was obvious that he expected the nurse to comply with his wants.
"You must not know who I am --" Adrian Zeller attempted to dip into his usual spiel about how his money could buy anything, even entrance to cordoned off areas, but Nurse Lurch would have none of it. It seemed money wasn't a motivating factor for her.
"I don't care who you are, how much money you have or what fancy duds you wear. Unless you have access to this level by permission of the Director, I suggest you turn around and go back the way you came."
Dyan's eyes blazed liquid fire. "Listen to me, Grandma. I'm not leaving here until I see my sister with my own eyes and make sure she's alive."
"Miss Corday's condition is critical. And as I've told everyone else today, she must not be disturbed." The nurse stood her ground blocking access to both Dyan and Adrian. "Now please leave the premises. I'm sure you don't want me to call in the tactical unit."
The nurse picked up the phone and started to dial, then Dyan turned on her heel and marched in the opposite direction.
"You haven't seen the last of me," she spat, before disappearing behind the security door.
Adrian stopped Dyan in the hallway near a security check point they had managed to by pass earlier. His face was contorted with a controlled rage. His grip bit into her arm.
"Never do that again." His ice blue eyes were cool and deadly. "I don't appreciate being made to look a fool in front of the service sector."
Dyan stood up to his overbearing manner. "Do you think I didn't want to wrap my fingers around that nurse's neck and squeeze? I'm not an idiot. I don't want to be thrown in jail for assault." She began to walk toward the Director's office. "I know a better way."
"We've already got Rudy Kent," Jared heard a woman say. He was still feeling a bit groggy, probably due to a sedative given to him by a nurse at the infirmary. He struggled to regain consciousness once again.
"Two more and we'll be set for the time being." The voice was close to him and there was something familiar to its ring and cadence. "I'll get him. You get the girl. Then we're outta here."
There was a man's voice speaking to the woman in low tones. He couldn't see the newcomers. Jared's eyes felt almost glued shut.
"What..." Jared attempted to speak, but his voice wouldn't cooperate either.
"He's awake," the man said. At that moment, someone entered the room and Jared felt a sharp pin prick in his arm.
"That should keep him docile for the time being," the woman said.
"Time for a swift exodus," the man said. By the time both beds were wheeled to the end of the hallway near a bank of elevators, Jared was able to see both kidnappers more closely.
Jared could feel the drug working its magic on his system. Immediately, he felt loopy. But he managed to open his eyes a fraction before the drug took his body completely over. He couldn't believe what he was seeing. His captors were Dare Ransom and Kaye Corday!