The story so far:
Kate was silently listening to the sounds of traffic as the other men stared at her. They probably thought that she had accepted her fate. Kate had no intention of doing that. This was her fourth time in captivity and the only reason she was still alive was because she followed five very basic rules.
Of course, during the first time she had the Marine Corps looking for her and the last two times Neil and his Dogs found her. This time she had a rookie team with no experience in search and rescue and their leader was tied up in a van.
The van lurched to a stop. Kate listened. She could hear planes taxiing. Airport.
“Okay, seriously? Do you guys actually think I’m going to let you put me on a plane?” Kate laughed. The others snickered along with her to be polite. The van pulled forward slowly.
“Let’s just say we worked it out,” Ash said. The van drove up a ramp and all of the cloudy light was wiped out. A red glow flooded the inside of the van.
“Cargo plane,” Kate sighed. ****.
“Yep,” Ash said. “Enjoy your flight, Trisha.”
“See, I always thought Pierce would be a first class kind of guy,” Kate smirked. Ash’s eyes widened while the men in ski masks exchanged a glance. “Do they not know who they’re working for? Whoops, my bad.”
Ash leapt forward and struck Kate on the side of the head. Blackness invaded Kate’s mind.
Dulles International Airport
Jack exited her commercial flight and walked through the terminal to the last gate. A public bathroom sat in between the two gates. Jack entered. She went to the last stall and placed her duffle bag on the tank of the commode. She opened the bag with a shaky breath and lifted her clothes up to feel a small plastic box. She pulled it out and opened it to reveal her mugger’s trusty .45. Jack jammed the magazine into the handle and pulled the action back while flushing the toilet to mask the sound. Then she placed it in the back of her pants and untucked her shirt to conceal the gun. Jack put the box back into her bag and zipped it quickly. She then exited the stall, washed her hands and left the bathroom to head to the open gate door.
Without pausing, she opened the gate’s door and went down the stairs two at a time until she was outside. A line of hangars waited from one hundred yards away. Jack quickly crossed the paved tarmac, hitching her duffel bag up her arm every few feet. Soon she reached hangar number five, a massive grey building with four armed guards out front.
“Can we help you?” one asked. Kate reached into her front right pocket and pulled out a plain black card. She handed it to the guard that spoke. He glanced down at it with wide eyes. Then he snapped to attention, quickly followed by the other three. The first guard put his right hand up for a salute. “Good luck, Ma’am.”
“Thank you,” Jack said, surprised. She did a quick salute and entered the hangar. Inside was a perfectly waxed G5. Jack whistled to herself and approached the stairs. Another guard waited at the top.
“Permission to board?” Jack asked. The guard whispered something into his shoulder mic and then nodded.
“Granted,” the guard said. Jack hopped up the steps and scooted past the guard.
The interior of the plane was nicer than most of the hotels that Jack had stayed at. The fixtures all appeared to be brass and the carpet was thick and cushiony under Jack’s sneakers. Sam and Kelly sat towards the back of the plane, facing Jack. Upon seeing Kelly’s face, Jack slowed her gait. Jack sincerely hoped that Kelly was not going to shoot the messenger.
“Good morning, Jack,” Sam said. “You’re looking quite fit.”
“Kick boxing,” Jack said, still staring at Kelly. “Kelly, I…”
“You did everything right, Jack. Now sit down so we can take off,” Kelly said.
“Where are we going?” Jack asked, sitting across from Kelly and Sam.
“Austin,” Sam answered. “We’ll set up base camp there.”
The plane lurched forward and began taxiing towards the runway. Silence filled the plane as Kelly stared out the window and Jack stared at Kelly.
“Iris and Emily, do they know?”
“Not yet,” Sam said. “We’ll reach Austin at noon local time. When they try to check in with Kate and can’t they’ll contact us and we’ll give them instructions.”
“Why not call them now?” Jack asked.
“Because we don’t have their numbers. Kate is the only one who has all three numbers. Iris and Emily have each other’s and Kate’s but they don’t have yours. You only have Kate’s. It’s a security measure so that if someone’s phone gets taken they can’t track the team down,” Kelly said, still looking out the window.
“Then it’s a good thing they threw the phone out the window,” Jack said. The other two looked at her.
“How do you know that?” Sam asked.
“I…” Jack winced and looked at Sam. “Deputy Director, you probably don’t need to know.”
“Talk, Jack,” Kelly said.
“When I got off the phone with you I headed to Dulles and got on a flight but it didn’t take off for thirty minutes… So I decided to kill some time on my laptop…” Jack said.
“What did you do?” Sam asked.
“Hacked into my phone and pulled the data of the call off. Then I remembered that Kate said that every call we received on these phones were recorded and stored in the CIA’s database… So I hacked into that, too.”
“You did this in thirty minutes?” Sam asked.
“Yeah, well, I was motivated,” Jack said, looking down. “Anyway, I got the audio of the call and analyzed it on the flight here.”
“Play it,” Kelly said.
“Kelly, maybe that’s not such a good idea,” Sam said, touching Kelly’s arm.
“Sam, that recording might be the last time I hear my sister’s voice. Play the **** audio,” Kelly snapped. Jack nodded and pulled out her laptop. She booted it up and turned the volume up full blast before looking up at Kelly.
“It’s not pretty, Kelly…”
“Just hit it,” Kelly said, looking away.
“Jesus, Kate, it’s eight in the morning,” Jack’s voice said, echoing through the cabin. Jack turned the volume down slightly.
“What’s that?” a strange male voice asked.
“Does she have a **** phone?” another male voice yelled. There was a muffled noise against the microphone.
“I think that’s them pulling the phone out of Kate’s pocket,” Jack explained.
“Black van, 51st and Duvall!” Kate’s voice screeched.
“What? What the **** are you talking about, Kate?” Jack’s voice said. There was another muffled noise and some jostling. Then there was a motorized whine.
“Them rolling down the window,” Jack said. Wind rushed past the microphone of the phone, along with traffic noises. Then the line went dead.
Jack looked up from the laptop to see Kelly still staring out the window, a single tear sliding down her face. Jack swallowed roughly.
“Kate’s done this before, Kelly and she’s still alive,” Jack said. Kelly looked over at Jack and nodded, wiping her face.
“Right. Did you track the signal of the phone?”
“Not yet… I was also thinking about getting access to the traffic cameras in the area and seeing if we could track the van down…”
“God, that’ll take weeks of red tape,” Sam sighed, pulling out her phone. “I’ll make a few calls.”
“Um, Deputy Director? I can get the information by the time we land in Austin…” Jack said, looking down at her laptop. “Unless legality really matters to you of course.”
“Do it,” Kelly said. Sam shrugged and put away her phone. “You do know that if you get caught that you could possibly spend the rest of your life in prison, right?”
“The way I figure it, if I’m doing all of this to get Kate out of captivity then the least she can do is bust me out of prison,” Jack said, typing furiously. She glanced up quickly, “Kate can bust me out of prison, right?”
“No question,” Sam said, grinning.