Justice or Vengeance -chp14

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Justice or Vengeance

142px-US_Marshal_Badge.png

An old enemy has returned from the grave to shack the Marshals to their core. The mole has been found but at the cost of a friends life. The Deputies have always known the cost of being an Officer of the Law. But when one of their own has been targeted for assassination the gloves come off.

by Snowfall and Jessie Wolf.

Dedicated to the men and women of the US Marshal Service.

Edited by my husband Paul, Honeysuckle, and djkuffman.

~o~O~o~

This is a work of fiction an any persons in this work are purely fictional.


Ram's Rock Island, 0230;

Maria Demarco smiled at her two teenage granddaughters as they hurried to dress in their school uniforms. Even at this ungodly hour they wanted to be seen as professionals at their young age.

"Alright girls, we need to be in the Command Center in fifteen minutes." Maria urged them

"Yes ma'am." The two teens answered as they stepped into their shoes.

Both Kasey and Kristine knew that their parents would soon be facing some real bad guys and they were worried. They followed Maria outside to the golf cart they used around the island. Four minutes later, Maria and her granddaughters pulled inside the main hangar for Ram Air Charters. Dannigan meet the three of them. Eddie was in the lounge, watching Mindy and the twins sleep.

"Okay girls, I know that this is going to be your first time working as part of an operation. Now there are a few rules that you need to follow. The first of which is; you take all direction from Kimberly. You do exactly what she says, when she says, and nothing more. Second; if you have a question, make sure that your mic is off and direct it to either your grandmother or me. Lastly; if any one of us tell you to leave the TOC, you do so. No questions asked."

"Yes sir, we understand." Kasey told Paul. "We know that we're only being allowed to help because Miss Krystel is actually out there with the rest of the teams."

"Good girls. Now let's get down stairs. The teams should be making their first pass in minutes." Dannigan let the three down stairs to the TOC. As they walked in he looked over at Kimberly. "Status."

"Sir! Vendetta Three is Down Range. Nine minutes out from Point X-RAY; Drop Zone Alpha." Kimberly pointed to the main screen. She looked over at the teens. "Take your stations Gemini, we go HOT in five."

The two teens quickly took their places behind their individual workstations. Maria walked past Kimberly picking up her own headset and transmitter. As Maria pulled on her headset, Kasey and Kristine turned to Kimberly. Kimberly saw them both nod then looked to Maria as she nodded as well. Madison nodded too.

Kimberly looked to Dannigan. "Command on station, Major."

"Hoo-Ahh Lieutenant." Dannigan replied putting on his own headset. "Stronghold to Vendetta Three. Go to WAR."

The C-130 over the Atlantic Ocean, international Waters; 28,000 ft 0255;

"Five mikes to Drop Zone Alpha. Prepare to depressurize." Lone Star announced.

Carl called out. "GO TO YOUR OWN AIR SUPPLY! JUMPER, ON THE RAMP! ASSAULT TEAM, CREW YOUR GLIDERS!"

Everyone began fitting their air hoses to their tanks and closing helmets. Rodrick checked over Krystel after doing so himself. Lyssa fitted Warlock with his and strapped him in as the lighting switched to red. The jump lights came on with the red light blinking. Bobby looked over to Lyssa and watched her. Warlock had not initially liked the gliders. He now understood what they were for and willingly laid down in his position after being attached.

Bobby wanted to shake his head. If the Tactical Shepherd knew what exactly was about to happen, trying to land on a moving ship's superstructure, it probably wouldn't be so quick to trust Lyssa. Bobby did suspect though, that if anybody but she tried to get him to do this, he'd attack.

"Comm check. Black One." Lyssa called out.

"Black Two." Answered Pete.

"Green One." Tiffany said.

Bobby announced. "Green Two."

"Green Three." Hunter confirmed.

"Blue One." Krystel called then pointed to Samantha.

Sam raised her fist. "Blue Two."

Annette did the same. "Blue Three!"

"Gold Two." Shawna called out.

Rodrick nodded. "Gold One. Assault Team good to go."

Lone Star announced. "Depressurizing. Two mikes to DZ Alpha."

Krystel looked back at the team. Lyssa gave her a hand signal that she nodded to, saluted Rodrick and knelt at the ramp to hang on. Rodrick ran back to his glider and strapped to it. The ramp began to drop after a rush of air escaping and coldness overtook the cargo bay. Carl had a mask and headset on. The load-master pointed at Krystel, held up his hand then one finger. Suddenly the light turned green and he waved her out.

"GO! GO! GO!" Carl yelled.

Krystel jumped forward, bounced once and disappeared into the darkness.

Lone Star was announcing at the same time. "Drop Zone Bravo, standby to deploy."

Carl pointed to the team, held up his hand then five fingers as the lights went back to solid red. Four minutes later they began to blink and he held up one finger. Finally the light turned green and Carl waved them out.

"GO! GO! GO!" Carl yelled.

Bobby and Sam rolled out first followed by Hunter with Annette. Lyssa with Warlock went next as Tiffany and Pete were right on her heels. Finally Rodrick and Shawna rolled off the ramp into the darkness.

"Fully Deployed." Carl said to Lone Star then closed the ramp. "It's in Fate's hands now."

The cargo bay began to pressurize again as Lone Star notified the base.

"Vendetta Three to Stronghold." Lone Star called.

Ram's Rock Island, the T.O.C.;

Kimberly heard Lone Star and answered. "Stronghold. Go Vendetta Three."

"Full Deployment. Repeat; Full Deployment. Vendetta Three going to Phase Two; Standby at Ft. Stewart. Out." Lone Star confirmed.

Dannigan replied. "Roger that Vendetta Three. Proceed Phase Two."

Maria crossed herself, as did the girls. "Holy Mary, watch over them all."

Madison shook her head. "Ma'am. What's about to happen will be anything, but Holy."

"Come ON Krystel!" Kimberly said aloud watching a clock then looked to the main screen.

Suddenly on one of the smaller screens the ships transponder signal went off then a new signal came up in its place seconds later then the main screen came up in sections with a clear view in shades of green of one.

"Stronghold. India Delta On Station. Rock and Roll, LZ Secure." Krystel reported.

They could see her using a piece of tape to hold a chemical light-stick in place. Scrolling code began to appear on another screen.

"Roger that India Delta!" Kimberly said then turned back to Kasey and Kristine. "Hands OFF the keyboard until further notice."

"Yes Ma'am." Both teens answered and showed their hands to prove it.

Kimberly turned to Maria. "Krystel skeleton jumped. She's on the ship. The ship is blind, deaf and dumb now. Ready for the team's landing. She set up our own transmitter. Unless somebody goes up there and finds it, that ship just became a dead zone."

M/V Styx, top of the superstructure;

It wasn't long before Krystel caught a glimpse of the first two gliders. She was expecting to see Bobby and Sam land first so it was a surprise for her when Rodrick, with Shawna on tandem, landed first. Lyssa with Warlock followed next. Tiffany and Pete followed behind them.

By this time the fifteen by fifteen area of the superstructure was getting crowded. That was quickly taken care of as the strike team was already breaking down their gliders. Even then, it was going to be a tight LZ for the two Marshal tandems. Two minutes later the first of the deputies' gliders came in. Of the Deputy Marshals, Hunter and Annette were the first to touch down with Bobby and Sam being the last.

Once more the two Deputy teams showed their professionalism. Within thirty seconds, Bobby and Hunter had their gliders broken down into their tactical hide configuration. Once everyone was down; they broke up into their assigned teams. Bobby and Hunter took the M-249s from Sam and Annette with a hardened faces.

"We're up." Krystel announced.

Rodrick nodded then keyed his mic. "Gold One. Adjust Assault clock. Mark. Three. Two. One. Go."

Kimberly adjusted the clock's time then answered him. "Go."

With the two big Deputies hot on her heels, Tiffany headed for the crew quarters. Lyssa, Warlock, and Pete headed for the Wardroom. Rodrick and Shawna started making their way for the Engine room, to secure the Gang and aft steering. Leading Sam and Annette, Krystel headed for the bridge. The assault on the Styx was underway.

Rodrick and Shawna were making quick progress towards the Engine room when they came across their first security officer. Two silenced shots later the man lay dead on the deck, with bullet holes in his head. They continued toward the Engine room.

Rodrick keyed his throat mike. "Gold One. One down; deck four, engine corridor."

Tiffany, Bobby, and Hunter had just entered the crew quarters when they came across an unescorted slave. The poor girl froze and turned white with fear at the sight of unknown soldiers aboard the ship. Before Tiffany could fire Hunter stepped around her and butt-stroked the girl knocking her out. Pulling a set of speed cuffs from under his vest, Hunter quickly secured the girl. Bobby slid down the corridor to a storage closet. The two men quickly put the unconscious girl inside then secured the door.

"Green One. Single November Charlie, secured." Tiffany reported then waved for the three of them to continue.

With the maid secured the three person team headed for the next set of doors. At the first door, Tiffany stopped then waved Bobby and Hunter forward. Both took position outside a door each. They watched her take out her silenced pistols and did the same.

Krystel, Sam and Annette had just reached the bridge deck when they heard Tiffany's warning about a roving slave. Sam and Annette just shook their heads and moved on following Krystel. As they reached the actual door to the bridge Sam noticed something. Putting her hand on Krystel's shoulder she stopped the Operator. Looking back at Annette, she quickly signaled her to take the fly bridge around to the other side of the bridge. When Krystel started to stop her Sam just pointed and signaled for Annette to go on. Seeing this Annette switched to her .45 and made to go around Sam and Krystel.

"What the hell do you think you're doing?" Krystel asked in a low voice.

"You know naval operations right?" Sam asked then quickly followed up with a second question. "Do you think that either me or Annette can pilot this monster? Better yet, can anyone else drive this fucker?"

"How many ship assaults have you done?" Krystel asked.

Annette growled. "None."

Krystel nodded. "Exactly. Follow the plan so we don't all DIE. Inside; Sam on Fore. I take Mid. Annette take Aft. If it moves, put it down. Two to the head. No matter where or how many other shots, TWO to the HEAD. Now stand-by for Go."

In another part of the ship Lyssa let Warlock lead the way with Pete on her six. She knew that somewhere in that section of the ship their main target was waiting. So far they had not met with any roving guards or unexpected crewmembers. When she heard Rodrick give his first contact report she knew that things were going too smoothly. Her senses were running higher than normal because there was a man on board that only she could kill. That man was her only real concern. When the announcement from Tiffany came in, there was a moment of concern. There was no follow up for a change of plan so they continued on. In the hall outside the Ward Room she and Pete took position then waited.

Rodrick had reached the engine room when Tiffany's warning came. They gained the Engine Room and took position.

Rodrick keyed up. "Gold Team, in position."

Bobby and Hunter nodded to Tiffany, who reported. "Green Team, in position."

Lyssa received a nod from Pete then confirmed their status. "Black Team, in position."

"Blue Team. In position." Krystel said then nodded to Sam and Annette.

Rodrick nodded to Shawna. "All Teams; Go!"

Rodrick and Shawna went in hard. There they found what could only be called a skeleton crew. With the skill born from years of training the two of them killed the five man crew shift. With the Engine room, the Gang and aft steering, secure Rodrick keyed his mike.

"Gold, secure!" Rodrick reported.

Rodrick and Shawna exited the Engine Room, secured the hatch then used a cold-weld paste to seal it. It would harden in two minutes and have to be ground off to open the hatch again.

Up at the Bridge, Krystel yanked the hatch open. Sam leaped inside and triggered silenced shots, aiming for the Weatherman looking out the forward windows. Krystel rushed through, heading port to starboard, and triggered off two ten millimeter rounds into the Helmsman, with a coffee cup in his hand. Annette jumped in last and tracked aft. She targeted the Navigator and put two rounds into his head as instructed.

Sam and Annette turned and looked at the last figure, aiming both pistols. Krystel had went through the opposite hatch and came back in, leading with both pistols. The maid that was on the bridge deck just stood there frozen in stark terror. She didn't even try to drop to the floor. The sight of these black clad women with fearsome face paint had removed her wits.

Felicity couldn't believe what she was seeing. Three women, dressed all in black with painted faces, had just killed the entire Third Watch Bridge crew. She knew that she should be next, but could do nothing to stop her fate. She had long ago given up on fighting those who had power. Looking at the first woman with the big guns, Felicity slowly raised her hands, praying the woman didn't kill her. She was surprised when the second woman came around behind her and put her in handcuffs. Felicity smiled and let herself be moved over to stand back out of the way with her back to the wall.

The actions of the slave maid surprised Sam and Annette. They had been expecting some kind of resistance from the slaves, not willing compliance. Looking around at the three dead crewmen, Krystel nodded.

"Blue Team. Three Tangos down, one November Charlie secured. We own the ship." Krystel announced.

Bobby opened the door and found three bunk beds that were empty. He backed out and waited for the others. Tiffany had opened hers and found three crewmen asleep. She sent two double-taps into the head of each man then backed out. Bobby and Hunter had slung their M-249s over their shoulders. Those powerful weapons would not be used unless they had no other choice.

Hunter had taken the other door. Inside were bunk beds filled with sleeping crewmen. The deputy killed them where they were with 45 caliber double-taps. If nothing else, these men were all under a Lethal Finding. For them there would be no trial or lengthy prison sentence. It was the same for the rest of the crew and guards in the crew area. Only with the last room did the deputies find someone that was not part of the crew.

Hunter signaled Bobby over to him. Bobby and Hunter both moved inside quickly the room quickly. There they found four terrified maids, all trying to move to the far back wall. Hunter and Bobby could tell that these four were slaves and not true crewmembers by the chastity belts and slave collars. Once again the two deputies used speed cuffs to secure the frightened slaves. Only this time instead of knocking them out the two deputies placed them on the beds then fastened the slaves' hands to the headboards and their feet to the ends of the beds.

Stepping out of the room Bobby closed the door behind them and keyed his mike. "Green Two. Six Tangos unaccounted for."

"Why the fuck aren't those slaves screaming?" Hunter asked Bobby.

"What are you two going on about? Get your heads in the fucking game." Tiffany hissed out at the two of them.

"Chill, Tiffany. And as for heads being in the game, they are. Haven't you wondered why the maids haven't called out or screamed at the sight of us yet?" Bobby hissed back.

It took Tiffany a second to understand what the deputies were talking about. "Now that you mention it. You're right; it's not making any sense. Twice we've come across members of the crew that were awake, but they haven't raised the alarm. That first one I chalked up to fear induced silenced."

Hunter shook his head no. "They're slaves, not crewmembers Tiffany. I mean think about it. If they use trained slaves as maids, and other domestic servants, they don't have to worry about them talking on shore leave. If they let them take shore leave. Hell, they don't have to worry about them ever talking, because they may not be able to. Physically I mean."

"Green One to All. Be advised we believe November Charlie slaves possibly working as domestic crew for the ship. Five have been secured on crew deck. Out." Tiffany wasted no time in informing the rest of the team. "Okay move out. We still have to finish securing this section."

Lyssa and Pete moved. Pete yanked open the hatch and Lyssa dove in, Warlock bounding in right behind her. Pete jumped in and they both were surprised to find the Wardroom empty. Warlock's soft snarl directed their attention to a doorway. Slowly they approached. It opened into another hall with regular doors. These were the officers' quarters. The Captain was first. Lyssa signaled Warlock to stay and went in. The light had barely caught the man's attention when two of Lyssa's silent 'werewolf' rounds tore through his skull.

Pete nodded when she backed out and took the next door, the First Mate. Slowly he entered. The light was off but he could see there was a laptop on and the man was asleep wearing headphones. He triggered two shots from the 45 caliber Sig Sauer in his right hand into the man's head and backed out. Not even noticing the video was playing the rape of a girl barely fifteen. The last three cabins were empty.

Pete looked alarmed. "One cabin empty I expect. Three? This is bad."

"Yeah. Tango Two and Three should be here. Tango One I don't know about." Lyssa agreed then keyed up. "Black Team secure. Be advised, Tango One, Two and Three unaccounted."

Bobby, Hunter, and Tiffany had just cleared the last room for the crew and were heading for the galley when Lyssa radioed in her report. As they entered the galley all hell broke loose. There was seven of the security detail sitting at one of the tables. They all reached for their HK-G36s. Bobby and Hunter both opened up with their M-249s. The two bursts of automatic fire dropped everyone at that table. With their cover of secrecy blow the two men turned their weapons on the rest of the crew there. Nine more crewmembers joined the security detail in the afterlife.

Tiffany keyed her mike. "Green One to Gold One. We're secure, but blown!"

"Roger that." Rodrick replied. "All Teams; execute DELTA. GO HOT!"

"Copy, Delta." Echoed multiple times.

Ram's Rock island;

"SHIT!" Dannigan roared.

Maria was confused, but certain everything had just gone wrong. "WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED?"

"Tiffany's team. They were discovered but finished securing their area. The Assault is now going to Delta. No more stealth. FULL ASSAULT." Kimberly informed the Sicilian Matriarch.

M/V Styx, the Bridge;

Hearing this, Sam and Annette targeted the weather deck crew and opened fire. In a few short seconds the six man detail was dead.

Sam turned to Krystel. "You've got the bridge. We'll handle anything coming this way. Just make sure to set the course for Wassaw National Wildlife Reserve."

Krystel nodded and pointed to the doors. "Dog those hatches. Apply the latches, they will only be opened by us then."

The two women did then moved to take up positions covering any approach to the bridge. Felicity started to tap her foot. This drew the attention of all three women. Once they were looking at her Felicity smiled, curtsied and tried to motion with her arms.

"What do think Two?" Krystel asked.

"Damned if I know. But I think she wants to help us." Sam said as Felicity tapped her foot again and curtsied, nodding her head smiling. "If I release your hands, you not going to do something stupid, are you?"

Felicity shook her head no and curtsied again.

"Alright, turn around." Sam pulled her knife and cut the speed cuffs.

Felicity smiled then went over to ship's deck lay-out chart. There she picked up a pen and started to circle positions on the chart. Once that was done she pantomimed being a soldier by saluting and pistol gesture.

Annette was the first to catch on. "Those are where all the guards are?"

Felicity pointed to her nose. Then she turned to another section between the bow and the first cargo hold. There she wrote Doctor and nurses.

"The medical staff is in that section?" asked Krystel.

Again Felicity pointed to her nose. Felicity then circled another area that covered whole decks there she wrote one word. All three women knew without a doubt what or who was in that area.

Krystel keyed her mike. "Blue One to All. Sierra November Charlies are in holds two through five, decks one through six. Decks seven and eight are Hotel November Charlies."

Annette explained to Felicity. "November Charlie means Non-Combatant. Sierra for Slave, like you. Hotel for Hostile."

Felicity wrote off to the side. "MAIDS! HELP US!"

"Blue Two to All. Sierra November Charlies will look like maids." Sam reported.

Felicity grabbed Sam's hand and kissed it as tears started to form in her eyes. She sniffed then motioned talking; a slashing motion across her throat pointed at her mouth and shook her head.

Krystel noticed. "Be advised. Sierra November Charlie's have been silenced permanently."

Krystel waited as each team reported in letting her team know they had received the Intel update. With that out of the way, Krystel turned her attention back to navigating the ship. The sounds of automatic gun fire reached them just as the forward bridge wind screens blow out. Sam and Annette looked out at the weather deck.

"Wondered when that was going to happen." Krystel remarked calmly then keyed her mic. "Blue One. Bridge now taking hostile fire from weather deck."

"Shit, someone got to the M-60s on the weather deck. Maid, keep your head down. Three, take out the port side 60. I'll handle the starboard side 60." Sam called out. The former assassin and deputy knew what had to be done. Even now they knew that they had to hold their position against what surely was going to be a rush of security troops.

"Take them out if you can. We're not in REAL trouble unless they break out those AT-4s." Krystel stated then looked over to Felicity who was kneeling on the floor for safety. "U.S. Navy, by the way."

Rodrick and Shawna found the first of the roving guards on deck one as they passed through the first hatch. Two shots later the guard was dead. As Rodrick and Shawna made their way through the lower decks they felt nothing. They were Operators and had a mission to complete.

Four decks up from where Rodrick was, Tiffany led Bobby and Hunter towards their next objective. With Bobby taking point and Hunter bringing up the rear, Tiffany had placed the firepower in position to handle anything. She had only made one mistake in her thinking. She had underestimated the anger and hatred Bobby had for one man. As they came to a cross corridor the mistake became apparent.

"Long time no see Everbrite. I take it that you have finally decided to come out and play?" the man in front of the team stood around six foot two and weighed close to two hundred and fifty pounds. "If you think I don't remember that camo pattern you have lost your fucking mind."

Signaling the other two to go around him and down the other corridor Bobby dropped his 249. "Oh I had hoped you would remember Simmons. I have been looking for your ass ever since Sar-e Pol."

"Green One. Tango Three located. Green Two engaging." Tiffany reported then smiled to Bobby. "Enjoy yourself, but don't be ALL night."

"No problem." Dropping his SABER beside the 249 Bobby slowly pulled the knife that Maria had given him. "Why don't we quite wasting time Zak? I figure you still have that bowie knife. Let's make this interesting."

Zak Simmons looked at his one-time platoon Sergeant and smiled. "You know something Sergeant, I have always wondered who was better with a knife. Then again; you never had the guts to get in close. You may be good as a sniper, but that's all you ever were. I am going to enjoy gutting you."

"Yeah Simmons you always were too full of yourself. The only reason you didn't go to Leavenworth is, I couldn't tie your ass to that mess in Sar-e Pol. Only a SICK fuck like you could get off on killing kids in their sleep. Shit, you didn't even have the balls to face CID. Nah, you just desert and drop off the face of the earth. Leaving me and the rest of the team to clean up behind your punk ass. It was kind of funny though, when the CO said he wouldn't cover your sorry, ate-the-fuck-up, useless ass again. You know, if you had put HALF the effort into truly learning to DO your job that you did to sucking up to the brass, you might have outranked me Zak. Now either surrender or shut the fuck up and fight. I prefer that you DON'T surrender." Bobby had goaded Simmons into moving first.

Simmons had already pulled his favorite bowie knife. He had carried it ever since he had deserted. Bobby looked at the knife in Zak Simmons hand. The blade was ten inches long, three inches wide with a full tang, and had a five inch handle.
It was a knife that Bobby knew all too well. "So it IS true. YOU were the one who killed Hans. What did you do, catch him with his back turned?"

Simmons didn't answer Bobby he just sneered and charged the deputy. There was nothing graceful or dance-like between these men. There was no difference in styles or technique. This knife fight came down to one thing; power, plain and simple. Whoever was the stronger and the luckier was going to be the victor. Bobby's knife flashed in the light of the corridor overheads. The eight inches of steel that made up the blade, were of the finest Toledo Damascus. While shorter by two inches than Simmons' own blade, Bobby's was easier to handle.

Both went at each other with an unbridled hatred that bordered on an obsession. A right cross to Simmons jaw snapped the man's head backward, while the kick delivered to Bobby's left hip drove him back. As Simmons staggered under Bobby's assault, Bobby was unable to push his momentary advantage. The two men squared off again in the tight confines of the corridor junction. With practiced movements, the two circled each other, each man looking for that all-important opening. The one that would give them the edge they would need to end this fight.

Bobby saw his opening when Simmons tried to force his way past Bobby's guard. Feinting to the right, Bobby stepped left and around Simmons thrust. That was all the opening Bobby needed. He plunged the knife his mother-in-law had given him deep into Simmons right side. The eight inches of Toledo Damascus steel slid home to the hilt, piercing Simmons' right lung. As Bobby pulled the dagger from Simmons' side; blood poured out as if from a hose. When Simmons staggered forward into the opposite wall, Bobby drove his dagger deep into Simmons' lower back.

Once again, Bobby's strike would cause more damage than one would expect. Then again, he came from a culture where knife fighting was taught at a young age. If Simmons could have screamed out in pain, he would have. Simmons felt the blade in his back tear through the soft tissue of his kidney and into his bladder. Bobby added insult to injury; twisting the blade as he yanked it out. He then plunged it back into Simmons' other kidney.

Bobby leaned in close to Simmons and whispered in his ear. "Should have STAYED fucking gone, Zak. This is for Franks, Everette, Bozeman, and Jenkins. Say hello to that rat-fuck, Carter, when you see him; in Hell!"

The next time Bobby drove his knife home into Simmons, it was to the base of his skull just behind Simmons right ear. The blade severed the man's spine from his brain, killing Simmons almost instantly.

Bobby pulled his blade free and let Simmons fall to the deck. "You got off light, you fuck. I should have turned you over to my wives for true justice, but I'll take what I can get."

Looking down at the knife in his hand Bobby remembered the words of Maria when she first gave it to him. "In your hands are justice and vengeance. Be sure of your hand when you use them. Remember always, that they cut both ways."

"This time it did cut BOTH ways mama Maria." Bobby said as he returned the knife to its sheath.

"Time to get back to work." Picking up his weapons Bobby shouldered the SABER first then readied the M-249 and reported in. "Green Two. Tango Three is down. Hard."

Bobby hurried to catchup with Tiffany and Hunter. He found them two decks up by following the sound of Hunter's 249 firing. As he came to stop behind them Bobby asked Tiffany what the situation was. Her reply did not fill him with happiness.

Tiffany said casually. "Blue Team is taking auto-fire from the weather deck bow-mounted 60s. We're pinned down here by the aft-mounted 60s."

"You don't seem too upset. Where are the rest of the teams?" Bobby asked.

"Gold Team is working their way forward using the lower deck passage ways. Black Team are handling the Medical Staff in the forward holds. So, Staff Sergeant Everbrite the REAL fun is about to begin!" Tiffany smiled.

"What do you have in mind?" Hunter asked.

Tiffany pointed to a hatch. "I'll draw their fire from there. You two circle around. Toss a frag into their positions and go in to mop up."

Bobby laughed. "Simple. I like it!"

"Let's move out." Tiffany giggled then keyed her mic. "Green One. Aft 60s will be down in seventy seconds!"

Forty-five seconds later she called out. "Green One. Going HOT!"

The two 60 gunners were surprised when auto-fire came from a hatch amid-ships. They swung to engage just as grenades bounced in front of them. Two explosions went off, followed by screams then auto-fire silenced them. The forward 60s stopped for a moment in the confusion. That gave Rodrick and Shawna time to pop up from ladder hatches and cut them down.

"Gold Team. Forward 60s down." Rodrick reported then addressed Shawna. "Gold Two, Green Team, disable 60s. Weather deck secure."

Quickly they pulled the firing pins and threw them overboard. Bobby and Hunter watched as Rodrick showed them how to Dog hatches. Between the five of them, the weather deck was now locked down.

"Gold One to Stronghold. Commencing full sweep. Black Team. SitRep." Rodrick called out over the radio.

Lyssa answered immediately. "Black One. Closing on Med Bay. Tango One and Two still unaccounted. Negative Sierra November Charlies. Contact Deck 5."

Lyssa and Pete took cover on either side of a water-tight door. Warlock crouched down below the knee-knocker. Pete took a quick glance, drawing more fire, and smiled.

"Guess what." Pete said.

Lyssa looked thoughtful then answered. "There's five of them?"

"Yep!" Pete laughed. "And the doors are CLOSED around them."

Lyssa let her SABER ride its sling. "That's helpful. Warlock verdecken."

The Belgian laid down low to take cover. Lyssa pulled a concussion grenade, pulled the pin, flipped the spoon off while counting then pitched it through the hatch.

"FUCK!" One of the hostile gunners yelled, a heartbeat before the grenade went off.

It felt like the whole ship shook from the blast. Steel groaned in protest and the auto-fire went silent, but what was left of the gunners screamed or moaned in agony. Half of a stick of TNT going off in such a confined area kept the shock waves from escaping. The result was the vulnerable men suffering severe blunt force trauma. In short, they were torn apart from the blast.

On the bridge Annette and Sam exclaimed together. "HOLY SHIT! WHAT WAS THAT?"

Felicity now looked truly afraid.

"Concussion grenade in passageway. Half a stick of TNT in a closed space." Krystel laughed. "Relax. It was above the waterline and away from the hull."

Ram's Rock Island, the T.O.C.:

"What happened?" Kasey asked off-mic.

Kimberly continued to watch the main screen. "Lyssa threw a concussion grenade in with the hostiles. It tore them apart. Lyssa, Warlock and Pete were protected by the bulkhead from the force."

"I have a satellite phone just come on." Madison reported.

"From the list?" Dannigan asked.

Madison replied. "Yes Sir. Tango One. Calling a burn phone in Washington."

"It’s on interception. I have the call." Kimberly reported then. "Hello?"

"Who is THIS?" a male voice demanded.

Kimberly answered. "Good morning Mister Stanfield. You have reached the Officers-In-Charge of the assault operation currently underway on that ship. You current status is: Fucked. We own the ship. You're finished."

The call went dead.

Maria was doing her best to hold back laughter at Kimberly's bluntness. "How rude? He didn't even say goodbye."

"Second phone powered up. On the list." Madison announced.

"Transfer to me." Dannigan said as the call was intercepted then answered. "Morning Terence."

"Arthur! I'm under attack on the Styx! Send someone that won't ask any questions NOW! I'll explain later." Stanfield exclaimed.

Dannigan pretended to be dull. "Terence, you're not doing something that could get us into problems with government circles, are you? Tell me you're not doing something that you used to do in the Agency out there."

"It’s better, making a LOT of money and getting the politicians in our pocket. Trust me, this is VITAL to us. I'll give you full details later today. You won't be sorry, just send reinforcements Arthur!" Terence Stanfield pleaded.

Dannigan chuckled. "I'm not Arthur Gavin, Terence. I'm the Officer-in-Command of the assault force that has taken over your ship. SEAL teams are doing the same with your other two ships and the ones under construction are being destroyed as we speak. No one is coming to save you. As the nut jobs with signs scream: 'The End IS NEAR' Terence."

The call went dead again. Kasey and Kristine had to cover their mouths to hold back laughter.

"I think you're enjoying this." Maria commented.

Dannigan shrugged. "You take the high points on the job when you get them Maria. Lucky for me, I'm easily amused."

M/V Styx;

Lyssa and Pete forced open the hatch. The medical personnel either forgot or didn't know how to dog the hatch. Nurses screamed in terror as the two Operators stormed in. Warlock saw the doctor and closed on him.

"Warlock, MANN VERNICHTEN!" Lyssa commanded between bursts.

The tactical dog leaped onto the man and brought him down then began to savage his neck amid screams. In seconds he went silent and still. The remaining staff fell to rifle fire from Lyssa and Pete. Several figures lay strapped to tables in various stages of recovery from physical modification. Two were in cages with tubes running from their arms to IV bags outside.

Pete went over and checked each bag he saw hanging and shook his head. "Some of these have antibiotic combined with a narcotic. The rest are narcotic. We should leave the IVs, just in case."

"Agreed. We have Gold Two, but they need real doctors. Leave the bags as is." Lyssa agreed then reported. "Black Team. Med Bay secure. It’s ugly."

Elsewhere on the ship, Rodrick and Shawna were pushing any stragglers down and deeper from the starboard side. Tiffany, Bobby and Hunter were doing the same from the port side. Rodrick and Shawna worked through the official prisoner area and made sure they could not be released. Tiffany, Bobby and Hunter found a slave conditioning area.

"Holy Shit!" Hunter exclaimed. "I think we found the Ninth Circle of Hell."

An automatic rifle and a heavy caliber pistol opened fire on them. Tiffany used hand signals to make intentions known. Bobby and Hunter nodded understanding and moved. Bobby moved around the right side of the room, Hunter went wide left. Tiffany kept the hostile fire focused on her position. The two men yelped in surprise when Bobby and Hunter popped into sight and caught them in cross-fire. The hostile guns went silent, followed by two double-taps.

"Ammo." Tiffany called out.

"Seven Main. Four each sidearms. Three frags, two concussion, two flash bangs and a breaching charge. Two belts Seven-Six-Two." Hunter called off.

Bobby checked. "Eight main. Six each sidearms. Three frags, two concussion, two flash bangs and a breaching charge. One belt Seven-Six-Two."

"Ok. Five main. Seven each sidearms. Five frags, three concussion, one flash bang and three breaching charges." Tiffany listed. "Resupply if available."

As Bobby was heavier on rifle rounds he passed over the fallen gunner's magazines. There were four so Hunter was given one as well. They all had the same number of magazines for the SABERs now. The three checked one more time and ensured none of the slaves were easily accessible. The team dogged the hatches as they went.

Tiffany reported. "Green Team. Hold Five. Deck Five secure, proceeding to Deck Four."

Rodrick and Shawna had pushed the three gunners down a deck. From Hold Two, Deck Four to Deck Three. Rats were being run forward and now down. Slowly but surely, one by one the hostile gunners were dropping like flies.

On the Bridge Annette looked over to Krystel. "Where are we?"

"Thirty miles out. We're in Territorial waters now. The ship is yours." Krystel informed them.

Felicity looked at the women in confusion. The woman that had said she was the Navy had such confidence, it made her want to cling to her. Instead she simply stayed sitting on the deck close to her and watch. None of them were giving any names. Only colors and numbers. Suddenly the handle of one hatch began to rattle. Felicity pressed her back to console in fear.

"We have company." Krystel commented.

Annette and Sam brought up their rifles and aimed at the door.

Krystel shook her head. "They can't open the hatch. The Fly controls out there are disabled. They'd need breaching charges or torches to open the door. And experience doing it. Keep watching the windows, that's the only way they could get in. Two, Starboard side. Three, Port side."

Felicity patted her own chest, asking what about herself.

"You can stay there. The panel will stop most rounds up to a Seven-Six-Two. That's on purpose. You're fine where you are." Krystel assured her.

Felicity nodded and felt relief. She looked around and as the woman watched she crawled over to a table, took a notepad and pen then crawled back and began to write.

'What about the other maids?' Felicity wrote and showed the note.

Krystel read it and answered. "One is secured in a locker and four more in a cabin by themselves. That makes six secured, including you. Anymore running around?"

Felicity shook her head then wrote. 'What will you do with us?'

Krystel read and answered. "The real authorities will get you into hospitals and deprogramming specialists."

Felicity scrawled quickly. 'BAD COPS!'

"Don't worry. The people that did this to you hide in shadows. We're going to throw a very BRIGHT light on it all. You're going to be on the news. The world is going to see what happened and find out why. You'll be safe then. All the main ones will be eliminated." Krystel told her.

'Preston Carstairs! He did this to me!' Felicity wrote and showed it to Krystel.

"Carstairs, huh? Two. She says Carstairs did this to her." Krystel announced.

Sam didn't even turn around. "She's got nothing to worry about. He's not doing anything important, like breathing. The wife too."

The words written were barely legible as Felicity held up the pad again, tears streaming down her cheeks. 'THANK YOU!'

Slowly the maid crawled across the floor to Sam, held up the pad and kissed her hand several times, silently sobbing. Annette waved to Krystel then pointed to the wall then her ear. Krystel waved her to back up several steps then shoot through the wall several feet.

Annette backed up then let loose with a long burst along the wall. The penetrator rounds punched through and two screams were heard.

"That worked." Annette commented as they heard yelling from outside to stay back.

Krystel remarked with a smirk. "I didn't think you'd want to let them get all the way to the window and start shooting then. It'd be like playing Whack-a-mole."

The former assassin looked over. "You're having fun?"

"Sure! Compared to humping through the Amazon jungle for a week, dodging snakes, scorpions, tarantulas and booby-traps then wiping out a Coke plantation; this is a DREAM." Krystel said bluntly.

Samantha frowned. "I wouldn't mind a bit of action."

Krystel pointed. "You can shoot those three guys on the weather deck going for a lifeboat."

Sam looked then set up her rifle and took three careful shots, dropping each man. "That's better!"

Felicity finally calmed down enough and wrote to Sam. 'I used to be a boy. I had a chance to send one email to a hacker friend. Told them about P.C. I guess friend told cops because they came. Bad Cops took me away the next day. Now I'm here.'

Sam read it. "You're the one! You sent the email to KMasterson2000!"

Felicity looked shocked and wrote. 'YOU KNOW?'

"Yes. We got the email and sent it to the Marshals. Carstairs got away though, but we found him. He won't hurt anybody ever again." Sam informed her.

Quickly Felicity scrawled and showed the pad. 'I'll be yours FOREVER if you want!'

Sam shook her head. "No. You deserve YOUR life back. You'll get it. I swear!"

On a new page Felicity wrote. 'Rat Catchers! Very Bad! 2! Zak! Blain! Killers!'

Sam read the note aloud.

"Zak is already dead. Blain will be soon." Sam told her.

Felicity shook her head then circled Blain's name and killer several times.

Sam said softly. "We have somebody that knows him. More dangerous than him. He's not getting off this ship alive."

Hold One, Deck One Warlock growled softly. Lyssa risked a peek around the corner then smiled to Pete.

"Pay dirt. Take Warlock and go back." Lyssa instructed.

Pete nodded and waved the Belgian tactical dog to follow. Warlock looked to Lyssa who waved to Pete. Warlock obeyed and followed the former Marine. Lyssa casually leaned against the bulkhead as the almost silent boot steps advanced. When the man gained the corner and spotted Lyssa He went to raise his pistol but she beat him to it and had him flat.

"Blain." Lyssa drawled. "Been a LONG time."

The ex-Operator stared intently. "Yeah?"

Lyssa faced him. "Oh yeah."

"I know that face. I heard you really did buy it. Some Rag found you and took you out in a car wreck. Either you really are The Immortal or you got reincarnated." Blain stated.

Lyssa chuckled. "I did step out of the light. And took my place, within the night. To Hell, my enemies I do send. For Death is my single, solitary friend. I of deepest, darkest faith."

"I am become Demon Wraith." Both said together completing the poem.

Lyssa frowned. "Ah, but that's NOT true Blain. You did not complete Kill Zone. You are not a Demon Wraith."

"I completed it. I just didn't come back with you assholes. I found a better offer." Blain smiled cruelly.

"That's exactly the point. You didn't come back and join us. You didn't share the faith." Lyssa pronounced then said firmly. "Unworthy; of US. We became nothing. You were not strong enough. You were as you are. A Fool."

Blain snarled. "And you're a chick now. That just means that instead of killing you outright; I'm gonna have a grand ol' time first. That's if I kill you at all. Padosa was going to sell you after he broke you. The Rags in the sandbox were willing to pay ten million for you. He paid me five. I bet I can get more than that now."

"Blain, you still think too highly of yourself. You're not entitled to a death by gun or knife." Lyssa laughed.

The deserter tossed his gun down. "Slug it out? You against me? Oh it’s ON! You all taught me everything."

Blain dropped his belt with the other pistol and knife. Lyssa slid the Jericho into its holster and beckoned him forward. He bounced lightly then feigned a punch and snapped out a kick. Lyssa snapped her own kick, connecting with his instep following with a punch to the opposite knee. Blain dropped with a grunt.

Lyssa looked down at him and said coldly. "We taught you everything YOU know. Not everything WE know. You didn't earn THAT before you ran away."

Blain bellowed and charged her. Lyssa stood patiently then pivoted as his fist flew forward. Her right arm diverted his and she rammed her boot forward into the side of his knee. A loud crack was heard, but was drowned out by Blain's scream. Lyssa had trapped the broken leg then flexed her own and rode him to the deck, holding his right wrist. With one knee in his back and the other trapping his broken leg, she wrenched his right arm back, around and up then twisted until it snapped loudly at the shoulder.

"FUCKING BITCH!" Blain yelled.

Lyssa dragged him up, by a handfull of hair, to kneel then walked around to stand in front of him. "You took kickboxing, Tae Kwon Do and Krav Maga. The fighting style used by myself and the other Demon Wraiths was created by me utilizing over 20 different styles. You never stood a chance."

Lyssa prepared him then brought down her strike, palm slamming his forehead. She had angled his head before the impact. Vertebrae in his neck crushed with loud crackling sounds. Blain tried to move, with a soft grunt, then a look of panic etched his face. She had paralyzed him completely.

"Bitch!" Blain hissed through clenched teeth.

Lyssa crouched down in front of him. "I destroyed Ramon Padosa. Slowly. I destroyed Alkowitz. Slowly. When I found out you were here; I turned down pay. I'm here, for FREE. This is the third time I've taken personal pleasure in killing. Past the gates and before the throne; I've been to Hell Blain. Now I send you."

The back-fist snapped Blain's head to the side with a loud crunch. Slowly he fell over, a look of disbelief on his face.

Lyssa keyed her mic. "Black One. Tango Two, Down."

On the bridge Krystel looked over to the maid. "Blain is dead."

Felicity flipped back to a page and held it up. 'THANK YOU!'

Ram's Rock Island, the T.O.C.;

"We're twenty minutes on the Assault clock. Give me a body count." Dannigan ordered.

Kimberly checked her terminal. "Forty-seven. Roster listed a compliment of thirty-five. Add Tango One, Two and Three; thirty-eight."

"There are too many not listed." Maria remarked. "How many are actually ON that ship?"

Dannigan shook his head. "That is now a GOOD question. Let's ask. Blue Team. Stronghold."

"Blue One, Go Stronghold Actual." Krystel replied.

Dannigan ordered. "You confirmed having a friendly on the bridge with you. Ask friendly how many hostiles actually aboard."

M/V Styx, the Bridge;

"Roger." Krystel answered but left her mic on. "Maid. How many enemies are on this ship? Do you know?"

Felicity wrote then showed. '50. crew, rat catchers, Stanfield. 50.'

"Friendly says five-zero total Stronghold Actual." Krystel reported.

Dannigan called out. "All units, body count is short Tango One plus two."

Krystel looked to Felicity. "Come show us on the deck chart where Stanfield hides."

Felicity jumped up, bounded over happily and pointed.

Krystel relayed the information. "Possible location Tango One: Hold Three Deck Five!"

"That's why he could reach satellites! That's just below the weather deck!" Dannigan said.

"All Teams. Converge on Hold Three Deck Five!" Rodrick ordered.

"COPY!" All teams but Blue answered.

Krystel looked over at Felicity. "Is there a computer array?"

Felicity nodded then motioned it was small then wrote. 'Small server. A slave works it. Slave will do anything told but don't touch.'

"Ok. Where is that at?" Krystel asked.

Felicity pointed to Deck Two of Hold Three then wrote. 'Please don't hurt Blank.'

"Blank? They named a slave 'Blank'?" Krystel asked.

Felicity shook her head and wrote. 'No. They call Blank Slave. We call Blank because Blank should have name. P.C. owned Blank.'

Krystel sighed. "You mean you and the other maids gave the name so he or she could have one. Carstairs owned Blank?"

Felicity nodded sadly and wrote. 'Help Blank?'

"We'll try. At the least, Blank will go into a hospital to stay safe. Just like all the others. If they can be helped to get their lives back, they will be. If not, they'll stay in a hospital to be safe." Krystel assured her.

Sam looked over. "What's your name? Or have you forgotten it?"

Felicity looked sad and wrote. 'Felicity now. I'll never be who I was again. Can't go back. Nothing there.'

"Carstairs named you that?" Sam asked and received a sad nod in answer. "You'll find a new name. One you like."

Below Deck the three teams gathered checking each compartment along the way, until one door remained. Rodrick reached down and tried the knob. It was locked. It was a metal door but not a water-tight hatch.

"Breaching charge." Rodrick whispered. "Ten seconds."

Hunter pulled his out and pressed it just under the knob. He set the timer and activated it then moved away.

Ten seconds later it went off with a loud bang, warping the door and blowing it inward. A moment later two automatic rifle let loose a barrage. They began to alternate so they could reload. Lyssa and Warlock edged forward to the door. Rodrick, Pete and Shawna stacked behind her and signaled readiness. On the other side Bobby took position with Tiffany behind him followed by Hunter.

"Flash bang." Lyssa mouthed then nodded inside.

Bobby nodded and took one from his vest. He pulled the pin, flipped off the spoon then pitched it inside. A second later there was a loud band and bright flash. Both rifles opened up.

"WARLOCK! VERNICHTEN!" Lyssa ordered and followed him inside.

Bobby followed Lyssa then Rodrick, Tiffany, Shawna and Hunter. Warlock how leaped onto one man. Bobby opened up on the other. The whole group tore the two men apart with auto-fire. Leaving one Terence Stanfield hiding behind his desk. Rodrick strode over and slammed the butt of his rifle to the man's face, knocking him out. His hands were secured anyway.

"Two Hotel Charlies down. Tango One Secure!" Lyssa announced over the comm.

Rodrick reported. "Ship secure! Assemble on the Bridge."

Minutes later Sam opened the hatch and the teams entered. Stanfield was shoved roughly inside. Krystel went over and whispered to Lyssa and Rodrick. He nodded.

"Gold Two, Blue One. Secure that computer server. Green One, Green Three. Recover the Sierra November Charlies and bring them to the Bridge. Double Time!" Rodrick ordered.

Several minutes later five maids, holding each other's hands followed Tiffany onto the Bridge with Hunter right behind them.

"There you go. Safe and sound." Tiffany said to Felicity.

Felicity smiled then curtsied to her and ran over to the others and began to hug them. Timidly they hugged her back. Soon they were communicating with crude hand gestures. Stanfield had been forced into a chair. Rodrick had brought along a laptop and turned it on then connected to their own transmitter. Dannigan came up on the screen.

"Go ahead Stronghold Actual." Rodrick stated.

Dannigan nodded. "Blue One is in their system and Gemini is going through it. Should be done in a few more minutes. Terence Stanfield. You should have given up when the first shot was fired. All those guys you had are toast. Your dog-shit empire is about to go completely under. The money and power was too much for you Terence. The Agency shelved the Lock-Box Program for a reason you dumb-ass. Personally I'm at a loss for a method of death you truly deserve. I am OPEN to suggestions."

"Hang his ass." Bobby commented.

Tiffany suggested. "Throw him to the sharks?"

"Let all these poor souls have at him." Annette said.

Sam looked around. "We're on a ship? What's the worst thing sailors ever did to somebody?"

"Keel-hauled them." Rodrick answered then explained. "At the bow of the ship the guy is let down on two ropes by the wrists. His weight takes him down to the water and then the water pressure holds him against the bow as he submerges under until he's under the ship against the keel. That was the punishment for piracy and mutiny."

"We could let these girls decide." Lyssa offered.

"I like that idea." Maria remarked.

Dannigan nodded. "So do I. Ladies can you hear me?"

Felicity nodded quickly while the others did hesitantly.

"Copy that Actual." Rodrick stated.

"Have them designate a spokesperson for the group and inform us." Dannigan suggested.

Felicity retrieved her notepad then passed it and the pen around. She then handed it to Rodrick.

"As follows, 'we are afraid. Will anything happen to us?' end message." Rodrick read.

"Let them see me." Dannigan ordered.

Rodrick nodded to them then gestured for them to stand in front of the screen.

Dannigan could see them on a separate screen. "Hello. My name isn't important. You will never see me or my people again. The plan is to run the ship aground in a public place where the news media will be waiting. You'll be able to tell them your stories. By doing that, you'll be protected by the general public. Terence Stanfield is under a Lethal Finding. The government has determined that he should be killed as he is too dangerous to live for a trial. Do you understand what I've just told you?"

Slowly they all nodded.

"Are they too afraid to even speak?" Dannigan asked.

Sam spoke up. "Sir. They were intentionally silenced permanently."

Dannigan exploded with fury. "STANFIELD YOU BASTARD! YOU'RE LUCKY I'M NOT ON THAT SHIP!"

"I SHARE THAT SENTIMENT!" Maria agreed then addressed the maids. "Girls. Please do not let our anger at him confuse you. Also do not let my sorrow over what has been done to you be mistake for pity. You have survived a horrible ordeal. Please feel relief. You have been rescued. I would very much like for you to gather up whatever last bit of strength you have together, and choose a punishment you feel he deserves to receive. You may have whatever revenge you see fit to carry out."

The maids looked at each other and slowly began to gesture among themselves. Finally they began to nod. Felicity pointed to Rodrick. One by one they each nodded. Felicity turned and pointed to Rodrick.

"What? I said Keel-haul." Rodrick stated.

Felicity nodded after looking back to the others and receiving nods.

Dannigan spoke up. "Seems to me they like the idea. Is that what you want ladies?"

Felicity turned to the screen and nodded.

"When the ship runs aground he'll be crushed, if he isn't shredded. Still like it?" Rodrick asked.

Felicity looked over at Stanfield and nodded. Krystel and Shawna came back in.

"Felicity. Blank is sitting in a room by himself. He's not hurt." Krystel informed her. "I could tell Blank is a he."

Felicity took Krystel's hand and kissed it.

"Actual, Blue One. There is a slave here that is a computer specialist. The maids dubbed him Blank, but he was never given a designation. He was previously in Preston Carstairs' custody. Blank may be non-recoverable from conditioning." Krystel reported.

Dannigan sighed. "If that is the case then D.A.R.P.A. will need to take custody of this Blank. They may be able to help, or at the least, keep him out of trouble. Felicity?"

Felicity turned to the screen and patted her chest to signify her name.

"Very well. Felicity as you have become the spokesperson for the group, Blank will be temporarily entrusted to your care." Dannigan stated then took a paper handed to him and read. "A Doctor Samuel Forester of D.A.R.P.A. is being notified right now. Just a moment. Here's his picture."

The screen split in half and a pleasant looking man appeared for a few moments as Felicity stared intently then went back to regular screen.

"Got him?" Dannigan asked then continued at her nod. "Outstanding. The media are being notified right now. There will be at least six video crews at your destination. You have twenty minutes left. The team will be leaving in ten. Follow their instructions. You won't see us again, but we will be watching. Gold One; take charge of Stanfield's, just desserts."

Sam spoke up. "Before you sign off Sir. Might I have a moment? Felicity please stay. You can join the others in a moment."

Dannigan nodded and waited. Rodrick led the other maids out while Bobby and Hunter dragged Stanfield behind them. Shawna and Pete went to find the ropes needed. When only Sam, Krystel and Felicity remained Sam looked to the screen.

"Could Gemini One please come on?" Sam asked.

Dannigan remarked. "Unusual request Blue Two."

Sam nodded. "Yes Sir, but it’s very important."

Dannigan waved off camera and a young girl in a school uniform stepped into view.

Sam said. "Felicity sent out a single email call for help. That email broke open the case against Preston Carstairs. It went to KMasterson2000. Felicity, meet KMasterson2000."

Felicity lunged for the screen with a smile and began to silently cry. She was trying to communicate with her hands but became flustered and frustrated.

"Wait. You sent me the warning? Kenny? Is that you Kenny?" Kristine asked.

Silently sobbing, Felicity nodded.

Kristine turned to speak to somebody. "Enable the keyboard and let us see it on this monitor."

A moment later Kristine nodded. "You can type now."

Felicity began typing furiously. 'Thank GOD! I was so worried about you. They were after some kid too. They didn't get him did they? Are you ok? You work for the government now? These people are the government aren't they?'

"Yeah Kenny. These people are the government. I can't tell you who we are though. That's classified. That kid is safe. I'm very safe. Actually, that's my mom behind you." Kristine informed her. "I'm not a hacker anymore. I'm a cyber-warfare specialist. When I'm not grounded."

Felicity typed. 'I won't tell ANYBODY! I'm just glad you're ok. You're really pretty! They did really bad things to me, K. REALLY BAD! I don't even know what my family thinks happened to me.'

Kristine looked sad. "Your Dad didn't do so good. After he lost his company he went in a bad direction. I'm sorry Kenny, but he OD'ed. I don't know what happened to your mom. She went off-grid."

'Thanks for being able to tell me that much. We're all scared what is going to happen to us. Some of the maids had it worse than me. Blank had it the worst. I don't know what happened to Blank but Blank can't even feed self. Has to be force fed baby food with a syringe. Water too. Only thing Blank does do for self is go to the bathroom.' Felicity typed.

Kristine nodded. "Blank will be taken care of. I trust this man. If he says it'll happen, it’ll happen. This is the last time we ever talk. I'll know what you get into, but you won't know about me. Good luck and trust me on this, when they bring in the shrinks, make the most of it! You're all going to need lots of help. Don't be afraid, use the news people too. Get on as many as you can. Just don't talk about us. Make sure the other girls know too. They can't talk about us. Good luck Kenny. Or maybe I should say Good luck Kendra."

Felicity blinked then typed. 'Kendra. Yes. I'll be Kendra! Thanks!'

"Very well, Kendra. Go join the others. You'll be in charge shortly." Dannigan said then the screen went blank.

Kendra rushed down to the weather deck and joined the others at the bow. Terence Stanfield was just being lowered past the edge of the rail.

"NO! NO! YOU CAN'T DO THIS TO ME! I OWN YOU ALL! OBEY ME! GRACE! FELICITY! BRING ME BACK UP NOW! Stanfield shouted.

Kendra grabbed the tail end of the rope and flung it down then yanked, whipping him with it. One of the others did the same with the other rope's end. The maids started lowering more. They held when his feet began catching at the water then teased him by letting him drop into the water and pulling back. They did this several times then let him stay until the pull from the drag could be felt and began letting more slack. Finally, his head went under and they stopped. He struggled to pull himself up but the water sucked him back down. With smiles the ropes were tied off there. And they watched over the rail as he kept trying to hold himself above water. Waves splashed up regardless and the drag kept trying to take him under. He tired quickly and began to go under more, staying longer.

The maids began to clap when his struggles became too much for him. He went under again and did not resurface. At Rodrick's encouragement they gave out more slack and tied off again.

"He won't come back up. That's it for him." Rodrick stated. "Let's go back to the Bridge."

The large group trouped back up.

"SitRep." Rodrick said to Krystel.

Krystel snapped to attention. "Aye Sir. We're ten miles out Skipper. Helo inbound, four mikes. Auto-pilot engaged and on-course. All gear is ready for load-out. Comms are down. All electronics are vulnerable. Media is on-site, waiting for the show. Ready for extract."

Sam turned to the maids. "Ok. Felicity, now Kendra, is in charge. Here's your instructions. Follow them to the letter. None of you will see us again, but we'll be watching you. You're safe now. Talk to the media, get your stories out. Get as much medical help as you can. Good luck."

"You're on your own now. Take care of yourselves and each other." Rodrick said.

Kendra looked to the others then smiled and saluted. The other maids did too.

The team chuckled and returned it.

"Carry on." Rodrick said. "Let's go." The team began to file out.

Krystel beckoned Kendra over and pointed to a switch. "When the ship stops moving. Hit that until you get sick of it. It’s the horns. Drive everybody nuts! The ship is on auto, all you have to do is wave to the people on the shore." With a wink Krystel left.

Moments later a large helicopter hovered low enough over the deck and the maids watched the mysterious, kind soldiers leave. Just as they began to feel fear again they saw flashing lights and a siren.

"AHOY STYX! HEAVE TO! YOU ARE ON-COURSE TO RUN AGROUND!" A voice called out over a speaker. "U.S. COAST GUARD! STYX, HEAVE TO! YOU ARE ON-COURSE TO RUN AGROUND!"

The freed maids looked out the windows and waved, smiling to the small boat. In the distance they could see lights from what looked like cars. Finally there was a loud crash and grinding sound as the ship shook violently. Kendra didn't wait for it to stop and hit the horns. She held the button until a sailor came up to move her hand away as news crews swarmed the Bridge.

"WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU ALL?"

----- To be continued -----



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