is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are a
product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any
resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations or persons,
living or dead is entirely coincidental.
2012, 2017 by AR Moler
illustration by P.E. Ash
in the Division P universe
From a Height
Fret the Timing
and End With You
LD50 of Memories
(Coming in 2017)
When an F/A-18 is
catapulted from the deck of an aircraft carrier, plane and pilot go
from zero to 165 mph in two seconds.
the land to air rocket (LAR) hit the jeep, it exploded in a ball of
fire and shrapnel. Navy SEAL Captain Jonas Nightengale was running
full tilt away from the vehicle as it happened. The force of the
explosion picked him up and hurled him a dozen feet through the hot
afternoon air of Caracas. He hit the ground with the shoulder of his
jacket in flames. One of his teammates, Tim Parrish, scrambled from
cover and grabbed Nightengale's limp body, rolling him over in the
dirt and beating the flames out. Dodging spurts of gunfire, the
second Navy SEAL pulled his injured comrade behind the relative
shelter of the closest building and quickly checked to see if Jonas
was still alive. Parrish found a pulse that was weak and fast and.
Nightengale was breathing in shallow gasps. A palm sized slice of
metal was embedded in the side of the injured man's thigh and he was
also bleeding freely from an evil looking gash in his forehead above
his left eye. Nightengale lay like a rag doll, half draped over
hit bad. What's the ETA on the chopper?" Parrish said, tapping
in five," was the reply.
the chopper, a corpsman named Dawson applied a pressure bandage to
the deep gash in Nightengale's thigh and grabbed the gear to start an
IV. Jonas was rousing somewhat and thrashing erratically .
Captain! You're safe," said the corpsman. Jonas let out a roar
of pain and struck out at the person nearest to him. His fist caught
the corpsman in the side of the face and flung him back against the
bulkhead of the chopper.
him!" yelled Parrish. It took both him and another SEAL to
restrain Nightengale enough to strap him down to the cot bolted to
the side of the helicopter. The injured man continued to struggle.
you give him something to calm him down?" demanded Parrish.
can't give him any of the usual stuff. Nightengale's allergic to most
of it. It'd send him into anaphylactic shock. I am going to dose him
up with some morphine though. I think between the head injury, the
leg and the burn, he's in a hell of a lot of pain." Dawson
finally managed to get a line in then pulled out a syringe and
stabbed it into Nightengale's IV.
injured man's struggles slowed. Oxygen wasn't available, and neither
were any other drugs that might have helped. Controlling the
bleeding, delaying shock as best he could and giving some pain relief
was about all Dawson could do for the next twenty minutes. He got
Parrish to help him tuck a Mylar blanket around Nightengale and hoped
for the best.
balanced on his legs, Dr. Mason Flynn sat in the Norfolk airport,
nervously awaiting take-off to fly to Pensacola. Peter Vithoulkas,
Division P's senior healer, had "requested" that Mason go
there to care for an injured Navy SEAL who was also a Division P
operative. Although the man had not been injured on a Division P
assignment, his condition had been declared critical. There had been
a bigger and bigger push lately by the Division P staff to insure
that their own people had psi specific medical care.
skimmed down through the somewhat cryptic and sketchy information
that had been sent to him via email. The SEAL's name was Jonas
Nightengale and he'd been on an anti-terrorist assignment in Caracas
when he had apparently been caught far too close to an exploding
vehicle. The field corpsman's original report listed a shrapnel
injury to the left thigh and a burn to the back and left shoulder
with an estimate of ten percent body surface for the burn. The left
shoulder was dislocated, and there was a head injury that had left
the soldier extremely disoriented and combative. Nothing further
could be assessed about the head injury until the man reached a
hospital on the mainland. Judging from a list of erratic vitals,
things were further complicated by what Mason translated as psi
was a different sort of information contained in the next section of
the email. Jonas' specialty for Division P was psychometry, the
ability to gain information from touching an object. He also had some
lesser empathic/telepathic Talents, and he was listed as
un-partnered. This tidbit made Mason pause. Did that mean somewhere
in his own file, Mason was listed as partnered? And did it designate
Cameron Bradshaw as that partner? Mason smiled a little at the
thought. Division P was one of the few places where he and Cam could
be open about their relationship.
starting to do board," said Danny Valentine. He was traveling
with Mason for a mixture of security and support reasons. The six
foot four blond man was Division P's east coast chief of operations.
He wore a dark suit, a bland gray tie and a white shirt. Aviator
style mirrored sunglasses were pushed up on his head. Mason thought
Danny looked very "MIB." Although Mason was intimately
familiar with the standard procedures of a hospital, part of Danny's
role this time was to make Mason's access to the patient as smooth
and rapid as possible in the military setting.
in the summer, a Division P agent had died despite belated heroic
efforts by Peter Vithoulkas. Part of the fiasco was attributed to
delayed access to care by a psychic healer or anyone who knew the
peculiar dangers psi talents were prone to. The entire goal of this
trip was to prevent another such death.
powered down his laptop and tucked it into its case. "How long
is this flight supposed to take?" he asked Valentine.
two hours I think. Cam suggested I should get you drunk before take
off," Valentine teased.
gritted his teeth and made a face at Valentine. He'd spent more time
flying in the last six months than in the last six years, and he
loathed every fucking minute of it. Yeah, white knuckled flyer just
about described him to a tee.
you going to be okay? Or do I need to hold your hand?" Valentine
knew that Danny was involved with both Peter Vithoulkas and some
woman who Mason had never met. He also knew Danny would actually hold
his hand if he freaked out that badly, but Mason swore to himself
that he could cope. He would much rather have been traveling with
Cam. His lover, the adrenaline junkie F/A-18 pilot, would have
happily held his hand, kissed him or done whatever he could to
fine," Mason said tersely.
down the hallway to the plane entrance, Mason ducked through the
doorway; being tall occasionally had some real disadvantages .
took a recitation of the alphabet, naming bones in the body, and
about eight other self control techniques to get Mason through the
take off. He spent the flight reading CVs and cover letters for
orthopedic surgeons. With all the responsibilities Mason had
shouldered in joining Division P, the orthopedic practice he was part
of was getting the short end of the stick some weeks. After much
discussion with the other two partners in the practice, the decision
had been made to start hunting for a fourth doctor. Spreading out the
patient load would help everybody. Finding the right person to mix
with three hard headed doctors who already knew each other well
enough to tolerate each other's personality quirks was going to be
reading through all the information supplied by the applicants for
the orthopedic position, Mason's thoughts turned back to the
"partner" entry in Jonas' file. Jonas Nightengale, the
patient, was Navy just like Cam. What would happen if Cam got injured
during something he was doing for the Navy? Mason certainly wasn't
listed as next-of-kin on any military record. Would Division P step
in and get hold of him? Obviously Division P had been notified in
some way in Jonas' case. The idea of Cam lying in some military
hospital, critically wounded, and dealing with the very real
potential of psi shock was a sobering thought.
breathed a heavy sigh of relief when the plane touched down. Neither
he nor Danny had more than carry-on luggage and if they were lucky
the SEAL would be stable enough for transport in the next twenty-four
through the airport, Mason called Cam. "Hey, I'm on the ground
you doing okay?" Cam sounded slightly concerned.
fine. Danny even volunteered to hold my hand if I had a panic
brought a chuckle from Cam. "I'm gonna swipe your car tonight
and bring a couple of boxes of stuff over."
I get back, we have to decide if we're trying to merge furniture or
storing some of it," replied Mason. Only in the past few days
had Cam agreed to move in with Mason, and Mason was blissfully
pleased with the idea.
don't have a whole lot, you know, and most of it's cheap crap.
Anyway, we'll sort it out."
me tonight sometime. Let me know how it's going. Oh and remember to
eat something," Cam admonished.
will," promised Mason.
had arranged for a car to take them directly to the NAMI hospital
from the airport. They had been told Jonas Nightengale was being
flown in from the other direction, back to the U.S. in a cargo plane.
Once that plane landed, Nightengale would be transferred to a
helicopter that would bring him directly to the hospital. Hopefully,
this would get the injured man to Mason in the minimum amount of
never went according to plan.
the time Danny and Mason reached the hospital, Jonas had already been
there for half an hour and was in the middle of having a CT scan done
to assess his head injury. The military doctors refused patient
access to both Danny and Mason. Valentine was pissed, and judging
from the look on Mason's face, the doctor was worried.
took three phone calls and an additional half hour to begin to clear
the problem. The staff neurologist condescended enough to allow Mason
to view the CT scan results while the powers that be negotiated.
skimmed down through the CAT scan results on Nightengale. There was
evidence of a tiny amount of bleeding in the brain. Mason's neurology
knowledge was limited, but it didn't seem sufficient to account for
Jonas' continued unconscious state. The initial exam records from the
hospital indicated he was currently scoring about a six on the coma
scale. Jonas would occasionally open his eyes in response to pain and
periodically make sounds indicating discomfort. He would flex or
withdraw from pain when his injuries were being examined and
bandaged, but there had been no coherent communication.
suspected psi shock was a key player in Jonas' status in combination
with all the injuries. Damn, he needed to get access to Jonas. There
were potentially things that he could do for Jonas that conventional
medicine wasn't capable of.
saw Danny striding back down the hallway toward him.
joy?" Mason asked.
finally. Let's head for ICU, I managed to get Director Bottman to
yank the appropriate strings."
Nightengale was propped up on his side to eliminate pressure on his
badly burned shoulder. Approaching the bed, Mason immediately curled
a couple of fingers around Jonas's wrist. It was a useless gesture
from the traditional medicine point of view; the EKG display was less
than three feet away. For a healer, though, the touch provided a
wealth of information. God…Jonas was a serious mess, Mason
instantly decided. Behind Mason, Danny pulled the curtain shut.
whatever you need to. I'm here to run interference," said Danny.
nodded and grabbed a stool that was pushed against the wall. He sat
beside his patient and let the assessing part of his Talent scan
Jonas in greater detail. Everything he was noting reinforced his idea
that a profound case of psi shock was complicating all the physical
injuries. The patient records indicated that Jonas had stopped
breathing three separate times, gone into V-tach once and his blood
pressure had been all over the place. Mason focused on settling
Jonas's nervous system as a first task.
unguarded touch must have been pure pain for the injured man. Mason
gently touched the steri-strips holding the gash above Jonas' eyebrow
shut, letting warm energy soothe raw hypersensitive nerves. He
continued down the length of Jonas' face and on to his throat,
damping pain as he went.
psi did their own thing a little differently. Danny watched Mason
working his magic on Jonas. The dark haired healer sat close to
Jonas, both hands on his patient. Danny noted that Mason's eyes were
open, even if they appeared to be focused on some spot of imaginary
importance on the bed sheet. Danny compared that to his lover Peter,
Division P's wunderkind healer. Peter had a tendency to close his
eyes and just let his fingers do the walking when he was healing
also noticed the dampness of sweat beginning to stain Mason's blue
dress shirt, a sign of the energy Mason was expending. He'd have to
keep a close watch on that. He was aware that Peter believed Mason
had some control issues, but Danny wasn't sure just how much of that
was overprotective paranoia and how much was real. Danny had been
away on business during the summer when Peter had damn near killed
himself trying to save the life of another Division P agent.
Danny said softly. There was no response and Danny wasn't certain if
that was due to sheer concentration or something more dangerous.
"Mason, should I go get you some food? Or a soda?" asked
Danny, laying a careful hand on Mason's shoulder.
finally looked up. "Um, a soda would be good. Coke if they've
be back in a few minutes."
that Jonas' nervous system was settling into a calmer state, Mason
paid more attention to Jonas' mental presence and not just the
crucial things like heart rate and blood pressure.
kept seeing the same little flutter of images. They certainly weren't
his; they had to be Jonas's. A hand holding a deformed bullet on a
chain and a woman's face being touched by a male hand. Mason held the
injured SEAL's hand in his own and looked at the shape of the
fingers. The hand in both images was Jonas's. What did the bullet
mean? Mason had the impression it was something Jonas kept with him,
something intensely personal and somehow connected to the woman.
Maybe when Danny got back, Mason could ask him if Jonas had had any
personal effects with him when he arrived at the hospital. In theory,
barring clothing which usually got cut off, anything else would go
into an envelope to be returned to the patient later; or the family
who was the woman? Mason pondered. There were hints of strong
emotional attachment to the woman but nothing hinted at a name or a
location. Sister? Girlfriend? Wife was not a possibility; otherwise
she would have been listed on Jonas' files with Division P. Anyone
who cared deeply for Jonas could potentially help draw him back to
consciousness. Mason wished he knew who the woman was.
pushed all those thoughts to the side for the moment, and began to
focus what needed healing first. The burn in combination with the
dislocation had done some serious damage to Jonas' shoulder. The
ligaments were torn enough that surgery was going to be necessary to
return the shoulder to even close to normal functionality. The deep
gash in Jonas' leg had been stitched and was the least of the
injuries. Mason focused on the burn. Surgical repair on the shoulder
would have to wait until they got back to the Division P complex.
was still sitting beside his patient when Danny returned. Danny stood
watching for a moment. The heart monitor was now a nice steady even
beep, hopefully evidence that Mason's healing skills were improving
the whole situation.
your Coke," Danny said, offering it to Mason.
I get you to open it for me? I don't want to take both hands off him
at the moment."
Danny popped the top on the can, and handed it to Mason. "How's
There's shouldn't be any more apneic episodes or V-tachs, but he's
still in pretty bad shape. Psychically and mentally, he's almost
catatonic. I know it was probably a defense mechanism brought on by
the injuries and the morphine and way, way too many people touching
him. I'm not as good on the telepathic end as Peter, but I keep
getting these little snips of memory." Mason went on to explain
about the bullet and the woman.
think the bullet thing is something he may have had on him out on the
field?" Danny asked.
gulped some of the soda. "I think it's likely, kind of like a
good luck charm."
ask the nurses where his personal effects are."
took Danny about ten minutes to find the correct person to ask. The
personal items had been stored differently than usual because among
them was a K-Bar knife, a Leatherman and 9mm. In among the rest of it
was a spent slug wrapped in a tight coil of wire and suspended from
an inexpensive chain. Danny took it back to show Mason.
think we need some very specific help with this, namely your partner
Cam," said Danny.
mouth quirked into a slight smile, "That is his thing, but he's
going to need to touch it to have any hope of finding the woman."
know, so step one's going to be getting him down here to put hands on
this little thing, since I can't exactly just fax it to him."
you think the woman's in California? That's where Jonas is
stationed," Mason replied.
don't know. Jonas travels a lot, between SEAL team assignments and
the stuff he does for us, she could be almost anywhere."
we have a backup plan if finding her proves to be a time consuming
has parents. If this takes more than twenty-four hours to even get
going, I'll resort to flying them down here. They've already been
notified anyway. I'd just rather deal with them on my terms back in
flung over his shoulder, Cam managed to get a last minute spot on a
MAC flight from Norfolk to Pensacola. As the plane took off, he
closed his eyes and let his thoughts drift. Jobs for Division P were
unpredictable. Some were fairly easy, some not. On the surface this
sounded like one of the easier ones. Find a woman who Captain
Nightengale had a strong emotional attachment to and bring her to the
injured man. The details gnawed at Cam a little though. Only because
Jonas was Division P was there even an awareness that psi shock was a
contributing part of his current medical problems. Only people like
Peter and Mason knew just how badly this could affect the injured
agent, and how much a lover or understanding family member was
brought Cam's thoughts around to his own military existence, barring
Division P intervention to notify Mason if anything happened to Cam,
he was stuck with his own next of kin, his brother, Shea. That crazy
bastard had taken seven weeks to get around to contacting Cam after
his nearly fatal motorcycle accident. Cam wanted to be able to list
Mason as his emergency contact, but hadn't yet dared approach that
problem. There was political wrangling going on in DC to get rid of
the insanely stupid DADT, but nothing more than some positive
recommendations for its abolishment had happened yet. Cam wasn't
holding his breath.
touch was unfamiliar, but it didn't hurt. He wasn't sure why. Jonas
could hear beeping and the sounds of people walking but opening his
eyes felt like an impossible task. He could tell there was someone's
hand on his wrist.
Come on, open your eyes for me," a male voice prompted.
was hard. He was too tired, too disoriented. There had been a lot of
hands and every single one of them had felt like they were dragging
claws through his body.
safe. You're in a hospital," the man said.
squeezed Jonas' fingers. It took another eternity to force his eyes
open. He saw a man with short dark hair in front of him.
one of the Division P healers. My name is Mason," said the man.
"I'm going to take care of you until we can get you back to
blinked. He thought he should probably nod or something but the
thought slipped away as the world faded. He wished Sarah was here.
stepped back into the ICU cubicle, tucking his phone back in his
pocket. "Cam's en route. Did I hear you talking to Jonas?"
Danny asked, hoping for a more visible improvement in the injured
turned his head. "He was just barely conscious for a moment. His
body's still struggling pretty hard. He had enough comprehension to
realize my touch doesn't hurt, but that's about it."
still sounds like a step in the right direction. You've been through
the whole psi shock haven't you; back at the beginning of the summer,
when that whole missile thing was going on?"
Physically, I was hurt a whole lot less than Jonas, but I reacted
pretty badly. Having Cam around… definitely helped me pull through
this woman is in Jonas' thoughts as messed up as he is, I think the
emotions he has for her must be pretty strong."
agree. You… have a… um… there's somebody in your life in
addition to Peter, yes?" Mason asked.
smiled. "Yeah, her name's Jennifer. Peter and Jen and I… it's
a good thing. Does the three-way thing bug you?"
It's just unusual."
should introduce you and Cam to Jen next time she's down from
Baltimore. She's amazing."
said a familiar voice.
looked up from his weary focus on his patient to see Cam standing a
few feet away. The man was wearing blue and gray digi-cams. A
backpack dangled from one hand. Mason stood up and almost let himself
cross the room to kiss his partner, but the comprehension of the
uniform sank into Mason's head and he stopped himself.
got down here pretty fast," said Mason. Cam stuck out his hand
and gave him an oh-so-brief one armed hug. Mason sighed, internally
wishing for more, but knew that wasn't going to happen, not in a Navy
got me a last minute seat on a MAC flight," Cam said.
did any box moving actually occur before you left?"
That's all I had time for and they're dumped in the middle of your
den. How's he doing?" Cam gestured toward Jonas.
by. I've got him fairly stable but it wouldn't take very much to send
him spiraling downward," Mason admitted. "It would be
easier to cope at the complex, but the fastest we can get a plane
capable of transporting a stretcher and the necessary equipment is
tomorrow evening." Mason glanced at his watch. It was past
midnight. "Actually I guess that should be late today."
look beat. Have you eaten?"
mom. Danny's been keeping tabs on me every couple hours."
gave him a smirk. "So where's this magic bullet?"
pointed at a cart. On the top, along with a tote of medical equipment
lay the object, inside of two nested zip-locks. Danny had protected
the item from any further touching once he and Mason had decided it
was an object of importance.
it okay if I touch Nightengale so I can sort out his presence from
any others?" Cam asked.
had to think about that one for a moment. Cam was obviously psi. It
shouldn't pose the same hazards as letting a head blind hospital
staff member touch Jonas. "A light touch should be okay I
walked over to Jonas bedside and pressed a couple of fingers gently
to Jonas' hand. He was silent and still for a minute before he lifted
his hand away.
harm done?" Cam asked.
put his own hand back on Jonas. There was only a slight waver in the
stability of Jonas' nervous system. "He's okay."
picked up the baggies and carefully opened them, dumping the bullet
and chain out into his hands.
had to be one of the oddest keepsakes that he'd ever used to try and
locate someone, Cam thought as he looked at the slug. He closed his
eyes and let his Talent explore the deformed bullet. There was an odd
mix of connections attached to it, and it took several minutes for
Cam to sift away the impression of Jonas' presence. Beneath, he
sensed a female link. The bullet had significance to the woman,
although Cam's ability to identify what that importance might be, was
weak. She was neither close nor far away. It took another segment of
time to try to decide what range he was feeling. It had to be east
coast he decided, the pull would have been less if it had involved
laid the bullet and its chain down.
luck?" asked Mason.
some. I need to let the information cook in my brain for an hour or
so. I can tell you she's north of here, somewhere on the order of a
thousand miles. Has Jonas been to DC in the past year?"
don't know. That's a question for Danny. He has access to all of
Jonas' military and Division P records."
don't suppose you can take a break?" Cam pointed at Jonas.
really. If a nurse walked in here and started taking his vitals, I'm
not sure it would turn out very well," Mason said.
the sooner you can get him back to the complex the better it seems.
Where'd Danny go? Bathroom break?"
and a leg stretch I think. He should be back soon."
Danny returned, he called up Jonas' records on his laptop for Cam.
"Nightengale was in Frederick, Maryland at Fort Detrick, on
assignment for us about a month ago. Do you think he met this woman
sounds possible. Get me on a MAC flight to DC and I'll rent a car and
drive the rest of the way," said Cam. It wasn't an ideal
situation but it would probably be the speediest.
a flight for you could take at least a couple of hours," Danny
do what you have to. I'm gonna go grab some food from the cafeteria.
Mason, would it work to leave Danny here with Nightengale while he's
making phone calls? He could keep watch, you really look like you
could use a break." He knew Mason's body language too well. The
man was pushing himself toward exhaustion. Healing could be a brutal
gave Cam a dubious look, so Cam walked over and laid a hand on
Mason's shoulder. "If you burn yourself out, you're not doing
Jonas any good."
could use some more food," Mason grudgingly acknowledged.
call you immediately if he's shows any change," Danny promised.
all but shoved his partner out of the ICU cubicle in the direction of
the hallway. They went to the cafeteria, got food, and sat at a table
as far from any other people as possible. Luckily, at two a.m. there
were only a few other patrons.
gonna need sleep at some point," said Cam. He knew damn well
that wasn't the only problem; he could feel Mason's intense desire to
ate swiftly and headed back toward the elevators. Cam noticed a
housekeeping cart leaving a room and grabbed Mason's wrist, pulling
him into the room. He made a quick glance for cameras or anything
else telling and saw nothing. He flipped the lock on the door. Mason
was standing patiently a few feet away.
have something you don't want to say with Danny around?" Mason
don't want to say anything." Cam pulled Mason into his arms and
held him tight. Mason practically melted against him, kissing him,
hands bunching the fabric of Cam's shirt. "And Danny's not the
problem," Cam whispered against Mason's mouth. "It's a Navy
run hospital and fucking stupid regs."
are changing," Mason murmured, as his hands mapped every part of
Cam's body he could reach.
fast enough and I haven't got quite enough balls to face pushing the
think your balls are just fine," Mason snickered. Cam could tell
his lover was so exhausted he was getting punchy. Mason sobered a
little. "I've been apart from you for barely twenty-four hours,
why the hell does it feel a lot longer?"
hon', major stress."
need to get back," Mason said.
know, but give me ten minutes to just hold you. I think you need it."
was soft kisses and roaming hands and they both knew it wasn't going
anywhere. When they carefully left the room less than fifteen minutes
later, Cam thought Mason still looked overly tired, but more relaxed.
MAC flights in less than twelve hours were leaving even Cam feeling
run a little ragged. Learning to sleep on an aircraft carrier had its
advantages; Cam could tolerate some pretty epic noise and vibration.
He sacked out almost before the wheels were up. He'd need certain
level of alertness when he got to DC.
took a bit over an hour to drive from Andrews AF base near DC to
Frederick. Once Cam got there, he parked the rental car a few blocks
from one of the entrances to Fort Detrick. It was a Saturday and
there was no guarantee that the woman he was seeking worked for the
installation. She could be a civilian, but somehow he thought not.
while actively "finding" was somewhat dangerous. It took
too much of his concentration off the road and he'd hit a parked car
once. Even walking wasn't without its problems; Cam was likely to run
into telephone poles or other objects or people when he was focused
on following the pull of whatever he was seeking.
locked the car and starting walking, one hand in his pocket holding
ended up outside an apartment building. This felt like the right
place. He looked at his watch. It said 0832. There was a chance
either the woman didn't have to work today or that she simply hadn't
left yet. Cam knocked on the door to the apartment that his Talent
told him held what he was looking for. A trim muscular woman dressed
in camouflage BDUs opened the door. She had brown hair pulled tightly
back into a French braid.
you know a man named Jonas Nightengale?" asked Cam. There was
little point in being anything other than blunt. She gave Cam an
appraising look, taking in his own uniform.
came to Fort Detrick on an assignment," she replied. "What's
this about?" She sounded wary.
name is Cameron Bradshaw. Jonas was seriously injured in a SEAL
operation in South America." Cam watched the flicker of shock
followed by fear cross the woman's face. "Can I come in?"
beckoned him inside and shut the door. They were standing in her
living room. "He's… dead?" she said uncertainly.
he's in a Navy hospital in Pensacola. Um… I… have no idea what
your name is."
Sgt. Sarah Quilleran. How did you find me if you don't know my name?"
pulled the squashed bullet on a chain out of his pocket and held it
out to her. "With this." He felt a trickle of shock wash
out from her. "Did Jonas ever talk to you about Division P?"
It was something of a shot in the dark, but Cam didn't really have
time to mess around. He extended his psychic senses, and got the
definite impression Sgt. Quilleran was psi, too.
Her answer was hesitant.
work for Division P, just like he does." Cam dug his federal ID
from his pocket and showed it to her. She looked at the ID, but the
bullet was what she reached for and took from his hand. That little
brush of skin contact reinforced Cam's idea that this woman had some
psi Talent. "Do you know what he does for Division P?"
nodded. "Is he… dying?"
felt the flow of anguish from her. He was subtly impressed that very
little of that emotion actually showed on her face. "I really
hope not. That's part of where you come into the picture. I'm
assuming you have a relationship with him?"
my boyfriend," she said bluntly.
His response appeared to disconcert her further. "He's needs
not a doctor. I'm a Sergeant in the Army and run security for TATRC.
Not that I don't really want to be with him if he's badly hurt… Oh
fuck, this has something to do with our psychic thing doesn't it?"
she blurted out, obviously finally making the connection between
Division P and Cam's presence.
In addition to the physical injuries, he's going through some pretty
bad psi shock. One of Division P's healers is with him, keeping him
relatively stable, but Jonas could really use somebody he's
emotionally attached to. I think that person is you."
sank onto the arm of the sofa. Some of her suppressed emotions were
definitely showing through now. Cam could sense fear and grief. If
someone had told him that Mason was seriously injured and lying in a
hospital hundreds of miles away, he'd be damn near a complete wreck.
how bad is he hurt? How bad is the psychic damage thing?" she
has a head injury, a burn to half of his back, a dislocated shoulder
and some gashes here and there. The doctor's who's with him has him
stabilized enough that he might be able to be transported to Division
P headquarters late this evening, but he was still classified as in
critical condition when I left Florida." Cam watched her get up
and pace nervously.
can I do?" she asked.
a bag and come with me right now. We'll drive straight to the
Division P headquarters."
have duty in two hours, and tomorrow."
take care of that," said Cam.
gave him another long look, appearing to weigh her belief in him
against the potential danger of being declared AWOL. "Jonas
indicated that for all its hush-hush sort of status, Division P has
kick ass clout."
much. I can solve your duty problems with a couple of phone calls."
took Sarah Quilleran a grand total of about twenty minutes to throw
several changes of clothes in a bag along with toiletries and follow
Cameron Bradshaw out the door.
they drove south toward Suffolk, Virginia, Sarah sat with the bullet
in her hand.
that little piece of lead has some importance to you and Jonas. I got
the impression that you were the one who got shot, but beyond that I
didn't really understand the rest of it," said Cam.
you… get the information when you touch things like Jonas does?"
she asked, deflecting his question. Telling this man about putting
herself in between Jonas and a bullet seemed too personal. How did
you explain that you bet your life on the stopping power of a Kevlar
vest so the man you were falling in love with didn't die?
and no. I'm a finder. He does the psychometry thing. There's some
overlap between us."
telling me an awful lot of information," Sarah said.
classifies as an emergency situation. The healer who's with Jonas,
he's keeping Jonas stable, but that's really just a short term fix.
Jonas needs someone he cares about to get him all the way up out of
the mess inside his head and back into normal reality."
he pretty much sucks at doing it on his own," she murmured.
something happen between the two of you? I mean something where he
needed you to help ground him."
He got hit by a large number of falling boxes in a warehouse while he
was at Detrick working on an assignment. He probably had a concussion
but he said taking him to the hospital would make it worse. He was
really rattled by the whole thing; it triggered some kind of
flashback to an injury in Kosovo."
you connected with him, helped him," Cam said.
I don't really know what I did though."
okay, gut instinct counts for a lot."
found Cam surprisingly easy to talk to, even if the topic was
strange. She'd never discussed the psychic thing with anyone other
than Jonas before. She finally sucked up her nerve to tell Cam about
Jonas was here on assignment, I… got between him and a guy with a
gun. I had a vest on and Jonas didn't. I took a bullet for him,"
Sarah confessed. "I kept the slug for a while, then I eventually
gave it to Jonas as some twisted version of a good luck charm. I
guess it didn't work."
still alive, against some fairly intense odds. Maybe it did."
conversation between Cam and Sarah eventually lapsed into silence,
and Cam let her be. He rationalized that she needed some processing
time. It was probably hard enough that the man she cared about was
seriously injured, but he sensed some real discomfort in her
discussing the psi information with him. That wasn't unusual. It was
a weird and awkward topic for someone who showed signs of only
grudgingly acknowledging she possessed it, too.
thoughts veered back to the idea of the injury. If someone had told
him Mason was hurt like that, he thought he would have been
hard-pressed to hold himself together. The longer they were involved,
the tighter the bond between them grew, and Cam was slowly
discovering how fierce his attachment was to his lover. If the
government ever got their collective heads out their asses and killed
off DADT for good, he would be so ungodly relieved. Otherwise he
might have to make a choice he didn't want to face. The U.S. Navy
going to meet in the middle," said Danny from the doorway of the
looked up from the stretcher where he was arranging blankets and
supplies as he readied it to transport Jonas. "Middle?" he
asked. He was reaching the end of coherence in a way that ranked up
there with the long ago marathon shifts of his residency.
bringing Jonas' girlfriend down from Frederick. We're flying up to
Norfolk and we'll meet at the complex in about six hours or so. You
know once we get in the air, it'll just be the two pilots, plus you
and me with Jonas."
blinked and nodded. Getting Jonas transferred to the stretcher
required multiple people. In another few minutes, three other members
of the hospital staff showed up. Mason knew it wasn't really their
fault, but these people seemed to think touching Jonas in any
uninjured area was just fine. There had been an atrial flutter and
drop in oxygen sats when Jonas' breathing became erratic. Mason had
managed to soothe Jonas' body to relative calmness afterward.
going to meet us at the airport," Danny continued. The staff
people had departed, and Mason and Danny had another few minutes to
wait for the ambulance to arrive.
that's a good idea."
pushed Mason down onto the stool, and dropped to one knee in front of
him. "If you put yourself in danger, I'm going to be pissed."
is a marathon, not a sprint. I'm okay. I've eaten every few hours.
I'm not going to pass out or anything. I'm just really tired,"
Mason assured him.
the air, Danny kept watch on Jonas while Mason sprawled in a seat a
few feet away. Anybody else probably would have been asleep, but
Mason was too nervous about the whole flying thing. Even though his
eyes were closed, Mason fidgeted, hands clenching on the arms of the
was it with healers? Danny had seen both his partner, Peter, and
Mason push themselves dangerously past exhaustion in their care for
the injured and dying. They did things very few could comprehend much
less match, but damn, at what cost? At least Danny was familiar
enough with a healer's need for calories to burn to keep an eye on
Mason. Fingers crossed, he could let Mason relax, as much as he was
likely to, for the entire rest of the flight.
the portable monitors attached to Jonas showed a nice steady pulse
and good oxygen sats, so Danny took the opportunity to call Peter on
his satellite phone.
me things are going well," Peter said, when he picked up.
could be a lot worse. Jonas is still in and out of a light coma
according to Mason, but his vitals are stable, especially now that
we're all tucked away thirty-five thousand feet above well meaning
but clueless Navy medical people," replied Danny.
really hoping we've made an end run around the problem that killed
think so. It would probably have been a whole hell of a lot worse
without a healer."
of healers, how's my mule headed apprentice doing?"
meet kettle," Danny teased.
wiped out, but I don't think it's anything that twenty hours of sleep
and a couple good meals won't solve. He didn't get all hot and sweaty
or pale and shaky or show any of the warning signs of a serious
Any idea how long until you land?"
glanced at his watch. "About ninety minutes I think."
and I will be there when you land. We borrowed an ambulance from one
of the local rescue squads. Would you believe I floated a request for
buying one of our own across Bottman's desk and he didn't blow a
I'm willing to bet he rubber stamps it. The whole nightmare of
Isabelle's death is actually having some beneficial repercussions."
entrance procedure was more involved than what Sarah Quilleran was
used to on a base. Cameron Bradshaw had driven her from Frederick,
Maryland to the southern part of Virginia, specifically to a high
security complex located on the fringes of a town called Suffolk.
showed his ID, had his thumbprint scanned and even still radio
communication was needed to confirm that he was allowed to bring
Sarah in with him.
were a number of buildings scattered along a T-shaped path. Cam
parked beside the one on the far left.
is the medical wing. Peter Vithoulkas is the head of Division P's
medical team. He and one of the other staff members went to the
Norfolk airport to meet the jet that's bringing Jonas up from
Florida," Cam explained, leading her inside.
led her to the corner of a huge room that looked half ER and half
medical office. "Do you want something to drink? A soda?
bottle of water would be good." She was loathe to admit anything
else would probably contribute to the hard tangled knot it felt like
her stomach was tied in.
behind the gurney that was being pushed by Danny and Peter, Mason
trudged up the hallway to the infirmary. Inside, he saw Cam with a
tall, brown haired woman dressed in BDUs. She had a tight, closed off
expression on her face, but Mason saw the flicker of anguish as she
watched Jonas being wheeled in.
the room, Peter crooked a finger at the woman, and she slowly crossed
headed toward Cam, who immediately enfolded him in strong arms. "You
look pretty wiped out." His hand cupped against the side of
Mason's neck as he drew Mason into a long, soft kiss.
okay. Danny's been watch-dogging me and making sure I eat,"
Mason replied, sensing the worry from his partner.
You've been at this for something like thirty-six straight hours; at
least I caught a little sleep on the plane, each direction.
wasn't really a whole lot I could do about it. The risk was too high
to leave him unattended, and it's not like I was going to crawl in
bed with him," Mason teased a little. He was still feeling like
he'd run a marathon.
damn well better not," Cam replied with a wry smile.