CHAPTER 4

Secrets and Shadows

Everyone in the briefing room at NNL sat there looking at Frank in what can best be described as stunned silence. For the hundredth time Bradley Talmadge looked over the paper that Bridgett had drawn up. Ramsey was the first one to break the silence.

"I don't believe this," he said slamming his hand one the table for emphasis, "you put her up to this, didn't you, Parker!"

"That's enough, Ramsey!" snapped Talmadge Laying the paper down on the table.

"Thank you, Bradley." Said Frank, "And Ramsey," he continued, "just for the record this was all her idea I had nothing to do with it."

"What I don't understand is why?" said Olga

"Well," said Ballard, "I would imagine that she knows that now that Frank owns 50 of the Carbide Aridium the feds will step lightly around him, I think it's just her way on making sure that we don't have a repeat of last nights performance." Everyone in the room turned and glared and Ramsey as Ballard finished.

"What," he said, "I've already lost my next two paychecks over this, what more do you want."

"We're glaring at you Ramsey," said Talmadge, "because if it wasn't for your itchy trigger finger we wouldn't be sitting here with Frank holding all the aces."

Suddenly Frank stood up and shoved his chair up to the table.

"Ordinarily I'd love to stay and hear how all this turns out," he said, "but I promised Bridgett that I'd take her out on the town today." With that he took the paper from Talmadge and stuck it in his wallet as he walked out the door. Talmadge turned to Olga,

"Would you give him a ride to the Hotel? I don't want another on of our jeeps hotwired with a screwdriver."

Olga nodded and started out the door after Frank. Frank accepted the ride and they were off. Finally Olga gathered her courage and asked Frank the question that had been playing on her mind.

"Mr. Parker, how did you first meet Bridgett and her family?" Frank smiled

"I was wondering when you would ask that." He said, "She had just turned 3 at the time, and my unit and I were stationed in Ireland for cold weather training. On one of my few days of liberty I went in to Dublin to have some fun. I had just gotten into to the town and was headed to a pub that was a favorite hang out for the Navy guys in the area. Right in the middle of my first pint word came over the television that a little girl was being held hostage by a couple of desperate hoods who had botched a bank robbery and were trying to get away. The captain of my unit was there and I guess he could tell what I was thinking, because he told me that the police would handle it and that I was not to go sticking my nose into it."

"Let me guess," said Olga rolling her eyes, "you completely ignored him." Frank smiled and checked his watch before answering.

"In a word, yes," He said, "I knew that constable in that area was a klutz and I wasn't about to leave that little girl's life in his incompetent hands. I found out where they were holding her and I snuck in through the cellar found the little girl and slipped out again all with out them knowing that I was there. When the police stormed the place those to crooks were too busy pointing fingers at each other to figure out what had happened. I took Bridgett to her mother then Countess Morgan O'Mearin. She hugged me, thanked me profusely and named me Godfather on the spot."

"What did your Captain do when he found out?" asked Olga

"Nothing," replied Frank, "I was too big of a hero in the town for him to lock up. I spent as much of that next year and a half with Bridgett and her family as I could. We became very close. Then I shipped out to Somalia and you know the story from there."

They pulled up to the hotel just as Frank finished his story. Bridgett was waiting on the steps for him. Frank jumped out of the car and grabbed her up in a big bear hug.

"Are you ready to go?" he asked.

"Yep," she replied grinning from ear to ear. The she spotted Olga standing quietly by her car.

"Who's that?" she asked. Frank smiled and led her over to Olga.

"This," he said, "is Dr. Olga Vukavitch. She's the lady who patched up my leg."

"Pleased to meet you," said Bridgett holding out her hand. Olga smiled and took Bridgett's hand.

"I'm very pleased to meet you, Countess." Said Olga

"Knock off that countess stuff," said Bridgett with a wave of her hand, "any friend of my Godfather can call me Bridgett."

"Well thank you, Bridgett," said Olga, "now I'd better go." She turned back toward the car but Bridgett grabbed her hand.

"Don't be silly," she said, "come with us."

"Oh no I couldn't," said Olga

"You can and you will." Said Bridgett, "and I won't take no for an answer."

Olga started to protest but one look at the determined look on Bridgett's face she thought better of it. Just then a long black limousine pulled up.

"A here is out ride," said Bridgett the climbed into the limo and sat down with Frank in the middle and Bridgett and Olga on either side of him.

Their first stop was the Cirque du Soliel. They all watched the acrobats with wide eyed wonder. Finally the show was over and they found themselves back in the Limo again. Suddenly as they were headed to a restaurant a white SUV pulled alongside them and forced them into a side alley. The limo driver floored it the limo shot through the side alley and down a back street with the SUV right at their heels then all at once they found themselves out in the Nevada desert. Three more White SUVs surrounded them. Two Asian men jumped out of the closest SUV and ran toward the Limo drawing their guns. Frank Jumped out to fight them but the man in front pistol whipped Frank across the face and he fell back against the car. There was a gunshot and out of the corner of his eye Frank saw the Limo driver fall. Suddenly there was a rumble in the sky and the attackers noticed storm clouds over head. Then Bridgett stepped from the limo her eyes were now vacant white orbs that glowed an eerie white light. Suddenly lightning bolts shot out of the sky and struck two of the SUVs causing massive explosions. The would-be attackers suddenly had the tables now turned on them. Jumping into the undamaged SUV they sped off.

When the men were gone Bridgett turned to Frank and her eyes became normal again. Frank had an inch long gash on his cheek where he had been struck. Bridgett reached up and gently placed her hand over the wound. A soft white glow radiated from between her fingers and when she removed her hand Frank's wound was completely healed.

"I can't believe this!" thundered a tall Asian man in a black business suit as he slammed his fist down on the table and glared daggers and his minions. "I give you a simple job like getting your hands on that mineral deposit and you blow it!"

"Forget the mineral," said his lieutenant, the man who had led the attack, "they have a weapon that makes the mineral pale in to insignificance, a girl who can control the very elements of nature!"