Colby and David ran down the corridor to the duty station. They could see Alan Eppes standing next to the desk, talking to a woman in a long white lab coat.
"Mr. Eppes," David greeted. "What happened?"
Alan glanced at him sadly. "David… Colby," he began. "This is Charlie's physician – Doctor Samantha Girard." The three shook hands perfunctorily, and David repeated, "What happened, sir?"
Pausing to rub a hand over his tired face, Alan explained. "I had left the room to call Colby. Don said he was going out to phone the office – see about getting time off to stay with us – and he hadn't come back. I thought maybe he'd gone in anyway." The older man sighed. "But you told me he wasn't there," he added to Colby. "And then you warned me… I went back to the exam room." He threw his hands up in a gesture of defeat. "Charlie was already gone."
David put a hand on his arm. "I'm sorry, Mr. Eppes. We'll find him." Colby asked, "Did anyone see Charlie leaving?"
Doctor Girard nodded. "Gail," she indicated the head nurse. "She saw Charlie get into the elevator with one of the orderlies."
"Which one?" David asked.
She looked puzzled. "I'm sorry? Do you mean which orderly? Or which elevator?"
Colby smiled. "Which elevator?" To David, he said, "I'll go get a statement from the nurse." The other agent nodded, turning to Doctor Girard.
"Well," she said hesitantly. "It would've been this one, here." She indicated the last car on a bank of elevators. "But it's since been locked."
"Locked? What does that mean?" They both jumped slightly when Alan spoke. He had been so quiet they'd almost forgotten he was there.
"Um," the resident took a moment to gather her thoughts. "It means… someone overrode the controls for the elevator to lock it on one floor." To David, she added, "It's used for emergencies, mostly."
The other man nodded. "And it's locked now?" he asked.
"Yes." She walked over to the silver doors and peered at the number beside it. "It looks like…" she trailed off. "That's odd."
"What?" David hurried to her side. "What's odd?"
"David!" Colby called, striding over. "The head nurse says she didn't recognize the orderly that came for Charlie, but she does remember the name on the tag." He face took on a wry expression. "Guess who?"
David sighed. "Michael Carbano."
"Exactly." Colby flipped his notebook shut. "What have you got?"
Pointing to the closed doors, David replied, "Charlie was taken in this elevator, and now it's locked down – emergency override."
"What floor?" Colby asked the doctor. Alan looked at the display.
"The basement," he said softly.
David and Colby exchanged looks. "I'm on it," Colby told him. David turned to the doctor. "Make sure no one touches this elevator, alright?" he asked. She nodded. "I mean no one." He listened as Granger called for a team to converge on their location. "We'll go down there and have a look around – Mr. Eppes?" When the older man looked at him, David went on. "I need you to stay here in case they call to make some kind of demand." Alan nodded. Turning to Doctor Girard, David asked, "What's in the basement?"
"Well, there's… uh," she thought hard. "Storage… and the housekeeping department…" She put one hand to her head. "And of course the gas supply for the hospital – but that area's alarmed. We would know if they went in there." David made as if to go with Colby. "Oh, wait!" she said suddenly. "There's a corridor – to the underground parking."
"Is that alarmed, too?" he asked.
Doctor Girard shook her head. "Not necessary – it's for hospital staff only. They have to use an ID card and a code to get in."
"Is there a record of who goes in and out?" The resident nodded. "I need you to get those for me." She rushed off and David turned to Colby. "Get the team to cover the entrance to the garage. You and I are heading to the basement."
Colby radioed the orders to the other team and turned to Alan. "When she gets that list I want you to call me." At Alan's nod he patted him reassuringly on the shoulder and raced after David. As he ran, he turned his phone to vibrate, so as not to alert any would be attackers.
Within minutes, David and Colby were at the stair exit to the basement. They stood there, silently signaling to each other, slightly out of breath from nerves and the sprint down the stairs. Once it was agreed – David would go in high and to the left, Colby low and to the right – they got into their stances. David silently counted to three and kicked the door open.
The basement hallway was short with only a few doors leading off and they quickly searched it all, coming to stand in front of the door to the parking area.
Ready? David silently mouthed. As Colby was about to nod, he felt his phone buzzing. He held up a silent finger and stepped away from the door.
"Yeah," he whispered, covering the phone and his mouth with his hand.
"Michael Carbano," Alan's excited voice informed him. "He drives a gray four-door Civic. I'm waiting on the license numb-"
"S'okay," Colby whispered as he cut the connection. He didn't mean to be rude but they needed to hurry. He made his way back to David and mouthed the car description. David nodded his understanding.
They agreed on the same entry method and, on three, swung the door open. They quickly sought cover in the wide open area, David finding an air unit to the left and Colby a dumpster to the right. They peeked from behind their cover and scanned the area, their hearts falling as they realized the deck was empty. Signaling each other, they left their cover and slowly walked the perimeter looking for any evidence or signs of life.
"Clear!" David called as he reached the exit to the parking area.
Colby was about to answer the same, when he heard a muffled thumping sound coming from behind a dumpster. He motioned to David and raised his gun. He waited for the other man to go around the other side of the large bin. They crept around, feeling their adrenaline spike as they found a gray Civic hidden behind the trash receptacle. The thumping was coming from the trunk and seemed to be growing weaker with each moment. David made sure Colby had the car covered and reached for a steel pipe in the open dumpster. He mimed prying the trunk open and Colby nodded solemnly, keeping his weapon trained on the vehicle.
David silently slid the pipe into the crack between the bumper and the trunk, his heart pounding. The thumping noise had ceased. He took a calming breath and levered his weight against the pipe, hearing the lock give. As the trunk started to lift, he tossed the pipe, stepped back and drew his gun, steeling himself for whatever they were about to find.
Both agents let out a gasp as the lid rose. Don was lying inside doubled up – and from the grey look on his face he was out of oxygen. Colby reached in and quickly removed the gag from his mouth. "Don!" he said, untying his hands. "Are you all right?"
David was taking the bindings from around Don's ankles. "Say something, Don!" he added.
"Damn!" Colby swore. "He's not breathing! Help me get him out of here!"
Colby lifted his boss's shoulders while David lifted his feet. Colby cringed and hoped they weren't aggravating any injuries Don might have, but he knew that restoring his breathing was imperative. He and David laid Don flat on his back, and Colby placed his fingers against Don's throat. "He's got a pulse!" Colby cried as he began rescue breathing.
David nodded as he called Alan. "Mr. Eppes, tell Dr. Girard that we need an EMT unit to the underground parking area immediately!"
"You found them?" Alan demanded.
"We found Don but we need those paramedics ASAP."
"Oh, God," Alan breathed into the phone. David heard him shifting the phone away from his ear, and his strong authoritative voice demanding the medical staff's attention. More shuffling noises as Alan returned to the phone. "They're on their way. Tell me, David..."
"We found him in a car trunk." David stopped short of telling him that Don wasn't currently breathing on his own. He swallowed nervously and forced his voice to remain calm. "No sign of Charlie."
"I understand," Alan replied with a hint of sadness in his voice. "Just make sure you get Don up here. I can't lose both my boys in one day."
"You won't, Mr. Eppes." David glanced over to where Colby was wearily but triumphantly crouched by Don, still unconscious, but now breathing on his own. "I promise."