Disclaimer: I don't own "BONES" or any of its characters; I'm just taking them all out for a little spin. FOX…please think of this as the sincerest form of flattery…. I love your show enough to want to write about it…
Dr. Temperance Brennan couldn't believe how giddy she felt as she raised a snifter of brandy with her colleagues from the Jeffersonian at their favorite pub. Gathered around the table were the "squints", as they were affectionately called by FBI agent Seeley Booth; the Jeffersonian crew had, yet again, ingeniously solved the FBI's latest puzzle, and they reveled in the accomplishment as they waited for Booth to arrive to take part in their impromptu celebration.
Angela was laughing with Hodgins, the two clumsily trying to drink from each other's glass through intertwined arms. Zach carefully tasted the strong liquid in his glass; he was unaccustomed to brandy, and he was pleased to feel the warmth of the alcohol spread satisfactorily through his abdomen. Looking at his own hand held out in front of his face, he tried to determine whether the half glass he had already consumed had yet started to affect the sharpness of his mind and his coordination. An interesting problem, to say the least, he thought; if the alcohol had indeed diminished his capabilities, then how would he be able to recognize their loss? He voiced the question to Hodgins who rolled his eyes and, laughing even more, said "Zach, listen to yourself man, you're slurring your speech…what do you think that means?"
Zach looked nonplussed and Brennan felt the sudden need to assist him in his confusion. "It means you're intoxicated, Zach…the predictable result of consuming a beverage containing a high percentage of alcohol, especially for someone with a relatively low body mass index "she said. Angela grinned broadly, nodding her agreement. Cam was there too, and couldn't help but to shake her head at the social naiveté of the brilliant young Dr. Addy, not to mention his former mentor.
Zach nodded in slow motion, then, smiling, raised his glass again; if he had gone this far, perhaps he should take the experiment as far possible. It would be a fascinating experience to be falling-down drunk. Heck, he didn't drive anyway…
In their enthusiasm, no one at the Jeffersonian table noticed the four men who entered the pub and positioned themselves tactically around the small establishment, two remaining on either side of the entrance, one standing discreetly by the door that led to the kitchen and the rear exit, and the fourth hovering near the bar itself. Each man wore a long overcoat and was somehow able to melt into the background of the bar without actually doing anything. If Brennan had been paying attention, it would certainly have been an interesting skill to study further, this ability to camouflage oneself in plain sight. Brennan, however, was distracted, enjoying her colleagues and their playful banter while she continuously glanced towards the front door, hoping to see Booth walk in wearing the smart-ass, pleased-with-himself smile he got when the case had been solved. It was, in fact, kind of ironic that she spent such a large amount of time looking at the entrance of the pub, yet failed to recognize that there were two men standing suspiciously either side.
It was Angela who first spied Booth as he strode across the sidewalk outside. "There's Booth!" she called happily, and each of the Jeffersonians looked up as the handsome FBI agent pulled open the heavy glass door and stepped through the entrance, smiling that smile that Brennan had been waiting for. He started to lift an arm to wave but was surprised by sudden movement on either side of him. The Jeffersonian crew watched in shock as the two hidden men suddenly came into focus as they tackled Booth, one grabbing his arms and the other circling the FBI agent's neck with a thick bicep as they forcefully pushed him face down onto the floor of the pub. Booth struggled but, caught completely off-guard, he was not able to fend off the two larger men. He flailed uselessly against them, realizing that the arm around his neck was expertly placed to squeeze off the blood flow to his brain, a fairly standard police tactic that rendered a person momentarily unconscious, used to subdue violent suspects. Booth tried to speak but found himself unable to utter a sound as he felt the vise tightening around his neck. He looked up to see the stunned eyes of Bones boring into his own as he vehemently fought to stay conscious. Someone was pulling his arms painfully together in the middle of his back and, although he thrashed against the unseen men, he was powerless to stop them. The last thing he saw before finally passing out was the frightened look on Bones' face as two more men bearing submachine guns appeared from either side, effectively stopping anyone from interfering.
Brennan and her colleagues were caught completely by surprise by the unexpected attack on their friend. It was Angela's scream that jolted them out of their shocked paralysis and Brennan jumped to her feet with Hodgins in tow…they had to do something. "What the hell do you think you're doing?" Hodgins roared, trying to sound braver than he felt. They were stopped in their tracks by the appearance of two more men pointing guns at them. Where the heck had they been hiding? The man nearest the bar was herding the bewildered bartender towards their group; now their guns were covering everyone in the nearly empty pub and Booth was losing the fight.
Zach dropped his glass and tried to stand but Cam reached up and pulled him back into his seat by his elbow. "Easy Zach", she said, looking around at all of them. "Those aren't pop guns" she continued. "Let's not have anyone do anything foolish. I'm sure they are about to tell us what they want."
Brennan was still on her feet, scowling at the armed men, worried about Booth who apparently had just lost consciousness. "Let go of him…of his neck…" she pleaded. "If you stop the blood flow too long he could go into convulsions."
The large man with his arm around Booth's neck smiled nastily and tightened his hold even more, visibly lifting the helpless agent slightly as he flexed his bicep. "Don't you worry Cutie", Brennan's scowl deepened at the belittling moniker, "I know very well how long I can keep this on him without causing too much damage." He looked down at his accomplice who was snapping shut a pair of handcuffs around Booth's wrists. As soon as the cuffs were secure, the large man released his hold on Booth's neck and the FBI agent dropped heavily to the floor, smashing his lower lip in the process.
Brennan winced and took a determined step forward. The nearest thug growled menacingly and lifted his gun to his shoulder. "I wouldn't do that Miss", he said slowly. "It's him we want…you, I could shoot no problem."
Hodgins reached out and grasped Brennan by the forearm. "Easy, Boss…" he looked over at Booth and was relieved to see his eyes starting to flutter as he fought his way back to consciousness. "He's waking up…"
The first thing Booth became aware of was a throbbing pain in his temples as he gagged on the blood that had accumulated in his mouth. He was confused and unsure of what had just happened. Spitting some blood onto the floor, he tried to move his arms but found them locked tightly behind his back. He moaned and rolled sideways and tried to sit up. The large man who had put him in the headlock shoved him down again, not allowing Booth to do so. "Who the hell are you?" Booth asked, trying to focus on the faces of the two men above him. "And what in the hell do you want?" The second man, the one who had handcuffed him sneered and rolled Booth onto his back, and reached into the agent's jacket, searching for weapons. Booth cursed silently as his pistol and cell phone were seized. The man then started running his hands down Booth's legs, looking for the inevitable back-up piece.
Booth tried to kick his hands away but the man jabbed his elbow painfully into the agent's stomach. "You better behave, Agent Booth…" he growled… "or the next hit will be lower, in a more sensitive place…if you get my meaning." Booth gasped as he tried to catch his breath, the air knocked out by the jab to his abdomen. He remained immobile as the man continued his search, triumphantly finding and removing the small pistol from Booth's ankle holster. For good measure, he grabbed Booth's keychain, making sure that his handcuff key was there.
The fourth man, who had thus far been silent, approached from the other side of the Jeffersonians' table. "Enough talk" he said brusquely. He was smaller than the other three attackers and obviously held a position of authority over them. "Pick him up and let's go." Booth tried to roll away as the two largest men bent and grabbed him by the armpits, dragging him upright but not quite enough that he could get his feet under him. The small man made it clear by the motion of his gun that he expected the others to stand and follow as Booth was dragged out the door. Brennan, Cam and Zach were herded towards the door with the bartender, Angela and Hodgins in tow. Brennan was trying to get close enough to make a grab for one of the guns but these guys were good at their job; neither man let her get anywhere near close enough to even consider fighting back.
A large cube van had pulled up to the curb at the pub's entrance. The rear door had been opened and the two men dragging Booth picked him up and threw him quickly into the back of the truck. He landed painfully on his shoulder and rolled forward until he collided with the front wall of the box. Brennan, her colleagues and the hapless bartender were forced to climb into the back of the truck with him, but not before each was quickly searched and their cell phones removed. None were carrying weapons. "Leave them here…" Booth tried to sound authoritative. "You obviously want me…you don't need them." He felt completely powerless and didn't like to think of bad things happening to Brennan and the others with him completely unable to defend them. The small man merely sneered and prodded the last of them, Zach, into the back of the truck. Booth almost winced at the confused and terrified look on the young man's face when the door was closed forcefully, crashing violently down and sealing them all in the blackness of the truck's windowless interior. The engine immediately roared to life and Zach pitched backwards as the vehicle accelerated away from the pub.
For a few moments, no one said anything and the only sound from within was the soft groan that escaped Booth as he tried to regain his balance and find a position that didn't cause his shoulders to shriek with the discomfort of having his arms cuffed tightly behind his back. Cam was the first one to speak. "Is everyone okay?" she asked tentatively. She received several grunts to the affirmative. "How about you, Booth?" she continued. "They roughed you up a bit."
"I'll live." His voice carried eerily through the darkness. "Anyone got a light?" he asked. "I'd like to get a look at where we are."
"I've got a mini-flashlight on my belt; they didn't take it away." The voice was male, unknown to Booth. A light flared and Booth caught sight of the bartender from the pub. "I'm Lenny," he said simply. "Is that better?"
Booth nodded and struggled to sit upright. Angela and Hodgins were closest and helped him to a more comfortable position. "I don't suppose any of you happen to carry a handcuff key with you, huh?" Booth asked, hoping that maybe the paranoid Hodgins wouldn't let him down. He was disappointed to see everyone shake their heads. "No? To bad…these cuffs are really digging into my wrists."
"Booth, stop whining and tell us who these guys are." Brennan's voice sounded angry. Her tone made it evident that she was blaming him for their predicament. "Why did they grab you?" She didn't really blame him, but being angry was easier than showing how scared she was…she felt especially scaredfor Booth. These men were obviously specialists and they had snatched Booth in a very professional manner; what the heck did they want him for?
Both snorted. "I have no idea Bones…maybe you should've asked them." He shuffled uncomfortably, trying to find some way to stop the cuffs biting into his skin. The truth was he had not the faintest idea of what was going on and he wasn't able to do a thing to change it. He hated feeling so out of control. "Zach, can you see if there's any way to open the back of this truck?"
Zach nodded and staggered to his feet, swaying as the truck rounded a corner, he ran his hands around the door seal. Lenny stood with the light to help. After a couple of minutes, they sat down. "It's locked from the outside," Zach said in an apologetic voice. "It won't budge." He looked around forlornly, hoping that he really was intoxicated and this was all just some drunken nightmare.
They all sat quietly, lost in their own fears about where they were being taken and what would happen when they got there. After what seemed like hours but was probably only around twenty minutes, the truck slowed, turned a couple of sharp corners then rolled to a stop. A roaring sound filled the air and for a moment, Brennan wasn't able to recognize it; Cam blurted out "That's an airplane…we must be near the airport." There was no mistaking the sound of a jet powering its way down a runway.
They were listening to this sound when the rear door of the truck was suddenly thrown upwards. Blinking at the sudden influx of light, Brennan could see that there were now five men standing with guns leveled into the back of the truck. "Everyone out", the small man instructed sternly. "Stay together and do not try anything foolish. My men will not hesitate to shoot anyone who does not comply. Do as I say and no one will be harmed." They regarded him with disbelief but, faced with no alternative, they each climbed slowly from the truck. Angela and Hodgins helped Booth get to his feet and supported him as he slid from the vehicle. He looked around to see that, sure enough, they were on the grounds of the airport; the door to a large hangar was open and they were shepherded inside. The two largest of the thugs moved in and took Booth once again by the armpits and separated him from the rest of the group. The three remaining thugs prodded Brennan, Cam, Hodgins, Angela, Zach and Lenny towards the back of the hangar where a chain link fence formed the perimeter of a secure area within the hangar. Angela noted nervously that it looked like a dog run at the kennel. They were pushed inside and the gate was closed behind, secured with a fancy looking padlock. No way would any of them be of any help to Booth now.
They stood silently and watched fearfully as Booth was held tightly by the two large men as the small man approached. Booth eyed him defiantly; "I asked you what the hell you want…" he wasn't able to finish the sentence; the small man backhanded him violently across the face and Booth stumbled, held upright by the thugs. An audible gasp came from the group locked behind the fence; Brennan felt like her heart would beat out of her chest.
"You will learn some manners, Agent Booth", the small man smiled. "As for what I want of you, I want nothing." Booth scowled, trying not to betray his fear as the ringleader of his abductors continued. "I am simply performing a service, for which I am being paid handsomely. I am a courier, Agent Booth. I simply deliver packages."
Booth felt the knot of fear twist in his stomach. "And, I'm the package?" he asked uncertainty in his voice.
"Oh you most definitely are." The small man motioned for his henchmen. "Undress him, that way we can make sure there are no tracking devices on his person." Booth's eyes opened wide and he struggled with the men holding him but it was pointless. He was held tight as a knife was produced in front of his face. "I would suggest you stop moving, Agent Booth", the small man smiled thinly. "Otherwise we might accidentally cut off something other than your clothes."
He was pushed heavily to the ground and Booth closed his eyes as the knife was used to slice off his jacket, shirt and jeans. The thugs even removed his socks and shoes leaving him shivering in only his boxer shorts. His friends from the Jeffersonian looked on, unable to do anything to help their friend.
The small man nodded. "Good, now the leg irons…" Booth was pinned to the ground as his ankles were shackled together with a set of leg irons. He was feeling more and more frightened as his situation worsened. Booth could not remember ever feeling this vulnerable. He glanced towards the group staring from behind the chain link. Brennan had never seen her partner looking quite so anxious. The look on Booth's face was heartbreaking.
Booth's eyes widened as a forklift approached carrying a large metal crate. The box was approximately 5 feet long by 5 feet wide by 4 feet high. It contained small air holes and a large warning label that read 'CAUTION, DANGER – Wild Animals – Do not touch – Do not open under any circumstances'. The forklift stopped and the small man inserted a key opening a large padlock and pulled the door to the animal crate open.
Booth started to struggle violently, the thought of being sealed inside that crate terrified him. The cuffs bit further into his wrists and he snaked his legs back and forth, vainly trying to stop the two large thugs from lifting his body and carrying him towards the empty crate. The small man laughed, "Really Agent Booth, don't be so melodramatic." He nodded and the thrashing Booth was dumped unceremoniously into the steel box. Brennan and the others were yelling, knowing it was of no use, but feeling like they had to do something to stop this. Booth tried to roll out but was pinned again by the largest of the thugs. "Oh, I almost forgot…" the ringleader reached into his pocket and pulled a length of fabric out which he tied tightly around the FBI agent's head, through his mouth, effectively gagging him. Booth's eyes bulged in fear as the door of the crate was swung shut and the small man snapped the large padlock in place. The only sound comings from the crate were as series of muffled grunts as Booth tried to scream in frustration. The small man nodded and the forklift rumbled back to life, lifting the crate of the ground. Booth tried to calm his panicked breathing as he heard the ringleader's voice. "Have a nice flight, Agent Booth." The smile on the man's face could be heard plainly. "The cargo hold is pressurized and temperature controlled so you should arrive safe and sound. I do hope you don't get too cold…might be a bit chilly in there."
Brennan felt a tear slide down her cheek as the forklift drove away, the crate holding her terrified partner carried high in the air. From their vantage point, the group could see the forklift exit the hangar and head off across the tarmac towards a large jumbo jet in the distance. Brennan eyed the small man with fury as he approached the imprisoned group. "There you see, I promised that no one would be harmed and so it shall be." The ringleader smiled broadly. My colleagues and I will depart now. The lock on this cage can be controlled remotely." He held up a small remote control device to demonstrate. "As soon as Agent Booth's flight has safely left the ground, this door will be unlocked and you will be free to go home." He turned to leave.
"Wait!" Brennan's voice was desperate. "Please, tell us…where are you sending him?"
The small man shook his head. "Now, Dr. Brennan…If I told you that, I would be betraying my client's requirement for confidentiality, now wouldn't I?" Brennan clenched her jaw, trying not to hurl insults at the evil little creep. As he turned again and started to amble out of the hangar, he called out over his shoulder, "You folks are supposed to be geniuses…you figure out where he's going."
Brennan tried to make out the markings on the jumbo jet towards which the forklift carrying Booth's crate had headed. It was just too far away and the lights of the airport didn't provide enough illumination to make out the name of the airline. Damn. After several unsuccessful attempts to force their way out of the cage, the Jeffersonians and the hapless bartender watched morosely as the jumbo jet taxied out of sight; a few moments later they heard its engines roar as the plane powered off the runway.
Brennan was crying in Angela's arms when a buzz sounded and suddenly, the door to their prison cell swung ajar. She sniffed self-consciously as Zach laid his hand awkwardly on her shoulder. "Let's go back to the lab, Dr. Brennan", he said, "We'll figure it out…you'll see. We'll call that FBI guy, Cullen. He's sure to have some idea of who would take Booth." She looked at Zach's determined, hopeful face, then over to the equally determined face of Hodgins, Cam and Angela. Hell, even Lenny looked like he was sure they could figure it all out.
"You're right Zach", Brennan agreed, trying not to let her fear show in her voice. "Let's go show them just how smart we are. We'll figure out where they took Booth and then, we'll go get him back."
To be continued…Reviews welcome