Danny tried to calm his heart rate as he pushed the last 20 yards to the house, listening to the various voices relaying information in his ear. He had never been more prepared for a mission in his life, but there had never been more at stake. Thanks to the CIA's advanced technology, he knew the location of every person in and around the house; he knew that the engine on the chopper was still warm; he knew that Ed was 50 yards behind him, tracing his steps; and he knew that one of the heat images being tracked in the house had gone prone and had a rapidly dropping body temperature.
He pushed that thought to the back of his mind as a bolt of lightening split the sky, followed rapidly by a deafening boom of thunder. The heavens had been threatening to spill for the last hour and they were finally about to unleash their wrath. Danny thanked whoever was above for the additional cover and distraction the storm would provide just as he reached the edge of the trees and caught his first glimpse of Tucker's fortress.
A few minutes later he was scaling the helipad and moving towards the side door. The rain was coming down in sheets now and he had to strain to hear the latest update.
"They're waiting for you, Lieutenant. Just inside the door, one on each side. "
Danny processed this information, his mind running through the laundry list of possibilities before his eyes in the sky confirmed Ed's suspicions.
"We just noticed a pulse of electrical energy. I'd say they've got Tasers. "
Like all special forces Danny had been trained to withstand the effects of various stun guns, but his reaction the night at Ed's had been unusual and caught the older man's attention. Ed had speculated that something in Danny's programming was geared to cause such a violent reaction. It would be an unexpected way to contain him and the others if Tucker and his cohorts ever felt threatened. The theory sounded plausible, but they hadn't had time to test it since Danny's surgery. If they knocked him out the second he walked inside then their whole plan was shot to hell.
"Showtime," Tucker whispered as he and his chopper pilot, Kyle, watched the scene unfold on the monitor from the safety of the control room. As soon as McCoy was inside Jerry and Reed would have him under control and they could get started on the next phase of the plan.
He held his breath as the marine stepped through the door, the two men poised to strike. Tucker could barely contain his excitement as he saw the blue flash of a Taser and a body fall to the floor, before a huge clap of thunder rattled the house and plunged everything into darkness.
"DAMNIT!" Tucker shouted as he fumbled in the dimness created by the emergency lights.
"Lightening must have taken out the electricity," Kyle commented, punching random buttons on the control panel.
"You think?!" Tucker screamed in frustration.
"I thought you had generator back-up in this place."
"We do, you idiot. That's why we still have some lights, but the generator will only power minimal operating systems and that doesn't include the cameras."
Opening the door Tucker turned back to the other man, "Go help them get McCoy back here. He won't be out for very long so we need to get him secured."
"One subject approaching you from the west side of the house. ETA 14 seconds. The other is staying put for now. "
"Probably Tucker…coward," Danny mumbled to himself as he stashed the two unconscious men outside the door. The shock from their weapons had knocked him to his knees, but he'd been able to quickly recover and disable both of them. Score one for the good guys.
Navigating his way through the dimly lit room Danny glanced up at the camera in the corner. He hoped the power outage had disabled them, but he couldn't be sure. Making a quick decision, he decided that moving away from the approaching unknown was the best way to determine if they were flying blind.
"Mary?" Danny asked quietly, his voice barely audible, but emitting just enough of a vibration to register with the control unit.
"We've got movement in the northeast corner. "
"Movement? I thought you said the figure was immobile?"
"It's moving now. We suggest you secure the house before you proceed to that location. "
"Danny," he heard Ed in his earpiece. "I'm almost there. Find Mary and I'll take care of the other two."
"Negative, you are both to secure the premises…"
"This is my op. You provide intel and shove the orders up your ass," Ed quickly responded.
Danny listened to the men argue in his ear as he moved further into the house. He could hear the confused voice of Tucker's third man, calling for his buddies and realized that they had no idea Danny had won that round.
When he reached the living room he immediately noticed the remnants of a violent struggle and his heart lodged in his throat when he saw the dark liquid staining the floor amidst a sea of broken glass. At that moment the house powered back to life and his eyes fell on the smeared trail of blood that disappeared down the hallway.
The sounds of struggle behind him clued him into the fact that Ed had arrived, most likely taking out the third suspect who had been approaching Danny from behind.
"Number 3 secure," Ed's voice was gravelly and out of breath.
"Take cover," filled their ears but Danny didn't listen, his mind was too focused on finding Mary. Moving deftly down the hallway, Danny followed the trail through the small dining area and into the kitchen. He tried to take a few calming breaths as he rounded the island, steeling himself for the worst, but nothing could have prepared him for what happened next.
"SSSSssssssssssss," Danny hissed quietly in pain as the knife plunged deep in his foot.
Instinct had taken over and his gun trained momentarily on his attacker, trying to ignore the searing fire that was coursing up his leg. That instinct was quickly replaced with something else when he saw the crumpled and trembling figure on the floor.
Dropping to his knees, Danny holstered his weapon and quickly began to assess Mary's injuries.
"I'm…sorry…oh…God…sorry…I thought…him," Mary sobbed softly, her breath coming in gasps as she struggled to stay conscious.
"Lieutenant McCoy? Your pulse is extremely high. Are you okay? "
"Shhhh," Danny pushed the blood-soaked hair away from her face, trying to give as much comfort as he could with soft kisses to her forehead.
"Danny?" Ed questioned when the younger man did not answer right away.
"Mary needs a….," his request for medical assistance was cut off by a barrage of ear-splitting feedback and static. Yanking the piece from his ear in frustration, Danny grabbed a stack of hand towels from the counter and put as much pressure as he could against the gaping wound in Mary's side.
The rage of the storm outside matched Danny's simmering emotions as he tried to tamp it down and concentrate on helping Mary. "It's going to be okay, baby."
Looking into her eyes, Danny knew he was losing her and at this point he was helpless to stop it. "Stay with me," he begged in a whisper as he touched his lips softly to hers, but as she opened her mouth to respond Danny felt the cold steel against his temple.
"Isn't this touching," Tucker spat, grabbing Danny's gun from its holster and taking a step back from the couple.
"Listen, Tucker. I'm the one you want. Just let me get Mary out of here and you can do whatever you want with me."
"Forget it, McCoy! Both of you have caused me way too much trouble." Danny's eyes narrowed as he watched the muscles in Tucker's hand move to squeeze the trigger and then suddenly stop as he was now the one with the muzzle of a gun pressed against the base of his skull. "You might want to rethink that," Ed said as Tucker quickly dropped his weapon.
Danny quickly secured it and his own gun as Ed spun the man around to face him.
"What? How?" Tucker sputtered incredulously.
"You should never leave a hole in your defenses."
"But…we scanned all the cameras... There were no other breaches!"
"Yeah, well that's where experience wins out. You had one of those cameras trained on Danny during his approach. I just followed right behind him…right outside your view."
"And my men? How did you get past them?"
"Yeah, you might want to get this thing checked," Danny commented as he pulled the stun gun from his vest and made contact with Tucker. Ed and Danny both watched as the other man convulsed violently and fell to the floor, his eyes rolling back in his head and drool making its way from his mouth.
"Guess it does work…," Danny gave Ed a thankful nod as he immediately moved back to the kitchen, ignoring the pain in his foot.
Careful to keep his gun trained on Tucker, Ed took a few steps into the kitchen to see what he could do to help Danny.
"How's she doing?" the older man asked, trying to hide his own shock at the sight of Mary covered in blood. He wasn't sure how Danny was still functioning but he assumed that adrenaline had taken over.
"Mary," Danny called softly, brushing his fingers across her cheek. Ed watched her struggle to open her eyes, but try as she might she could not make them focus.
"Is your radio working? We've got to get her out of here NOW."
"No, it must be from the storm, but I've already activated the ER beacon." The words were barely out of Ed's mouth when they heard the distinct sound of a chopper outside and then heavy footsteps on the roof mixed with the sounds of the storm.
"Here comes the cavalry," Danny said to no one in particular as he heard the agents make their way through the house, securing it room by room.
Once they reached the kitchen things moved at a rapid pace. Ed and Danny were quickly pulled aside to debrief as two medics tended to Mary. Within moments she was hooked to an IV and strapped to a backboard.
"What about the storm?" Danny asked as they carried her through the house, her hand grasped firmly in his.
"Our pilot has flown in a lot worse. Besides, she doesn't have time to wait it out."
Those words broke through whatever had been holding Danny together and he faltered a bit. The pain in his foot and the sickness in his stomach, not to mention the fact that he'd been through brain surgery only 24 hours earlier finally catching up with him.
Once they had set the stretcher down, Danny touched his forehead to Mary's and whispered every promise he could think of as the medics secured her unconscious form in a MedEvac transport basket. The CIA chopper had been unable to land on the helipad since it was already occupied so Mary would have to be pulled into the hovering chopper using the basket.
"God, please don't let me lose her now, " he prayed as he watched the basket move steadily up and then disappear inside the chopper.
"She'll be okay, kid," Danny turned at the sound of Ed's voice just as the medics approached him with a harness.
"We've got room for both
of you. Who wants to go first?" The medic yelled over
the noise of the rotors.
"Just him," Ed yelled back. "And make sure you check him out. He's not as healthy as he looks."
"Ed?" Danny questioned, but was quickly cut off.
"I'll meet up with you later. There's something I've got to finish."
Danny started to protest, but it died on his lips when he saw the look in the older man's eyes.
"Lieutenant, we've got to go now," the medic shouted.
Danny could only nod as he stepped into the harness. As he felt himself being pulled into the sky his last glimpse of Ed was of the older man pulling something from his pocket that looked like a syringe and disappearing back into the house.