Out of Time
By Andie O'Neill
Rating: T/ R
Genre: Romance, Angst, Alternate Universe, (slight) Action/Adventure
Warnings: Slash, (small hints) Sex, Violence, Language
Spoilers: Season Three
Summary: Jack's life is on the line when he and Nathan are kidnapped by a scientist bent on creating a weapon more powerful than anything ever built… and Nathan's going to help whether he wants to or not.
A/N: I was planning on writing another story when this idea kinda popped up and demanded my attention. Damn plot bunnies are taking over! :(
Disclaimer: You think I'd be writing fan fiction if I owned Eureka and it's characters? I think not! Don't own a thing.
He'd had headaches before, whether it be from concussions, hangovers, his teenage daughter, or simply the stress of the job… but nothing quite measured to the throbbing he felt as he finally reached consciousness. Jack Carter groaned in pain, his hands moving to rub his temples as he tried to massage the pain away, but it didn't even settle to a dull ache. He tried not to panic as he tried to focus his mind, trying to ignore the pain, though it was damn distracting. Jack searched through his memories, trying to retrace his steps to understand what the hell happened. Slowly he opened his eyes, only to close them once more as the light above him only worsened his headache. So he focused on his other senses. He felt concrete beneath him, his hand moving on the floor… perhaps tile. It was cold to the touch. He took in a deep breathe, but the air was odorless… purified like his bunker and GD… not stale, but nothing like the smell of the outdoors. The whole place was cold, and he resisted a shiver as he rolled over to his side. Everything was quiet except for the faint sound of another person's breathing.
Jack chanced opening his eyes once more, wincing as the light hit his eyes, but he ignored the pain, slowly pushing himself up as he looked around the room. It looked much like a room in his bunker, and he had a bad feeling he was underground. There were no windows and the door was metal… probably some insane alloy that he couldn't even pronounce. Finally his eyes rested on the body beside him, and his heart quickened as he realized it was Nathan Stark. "Stark!" he whispered, moving over to the other man, rolling him onto his back. He was breathing, but didn't seem to be conscious yet. "Stark!" he tried again. Jack swore under his breath. He never should have agreed to take Nathan with him on an investigation. Allison and Thorne had learned that some technology had gone missing during the last few weeks and had asked Carter to find out who was stealing from GD. In the end Jack had solved the mystery, but a little too late. One minute he and Stark had been breaking into the house of a scientist they believed was responsible and the next they'd had the barrel of a weapon pointed at them both. Before Jack could tell the man what a huge mistake he was making he'd felt a sharp needle pierce the back of his neck… then nothing at all as everything went black.
Carter was pulled from his thoughts as Stark groaned, his hands moving to his head just as Jack had when he'd first awoken. "What the hell…" Stark whispered.
"Welcome to the land of the living," said Jack as he watched the scientist wince in pain. At least he wasn't the only one with a gigantic migraine.
"Carter?" Stark's eyes remained closed, and Jack couldn't really blame him.
"Yeah, it's me, Stark. How you feeling?" he asked, despite knowing the answer.
"I feel like my brain has been cut into tiny pieces and then put back together again… by Fargo," Stark answered with his usual flare for drama.
Jack would have smiled if his head didn't hurt so damn much. "That good, eh? I think we were drugged."
"Ethan," Nathan whispered angrily, slowly pushing himself to sit up, cracking his eyes open for the first time. "Where are we?"
"I have absolutely no idea… looks like an underground bunker. Look familiar?"
Nathan looked around; his eyes squinted as he tried to ignore the pain as Jack had. "GD created at least three bunkers in Eureka that I know of… yours and two others that were abandoned. It's possible we're in one of those three, but I don't even know how long we've been drugged. We may not even be in Eureka anymore."
"That's a comforting thought," muttered Jack. As a US Marshall he'd seen and been through many different situations, but he'd never actually been kidnapped before. Jack tried to remember more about what happened before he and Stark were drugged.
"You've been stealing technology from GD for over a month… why Ethan?" Jack had asked, hands in the air as he stared at the man holding a gun to his face.
Doctor Forrester's finger tightened just a bit on the trigger and Jack held his breath. "She wouldn't even go over my proposal. We claim to be scientists, but what good is it to be a scientist if we're restrained from making our dreams a reality! It doesn't matter now. Not even Global Dynamics can stop me!" Ethan shouted.
"Stop you from what, Ethan?" questioned Stark as he stood beside Jack, his voice calm despite their situation.
Ethan turned to look at Stark. "You're a brilliant man, Nathan Stark… which is exactly why I will let you both live… for now."
Jack frowned, he remembered nothing after that. Ethan lowered the gun… and then… the sharp prick of a needle and nothing else. "We're screwed aren't we?" he asked Stark.
Nathan sighed. "Lupo and the others will figure out that we're missing eventually… if they haven't figured it out already."
"And if they can't?" Jack asked, raising an eyebrow.
Stark nodded, clearing his throat. "Then yes… we'd officially be screwed."
Jack would have smiled if it wasn't for the sinking feeling in his gut.
"We've tried the radios, searched for them both everywhere… the last place they were seen is going into Doctor Ethan Forrester's house. Carter was telling me they'd found evidence linking Doctor Forrester to the thefts at Global Dynamics. He and Doctor Stark wanted to bring him in for questioning," said Lupo as she stood in Thorne's office.
"Did you search Forrester's house?" asked Allison, just as worried as Jo felt. Jo knew how important both Carter and Stark were to Doctor Blake. Although she'd declined Doctor Stark's proposal they'd managed to somehow salvage their relationship. Jo had figured she'd eventually begin a relationship with Carter, but the Sheriff hadn't mentioned or been seen with Allison on a date… not even a warm handshake. Lupo wasn't exactly sure what was going on, but she'd been doing her best to stay out of it. If Carter didn't want to step up to the plate with Stark officially taken out of the game… that was his decision… unless of course there was another reason.
"Yeah… it was clean. No signs of struggle or anything else for that matter. All that was left was a computer and furniture. It's like Forrester just disappeared along with Carter and Doctor Stark. I don't like it… something big's going on here," answered Jo.
"You said he left his computer?" Henry questioned.
"Oh come on Henry, you really think if Forrester was trying to hide something that he wouldn't make sure that computer was wiped clean first… if it even had any secret files in the first place," said Doctor Blake, folding her arms as she leaned against the wall. Thorne simply watched their interactions, remaining quiet.
"More than likely he gave the computer a virus, but there may be a chance I can find a few files. Data like that is never completely erased from a hard drive… hell, you could burn the damn thing and there are still ways of retrieving lost information. It's worth a shot," said Henry, looking quite eager to help Lupo find their missing men.
"Deputy Lupo… I want you to have Doctor Forrester's computer sent to Doctor Deacon's lab for analysis. In the meantime, I want that house searched from top to bottom… see if we can't find something you may have missed before. Also Doctor Forrester has a lab at GD… that too needs to be searched," Thorne finally spoke.
Lupo nodded with a relieved smile. "Thank you… we'll get right on it." Lupo rushed out of Thorne's lab while Henry followed her. She could only hope they'd find something worth while… because she had a bad feeling Carter and Stark were in trouble. She wasn't about to let them both down.
Allison stayed behind, turning to look at Thorne. "Someone needs to tell Zoe what's happened," she reminded the director, her voice softening. As a mother herself she hated the idea of Zoe being burdened with the possibility that her father was in danger, but she needed to know.
Thorne nodded. "I'll leave that in your capable hands, Doctor Blake. Keep me apprised of the investigation… I don't plan on giving up until there's no other options left."
"Thank you," she said, trying to keep under control despite the worry twisting in her gut. Her relationship with Nathan was finally starting to get back on track… and now it was possible he was missing. Allison wasn't sure what to think… how to feel. Carter and Nathan were just gone… without a trace and nothing like that had ever happened in Eureka before… and when it did… the search often ended with a dead body. Allison quickly left Thorne's office, closing her eyes as she tried to calm her racing heart. They didn't know anything yet… she needed to remain calm. They'd find Carter and Nathan… one way or another.
"Carter… what are you doing?" Nathan asked, with long- suffering look.
Jack just glared at him, continuing his search of the room for some kind of weakness. "We found a way out of my bunker when S.A.R.A.H. went psycho, maybe we can do the same here. There's got to be some kind of back door in the system… some secret compartment we can find so you can do your science thing and get us out of here."
Stark rolled his eyes. "My 'science thing'…" he muttered.
Jack hated being mocked… especially by Stark. With a huff he turned around to look at the scientist sitting quietly on the large cot. "Yes! Your 'science thing!' You know, cracking computer codes, shorting out hard drives… the usual! At least I'm doing something to get us out of here… instead of lounging about waiting for something to happen! Has it escaped your notice that technically we've been kidnapped Stark?! As in… taken against our will! How can you sit there calmly when we're stuck in a cell together with no idea where we are or whether we're even in Eureka anymore?!"
Stark blinked, not even affected by the outburst. "Carter… eventually Forrester will come in here and tell us why we've been taken. We don't even know anything yet, and trying to find secret compartments and back doors that don't exist isn't going to do anything but waste our time and energy."
Jack sighed, rubbing the back of his head as he tried to gain back control. Yelling at Stark wasn't helping anything… even if it did make him feel better occasionally. The Sheriff gave up his search and walked over to Stark, dropping down on the cot next to him. "So how do we pass the time exactly? Somehow I have a feeling you didn't hide a deck of cards in that two thousand dollar suit jacket of yours."
Nathan smiled in amusement. "That would be in my three thousand dollar suit jacket I'm afraid," he retorted.
Carter shook his head. "Truth or dare?"
"Don't you think we're a little more evolved than to play a silly child's game… or have I over-estimated you again?" Stark said with his usual sharp wit.
Jack groaned, his head falling back against the wall with a resounding thud. "This is going to be a long day."
Nathan wasn't sure how much time had gone by when the door to their cell finally opened. Carter had fallen asleep, while Nathan stood nearby trying to figure out what Forrester might have planned for them. It looked like he was finally going to find out. Stark walked over to Carter, nudging him awake as a tall, and extremely fit young man opened the door wide to let Doctor Forrester through. Three other men, similarly well muscled walked inside the cell, crowding it just a bit. Nathan stood tall, head held high as he eye'd the other scientist. "Doctor Forrester," he greeted. Carter stood up slowly beside him, adopting Nathan's stance.
"Doctor Nathan Stark… one of the greatest minds in Eureka… Nobel Prize winner… having over a dozen degrees and PhDs. Your mother must be extremely proud," the scientist sneered.
Stark refused to be bated. His mother had died years ago, something Nathan knew Forrester was well aware of considering how long the man had lived in Eureka. "I'm sure she would have been."
Jack glanced at Nathan with a frown, obviously picking up on his wording before he looked back at Forrester. Doctor Forrester was a tall, well built man. His salt and pepper hair made him look mature rather than simply older. His dark green eyes gave him a strange appeal, similar to the color of plush green grass. He was well chiseled, fairly attractive, but his personality more than made up for his handsome features. Nathan had known him for years, since the man was first hired at GD and never liked the man from the very beginning. It wasn't his pride… that was a normal trait for scientists with IQ's higher than their credit scores. Forrester was a brilliant man, but his lack of moral integrity bothered Stark, which was saying a lot as in the past Nathan had been forced to sacrifice many of his morals to keep GD running. The difference was Nathan took no pride in those sacrifices. Unfortunately, Forrester had a talent when it came to producing results… meaning GD hadn't been able to afford to lose the man. Even the DOD seemed to love him.
Forrester cocked his head to the side, regarding Nathan with a measure of disgust as he took a few steps closer to the man. "If I had a choice in the matter you wouldn't be here, Stark, but unfortunately that brain of yours is just too important for me to let such an opportunity fly by."
"If it's him you want… then why am I here?" Carter asked, barely filtering his anger from showing through.
Forrester turned away from Nathan to look at the Sheriff, suddenly smiling. "What? And leave you to lead the investigation that would eventually lead to my capture? Please Sheriff Carter, I am well aware of your unique problem solving skills. While many in Eureka may not see you as being very formidable, I know better. You're stupidity act won't work with me. You're much smarter than you look."
Jack smiled, folding his arms while Stark rolled his eyes. "Oh believe me, it's not an act," he assured Forrester.
Carter glared at Nathan. "And how would you know? You've seen me in action… not bad for 111…. I was a US Marshall, you know."
Stark snorted, amused at the very idea of Sheriff Carter possessing more than half a brain. Nathan had worked with the Sheriff often enough to know that he had no idea what he was doing most of the time. He was extremely lucky… nothing more. Although he did have a gift when it came to solving Eureka's many catastrophe's it wasn't as if he solved each one alone. He leaned heavily on his, and Henry's own skills to put things right. It was a team effort.
"Oh come now, Stark, even you must admit the Sheriff does extremely well for a man with the mental capacity of a child," Forrester pushed, turning to look at Stark.
Nathan almost laughed at the annoyed look Carter shot him. "Hey! I don't mind Stark's smart remarks because in the end I know he only does it because he's an insecure, prick, but you don't get that leeway," the Sheriff grumbled. Stark raised an eyebrow at his words.
"Insecure prick?" he questioned.
Forrester shook his head. "As entertaining as this little back and forth is, I didn't come here for that," the scientist spoke as more men opened the door and filed in. Two stood behind Stark, immediately grabbing him. Nathan struggled immediately, his stomach in knots, his gut telling him something very bad was about to happen. He watched as two other burly men grabbed the Sheriff. Stark's eyes widened as he saw Forrester pull out a syringe from his lab coat pocket.
"Let us go, Forrester!" Nathan shouted, fighting hard against the men who only tightened their hold on him.
Forrester laughed, though clearly not amused. "I don't really think you're in the position to make demands, Doctor Stark. So how about I tell you how things are going to go. You are going to help me with a little project I've been working on… and in return I will set you both free unharmed."
"Oh please, like we'd ever believe that load of horse manure!" muttered Carter. Nathan was forced to agree with the Sheriff's sentiments.
Forrester's eyes flashed in anger. "You will help me, Doctor Stark, whether you want to or not!"
Nathan smiled, hardening his gaze, determined to show no fear. "I'd rather die," he growled.
Forrester didn't seemed the least bit phased by his answer. "That's where you're wrong, Doctor Stark. You see, despite your obvious issues with the Sheriff… I know you're not a killer, Nathan. You value life… including your prized Sheriff's." Nathan's eyes widened his a bit when he saw Forrester walk toward Carter, and sudden the Sheriff was fighting to be freed, panicked as he realized Forrester's intent.
"Forrester! Stop this now!" Nathan shouted, his heart beating a mile a minute as he watched the syringe moving towards Carter.
"It's too late for that, Nathan Stark. I see only one way that you will ever comply," he told Stark calmly before jabbing the needle into Jack's neck. Carter winced, barely biting back a shout as whatever was in the syringe was injected into the Sheriff.
"What did you do, Forrester?!" Nathan shouted, his eyes focusing on Carter's soft baby blue's filled with fear. "What did you do?!" he demanded an answer, struggling against the men holding him back.
Forrester pulled out the needle and turned to look at Nathan. "It's my own personal concoction… and only I have the antidote. In five days Sheriff Carter will be dead… unless you help me."
Stark growled at the scientist, barely restrained as his hands tightened into fists that ached to connect with Forrester's face.
"I'll leave you alone to take some time to think it over. Just don't take to long… Carter's life depends on whatever you decide," Forrester told him, leaving the room.
Nathan and Carter were thrown to the floor hard, the breath knocked out of them as the men who'd held them followed Forrester out of the cell. Stark scrambled to Jack's side as he lay on the floor, sweat dripping down his face as he groaned in pain. "Carter! Carter?!"
Jack swallowed hard, forcing his eyes open as he looked up at Nathan for one brief moment. "Nathan?" he whispered weakly. "I don't feel so good," he told him before his eyes closed once more and he fell unconscious.
To Be Continued.