A/N: I'll try to write a lot more while I'm getting killed by the hurricane attacking the East Coast this weekend. This is the last chapter I have written right now. Hopefully, it won't take long to wrap this up. It's looking to be around 20 or 25 chapters.
It should be just off there.
That must be it!
Why has the car stopped?
. . . .
Chapter 17: Missing SWAT Teams
Strauss hung up her phone. "They found them."
"What?" The single word was said almost in unison.
"They found Mr. Spencer and Agent Rossi. They're currently at a hospital near where we'll be landing, but Agent Flannigan is trying to locate the house where the others are being held."
"Which one?" McNabb asked.
"Which – oh. Senior."
"How are they?" Vick asked, half turned towards Strauss.
"Herriman didn't tell me."
"Either way they're probably suffering from dehydration, so they'd need fluids," Gideon said, allaying the others' worried looks.
"We're going to land and then accompany a SWAT team from Grand Island down to the house," Strauss continued. "Agent Flannigan is currently out trying to find it. As soon as she does, the Gosper county and a few Nebraska State officers will secure the area, but won't assault the house until we're there."
The plane started to descend to the runway, and gently set down. They lugged bags down and hurriedly threw them into one of the SUVs before getting into the vehicles. Strauss climbed into the passenger seat of the first one.
"Chief Strauss, we're about twenty away from our destination. Fifteen with the lights on."
"Where's the SWAT we were told about?" JJ asked, looking out the window. The agent driving sighed.
"Grand Island forgot, and they're driving straight there."
"How far away is Grand Island?" Vick had climbed into the same SUV, primarily to make sure that Strauss wouldn't be withholding information.
"About an hour. You can do it in forty-five with sirens."
"How far away are we from Drive 435?"
"Fifteen. With sirens."
"Get going," Strauss ordered. With a nod he threw the SUV into gear and they blared off the runway, lights already going.
Teresa and Officer Smith had penetrated the woods, but found that the ATVs were having problems with the dense underbrush. Teresa's slacks already had several tears from thorns, and she was growing more irritated with each thorn bush her ATV found. Officer Smith didn't look any happier.
They weren't very deep into the woods before the hair on Teresa's neck stood up. She stopped, and Smith pulled in next to her.
"What's going on?"
"Sh." Teresa scanned the woods. Smith listened. "Someone's out there."
"There," he hissed, pointing, before they took cover behind the ATVs.
"FBI," Teresa yelled. "Come on out!"
A bullet dinged off the ATV, and in seconds Teresa and Officer Smith had returned fire. Seconds later, a loud rustling from directly ahead of them revealed a man, turning to sprint away. The duo took aim, fired, and he dropped.
As the forest went silent, Teresa sprinted forward, kicked his rifle away from him, and leveled her gun at him. "Smith!"
The officer followed her, and started to cuff him. He yelped as it pulled on a gunshot wound in his shoulder. "You are under arrest for assault of two law enforcement officers. Where are you hit?"
"Shoulder. Ass," the man groaned. Teresa pulled a wallet out of his back pocket.
"Eric Morton," she read. "Well, Morton. You alone out here?"
She shook her head. "There's someone else out here."
"Gone by now," Morton insisted. "Across . . . across the lake . . ."
"Where's Elizabeth Seager?"
Teresa resisted the urge to hit him. "Take him back. I'm heading forward."
"Alone? That isn't –"
"I doubt his friend is around anymore after we shot him. This is a small operation, so to have more than two gunmen out here trying to stop Agent Rossi and Mr. Spencer would be improbable. Especially when we have one of them in custody already."
"Okay. But you ring if anything –"
"I will. And I'll turn right back around." She clapped his shoulder. "I'm a farm girl. I know how to get the hell out of woods on a four-wheeler."
With a grin, Smith pulled Morton to his feet and helped him limp to the ATV. Teresa climbed back on hers, adjusting her vest, before starting it and driving up the hill.
After dodging outcrops of rocks, large trees, and a few deer, Teresa found herself in a small clearing. The ATV zoomed across it, bouncing over a large groundhog – or were they prairie dogs out here? – hole nearly invisible in the ground. Teresa swore, straightened the vehicle out, and continued forward.
In the next branch of the forest, the trees started to clear out suspiciously. She pulled up on the edge of the strange clearing, almost immediately pulling up her mic.
Go for Sage.
"I've found a really big, pretty damn strange house out here. I think I've found them."
Okay. Bringing you up on the GPS. We'll head out to meet you.
Strauss and them just pulled in. We're all pulling back out and we'll meet you up there. There's a small access road from Drive 425 we can take.
"Copy. Just hurry up. Mr. Spencer said that Hotchner was in bad shape."
I know, I was there. Coming at you.
Teresa looked back up at the almost window-less structure with a simple headshake. Crazy.
Back at the farmhouse, Sage waved to the SUVs, stopping them from getting out. "Hold on! Hold on!" Strauss rolled down her window as the driver of the second SUV rolled down his. "Turn around. We need to head up that road there –" she pointed. "—because Teresa found the house, and she's waiting for us up there."
"She's sure?" Strauss asked.
"Positive." Sage looked behind them. "Where's the SWAT team?"
"Grand Island forgot to send them," the agent driving Strauss repeated.
"Damn it." Sage rubbed her head. "T's gonna be pissed. Someone give me a ride."
Sage climbed into the back of the SUV carrying Madeleine, Gideon, Garcia and McNabb, and they set off down the farm road with sirens blaring.
"Hm," McNabb said from the other side of the car. They looked over at him.
"What, Buzz?" Madeleine asked. He shrugged.
"Nothing, just . . ." He unbuckled and pulled his and Vick's Kevlar vests into the back seat.
Sirens attracted Teresa's attention about a minute later, and three SUVs slid into the small clearing, followed by police cars and two ambulances. As the doors opened and people filed out, Teresa tried to look around the ambulances.
"Where's my damned SWAT?" She yelled in Sage's direction as the analyst led the others towards her. JJ was busy pulling on her vest, while Vick and McNabb discreetly did the same outside of Strauss' vision.
"Grand Island forgot to send them out. They're a half-hour away."
Teresa threw her hands in the air. "We don't have a half damn hour! Seager's a loose cannon, if her delusion's devolving! We don't know what she's going to do when she realizes we're here." She drew her gun and checked the clip. "We've got to go in."
"Wait," Strauss said, interrupting Teresa's tirade. "You need to wait for the –"
"Not going to happen," Teresa said with a slight scoff. "I doubt anyone except our guys are in there anyway, and if you want Agent Hotchner to die on you then we can hang tight out here and wait for my office to get their ass in gear."
Strauss realized that public opinion was against her, as the police officers were all ready to knock in the door themselves. "Go ahead." She turned to see Vick and McNabb holding their weapons ready, vests fastened. "Chief Vick, I–"
"They need a hand," Vick said simply. "I'm not about to let five police officers and four federal agents try to clear the building themselves."
"Come on." Teresa jerked her head before heading for the door. The entire clearing was silent as she beat her hand on the door. "FBI. Anyone home?"
When no answer came, she stepped back and slammed her foot into the door, sending it flying open.
"Is she always like this?" Strauss asked Sage, who was standing next to Madeleine, Gideon and Garcia.
"Basically," Sage and Madeleine answered simultaneously.
Two of the cops immediately hurried up the stairs, guns at the ready. Teresa eyed the side of the hall they were in.
"There's more over here." She knocked on the wall. It was hollow. "Look for a door!"
Vick was down by the stairs, tapping on the wall. McNabb found the door first. "Down here!"
"Get it down!" Teresa sprinted down the hall towards them as McNabb kicked the door in. They found themselves in a smaller room, another door set dimly in the corner. "Get this down."
"Uh – okay." McNabb tried to kick it in, but it stayed closed. "It's –"
"Move." Teresa took his place and tested it. "It's a stronger lock. Look out." Taking aim, she fired.
"That came from in here." Morgan was on his feet instantly. They'd been trying to make out the dim voices they could hear outside, but apart from knowing that several vehicles bearing sirens had pulled up, they had no idea what was going on.
"Are there more accomplices we don't know about?" Juliet asked. The others shrugged.
"I hope not," Reid said simply.
To their surprise, the room flooded with four recognizable faces and a few unknown police officers. They lowered their guns.
"You okay?" Teresa asked, lowering her gun.
"Hotch needs attention. Now," Morgan answered. JJ hurried over.
"Clear this floor," Teresa said, and the policemen hurried out. "I need EMTs in here ASAP. Come in the door at the back." She hurried over to Hotchner. "You okay, sir?"
"I think I'll live," Hotchner answered heavily. "And I thought we were trying to keep you out of the FBI."
"Eh, well, putting me in Nebraska basically did the same thing."
"Chief, this was really weird," Lassiter started as Vick stopped in front of them. "I wasn't –"
"Just . . ." Vick held her hand out flat. "Shut up." Lassiter snapped his mouth closed. "Are you four okay?"
"Basically," Juliet said.
"You need to do something about –" Vick moved her hand around her face, indicating Juliet's raccoon-ized eyes.
"Don't worry, I'll take care of it."
"McNabb. How you feeling?" Shawn clapped the detective on his back.
"Uh, fine. How're you?"
"Great. Just great," Shawn said. "So, uh, you guys know what happened to my dad, right?"
"He's up at the closest hospital. You'd have to ask them though." McNabb pointed at Teresa, who was currently talking to the agents. An EMT group ran past them towards Hotchner. Another EMT team was right behind them, and stopped at the group.
"Are any of you injured?"
"He is." Juliet pushed Shawn forward.
"I am not!" He looked back at the EMTs. "Just scraped up, that's all."
One of the EMTs pulled the polo off his arm. His arm was bright red from blood, and he hadn't been moving it since he'd fallen out of the chute. Shawn winced as one of them poked it.
"Bullshit," one of the EMTs said. "You'll be lucky if you didn't tear a ligament or something. Come on."
"Go on, Shawn," Juliet insisted.
"Mr. Spencer," Vick inserted.
"Okay. Okay. I'm going." Shawn let the EMT lead him out, and the others waved the remainders to the agents.
"You sure none of you are hurt?"
They collectively shook their heads. "Just some bumps," Gus said.
"Then what's all the bloo—"
"Not ours." Juliet cut McNabb off and jerked her head at Gus' face, about to dance through several shades of tan. McNabb nodded.
"Oh, yeah. Well, that's good then."
"Where are we, anyway?"
"Aren't you a little . . ." Lassiter left off the end of his question. Vick shrugged.
"Yeah. But the FBI forgot the SWAT team, so we helped pick up the slack."
"They forgot the SWAT team?" Gus asked, incredulous.
"I'm still not sure how that happened."
The EMTs rolled Hotchner out, accompanied by the agents.
"We may as well get out of here," Vick said. Teresa stopped as they passed.
"You all okay?" she asked. They nodded.
"Who are you?"
"Special Agent Teresa Flannigan." It looked like she was about to extend her hand, then decided against it. "Come on. You've been in here long enough."
As they made it outside, Sage ran towards the stretcher. Reaching it, she leaned over slightly. "Aaron. You okay?"
"Sage, what are –"
"We've been doing the footwork. What happened?"
He shook his head. "That accident. That's all."
"I'll ride with him," Sage called back to Teresa.
"Go ahead." They disappeared around the SUVs and Teresa reached the group of people. Madeleine was walking Shawn back to the ambulances.
"Seriously," Garcia yelled as they walked towards her. "I'm installing GPS in all of you!"
"You used that threat before, baby girl. It still hasn't happened."
Garcia looked ready to retort before EMTs shuffled them towards the waiting ambulances. JJ, Garcia, Teresa, and Strauss headed after them.
And in the commotion, no one noticed Gideon quietly disappear into the night.