Jericho -:- Homecoming
Summary: Post Series (Un-aired ending). Having started the Second American Civil War and rescued Hawkins from Loomer Ridge Prison with Chavez, Jake will do anything to return home to Jericho, dead or alive.
Disclaimer: I own nothing
Author's Note: Thanks to xXThedoctorxX, nightbird47, and madmedjenna for reviewing! Sorry it's been so long for this update, I've had half this chapter written since March but then I had the inevitable writers block :(
Chapter Three -:- A Good Catch
The morning sun broke through the curtains, the glare waking Emily from her sleep. She blinked her eyes open, cursing the glowing orb from waking her from one of the few good dreams she had had in a while. She wanted to go back to the make-believe world where she wasn't alone. She patted the blankets next to her to confirm that this was reality and that her bed was empty.
Knowing that there was no way she'd get back to sleep now, she glanced at her clock. The glowing numbers told her it was 6.15am, too early for a Wednesday with no school. After Cheyenne had left the town they had decided on a four-day school week so as not to pressure the kids who didn't particularly want to be there anyway.
She lay in her bed, staring at the ceiling, wondering if today would be the day that Jake finally came home.
A Field, 10 Miles outside Jericho
"Sir! We found someone!"
Major Hardy headed in the direction of his subordinates voice, rifle raised and ready. He came to a dip in the shoulder-high grass to find his soldiers in a circle, pointing their weapons at some heap on the ground. It wasn't untill he got closer that he realised the heap was a man looking the worse for wear and covered in blood. From the description he'd been given he pegged the man to be Jake Green, one of the fugitives. Hardy chuckled. "Well, well, well. It looks like someone got left behind."
Jake glared up at the Major as best he could, but found his eyes closing involuntarily. One of the soldiers has kicked away the hand gun Hawkins had gave him before he'd had a chance to fire off a shot.
The Major just smirked as Jake passed out, and then started giving orders. "Davis, Jones; load him in the truck and make sure he's cuffed, be ready to move." The two soldiers obeyed with a nod. Hardy pointed at the group opposite him. "You six, go stand guard around the truck, keep an eye out for any movement, they might try some gung-ho rescue. The rest of you, scout the area I want to know where they went. Now."
The soldiers burst into movement, taking a scattered formation as they scoured the field. Davis and Jones hauled an unconscious Jake between them, cuffing his hands in front of him, and threw him in the back of the truck, seated, so as not to take up too much room. Twenty minutes passed before the scouts returned with their findings.
"Sir, the tracks continue to the edge of the field where there's a pretty big sign declaring 'Welcome to Jericho'. It looks like they then back-tracked towards the woods and onto another highway. The trail goes cold there. That way is the quickest way to New Bern on foot," a soldier reported.
Davis gave a snort of amusement. "So they really were lost? Not the smartest, are they?"
"They're smart enough to head towards our enemy's soil, private," Hardy admonished, though he himself had found the mistake funny. "If we go after them now we risk starting a fight with the EUS. We'll report that they made it to enemy soil so we couldn't follow. Let's head back to the border and pick up our escorts shall we?"
"Ermm...sir..." a soldier with a nervous disposition interrupted, earning himself a glare. "W-we only had enough fuel for a one-way trip..."
"And you're telling me this now, Lowe?" Hardy barked, making Lowe jump. He'd never really liked the young, weedy-looking soldier anyway. "Load up. We're heading into Jericho to re-fuel. Move out!"
Highway, 4 Miles outside Jericho
Eric Green continued to follow his mother as she marched with purpose towards the diminishing plume of smoke. They'd been walking for an hour and still hadn't reached it, proving that Eric wasn't as good at pegging distances as he thought. They'd been walking in silence ever since he'd posed the 'what if?' question.
He was about to try and strike up a conversation when he saw something glinting at the crest of the hill. He tried to see what had caused it but the sun was right in his eyes. "Mom..."
"What?" replied Gale a little curtly, worry making her anxious.
"There's something..." Eric stared ahead until he could make out two black shapes moving towards them, fast. "There's someone up ahead!"
"Where?" Gale squinted where Eric pointed, just making out the shapes as they started to become clearer, the distance between them shortening. "Who do you think they are?"
"I don't know...but I think I see a gun," Eric warned, wary of the strangers that were closing the gap so quickly. "Maybe we should hide."
"Eric, everyone has a gun these days, and I suspect they've already seen us," Gale was just starting to make out some of the features of the figures. "Besides, the one on the left looks familiar."
"Are you sure?"
Mother and son stared at the oncoming figures, impatiently waiting to find out who they were. Back-lit, they were cast in shadow, but Gale could just make out the dark hair and build of the figure on the right. She found herself truly believing that it was Jake. She felt hope, relief and happiness bubble up inside of her, threatening to overflow into a high-pitched giggle. But then they got closer.
"Mr. Hawkins?" called Eric as they came into view and within ear-shot. The figure on the left acknowledged with a gesture. As they came closer, Eric got more and more confused. "What are you doing here? Where's Jake? Who's that?"
Gale was too winded from disappointment to voice her own questions, instead waiting for Hawkins's answers. Hawkins and his not-Jake friend came to a stop in front of them, barely winded from their run. "This is Chavez, a friend. And we're here because of Jake..."
"What's happened?" Gale asked anxiously, picking up on the tone of Hawkins's voice
"I will explain everything later," Hawkins promised, meeting Gale's gaze. "But for now all you need to know is that Jake was taken by ASA soldiers which are now on route to Jericho. We have a plan to get him back, but we'll need some co-operation from some people in town, and we need to get back before the soldiers arrive."
"But we're on foot, there's no way we can do that," said Eric.
"We're not far from the ranch," Gale replied, already walking in that direction. "We can make it on horseback. What do you need us to do?"
Mayor Gray Anderson stood at the top of the town hall steps and watched calmly as the four military hummers rumbled down Main Street. A couple of pedestrians scarpered at the sight while others stood their ground, daring the soldiers to start something. The hummers came to a stop with the squeal of brakes, and suddenly the street was full of ASA uniforms. Gray had an overwhelming sense of déjà vu.
Gray took a deep breath then called out to the most leader-looking soldier. "Hi, I'm the Mayor of Jericho, Gray Anderson. My rangers on the outskirts told me you were coming. Can we help you in some way?"
"Mayor Anderson, I am Major James Hardy of the Allied States Army," the Major introduced with the quick bark of a drill sergeant. "We are transporting a fugitive to Loomer Ridge, Colorado however need to re-fuel to make the journey. As a neutral party, we are requesting from you the fuel we need, permission to stay one night, and a secure location in which to hold the fugitive."
Gray looked thoughtful for a moment, pondering the demands. "As a neutral party, we are not required to comply with your request..."
"Sir, as a neutral party, you are not protected by war-laws," Major Hardy interrupted, the threatening undertones not very subtle. "This is the only neutral soil in the entire state, and as such is the only place we can get fuel. I am asking for your assistance. I don't have to."
"Then I'll arrange for some fuel to be brought here," Gray replied curtly, not liking being threatened. "That will take about an hour. Then you can leave."
Major Hardy scowled, greatly irritated by the Mayor and tired from sleep deprivation. "My company has gone without rest for nearly three days," he exaggerated. "As such, I am asking that we stay in this town for one night."
Gray caught the hint as several of the gathered soldiers cocked their weapons threateningly. "I want you out of town by 8 o'clock tomorrow morning. That gives you 24 hours. We have a jail the fugitive can stay in; I'll just call the sheriff."
"No need Gray," Eric called as he trotted on horseback past the hummers. He clambered down and held the horses reigns, warily studying the Major. "I'm Sheriff Eric Green, how can I help?"
Gray brought Eric up to speed as the Major grew more and more irritable. Five minutes later, Eric was ready to escort the fugitive, gesturing for the soldiers to follow him. Hardy ordered Davis and Jones to get Jake from the hummer. Eric could barely conceal his concerned reaction as he saw his brother for the first time in a month.
The two soldiers carried Jake between them, an arm hooked under each of his, hands cuffed in front of him. He was covered in blood and dirt, Hawkins's first aid not holding as well as it had. As they walked towards him, Eric could see that Jake's right leg was significantly longer than the other, his foot trailing at a strange angle as he was half-carried, half-dragged towards the sheriff's office.
"Is he going to be needing medical treatment?" asked Gray as he walked with the major behind the soldiers, Jake and Eric.
Major Hardy shrugged. "My orders were to capture the fugitives, not necessarily alive, but it was implied. I'd appreciate it if you could get the fugitive a doctor, though it's more than he deserves."
"Wait, fugitive's'?" questioned Gray, concerned. "There are more out there?"
"They ran to the EUS for protection, they won't be a problem," replied Hardy as they entered the sheriff's office. At the desk Jimmy and Bill were talking to Gale, apparently discussing the mysterious hummers on Main Street. They stared curiously at the soldiers as they came in, but stayed silent. Gale managed to avoid looking at Jake, knowing her reaction would give her away.
"Just down the hall," Eric pointed, then gestured at Jimmy. "Go open up the cell, we got a guest." He turned back to the major. "We only have the one cell, it being a small town and all. Hardly gets used."
Major Hardy ignored him, his patience long ago burned out. He watched as the soldiers deposited the fugitive and slammed the metal doors with a clang. "Davis, Jones, you'll be the guards inside, I'll leave another five soldiers outside. Mayor, if you could get a doctor and direct us to a place to stay."
"Sure, there's a B&B in town that could do with the business," Gray obliged, swallowing comments about tourists. "Gale, can you see if you can find a volunteer at the med centre to take a look at the prisoner?"
"Our supplies are pretty low, can we afford..." Gale made to argue, but trailed off at a gesture from Gray.
"Just see what you can do."
The Med Centre
Dr. Kenchy Dhuwalia stared at Gale Green as if she were mad. He then glanced over her shoulder at an exhausted but determined-looking Hawkins, briefly wondering if the madness was catching. He blinked, trying to process the request but failing. "You want me to what?"
"We need you to be Jake's doctor, and then we need you to kill him with this," Gale replied evenly.
Hawkins raised a vial of colourless liquid. "This will make him appear dead for about twelve hours, by which point the soldiers will be ready to leave. Then we can persuade them to leave him behind and they leave, mission complete and suspicion averted. We've already set it up, you've just got to give him this."
Kenchy took the vial from Hawkins and studied the label, not recognising the Latin. "I've never heard of this...rhododendron ponticum...and what you're talking about...that's only possible in fiction, you're all mad!"
"It's a plant," Hawkins's explained to the best of his knowledge, "infamous somewhere in Turkey for its ability to induce apparently mortal paralysis. This will work."
"And if it doesn't?" Kenchy asked. "From what you've said, Jake's not in good condition. What if this actually kills him?"
Gale closed her eyes as she tried not to think about that possibility. Hawkins answered flatly, "Then we won't be lying when we ask Major Hardy if we can bury him here."
And yes...I have watched Sherlock Holmes recently :P
Hopefully the next update will take less than 3 months!