The waves are calling out my name and they laugh at me, Reminding me of all the times I've tried before and failed, The waves keep on telling me time and time again, Boy you'll never win, Never win, But The Voice of Truth, Tells me a different story, The Voice of Truth, Says do not be afraid, And The Voice of Truth says this is for My glory, Out of all the voices calling out to me, I will choose to listen and believe, The Voice of Truth ***
The families were ushered out of the room, while the doctors went about, a now daily, routine of making sure that everything was going as planned.
"Well," Jordan said, looking at Chris, "Chris, you continue to do as you are asked, and you will be able to get out of here in a day or two."
Kathleena took the blood pressure cuff off of Tanner's arm, "Three more days, then you can go… providing that you listen."
Laughs and giggles came from his roommates, "Tanner, listen?" Trent asked.
"You can't use those words in the same sentence," Larabee agreed.
"And why is that?" his doctor asked, playing along.
"Because it's Vin!" was the answer in stereo, as both Malloy and Larabee answered together.
"Everyone's a comedian," Vin scowled, "Tanner is right here," he added, looking at the two other men.
"And he won't ever let us forget it, will he, Sergeant?" Chris asked Trent, continuing.
"No, he won't, Colonel," he agreed.
Cassandra crossed her arms, "Trent, you ignoring me won't make me go away."
"Yeah, Malloy," Vin said, seeing his revenge, "Your mother lied to you when she told you that."
Trent looked up at his doctor with a grin, "And neither will kill them with kindness. I'm a doctor, Sergeant, not your sibling or your coworker, thank God."
Trent sighed, "Do you honestly have to, Dr. Stalin?"
"Pouting doesn't work either," Tanner prodded, "I've tried. Otherwise I wouldn't be stuck in a room with ya'll."
"Tanner," Malloy said quietly, "You don't shut it, I'll make you."
"How will you do that? You're over there, on the other side of Chris. "
"You keep it up, and you'll find out, kid."
Vin realized he was in trouble when he no longer heard the banter in Trent's voice, like he did before, "Sorry, Malloy," he said quietly, as Cassie looked over the stitches in her patient's shoulder, "You and the others were talking about my backside earlier, though," he pouted, before his face turned red, and a look of dismay came over his face, when he saw Cassie trying to keep from laughing, "I'm sorry, Dr. Stalin," he began, "I really am, I just forgot that you were in here and-,"
Cassie shook her head, "As a doctor, Vin, I've heard a whole lot worse." She turned back to Trent, "Give it another day, and you will be on crutches by 10 tomorrow morning, and also get your walking papers," she said with a smile as the three physicians left the room.
"Why do you get out of here earlier?" Chris asked with a grin.
"Because my doctor likes me," Trent answered so matter of matter-of-factly the three of them started laughing.
Luke came in a few moments later, "How are you three men doing?" he asked, already having been reported to by his wife and children.
"Can't wait until in the morning," Trent said with a goofy grin.
"Wondering how Erikson- Morgan is, count? Chris asked.
"Is it possible for me to get new roommates? Mine are cranky," Vin complained, good naturedly.
"Yeah, it counts, Chris. We'll be moving her in here in about two days. She's no longer in a coma, but is still attached to the ventilator, at least until tomorrow afternoon"
"What about her baby?" Vin asked.
"It's fine. In about a week, Nikole will want to get up and start working on Thanksgiving dinner and will have to be tied down."
"That's good," Trent said, with a smile, "she can the crack the whip on these two oxymoron's, and give me a break."
"Where are the cards when you need them?" Tanner asked, crossing his arms.
"It's a good thing he's not your doctor Tanner," Larabee said, "you would have been out of here the day you got in."
"Even under anesthesia," Malloy added, for good measure.
"Is this how you treat a bearer of good news?" Luke asked with a smile.
He was a horrible card player and after Nikole had learned that, she'd told Team 7, helping them escape the confines of many clinics during their time in the military, by smuggling in a deck of cards.
(No one ever used Ezra's cards, knowing that Luke would think they were using a marked deck.)
"Well…" Vin said thoughtfully, "perhaps you can get a break… this time."
Luke looked at the three men in front of him and sighed, "What happened in that warehouse? Knowing Morgan like I do, she'd never put a child at risk, what happened?"
Chris spoke first, "A rookie mistake," he whispered, flashing back to Iraq, the summer Team 7 had been formed.
Luke bit his lip, knowing he was going to dread what he was about to be told, "Colonel?'
Chris looked at the doctor, "Nikole had brought the infrared binoculars, not wanting to storm the place if it was under guard…"
"Looks like Nikole came this way," Vin said, looking at the tracks, and saw her standing by the warehouse."
"If she had the binoculars, why didn't she storm the place?" Trent asked, "She knew that no one was there, but me."
Vin answered, "She knew we were behind her and didn't want to risk getting cornered with you and nowhere to go."
Chris took a deep breath, "Trent was down, and Vin had gone into sniper mode, giving us cover fire…"
Nikole patched Vin up, as another round of gunfire exploded around them, "Get Malloy out of here, I'll see if I can get to the second floor and cover ya'll," he said, pushing her to the others.
Chris looked over at Morgan, as she joined them, "Malloy is in and out of it. We may need to drag him out," he looked around, "where's Tanner?"
"Giving us cover fire," she answered, grabbing one of Trent's arms, while Larabee did the same, "Let's go. Vin should be in position by now."
They were halfway to the door when Chris saw the shadow on the floor in front of them, 'I should have thought about someone guarding that door,' he thought, just as Nikole shoved him and Malloy down, and three shots fired simultaneously.
"I should have thought about there being a guy covering the door," Chris said, "but I didn't. I saw, or thought I did, anyway, the way to the door was clear and nearly got my team and an innocent child killed."
Luke watched the men for a moment, "Nikole had come to see me a few months back and we were sure that she wasn't expecting. She had thoughts, but nothing that could be proven, at that point. She never would have intentionally put the life of a child at risk, but her own life…" Dr. Stalin let the sentence and thought drop, knowing that even the thought of losing someone so close to you was hard enough, but someone you love… these men had lost the world and found it again.
Chris had lost his wife and son, only the army and a certain long haired Texan and an office manager and her son had saved him leading him to find a purpose in life with again.
Trent had lost his father, opening a karate school and private investigation office with his best friend and taking his place as the 'man of the house' had kept him from going over the deep end.
Vin had lost his mother and twin sister, one by an illness another through foster homes and abuse, the army, an older woman with a ranch and a feisty Cherokee- Irish young woman saved him.
"A rookie mistake, Chris, would have possibly killed you all. A mistake, however, everyone makes those at some point or another; as you all know."
Chris looked over at Malloy and made eye contact; yes, they both very well knew that everyone made mistakes, some may never be forgotten, others make you who you are.
Maj. Chris Larabee and Sgt. Trent Malloy were on patrol duty together, while the rest of Alpha 7 looked over the surveilance tapes from previous base bombings that had taken place in the past three weeks. One having nearly killed Larabee and Capt. Nikole Erikson- Morgan just over a week before, while they were one patrol together.
"Sir," Malloy said, "permission to speak freely?"
"Permission granted, Sergeant. What have I told you about this team?"
"We're family and with family you say what's on your mind. There is no rank nor one person above the other."
"What's on your mind, Trent?"
"Do you think that you maybe the target?"
"You trying to get rid of me, Malloy?"
Trent smiled, "Why would I want to get rid of the resident cowboy, sir?"
"You and Tanner are going to get payback and you know what they say about that."
Malloy scanned the area, "I don't see anything, Chris. The area looks clear-,"
A sound from a highpowered rifle cut through the pleasant silence just as Malloy turned to get a affirmative from his CO, only to see Larabee his the ground, a hole in his chest.
He was never going to get Chris to the safety that lay on the other side of their jeep.
It was too far, he'd never make it.
He should just save himself; the others would understand.
"You can make it, Trent, just go. I'll be with you." The Voice that had called to him one night when he was just a child, called to him again asking him to once again, trust Him.
Trent grabbed hold of the major's arm and drug him behind their jeep, as a sharp pain tore through his shoulder.
The last thing he remembered was seeing a pair of faded, ripped up blue jeans hit the sand thirty feet away and one singular shot.
"Trent," a voice called, "hey, kid, wake up."
"Ain't a kid, Tanner. I'm older than you," he looked around the infirmary, "Where's Larabee?"
"Right next to you," Dr. Luke Stalin said, looking over the charts. "It seems you both now share more than just an explainable bond, orneryness, sarchasm, and being a downright pain."
Trent looked over at the other side of the room and saw Chris looking at him, "What do you mean, Luke?"
Chris answered, "We're going to have matching scars, Sergeant."
Trent looked down, flashback of that one moment when he'd made a call of a clear patrol and nearly got his friend and commanding officer killed, "Chris, I'm-,"
Chris held up his hand for silence, "I didn't see anything, either, Trent. I've seen the pictures, from where we were, there was no way for us to have seen them."
The look on Vin's face showed that he, too, had a flashback to that same day when he had to make a decision that could have killed one or both of his friends.
Capt. Vin Tanner was looking over present videos and saw a group of militants setting up a foxhole and looked at the radar, "Chris! Trent! You have three enemy soldiers about a ½ mile ahead of you." He waited a moment and still had no answer.
He was never going to get there in time.
He was going to get there in time to bring the two soldiers home in pine, flag- draped boxes and it was going to be his fault.
The doubts flooded his mind to where it was nearly paralyzing and drowning out the sound of his own jeep.
But, all it took was a still, small, Voice, telling him that he could do it. And he listened to it.
He arrived on scene just in time to see Malloy drag Larabee behind their jeep. Two snipers had either man in their sights and a third was using a radio jammer to keep them from getting transmitions. He could either take out one sniper and lose a friend, or he could change positions and take them both out in one shot. He couldn't make that decision, couldn't make the shot. He was going to be at fault for someone close to him's death. He chose the latter and then took out their transmissions expert, saving both his friends with one strategic move.
One wrong move, one mistake, and he could have lost one, if not both, of his friends.
"I think that you three have been given a second chance for a reason," Luke said, "don't waste it."
Chris looked at his two friends, then at the doctor, "We don't intend to, Stalin. Give my regaurds to your father, when you see him next."
Luke nodded, saluted, and left the room, "We have made our mistakes,"
Trent said, "and we were made stronger through them."
"You boys ride well," Vin said quietly, "don't plan on losing ya'll, either."
"Friends and partners, but brothers, first and foremost," Chris said, saying the same thing they were all thinking.
***The Voice of Truth by Casting Crowns***