Deacon led Fiddlestix away from the others, turning off his communicator. Figuring he wanted a chat between leaders, she did so as well.
"You're a hell of a warrior, Hannah-Belle," he whispered.
He took her in his arms and kissed her. Shocked at first, she pushed away from him, but he held her tightly. After a moment, she realized that she didn't want to push away. She clung to him almost desperately. Warming to his touch, she matched his intensity. Most men would have been intimidated and pulled away. Deacon held her gently, but securely. Their kiss lasted less than two minutes, but left them both breathless.
"I really didn't mean for that to happen," Deacon backed shyly away a few steps.
"Me either," she admitted awkwardly.
"It was damn good though," he chuckled.
"Hannah, when this is over...."
She put her hand on his lips, stopping him. "When this is over, Deacon, I'll go back to work."
"I understand," he whispered. "But before you do...." He left the invitation unspoken.
"Yeah," she agreed with a sharp nod. "You better."
Jasper whistled to get his attention. Suddenly, she and Deacon were back to business.
Fiddlestix looked at the schematic. "He's not here!" She frowned, looking even more carefully. "Am I missing him?"
Deacon and Jasper were looking just as intently. Harmony came up behind them, also gazing at the wall.
"He's not here," Fiddlestix grumbled. "He's not here!"
"We'll find him, Hannah."
"He could be anywhere! Oh, God," she turned wide eyes on Deacon. "The rest of the compound. He's taken the others to try a frontal attack. This was just a diversion! Dammit!"
Deacon didn't follow, so she explained. "Look. We found only three of his men. Where are the rest?"
Deacon, Jasper and Harmony gazed at the map that was zoomed in to show their immediate area.
"Where," she said, unzooming the image. "The hell are the rest?"
Red blips showed up moving slowly around the outside of the compound. One group was headed to the east, the other to the west.
"We have to get back there now," Fiddlestix gasped.
"They're on foot,"Deacon assured her. "We'll get there first. Don't worry."
"What about this lot?" Jasper motioned to the downed warriors.
"They're not going anywhere," Deacon assured him.
"Kill them," Fiddlestix warned him.
"You're supposed to bring them back, aren't you?" Harmony asked her.
"The parameters of the mission just changed," Fiddlestix said. "Take them out, Harm."
"Yes, Gunnery Sargent." He chambered a round on his heavy weapon.
Standing a safe distance from the shut down warrior, he emptied his magazine into the control panel at the base of the skull. Reloading, he moved to the other, doing the same thing.
"Is that satisfactory, Gunny?"
"That'll do," she grinned. "Let's move out, people!"
They left the wounded in the hands of the medical personnel, Kaz among them. Fiddlestix didn't stop to see how he was. She hoped he would still be alive when she got back. There was no time to worry over him now. Others needed her more.
Loading up the Jeeps took a couple of minutes, but they made up for it in transportation time. On the way, Deacon contacted the commanding officers at the other three gates, warning them what was coming.
"We want the handler," Fiddlestix told them. "Take him out, the rest will be relatively easy."
"I don't think I like how you qualify that statement, Hannah-Belle,” Deacon smirked.
"Nothing's ever easy," she grimaced. "But if we take out Livingston, it will be less difficult. Still have to tag them within a line of sight."
"True." He leaned back, putting his arm around her as Jasper drove.
"Which way, Deacon?” Jasper demanded “East or west?"
"Did we get a visual of Livingston on the scan?"
"Find me a screen, littler brother."
"You got it!"
He turned right without slowing down much. Pulling up in front of a room, he left the Jeep running while Deacon and Fiddlestix jumped from the vehicle. Dashing into the room, they accessed the scanner again. Livingston didn't show up on any of the scans.
"He must be somewhere out of range," Deacon muttered, glaring at the screen as if it had done him an injury.
"Is there anywhere he could hide that's shielded? Could he be inside, but hidden?"
"Oh, God," Deacon groaned. "The cloak room."
"You've got a room for coats?"
"No, no the cloaking device. The thing that made your people disappear. That area is shielded because it has an independent power source that makes our other instruments go all wonky otherwise."
"Where's it located?"
"Shine Peak. About a quarter mile straight up."
"Can we get there from here?"
"You good at mountain climbing?"
"Tell me there's an elevator."
"There is, but if he's up there, do you really want to trust it?"
"Jasper," they hopped back in the Jeep. "Take us to the fire station."
"You got it, Deacon."
He swung them around in a tight arc, heading back the way they'd come.
"Saunders, it's Deacon." He spoke into his communicator.
"Have me a two man flitter set up. I'll be there in less than five."
No questions, just instant response. No one knew what he was planning, but they didn't second guess his orders. Fiddlestix had to admire that about him as well as his people.
"We'll fly in," he told her. "Can you handle a two man flitter, Gunny?"
"Rating ten, General."
"Great. I'm only an eight. You fly."
"As the general wishes," she winked.
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