To say that Knuckles and Mad Dog were surprised when they entered the makeshift operating room would be an understatement of epic proportion. They had been given all the proper passcodes by Martini, had waited for hours in blind obedience, waiting for their opportunity. Everything was supposed to have been arranged…Martini had purchased Squeeze’s permanent allegiance when he paid for the opulent lair. Martini knew that Jacks would run to his old friend for medical help and that Kahlua would be there, as well. She was, after all, Squeeze’s niece; a secret that had been kept even from Jacks. What they found, however, was Squeeze, dead on the floor, with a scalpel sticking out of his neck, and blood everywhere. Kahlua and Jacks were nowhere to be found. They were at a loss, until they heard the sound of a car screaming down the driveway.
“How did you know?” Kahlua asked. While she was one of the best agents Jacks had ever worked with, and known for her keen intuition, even she was surprised by the sequence of events she had just witnessed. Thinking Jacks was completely unconscious, the sight of him grabbing Squeeze’s arm, stealing the scalpel away from him, and turning it on the man that was supposed to be his savior had taken even her by surprise. Daniel had quickly ordered Kahlua to help him up, through the hallway, and into the adjacent garage, where they made their escape. “How did you know that Squeeze was working with Martini?” she repeated.
“The house was the first sign”, he said. “I’ve known Squeeze long enough, and witnessed his gambling addiction in person on several occasions…there’s no way he could have afforded a house like that. Then, while I was lying there, and I heard him say that he didn’t have any anesthesia? How many doctors do you know that don’t always have at least a small bottle of Lidocaine in their bag?” Kahlua was wondering how someone so badly injured could be so astute, when the sight of headlights in the distance behind them brought her back to the moment. “So”, she asked, “what now, Superman??”. (Mitch 08/08/11)
“Damn, Kahlua, spare me the sarcasm!” said Daniel with as much humor as he could muster. He was still in a great deal of pain. The reality was they were on their own at this moment, trying to escape two of the most deadly hit men in existence today. They needed a plan. Daniel’s main focus was Kahlua. He had fallen in love with her during this covert operation, but knew it was against the ‘code of ethics’. Did she know? In his mind his thoughts were frantic, “I have to gut up and transcend this pain. This is the first woman I have ever had any respect for, any feelings of trust and love. If it kills me, I am going to get us out of this shit.”
“Any ideas, Superwoman?” Daniel said this jokingly, but he knew outwardly and physically Kahlua WAS a Superwoman. He also sensed that on the inside, there was a wounded, gentle side that she kept hidden from the world for some reason. This is what had drawn him to her. He looked over and saw her looking in the rear view mirror every couple of seconds. “Are they getting any closer?” Kahlua told him she thought they were just tailing them for the moment.
They looked at each other and almost simultaneously asked, “What are we going to do next?” Neither of their cell phones was working out here in ‘No Man’s Land’. There was no way to let their contact know that they were in deep trouble, that the whole plan had gone awry. And then there was Daniel’s injuries…how long could his body endure Daniel pushed the gas pedal to the floor. "Hold on. I've got an idea. We'll die trying."
Kahlua pushed her legs to the floor, bracing herself. She reached her hand over to Daniel and squeezed tightly. "At least we'll die together."
The car behind them sped up and continued right on their tail. Daniel watched the speedometer creep up...100...102...105. He knew the speed was dangerous, but on this road, any loose rock or stick could mean instant death. 106...109...110. Ahead Daniel could just make out a space where the sky seemed lower. He prayed he remembered which way the road turned from last night. Gently he turned the wheel. He didn't want to give too much away to the car behind him. 111...112...113. "God, I hope I'm right." He turned the wheel sharply to the right. The brakes behind him squealed and the wheels spun, but Daniel's gamble paid off. The trailing car slid over the cliff and into the ocean below. (Tiffany 8/13/11)
Adrenaline coursed through Daniel's veins providing him with temporary pain relief. He felt giddy, almost a little high as he slowly began to apply the brake, both hands on the wheel, bringing the car back to an acceptable speed.
Kahlua was breathing heavily, relief working its way physically through her limbs as she began to relax them. Her legs bent slightly as her thighs relaxed. She sank into her seat again and sighed, her shoulders dropping. Kahlua pushed her hair back from her face and looking over at Daniel, caught his eye and laughed, giving him one of her dazzling smiles.
“Daniel, I should be driving. You're hurt.” Kahlua looked away from Daniel and back at the road and screamed. (Amber 8/19/11)
Daniel almost jumped out of his seat when he heard Kahlua scream. His eyes shot back to the road, expecting to see a deer, elk, or some other animal that inhabited the area. Finally, his brain processed what his eyes were seeing.
It was evening; they were heading west, trying to put as much distance between Squeeze's lair and all that had happened there. The sun was just above the horizon, which made driving, even under perfect conditions, difficult and dangerous. But these weren't perfect conditions...not by a long-shot. Daniel was still badly injured, they were on a treacherous mountain road, and the sun was in his eyes, making them burn. When his brain processed the image, the burn in his eyes worsened...fueled by the immense rage that accompanied his interpretation of the scene in front of him.
Standing in the middle of the road, pointing what appeared to be a 50mm machine gun straight at them, was the creator of the day's ungodly events. It was Martini. (Mitch 08/30/11)
Clearly the shots were meant to disable the vehicle, but just as Martini started firing, the truck hit a ridge in the rickety dirt road and caught air. The bullets ricocheted off the undercarriage and the front end came down with a thunderous crash and a double thud as it roared over Martini's body.
Daniel glanced in the rear view mirror and saw him lying there in a dust-covered heap like abandoned roadkill. Was he dead? His heart was racing, and he knew it couldn't take much more.
"Don't look back!" Kahlua yelled. "We've got to keep going. You've got to pull through Daniel, I can't do this without you." Her words were the kind that might be spoken to a dying man, which struck Daniel as alien and unnerving, even after all he'd been through. He set his focus on the road, knuckles white against the steering wheel, and forged ahead. His only consolation was the belief that nothing worse could happen. (Melinda 8/29/11)
Kahlua leaned her body over towards Daniel, putting her head on his shoulder. Daniel wasn’t shocked at that. What did surprise him were the soft sobs that were being muffled as she cried into his arm. That he had never encountered before and it unnerved him like virtually nothing else that had happened the entire night.
He swore that she was saying, “I’m sorry. Oh Daniel, I’m so, so sorry…” but he wasn’t sure because it was just then that the world started doing spins around him, swirling like dull, thick liquid down an open sewer. The pain, the burning in his leg, blackness engulfed him and there was nothing, no one that could save them now.
Light, intensely bright light that he could sense through his swollen eyelids, as he was laying on something cold, something hard and metallic. Shuffling energy, confusion all around him, frantic voices asking for something… drugs? What? He groaned and then heard the energy rush towards him. “He’s alive! We haven’t lost him Doctor! Mr. Mason is alive!” (Rich 9/12/11)
Sharp flash of pain in his chest, ribcage on fire, eyes glued shut, “His heart rate is going up – give him more morphine! NOW” he heard, then he drifted off again. It just kept happening, same scenario, same pain, forever, never ending, stuck in Limbo. He was trying to move but he felt a tugging and pulling from a tube sticking out from his bandaged chest. ”Need to get out of here….got to leave…” sharper pain, felt like he was ripped in two pieces. “Can’t open my eyes” Daniel hissed….”have to leave…who the hell is Mason…?”
An hour or maybe a week later he woke up again, his head a little bit more clear this time but the still couldn’t see. Seemed like they’d covered his eyes with bandages, he just prayed he hadn’t gone blind.
A cell phone buzzed frantically from somewhere in the room and at the exact moment that he heard Kahlua’s heartbreaking shriek not so far away, someone answered the phone. The voice was familiar enough to scare the last ounce of strength right out of him: “Rossi.”(Magdis 9/16/11)
“I told you I have it covered,” said Rossi as he stepped out of the room. He was trying to be quiet so Daniel would not wake up. “They think his name is Charles Mason and for now he is safe. Do not call me here again.”
Daniel was motionless but his mind was racing. What is Rossi doing here? What happened to me? Where is Kahlua? He was so disoriented. Time seemed to be suspended. He was coming in and out of his morphine twilight, reality almost indiscernible to him.
He wanted to get up but he could not move. The pain was still constant and with the bandages over his eyes he knew disastrous results would follow if he tried to escape. Once again, he began drifting off into that drug induced oblivion. (Nico 9/19/11)