(NOTE: Part of the ending of 5 didn't make it through, so I'm adding it here at the top of 6.)
Dino looked at the torn jacket and swore. "How the fuck did they know we were coming? There must be a leak at the embassy. We have two choices, men. We can wander around here with no chance of knowing where they've been taken...or we can head back and find that bastard who sold the boys up the river."
"Well, there aren't too many locals still working there, so it shouldn't take too long to find them...unless they've done a runner," Trog said. "Much as I want to stay and search, you're right. we need to tear the embassy apart until we find the shit who's done this."
They were soon back and they rushed through the main doors with their weapons at the ready. They soon had all the staff rounded up and and in one of the ground floor meeting rooms. The ambassador and his aide burst through the doors and stood in front of Larry.
"What is the meaning of this, Senator?"
"Well, it's like this. When we got to where the boys were being held...they just plumb weren't there. Now, there was only one way they would know we were on our way...they were warned. That means, Ambassador, that you have a leak, and no one is leaving this room until we find out who it is."
The room went quiet and Dino, Trog and Larry scanned the faces, looking for any clue who the mole could be. The local staff just looked bored, not nervous as Dino thought they would. When they turned their gaze around to the English staff it was different, though. The ambassador's aide was sweating, even though it was cool in the room. Dino looked at Larry and nodded. They both walked towards the aide and he turned to make a break for it, only to see that the doors were guarded by some angry-looking soldiers. He was grabbed and they found some cable to tie his wrists, then he was dragged along to the ambassador's office for questioning.
Terry was lying on the floor at the back of the old strong room. He was unconscious and moaning softly each time he took a laboured breath. He had endured a kicking just after they had arrived at the old bank, and the wound he had sustained when they were ambushed had started to bleed again. Petal was sitting next to him, watching over him, determined that he would not be hurt any more. He had taken enough of a beating for no reason, and now that he was with them, both men could protect him. He turned towards his commander, and friend, as Terry started coughing.
"Shit! Bugsy, help me turn Skip onto his side. He's bloody coughing up blood."
"Bollocks! It must have been that kicking they gave him. We need to get him out of here. Maybe we could jump them next time they come in."
"It's not going to be easy, Bugs. They can push the water through the bars, and there's nowhere we can hide if they decide to come in. I guess we have to wait for the cavalry to come riding in."
Just then, the cavalry were working on their mole. It was slow going. They started off just asking him straight out why. When they got no reply they tried shouting, threatening and even the 'good cop, bad cop' approach, all to no avail. Trog walked up to Dino and whispered something to him. Dino nodded and called his men together. They followed him out of the office, along with the senator. The ambassador had left early on in the questioning. He had first refused to believe that his aide was helping the 'enemy', and when he realized that they had the right man, he was so distraught that he went off to distance himself from everyone.
Dino and his group went to the kitchen and made themselves at home, brewing strong coffee and raiding the fridge. They were enjoying their snack when Trog walked in, a big grin on his face.
"Well?" Dino asked.
"Eat up, lads. We're on our way. Our mole decided that he wanted to keep his balls and finally broke down. He still won't tell us why, but at least he's given us a couple of locations to try. It will be getting dark by the time we get there, so hopefully that will be in our favour."
"You think we can sneak out without the senator?" Dino asked, grinning.
"I would say that's a definite 'no'," Larry said as he walked into the kitchen. "Where are we headed, boys?"
"We've got two locations, Larry. We have an old bank and the Catholic church in the square," Trog said. "I think it's best to split up and hit them both at the same time."
"I like that plan," Dino replied. "How about my boys taking the bank and your bunch taking the church?"
"Fine by me," Trog said. "Who are you going with, Larry?" he asked the senator.
"Well now, seeing as Dino here was thinking of sneaking out without me, I guess I'll go along with him," Larry laughed in reply.
"Okay, men. Let's lock and load!"
"Petal. Did you hear something?"
"Probably the bastards coming back to try and get Terry," Petal replied.
The two men sat up and got ready to protect their leader. All of a sudden the outer door burst open and a group of soldiers ran in. Their leader seemed to be the red head, and then they spotted Larry. They turned back to Terry and Bugsy knelt down beside him. "International rescue is here, Skip. We'll soon be out of here." Terry groaned and tried to move.
The barred door was locked, but the idiots had left the key in plain sight, maybe to torment their captives. Dino soon had it open and the men rushed in to get the captives out.
"Careful, he's taken one hell of a beating," Petal said as two Delta Force men tried to pull Terry up. Dino looked over and told his men to leave Terry, then he went and gently got him up.
"Gonna have to carry him. He's in no fit state to move on his own. You take my rifle. I've got your man."
With all the care he could muster, Dino lifted Terry and soon had him in a fireman's lift over his shoulders. They were on their way out when the gunfire started. Petal and Bugsy were more than ready to return fire. They had a score to settle.
The battle was short, but fierce. Two of Dino's men were wounded, thankfully not seriously, and Dino and Larry managed to shield Terry from any stray bullets, and they were soon headed back. They called Trog on the two-way, to give him the good news, and before too long they were all back within the safety of the embassy walls.
They carried Terry in and laid him gently on a sofa. Trog wasn't happy, Terry was still coughing up blood.
"We need to get him out of here, he's bleeding internally."
Dino turned to Larry. "Anything you can do, Senator? We need an air evac ASAP. This man needs a hospital."
Within the hour, they were all on a transport flying for home. The medics had stabilised Terry and decided to fly straight back to base rather than into Germany. On landing, an ambulance was waiting to take him to the military hospital.
Terry's men, the rescue team and the senator were left in the relatives waiting area whilst he was whipped away for emergency surgery.
watched him vanish behind the double doors leading to the OR. No one had been out with any information, and they were getting frustrated.
Fatigue had overtaken some, and they slept as well as they could on the uncomfortable chairs. Senator Stevens was talking softly with Dino in the corner when they heard footsteps along the corridor. Terry's men were instantly alert...it was their commanding officer, with a younger woman by his side, a woman who the men recognised as Terry's ex-wife.
"Fuck!" Bugsy said, almost under his breath.
The men all snapped to attention as the general got closer. "At ease, men," he grunted.
Larry stood up and walked towards the officer, his hand held out ready to shake. "Hi there, General. I'm Larry Stevens, the man your guys were sent out to guard. I wanna tell you they did one heck of a job, and I'm sorry for the trouble they got into on my account."
The general shook his hand and glared at him. "It's what they are paid for," the general growled, looking round at his men. "Any news?"
"No, sir," Flower replied
The young lady stepped up to Larry Stevens and held out her hand. "Forgive my father's manners, Senator. My name is Felicity Thorne, the major's ex-wife. I want to thank you for getting him home."
Larry took her hand and smiled at her. "It's my pleasure, Mrs. Thorne. I'm sure he will be okay."
"I do hope so, Senator. We may not still be married, but there is a place in my heart reserved just for Terry," she leaned closer to him and lowered her voice, "but don't let my father know."
The door opened and the surgeon walked towards the general. "He's still alive, General," he said, loud enough for all the men to hear. "They have him in recovery now and will soon move him to his room. If you want to wait, I can get you when he's ready for visitors."
"I'm not staying, Colonel. I just brought my daughter to make sure Thorne was still alive. Now we can leave."
"I'm staying, Daddy," Felicity said. "I need to see him for myself. You go on back. I'll get a taxi."
"No way, little lady," Larry interrupted. "I'll make sure you get home. I have an embassy car at my disposal."
"Very well," the general said. He turned to his men and spoke, "You can stay as well, although I doubt you'll get to see Thorne. As it's now Friday, you may stay the weekend. Report back to Hereford first thing Monday morning."
The men saluted their commanding officer and stood to attention until the doors closed behind him. They then turned to the doctor. "Will we be able to see him, sir?"
"We'll see how he goes tonight. You may be able to see him sometime tomorrow." he turned to Felicity. "You can see him for a few minutes now, Mrs. Thorne, then perhaps you can go in a bit later, Senator."
Felicity walked with the doctor to Terry's room. As she walked through the door a tear ran down her cheek. Terry was still and silent, his face pale against the white pillow. Tubes and wires were everywhere and monitors were beeping.
"Will he pull through, doctor? We have a son."
"He's lost quite a lot of blood and has been brutally beaten, but he's young and strong, and no time was wasted getting him home. Yes, Mrs. Thorne. I think he'll make it."
"Thank you," she replied, walking slowly to the bed, placing her hand softly over his and kissing his forehead. "Get well, Terry," she whispered. "Henry needs his father."
She smiled sadly at the doctor, looked once more at her ex-husband, and walked towards the door, stopping for a moment to find her diary in her bag and writing her phone number down, ripping the sheet out and handing it to the doctor. "Call me when he wakes, please."
"I'll do that, Mrs. Thorne." the doctor replied, knowing that her father wouldn't bother to enquire.
Larry made a call from the doctor's office, then went back out to the waiting soldiers. "I've got some food on the way," he said, flopping down heavily into the chair. "I'm guessing no one is leaving."
"Thanks, Larry," the men said in chorus
It wasn't too long before the food arrived and they all tucked in, realising it was the first food they'd had since they found their three friends. They were clearing up the remains when the doctor came to the waiting room again.
"Major Thorne is beginning to come round, so if you'd like to pop in for a minute or two, now would be the time. Don't expect too much, though."
"How many of us can see him, sir?" Trog asked.
"Well, seeing as the general decided not to stay, if you only stay a few minutes, you can go along in pairs. Don't tire him out, though."
Larry paired up with Trog and they were the first through the door. "Oh, shit, Larry. Look at all the equipment."
"It's keeping him with us, Trog. I dare say once he wakes up they'll be able to tone it down a bit."
They walked over to the bed and stood side by side, hoping that Terry would open his eyes. It wasn't to be, and he lay there while all his friends came and went. Dino came in last and looked down at the man he'd carried to safety.
"Looking forward to seeing you awake, my friend," he said softly.
Terry moaned in his sleep and frowned as he moved, trying to get comfortable.
It was late Saturday night when Terry finally tried to open his eyes. The doctor had agreed to allow the men to stay in his room in shifts, and Larry was sitting by the bed while Dino leaned against the wall. Larry was reading when he heard a soft sigh come from the bed. Putting his book down, he looked up at Terry to see him looking back.
"Terry? Can you hear me?"
Terry nodded slowly and tried to focus on the room. "Where?" he managed to whisper.
"We're back in the UK, Terry. You're in the military hospital."
Dino had moved from the wall and stood next to the senator. Terry moved his head slightly and focused on the stranger. "Who?" he asked.
"You can call me Dino, my friend. I helped get you home."
"Well, heck, Terry. They're all outside. Doc said we could take shifts being in here with you. Dino and I lucked out and got you when you woke up." He smiled down at Terry.
"How're you feeling, friend?"
"Hurts," Terry whispered. "Damage?"
Larry moved his chair closer to the bed and put his hand on the younger man's arm. "Apart from the gun shot wound and the beating, you had internal injuries, Terry. Do you remember coughing up blood?"
Terry shook his head, so Larry continued. "You had a ruptured kidney, which they managed to save, and your liver is badly bruised. Broken ribs punctured one lung. That's where the blood was coming from."
"We found you just in time, friend," Dino interrupted. "Doc says you couldn't have been left too much longer without medical attention."
Terry managed to hold up his hand to Dino, "Thanks, mate." Dino took the proffered hand and shook it.
"You're more than welcome, Major."
"It's Terry, mate."
Dino smiled. "I'll let your men in, but I'll see you again, Terry."
A few days later, he was strong enough to be transferred to Hereford hospital. There was always a visitor in his room, and he felt like the entire regiment had been in to see him, apart from one. The general never set foot in the place. Terry didn't care. He never doubted for a moment that he would be hauled over the coals when he was fit enough to leave, so he was glad of the respite.
One visitor he didn't expect was Felicity, and when he was stronger, and without all the wires and tubes in sight, she even brought Henry to visit. Although young, the toddler seemed to understand that his dad was hurting, and he gently gave Terry a kiss and snuggled down at his side, being as still as he could, while Terry and Felicity talked.
"I'm thinking of getting out, Fliss."
"But, Terry, the army has been your life since you left Uni," she replied.
"Baby, all the time I'm with the unit, my blokes are never gonna get a fair go. Do you really think a crack SAS squad should have been sent out to babysit a politician...and an American at that! It wasn't quite so bad being sent to the Beacons as trainers for a bit. We were all enjoying that, but..."
"Daddy got wind of how well you were doing and decided to put a stop to it."
Terry smiled sadly at his ex-wife. "Sorry, Luv. I know you love him."
"Oh, Terry. For too long I thought it was just you bitching because he was your father-in-law. It wasn't until I saw how elated he was when our divorce went through that I realised everything you said was true, and he was punishing you for getting me pregnant and then doing the 'right thing' and marrying me."
"I married you because I loved you, Fliss."
"I still love you, but it was destined to fail."
Felicity kissed him and allowed the tears to fall. "He can never stop you seeing me and Henry."
"He'll try. He'll keep sending me to places where he'll hope I won't return. I thought about going back home and joining the unit down there, but then I'd be too far from Henry. I need to think about what I'm going to do, Luv."
Just then, the door opened and a red-head looked into the room. "Sorry, am I disturbing you?"
"No, Dino. Come in. Fliss, this is the bloke who rescued me."
Felicity stood up and walked over to Dino. "Thank you," she said softly as she reached up and kissed his cheek. "I'll leave you to visit with Terry. It's time I got Henry home. We'll come again, Terry, if that's okay."
"You know it is, Luv," he replied, accepting the kiss from his former wife and lover.
"Man, oh, man, you're looking a lot better than the last time I saw you," Dino said, sitting on the side of the bed.
"I'm feeling better, mate. Can't wait to get out of here, although I don't know if I'll be signed off fit for duty."
"You looking forward to going back, my friend?"
Terry looked at his new friend and didn't speak for a while. "I really don't know, Dino. I'm due a bollocking when I get back from the old man, just because he can. After that, I'm not sure. My men get the shitty end of the stick all the time because I'm their squad commander and our CO has a personal vendetta against me. I think I need to get the hell out of Dodge to enable them to get the good gigs. While he's commanding, they'll never get any further in their careers. They should all be captains by now, mate. The thing is, though, I don't know what I'll do if I leave the service."
Dino took a small notepad out of his pocket along with a pencil. He wrote on it before handing it to Terry. "This is my number, friend. I'm due out in a few months. If by then you still feel the same way as you do now, give me a call. I'm gonna set up in the insurance business...specialised insurance. I think you'll be interested."
Dino got off the bed and shook Terry's hand again before winking and leaving. Four months later...Terry made that call.
TO BE CONTINUED...
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