Ameera muttered a slew of Arab curse words as she smacked the satellite phone resting in the palm of her hand. She found it somehow still clinging to the band of her pants, and there was one moment of hope that rescue seemed possible. The gadget supposedly worked everywhere; however, in an ice cavern several feet below the surface of the treacherous Nepalese terrain seemed to be an exception.
She tossed the useless contraption to the floor where it cracked and was quickly forgotten. The woman pressed on, stumbling through the tunnel where darkness began to prevail once more as she progressed farther away from her starting point. Ameera anticipated that at any moment she would run face-first into a slab of ice. Then again, she could always turn around and attempt to scale up a wall, through the gapping hole, and to the surface. It would have been the most sensible option to try first. Though reeling from a daze induced by a two hundred foot fall, Ameera went with the easier choice.
A current of cold shocked her system to drive her thoughts elsewhere. Snow had found its way into her parka and melted from what little heat radiated from her body. Ameera paused, reached for the zipper, and pulled it down before peeling the parka off. The soaked lining made the article virtually useless in protecting her from the icy air. It left her with nothing else but her black turtleneck and pants. Her feet, which were each covered by two layers of wool socks and a pair of boots, seemed to be the only thing that were still warm - that, and strangely enough, her neck and upper back.
It was then that she heard the steady gargling breath of something much bigger and taller than she. Air whooshed past Ameera’s right ear just before whatever was behind her snatched her by the waist and picked her body up from the ground with frightening ease.
”What I’m asking is, if it does, what kind of woman are we dealing with here?”
Deadlock shrugged, “I really can’t say. One thing’s for sure... Ameera’s a ghost. Regular people just don’t have the ability to excuse themselves from government-sanctioned existence to the extent that she has. That takes training. So I’d say... Pick your favorite 3 letters or numbers and that’s a good a guess as any: CIA, MI6, SAS... Though I think we can exclude the KGB,” the mercenary grinned, “She’s not old enough.”
Deadlock rifled through the bags of stuff, and found down parkas, boot spikes, and climbing gear. “Wow, these guys must have been the frickin’ Boy Scouts.”
The mercenary traded his bloodstained overcoat for a parka, and hefted a pack of the survival equipment. “Let’s move out.” He’d just opened the door to the frigid outside, when a thought occurred to him.
“What about the girl?” he asked Paden. He quickly closed the door again. “I don’t think we should bring her on this little expedition.”
Deadlock mentally upbraided himself for not thinking of the girl’s safety before he’d brought her down into the crevasse. He looked at her intuitive features, and tried speaking slowly and annunciating carefully, “Do you speak English?”
Her sheepish look told Deadlock what he’ suspected: the answer was “no.”
“Sake wasabi kimono sayonara, samurai,” the mercenary said, rattling off every Japanese word he could think of.
The young girl blinked in confusion and then giggled at Deadlock’s comical attempts at communication. She shook her head and reassured him in Japanese that it was okay that he didn’t speak the language at all. It was the sniper’s turn to look sheepish.
He leaned into the cockpit and flipped the cabin heaters to the max. He handed the girl one of the parkas, which was ridiculously huge on her. “Stay here and stay warm,” he said.
Deadlock led the way out into the freezing cold, noticing a small blinking red light on the side of the chopper. That blinking red light was attached to small explosive charge.
The gunman popped the explosive off and tried to think of how it got onto the helicopter. Couldn’t have been the Asian toughs... Must have been those two people from the Raven. Lucky for Deadlock, Paden, and the girl, that their detonator remote couldn’t transmit through the hundreds of feet of solid rock that made up the canyon walls that surrounded them. Deadlock carefully pulled off the radio receiver, then the detonator, and then he chucked the lump of explosive as far as he could.
(That’s what I thought too, but I didn’t want to say anything and just went with it. I think you’re right though Ben.)
Stepping forward through the inching snow at his feet Tom slapped Ben on his arm and chuckled warmly. “Couldn’t keep up with us, eh kid.” His gaze then shifted onto the two people that KDuncan was talking to and the adventurer raised an eyebrow. “Ah, sweetheart I don’t think they’ll be telling you anything any time soon.” The blowing snow cleared somewhat around them and reviled the thug that the rifleman had shot and his jacket lying next to him.
The golden lighter clenched in Jones’ hand then suddenly blinked out and he tightened his jaw. “Damnit, they must have found the transmitter.”
“This little guy stores information gathered into a memory chip.” Tom tapped the small lighter smirking as he recalled how crafty its last owner had been. “So if we can get on a plane and in the air we should be able to figure where the helicopter’s last position was just before the transmitter went out.”
Jones ran to the side of the hanger followed closely by Ben and KDuncan. Lunging forward he drove his shoulder into a rusted metal door. Bursting into a dimly lit room on the other side he held his handgun firmly and waved it from side to side, searching the room for the man that owned and operated the hanger.
KDuncan stepped in from the harsh Nepal wind and eyed the door Tom had burst through. It lay on the wall hanging from one of its unbroken hinges. Surveying the room she walked up to a small television on a table, it only displayed static though and she sighed inwardly. The picture went black as she turned a knob under the screen.
“Well, there’s no buddy here…” Jones paused waiting for Ben to enter the room. “Must have taken off during all the commotion on the airfield.” KDuncan could detect a touch of regret in the strong voice as she turned toward the rugged archeologist.
Tom lowered his handgun and picked up a mug that had coffee in it. Taking a sip of the liquid he placed the cup back on a desk. “Coffee’s still warm, he couldn’t have went far.” Jones’ gaze then shifted to a stack of crates and he narrowed his eyes. Walking up to the stack he nudged one of the crates off the pile with his Jericho handgun and it smashed to pecies on the floor. The outline of a hidden door was reveiled and Jones grinned. “I had a feeling that this place was hinding something. Let’s move these crates and see what’s behind this door.”
"Hopefully the guy who runs this dilapidated hanger." Jones holstered his handgun and begun to grab at the crates with both his hands. Taking a quick glance over at Ben Tom wondered if he was feeling all right. He hadn't said much over the past couple of hours; maybe the cold was finally getting to him.
Ben wondered first if it was the cold that was wearing him down. Maybe he'd been out too long. And then he got this weird idea: could it have something to do with the medallion? Had it done something to him? He wasn't sure what it could be, and he didn't have time to think about it. They were opening the door.
Yanking his handgun back out Tom firmly griped the exposed doorknob, his mind overflowing with all sorts of different thoughts about what the door was hiding on its other side. Turning the knob to one side he pulled out…but the door didn’t budge. “What the…” Jones tired again and then again. But the door resisted his efforts and wouldn’t open. “Well, looks like I’ll need some help…”
As the door swung out the adventurers were stunned when they saw the majestic craft that sat in the hanger. The craft appeared like it had been forgotten, but who would forget to take something like this with them? “Well, hey there, beautiful.” Jones grinned as he took a few steps toward the fighter jet. It looked like it had been taken straight out of the movie Top Gun. “Very nice…” Tom stopped beside the wing of the jet and he tapped it to be sure he wasn’t dreaming. “Kind of hard to believe that a thing like this would be hidden away in a place like this.”
Jones turned sharply and was somewhat stunned when he saw the person who was holding the handgun on them. His eyes went wide as he aimed his own Israeli Jericho 941 handgun at the man standing at the other end of the hanger. Tom had recognized the gun’s discharge instantly…Walther P-38.
“You may have changed your looks, but you’re still a rotten bastard.” Jones muttered the words coldly with a fierce scowl.
The man that stood across from the archeologist smirked viciously and smashed a red button on the wall next him. The wind caught his long blond hair, blowing it to one side as the hanger bay doors clattered open. “Nice to be remembered, Tommy.”
Jones’ blood went cold and he felt a deep stab in his stomach.. He hadn’t been called by that name for over three years; the last adventure that Scott Fraser and him had been on. “I couldn’t forget, no mater how hard I tried. You were my first partner, everything seemed to be going well. Then, one day, without warning…” Tom paused and winched at the old memory.
They had just acquired a crystal skull from the personal collection of a Russian military commander. He had bought it through the black market and Jones had decided take to relic from the old man. Scott had tagged along with him. As they were escaping from the base in a pontoon plane Scott had decided to turn on his old friend.
Yanking his Walther, a gift from 00Kevin after Tom had saved his life, from out of his holster Scott turned the gun on his partner. Firing into Jones’ chest Scott kicked him out the plane. Tom fell from the plane immobilized by the shock of his old friend betraying him and splashed into the cold waters below.
“Somehow, I managed to survive, but try as I might, I could never find you or the Walther you stole from me.” Jones gritted his teeth and tightened the grip on his handgun.
“I was saving it…for a special occasion. The biggest jackpot of my life, Jones. You came back to this hell hole, just as I planned.” Scott chuckled nastily the fierceness of the bitter wind that blew in through the open bay doors of the hanger seemed to empower him.
“You knew that I wouldn’t leave until I went to Mongolia and met with Nagarov. Too bad I escaped from that prison and made my way back to the Raven. You weren’t expecting Kev to be there…but I guess you took care of him didn’t you?” Tom’s eyes flashed angrily and he stepped in front of Ben and KDuncan not wanting them to get hurt by the madman.
“Yes, I was the one who brought that Neo Nazi Zimmerman here to kill 00Kevin. I knew about your weakness, Tommy. You’re caring for others. It makes me sick!” Scott tightened his finger on the trigger of the Walther and stabbed the gun at Tom.
“I don’t have any love loss for you…”
“Better drop the gun, Tommy. You wouldn’t want your pretty friend and partner to die would you?” Scott’s smirk intensified.
Jones glanced back at KDuncan and Ben and his frown deepened. “This is between you and me, Scott. Leave them out of this!”
“Its your choice old friend.”
Last edited by Tom Jones : 10-25-2005 at 11:13 PM.
KDuncan readied her gun. She was quite infuriated by Scott's remarks to Tom. However, she stayed behind Tom, respecting his wishes to keep Ben and her behind him -- but she was still ready to leap out and shoot if needed.
The next thing Ameera knew was being lifted into the air and promptly chucked down the tunnel. Her body crashed into a wall, and then tumbled to the ground where she landed on her side. Two things she knew for sure. One, whatever had the strength to throw her around like that was big, and two, “it” was none too happy with her presence.
Then, as if on cue, a resounding roar shook the caverns. Ameera knew the sound all-too well – it was the chilling cry of the legendary yeti, a species she thought had gone into extinction ever since she was enlisted to exterminate them four years ago. She obviously missed one.
Yetis were colossal and physically powerful; however, they were also clumsy, stupid, and slow-moving. They were an etiquette teacher’s worst nightmare. The yeti lurched along, slouched and swinging its arms as it trudged through the snow. Any human or animal could easily make an escape, though because of its size and foul appearance, intimidation was more of the downfall than physical disadvantage.
“This day just keeps getting better and better,” the woman mumbled, coughing after just having the wind knocked out of her lungs. She turned onto her stomach and got up, both hearing and feeling the creature’s heavy footsteps thundering toward her.
Ben was conflicted. The shock of the situation was snapping him back to reality, and his wits were returning. Now, he could see that this was really Tom's fight, and he wanted to stay back, let him handle it. At the same time, he didn't want anyone to get hurt--and he knew that if it would agree with him, he had the power to do something about this. He gently started to lift his hand. It was so unpredictable, though. No, I'll wait for the moment.
But the power had other ideas.
Ben suddenly felt the blue lightning leaping out of his fingers and straight at Scott.
Tom was shocked and somewhat relieved. He was glad that his old friend had been taken out without being killed. Jones didn’t want to see the man die. Maybe it was a dumb feeling, but he’d once trusted Scott with his life. It was still hard to believe, even after all those years, that the young college student who would leap at the chance to go with Tom on one of his adventurers had been corrupted by evil.
There was a low whimper around the adventurers and they all regained their alert composure. The whimper grew louder and louder rapidly turning into a vile laugh. Jones felt a shiver go down his spine. Aiming the handgun toward his fallen friend, he was shocked to see him now standing on his feet.
The Walther was now pointed in the direction of Ben, panic flashed through the archeologist’s eyes. The gun was fired and bullets started to fly around Ben. “No…NO!!! It’s me you want!” Jones lept in front of the bullets and the shooting stopped.
“You know, Tommy you’re more right than you know.” Scott’s voice had taken on an even darker and edgier tone than it had before and Jones saw why. An ugly scar had been burnt into the left side of his face. The skin bubbled sickly, oozing onto the ground.
“Kill me, then! Let them live!” Tossing his Jericho handgun aside Tom awaited his death with open arms. His past had finally caught up with him and he was fed up with running away from it. He knew that his old partner wouldn’t miss the opportunity to end his life.
Maybe its better this way…
Maybe I’ll wake up for once…
Jones sensed Scott’s hatred intensify as he let out a menacing laugh. “This is where your story ends, Tommy.” He pulled the trigger, the Walther’s recoil echoed loudly through the hanger.
Tom’s world disappeared around him, a vision pushed through the hopeless man’s mind. A woman, her pale violet eyes shined brightly causing the dense mist to disperse around him. Her black hair hung freely against her neck, the loose curls waved at him, tempting him to follow.
Is it really all a dream…
A bright light shone around her as she reached her hand out yearning to take the lost soul with her. Her lips were moving; she was whispering something. He strained to hear what she was saying, his love for her causing him to go insane.
I’ll give up everything just to find you…
Nodding his head in understanding Tom turned away from his love and the bright light. He was ready to continue, his story wasn’t over yet, he still had something to take care of before the end.
“This is where your story ends, Tommy.” The trigger of the silver Walther was pulled, the bullet shot across the hanger…
Jones moved his head sharply to one side, the bullet dug into the concrete wall behind him.
Scott was shocked, his eyes and mouth open wide. “Damn…”
Tom didn’t waste his chance and pulled out his old and trusty Smith & Wesson revolver that he had stuck into the belt behind his back. He took quick aim and fired at his old friend but the bullets bounced harmlessly away as he ran off into the ominous snowstorm.
Securing his own pack, Paden glanced back at the helicopter once more. He was surprised at how quickly he’d become attached to the girl, how her safety had quickly shifted from a mere moral responsibility to a personal one. He wondered if the concern he felt was an echo of what a father felt for his own children. He frowned as he adjusted the pack’s straps. This was the kind of attachment that he had long striven to avoid. The very thing he’d ventured up into remote places to keep away from.
Alongside Deadlock, Paden moved into the cavern, finding his footholds carefully on the icy stone. Light remained plentiful in the first chamber, and as they moved toward an aperture that led deeper into the cave system, Paden noted the clear marks of footprints in the thinning snow. He glanced at Deadlock. “Well, she’s up and movin’ about.” Switching on one of the flashlights he’d found in the pack, Paden moved into the next cavern, trying to make out more of Ameera’s tracks. As he studied the ground for sign, a roar suddenly echoed through the cave, momentarily freezing him in his tracks. Paden’s closest approximation to the sound was a Grizzly, an animal he certainly wouldn’t anticipate finding in the Himalayas. One thing was certain: whatever it was, the animal that made the sound was large.
“That can’t be good,” he muttered, freeing one of his pistols from its holster.
KDuncan leveled her aim and pulled the trigger. She felt bad about taking care of it that way - she figured it would be much better if Tom resolved it himself - but she had pulled it before she even knew it, almost. She was driven by anger with that shot, the terrible kind of anger that occurs when someone tries to kill your friend. She may have fired more than once, she wasn't sure until she checked her clip. Three bullets were missing. She realized that the one bullet she had fired had downed Scott; she had seen him drop shortly after the noise of the explosion had filled the hangar. She reloaded her gun to be on the safe side, then thrust it back down into her holster. She wasn't sure how Tom would react, but she was glad that at least some of the danger to her friend had been eliminated.
The silver Walther gleamed as it fell through the air, catching Tom’s eye. He hoped that it wouldn’t end this way. But Scott hadn’t really given them any choice…
It was going to be either him or me that would have been killed. I should feel grateful that I’m still alive. But I feel more like I’m witnessing the death of my brother…
Dropping into a thick pile of snow next to the fallen adventurer the gun seemed to be pointing Tom toward Scott’s body. As he walked out of the hanger and toward the shacking body he holstered his revolver, the man wasn’t a threat to anyone anymore. A puddle of blood had begun to form around Scott’s body but his young face was still alert with life.
Tom knelt down next to his old partner, his face grim and full of guilt.
Jones didn’t know what to say. Glancing down into Scott’s eyes he knew that he didn’t have much time left.
“I should have…cough…listened to you—”
“We all make mistakes in our life Scott…but I can never forgive you for what you’ve done, all the pain and death you have caused…”
“We made a…good team though, didn’t we?”
“Yeah, we did kid.” Jones smiled weakly and patted him on his arm but his life had already left him. His eyes were lifeless now their dead stare locked onto Tom. He sighed deeply moving his hand toward Scott, but instead it fell limply by his side. The snow would bury his body on its own there was nothing left for him on this earth now. He was free.
Bending over he brushed the snow off of his Walther P-38. Grabbing it out of the icy white fluff he looked it over as KDuncan and Ben came up behind him.