Happy Birthday, you're dead

(or a funny thing happened to Geoff on his way to a surprise birthday party.)

Part 11.


Geoff's Room - 0800

Gina shook her head as she entered the room. How Geoff and Joey had managed to sleep through Davy's snoring amazed her. As she tried to slip in between Davy and Geoff, Davy looked up at her.

"What time is it?" he asked softly.

"Eight," she answered. "Just about time for you to get up and get ready."

Davy nodded as he pushed himself out of the chair. "I'll get Rabbit," he stated.

"Breakfast's waiting for the three of you in the break room," Gina stated. "I'll send Joey along in a little while."

"Thanks," Davy stated as he turned to go.

"You take care of yourself," Gina stated. "And the others."

"I will," he promised. "With any luck, this'll be over by tonight."

Gina sighed. "I'll go for that."

"Davy?" Geoff called softly.

"Yeah?" Davy asked as he turned back.

"You be careful out there," he stated. "They're playing for keeps."

"I know," Davy stated grimly. "But so do we!."

Geoff looked at Davy and nodded. "Just be careful."

Davy nodded. "You just rest and leave the worrying to me," he urged.

"I would," Geoff answered. "But I know you never worry about yourself."

"Your a fine one to talk," Davy countered

"Takes one to know one," Geoff stated softly. "Just be ready."

Davy nodded and opened the door. "See ya later."

0830 - Tracker's Room

"How are you feeling?" Bear asked soflty.

"Rough," Tracker answered with a cough. "Really rough!"

Bear nodded and smiled at him. "You'll be glad you're tests indicate a full recovery."

"Even the sanity part?"

"You're as sane as you ever were," Bear assured him.

Tracker let out a sigh of relief as Bear started laughing. "What?"

"Well, that's not saying much," Bear teased.

"Coming from you?" Tracker objected in mock anger. "At least I don't let Death Rattles bite me to gain insightful knowledge."

"At least I don't eat them," Bear teased back. "Its good to have you back," he added. "Duck was likely to drive me crazy with her worrying."

"What about Duck, why aren't you with her?" Tracker objected.

"Gina's running some tests on her. Doesn't want me hanging around, say's I'll distract her."

"What do you think?" Tracker asked quietly.

"The paralysis is temporary, a little work from Kenny or me and the swelling will go away," Bear stated. "The real problem is her eyes."

"Her eyes?" Tracker asked worriedly.

"Face got burned pretty bad. May have done some serious damage."

"Damn," Tracker swore. "How's she taking it?"

"She's been too worried about you to worry about much of anything else," Bear answered. "You'd think you two were married."

Tracker laughed. "Worse than married," he warned. "We're partners."

Bear nodded. "You're going to be pretty weak for a while," he warned.

Tracker nodded. "Tell Rabbit thanks for being there for me."

"I will," Bear assured him. "for now you just rest, you hear me."

"Hear and obey," Tracker answered. "I'm in no shape to argue."

Bear stayed with him until Tracker drifted back into a dreamless sleep.

0830 - Exam Room one

"Well, your hat managed to protect some of you hair," Gina stated as she began her exam.

"Forget my hair," Duck groused. "How's my datajack?"

"You're jack looks fine," Gina assured her, as she shined a light in her left eye. "Okay, I'm going to shine a light in your eyes, I want you to tell me when you see a change."

Duck nodded. Gina bit her lip as she moved the light to the other eye.

"Ow," Duck said in response.

"Okay, lets hold off on that" Gina suggested. "I'm going to need to put some probes on your scalp and watch your scans, okay?"

Duck nodded. "We're not having much luck here are we?"

"Well, there's still some swelling back here," Gina stated as she attached one of the probes to the base of Duck's skull. "This is a preliminary check."

As Gina finished hooking up the sensors, she turned towards Duck. "This may hurt a little, the machine is going to trigger a sensory load and see how your brain handles the input."

Duck nodded. "The Terrax-Mead test?" she asked referring to the standard battery of tests given after sensory implants are placed.

"Similar," Gina answered. "Just relax and it'll be over before you know it."

As Duck relaxed, Gina was relieved that she couldn't see her expression..

0900 - Wilson Family Clinic

Gina drew a deep breath as Davy and Joey waited for Rabbit's all clear signal. "You two be careful," she urged.

"Everything'll be fine," Davy assured her. "Like I said, tonight, we light those candles and celebrate."

"You just make sure you're there David Willson."

:"Yes'm," he answered.

"I'm not kidding Davy, these people won't stop just because the law knows about it."

"I know, but there are rules for engagement that have to be followed."

"But they aren't playing by those rules," Gina objected.

"Neither are we," Davy assured her. "Neither are we."

"Davy," Gina stated as she tried to find the words.

"Gina look at me," Davy urged as he put his hand under her chin. "We have to do this. We'll be careful and we'll bring Joey home in one piece, I promise."

"What about you?" Gina asked, finally voicing her fears.

"I'll be here," he promised. "I haven't missed a birthday yet."

Gina bit her lip and nodded. "Just don't start now."

"I promise," Davy told her. "You just take care of the folks here."

"You know I will," Gina stated softly.

"That includes you," he added as he leaned forward and kissed her on the forehead.

Gina nodded as the radio crackled. "Set and run," Rabbit commented.

"Good," Davy answered. "Joey, lets move out."

Gina watched as they left without a backwards glance. She fought the sense of doom that hung over everything in the room. "You come back," she whispered.

0930 - Downtown Courtyard.

Davy stopped dead as he saw Rabbit's signal. His heart started racing as he looked for a safe place for Joey.

"Joey, stay behind me," He stated. "We got trouble."

Joey nodded and slipped behind Davy. "Be careful," he urged. Davy allowed himself a slight smile as he led Joey into an inset doorway. It would give them some cover until Rabbit did his job.

"Just stay low, and be ready to move," Davy whispered as he surveyed the area. He held his breath as he saw movement off to their left.

"Davy," Joey whispered urgently, as the door opened behind them.

Without thinking Davy threw himself in front of Joey, pinning him against the wall, he waited ready to strike, but instead of an attacker, Rabbit smiled out at him.

"Joey," Davy urged as he signaled towards the door. He waited until Joey was in then slipped in himself. He allowed himself a sigh of relief as Rabbit closed the door behind them.

Davy waited for his eyes to adjust to the darkness then signaled Rabbit. He didn't like the response. Their radio was being jammed.

Davy signaled he understood. Rabbit nodded then signaled them to follow.

1000 Maintenance hatchway,

Rabbit held his breath as he pulled himself out of the access way and looked around. When he was sure it was safe, he replaced the cover and moved on. This was the job he was trained for. Scoping out the area and clearing the hazards. As he slipped between two buildings he could see Davy take up position in the maintenance area. He nodded, knowing they were relatively safe for now.

The people who'd been waiting for them, were still arrayed around the Courthouse proper. The maintenance access areas linked together, allowing them to circumvent the first layer of opposition, but he knew better than to assume that was all that was waiting for them. There was too much at stake.

As he moved ahead he caught the movement behind him. He raised his gun as he turned but it was too late. His bullet came a fraction of a second later than the attackers.

"No," he groaned as he ran back to the other's position. "Davy?" he called softly as he crashed into the work area.

Davy gasped looked down at the blood already staining the front of his shirt. "Trap," he growled. "Rabbit, get Joey out of here!"

Rabbit turned and Davy could see his eyes widen. He knew then and there that it was bad. "Go!" he managed to gasp as he slipped to the ground.

Rabbit's hesitation disappeared. With a growl, he grabbed Joey and propelled him back the way they'd come. "Lets move," he managed to urge.

Joey tried to turn, but Rabbit forced him to continue. "Listen up," he stated coldly. "No matter what happens, keep going. Get back to the offices, just keep going and don't look back!."

"And Davy?" he asked softly.

"If they'd wanted him dead, he's dead by now," Rabbit stated. His words were cool and controlled, but Joey could hear the anxiety in Derrick's voice. "You're the one their after."

"Then let them have me," Joey gasped as they rounded the corner and stopped. There in front of them was one of his uncle's cars.

Rabbit almost plowed into Joey but managed to pull him out of the way. Rabbit paused long enough to regain his balance, then started running, pulling Joey along behind him. Joey tried to keep up, but then he heard the shot. Suddenly he was on the ground, pulled down by the momentum that had knocked Rabbit over.

"Derrick?" he called, as he saw the damage the bullet had done to Rabbit's leg. "Derrick!"

"Go," Rabbit managed to gasp. "Run!"

Joey looked at Rabbit, then back at his uncle's men. "I can't," he objected.

Rabbit looked and saw the tears in his eyes. "Go! Don't look back!"

Joey forced himself to get up and run. He fought the urge to look back, but he could feel them catching up. As he reached the corner, a car jumped up onto the curb, blocking his way. He didn't have enough time to stop and plowed into the car at full speed.

1030 Clinic Break room

Bear watched Gina as she read over the results and grimaced.

'How bad is it?" he asked softly.

"She's still at risk for a heart attack," Gina stated. "She should take it easy for a month or so before she starts trying to build her strength back up. The big problem is her eyes," Gina stopped and shook her head. "Tests indicate at least an 87% loss in her right eye, 95% loss in the left."

"Have you talked to her yet?"

Gina shook her head. "I couldn't, " she stated. "I just..."

"Gina, this is Tommy, Code 7, I repeat code 7." Bear stopped as the call came over the intercom.

"Code 7?" Bear asked. "What's up?"

"I don't know, but it means serious trouble," Gina answered as she led Bear into one of the offices.

"Tommy, this is Gina, what's the emergency?"

"We've lost contact with Davy," he stated. "There was a report of gunfire near the courthouse," he answered. "Davy's not answering his pages, and they never made it to the courthouse."

"Start a search, let me know as soon as you see anything. Be ready for an evac," she added.

"Already on it," Tommy assured her.

"Damn it Davy," Gina swore as she disconnected the line.

"Gina?" Bear asked as she turned back to him.

"They've lost contact with Davy and the others. They never made it to the courthouse and there's been the report of gunfire."

"They can take care of themselves," Bear reminded her.

"They didn't have guns or armor," Gina reminded him. "They were going to the courthouse, get this thing out into the open.

"We'll find them," Bear assured her. "We'll find them."

Gina nodded as she looked around the room. "So now we wait."

"And be prepared for any eventuality. " Bear added. "Geoff should know, I'll let Duck know about the results of the test."

"What do I tell him?" she asked as she shook her head. "Hey Geoff, glad you're feeling better, oh, by the way, we seem to have lost Davy and the others. You know, Rabbit and you're little brother?"

"Easy Gina," Bear called as he pulled her into a hug. "this isn't doing you any good. Just concentrate on what we know."

"What do we know Bear? That they'll do anything to kill Geoff. That Tracker was almost killed defending him, that Duck almost died, and now its Davy's turn?"

"The deadly attacks were directed at where Geoff was," Bear stated. "Will killing Davy and the others get them closer to Geoff? No. They'll use them to get to Geoff..."

"That's what I'm afraid of," Gina whispered. "He'd give his life for any of them, and if its a choice between those three and Geoff, you know what he'd do."

"If he believed they'd release them, but that doesn't match the pattern either," Bear told her. "If they have them, they're as good as dead once they get what they want."

Gina looked at Bear in shock. She hadn't expected him to be so blunt, but then she saw the anger in his eyes. He was a warrior and a realist. He knew the score.

"If you want, I'll go with you and tell Geoff," he offered.

Gina nodded. "I'd appreciate it."

1130 Gryphex Corp. Building

Joey moaned as he tried to move and found he couldn't. As he regained his senses, he realized his hands were tied behind his back .

"Joey," he heard a voice call to him. "Joey, you okay?"

"Derrick?" he answered. "My chest..." he groaned.

"Probably broke a few ribs when you hit the car." Derrick stated. "Just take it easy."

Joey strained his eyes, but found he could see only shadows. "What about Davy?"

"He was here when they dragged us in, "Derrick told him softly. Joey could hear the worry in his voice.

"Why?" Joey asked as he strained against the ropes.

"My guess is to get to Geoff," Derrick answered softly.

"Very Good," a voice echoed throughout the room. Joey recognized the voice, his uncle.

"Haven't you done enough?" Joey demanded.

"Obviously not," his uncle chided. "But we shall rectify that."

Joey winced as the lights were turned on. Bright, bare light bulbs lit the otherwise grey surroundings. He saw Davy propped up against the far wall and Derrick hanging by his wrists in the center of the room.

"You see, dear nephew, you hold the key to their survival, and your own. Tell these men what they want to know, and you can walk out. Refuse, and you shall share their fate. Either way, that abomination you call a brother, will die."

Joey gasped as the door opened and seven men filed into the room. He recognized on of them as Doc Waters.

"Don't listen to him," Derrick called softly.

Joey nodded, but as he did, one of the men moved in and hit Derrick with a cattle prod. Joey cried out in shock and horror as Derrick screamed in pain.

"Its all up to you."

Joey turned as he saw his uncle in the doorway. "What will it be Joseph?"

Joey swallowed as he watched the men closed in on Derrick again. "Leave him alone," he pleaded.

"Don't worry about me," Derrick growled as he kicked out at one of the men. As he struggled one of the men pulled out a taser and shot him with it. Derrick's body twitched violently as the charge went through him, then went limp.

"Derrick, NO!"

Joey turned as Davy launched himself at his brother's tormentors. "No," Joey cried as one of them men met Davy's attack with the cattle prod.

Davy screamed and fell to the ground with a shudder. "Leave him alone," he groaned.

Joey stared at his uncle in disbelief. "Stop this now!" he pleaded.

"I really wish we didn't have to do this," his uncle informed him. "Just tell me where Geoffrey is and you all can walk out of here."

"Don't" Davy gasped pleadingly.

Joey looked at the brothers and clenched his jaw tight. "Leave them alone," he forced himself to say.

"I'm not going to argue with you," his uncle stated coldly as he leaned over and whispered in Joey's ear. "Tell me what I want to know, or I will get my answers in another way."

Joey bowed his head as he thought about what Derrick had said. "Let them go," he pleaded. "If this is about money, take it all , I don't care, but leave these people alone."

"I can't do that Joey," his uncle growled. "Now, who's side are you on?

Joey closed his eyes and bowed his head. "The right side," Joey forced himself to say. "I stand with my family." As he turned he could see the smile play across his uncle's lips, behind his uncle he could see Davy's bow his head. "My brother's family, " he added defiantly. He watched as his uncles smile faded into a snarl.

"I gave you a chance," his uncle stated coldly. "You'd rather protect that traitor!? Then you will share his fate!"

With that he backhanded him hard enough that his chair was knocked over. "You know what to do," he growled to the men, then left without a backwards glance.

"Ah, Joey," Davy groaned as one of the men kicked him in the ribs before righting the chair.

"Watch and learn," the man growled harshly as he righted Joey's chair. Joey gasped as the man put him into a head lock and laughed.

"See them?" he asked as he forced Joey to look at Davy and Derrick in turn. "You get to decide which one lives," he whispered cruelly. "Which shall it be? This one's got a pretty bad chest wound," he stated as he forced Joey to look at Davy again. "And this one, well, its only a leg wound." Joey closed his eyes as his view was guided to Derrick. The man rewarded him by slapping him on top of the head. "Don't play with me little man," he growled. "You gave up any protection you could have had."

With a laugh the man let him go and wandered back towards the others. "Now which one to deliver the message? Which would bother Jeffy the most?" he asked his friends.

"Sweet little brother? The 'twin'," he added as he savagely kicked Davy. "Or ," he stated as he strode over to the wall and released Derrick's chains. With nothing to stop him, Derrick fell to the ground with a sickening thud when his head hit the cement floor. "The middle brother."

"I think the middle brother," he stated with a laugh. "Doctor, if you would be so kind,"

On his signal, 4 of the men went and held Derrick down as the doctor opened his bag and knelt beside him. Joey forced himself to watch as the doctor settled down and began inspecting Derrick.

"He's unconscious," the Doctor informed the group's leader.

"Too bad he won't be awake for the surgery," the man chuckled. "Here," he added as he tossed the doctor a small case.

"What are you doing," Davy growled as the doctor pulled a small, capsule like object from case.

"That's for me to know," he stated as he knelt beside him. "And your brother to find out."

Davy reached for the man, but he simply moved aside and nodded.

"No!" Joey screamed as the man behind Davy laid into him with the cattle prod.

"See how much fun we can have?" the man asked Joey as he moved slowly towards him. "You're next," he whispered in his ear.

Copyright 1998 - M.T. Decker

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