As the sun set and darkness engulfed the prison interior, Daniel and his group went to work. The authorities had confiscated their gear, but they were not totally without resources. Daniel had managed to break his boot apart and remove the steel shank, using it to pick away at the brick around the bars on the window. They had been working on this for three nights now, waiting until all was quiet in the yard, or better, the drunken singing of the guards as they were entertained by the local prostitutes. The expedition group as a whole was starting to look fairly ragged with hunger and stress. They were supplied only rice, tortillas and brackish water laced with tequila, supposedly to kill whatever might be in the water. A few members of the group were already showing signs of dysentery, while the rest were becoming dehydrated from avoiding the water. Daniel dug for a half an hour, then stopped to rest a moment. He was weak and tired, but determined to escape before they all starved or died from disease in this hell hole. Suddenly the sounds of shouts and a general alarm being raised could be heard, followed by a barrage of gunfire, women screaming, then silence. None of the group spoke. They held their collective breath as they heard the sound of jingling keys approaching the jail. Were they shooting people at random? Would they be next? Daniel motioned to his group to move to the wall closest to the door, so that in the event gunfire should rain down into the cells, they might have a chance. It was terrible to feel so helpless. So trapped. One of the members of the expedition started to pray ferverently, another started to cry. Daniel was just glad he'd had no female students along. He hated to think how they would have fared with these so called authorities. Finally the key was turning the lock and the hinges squeaked painfully as the door was pushed open. Light, soft footsteps could be heard. A few steps and then a pause, a few more steps, and a pause. Then a female voice called out softly,

"Daniel? Daniel..."

Daniel crept quietly up to the barred door and looked out into the long hall. He could only see an outline of the woman with the light from the open door back lighting her.

"Here!" He called out. The woman hurried to his cell and leaned forward to verify his identity. This close he recognized her.

"Lily! Oh my god! How? How did you know? How did you find me? Are you okay?" He asked these questions in a confused rush. She smiled a big smile of relief that he was alive and she started trying out the keys in the lock. She answered his questions as she did so.

"Well, actually, Hayu is the one who knew you had been taken and about where so it was really just a matter of pinpointing your location. I hired some local help to distract the guards, and I have another friend helping me. That's the gunfire you heard. Unfortunately, he's not as neat and tidy and quiet as I, and now we really need to get the hell out of here, before someone shows up to see what's going on, since all of the guards are dead. Is your team okay? Are they able to walk? We have a little bit of a walk to safety yet. I will tell you more when we're all away from here okay?" She found the right key and opened the door. The members who could walk carried the ones who couldn't out the door into the complex. Rock had been poking around and was now driving toward the group with a deuce and half transport truck. Daniel looked nervous as he approached, but saw Lily wave to the driver. He pulled up and got out of the vehicle.

"I thought this might be useful. I also helped my self to some of their nicer weapons, in case we should need them. So, this must be Daniel. I'm Rock." He held out his hand in a gesture of friendship and Daniel took it and shook it.

"I guess I owe you a debt of gratitude my friend. I was starting to think we were going to rot here." Rock looked strangely passive and dismissed Daniel's words with a wave. Rock looked at Lily but replied to Daniel.

"You owe it to your woman here, she's the mastermind. You are a lucky man, I hope you appreciate her." Daniel watched Rock staring at Lily in a way that disturbed him no end. Lily blushed and looked at her feet, then around and finally peeked a look at Daniel. He smiled and took Lily into his embrace, whispered an apology for his odor, then said louder, to Rock.

"Yes, I do most certainly appreciate her. She is my life. " He said this in a tight controlled way that left no doubt as to his attachment to her and the threatened way he was feeling right now. Rock merely nodded, then addressed Lily again.

"Is everyone on board? We need to go."

"Everyone but ourselves. Let's do it." Daniel got in back with his team and Lily took up her position in the front seat. She checked her pistol for readiness, she had never even fired it tonight. Nine was a totally do-able number for Rock. This had really been too easy. Lily felt bad for the people remaining in the jail and was ready to go unlock every door, but then, not knowing what everyone's crime was, she decided not to let them out herself, but rather jumped out of the truck and ran back in to throw the keys into the first cell that yelled out to her.

"Here you go, let yourselves out!" The men scurried to pick up the keys and Lily hurriedly got back into the truck, her butt barely in the seat as Rock put it in gear and took off in a jerking motion.

"Hold on!" Rock shouted as he gunned the engine and they rammed open the gates with the truck, having crawled over the wall initially, and drove off into the jungle. A siren could be heard in the distance as local citizenry, who depended on the prison for their income, raised an alarm for the local constabulary. They were lucky they had a head start.

The heavy truck left deep tracks in the muddy floor of the jungle, knocked down smaller trees, leaving a clear path behind them. They finally came out of the jungle onto the concrete of the deserted airstrip where Rock's plane was waiting. It appeared as thought this had been some sort of training area, but had been unused for some time, as evidenced by the multitude of cracks with greenery growing out of it all over the complex. The few hangers that were still standing were skeletal, as most of the usable material had been taken, probably by the poor villagers to use for their own shelters. A rickety tower just barely maintained it's upright position in one corner of the complex. If it sagged just a few inches more, it would tumble like a house of cards. Rock drove the truck right up to the plane, jumped out of the truck and went to open the plane's door. Yelling to Daniel and his team to get out and get on, Rock came running back around to the front of the vehicle as Lily shouted out,

"We've got company!"

Indeed they did. As if on cue, several small jeeps poured out of the jungle onto the tarpment, several soldiers standing in the back, leaning on the roll bars with their rifles ready. Reaching over the seat, Rock pulled two small grenades out of a bag and quickly pulled the pins and flung these at the onrushing vehicles. The first jeep swerved away from the grenade, but one of the men tumbled out, just in time to scream in terror as the grenade went off not twenty feet from him. The driver of the second jeep took shrapnel in the face, and lost control . He drove directly over the second grenade and the jeep flipped over with the force of the explosion, decapitating most of the occupants, by scraping them across the tarmac, immediately. There were still three more men filled jeeps coming. Now the sharpshooters were firing at them, Lily took up a position from the doorway of the truck, using the heavy windshield support as cover and began firing as soon as they were in her range. Rock ran away from the truck, to a side position, rolled to avoid fire, then crouched behind the burning rubble of the second jeep and began firing upon the soldiers from a position slightly behind them. The smoke of the wrecked jeep helped provide some cover and increased the enemies confusion. Lily had managed to take out one man for every shot she had, but that still left several more men. Damn, she thought, no extra clip! The bag! Keeping her head low, she jumped over the seat and ruffled through the bag of weaponry Rock had collected. She could still hear firing, which served to assure her Rock still lived. Her hands fell upon an AK-47, a quick check assured it was fully loaded, and she popped up over the seat, shot out the windshield, and continued shooting the soldiers as they came. Rock killed his fair share of them. She killed the last few that were threatening her and the plane, then turned her attention to Rock. He was using fewer and fewer rounds at a time, leading Lily to believe he would likely be out of ammo shortly. Sliding into the drivers seat, she put the truck in gear, gunned the engine and drove straight into the remaining four soldiers that were closing in on Rock. She stopped the truck after a few feet and leapt down with her rifle at the ready, but it was not necessary. It was over. Rock stood up and looked at Lily. A smile spread slowly across his face as she ran to him, to check him out. He was covered in blood. A small grazing wound to his ear seemed to be the culprit.

"Are you Al right?" She worried over him.

"Perfect, and you? You have gotten a lot better at this sort of thing. As I recall, you used to be squeamish to shed blood."

"Yeah, well, that was then and this is now." Their eyes locked but neither spoke. Their hearts were reflected in their eyes, and if emotion made a sound, it would have been nearly deafening. Lily broke the spell, and looked toward the plane to see if it had fared well. It was nearly untouched. Rock had regained a businesslike attitude and started walking to the plane to drop the cockpit down for them to board. Lily went to the back of the plane to check on Daniel and his team. Assured of their well being, she went back to join Rock in the cockpit. Daniel had looked both shaken up and proud as hell of Lily. He had finally gotten to see what she did first hand. He didn't know that he liked it much either. They would have a lot to talk about when they got home.


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