"Well, we seem to have the place to ourselves." Rock commented before heading to the first computer terminal along the wall. He clattered at the keyboard for a moment or so and came up with the duty roster for this section.

"Here. There is only one person manning this station overnights, and I don't know where Johnson comma Robert comma Lieutenant, is right now, but give me a moment..." More tickity tick tick....

"He is at lunch for the next, uh, 12 minutes. Okay. Here's what we need to do. We need to access the program that runs that chip and the chip will send a beacon to the system and tell us where to go next" Lily looked at him working intently over the computer.

"Isn't computer work my job? " She was a little worried about the chip in her head suddenly going active. Rock was distracted and didn't look at her, didn't see the worry on her face.

"Not this time. You just need to be here, and be patient with me for another...wait, there! It should be activated now!" He was excited and turned to smile at her, just as she went into a convulsion on the floor. Adreneline leapt through his system as he leapt up from the chair to attend to Lily. She continued to convulse, a bit of drool and blood foaming at the corner of her mouth. He moved the chairs away so she wouldn't hurt herself on them and waited with her until the tremors stopped. She fell into a deep sleep after the seizure and began to dream.

She couldn't move. She couldn't turn her head. She could see....ceiling tiles. The kind with the holes and sparkles on them. She could smell disinfectant and hear low buzzing and humming noises. She heard Rock asking, "Will she remember?" and the answer, "Not likely and even if she did, it would kill her." Was she dead now? This was deja-vu, she could feel Rock touching her forehead, stroking her hair back, she could feel the tears slide down her cheeks, unable to stop them or even stick out her tongue to catch them. Usually she didn't remember much past this episode. They must have put her to sleep then, before. Now, she hears Rock leave the room, quietly on little cat feet and the quiet click of the door shutting. Now a strange and ugly man was looking down into her face. His eyes were very large, and bulging, his chin ran in rolls down his face to his chest which also looked fatty and lumpy. He only had a bit of hair around the sides of his head, and a combover which wasn't fooling anyone and even that looked greasy and unkempt. His lips were fat , poorly shaped and ill defined. It was hard to say where his lips started and the rest of his fat face ended, they were always moist with a bit of spittle that would fly from his lips with any word starting with "P", which he expressed explosively, unfortunately.

"Well! Miss Lily Hightower. Lucky for you we think you are useful, yes? Hee hee hee. Well. I don't know how useful you are going to be for them, but for me? Yes, yes, you will be most valuable. You see, once I implant the chip, ( a bit of spittle flying with the force) , I will also implant a homing device for me to find you later and when Mother Russia gets this chip, I will be famous! Rich! Never again will I bow to a yankee dog and allow them to use my genius so cheaply! Ha! You, are so pretty my dear. So pretty." His eyes took on a queer shine and his lips quivered gelatinously. His hand reached out to touch her face and everything went black. She didn't wake. Rock didn't know what to do now. The door suddenly opened to reveal a very short, very fat little man with a styrofoam tray with a few drinks and some nachos in his hands, plus a bag of chips between his teeth. Rock thought stupidly, he shouldn't be back for eight minutes yet. He looked up and saw Rock bending over Lily and his eyes went big and round. He squealed something out of clenched teeth before remembering himself enough to put down his lunch and chips and snap to to salute a superior officer. Rock drew himself up and barked at the man,

"Quick man, can't you see there is an emergency here? Where is sick bay?"

The man looked flustered, being caught away from his station and coming back to this scene, confused by the question. Didn't everyone know where sick bay was?

"Sir! Sick bay is on the fourth floor, sir!" Never loosing his rigid at attention stance. Rock realized this and quickly saluted the man and ordered him "at ease".

"Now, quickly help me take Doctor Barrages to the sick bay! She's had a seizure! Call the medico on call right away!" Doing his best to recall military lingo. He didn't like subterfuge. Too risky. Too in their face. He preferred good old fire power, but that wasn't going to help them right now.

The good lieutenant did as he was told, assisting Rock to put Lily on a rolling chair and push her down to the elevators. Once inside, Rock gave the man quick, brusque orders to man his post. If he had been manning his post in the first place, none of this would have happened.Dr. Barrages' presence here was top secret and must remain so. He assured the man that he could keep this off his service record if he would keep quiet and pretend that nothing was out of the ordinary this shift. The young soldier looked relieved, and nodded readily. Lily was starting to rouse and not a moment too soon. She was still out of it as Rock pushed her down the hall to sick bay. He saw the double doors at the end of the hall with the big red cross on them and headed that way, crashing through with his patient in her chair. A nurse on duty stood from behind the desk, her needlepoint falling to the floor.

"What's going on here?" She questioned. Rock looked at her concerned face and stated plainly,

"She's had a seizure and hasn't woken since" The nurse looked lily over, felt her pulse, watched her breathing, made mental notes about her color and skin temp.

"Well, her pulse is normal and her respirations are regular and easy with no use of accessory muscles, color is good, no sign of oxygen deprivation, and often people fall asleep after a seizure, it's the body's way of resting while it fixes things. You understand?" Rock nodded his assent. Now that he knew Lily was okay, he asked,

"Is there a doctor on duty right now?" The nurse, who had moved behind the desk to start paperwork on the patient, looked up and smiled,

"No, he's sleeping. We wake him if we can't take care of it. Funny how nurses do most of the work and Doctors get most of the credit, isn't it? " Rock smiled back and came around the counter, behind the desk. The nurse looked up and started to say, "You're not allowed..." before Rock hit her with a nerve pinch in her neck and she fell over to the floor. Stunned but not hurt. He leaned down to her ear and whispered,

"Sorry! I hate to do this to you, but I have to. You're a good nurse, keep it up." He knew from experience that she would remember the things said to her now. He rolled Lily back to the back to a deserted exam room, closed the door and locked it, and pulled the drape around her. He had just lifted her to the exam table in the room when he heard the rattle of the doorknob, then keys jangling and the sound of the door rebounding against the wall. He took a defensive position behind the table, pistol drawn. He was surprized to see the large, broad shouldered form of Daniel Tortuga standing there.

"Alright Stannard, drop your weapon. You are outnumbered and out gunned here. What did you do to Lily, you bastard?" The last was growled out between clenched teeth. Daniel wasted no time waiting for an answer but went immediately to Lily and began examining her. Rock stepped back and looked past Daniel to the door and could see a large number of men dressed in all black waiting for the signal to come. He began to sweat. Rock lowered the pistol to the table next to him and looked Daniel square in the eyes.

"I'm trying to save her, if you can believe that."

"I don't." Daniel replied coldly. "I've been tracking you both, I've heard what's going on and I think you just want your chip back at whatever cost, including her life, and that is not acceptable to me." Turning away brusquely he raised a hand to the waiting throng outside the door and two guards moved in cautiously, rifles raised and pointed dead blank at Rock's heart. Daniel nodded to them and mentioned,

"He's unarmed at the moment. Take him to the brig." Rock offered no resistance and went peacefully with the guard. Daniel turned to two others nearby and began ordering tests for Lily," full blood chemistry, MRI, cat scan, xray!"

"Yes Doctor!" The soldiers replied and soon came with a gurney to gently lift Lily onto it. Her Ruger fell to the floor with a thunk, and Daniel retrieved it. He held it gently, almost lovingly in his hands. He noted the two orderlies watching him. He looked up and mentioned,

"It's her favorite." They nodded and wheeled Lily out of the room. Daniel ran his hands through his hair. If that bastard had ruined her brain, he'd kill him with his bare hands. As it was, Rock was already a non entity. No one would question his disappearance, as he didn't officially exist to start with. If only he'd gotten here sooner, Daniel recriminated himself. If it hadn't been such top level security, he could have warned the base to start with, but this was an eyes only and he couldn't afford to let it all out. As it was, Lily was a trick. She had no warrants, no criminal record, nothing. Yet now she had breached government security. He was hoping when this all went down he would be able to keep her out of any trouble she might be in. She was being coerced by Rock, a high level Systems assassin and everyone who was anyone knew what that could mean. He scooped up Rock's Walther PPK and slipped it into his pocket, set the few things ajar in the room to rights and then shut off the light, closed the door and followed down to the lab to check on Lily's progress. She was lying quietly on the gurney, stripped now of both uniform and clothes, dressed in a hospital type gown. A cotton ball taped to the inside of her arm showed the blood work had been drawn. A technician was warming up the MRI machine. Suddenly Lily took a deep, shuddering breath and opened her eyes.

"Where...Daniel? Daniel! Oh my god! It's really you! Where am I? What happened? Where is..." she turned confused eyes on Daniel and finished quietly,

"Rock?" Daniel looked down into her deep brown eyes, so liquidy and dark, he felt he could get lost in them. He stroked her hair back and smiled at her.

"No worry. He's in custody now. You're safe." She reached a hand up to her head,

"The Chip?" She asked hopefully, hoping it was already gone and over with.

"Still in there, I'm afraid, but we're going to locate it and remove it for you if possible. " At her startled and scared look he replied, "I know, I know all about it, and the supposed fail safes on it, but the doctor who inserted it, damaged it, and then your body created a scar tissue bubble around it keeping the worst of it's poison out of your system. It will not ever work. The system was deluded about it's capabilities, and paid out the nose for it, was screwed by their own scientist, and then it was lost running around in your brain! How's that for drama? Now, don't you worry honey. We've got the best scientist in the world here now and they are going to get this out of your head for you, okay?" Lily nodded her assent. Big fat tears ran down her cheeks and Daniel caught one on his finger and brought it to his lips. She smiled tremulously at him and lay down, relaxed now. Feeling safe now, for the first time in how long? Daniel always made her feel safe and cared for. Rock was right about him though. He wasn't an archeologist, or maybe he was one of those too. She didn't give it too much thought before she fell asleep again. It was quiet and untroubled. An hour later she was wheeled into surgery.


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