The Harem of Jason Morgan
Somewhere inside the Warehouse
"Oh, baby! Get a load of the broad the Boss is gonna be bangin' tonight, Joey."
The guard in question leaned forward, adjusting the contrast on the video monitors, then zoomed in for a close up. "Long legs and nice knockers," he laughed. "Twenty bucks says she won't be struttin' outta here like that when the Boss is done with her."
"Make it fifty, and it's on," the other guard challenged.
"What are the both of you doing in here?!" the Lt. asked sharply. "I thought you were keeping post outside the Boss' door, Joey?"
"He sent me away when he heard the hooker was here. Can't say I'd blame him. I'd wanna spend as much time alone with her as I could, too. Check her out," as he nodded to the monitor. "She's a real hottie."
I'm surrounded by sex-starved idiots, the Lt. mused. From where he was standing though, he had to admit the guys were right--the broad had a killer set of legs. Curiosity getting the best of him, he decided to see if the rest of her was as fine. Motioning for the guard to get up, he gingerly sipped at his fresh cup of coffee as he took a seat and began to fiddle with the zoom functions. Hmm small waist, nice curves. Ooh, those ta-tas? Real nice. When the camera panned upwards, the Lt. nearly upended his piping hot cup of brew all over the console. "I don't friggin' BELIEVE this! It CAN'T be," he replied, incredulous. Leaning forward, the Lt. zoomed in for a tight close up. "Holy sh--"
"What's up?" the guard asked, his antennae up as he watched the Lt. slowly rise from his chair.
"Get Moreno." the Lt. replied, his eyes never once leaving the monitor. "NOW!"
"I really like what your boss has done with the place," Dara cracked. "Early Bombed-out Beirut. It's nice."
"Cute--real cute," the driver replied, clearly as tired of Dara's presence as she was of his. He finished patting down her upper body then moved to her hips, making his way down her legs. "Spread 'em."
"Fine. We got much further to go? My feet are killin' me," Dara groaned, still in character, while taking in every detail of her surroundings.
"Like it matters," the driver snorted. "It ain't like you're gonna be on your FEET all night." Dara was about to reply when the guard recoiled his hand in horror from between her thighs. "What in the--?" as he held up the object.
"It's a tampon. Whatsa matter, you never seen one up close? Hey, hey!" as she watched him fiddle with the plastic wrapper. "Don't open it. I might need it later." The driver shot her a perplexed look. "My "little friend" is in town? I'm on the rag?" The driver still looked on, dumbfounded. "I GOT MY PERIOD."
"Oh," he managed. Suddenly realizing he was still holding the tampon, the driver's face contorted into a mask of disgust as he reared back to pitch the offending object.
"Ah-ah-ah! Don't do that! I might need it for later," Dara replied, as she retrieved the tampon. She shot the driver a bemused look. "You act like you were holding a USED one, jeez." She slid the tampon back inside the band of the thigh-high stockings then fell in behind the driver, whose face still registered his revulsion at having to touch the thing.
"You actually turn tricks when you're messed up like that?" the driver inquired, incredulous.
"As a rule, no. But your boss offered to triple my fee--so I was like, if HE don't mind, then neither do I!"
The driver was about to contemplate who was sicker, the hooker or his boss, when the sound of his cell phone interrupted his thoughts. "Hold up, I gotta take this call." The entire time he was on the phone, the guard kept his eyes on Dara who was busy returning the offending object to the folds of her thigh-high hose. "Say again? We got a bad connection, I think my battery's low. Uh-huh," he nodded. "Got it."
His right hand resting lightly on his piece, the driver clicked off, then motioned for Dara to follow him towards the elevator. As they waited for the elevator in silence, the guard allowed his eyes to roam Dara's body. She was about to ask him what held his interest when she was suddenly overcome by excruciating pain. Now doubled over, staggering backwards, she clutched her right ear--more in an effort to stop the throbbing than the flow of blood that was spewing forth from her earlobe. She looked up to see the driver toss the bloodstained earring to the ground, then grind it beneath his shoe.
"Damn. Did that hurt?" he sneered. "It sure looked painful--Agent Jensen." The driver's gun was now drawn, and pointed at Dara. "On your feet. NOW."
"One down ," as Rinaldo watched the guard crumple to the ground.
"No telling how many more to go," Jason finished. Taking his position in the brush behind the warehouse, Jason strained to get a good visual of the top floor of the warehouse through the state of the art night vision binoculars.
"You got a beat on her, Jason?" Rinaldo asked. Crouched down as far as he could go, he tried to make himself comfortable amidst the brush, yet still maintain a grip on the high-powered rifle.
"Yeah," Jason replied, as he adjusted his earpiece. "She's in, but I can't tell where. The windows are all painted black." Suddenly, Jason jerked his head back violently, ripping the earpiece from his ear---the high-pitched sound waves nearly causing his ears to ring. Moments later, his radio was giving off nothing but static. "Damn!" as he threw the radio to the ground. "She's been made," Jason replied grimly.
"Aww, hell! It's too soon--we're flying blind out here!" Rinaldo muttered, shaking his head. "We have no IDEA where she is in there, and we can't reach the other guys. Sonofabitch!" as he smashed the now useless radio. He looked to Jason, who was quickly weighing his options--few that there were. "Whatever call you make, I got your back."
"Let's go get her."
Surveillance room, the Warehouse .
"Well, well, well!" Moreno marveled. "If it isn't Daralee."
"You know if she's here, Morgan and his men can't be far behind," the Lt. replied. His reply fell on deaf ears, as Moreno was still transfixed by the sight of Dara, now on her knees in front of the driver. "Boss---you listening? I think it's safe to guess she didn't come here without any backup. Boss?"
Moreno was about to reply, when he caught sight of something that made blood run cold. "No, no, no, no, no!" he whispered.
"Boss?" The Lt. looked over at Moreno who was now frantically trying to operate the PA system. "We don't have audio, only video. You wanna tell me what the hell you're so worked up about?"
"You IDIOT!" Moreno yelled at the image of the driver on the monitor. "Get him on his cell phone--NOW!"
"I said on your feet!" The driver saw Dara's hand dart beneath her skirt. "Hey, hey--put your hands where I can see 'em."
"You already patted me down, you know I'm not packin'," she grimaced. She was now on her knees, both hands clutched to her ear. "Look, you made a real mess when you ripped that earring out of my ear. In case you haven't noticed, I'm bleeding like a stuck pig over here. Now I know your boss is into some freaky things, but I don't think necrophelia is one of 'em," she snorted. Slowly rising to her feet, she held the driver's gaze. "Tell me, you ever seen him angry--ever see him loseit? I hear it's NOT a pretty sight--and believe me, he's gonna lose it BIG TIME if you drop me off to him to weak to stand 'cause I've lost too much blood. He may want me dead, but HE wants to be the one to do the job. So if you know what's good for you, you'll get over here and help me stop this bleeding!"
"Fine. Take off your top--you can use it as a tourniquet"
"No," Dara groaned. "It's LEATHER, you idiot. I need something absorbent, like cloth or cotton. The tampon--use IT. It's tucked the band of my hose, left thigh." The driver looked at her as if she had sprouted horns. "Look, the bleeding is getting worse! The longer you take, the closer you are to a beat down from your boss." That last comment was all it took to convince the driver. Slowly, as if her were trying to disarm a bomb, he retrieved the tampon, then handed it to Dara, who shook her head. "You'll have to open it---my hands are too slippery from the blood." Dara ignored the driver's incredulous expression. "You act like I'm asking you to put it in me," she snapped. "Look, it's really simple--rip the plastic cover open, then pull the string. Think a big tough guy like you can handle that?"
"I don't get an answer," the Lt. replied. "His battery's dead."
Moreno began swearing. "Get the guards on the radio--tell 'em to keep their heads up for even the slightest thing."
The Lt. stared daggers at Moreno's back. "Would love to--just one problem: When you realized Jensen was wearing a bug, you had me scramble the transmission signal so Morgan couldn't communicate with his men. Guess you forgot OUR men also were using radios, too, huh?!"
"DAMN IT!!" Moreno exploded, as he upended his chair.
"Why are you so worked up about what's going on down there between Jensen and the driver?" one of the guards asked. "I don't see--"
Moreno silenced the clueless guard with a stare.
"You want me to keep trying his cell phone?" the Lt. inquired. Before Moreno could reply, the Lt.'s gaze drifted to the monitor. "What the hell--? This is getting more weird by the minute. Is that a tampon?!" he laughed.
"Not in the hands of Daralee," Moreno replied sullenly. Moreno looked on, as the driver began to unwrap the "tampon"---all the while oblivious to Dara, who was now crouched down, slowly scurrying away.
"I don't follow."
"See this?" Moreno zoomed the lens in on the plastic applicator. "See that little cotton string? If you look really close, you'll see--"
"A wire," the Lt. finished.
"A wire made of titanium which will serve as the detonator." Moreno slumped into the nearby chair, his eyes now riveted to the scene unfolding before him on the monitor. It was like watching a train wreck in progress---you knew the outcome, still you couldn't tear your eyes away.
The Lt.'s words were cut short as the video monitor went blank.
"What the hell was THAT?" Rinaldo yelled, trying to keep his footing as they headed down the hill.
Jason looked towards the warehouse. "Dara."
Inside the warehouse .
Having been rocked by the explosion, the surveillance room looked like a cross between a gutted bomb shelter and a disco--windows were shattered, monitors and furniture strewn everywhere, lights flashing, alarms signaling. And in the middle of it all, Moreno stood, barking orders like what had happened was a minor blip on the radar screen.
"Get outside. Check the grounds. You see a face you don't know? Shoot and keep going. And if any of you run across Daralee, I want herALIVE. You know where to find me," as he turned to leave the room.
The Lt. grabbed Moreno by the arm. "Tell me you're heading upstairs to grab the money and then we're gonna bail, right?" Moreno blank stare gave him the answer he was NOT looking for. "Look," the Lt. implored, dragging Moreno to the corner of the room. "I don't know WHAT type of explosive that was she used, but we need to bail---or have you forgotten you've got a few loads of C-4 stored in this place?! If that blast she caused starts triggering OTHER explosions, this place is gonna be blown so sky high there won't be enough left of any of us to use as fish food!"
Moreno, his face still, blank, cast his eyes down at the Lt.'s hand, which was now gripping his arm. "I repeat, if you run across Daralee, I want her alive. I'll be in my room." The tone of Moreno's voice, combined with his steely glare, told the Lt. the situation was not up for discussion.
"I didn't sign up for this!" the Lt. fumed, turning away from Moreno and heading for the door. "I'm outta--"
The remaining guards watched in stunned silence as the Lt. dropped to the floor, Moreno having pumped two bullets in the back of his head.
"Anyone ELSE got a problem with my orders?" The guards all shook their heads emphatically. "Didn't think so."
Once Jason and Rinaldo were inside the warehouse, they split up; Rinaldo taking the bottom half of the floors, Jason the top half. Both men had already picked off a couple of Moreno's men, but were still no closer to finding either Moreno or Dara than they were before the explosion.
Meanwhile, a bloodied and dazed Dara was trying to make her way out of the maze-like warehouse when she was grabbed behind by one of Moreno's guards. Though she tried her best to fight back, with a sprained hand, and her equilibrium all but shot from having banged her head during the explosion, she was no match for Moreno's man.
"You're a real handful, ain't ya, Sugar?" the guard leered. He had Dara in a choke hold, his switchblade drawn. "Now, VERY SLOWLY, you and me are gonna make our way over to those elevators. There's somebody who wants to see you, Sugar. REAL BAD," the guard taunted.
"You're better off taking the stairs," Dara replied, her words strangled due to the force of the guard's choke hold.
"Did I ask for your input?" he snapped.
"No," she croaked. "But I imagine an elevator ISN'T the safest form of transportation after an explosion." Unfazed, the guard continued to direct her towards the elevators. "Now that I think of it, I can pretty much imagine what your boss has in store for me upstairs. Actually you'd be doing me a favor if we took the elevator. It wouldn't be a painless death--falling a couple floors down--but it would be a lot quicker than what HE plans to do to me." The entire time she was talking, Dara's kept her eyes on the panel above the elevator doors. Someone was heading down to their floor. She could only hope and pray that the face on the other side of the doors was a friendly one. As the doors opened, her prayer was answered.
"Drop the blade." Rinaldo stood less than three feet away, his gun aimed directly at the guard's head.
"No, YOU drop the gun!" Loosening his hold around Dara's throat, the guard tilted her head slightly to left, then pressed the blade against her neck. "You ever seen what one of these things can do, up close?" he challenged.
Rinaldo stepped from the elevator, his gaze still fixed on the guard who was slowly backing up with Dara. "You're not gonna hurt her. Your boss wouldn't like that. Neither would I."
"I'll say it one more time," the guard replied evenly. "Drop the gun." To show he meant business, he increased the pressure of the blade against Dara's throat, just a hair--but enough to break the skin and draw blood. "I'll cut her from ear to ear!"
His eyes still on the guard, Rinaldo replied, "Whaddya think, Dara. One or two?"
"Hey, man! I'm talking to you! Oh, you think I'm bluffin, huh?"
Dara quickly cut her eyes over at Rinaldo, and saw his index finger was poised to pull the trigger. Wincing as she felt the blade break the skin just a bit more, she closed her eyes. "One." Before the guard even had time to make another threat, he dropped to the ground, a single bullet from Rinaldo's 9mm having pierced the right side of his skull. Moments later, Dara followed.
"Hey, you okay?!" Rinaldo rushed over, helping Dara to her feet, his hand immediately darting to her throat. "Damn," he hissed. "That looks nasty," referring to the cut.
"It looks worse than it feels. Where's Jason?"
"Upstairs. C'mon, let's get you out of here."
"We gotta get Jason!"
"No," as he dragged her away. "The deal was, whichever of us found you first was to get you out of here and wait for the other out back---if the other doesn't show by the top of the hour, whoever had you was to leave."
"What time is it now?"
"Bottom of the hour." Rinaldo kept towards the exit, Dara struggling every bit of the way.
"We've still got time, Rinaldo," she pleaded.
"Look, Jensen, don't fight me on this. Jase gave the order and I told him I'd back him on it."
"Well, he didn't give ME any order!" as she broke free. Just as Dara was about to try and make a run for it, shots rang out. As she dove for cover, out of the corner of her eye, she saw Rinaldo sprawling backwards. "RINALDO!"
The Harem of Jason Morgan
Upstairs, Jason had just taken out another of Moreno's men and was pinned down by a hail of bullets. As he heard the guards reloading, taking his moment, he dove across the hall into a nearby room. When he rose to his feet, he couldn't believe what he saw.
"Oh, man!" he muttered. His eyes darting around the room, he quickly searched for a means of escape---any means. Just as his eyes came to rest on the panel overhead, the door was bolted shut behind him. Moments later, he heard the unmistakable voice of Moreno.
"Well, well, Morgan. It appears you've gotten yourself in a bit of a tight spot, huh?" he laughed. "Do you know you're keeping company with enough C-4 to level a place three times the size of the Harbor View Towers? Speaking of which, I'll make sure that when I'm done with DaraLee, I'll stop over at your Penthouse and have a lil' fun with your ladies. You got yourself a nice little setup over there, you know? C'mon, it's just us guys here--tell me, you doing 'em all? Hey, since we're on the subject of doing broads, that got me to thinking--which one of YOURS should I do first? Lavery's little girl? I couldn't really DO her, I mean, with her "condition" and all," he taunted. "But I COULD have a really good time teaching her the finer points of pleasure and pain. Then there's the blonde with the kid. She looks like she's a real tiger in the sack-. Or maybe Corinthos' ex? I know a freak when I see one--- betcha she's not afraid of the rough stuff, huh Morgan?" he smiled. "Or maybe the Cassadine dame. She carries herself like a queen---I'll have a GOOD time taking her down a notch or two bet I could make her beg; I like it when they beg. Then there's that sweet lil' social worker, your lawyer's cousin? C'mon, just between you and me Morgan-- is the juice REALLY sweeter when the cherry, uh, I mean the berry's darker? Ooh, speaking of cherries, does your little sister still have hers---that other sweet young thing, too?
Jason took in Moreno's demented discourse without so much as batting an eye--even when he'd mentioned Robin. But when he brought up Emily's name, Jason lost it. "YOU'RE A DEAD MAN, MORENO!" as he pounded the door with his fists. "You hear, me?"
"Uh-oh," Moreno cackled. "Sounds like I struck a nerve! You know, it's a pity you won't be around to find out just WHAT I do to your ex-junkie of a little sister. Hmm that's a thought. Maybe I can turn her on to some horse, eh, Morgan? Get her all laid back and relaxed before I do her? Give her a little chiva and she'd probably love what I'd do to her... you know what they say get 'em young and train them right. I think I might actually keep her alive as a souvenier of all the trouble you have caused me."
"You're not gonna touch Emily or anyone ELSE from my house." The calm of Jason's voice belied the rage in his eyes. If Moreno were face to face with him at that moment, it's quite possible he might have dropped dead from fear. "Only one of us is leaving this place alive, Moreno. If YOU wanna be that man, I suggest you come in here and kill me now---'cause that's the only way you're leaving this place: over my dead body!"
With shots still ringing out, Dara crouched over behind a stack of crates. "Rinaldo?!" she called out.
"Yeah" he groaned.
"I can't get over there--they've got me pinned down!"
"You carrying?" The silence gave him his answer. Seconds later, a gun was slid across the way.
Braving the hail of bullets which were still flying, Dara darted out and grabbed the gun. She was about to ask Rinaldo if the gun was his spare, when she saw two bodies topple from the catwalk above. She looked across the way to find Rinaldo slumped against the wall, clutching his shoulder. Taking a peek at the wound, Dara winced. The bullet had gone straight through, but he was losing an awful lot of blood. Stealing a quick glance at her watch, she saw it was 20 minutes 'til the top of the hour. "Think you can make it outside without my help?"
"Something tells me I don't have a choice," he grunted, as Dara helped him to his feet.
"Something tells you right. Dammit why didn't you have a hunch about today, Macho jerk?"
Inside the room full of C-4, Jason was perched atop a table that looked as if it would give way at any moment. And no sooner had he moved the panel aside, the table did just that. Using all his upper body strength, Jason finally managed to pull himself up into the shaft.
He had no idea where he was going, but he knew he had to get there fast.
Dara made her way down the hall, gingerly cupping her right hand to her chest, Rinaldo's gun in her left. She didn't think it was broken, but it was throbbing like crazy. Although the blast from her guerrilla-styled bomb wasn't incredibly powerful, it packed enough of a punch to knock her across the room--and just like last time, she'd broken the fall with her hand. Her right hand. While she was ambidextrous when it came to shooting, the fact remained she was a far better shot with her right hand than her left. At the approaching sounds of footsteps, she darted into a nearby alcove. After a few seconds, when the steps became nothing more than a distant echo, she stepped from the alcove, heading off in the opposite direction. As she bent the corner, Dara stopped short---there was someone behind her. She turned to find one of Moreno's guards, the laser of his gun trained in the center of her chest.
"Drop it!" the guard ordered.
"Sorry," Dara smiled. "Can't do that," as she slowly raised the weapon. "See we both know, you're not gonna shoot me. Your boss wants me alive---so he can do whatever it is his twisted little mind likes to do to women who challenge him. And I'm in no mood to be raped and tortured, which I'm sure is just a prelude to what he REALLY has in store for me." Gingerly, she eased her finger around the trigger. "With that in mind, there's only two ways you're getting me out of this room: Dead or unconscious---and seeing how you're way over there, my guess is you're gonna have a hard time achieving the latter." Still staring the guard down, Dara noticed his eyes widen in surprise. Nice try, buddy, but I ain't falling for that one--I look over my shoulder and you fire off a shot? She was about to tell the guard that very thing when she noticed the laser was no longer trained on her chest. In that instant, her blood ran cold. Seconds later, it was lights out, as she was sent sprawling to the ground.
"Good save--" The guard's words were cut short as three rounds were pumped squarely in the center of his chest.
Without missing a beat, Moreno turned and hoisted Dara's limp body over his shoulder, then turnee too. You want me to go in after her?"
"NO!" Rinaldo barked. "It's bad enough we still got two people in there running around blind looking for each other we don't need three. ARGH!" Rinaldo slumped back in the seat as he applied pressure to the gunshot wound, in an effort to stop the bleeding.
"You're looking bad, Rinaldo. Let me have Mario take you back to the Penthouse--get you checked out. I'll wait here with one of the other guys for Jason and Miss Jensen."
"No way," Rinaldo replied through clenched teeth. "I'm not moving 'till they come out." As he attempted to make himself as comfortable as possible, given his current state, Rinaldo muttered under his breath, "You guys better come out soon!"
Dara came to and found herself being strapped to some thing that at best, could be described as an exam chair.
"I see you're awake, Daralee." Moreno leaned in, his face but inches from Dara's. "Love the outfit, by the way. Gonna love getting you OUT of it even more!" Gently, he allowed his finger to graze Dara's right earlobe which was now matted with blood. "Sorry about what happened earlier." His gentle touch gave way to a rough squeeze as he held Dara's earlobe between his thumb and index finger. Dara remained silent. After 30 seconds, he increased the pressure, causing her to finally allow a strangled groan to escape. "I'm very impressed, Daralee. I didn't know you had such a tolerance for pain." Cupping her face in his hands, Moreno covered Dara's mouth with his for a hard kiss, his tongue forcing his way past her pursed lips. Dara tried to turn her face, to shake her head, but it felt as if her head weighed a ton "Feeling a little sluggish, are you?" Moreno laughed, as he drew back. "I gave you a little something to help you relax." Running his fingers around the contours of her lips, he smiled. "It wouldn't do to have you all tense when we get started, now would it?"
"Where's Jase?" she mumbled.
"He's a little detained, you might say. He's locked in a room full of C-4 and on the other side of the door, I left a little "package"--one that's set to go off," as Moreno glanced at his watch, "in about, say, 30 minutes? Yeah, in about that time he's gonna be spread out all over this countryside--and you, too, Daralee."
"JAAAASON!!" Dara was screaming at the top of her lungs, an act which amused Moreno to no end.
"It's a shame, too. I was hoping to be able to take my time with you."
"Like you did with that teenage hooker you crippled?!" she spat.
"Well, it seems my little secret was found out," he laughed. "They never could connect me to it--I made sure of that. In fact, there were some folks upstairs that wanted me to stay on---they thought there was a need for my "talents" you might say. But, then the Do Good Squad got wind of it and sent me packing. Still, you know what they say, you can't keep a good man down! There's ALWAYS somebody in the bunch looking to cut a corner, bend the rules---make a fast buck, you know?"
"And nothing turns a faster buck than dope, right Moreno?"
"You always were a quick study, Daralee. You don't remember me, but I remember you when you'd just arrived at the Bureau for training. What was that song they used to tease you with back then? Oh, yeah. Now I remember: 'Nobody doesn't like Daralee!'" he replied in a sing-song voice. The gaiety in his voice was quickly replaced by menace. "Of course, the joke was everyone DID like you, 'cause you were so good. Perfect every time---every "i" dotted, every "t" crossed. Little Miss By The Book," he sneered. "I had a REAL good thing going, 'til you decided you had to play by the rules."
"Forgive me---but I'm kinda funny that way," she replied sarcastically.
"It appears so. But not "funny" enough that you didn't think twice about taking up with Morgan. I mean, so what if he's a big player in organized crime--but he's not pimping, or dealing, so that makes him a-okay, right?"
"You two are in the same line of work, but as far as I'm concerned, that's where the similarities end. There's a WORLD of difference between men like you and men like Jason."
"Such a passionate defense of your new man, Daralee!" He leaned down and secured her other ankle. "How sweet! What happened to fighting the good fight, pressing forward for the greater good and all that crap?" he scoffed. "I tell ya, I never thought I'd see the day when you were in bed with the likes of Morgan." He paused. "Figuratively speaking, of course. I mean, you being so by the book and all, I just KNOW you haven't mixed business with pleasure--we both know how disastrous things turned out the last time that happened, don't we?" he winked. "How is ol' Jacks, by the way? Oops. You two aren't on speaking terms, are you?" he sneered. "Damn. I don't know about you but I just hate it when I sleep--"
"YOU SHUT UP!!" Dara roared as she struggled against the restraints.
Moreno merely stared up at her, his smug smile firmly in place. "There, there, now, Daralee," as he returned her to the chair. "I didn't mean to get you so worked up. You know you really shouldn't make any sudden moves. That drug I gave you? The effect only intensifies when you're worked up, baby."
"Call him all you like, baby," as he secured her other wrist. "He can't help you."
After a bit of trial and error, Jason had finally managed to find a panel that opened up to reveal something other than a wall. As he lowered himself from the ceiling, Jason glanced about the room, trying to determine just where in the maze of a warehouse he was. The microphones and video monitors made it clear he was in a surveillance room of some sort. On his way out of the room, he came across the body of Moreno's Lt. Just as he was about to bend the corner, he stopped short. Not even two seconds later, a bullet whizzed by his head. Having lost his gun crawling through the ducts, he was not only lost, but without a weapon as well. Quickly, he patted down the Lt.'s body and found, like most soldiers, he carried a spare piece. Just as Jason retrieved the gun, a voice from behind commanded him to rise to his feet.
"Nice and slow--hands in the air," the gunman commanded.
Assuming the position, Jason laced his fingers behind his head, standing with his legs spread. "Where's the woman?" Jason inquired, his voice even. No response. "You can tell me willingly, or I can beat it out of you."
"You got a lot of mouth for someone with a gun pointed at him," as he continued to pat Jason down. "Uh-oh," as his hands came to rest on the gun tucked in the waist of Jason's jeans. "Lookee what I found!"
Jason knew the guard keep his gun trained on him and maintain eye contact while removing the gun. The instant the guard began to remove the gun, Jason made his move. Bringing his forearm down hard across the guard's head, Jason knocked him backwards, causing him to drop the gun he was trying to retrieve. But the guard had good reflexes and had soon regained his footing, charging at Jason. As both men tussled over the gun, slowly it was lowered until it was pressed between both their bodies. Seconds later, a gunshot rang out, and the guard slumped to the floor.
Roughly, Jason grabbed the man by the collar. "Look, that's a big hole in your gut. The wound is mortal--that means you're gonna die. But you have a choice as to HOW you die: Slow and painful," as Jason pressed the nuzzle of the gun near the area of the wound, causing the man to let lose with a tortured wail. "Or, quick and painless," as Jason presse "What did you say? I don't think I heard you correctly."
"I only saw her once--here in the room on those monitors." Shaking violently, the man could barely get his words out over the chattering of his teeth. "Moreno mentioned that when we found her to bring her to his room."
"Go on. Where's the room?"
"B-b-b-basement level. That's all I know, man. That's all I know!" Doubled over, the man clutched his gut as Jason released his collar then stood and headed for the doorway. "Hey! Please, man--don't leave me here like this! Do like you said."
Jason paused in the doorway. "Head or gut?"
Making the sign of the cross, the man closed his eyes. "Head."
Jason fired two shots, then left the room.
"Will you shut up, already?!" Moreno was unbuckling his belt as he crossed the room. Ignoring him, Dara continued to scream. Having had enough of her incessant wailing for Jason, Moreno stopped at the nearby table and retrieved an object about six inches in length, with a blade that at best could be described as a cross between a scalpel and a sickle. "You make another sound, and I'm gonna slit your lovely little throat!"
As she locked eyes with Moreno, Dara paused, a placid smile forming at the corners of her mouth. She then let lose at the top of her lungs with "JAAAASON!"
Moreno raised his hand to bring the blade down, but stopped short as he caught sight of Dara's smile. "Oh, you'd like that, wouldn't you, Daralee--for me to kill you quick, to put you out of your misery? Sorry, baby. It ain't gonna happen," as he put the blade away. Again, he glanced at his watch. "I don't have much time to spend with you, but what little I do, it'll be enough to make you BEG me to kill you!"
All the while Moreno was talking, gloating about his plans for Dara, she was busy dislocating her left wrist, so as to allow herself to free her hands. The right wrist was no problem, it was fractured, and with a good clean jerk, she could have her hand out the restraint. Of course, HOW she was going to do all of this and still remain undetected by Moreno, she hadn't a clue. Just as she resumed her attempt to free her wrists, of the corner of her eye she saw Jason in the doorway. So did Moreno.
Struggling to maintain consciousness and get free of her restraints, Dara could hear the sounds of Moreno and Jason's struggle.
Although his back was to the door, Moreno had seen Jason creeping up via his peripheral vision; thus, Moreno had managed to get the drop on Jason while he was in the doorway, firing off a shot. Jason dove for cover, getting off a shot that hit Moreno in the shoulder. Still, Moreno charged after him, right on his heels. And while Jason was younger and faster, Moreno had the advantage of size--and years of training as WSB Agent.
As Jason and Moreno went from floor, to wall, then back again, throwing punches and kicks, Dara had finally managed to free her hands and was in the process of undoing her legs. The sound of a gun being knocked to the floor, then going off gave her all the more incentive to hurry. Still able to hear both Jason and Moreno, she reasoned that whichever of the two had been shot - if either - if it was Jason, the gunshot wasn't serious enough to have slowed him down from exchanging blows with Moreno. Finally getting her legs free, she stood, and immediately felt the effects of having been inclined at a 45 degree angle. As she crumpled to the ground, she crawled in the direction she'd seen the gun slide across the floor. Her vision somewhat blurry, head pounding, and right hand throbbing, she prayed that SHE wouldn't be called upon to take a shot.
Turning to face Jason and Moreno, she realized her prayer would go unanswered.
"Drop the gun, Daralee," Moreno hissed.
Slowly, Dara got to her feet. "Let him go, Moreno. It's over."
"You're a good shot, but not good enough to get off TWO rounds--'cause that's what it's gonna take to drop me, baby. Or maybe, you will get off two shots---and the second will become a stray and hit Morgan here. That is if MY bullet doesn't blow out what's left of his brains," as he pressed the nuzzle of the gun to Jason's temple.
Dara's gun was trained on Moreno, but her eyes on Jason. When she spoke, her voice was even, tinged with warning. "IF you leave this room, it's gonna be either in a body bag or cuffs. Personally, I'd much rather the former, but something tells me you're not as stupid as you look, so you might actually surrender." With her right hand curled into a fist, using it as a base, Dara's left index finger was poised on the trigger of the gun.
"You got a big set of balls for a broad, Daralee," Moreno laughed. "You sure talk a good game. Hell--I almost believe you can back it up! It's gonna be a shame to have to kill you."
Jason's eyes never left Dara's the entire time. "Can you take the shot?" It wasn't a question. It was a command.
"With my eyes closed," Dara replied, never more certain of anything in her life. "Last chance, Moreno. Don't worry, I'll make sure none of the fellas in the Pen know you let a WOMAN get the drop on you."
"Say goodnight to your boss, Dara--"
One shot, center of the forehead, dropped Moreno like brick.
Jason bent down to retrieve Moreno's gun--just in time to see Dara crumple to the floor once again. "You don't do well in heels, do you?" he cracked.
As Dara looked up, her eyes glassy, all she could do was bury her head against Jason's chest. "You're welcome," she laughed.
"Oh, yeah. Thanks," as he swept her up in his arms.
"I can walk," she protested.
"Yeah, I know you can," as Jason glanced at his watch. "But you can't RUN in the shape you're in!" He'd overheard Moreno gloating to Dara how the place was gonna blow, with her and him still inside. According to his watch, they had less than five minutes before Moreno's threat became a fact.
"That's it!" Johnny said to Rinaldo. "You're heading back to the Penthouse. Look at you--you're barely conscious. Who knows how much blood you've lost!"
"We don't leave until Jase gets back, Johnny."
"What if he doesn't COME back?"
"We'll worry about that, IF and when it happens. Understand?" The tone of Rinaldo's voice let his friend know the subject was no longer up for discussion.
Just as Rinaldo was about to try and step out of the limo, he was thrown back as the ground began to shift underneath.
"It's a friggin' earthquake!" Mario yelled.
"This is New York, not California!" Johnny snapped, as he struggled to get to his feet. The instant he regained his footing, he was knocked to the ground again as another explosion occurred.
All the men looked towards the warehouse---what was once the warehouse, and saw a ball of fire dancing in the sky.
"I sure hope Jason wasn't still in there," Johnny muttered.
"If he was, what are we gonna tell Carly?" Mario inquired, turning white as a sheet at the mere thought of having to break such news to Carly---not to mention the REST of the women at the penthouse.
"Tell her we're heading home."
At the sound of the voice, the men turned to see Jason, as banged up and weary as the rest of them, making his way down the hillside with an equally bruised and battered Dara in his arms.
They were indeed a sight for sore eyes.