The Rescue: A Jack Keating Adventure (Part 1)

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic
Jack Keating, a former black ops operator for the government, is forced to serve his country once again in order to save his son from certain death.

Submitted: September 27, 2011

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Submitted: September 27, 2011

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I sat in the dimly lit, but posh and well kept bar and downed my 2nd Jack on the Rocks of the evening. The bar was crowded and loud with event party goers. Everyone was there. From government official all the way down to the new recruits of the Washington, DC PD. The dinner was for the members of the D.C. SWAT team that had saved 40 civilians from an office building that a distraught post office worker had walked into with a Magnum and opened fire on before taking 40 people hostage. He made no demands. He simply said that he was going to execute them. The SWAT team had to dissuade him.

I had been on the SWAT team once. I had been good. Really good. One of the best the department had ever seen. But, that was a long time ago.

I sat at the bar and took comfort in the feeling of the Glock .40 in it's shoulder rig, snug against my ribs. The Glock was hidden by my suit jacket and only a slight bulge gave away it's position. I didn't want to be here, but my secretary had called and reserved me a spot, wanting me to get out and do something. Good intentioned girl, but now I was stuck here.

I felt someone clap me on the back and I turned to see the jubilant face of my oldest friend, Conly East.

Conly beat me up in the 4th grade. He was twice my size then, but I gave it right back to him and earned his respect and, eventually, his friendship followed. Now, he looked like he was someone that you would go get an ice cream cone with, but if you took one wrong step, he could turn into a whole new kind of monster.

"How ya doing, Jack?" He asked me with a smile. I hadn't seen him in about a week.

"I'm alright, man. Just trying to get through this snooze fest." I gestured to the crowd behind us.

"Maybe if you mingled with the locals a little bit you wouldn't find it so boring. Come on." Ge grabbed my shoulder and pulled me away from the bar.

We walked through the crowd and zeroed in on a group of police officers standing next to the stage opposite the bar. The turned and watched us approach.

"Hello, Conly." After a second, "Keating."

I nodded to them. We dove into conversation about the SWAT raid and local crime rates. Or rather, Conly and the others talked. I mostly stood and listened idly, interjecting occasionally.

Three more officers joined us. Two men that we were at least 6'7 and looked like the could easily bench 350. Their bodies were rock solid with muscle. The third man, someone I knew quite closely, was 6'4 and weighed somewhere around 235. He was my size.

His name was Martin Barker. Our relationship is that of two former coworkers that had an ugly falling out.

“Good evening, gents.” Martin said to everyone. Then his eyes fell on me. “Well, well, well. I thought that this was a dinner for real cops? Not washed up ones that couldn’t cut it.”

I smiled sarcastically. “Original.”

“So, tell me, Jack. You done feeling sorry for yourself?”

“Let’s not get into this now, guys.” Conly said from behind me. “Let’s all just have another round.” He motioned to a hostess.

“You done downing a bottle a night? You drunken nobody.” Martin pushed.

“I would rather be known as a drunk than a fraud and dirty cop like you are, Martin.” I retorted. He was really starting to piss me off.

“Oh yeah? And I would rather be known as a fraud then as someone that got their wife killed on the job.”

Our group went silent. Martin had just crossed a line and everyone had to know that there was no going back the way we had come.

I felt Conly put his hand on my shoulder. “You need to leave, Martin. Now.”

He smirked. “Actually, I think I’m going to stay right here.” He crossed his arms.

I could feel adrenaline coursing through my veins. Rage filled my head. I clenched hands so tight that my knuckles turned white. Martin had taken this too far. I was okay with jabs and with ball-busting. I could handle that. But, this. This was too far. Too personal. He had crossed a very dangerous line.

And when people cross that line with me, when they bring out my monster, they rarely walk away from the violent dance we have.

I lashed out. Quick and hard. The side of my right hand slammed into Martin’s throat and he stumbled backwards coughing; gasping for air. His goons came after me. The one to my right rushed at me, but I stalled him in place with a kick to his thigh and then broke his jaw with a right hook before I drove my elbow down into the back of his head, he fell to the ground screaming.

The next goon dove for my legs, but I brought my knee up into his chin and then soccer kicked him in the ribs; breaking bones. He screamed and curled into a ball. I turned to see Martin running for the exit and as I stepped after him, someone caught me in a bear hug. I heard Conly’s voice in my ear, “Let him go, Jack. Not here. Not now.”

“Little late for that.” I said with a snarl. I closed my eyes and breathed deep. I forced myself to calm down and after a minute I was as back to normal as I was going to get, the monster still trying to claw it's way out of the cage. “I’m good, Conly. Let me go.”

Conly slowly set me down and I walked off. “Where are you going?” He called after me.

“To have a drink.” I answered.
?
“That’s not gonna change anything, man.”

“No it won’t.” But, I got a beer, downed it and then walked out into the hotel lobby. As I reached into my pockets for my car keys, I dropped them onto the ground.

I knelt down to grab them when a pair of freshly polished dress shoes entered my view. I looked up and into the eyes of a man I hadn’t seen in a long time.

His name was John Henderson. And he had been someone that was in the life that I had left two years in the past.

“Hello, Jack.” He said with a smile.
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“John.” I said and stood and shook his hand.

“How are you?” He asked, but he had a certain inflection to his voice.

“You saw the fight I take it...”

“Yeah. Seemed like maybe you overreacted.”

“He was talking about Irene. Tell me, would have let that slide?” Irene was my wife. She died two years ago and Henderson had thought of her like a sister. No one loved her more then I had, but Henderson was a close second.

“I suppose not.”

“Exactly.” I said.

“You seem to be headed off rather quickly. “

“You really think that the hotel is gonna want me here after what I just did?" I asked.

He looked off to his right. “Well, speak of the devil.” I looked and saw a hotel manager and two security guards headed our way.

“Let’s continue our talk somewhere else.” Henderson said. He grabbed my arm and lead me out onto the busy Washington, D.C. street. We turned left and walked.

"How have you been, Jack?" Henderson asked.

"I'm better. I've taken it easy. A couple of bodyguard jobs here and there."

He smiled. "I see that you still carry a piece." He motioned towards my Glock under my jacket.

"You know how it goes, old habits die hard."

"That they do."

We walked on.

After a minute I asked, “So, how’s business?”

“Booming.”

“Really?”
?
?“Absolutely.” Henderson started. “We’ve been getting into a lot of new fields lately.”
?
"Any reason for that?"

"Some opportunities have arisen. We're trying to take advantage of them."

I paused. “Any hick ups so far?“

?“Only one. We’ve been trying to broker a deal with an industry that we can’t seem to reach a middle ground with. We bring something to the table and they wipe the table clean.”

?Another long pause.

?“And I actually want you to talk to them, Jack.”

? That hit me like a truck. Henderson had wanted me to bring down a threat to national security.

"I'm not an 'advisor' anymore, John."

"I'm well aware of that." He answered.

"And besides, you have plenty of capable people. They'll figure it out." I kept walking while he stopped and leaned against a chest high wall that bordered the river.

"That we do, but we want you to advise them."

I wheeled on him. ?“All right. Let’s cut the shit. I can’t do that, John. I’ve been out for two years and I got out for a reason. You of all people know that.”

?“All of that is true. But, trust me, you’ll want in on this.” He said.

?“Not likely. Here’s my answer, ‘no.’” I turned and started walking away.

?“They have Tyler.”

?I stopped dead and my pulse quickened.

?“What?” I said and turned slowly to face Henderson.

?“I said, they have Tyler.”

Tyler was my son. Irene had given birth to him when we were 16. We were young and one night, it just happened. I got her pregnant. We had been terrified of the future, but we had gone through with it and never regretted a single day.

Tyler had just turned 20 this year and last I had heard he was still in the Marine Corps. Tyler and I were extremely close and had been there for each other when Irene had been killed.

?“And just how the hell did that happen?” I asked. “He’s not even in the Agency.”

?“Yes he is, Jack. He’s been in for almost two years now. After you left and Irene died, Tyler tracked me down. I don’t know how he knew where to find me or what I really did for a living. The kids a natural, Jack.”

?I stopped him. “Don’t sprinkle sugar on this bull and call it candy.”

He put his hands out in front of him in a defensive gesture. ?“Anyway, he wanted in. More so than anyone I have ever seen. So, I put him through the grinder. He passed all the tests and training with some of the highest scores I’ve ever seen. After six months, he volunteered for a deep cover operation in a heroin camp in Afghanistan."

?“I can’t believe you let him do that after six months! What were you thinking?"
?
?‘Wasn’t my call, Jack.”

?“So, what happened?” I asked. Becoming more pissed off with each passing second.

?“Two weeks ago, we lost contact with him. We gave it some time and waited for him to reestablish contact. He never did. Then, two days ago, we received a video.”

?“And it had Tyler on it.” I said.

?“Not just Tyler. They have a squad of U.S. Army Rangers held hostage. They’re going to kill them unless we meet their demands.”

?“And America doesn’t negotiate with terrorists.” I said and shook my head.

?“Right. But, the President has given us authorization to go in and take them down and rescue the hostages. I want you to lead the raid.”

?“Why me? Why not Hack Rapp?”

? Hack and I had met through martial arts out in Colorado. We had been intensely close for years, as close as Conly and I were. We went through the Marines together and were both recruited by the Agency at the same time. He was smart, vicious, and a brilliant soldier.

?“The terrorists have taken refuge in the cave systems in a mountainous pass. You know how to deal with mountains better than anyone I know. The Rockies were practically your backyard.”

?“They were Hack’s too.”

?“But, you were in the Hindu Kush during your time in the Marines. You know how to fight in those conditions. Are you really going to say no to saving your son?”
?
?“Tyler is like a son to Hack. He would be fine with him. Besides, the last time my family was involved, Irene got killed. Tyler asked me to leave for Gods sake!"

?“And if you don’t help Tyler, he is sure to die. We already sent in one extraction team, and they were cut to ribbons. I know that won’t happen to you. You’re better than that.”

? I stood and thought about it. Every fiber of my being was telling me to go save my son, but a tiny voice in the back of my head didn’t like the feel of this whole thing. I made my decision regardless.

?“Okay. I’ll go in. But, I want Hack and all of Bravo Team to go with me.” I said.
?
?“That’s already been arranged. You and Conly need to meet me at HQ at midnight tonight. You will be heading out immediately. Go and gather your gear.”

?“Wait. I can’t agree for Conly.”
?
?“Tell me, Tyler and Conly were close, no?” Henderson asked.

?“You know they were.” I said. "Sometimes when Conly was around, I didn't feel like I was Tyler's father."

?“Then I also know that he will want in on this.” He turned and walked away, but called back, “Midnight. And not a second later.”

? I watched him disappear into the crowd. I stood there and looked out over the Potomac river and up at the lightening that was filling the distant night sky. I got out of this kind of work for a reason, but now I was getting back into it for a better one. My son needed me and I was not going to let him down.

? I stared at the lightening for a minute longer and then turned and walked back towards the hotel to find Conly.

? There was a storm coming. And it’s name was Jack Keating.

? And for some reason, it felt good to have that storm raging inside of me once again.
?
Ten minutes later I had found Conly at the bar with a beautiful blonde woman. I grabbed him, apologized to the blonde, and then rushed him outside.

"What the hell, Jack? I was making some good headway with her."

I got to the point. "Tyler's in trouble."

His face turned to stone. "Where is he?"

Straight to the point.

"A team of insurgents have him held hostage in the Afghan mountains. Along with a squad of Rangers. Henderson wants us to go after them along with Hack."

"Henderson's involved?"

"Yes. He just asked me to go back in. He wants you there too." I told him.

"You sure you want to get back into this, man? You remember what happened last time."

"How could I forget. I understand what I'm getting into. But, I'm not gonna leave Tyler to die. I want to be there and punish those who have hurt him. I'm in."

He held out his hand. I grabbed it in mine. "Then let's not waste anymore time." We shook.

We turned and headed for my black Ford Explorer parked across the street. "We will go to my storage unit first, then hit your house." I said.

"Don't bother. All my stuff is in your unit now. I moved it in there last month."

"Good." I threw the car into drive and gunned it down the street and then across the river. After ten minutes, we pulled into a lot full of metal building, all measuring 40x40. I drove to the tenth row and pulled to a stop in front of the 9th building. We got out and opened the garage door and I saw a smile form on Conly's face.

The lights flashed on. Inside the unit there were dozens upon dozens of weapons. Everything from M4 carbines, down to Combat knives.

We each took canvas bags from a rack and stuffed them with what we wanted. I took an M4 carbine with a red dot sight attachment, a Glock .40, a Beretta 92FS with a supressor on the end, a kevlar vest, plenty of extra ammo, and a balaclava that exposed only my eyes. I also changed into black BDU’s and combat boots. I snapped a knife to my right boot.

Conly grabbed his MP-10, Glock, Kevlar vest, fragmentation grenades and a knife. He also cahnged into black BDU’s.

We made sure we had what we needed and then headed back to the Explorer before thundering towards HQ.

HQ was built on an abandonded tarmac of an airport that was no longer in service. Henderson bought it when he formed the Agency. As we pulled up, a C-130 was fueling up and powering on, readying for departure. I saw Hack and his team talking with Henderson. We stepped out of the Explorer and as we approached them, we saw that they were looking at blue prints and maps.

“Okay. We’ll go in through the north entrance. It’s the roughest route, but it provides the most cover. Adams and Jackson will move through the compound and circle around to the south while myself and Khalid will move to the west.” Hack looked up at Conly and I as we approached. “And you two will move straight up the middle.”

“Do we know where the prisoners are being held?” Conly asked.

“Yes.” Henderson answered and pointed at the blueprints. “They are being held in a room in the center of the compound on the third level.”

“Then that’s our target.” I said and walked onto the plane.

“Looks like you all are ready to go.” Hack commented to Conly.

“We’re ready. C’mon… Let’s go.” Conly turned and walked onto the plane behind me. All of Bravo Team followed, gear in hand.

The C-130 flew down the runway and then powered up into the sky. It was equipped with an upgraded engine system that would take the flight down to about half the time. We all sat and studied the blueprintsof the compound and went over the plan one more time. We all knew our part and we were all ready.

“Hey, Jack.” I heard someone say. I looked up from my seat and into the eyes of Khalid.

“How’s it going, brotha?” I asked. I stood and we hugged.

“I’m sorry to hear about Tyler. We all care about him.” He grabbed my shoulder. “But, I promise that we will get him back.”

I laughed. “With you here, I’m sure we will.”

He laughed. "Good to have you back, man." And he walked away.

I sat down, went over the plan one more time in my head, checked to make sure all of my gear was in place and then leaned against the window and fell off to sleep and into some very nasty dreams about Tyler and Irene.

Hours later, Conly woke me up and updated me. "We're here." I looked out the window and saw that we had landed on a nondescript runway on an abandoned military base.

I nodded and stood up. I grabbed my M4, chambered a round and moved to the back of the plane.

In the cargo hold, there was a dune buggy, specially equipped to carry all six of us into the mountains. Hack took the wheel and Conly took shotgun. The rest of us piled in and we set off. We all pulled on our balaclavas and goggles to block out the sand and drove and drove. After an hour, the mountains came into view and everyone switched over into killing mode.

It only took us another 15 minutes to reach the valley entrance and even before we were stopped, Khalid, Adams, Jackson, and I hopped out of the buggy and spread out to cover Conly and Hack as they hid the buggy against the rocky side of the mountain.

(Part 2 coming soon!!)


© Copyright 2018 Christopher Bean. All rights reserved.

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