Black: Day 01 - Chapter 20

in #fiction8 months ago


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Los Angeles, California
Tuesday, June 7th, 2016 - 11:00 AM

North San Fernando Valley

Patrick is escorting Adam through the North Valley, on their way to Noah's compound. Not once during the trip has Adam put down his gun in the backseat, having pointed it directly at the back of Patrick's head.

"How much further is this place?"
"I told you I'd take you to your family, and I will. That was the deal."
"No, the deal was, you better hope my wife and daughter are still alive, or everyone involved in this dies, starting with you."
"You really think you're going to go up against an army all by yourself, huh, Adam?"
"Just drive the car."

After a brief moment of silence, Patrick, while unarmed, decides to do what he can to get under Adam's skin.

"Do you think this little rescue operation is going to fix everything, Adam? How you screwed up your marriage."

Patrick glances at the look on Adam's face through the rear-view mirror, and can immediately tell that getting under his skin was successful, so he continues.

"Susan told me everything, Adam. How you were never there. No wonder it was such an easy thing to pull off to kidnap your family."

Adam leans closer and presses the gun against Patrick's head.

"I'm warning you."

However, Patrick's psychological warfare rang true; he was right, and Adam knows it.


ATC Headquarters

Larry is holding a meeting to provide an update to the staff on the situation.

"Therefore, our most promising lead continues to be Adam Black. Local and federal law enforcement has made it a priority to locate Black and bring him in. We are also looking for the man who impersonated a photographer at Senator Miller's appearance this morning. He may or may not be involved with Black, but we're working under the assumption that he is. I have told the agencies that we're working with that they can expect full cooperation in this investigation. Hopefully, we can repair some of the damage that has been caused this morning. That is all, get back to work."

As soon as Larry dismisses the staff, Mona gets away from everybody to sneak in a call to Adam.

"Talk to me, Mona."
"Adam, where are you?"
"I've located Susan and Megan. I'm on my way there."
"How did you find out where they are?"
"The man Novak was meeting in the parking garage, Patrick Farrell. I made a deal with him to let him go if he takes me to them."
"Okay, so where's the place?"
"North Valley. East of the 5, between Tampa and Reseda. Coming up to some orange groves now. Look, I'm gonna need satellite photos to see what I'm getting myself into."

Mona is feeling overwhelmed and pressured.

"Okay, but-"
"But what, Mona?"
"I'm gonna need a few minutes to get you the satellite photos, but Green's also breathing down our necks; he's squeezing everyone here to try to find you."
"Look, I'll handle Green. As soon as I know Susan and Megan are safe, I'll turn myself in."
"He's convinced I've been in contact with you."
"Deny it. I'll back you up as soon as I can. Mona, I know you're putting yourself on the line here for me, but I need you to do it for a little while longer."
"Well, no one's twisting my arm."

Mona sees Larry approaching her workstation once again.

"I gotta go."

Mona hangs up, and Adam continues to question Patrick for more details.

"Tom Novak. Who was he?"
"Novak's the one who financed this operation."
"Why? Just before he died, he implied to me that this was personal. This was never just about Senator Miller, was it?"
"Yeah, the people O'Connor's working for, they're after your head. And kidnapping your family was a way to make it personal. But I didn't need to know the details to do my job."
"Who's O'Connor working for?"
"I don't know, they only dealt with O'Connor."

Adam assumes Patrick has no reason to lie at this point, so he opts not to push him harder. All he cares about right now is getting to Susan and Megan. Everything else can come second.


Noah's Base

Megan and Susan hear someone opening the door to their room. Susan hides the gun Mark gave her behind her back.

One of the men enters the room, and shuts the door.

"So, I was told your time is up. Don't worry. I'll make it quick."

There really aren't that many ways to tell people you've been given the order to execute them, so without wasting time, the man pulls out his weapon and goes for the shot, but Susan manages to use the element of surprise to her advantage, and takes a shot first.

Time slows down as she pulls the trigger, and she watches the man's lifeless body crash into the ground.

Despite being Adam's wife, Susan never could have imagined she would ever in her life fire a gun at anyone.

She feels sick, even while knowing it was necessary, the only thing for her to do.

Megan is terrified to witness her mother kill a person, but she also knows it was either him or them.

Susan then pulls the trigger on the body a second time.

"Two shots. Whoever sent him here to kill us was expecting two shots."

They both stare at the dead body in front of them.

Susan attempts to calm her daughter down.

"He was here to kill us, Megan. I didn't have a choice."

But even though Megan was horrified by the sight of her mother firing a gun, something else makes her even more scared.

"I know, it's- that's just it, mom. I don't feel anything. I'm- I'm happy he's dead. It's scary, but I'm glad he's dead."

Susan then lets her initial feelings pass, and feels more comfortable admitting to feeling the same way. It's not at all what she was expecting; Susan isn't like Adam, she doesn't believe in good guys and bad guys. She knows Adam can put these kinds of feeling aside when he does his job, but for Susan, this isn't at all what she was expecting to feel.

"I know, honey. I know."
"What are we gonna do now? There are at least two dozen of them, we can't shoot our way out of here, mom."

Susan pulls herself together, as she now understands they can stop being helpless victims.

"We will if we have to."

Susan examines the man's body, and finds a knife in his pocket, handing it to Megan.

"You take this. We need to start fighting."


ATC Headquarters

Mona manages to shoo Larry away one more time, and Kevin then asks for an update.

"Did you speak to Adam?"
"Yeah."
"What's up?"
"He's closing in on Susan and Megan. Somewhere in North Valley."
"And you're still not gonna be telling Green about this?"
"Not until Adam has Susan and Megan safe."
"By himself?"
"Well. Yes."

Kevin can tell Mona isn't very confident in the situation.

"And what if he can't?"
"We're just gonna have to hope that he does. And we need to do what we can to help him."

Mona then starts working on the satellite footage to send Adam.


Noah's Base

Patrick and Adam arrive at the location. As soon as their inside the fences, Adam tells Patrick to pull over.

"Stop the car. Get out. Hands behind your head."
"So you're really gonna march on in there like an action hero, huh?"
"I said: out of the car. Now."

Patrick slowly steps out of the car with Adam following suit.

"How many hostiles are in the area?"
"I don't know. 15, 20..."
"Which is it? 15 or 20?"
"Look, I didn't do the hiring. Well, I got you here, I did what you asked. Let me go and do whatever you gotta do."

Adam assembles a silencer to his weapon and refuses to let Patrick off the hook just yet.

"We agreed that as soon as my family is safe, I'll let you go."
"I can't just fucking lead you there. As soon as O'Connor sees me with you, he'll have no problem shooting us both."
"Then we should avoid O'Connor."

But Patrick isn't willing to agree to walking directly into a slaughterhouse.

"Did you ever consider how different your marriage would be if you'd cared about your wife this much while you were sleeping with that co-worker of yours?"

Adam snaps and goes to knock Patrick out, but the more powerful Patrick manages to use this lapse of focus to gain an advantage, attempting to wrestle the gun away from him.

Adam, however, grabs him by the head and slams him face-first into the car window.

The unconscious Patrick won't be of much help to Adam, however, so he has to go in by himself.

"Son of a bitch."

Adam observes the surroundings. There is nothing except thick woods everywhere he sees. The base must be deeper into the forest.

Before venturing forth, Adam wants Mona to send him the footage of the area so he gives her a call again.

"Can you talk?"
"Yeah."
"Do you have the satellite footage for me?"
"I do, but it's two hours old."
"No, that's not good enough."
"I need more time to get you an updated version."
"Damn it. Well, send me what you have right now. I'm ready to receive."
"Sending."

They both observe the same piece of footage at the same time, and Mona gets more and more skeptical of this rescue plan.

"This shows at least a dozen men outside, armed. Who knows how many people are inside the buildings."
"15 to 20 total, according to Farrell."
"You can't expect to go in alone, Adam. For God's sake."

Adam won't hear it, he is simply trying to come up with the best route inside the area.

"I don't have a choice."
"Yes, you do. Damn it, Adam. Just let Green know what's going on. He can send you back up."
"No! I don't want back up. My family is being held hostage because of me, and I won't risk ATC sending a group here and making this another Waco. I'm going in."
"I just don't want anything to happen to you. You haven't slept in a day, and when even was the last time you were on the field?"
"Look, I can do this job, I'll be fine. How long until you have the updated footage for me?"

Mona checks on her computer.

"I need a few minutes."
"Make it quick."

Adam starts to move towards the compound. What Mona said is true, however: he is exhausted, he hasn't slept in a day, and it's been a while since he last had actual field experience while mostly working behind the desk.

The monotonous woods don't make it easy for his tired eyes to stay focused, but turning back isn't even close to being an option. "Hold on, I'm coming", he thinks to himself.

"I'm finally coming. Please, God, let them be alright."

A few more hundred meters, and Adam sees signs of life. Armed men guarding a compound of buildings.

Adam checks the satellite photo and attempts to figure out where Susan and Megan could be held. He also needs the more recent photo in order to make the positioning of all the guards.

"Mona, you got that footage for me yet?"

There's no reply.

"Mona? Mona!"

The call has been disconnected.

"Son of a bitch."


ATC Headquarters

Mona was forced to end the call as Larry finally decided to put his foot down.

"Alright, game's over. I know you've been in contact with Adam this whole time. You and Kevin both."

Two security guards then join Larry.

"I want you to take Mona to holding room 1, take Kevin to 2. Here's how this is gonna go: you're gonna be in holding until one of you tells me where Adam is. That person will have a future here. The other person will be discharged and prosecuted. And considering you are interfering with the investigation of an attempted assassination of a US Senator, rest assured the punishment will be severe."

Mona and Kevin give each other a look as the guards escort them into the holding cells.


Noah's Base

Without the satellite feed from Mona, Adam has to go in blind. Using the woods for cover, Adam makes his way through the area.

The compound consists of several buildings, there's no telling where Susan and Megan are being held.

He finally knows what it's like to be on the other side: all throughout their marriage, Adam has failed to acknowledge and realize Susan's position, not knowing if Adam comes back alive from a field assignment.

Finally, in the midst of the day's events, he understands.

The exhaustion is getting so severe, Adam's legs are about to give out on him. But taking a deep breath, and maintaining his focus, he keeps going.

Trying to stay unnoticed, Adam checks the windows of the buildings, one after another.

No sign of Susan and Megan.

"Damn it."

Finally, he locks his eyes on one of the guards, separated from the others. He follows his patrol route for a while, and then goes over the woods to sneak up behind him when he's alone.

Suddenly, the guard has Adam's gun pressed against him.

"Make a sound, and I'll blow your damn head off."

Adam then pulls up the footage on his phone that Mona sent him.

"This is the map of the complex. Where are my wife and daughter being held?"

The guard complies and points to one of the buildings on the map.

"Thank you."

Adam knocks him out and starts to move.


ATC Headquarters

Kevin is sitting in the holding room in isolation when Larry walks in to attempt an interrogation.

"Let's cut to the chase, Kevin. I know you owe Adam Black your life. You consider him your best friend. I know why you're covering for him. And we both know why Mona is covering for him. But the fact of the matter is, you are disrupting a federal investigation, potentially endangering the life of a Presidential candidate. And not only is he a candidate, he also stands a pretty damn good chance of becoming the next President. So, ask yourself: is your friendship with Adam really worth throwing your life away, Kevin?"

Kevin knows full well that he's facing severe consequences if things go wrong. But what Larry said is also true: Kevin owes Adam his life. And for the introverted Kevin, Adam is one of the true good friends he has ever had.

So he simply isn't interested in selling him out, no matter the consequences.

"You don't know what you're talking about, Larry."
"I don't? Here's what I know: you and Mona have both been regularly been in contact with Adam throughout the day."
"You're wrong."
"No, I'm not. And I'm trying to help you to help yourself here. Tell me what I want to know, and all of this can be forgotten. Only Mona will be left to face the consequences. You're too talented to be #3 in this office anyway. Adam and Mona move aside, you take their place."
"I'm not interested in discussing career options with you, Larry. I don't know where Adam is, and that's that."
"Kevin, I want you to understand that I will make sure you are prosecuted. You will go to prison."

Larry stares Kevin right in the eye, but Kevin doesn't flinch.

"Alright. I'll give you 15 minutes. I would suggest you spend those 15 minutes seriously considering if you want to throw your life away because of Adam Black. From my vantage point, it seems like he's simply using you. Use the next 15 minutes wisely."

Larry gets up and leaves, allowing Kevin to stew for a while.


Noah's Base

Susan is peeking out the window to see how many men are guarding the area.

She is finding herself to have strength she never knew she had. For years, the only solution to a stressful situation she knew was to grab the bottle. It's almost as if for the first time she's facing adversity head-on, instead of running from it.

Then, she and Megan can hear someone behind the door.

Susan whispers to Megan to hide behind the corner as she goes to stand in front of the door, preparing to pull the trigger.

Slowly, the door opens. Nervous, Susan is ready to fire.

But before she can react, the door opens and she's disarmed by the person coming through.

Susan is on the ground, held down by someone. And she finally hears a familiar voice.

"It's me, baby. It's me. Shh. It's me."

Paralyzed with emotion, Susan is staring Adam right in the eye as they embrace.

"It's me."

Megan hears her father's voice from behind the corner and jumps into the embrace.

"Dad!"

They all hold each other. They squeeze each other harder than they ever thought they could. All the emotions of the past 12 hours are finally released.

They all cry.

"Are you two okay?"

They both answer simultaneously.

"We're fine, we're okay. We're finally okay."

Adam can't hold it in any longer. He has never been more scared in his life, but he has also never been happier. All of the problems they've faced as a family are gone. None of it matters, none of it exists.

"Oh my God, I love you. I love you both so much. I love you so much."
"We can we go home now, dad?"
"I promise I'm getting you out of here, but just give me a minute. Just give me a minute."

Adam simply holds them.

They're alive. They're together.

"I can't believe I almost lost you. But I'm here now, okay? I'm here. And I'm not leaving. I'm so sorry for everything. I'm so sorry."

Megan cries the loudest as she just wants to sink right into her father's embrace forever.

"We love you, too, dad. We love you so much. Who are these people? Why are they doing this?"
"I don't know, sweetie. But I'm gonna find out. But first, I need to get you two out of here."

For a few seconds longer, the three hold each other, even though they know it's far from over.


ATC Headquarters

In the other one of the two holding rooms, Larry is now trying his luck interrogating Mona.

Though it appears Mona insists on being as uncooperative as Kevin was earlier.

"So, Mona, I'm just wondering. Help me out here. You and Adam share a bed. She gets tired of you, and moves back in with his wife to fix whatever was left of his broken marriage. Yet, for some reason, you feel like it's worth it for you to risk jail time - long jail time, mind you - to cover for Mr. Husband of the Year?"

Mona doesn't even feel like dignifying that with a reply.

"Very well then. I just hope you realize you could find something a lot more than Adam Black."
"I'm not interested in discussing my dating prospects with you, Larry. So, if there's nothing else..."

For Larry, this is not just about finding Adam and making a career move, albeit that is an aspect of it. But if he is to put one of the two, Mona or Kevin, behind bars, he would much more gladly use the opportunity on Mona than Kevin.

"Oh, there is. I'd be happy to see Kevin succeed in this agency. I can't say I have the same feeling about you. So, here's what-"

Larry is interrupted by a staff member who opens the door.

"Mr. Green, there's a call for you."
"It's Black."

Larry jumps up from his seat and grabs the cell phone.

"Adam, where the hell are you?"
"Larry, you may have my office right now, but if you want to do my job, you better listen to me."
"I don't take orders from you, Adam."
"Right now, you better start. I've located the people behind the Miller hit."
"You're one of them unless you can prove otherwise."
"They had kidnapped my family, my wife, and daughter. But they're safe, I'm with them now. That's why I had to work underground, that's why I couldn't contact anyone at ATC."

Larry turns around to look at Mona.

"So you haven't talked with anyone at ATC?"
"No, I haven't. I couldn't risk it. I wish I could have, believe me."
"It's not my job to believe you, Adam. It's my job to find you. Where are you?"
"An orange grove. Three miles north of the split on 5. Hold on."

Adam pulls up coordinates from his phone.

"34 degrees, 17 minutes north; 118 degrees, 28 minutes west. You got that?"
"Yeah."
"I've identified 19 hostiles. They're traveling west on the compound service road. Bring air support. I'll be in touch."

Adam hangs up.

There's a knock on the door, and they can hear Mark's voice.

"It's me."

Adam shoves Megan and Susan to the side and pulls out his gun, pointing it to the door.

But Megan tells her not to.

"No, dad! He's on our side, he's been helping us!"

Mark opens the door and Adam tackles him, grabbing him by the throat, coming close to choking his life out.

Susan and Megan then interfere.

"He wants to get out of here as much as we! Adam, stop it."

Adam wants to take out all of his frustrations out on whoever has had any part in what has happened, but manages to control himself enough to let go.

But Mark isn't off the hook yet.

"Why are you helping them?"

Gasping for air, Mark replies.

"Because this is my fault. I got Megan into this. But I didn't know it was going to get like this. No one was supposed to get hurt!"
"You helped kidnap my daughter, and you thought no one was gonna get hurt, you son of a bitch?"
"What I did was wrong, I know it! But I want to help."

Megan grabs Adam by the arm.

"Dad, he's telling the truth. He's the one who gave us the gun. He saved our lives."
"Do you trust him?"

Megan hesitates for a second, but answers.

"Yes. I know he wants to get out of here."

Adam then puts his gun down.

"Why are you here?"
"I have an idea for how to get out of here."
"I'm listening."
"Right now, the men are packing things into the vans and taking off. I can take one of the vans and bring it here. Noah still thinks I'm on his side, I'm sure he won't notice. I just came in to check if Megan was still okay before getting the van. I wanna do the right thing."

Susan intervenes.

"Adam, it's a good idea."

While Adam isn't keen on trusting Mark, the idea is sound.

"You've got five minutes. But make no mistake about it: you'll still answer for what you've done today."

Mark nods, gets up, and leaves the room, heading outside.


ATC Headquarters

Mona and Kevin are released from custody, and they meet up with Larry before heading back to their stations.

Kevin wants to know how to proceed.

"So, which one of us are you going to discharge?"
"Neither of you. But only because, right now, I don't have anyone to replace you, and I don't have enough actionable evidence to prove you withheld information. But I'm going to keep looking."

Larry leaves and Mona checks on Kevin.

"You alright?"
"Yea, I'm fine. You?"
"Yeah. He pushed me pretty hard, but I can handle Larry."
"So Adam called him?"
"Apparently, yeah. ATC is sending in a team right now. I just hope they all get back safe."
"Yeah."


Noah's Base

Mark is making his way to the front of the main building where the vans are parked.

A lot of men are moving back and forth, packing things into the vans. There's enough traffic and commotion going on, he can move rather freely and unnoticed.

One of the vans is unaccounted for.

Leaning to that van is one of the machine guns the terrorists have been armed with.

Mark takes a look around, no one seems to be paying any attention to him.

He musters up his courage and grabs the machine gun with him and enters the van.

Just as he is about to turn the key, Noah knocks on the window.

"What the hell do you think you're doing?"
"Uhh, I'm, uhh. I'm taking the van."

Noah responds in an irritated and sarcastic manner.

"I can see you're taking the van. I'm asking you why."
"Oh, Ian asked me to. We're about to bury the hostages."
"What? You can't carry a couple of women by yourselves?"
"Ian just asked me to get the van, I didn't question it."

Before Noah can question Mark further, someone contacts him on his walkie talkie.

"Noah? I found Patrick."
"You what? Where are you?"
"I'm at the entrance. I found Patrick unconscious on the ground."

Noah then enters the van.

"You're driving. Take me to the entrance."

Mark has no choice but to play along.

In the room with Susan and Meg, Adam is anxiously looking at his watch, waiting for Mark.

"Son of a bitch."

Mark should be here by now.

He then looks at Megan who is by the window, looking outside. Adam moves towards her and grabs her shoulders, kissing her on the head.

"You sure you're alright?"
"Yeah. I'm fine. Now that you're here."
"We'll be out of here in just a few minutes. We actually get to finish our chess game."

Megan smiles for the first time in what seems like an eternity.

"I'm two moves away from checkmating you."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah. We'll see about that, sweetheart."

Susan is observing the scene from afar. She can't help but feel that, in these unique circumstances, the three are more of a family than they've been in years.

She really hopes they get a second chance at that.

Adam then turns to look at her, and their eyes meet. They look at each other like they just fell in love for the first time again.

"Susan. It's gonna be different from now on, okay? For the three of us. I love you."

Susan tears up and smiles at her husband.

"I love you, too, Adam."

At the entrance, Mark stops the van at the sight of Patrick's unconscious body.

Noah gets out of the car as Patrick is coming to.

"Patrick! What the hell happened?"
"Black."
"What?"
"He's here. I was on my way to meet Novak. Black had gotten there before me."

Mark stays in the car as the men discuss what took place, then slowly turns the key and steps on the gas, finding it in himself to overcome his fear.

Noah turns to look at the van driving away.

"Mark? Mark? Mark, you son of a bitch!"

Mark speeds the van back to the compound.

Adam looks for him at the window, finally seeing a van heading their way. And sees Mark in the driver's seat.

"It's him, he brought the van! We gotta move!"

Adam then holds both Megan and Susan one more time and looks them in the eyes.

"Okay, I'm gonna get you out of here, but once we step outside, you're gonna have to trust me, okay? Do exactly as I say!"

They nod, Adam gives both a kiss on the forehead, then pulls out his gun and opens the door, leading the way.

They head to the van, and Adam opens the driver's side door.

"I'll drive."

Mark, Susan, and Megan go to the back, and Adam starts to speed his way through the area.

The escape is cut short, however, as Noah's men tail them with a couple of Jeeps, one of them managing to snipe out a tire.

Adam is forced to stop the van, then tells everyone to take cover behind the van.

"Everybody, get out! Stay low, use the wheels for cover!"

A firefight ensues, and Noah, Patrick, and the rest of the group join in.

Adam is holding them back, but there's only so little he can do on his own. His first priority is keeping Susan and Megan safe.

"Susan! There's an old water tower by the service road! Take Megan, go straight through these woods, follow the creek bed, and run! I'll meet you there, ATC is sending a chopper, I'll tell them to pick us up there!"

But Susan is not having any of it.

"No! I'm not going to leave you!"
"You won't be leaving me, you'll be taking care of our daughter!"
"But what about you?"
"I'll be right behind you!"

Adam takes more shots at the hostiles, but their strength in numbers makes it a futile attempt.

Megan is also refusing to leave her father.

"But dad!"
"Don't argue with me, sweetheart. Just go!"
"There's too many of them!"

Mark then grabs the machine gun he picked up earlier.

"Not if I help!"

Adam is skeptical.

"You know how to use that damn thing?"

Mark nervously nods.

Adam takes more shots, and then demands that Susan takes Megan and leaves.

"Both of you go, now!"

Susan and Megan remember their promise to trust Adam, and make their way to the woods while Adam and Mark fight off the hostiles.

Adam then crawls underneath the van.

"Mark, keep covering me!"

He pulls out his knife and punctures the gas tank of the van. And then grabbing Mark by the arm.

"Come on!"

They run away from the van until Adam grabs Mark's machine gun and fires at the gas tank, causing the van to explode, taking out a number of the hostiles with it.

The chaos allows them to make a run for it into the woods.

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OH MY GOD. i cried, I did. I'm not even upset about you making me cry. this is SO MUCH FUN, I can't wait! Thank you thank you thank you!!

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