As Jack and Elizabeth move quickly down the hallway, they can hear the footsteps of Suvarov’s men scurrying around the building. They stop when the hallway comes to a “T”. Jack looks both ways quickly and proceeds left after verifying it is clear.
Elizabeth’s heart was beating hard. The adrenaline was running high; and, mixed with the emotions of seeing her son in the flesh, it was all she could do to focus on escaping. As much as she wanted to stop and tell him who she was, she knew this was obviously not the right time. She just hoped that they would make it out alive so she could tell him.
They came to a corner and heard footsteps approaching. Jack pushes Elizabeth back a little with his right hand. With their backs to the wall, Jack poised his left arm so he was ready to strike the person as soon as he rounded the corner.
Anton dropped to the ground after Jack’s arm landed in his chest. On his hands and knees, he gasped with short, shallow breaths. Just as Jack was about to kick him in the ribs, Elizabeth grabbed his arm.
“He’s with me,” she whispered loudly. She didn’t want to draw attention but still needed to be heard over the alarm. “This is Anton, my associate.”
Jack looked at her and slowly set his foot back down. He then looked back at Anton, who was starting to regain control of his breathing.
“Get up,” Jack said. “We don’t have time to slow down. We need to find Chloe now.”
Anton stands up, trying to speak.
“What is it, Anton?” Elizabeth asked.
“I…think…I…know,” he said. “I…found a room…that was guarded.”
“Show us,” Jack says.
Anton points down the hall from where he’d come from. They walk in that direction, Jack takes up the rear. He doesn’t quite trust the two of them yet, but he doesn’t have much choice at the moment. Then again, he was already held captive by Suvarov, so why would they be doing this. There was too much to try to process. He was running on instinct.
After taking a few turns and disabling a pair of guards, they come to the room.
“Where are the guards?” Anton wondered out loud.
“They weren’t the ones we just took out?” Jack asked.
“No,” he answers. “They were wearing street clothes instead of the uniforms.”
Jack looks around but doesn’t see anyone in either direction. He approaches the room and sees the keypad next to the door. He reaches for the handle and confirms that it is locked.
“Now what?” Anton asks.
“Go check the men down the hall and see if they have a keycard,” Jack orders.
As Anton starts down the hallway, Jack hears some banging inside the room and the door buzzes behind him. He quickly turns and aims his gun.
“Jack!” Chloe yells then covers her mouth, realizing that she should be quiet.
“Chloe.” Jack barely got the word out.
The door bursts open as Suvarov’s two guards enter the office. After they check the room, Suvarov follows them in and sees Lebedev tied to the chair that once held Jack Bauer.
“Untie him!” Suvarov orders, his frustration rising with every second of this chaos. ‘I should have just shot him when I had the chance,’ Suvarov thinks as his men untie Lebedev.
“What happened? How did Bauer escape?” Suvarov demands.
“After you left,” Lebedev explains as he stands up, “someone snuck in and hit me on the head. Before I got to see who it was, Bauer somehow was loose. We struggled and he put me in a chokehold.”
“Pathetic story,” Suvarov replies. “I don’t think that’s the whole story. I should kill you now.” Suvarov raises his gun toward Lebedev. “However, I’ll give you one last chance. Bring me Bauer again, and I’ll let you live.”
“Yes, sir,” Lebedev says, rushing out the door.
Katya sits in the living room opposite Pavel and Seminov, waiting for the woman to return. Katya had hoped to have Jack in hand before she had shown up, so they would have to come up with a revised plan quickly. The woman finally emerged from the kitchen.
“My men are in the basement,” the woman said. “They’re making some calls to see what connections they have. So how did all this happen? I thought you had Jack?”
“It’s complicated, Marie,” Katya said to the woman. “I couldn’t blow either cover at the time. I was building trust, but then Suvarov called and had Jack taken to him.”
“Why would he do that?” Marie replies “I’d think he would’ve just had him shot.”
“I think he wanted to make sure himself that Jack was dead,” Katya responded.
“So you think he’s dead, then?” Marie asked.
“There’s a good chance, I think. With what Jack put him through, Suvarov may be having him tortured first.”
“Do you still have your cover with Elizabeth?”
“Yes. She went to attempt to rescue Jack, but I haven’t heard anything in over an hour. I tried calling her phone, but she has it turned off.”
“If he is alive, would she bring him back here?”
“That would be the plan, but you know how unpredictable Bauer can be.”
“I’ve waited so long to get back at him,” Marie said. “I was in prison for years. As much as I hate America, I hate him more.”
“I know. And I hate what he did to my mother. I was young when he killed her, but I still remember when I heard the news.”
“Soon we’ll both be able to get our revenge. Now, what’s with these two guys?”
“This one is Pavel. He was working for Lebedev, but has agreed to work with us.”
“And this one?”
Katya kicks Seminov’s leg in frustration as she approaches him. “This is the man that was with Jack when we caught him. He remained silent the whole time, until we got to this house anyway. He still hasn’t said much – not very cooperative.”
“Do we need to get rid of him?” Marie asks, raising her gun to Seminov’s head. “We need people we can trust.”
Thinking through the options, Katya doesn’t respond. Seminov looks over toward Pavel, who isn’t really engaged in the conversation. Seminov wonders how committed Pavel really is to helping these women. Looking back toward Marie and Katya, he wonders how committed he is himself. Was it worth his life to keep defending Jack – they only met a couple hours ago. There was something about Jack though, that he respected.
Just then, Seminov sees an opportunity. Marie looks away from him and toward Katya for an answer. Immediately, Seminov kicks Marie’s hand, forcing the gun away from him and out of her hand. In the process, the gun fires as her finger slips passed the trigger. The bullet barely misses Katya, but hits Pavel in the thigh. In response, Marie knees Seminov in the face, bloodying his nose. Seminov tries to stand but doesn’t have the leverage as Marie pushes him back down. Katya recovers the gun and returns to land the butt of the pistol at the side of Seminov’s neck. Seminov slumps down, unconscious on the couch.
Marie takes the gun from Katya and points it at Seminov again. Katya reaches out and pushes the gun away slightly.
“Wait,” Katya says. “We may be able to use him as leverage.”
Just then, the two men that came in with Marie walk into the room.
“We located a seller,” one of the men says to Marie. “It’ll take both of us to carry it, though.”
“Fine,” Marie replies. “Hurry back. We don’t know how long we have.”
As he jumps through a window, Jack hears gunfire inside the building. Bullets ricochet off the window pane behind him.
“Keep moving!” Jack yells to the others.
Jack was the last one to jump, and the others are waiting for him. They move quickly at his command – the gunfire, no doubt, added to their motivation to move. Their car is just a few yards away.
Several Russians reach the window, firing toward them in the dark. Jack had found the control panel and shut the power off to the building, so the lack of outside lights provided a little protection to Jack and the others.
Anton, Elizabeth, and Kate jump in the front seats, while Chloe and Belcheck went for the back. Wanting to protect Jack, Belcheck waits for Jack by the car door to have Jack sit in the middle.
Just as Jack reaches the car, men pour out of the back door of the building and start firing at them. Belcheck fires back. He is unable to see who he is shooting, but he just wants to hold them back enough for them to escape. Jack turns and joined Belcheck in the fire-fight.
“Get in, Jack,” Belcheck says. “I got this.”
Hesitatingly, Jack complies. Even though it has been six months, there is a trust between the two of them that has quickly returned. Belcheck fires a couple more shots as the car is started. He sits in his seat as the car lunges forward. With the door still open, he fires two more shots, leaving his gun empty. He shuts the door, drops the empty magazine, and reloads.
“Let’s get out of here,” Elizabeth says to Anton.
Anton accelerates away hard, directing the car down the gravel road towards the line of trees ahead, Jack leans forward.
“No,” Jack yells. “Go toward the helicopter.”
“What?” Elizabeth asks. “Why? It’ll take too much time to start it up.”
“We need to take it out or they’ll follow us,” Jack answers. “Just get over there.”
Anton looks at Elizabeth, who nods in agreement. Anton jerks the car to the right towards the helicopter. As they get closer and the car comes to a stop, Jack pushes Belcheck to get out. The two of them move quickly to the helicopter and find the gas tanks. Using a knife, Belcheck stabs the tank causing it to leak out onto the ground.
Getting back into the car, they hear some other vehicles approaching. Suvarov’s men begin shooting as Belcheck closes the door.
“Roll down the window, Chloe!” Jack says. “Drive now!”
Chloe quickly follows orders as Anton pulled away. He had left the car in gear so they could leave quickly. Several bullets hit the trunk of their car.
Jack pushes Chloe to the side and leans over her. He begins shooting out of the window. Belcheck follows Jack’s example by climbing out the window to fire behind them as well. After a dozen shots each, the helicopter explodes when one of the bullets hits the exposed gasoline. From Jack’s perspective, it looks like the other vehicles got close to the helicopter at the same time.
Jack pulls himself back inside, followed by Belcheck. Jack turns in his seat, though, to see if the vehicles are still pursuing.
“We may have got all of them,” Jack says.
“They at least won’t follow in the helicopter,” Kate chimes in.
3:26 pm – Washington, D.C.
“Who is this?” Ritter demands.
“I don’t have much time,” the woman’s voice says impatiently. “I know you’re looking into the bomb that went off in Russia today. I can tell you that an American is responsible for this attack. When Russia finds out, you know what will happen.”
“How do you know this?” Ritter questions.
“I have my sources,” the woman replies. “I can tell you that the man behind it is Jack Bauer. He’s been working with a terrorist organization.”
“How can I trust you?” Ritter says.
“Bauer is still here in Moscow,” the woman continues, ignoring Ritter’s question. “I can also tell you that he’s planning another attack in the next couple hours. An attack that will be devastating.”
“How can I verify…” the line goes dead as Ritter is talking. He slams the phone down and turns to his assistant behind him. “Did we track it?”
“Sorry, sir,” comes the answer. “The closest we got was the greater Moscow area.”
Ritter slams his fist on the desk. After taking a few deep breaths, he picks the phone back up and presses a speed dial.
“Mr. Kanin, I need to speak with the president. It’s urgent.”
Four Russians carry the stretcher and set it on the bed in the small medical room. Suvarov’s shirt is already ripped open and the medical personnel are standing by.
“How is he?” the head doctor asks.
“Unresponsive,” one man replies. “His heart stopped for a little bit, but we got it going again.”
“Let’s hook him up and look closer,” the doctor replies, directing the others into action.
“Should we continue with the plan?” another man asks.
“Where is Lebedev?” the tall Russian asks.
“He died in the explosion. None of them survived. I guess that puts you in charge, Alexei.”
“So it does,” Alexei replies. “We move forward with the plan. Let’s hope that Suvarov recovers in time to deliver his message in the morning.”
The car barrels down the road. No sign of any other vehicles give relief to all the passengers. Chloe has been telling Jack how they were able to track Jack to Moscow.
“Every lead we got failed,” Chloe explains. “If it wasn’t for Elizabeth, we wouldn’t have found you.”
“How did she find me?” Jack asks, looking toward Elizabeth. He still wasn’t sure of her motives, but she seems to be trustworthy so far.
“She recruited help from an old CTU friend of yours,” Chloe says. “Harry Phillips.”
Jack thinks for a moment and the name rings a bell. They didn’t work together for long, but they did have a few key operations back then. Jack contacted him a few times during various operations after Phillips left CTU Los Angeles. They lost touch once Jack went to work for the Secretary of Defense
“I would ask how he found me,” Jack says, “but he was very resourceful.”
“He found us and led us to Elizabeth,” Chloe continues. “She was then able to help us find you back there.”
“How did she know I was with Suvarov?” Jack asks, trying to fit the pieces together.
Elizabeth joins the conversation. “I had someone working undercover with Lebedev. She was there when you were captured and then taken to Suvarov.”
“She?” Jack asked. “I do remember one woman there. She seemed pretty loyal to him.”
“She’s very convincing,” Elizabeth answered.
Elizabeth’s phone rings. She had turned it back on after they got into the car, but it didn’t have a signal until now. She looks at the caller ID and smiles slightly.
“We were just talking about you,” Elizabeth says, answering the phone. After a few seconds, she says, “OK, we’ll head to the backup house. We’re only about 20 minutes away.”
“So, back to my earlier question,” Jack says, leaning forward toward Elizabeth. “Why are you so interested in helping me?”
“All in due time, Jack,” Elizabeth says, struggling to keep the news in. She knows it wasn’t the right time.
“Sir,” one of the Russians says to the doctor, “come look at this bullet wound.”
The doctor sets his clipboard down on the desk and walks to the bed. Suvarov has wires and tubes connected all over his body. The doctor wishes that this was some other patient – any other patient. There is a single bullet wound on Suvarov’s chest, just below his collar bone. As the doctor takes a closer look at the wound, he notices something interesting about it.
“It looks like this is the exit,” the doctor says. “He was shot from behind.”
“That’s what I was afraid of,” the other man replies. “It was dark and difficult to see.”
“It could be just an accident,” Alexei says as he walks into the room, “but we need to make sure. Suvarov was behind most of the shooters. If someone did it purposely, we need to take care of them.”
Pavel and Katya carry the blood-splattered chair into the nearby bedroom. The blood on the cushion wouldn’t come out and couldn’t be hidden. Hiding it in the room was the next best idea. Pain shoots up Pavel’s leg as he walks with the chair. After setting it down, he sits down on the bed and rubs his leg.
“Just stay here,” Katya says as she walks toward the bedroom door. “I’ll get something for the pain.”
Back in the living room, Marie had been studying Seminov, contemplating whether keeping him alive would really be best for them.
“So how could he be helpful?” Marie asks Katya after she finishes giving Pavel the pills.
“Pavel?” Katya asks.
“No,” Marie barks, pointing to Seminov. “This guy. He hasn’t cooperated and there’s not much time before they get here.”
“I saw him and Jack together,” Katya answers. “Even though they didn’t work together long, there seems to be a loyalty there.”
“How so?” Marie asks, continuing to study Seminov.
“Seminov is a Russian operative. His task was to work with Jack under the guise of stopping the attack, and he was to deliver him to Elizabeth. I managed to make eye contact with Jack while examining the bomb site and sent him a text to lure him to me instead. The plan was working until Lebedev talked to Suvarov. Anyway, after Jack and Seminov were captured, Seminov had no real advantage of defending Jack. Lebedev was trying to get information about who they were, but Seminov wouldn’t answer – he wouldn’t give Jack up even to save his own life.”
“Exactly,” Marie interrupts. “That’s why we can’t trust him.”
“But, that’s how we can leverage him. He earned Jack’s trust with that. If we tell Jack that I rescued him, that will help him to trust me.”
“What if Seminov wakes up before my men return?”
“We can threaten his family. I have the address to his house. He may fight for himself or even Jack, but I doubt he would sacrifice his family.”
“So, how did you two meet?” Pavel emerges from the room, still limping slightly.
“What does it matter?” Marie snaps back.
“No reason to get snippy,” Pavel says. “I’ve already agreed to help. I just like to know more about who I’m working with. I’m sure you won’t tell me your whole plan, but can I at least know more about you?”
“We met in Syria,” Katya answers. “We were part of the same organization and were moved to the same location. I was just a teenager at the time, and she took me in like a mother. We had a bond that developed quickly.”
“How’s that?” Pavel inquires.
“It was Jack Bauer,” Marie says.
“Bauer?” Pavel asks.
“You see, it was our hatred of Bauer,” Katya clarifies. “Bauer had Marie imprisoned many years ago.”
“And then he dated my sister!” Marie adds. “It was because of Bauer that my fiancé was killed on our wedding day, he had me arrested, and then turns around and dates my sister!”
“What?” Pavel tries to piece the story together. “He really did that?”
“And then he killed my mother a couple of years later,” Katya continues, tears forming in the corners of her eyes.
“Was it an accident?” Pavel asks, even though he’s pretty sure he knows the answer.
“It was cold-blooded revenge,” Marie answers.
“I was only ten,” Katya says. “I barely remember her. All she did was go on a business trip, and he arrested her and took her back to Los Angeles. He shot her in custody.”
“So you both were drawn together because of what he did to both of you?” Pavel is starting to see the picture.
“Exactly,” Katya says. “Marie took me in and treated me like her own daughter. We’ve spent years trying to find Bauer so justice could be served.”
“The American government should have done that,” Marie says angrily. “They had many chances, but let him get away with it.”
“Then why did you call the CIA and tell them about the other attack?” Pavel asks.
“We want the U.S. government to be associated with the attack,” Katya answers. “If Russia thinks that Americans are involved, or even just hiding something, it’ll cause a war. Tensions are already high.”
Headlights flash through the curtain.
“They’re here,” Katya says. “You should probably hide until your men get back. I have a story that should keep them.”
3:51 pm – Washington D.C.
“Mr. President,” Kanin says, “President Putinov is on the line for you.”
“Thanks,” replies Hayworth. He presses the speakerphone button on the phone and answers, “This is President Hayworth. Thank you for taking my call, Mr. President.”
“I hear that you have a lead on Jack Bauer,” Putinov says.
“I do.” Hayworth shifts forward. “We received an anonymous call giving us the possible location of Jack Bauer.”
“Tell me where and I’ll have him found.”
“If I may, sir, request that our men take care of this.”
“He has attacked our country and my men need to take care of him. If you come to get him, how can I be sure that he will be brought to justice? This wouldn’t be the first time that Bauer has avoided paying for his crimes.”
“I assure you that it is not my intention to let him go free. As President, it’s my responsibility to make sure that he can get a fair trial.”
“Are you covering up your government’s involvement in the attack?”
“How dare you accuse me of such a thing? My government has no involvement and that is exactly why I want to assist in making sure this gets stopped.”
“If you want to assist me, give me his location.”
“If you want my assistance, let my men work with your men. Let’s have a joint effort in capturing him. My men can look to his fair treatment, and your men can look to his apprehension.”
“Very well, Mr. President. However, we know Bauer’s reputation and we can’t guarantee that he won’t be shot if he doesn’t cooperate.”
“Understood. We have men that have been prepared. They will contact your men to make arrangements.”
“Good bye, Mr. President.”
Hayworth leans back in his chair and Kanin leans forward to press the button to end the call.
“Tell Ritter that they can contact the Russians and move,” Hayworth says.
“Yes, sir. The men are ready and waiting. I’ll tell Ritter it’s a green light.”
Jack sits back in the seat, not sure how to process the news he just heard. They had arrived at this house more than five minutes ago, and Elizabeth started to share the things that she had done to find him and arrange for his escape. It wasn’t all her plans and her ability to execute them, it was her reply to Jack’s question of why she was doing all of this.
“I’m your mother,” are the last words Jack expected to hear. With everything that had transpired today, combined with Jack’s weakened state, this piece of information adds to the emotional drain.
“So,” Jack starts to say with a hint of sarcasm, “I’m supposed to believe that you’re my mother? Why wait until now? How about all the opportunities while I was easily found in Los Angeles? I’m supposed to believe that you bypassed all of the easy opportunities and waited until I was the world’s most wanted man, secretly hidden in an unlisted prison in Russia?”
“I know it’s difficult,” Elizabeth says, tears starting to run. “It wasn’t easy for me to stay away for all those years. Philip threatened me and kept his men watching me. After he and Graham died, I wanted to reach out.”
Tears stop her from continuing to talk, but she reaches into her coat pocket and pulls out a small three-by-five picture. A black-and-white picture of her and five-year-old Jack sitting on the beach. She hands the picture to Jack, who slowly takes it and looks at it.
Closing his eyes, Jack’s mind recalled the moment when they were on that beach having a family picnic. This picture was taken by Philip just after they ate lunch. Some remains of the chocolate cake were still on his lips.
After what felt like an hour, Jack opens his eyes again. It was only then that he looks at the face of his mother in the picture. He studies it for a moment, then looks up at Elizabeth. The gray hair and wrinkles hide the youthful look of the woman in the picture, but the eyes are still the same.
A single tear runs down Jack’s cheek and onto his jacket.
This gets better & better, I already am itching to read next months instalment!
Thank you so much for sending this to me.