Thanks to Melissa for looking this over
Chris drove like the devil chased him, through the open countryside with Josiah almost on his bumper. He was happy that the highway they traveled was pretty much empty and flat. The stars were out in full force, looking like miniature floodlights in the dark sky. The desert lay quiet and deeply shadowed all around them, until a mound or desert bush appeared in the flash of their headlights.
Chris hoped they would be in time. The message they'd received in the office several hours ago had been very explicit and had set them off on this crazy, wild ride across the country and through the desert heading due south through New Mexico. When they reached a town or city they flew through them as fast as they dared, with lights flashing. So far they'd been lucky, and hadn't been stopped. When they reached Las Vegas, NM they stopped long enough to fill diesel and gas tanks before racing off again, this time on a two lane highway still heading south. The next largest town was Roswell, the city they were aiming for.
As the dawn started to lighten the eastern sky, Chris pulled over. He was so tired he could barely keep his eyes open any longer, worry rolled around in his head, for the last hours. Buck took over, Chris hardly noticed Nathan was driving Josiah's rig as they took off again.
Buck kept the speed as close to 65mph as he could and safely maneuver the road that began to twist and turn in front of him. A short time later they pulled onto another four lane highway and they set their speed at 75. Another 110 miles and they would be there.
The sun came up and they were able to see the countryside they raced through going south. Chris slept for a short time, but now sat quietly in the passenger seat, as he tried to figure out what happened to his youngest agents.
The team earned a week off, and Vin and JD decided to head south to check out sites around Roswell, New Mexico, wanting to look for aliens, or where aliens supposedly landed at one time. The rest of the team showed up at Chris's for a BBQ and the football game, when the call came in. Someone demanding $400,000 dollars in ten hours, or the two young agents would disappear forever. Within minutes of the call, plans were made and after a call to Travis to let him know where they were going, to rescue their teammates, they were off. None of them even thought of trying to gather the money together. None of them had that much, except maybe Ezra, but they wouldn't accept it, would not even let him think of paying the ransom. They would get to the meeting place before the time limit, and set up to take whoever down. They would get their two youngest back, no matter what the demand turned out to be. They'd been on the road for seven hours already and no one was saying much. The radio on the seat beside Chris was silent for now, the last call from Ezra letting them know they'd need fuel at the next town they came across.
At the next small town they stopped for gas. An open café across the street drew them and the five men walked over and entered. They knew they needed something to keep them going as much as their vehicles needed fuel. They ordered breakfast and several pots of coffee. Hardly talking they ate in silence and as one rose, paid their bill and left. Minutes later they were racing south once more, now more awake than they'd been in hours.
An hour and a half later they slowed and looked around the collection of buildings, a few businesses and some homes. Many buildings were decorated with pictures or paintings of aliens. The two vehicles split up, each circling a different area looking for the building they were told about, to meet for the exchange. It didn't take long to find the old grey, two story barn behind an empty house on a dead end street. With a few words Chris directed Josiah to park in some bushes where his suburban couldn't be seen. There was plenty of tall bushes and brush around the area, and along the sides of the barn. They had over an hour to get prepared.
Under the canopy on the back of Chris's Ram, they'd stored their flak jackets along with armament, including extra bullets, and Nathan's medical bag. Josiah, Nathan, and Ezra gathered their guns and jackets, and made their way to the cover around the barn. Within minutes Chris couldn't see them and gave the go ahead to Buck who moved to into some brush where he could see the front of the barn.
Chris backtracked and parked in a parking lot two blocks away and waited for the kidnappers.
A half hour later an old tan panel van slowly drove down the street. Chris ducked down so he couldn't be seen, as the van slowly drove by the parking lot then turned onto the dead end street.
"Tan van coming your way boys," he said into the radio he held.
He heard Josiah's voice come back,"We see it. We're ready and waiting. Ezra made it inside if they go in there."
"OK. I'll follow in a couple of minutes."
A minute later Chris heard Josiah again. "It's parked in front of the building. The slider door is even with the barn's door. I can't see into the van, but it sounds like someone is fighting. Oh, it's quiet again."
"I'm coming," Chris said as he started the truck and headed down the street. He didn't care that he was a little early, he wanted to get to his men before they got hurt.
A man stood beside the van with a shotgun and watched Chris pull up and stop. With a wave of his hand he motioned Chris out of the truck when he turned off the engine. Holding his hands up, Chris got out and stood behind the door.
"I've got the money. I want to see my men," he told the man.
"I want to see the dough first."
"Not until I know my men are all right."
The man gave him a dirty look then yelled over his shoulder, "Bring them out."
Moments later JD was being dragged out of the slider door and forced to move to stand beside the first man. Chris looked him over quickly seeing bruises on his face but otherwise he looked all right.
A moment later Vin came flying through the door his hands tied behind his back. Before the second man could grab his arm he lashed out at the first with his booted foot, landing a hard blow on the man's side, sending him sideways into JD. Both crashed to the ground as the second man jumped Vin and started to beat him.
A gunshot sounded and the four men froze. The pounding of footsteps sounded from the sides of the barn and Nathan and Josiah came running around the building. Ezra came from inside and Buck wandered out from where he'd been, seeing that Chris had things under control.
Josiah and Nathan grabbed the two kidnappers and jerked them off their friends while Buck and Ezra helped JD and Vin up. Chris put his gun away and handed handcuffs to Josiah and Nathan. He pulled out a knife and cut the ropes from Vin and JD's wrists.
"Sorry Chris. We really didn't do anything. We were enjoying the sights when these two grabbed JD."
"Vin tried to stop them but he got thumped for it. They tied us up, found our badges and ID's and said they were making a phone call. We didn't know what they were doing. We were tied in that damn van for hours. We couldn't do anything to get free."
Both heads shook yes. Chris turned his glare onto the first man and cocked an eyebrow.
The man gulped then started talking. "We didn't know they were agents 'til we took them. We just wanted to make some money to get out of this place, and this was an easy way."
"You gave us a deadline of 10 hours or else."
"Well, we wouldn't have hurt them. We just wanted enough money to get out of here."
"Yeah right, now you will be out of here for good. Kidnapping a Federal agent will get you some nice time in the hoosegow. You'll love it there." Buck grinned at the men as two police cars pulled up, lights flashing.
It took a few minutes to get ID's and things sorted out, before the police accepted that they were ATF agents, then hauled the kidnappers away.
A short time later Chris looked at his team, once again all together and safe, a few bruises but fine. "Let's go home."
"Chris, can we stop for something to eat? Those guys didn't feed us. I think it was yesterday morning since we had a bite of food. We're starving to death. And we didn't get to visit the Alien museum that's in town. It's suppose to be really interesting. It should be open by the time we finish eating. Can we stop in there before we go home?" JD asked all in one breath as the others looked on.
Chris glanced at Vin who stood a foot or more from JD, a little grin on his lips. He looked up at Chris and nodded his head.
With a shake of his head, Chris waved the men to load up. He sighed and decided, since they were here they might as well check out the museum before they left. Maybe they all needed a break from the fast trip, and a hot cup of coffee sounded good.
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