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Taylor Lockewelle had finished his glass of rich, bold, and dark Italian Merlot.  The final mouthful he had let sit there for a moment, savoring the flavour while he could.  It was the best wine he’d had in ages.  It was the best ending of the night, considering his day was pretty shitty.

Taylor was a business owner in the research and development sector for the government.  The business, Guardian Sektor Labs Inc., or G-Sek Link, for short, was a major R&D component for everything from computers, all the way up to weapons.  The money was really good for him.  Prior to this business, he was a Navy SEAL as an electrician. 

The newest project the “Team” at G-Sek Link was working on, happened to blow up in their face, in a manner of speaking.  His team was working on a new device that enables one to travel to parallel dimensions, and other times.  The concept was that, using Einstein’s infamous “Theory of Relativity”, and then disproving it, they could use a smaller amount of energy, and direct it through a crystal they found on an expedition, in a magnetic field.  In doing this, a “rip” in the fabric of space-time could be created, and then, with little or no consequence to a living organism, a human could pass through, and start exploring other worlds.

There’s more involved, such as having a frequency generator, a constant source of power, and a magnetic field stabilizer.  However, for the basic person to understand, all they need to know is that secret-science was pointing to a new discovery of having the ability to go to any-where and any-when.  As a precautionary test, a probe, “Night-crawler”, was sent through.

It had found a probable place that was suitable for life there.  The time, however, was a little off.  It was thought to be, however, a lapse in time-continuum, like that of a star’s light that reaches earth.  Because while it was present here, it was still in the past there, making it a younger place.  With this discovery made, G-Sek Link had a new funding they could receive from the government now.  Taylor was very sure of that. 

Aside from the research factor, G-Sek Link was a company that worked just like the infamous known Blackwater USA.  Blackwater is government contracting company that deals with security issues, primarily consists of former Special Forces and SWAT.  Unlike that company, G-Sek Link was comprised primarily of multi-talented people that not only knew their profession, but were trained in weapons as well.  They also worked hand-in-hand with local and national authorities for everything from missing persons to forensics, humanitarian to counter-terrorism.  Deep within though, was where the heart of it was – R&D on the strictest confidentiality and matters of National Security. 

The device that Taylor’s team was working on, had blown a circuit board clear out of existence, which was not good.  It meant that “Night-crawler” was lost until either a) the board was replaced and another portal was opened long enough to retrieve it.  This was after finding the frequency that corresponded with the energy and gravity field, or b) take the loss and try troubleshoot the system, and make sure it doesn’t happen again.  Taylor wasn’t thrilled on losing this probe.  It was a three million-dollar piece of equipment that also disarmed bombs, and was used as multi-purpose platform for virtually every job they had ever done.  Losing it was like losing a child. 

The troubleshooting did not go so well, as the schematic for this equipment was a massive nightmare.  It made the schematic for an aircraft carrier’s catapult system seem like child’s play (and that in itself was a compliment!).  The team worked on this problem for 48 hours straight when Taylor dismissed everyone and ordered him or her to take a day off.  Taylor didn’t want to admit it, but he was defeated, and didn’t like it one bit!

He looked over at his empty side of his bed where all of his paperwork laid.  It was a mess in itself, and he knew he needed to take a break.  However, again, it was like admitting defeat.  Yet, he knew he needed the rest as well. 

At the foot of his bed, on the floor, were his two dogs, wolves, actually – Interceptor and Aurora.  They were genetically engineered to how he wanted them – jet black with ice blue eyes.  They were both – beautiful and deadly, and all in the same, extremely intelligent.  He loved them even more than “Night-crawler”, for they at least were playful, and affectionate. 

They looked as worn as he felt.  Both of them were with him the entire time he was at the lab working on the Dimensionalizer.  Occasionally he’d take a break to take them out.  He always got a kick out of the two of them – Interceptor with his playfulness, and Aurora with her way of prancing like a princess. 

“Alright, puppies, time to get some sleep!” Taylor called to them.  They looked up from their sleepy eyes, lazily wagging their tails. 

After clearing the bed, Taylor turned down the sheets, and looked around a minute.  Yes – life was good for him so far.  He had a multi-million dollar business that could potentially become multi-billion after this project, and for his age of being only 24, he was well on his way to being what’s called successful.  He definitely had it made.  He groggily climbed into bed, turned out the lights, and placed his head on his pillow.  Almost immediately, he fell asleep.

Out of nowhere, the phone rang.  Taylor woke up and looked around a moment.  Didn’t he just go to bed?  What could possibly be so important to call him now? 

He answered the phone grudgingly “This better be bloody good…or, rather, someone better have died.  If not, I guarantee that someone will.” 

“Taylor, it’s Jeanette, your lab tech for Dimensionalizer.” The voice meekly answered.

“Ah, hallo, Jeanette.  What’s the importance of the call?” Taylor’s voice softened, but only slightly.

“Well, sir, we have received a call from Poconos Police Dept.”

“Poconos??  Why on bloody earth would they call us??”

“Because it involves someone up there that you know.”

“Yeah?  Who could that be?”

“I guess the person was named Jessie Gamble.”

Taylor jumped upright, as though he was just tasered with 100,000 volts of “fuck you up”.  As though someone were pouring water on him, sweat began to come out.  This was news he didn’t want to hear. 

“I’m listening, Jeanette, continue.”  Taylor’s voice faltered a little, though he tried to show no emotions. 

“Well, a report from up there is on my desk right now.  Evidently, like I said, it was someone that you know.  Also, it was Jessie’s wishes that, if anything ever happened to her, that you’d be the first to know.  Her mother called the police, and also insisted them on calling you.”

Taylor began to shake a little, trying not to think of the worst things that could have happened to her.  “And?” he asked impatiently.

“It has to do with something that she apparently owed to someone, and the mom’s guessing it’s her boyfriend TJ.  She was in a very abusive relationship for some time, and was either too blind to see that, or forced to stay in it, and he was part of some ring of some sort that does illegal things.  She’s been missing for three days now.”  The voice spoke as though Taylor would scold her for informing him.

“Alright, I am on the way in to pick up some items.  Is Boombox in?”  Taylor asked calmly.

“Yes, he’s down in the armory right now, doing maintenance on the M-29’s.”

“Okay, inform him that I am going to be ‘shopping’ at ‘weapons-r-us’ in about 20 minutes.”

“Okay.”

“And Jeanette?”

“Yes, sir?”

“Don’t call anyone else, this is personal.  Just make sure that you let Jester know that he’s in charge, and to bloody figure the f*** out of that Dimensionalizer.  If anyone important needs to speak to me – direct every issue to him, while I am away.”

“Yes, sir.”

Taylor hung up the phone and went to his closet to gear up.  He threw on a black turtleneck, black socks, black BDU (Battle Dress Utility – a.k.a.; cammies) pants, and combat boots.  He grabbed his personal .45 and 2 magazines (each holding 15 rounds), and a K-bar knife he’s had since his SEAL days.  He then threw on a black cap, and looked down at the dogs a minute. 

“Interceptor, Aurora, you be good.  Daddy’s going away for a few days.  Unkie Joker will come to take care of you.”  Taylor said sternly to the dogs.

They both barked at him acknowledging his words.  Taylor smiled slightly.  They were definitely like kids!  He knew they’d be okay.

He ran downstairs to his truck – a 2003 Chevy Silverado extended cab with Z73 offroad package – jet black, of course.  It roared to life like a newly announced king of the jungle.  The powerful engine was rumbling with raw power.  He pulled out of the driveway without looking either way, and headed for the lab. 

Upon walking in, Jeanette was waiting there with directions in hand, and the copy of the police report.  Taylor was impressed.  It makes it that much easier on him.  He took the paperwork from her hands.  He then said to her “Thank you.  Oh yeah – I need you to do me a favour.”

“What’s that, sir?” she asked eagerly.

“I need you to inform Joker that he has ‘doggy-duty’.  He’s to look after Interceptor and Aurora while I am away.” 

“Yes sir!”

“Also, please inform SETI that if they get any constant signals from the Zeta Reticuli region, to inform us.  I am willing to bet that’s where ‘Night-crawler’ is.” 

“Yes sir!” Jeanette looked at him quizzically.  Was he for real?

He then walked purposefully to the weapons locker.  David Wheelson, a.k.a. – Boombox, was cleaning and inventorying the M-29’s.  Boombox looked up from the disassembled gun he was working on with a puzzled look.  “You’re up a little later/early for shopping, aren’t you, Guardian?” 

“Yeah, well, the call wasn’t too pleasant – a very rude awakening!” Taylor replied rhetorically. 

“I see.  So what can I do for you?”

“I need one of the M-29’s, one that you just serviced – with 5 full metal jackets.  I also need an M-79 with 5 rounds, and get me one of the HK’s, MP5 style with 3 full metal jackets.  I will also need 3 frags, for good measure.  I need it, and I need it yesterday so do it, do it now!” 

“Damn, bro, what are you going to do, start a war?” Boombox asked jokingly.  However, by the look on Taylor’s face indicated that he was more serious than a heart attack – third stage!

After Taylor packed everything into a battle duffel, and signed what he took, he went back to his truck, and plotted the coordinates in his GPS, and took off.  He had a nice 5 or 6 hour drive ahead of him – something he didn’t like, but knew there was no choice.  Actually, he knew he could get there probably in just under five hours, if he really wanted, and would! 

As Taylor was going up I-95 through Baltimore, that’s when it hit him.  He had not spoken to Jessie in forever and a day.  Well, he spoke to her on occasion, but it’s been a good while since he had really had any good conversation with her.  He had known her for a good 8 years so far, amazingly, and she was one reason he was the way he was.  Sometimes he considered her a cursed blessing, or a blessed curse.  Through it all though – he still knew one thing for certain: He loved her enough to go this distance.  Let alone, he’d die every death for her if he could, and that wouldn’t express what she meant to him.

Taylor pressed the pedal a little bit more, pushing past 90 mph.  The one thing good about him – he had gov’t tags that read “G-Sek 1”.  Nationwide, it was bulleted throughout the police community that anyone with similar tags that had “G-Sek” was not to be challenged, and in all means, assisted.  Taylor didn’t encounter anyone on the highway that wouldn’t give way to him, which was impressive. 

Taylor thought back to the days of yesteryear when he met her.  He still remembered her beautiful “light blonde” hair and her gorgeously coloured hazel-brown eyes.  He particularly remembered her “sultry lips”, and her bright smile.  He smiled a minute, but it faded when he remembered – he needed to find her, and alive!

He just reached Delaware, crossing into it, when he realized he needed to take I-495, vice staying on I-95 to I-295.  He remained in the left-most lane, occasionally flashing a motorist to “get the f*** out of the way”, until the fork came.  He took the left fork to take the way to Philadelphia he needed.  It was about 0600 (6am for non-military oriented people) when he reached Philadelphia.  He pulled off to an exit onto Aramingo Ave to go to McDonald’s long enough to grab a bite to eat, and continue his journey northbound.  He still had about another hour to go.  He fueled up at the BP across the street from the McDonald’s, and hit the highway again.  Next would be to get to the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Upon reaching I-76/I-476 junction, he took the I-476 North to head to the Poconos.  He didn’t realize, he still would take about 5 - 6 hours, after all, in total to get to Poconos.  He was not happy, but such was life.  Of course, with morning rush going on, it’d be a b**** to get up there.  He did everything he could in his power in doing what he needed to in reaching his final destination. 

Upon reaching, he called back to the labs.  Travis Gulf, a.k.a. – Joker, answered “Guardian Sektor Labs Inc., how may I direct your call?”

“Joker, you f****** dick, where’s Jeanette at right now?”

“Um…she has a home, a shift, and need for sleep too, a******!  So you’re going to leave me to puppy sit, what kind of promotion is that, boss?”  Joker said in a playfully pissed off tone.

“Very funny!  So you got the word from her, I take it?”

“Yeah, we all did.  Everything okay up there?”

“Don’t know, mate.  I just reached final destination, and getting ready to set up shop, once I find a secluded motel or something.  That’s when operations will begin.” 

“Well, remember, if you need anything, let us know.  In the meantime, good hunting!”

After a few more brief conversations, Taylor found a small Motel 6, and checked in.  He pulled out an alternative assumed identity (AAI) – Keith Van Dergriff, and appropriate credit card for it, paying for the room.  He then immediately took out his laptop out of the truck, his PDA, and cell phone.  That was all he needed for the moment – after taking a 3-hour nap. 

Upon waking up at 1300 (a.k.a. – 1pm for non-military people), he hooked up to the internet via his PDA, and began doing a search on newspaper articles, seeing if there was any postings on what had happened, and updates.  There was an article posted that morning that stated the search for Jessie was still underway, and no new leads turned up.  The boyfriend TJ, suspect in it all, was missing as well – not very surprising. 

Taylor drove into towne and stopped by Jessie’s mother’s home.  When she opened the door and saw him there, she immediately threw her arms around him, and sobbed heavily.  She was also very relieved to see him, because if anyone would find her, it’d be him.  Looking at her, however, slightly distraught him.  It’s as the saying goes – you could usually tell what the daughter would look like in years down the road, because 95% of the time, they’ll look like their mother.  Well, Mrs. Gamble looked like an older version of Jessie, and it cut into Taylor very deeply. 

After spending an hour there, he found out that TJ was involved with some mob of some sort – they were weapons dealers, primarily.  Taylor knew this was very serious.  It meant that he had more than just a main course meal on his plate.  He had the entire 7 courses on his plate, and he was going to have to clean it entirely.  At least, clean it enough without causing too much attention to both – him, and Jessie and her family.  He reassured Mrs. Gamble that he could and would find Jessie; return her safely.

He left Mrs. Gamble’s for the Poconos Police Dept.  He would need to find out who made the call and sent the report to him.  It was very important.  If anything, that person would have very pertinent information regarding the missing Jessie.

Upon entrance, he recognized whom, if anyone would have sent him the information – good old Sean Culpepper – a buddy he served with in the Navy.  Taylor walked up to Sean and said “You son of a b****!  How the f*** is it going with you!?” 

They both quickly embraced – like war vets usually do.  Sean indicated to Taylor to take a seat in front of his desk.  After brief catching up, Sean caught Taylor up to speed on what was going on.  Taylor listened very intently to what Sean had to say.  Everything from how the mob operated, to the very domestic disturbances that happened in the home of Jessie with TJ.  Also, TJ was seen with a couple of suspicious men a few days before Jessie’s disappearance.  There appeared to be a monetary transaction between him and the suspicious men as well.  Taylor viewed the surveillance photos as well.  Sean allowed him to scan and email the photos to his lab to see if his team could clean up the photo, and enhance it, they’d know for sure.  Of course, it didn’t matter either way – the suspicious men were as good as dead, and if TJ were involved, he’d be dealt with accordingly, too. 

When they were through talking, Taylor got up and headed for the exit of the station.  Sean called out to him “Hey Taylor!”

He stopped and turned around with an about face to look at Sean.  “What is it?”

“If you need any help or backup-“

“I know – let you know.  Just keep me informed on any updates.” Taylor said somberly.

He turned back around to walk out of the station.  If there was anything about police departments that Taylor didn’t like, it was the lack in their motivation to find everything possible to solve a missing-persons case.  In fact, he remembered a case very well that’s still going to this day.

He was 12 years old when a missing-persons case had happened.  He was garage saling with his foster-mother in Upstate NY when it happened.  He, his foster-mother, and foster-brother were out that morning, looking for antiques and antique furniture.  They pulled into a Nice n’ Easy Grocery Shoppe and his foster-mom went in to grab some drinks and snacks for the rest of the morning.  There’s one thing that Taylor was always good at – chasing girls.  Well, one walked in with two men that he had noticed.  He could feel the sadness about this cute girl with brunette hair.  When his foster-mom walked out and hopped back into the minivan 10 minutes later, she said to him and his foster-brother “Did you two boys notice something odd about that little girl with those two men?”

His foster-brother replied between sips of his soda “No.  I didn’t notice anything.”

Taylor responded factually “Well, aside from her being cute, she seemed a little sad.”

“Yes, she did.  Something isn’t right.  I could see it in her eyes like she was pleading.” His foster-mom replied. 

It was about 8 or 9 hours later that the news had come on, and Taylor’s mom dropped the dish of supper she had prepared and called Taylor and his foster-brother in from outside.  She was clearly upset, and shaken.  Taylor knew that something was very wrong. 

It had turned out that the little cutie that Taylor was eyeing earlier that day was kidnapped.  The father, a pastor, was on TV, pleading to the captors to release her.  There was also a reward in it as well.  Taylor’s foster-mom immediately called local authorities and both she and Taylor described the girl and the two men.  As it turned out, the missing girl was never found, and to this very day, is still a perplexing mystery to her disappearance. 

The point of it all – Taylor really resented and still resented how police handle missing people.  Since one of his closest friends were now missing, he had to take matters into his own hands and do what he must to find her.  Having that memory of that missing girl really ate at him, and still did in this case.  She would be found – no matter the cost.

He went back to his motel room, and called the lab to find out what the status was of the photos he had sent to them.  Jester gave him the breakdown.  “Well, boss-dude, it turns out that is was a pretty good looking sum of cash that was being exchanged in hands.  I don’t know what for, but if I had to bet a month’s pay on it, it would be for the kidnapping of Jessie.”

“I figured as much.  I have a description of the car, so I am going to go out to and see if I can find this vehicle of theirs.”

“Anything else you need from us?”

“Well, are you taking care of things back home?  Like, what’s the sit-rep on the dimentionalizer?”

“That, boss-dude, is entirely a whole different story.  We found that there’s a lot more power being harnessed by inducing so much power through the magnetic field.  Sooo, we may need to create a magnetic field dampener to ensure it protects the circuitry.”

“Make it so.  I will let you know what goes on.”

After hanging up, Taylor brought in from the truck his duffel bag of tricks.  He had to do a quick look-over of his equipment, and prepare to make Jessie’s captors’ lives a living hell.  Little did they know that it was a literal translation of living hell.  That would be later though.

Taylor checked the Kevlar tactical vest (KTV) for any holes, and wear-and-tear, ensuring there were no holes in the armor.  He also loaded the frag grenades and M-79 Grenades in pouches and on belts snugly.  He also loaded the clips for his guns in the pockets of the KTV – with exception of one clip for the M-29, .45, and MP5 – which were all in one of his pockets in his BDU pants.  He also found that he had his “deck of playing cards” in the bag as well. 

The deck of cards were the top five cards in the suit of Spades – 10, J, Q, K, A.  They were razor-sharp throwing blades – all 4 edges really sharp.  Taylor would always jokingly state that he could win a poker game with this hand without a problem.  Of course, not many people would want to play him, knowing their lives would be at stake.  At least he knew he had a winning hand.  He put that into a small pouch off of his combat-belt, at the ready to pull out that winning hand. 

When he was ready, he left the room and hopped into his truck.  It was time to go out and find the a******* that kidnapped the woman he’s been friends with for so long, whose love ran almost as deep as the Mariana’s Trench.  Of course, he has had many friends he cared about, but Jessie Gamble was the one friend he’d give up his life without a remote second thought, and would do it over and over.  It was just how he felt. 

He pulled out of the parking lot of the Motel 6, and drove up the road about a mile when he had to look no further.  There was the car that fit the description he was given – a Cadillac that was grey in colour, 4 doors, with slightly tinted windows.  It was parked in an alleyway.  Taylor pulled over across the street from it, and took observation.  There was a woman sitting standing off to one side, against the car, looking at what appeared to be three men.  Two were older, in grayish suits.  The other man was a younger man – slicked hair with a black leather jacket on. 

Suddenly, the man in the leather jacket really socked the woman in the face so hard that she nearly fell over.  When she looked out across the street, Taylor noticed – it was Jessie!  He wanted to get out and stitch a few bullets into each and every one of them, but knew he couldn’t.  Between martial arts and SEAL training, Taylor knew he had to wait for the appropriate time.  He continued to watch through his darkened windows at what was going on. 

The two guys in suits took Jessie and threw her into the car, and hopped in.  The man in the black leather jacket stared hard at the truck that Taylor was in, only to shrug and start heading the way he came from.  The Cadillac backed up and then pulled forward in the same direction that Taylor was headed.  He waited for the car to get about a quarter of a mile down the road before pulling out to pursue it.  He was still shaking with anger over Jessie being hit – by her boyfriend TJ the way she was hit!  He would deal with TJ later.  First, he really needed to rescue Jessie. 

Taylor kept a very careful distance from the Cadillac.  He wanted to make sure he could keep up with it enough, but keep Jessie very safe and alive.  He just couldn’t stop the shaking anger that he was experiencing.  He really wanted a piece of these men – all of them!

He was being led way out into the mountainous regions of the Poconos.  The roads were very dangerous in this heavily wooded mountain land.  If it’s not the curves and the ravines, it’s the falling rocks that make this road treacherous at times.  The landscape is what one would call beautiful, but treacherous. 

Taylor continued to follow the vehicle off an exit just north of Poconos, keeping his distance as far away as possible.  He didn’t want Jessie’s life to be in any more danger than what it was.  It was just a matter of time, Taylor feared, when he’d needed to make his presence known.  All he knew was he needed to rescue her, and bring her back safe and sound.

The Cadillac suddenly took a sharp right turn into a heavily wooded area.  Taylor slowed down and pulled over to where the car turned.  He strapped on his .45, and hopped out to examine the area where the vehicle went.  There appeared to be a private gravel/dirt road that was obscured by a heavy thicket. 

He trotted back to the truck, and turned off the highway, going where the big grey car went.  He gassed the truck to go through very slowly, and realized he’d needed to engage his four-wheel drive.  He drove in about a quarter of a mile, and turned the truck around – in case he needed to make a quick getaway.  Taylor sat there a minute to think through what he was going to do, and how he was going to execute his rescue of Jessie. 

The lone-warrior had rummaged through his duffel bag, and ensured he had all of the equipment he was going to need.  He double-checked the ammunition clips, loaded his M-29 and clipped on his fully loaded KTV.  Taylor then opened up his glove box to pull out his Gore-Tex mask and gloves, and slipped those on. 

He hopped out of the truck, and listened to see if any vehicles were coming his way, either from the way the car went, or off of the highway.  There appeared to be nothing coming.  Taking the M-79 and strapping it on his shoulder, and the M-29, strapping it to his back, Taylor was about ready to start war.  Finally, the MP5 was grabbed, and all was good to go.

Taylor took to the road, lightly, but speedily running down the long, lone driveway to where he’d hoped to find Jessie – alive.  He hiked it about a half-mile when it came into sight – a log cabin-like structure, and the car he was following.  Taylor immediately took to the woods to try to get closer to the building.  The woods only came to about 200 feet from the building, and started to really thin out, not offering much for protection. 

He heard a scream and looked up – he was horrified to see how these two men were treating Jessie.  They were beating her – punching and kicking her in the stomach!  Taylor could feel bile come up from his stomach, and tasted iron in his mouth, which indicated he was about to throw up blood.  (A gal he had dated his teenage days caused this – she stressed him so much that he virtually blew a h*** in his stomach.  It was of no relevance, other than the being upset.).  The men were so busy hitting Jessie that they didn’t see Taylor coming up. 

It was at the absolute last moment that the younger guy of the two turned around to see a K-Bar coming at him.  He threw one arm up to block Taylor’s attempt to stab him, only to get sucker-punched, and then take the knife to the throat.  The man crumpled, clutching at the knife, in a desperate fight to remove the knife with his dying breaths.  The other man, slightly older, with graying hair, and stocky, tried to come at Taylor, reaching for his .45 strapped to his side.  With reaction, Taylor turned around and threw a very hard punch at the guy’s jaw.  He flew back really hard.  It’s Newton’s Third Law – for every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction. 

Taylor immediately reached down to pull up Jessie, and pulls her back, and trained his M-29 on the older gentleman.  The guy got up, and spat blood to the ground.  “You f*****, you broke my bridgework!”

“That’s not all I am going to break.  Your body has 215 bones in it, and I intend to break all 215!  Before I do though, I’d like to know what do you want with the woman?”  Taylor said in a really calm voice, one that would be considered “quiet before the storm”.

“That’s none of your f****** business!  It’s between her boyfriend and I!  You have no part in this, so f*** off!” the thick Philly accent came through. 

“Well, you’re messing with someone I had sworn to protect this woman since I have known her.  To mess with her, you’re messing with me.  Therefore, it makes it very much my business.  I am only going to ask you one last time – what do you want with her and why?” 

Again, the guy spat, this time, hitting Taylor in the eyes, temporarily blinding him with a very gooey red.  He then made for a dash around the front of the car, hopped in, started it to tear off down the driveway.  It briefly fishtailed, but then gained its straight vector.

After wiping his eyes, Taylor knew what he had to do.  First, he pulled out his K-bar from the one guy’s throat, and wiped it clean.    Next, while whistling the 1812 Overture, he took off his shoulder his M-79, cocked it open.  He then loaded it with a high-explosive shell.  Taylor closed it, still whistling the tune, and fired the weapon.  It made a small noise that went fwoomp!  The ordinance hit exactly where he wanted it to – right in the back part where the gas tank was.  There was a big KA-BOOM and a large fireball.  It traveled throughout the car, and it rolled to an immediate stop. 

Suddenly, out of the car jumped a screaming figure.  It was unrecognizable, but Taylor knew it was the guy – completely engulfed in fiery inferno.  It ran around, then flopped around, like a marionette, still screaming.  Then it stopped, still being consumed by the raging and hungry flames.

All the while that was happening, Taylor held into his body the weeping face of Jessie.  He knew that had to have been horrifying to see, let alone, see him killing people.  Yet, he knew that she understood that he had to do it, and would do it for her.  He had no choice, but he was sure she’d be forever grateful for it. 

He pulled her away and looked deep into her beautiful brown eyes, as he pushed back her blondish-brown hair.  “Come on, sweetheart, let me take you home.” 

He put his arm around her waist and walked with her away from the cabin.  They got about 100 feet away when Taylor realized – he needed to take care of the cabin as well.  He pushed Jessie away for a moment, and taking the M-79 again, he popped a couple of rounds into the cabin.  Both making explosions – making a lot of fire.  There was a secondary explosion – probably from a small propane tank.  The ground shook a little bit, but nothing too severe. 

Again, they walked toward the truck with arms around each other’s waists.  As they passed the burning car and smoldering body, Jessie turned her head and put her now-swollen face into Taylor’s shoulder – until they passed it.  Taylor smiled, primarily for the thought that justice was served in the best way possible for the two men.  Now he had one more to take care of. 

When they got to the truck, Taylor opened the door for Jessie, and assisted her in getting in.  He then shut the door, and went to the other side.  He opened his door, then the half-door behind his, and began to disarm everything, and unstrap his weapons.  Taylor kept strapped his K-bar and his .45.  The one good thing about his business, and being in the private sector, working with the government the way he did – he was allowed to keep a weapon on him – concealed or not.  He took off his KTV and threw that in the back as well.  He was now just wearing his turtleneck and BDUs, along with his combat boots and belt.  He looked at Jessie through the back door before closing it – she was definitely in shock. 

Taylor jumped in, and looked at her for a moment.  She was just staring blankly ahead.  Most people probably would, after all that she had gone through.  He reached out and went to turn her face his way.  She jumped at first, horrified, but then realized it was he, and began to calm down. 

“I’m sorry to startle you sweetheart.  I am also very sorry this had to happen to you, out of anyone.  You realize my work isn’t done still, that there’s one more person I need to go after.”

She stared at him with her brown eyes, for a moment, and then a tear rolled down her cheek.  Meekly, she nodded and said, “I know.”

He slightly smiled, and then turned his head forward.  He started the truck, and pulled out through the thickets cautiously.  He didn’t know what to expect – especially if there were authorities around.  He didn’t really have an alibi, and with Jessie’s face swollen, how would he be able to explain that one!?

They sped back to the little towne of Poconos – where Jessie resided.  On the way down, Jessie told Taylor of how TJ knew of her inheritance that she received from one of her uncles that passed away.  She didn’t know that TJ was involved with a contraband weapons dealer that was a mob.  When she found out by mistake, the only solution the mob convinced him of, was to kidnap, and ultimately kill her.  Then, he’d be rightfully heir to claim her money, by law of PA (since they’ve been together for at least a couple of years).  The more she spoke of TJ, the more fire raged within Taylor.  He was going to ensure he no longer hurt her again, nor anyone else. 

They devised a plan to draw TJ out so Taylor could do what he needed.  Taylor didn’t want to send Jessie into danger again – especially after all that had happened.  However, they both knew, and Jessie was insistent upon it, that it was the only way.  When all was said about that, Taylor prepared in his mind what he’d do. 

They pulled into towne, and Taylor let Jessie out of the truck.  The plan went completely awry, for sitting out on the front stoop of their townehome, was TJ.  The look on his face was priceless – as though Jessie just rose from the dead.  In a sense, it was safe to say that she did.  Jessie only got halfway across the street when TJ got up, and raced to where she was.  He grabbed her, and threw her against the car in front of their home.  He punched her in the stomach.  By that time, Taylor was already halfway across the street.  TJ had his fist raised and was in the middle of throwing a punch when Taylor caught it.  Again, looks from him were very priceless.

Taylor immediately turned him around and kneed him in the stomach.  Then, he roundhouse kicked him in the face, sending him sprawling to the ground.  His face was gushing with blood. 

“You f*****!  You broke my nose and jaw!” TJ said between mouthfuls of blood he was spitting.  “You’re a dead mother-f***** now!”

TJ ran sporadically up to Taylor and tried to throw a punch.  Taylor clipped him in the face with an arching elbow, knocking this “bad boy wanna-be” to the ground really hard.  Then, he walked up to TJ, grabbed him by the head of his hair, and dragged him into an alley between two sets of rowhomes.  Taylor stood him up and looked him square in his eyes and said, “I cannot believe what you put Jessie through.  You have no idea what I really want to do with you right now, but you know what?  I am going to be quick with you.  You are not going to hurt another soul ever again.” 

Before TJ could get anything out, Taylor pulled out his K-bar, and threw a quick flick – across his throat, putting a really deep gash across it.  TJ reached up for his throat, as blood sprayed out uncontrollably.  He then fell on his face, lifeless.  It was finally done. 

Taylor came out of the alley – face covered in blood.  Jessie knew what was done, and put her hand to her mouth, and began sobbing uncontrollably.  Taylor walked up to her, took her into his arms, and held her for a moment.  The neighbourhood that she lived in – it wouldn’t matter if TJ was killed or not.  Nobody liked him, as Taylor would later come to find out.  In fact, when the police came by the neighbourhood the next day, everyone, including those who witnessed the murder, all had a sudden case of “amnesia”. 

Mrs. Gamble was ever so grateful.  She knew that people cared for Jessie.  Even though she felt that Taylor would go the distance and more for her only daughter, she never fathomed that he’d follow through.  Most people nowadays were all talk and no action.  Taylor did what he did when he was in the Navy – went above and beyond.  Before Taylor went back to his work and life, she insisted that he took Jessie for a few days down there.  Also, she informed him that he was more than welcome to visit, and consider her home his.  Taylor gave her a few important numbers, and told her if she ever needed anything, not to hesitate to ask.  After they had dinner, Taylor and Jessie took to the road. 

            Taylor brought Jessie down to the lab, and showed her around.  He showed her what the past few years have been like for him – including the home he had.  She absolutely loved his dogs (wolves) Interceptor and Aurora.  They, in return, loved her, and showed it in all of their kisses, after knocking her down.

            It all seemed good to have her with him.  He knew that she had to go soon after – in a couple of days.  She had a business to run, and another job, plus schooling.  While Jessie was there however, he was completely complacent, and at ease.  Everyone at his lab, which happened to be all friends he had personally hired, all really loved Jessie as well.  Jester and Joker joked around with Taylor quite often about Jessie.  “So, Guardian, boss-dude, is THIS what all the fuss was about in high school!?” Jester asked.

            “Well, look at it like this, Jarret, she’s worth life and more.”  Taylor smiled

            “Yeah, but look at it like this – she’s not staying long.  Until she does, and she’s yours completely, what did you get out of it?” Joker asked, perplexed by the situation.

            “Trav, ya know, you can be a dick sometimes!” Taylor exclaimed.

            “Besides,” he added thoughtfully, “if anything, I’d rather have her friendship than not in my life at all.  She knows I love her more than she’ll ever know, and I know she loves me too.  It may not compare to many, but the bond we share – it’s almost stronger than a love in a relationship itself.  The experience we just went through probably drew us much closer, and I’d hope she realizes the distance I’d go for her.”

            Both of them agreed with him – Jessie was a rare find, and what they had was a wonderful thing.  True, they never got together for a relationship, but they kept touch with each other.  Even when they were both very busy in their own lives, they managed to stay in touch, never losing strength in their bond.  Often, more than not, Taylor would have loved to have made Jessie his own.  However, on another token, Taylor would be very afraid to take it further than the deep friendship they had. 

            Beep-beep-beep-beep!  Taylor woke up from his sleep, and looked around a minute.  He couldn’t place it at first at all – that all he just went through was a dream.  It couldn’t have been!  There was too much that went on for that.

            Did I really f****** dream all of that!?  Taylor thought to himself with distraught.  After all – I f****** did too much for that to be a dream!

            He went to work that day, feeling really out of it.  When he walked it – everything was as it was the night before.  Yep – total SNAFU (Situation Normal – All F***** UP). Taylor thought bleakly.

            Taylor told no one of the dream, but often asked everyone if by some chance he was away for a couple of days.  His closest buddies, Jester and Joker told him to lay off of the crack pipe.  Jeanette asked him if he were sure HE didn’t need a vacation.  He just didn’t get it.

            Later that night, Taylor arrived home, and worked out vigorously in his gym.  He ran three miles, did a whole lot of lifting (including cleans, leg lifts, dead lifts, and some other various lifts), and swam in his pool a few laps.  After all of that, he hit the shower, and then prepared himself some hot catnip tea.  He really needed to relax for the night. 

            When he went to bed, he went to bed.  Taylor was really tired after a long day working on the dimensionalizer – making sure the circuits were good to go for a another test run, and maybe find “Night-crawler”.  Also, the workout was what he needed!  It felt good to him to take out all the hidden emotion from the dream he had on some active working out. 

            The phone rang suddenly rang, waking Taylor up.  He couldn’t believe it – the audacity of his colleagues!  Granted, he WAS the owner of G-Sek Link, but still, could this not wait until he was there the next day!?  He finally reached over to answer the phone. 

            “Someone had better be dying, or dead!” Taylor said with a growl.

“Taylor, it is Jeanette, your lab tech for Dimensionalizer.” The voice meekly answered.

“Ah, hallo, Jeanette.  What’s the importance of the call?” Taylor’s voice softened, but only slightly.

“Well, sir, we have received a call from Poconos Police Dept.”

“Oh S***!  Let me guess – Jessie!?”

“How’d you know, sir?” Jeanette’s voice quivered.

“Nevermind!  Listen, I need you to call up Jester, Joker, Hogger, Chief, Radio-shack, and Jade.  Inform Jester, Joker, and Jade that they’re all going with me.  Make sure Jade realizes she will need to bring with her a trauma pack.  Radio-shack is going to be in charge of all events for a few days at the lab, with Hogger in charge of repairs and op-tests for everything.  Chief is going to be on doggy-duty.  Finally, tell Boombox that I am going to be going shopping in his armory.”  Taylor commanded.

“Will do, sir.”

“And Jeanette?  Be sure to get some rest in the morning!” 

Immediately, Taylor, who was shaking from that conversation, realized what he was going to have to go through to get everything in motion.  This time, he was going to go in with a little more tactical and technical in firepower.  He also knew he had to call his buddy Sean with the police force, and give him all the info he needed to track the car. 

After getting into the combat gear he needed to, Taylor hopped into his truck, and started it.  The engine roared to life and he peeled out of his driveway, not looking either way, and headed to the lab.  He knew what needed to be done, and was going to do it much quicker now that he was going to have help.  The truck sped to the labs, with its driver knowing he would be on top, and for real, living up to his name – Guardian. 

 

 

 

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