Recovery of a Hero Ch. 19byRoadbug©
A Hero's Homecoming
Special thanks to Desert Pirate for his kind assistance.
After picking up the bus, I drove over to the Commissary and stocked up on some groceries. After we got every thing stored away, I headed off. The next stop being Olympia, I headed for the south gate and got on I-5.
It took us about forty five minutes to get to the exit I wanted. I drove to the Department of Motor Vehicles licensing office and got the bus transferred, using the office address for the NCIS office in Everett.
That done, I headed for highway 101 and got on it heading west. The drive was still easy as we'd beaten the rush hour traffic. It took us about an hour to get to Aberdeen.
I drove through Aberdeen, using the truck route, and got to Hoquium with little problem. Even the Home Depot was dead since it was still fairly early.
Staying on 101 north, I drove through the town. It's amazing how little had changed around here during the time I had been gone. Even the paper mill was the same.
About three miles out of town, I took the cut off toward the North Beach area and continued on.
Amanda had slept most of the trip but woke up and came up to the seat just behind the right side door. She sat down there and asked where we were.
I told her, "We're about 10 miles or so from where I used to live. I'm going to get some stuff a friend is storing for me here and then get some other stuff I have stashed around here."
She asked, "You used to live out here?"
"Since I was about your age," I answered. "I liked it here because of the solitude. There aren't many places you can go now days and sit in your kitchen drinking coffee while you watch deer browsing in your front yard."
"Cool," she said. "I've never been any place but the Tacoma area and to Seattle. After my dad left, we couldn't afford to go."
"Well enjoy the next two days then," I said. "I'm going to get my stuff tomorrow and head back north the next day. When we get to Everett, I"ll take you to a friend who'll take you to your new home. When you get there, I want you to remember not to say anything about me."
"How come?" she asked.
"Because it could put the lives of some people I care about in danger," I said. "They aren't supposed to know about me so don't tell them."
"I promise, Henry," she said.
We were silent after that while I drove the bus on the winding road. It had more curves that ten strippers at a topless joint, a friend had once joked to me. Driving this rig, I had to agree. It was only about twenty feet long, but the turns were still a bit sharp for it. It made me appreciate how good the bus drivers out here were.
We went through Copalis Crossing and continued on to an old lumber town called Carlyle. It wasn't considered a town anymore as the population was under a hundred now days, but at the turn of the last century until the thirties, it had been a booming mill town with a couple thousand and three lumber mills.
I turned off on an old logging road and went down it for about half a mile where we came to an old double wide factory home.
I stopped the bus and got out. The welcoming committee hadn't changed as I was immediately attacked by two extremely vigorous tongues attached to a pair of large dogs of rather colorful breeding. A moment later, my friend Cris came out of the house.
He smiled and walked up to me saying, "You sure look dead. just like the news has been saying."
I held out my had and he shook it.
I hadn't seen Chris since I had him store some of my stuff in an old trailer he'd put in his barn. He didn't seem to have changed much except for a few more gray hairs.
"As far as your concerned, I'm Henry. Dar is dead and should be buried soon," I told him. "I'm on a job and I don't want anybody to know I'm around. Especially with the news your talking about."
Chris shook his head and said, "Some things never change. The news is wrong. You don't want it right. It rains in Washington. Now tell me your story."
"Later," I said. "I have a passenger who doesn't know and needs to stay that way. She's in a bit of trouble that is getting fixed." I looked Chris in the eye and said, "Her mother is dying and she's a CPS runaway. She ain't here, and neither am I."
Chris shrugged his shoulders and said, "Like I said. Some things never change. You get in trouble and then find someone else in trouble to help while your still trying to fix your own."
I laughed at that and said, "At least I'm good at it. Gotta do what your good at."
Chris shook his head and asked, "So when do I meet this passenger?"
I called Amanda out and introduced her to Chris. He shook hands with her and said, "Well you look like someone who can help me with a problem."
Amanda looked at him warily and asked, "Help with what?"
"I made too many blueberry pies to eat by myself," he said. I need someone to help me eat them." He then asked, "Think your up to such a tough job?"
Amanda laughed and said, "Bring them on. You set them up and I'll knock them down."
"Better be careful, kid," I said. "He'll bury you in those pies. He grows his own berries and makes pies then freezes them. This time of year he probably has twenty or more in his big freezer."
"Now stop giving away my secrets, Henry!" Chris exclaimed. I don't tell your's so don't tell mine."
"You can't tell my secrets cause I don't tell you," I said.
Chris shook his head in mock disgust and took us inside.
We sat down at his kitchen table while he got us some pie and coffee. I whispered to Amanda, "If you don't like real strong coffee, you better put some water in that. He makes it strong enough to melt steel plate."
Amanda didn't even laugh as she was busy inhaling the pie. Smart girl, I though. Chris used his mothers recipe for his pies. They were really good with home made crust and every thing. I'd missed them while I was in Iraq.
After we'd each finished a piece, Chris got Amanda another slice and refilled our coffee. Then he and I took our cups and went into his computer room.
I sat down while he closed the door and took the other chair.
"OK," he said. "Tell me the story and then what you need."
I told him the entire story from the ambush in Iraq to now.
"What are the plans now?" he asked.
I said, "Hawk and Bear are coming and we're going hunting. I want whoever started this. Going after that kid really irritated me. Going after the whole family means gloves off. We're taking them out and the Sec. Nav. approved. I'm dead so I don't show up on radar and they don't know about the others."
Chris shook his head and said, "Dar, you really need to learn to chill out. Stop getting into this crap and retire. Your getting too old to play cowboy and you know it."
I shrugged my shoulders and said, "I dare you to tell the others that. Especially since Bear knows that one of the targets is a kid. Then tell Hawk that someone tried to kill a woman twice. Then tell them hands off. I'd really like to see that discussion."
Chris shuddered in real fear thinking about the results of that little conversation. He knew how Bear was with kids and Hawk after the death of his wife. They might not have gotten violent, but those are two you don't want mad at you.
Chris said, "I still have that trailer with your stuff in it. Tell me what else you need and if I have it you got it."
I showed him my DOD ID and said, "I have all I need with this and my bosses say so to the Army. All I need is a utility trailer with a box on it. About a ten footer out to do it."
"I know where one is that I can get cheap," Chris told me. Lance has one he's been trying to unload for a few years."
"That one you built him right after I got out?" I asked.
"Yea, that one," Chris agreed. "It's twelve feet long with double axle and power brakes so it should work for you. I'll check and make sure you have the wiring harness and give Lance a call. I should be able to pick it up tomorrow."
"You do that and I'll get the stuff I need out of the old wreck I left here," I said. "I don't want to load the bus too much since we'll need it for sleeping and cooking."
"Not coming to dinner?" asked Chris.
"No," I said. "I'm going out to my lot tonight. The kid and I'll be fine there and I want to check it out."
"OK," said Chris. "I'll see you when you come back tomorrow."
I agreed and we went back out to the kitchen to find Amanda washing the dishes.
Chris said, "Well I think I'm going to keep this one, Henry. She's better than having you around. You don't even wash your coffee cups."
I laughed and said, "To late Chris. I got her first. You out to go get married like your brothers or go buy an automatic dishwasher."
Chris shook his head at me and thanked Amanda.
As we were getting back on the bus, he brought us out another pie and said, "This out to make it survivable. I've had your cooking."
Amanda said, "I'm not going to trust him to cook, but thanks for the pie. They really are good."
That got her a smile from Chris and he waved as we pulled out and headed further down the logging road to a lot I'd bought from his father after I got out of the Army. The property was under another name I'd used while I was working for the Navy when I bought it and Chris paid the taxes on it from a bank account under the same name.
This gave me a hiding place that not many knew about. We'd done a lot of work on the place over the years since I'd bought it but most of it was out of site. Hills are nice with the right equipment and we had friends with interesting skills too.
I drove to the property and down another logging road to a cliff with a small shed next to it.
Parking the bus in front of the shed, I told Amanda that we were home for the night.
I got out and unlocked the door with the key that Chris had given me while we were in his office and opened the door.
We went in and I heard Amanda gasp in surprise. My hidy hole does that. Chris and I had dug out a nice little storage spot in the side of a small ridge that ran through is property. Took us a few years, too. We'd dug back about one hundred feet and fifty to each side to make a square in the rock and clay, then put in concrete pillars for support.
Then we'd used concrete brick for the walls. The ceiling was ten feet high and reinforced also. I don't know how Chris did that or what exactly he used, but it survived two earthquakes over the last few years.
Inside was our gun shop. Most of what was here would be illegal to own but it was well stocked with a bunch of equipment for modifying guns and had a complete reload shop. It also had numerous weapons and plenty of ammunition for each of them.
I went to where we'd stored the long range stuff first and picked out a couple of Springfield bolt action rifles. They were both equipped with sniper scopes. I also grabbed several boxes of ammo for them.
Next was the short ranged stuff. I got two Beretta nine millimeter pistols for Hawk and Bear. I also grabbed ammo for them too.
Passing the guns to Amanda, I told her to take them out to the bus and come back. She did so and came right back without saying a word.
Leading her over to where we put the hide out guns, I got out several smaller handguns. I took two Colt automatics that were .25 caliber with shells for them too. The next one was for me. It was a little .32 cal. revolver that I'd picked up years ago. I also took out shells for them too and put them in a small shoulder bag that was hanging on the wall.
After that, I went to another gun cabinet that had the medium range stuff. I took out 3 AK 47 rifles that had been manufactured in semiautomatic and re modified to automatic, then grabbed some ammo for them too.
I had Amanda take these out to the bus too. While she was doing that, I grabbed clips for the rifles and handguns that needed them, putting them in another shoulder bag..
That done, I went to the safe where Chris and I kept the nasty stuff that was really illegal. I opened it and took out several packages of military C4 explosives which I put into a small duffel bag.
I took the bag out to the bus myself and put it into a small cupboard built under the passenger seat behind the passenger door. I went back in and closed up all the doors on the various gun racks and ammo drawers and made sure that they were all locked up.
The last thing I did was get the detonators and remote controls for the explosives. Each was in it's own small box that was padded to protect them from damage. I took these to the back of the bus and put them in another cupboard well away from the explosives. I'd been taught a long time ago never to store them near the explosives.
Amanda was still silent, but looked scared. I told her that I would explain in a moment and went back out and turned out the light in the storage room, then locked it up again.
Getting back on the bus, I sat down at the small table and had Amanda sit next to me. She did so and I said, "I'm sorry to scare you like that, but I need this stuff. The only choice was either to leave you behind or let you see the stuff."
She didn't say anything, so I continued. "I'm sorry if your frightened but I'm going to be in a fight soon. There's a girl that's your age who needs my help. People have tried to kill her twice, and I'm going to stop it."
Amanda thought about that for a moment and said, "She must mean a lot to you then."
"Yes," I said. "When I was in Iraq a few months ago, I was involved in an ambush. One of the Marines I was with got shot up pretty bad so I had to drag him to cover. I got hit twice doing it."
"I spent some time in the V.A. hospital in Seattle, since I'm a vet. myself. They gave me a medication while I was there that messed me up pretty bad for awhile. The family of the Marine I saved took me out of the hospital and took care of me in their home. Now someone wants to kill them and I'm not going to let that happen."
"When we get back to Tacoma tomorrow, I'll take you in to see your mother," I continued. "After that, I'm taking you to these people to stay awhile. You should be safe there since your not related to them and it's the best place I can think of for you to stay. I want you to promise me, though, that you won't tell them what you saw here or about me."
"Your really going to take me with you?" she asked. "Your not going to turn me over to CPS?"
"Yes," I said. "I'm really going to take you with me to Everett. "I won't turn you over to CPS and I promise that when this is over you will always have a good home."
"Why?" She asked.
"Because of two things," I answered. "One is that I promised you and your mother. Two is that I have two foster daughters that went through the same thing you are twice."
"What happened to them?" she asked.
"Their parents were killed in a car accident a short time ago, and they think I'm dead. I want you to promise me that you won't tell anybody about what you've seen or anything about me. I need everybody to think I'm dead for awhile so I can do my job. I'm going to stop the people who are trying to kill three people that I care about."
Amanda sat there for several minutes before she replied, "I'll promise. You've been kind to me and helped me see my mother when nobody else would."
She started crying then and said, "I know my mom is dying and there's nothing the doctors can do. When she's gone, I won't have anybody else. You promised that I wouldn't have to go to CPS again and said you'd get me a good home. I won't tell your secrets to anybody no matter what."
I nodded and took her to the bed in back and told her to go to sleep. After getting her into bed, I went up to the pull up bunk that I'd found while inspecting this rig and made up my own bed.
That done, I laid down and went to sleep.
I woke up early the next morning to the smell of eggs and ham cooking. When I sat up, I saw Amanda at the stove making breakfast.
When I sat up, she looked over at me and smiled. I swear, If she and Sally ever did that at the same time they'd put the sun out of business. As it was, I thought I'd see spots for a week..
While she was cooking, I got up and got cleaned up. I was sure glad that I'd bought that electric razor as I was about 10 years out of practice shaving.
When I was done, I went back to the small kitchen area and found that Amanda had finished breakfast and had my bunk folded back up and breakfast on the small table.
I gave the cook the best compliment I know, eating every bite. After finishing, I told her that it was very good. That got me one of those thousand watt smiles.
"OK, Amanda," I said, "it's time to hit the road. I'll take you to see your mother first and then we'll be meeting a friend who will get you set up in your new home. I won't be able to see you after that until this is all finished but you won't have to worry about CPS again."
Amanda frowned and said, "I don't want to leave you. Your the first person who really cared about me since my mother was put into the hospital."
"To dangerous," I replied. "I can't put you into that kind of danger. These people I'm after have already killed at least two and tried for another girl your age twice that I know off. I won't be able to protect you and do this."
She nodded and said, "I understand. I want you to know that I want you to come back after your done."
"I can't even promise that,"I said. "It depends on who's behind all this and I don't know that yet. I'll find them, though, and I'll put an end to the mess. After that we'll see what happens. I will promise you that you will always have a home with my foster daughters. You should be fine with them no matter what else happens."
Not saying another word, she started cleaning up from breakfast. I helped her get it done and then we put every thing away.
This done, I started the bus and let it warm up. When the engine was warm, we left my hidy hole and went back to Chris's place.
The old trailer that Chris had told me about was already there and loaded when we got there. Chris had been busy last night.
We pulled up to his house and I got the bus backed in to hook up the trailer with Amanda helping guide me in. Chris came out to watch as we did it.
When I was backed up to the trailer, I shut the bus off and got out. Chris walked up to me and handed me an odd looking cane and said, "This out to be helpful to you."
I looked at it carefully and noticed that the rubber tip had a hole in it and looked closer. The cane was hollow!.
Chris said, "It's something my dad made years ago. It's actually a .30 caliber rifle barrel with a single shot chamber just under the handle. You fire it with your thumb and to reload, you twist the handle counter clockwise and it pulls out. Just drop the bullet in and close it again. It cocks when you twist it closed."
Now that is some present. I gave Chris an evil grin and opened the chamber the way he'd described. It had a .30 caliber bullet already in it and I closed it again.
Chris said, "It doesn't have a safety so be careful, but with practice you can hit a target fairly easily up to one hundred feet or so. It isn't good for much further because it doesn't have sites but it will do the job. It fires the old M1 Carbine round so you shouldn't have problems with ammo either."
I thanked Chris and put it into the bus. After that, we got the trailer hooked up and the lights working.
Finishing this, I shook Chris's hand and thanked him. He pulled me into a hug and said, "Don't get in too deep. We're both to old for this kind of thing so be careful."
I shrugged and said, "I have it to do. They went after a kid that I really care about and they want her sisters too. That isn't going to happen and I'm going to make sure it isn't with a bit of help from a mad Bear and a pissed Hawk. We may be a bit long in the tooth for this kind of thing, but we have a lot of experience doing it. That should help a bit."