Ursa Non Gratis

Part VII.

Boomer - You want her to do WHAT?

I should have known something was up when Geoff asked to speak to me in his office. If it was something simple, he'd have just stopped me in the hallway, but I was too preoccupied to notice. 'Thank you Lightning for making me even slower on the uptake than usual!'

At first I put off his reflective mood for being in the office: last big blow-up we had was in that room. Literally. Somebody lobbed a rocket into the room trying to kill him. Almost did too. If Eclipse hadn't been there it would have. Probably would have killed The Duck too, if Eclipse hadn't shot her first. Guess this room has the same effect on all of us. Part of why I was completely unprepared for what came next.

"We're sending Lightning to Quebec," he stated calmly.

I almost did an impersonation of the rocket.

"WHAT?" I all but yelled. I knew the plan, the original plan. Send her to Quebec to have a 'miss-understanding' with the law. Get her arraigned so that she can plant cameras and transmitters in the holding cell. But that was before the assassination attempts, before we found out about the ammo they're packing, before they had a chance to associate her with us. Before... before...

"Boomer, I know what you're going to say, but we have all the pieces in place. We can't switch now."

"No!" I stated. "She's not going."

"Boomer, we've already talked to her, again, after the ammo was discovered."

'Discovered,' you just have to love how diplomatically Geoff can understate something.

"I was there," I reminded him. Without saying it I also reminded him that it almost killed me. I almost felt guilty about the look on his face, but this is Lightning he's talking about.

"Boomer, we have to," his plea almost reached me, but I was too worried.

"If anything happens to her," I started then stopped. I've never threatened him before, and I regretted it immediately. He's already been through that with himself, and he knows what he's risking.

"Geoff, I love her," I stated, trying to explain myself.

"I know," Geoff answered, and I saw the pain in his eyes. "But someone has to go, and she's the best candidate. If I could go..."

I slammed my fist down on the table and waited for the pain to clear my head. "Geoff, I understand, here," I told him as I pointed to my head. "But here, in my heart... I can't take that risk."

"I have to face that everyday," Geoff countered. "You're my family, think I ..." He stopped and shook his head. "I'm sorry."

I nodded. I knew the decision had been made. Thinking about it, Geoff probably opted to tell me to make things easier on Davy. But its not easy with any of us, never is when family's involved.

"I want you on the boards for her," he added, knowing full well I wouldn't be any use to anybody anywhere else.

'Yeah, thanks Geoff, thanks a lot,' I looked at him, and for a minute, I thought he'd heard the thought. Then I realized he just knows me too well.

Sometimes I hate working for family. Then I saw it in Geoff's eyes. He feels the same way. It doesn't make it any easier, but I understand. I have to deal with the woman I love being sent into the lion's den. He has to live with the fact that he's the one who sent her. War isn't hell, hell would be a relief in comparison to this.

I tried to take it well, but then I was hit with a maelstrom of images. Lightning helping me defuse the bomb. Laughing when I joked with her. Her accepting my rather off-handed dinner invitation right before we clipped the wires. The look in her eyes as she tried to patch me up after I was shot. The worry, the anger... It hurt seeing those looks in her eyes. The thought of me standing over her, telling her to hang on... Too many things can go wrong. Every mission, everyday. I try to joke about it, but that's the way life is, especially when you're Demo... But you don't think about your loved ones being at the same risk. I guess that was when I realized, my friends are just as mortal as I am.

"We haven't lost a Wilson yet," Geoff stated gently, trying to tell me that he views her as family.

"I just don't want her to be the first," I whispered.

Copyright 1998 - M.T. Decker

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