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Persona Non Grata - Part Eight

Part Eight - Cardiac Arrest

She hadn't envisioned this. Nursing school had prepared her for many things--accident victims, stroke patients, even gunshot wounds. She'd drawn blood and emptied bedpans. She'd seen birth and death. But nothing could have prepared her for the young agent lying on the gurney bloodied, bruised, and with foam bubbling from his mouth. The staring, terrified eyes terrified her and she could only stand aside and watch. This patient had rendered her useless and that sense of uselessness frightened her most of all.

The young man's eyes never changed--not even when his heart stopped and Dr. Lansing had placed the paddles on the bruised chest and sent the voltage through the lifeless body.

//Live!// She willed it. If there were ever a way to communicate subliminally, she was going to find it. //Breathe. Come on. Breathe.//


"Clear!" Another zap. //Live!//


"Come on, kid," Dr. Lansing was saying. "Clear!" Another zap.

"Live!!" she yelled at him--although not intending to yell.

Somebody might have noticed her if the two gunmen hadn't come into the treatment room.


At the first sound of gunfire, Josiah Sanchez sprang into action--pushing nurses and doctors to the floor. He tried in vain to find his weapon.

Gunmen--throughout the ER--gunmen some of whom he'd seen just an hour or so before. Josiah managed to come up behind one and overpowered him, disarming him. Then, using the captured man's weapon, he shot one of the other gunmen.

Josiah was poised to snap his captive's neck when he heard Chris Larabee's voice.

"Josiah, we need to question him." No, Josiah thought, we need to take him out. Chris' voice again. "Josiah, don't!" A command. Josiah felt his forearm flex and the the man he was holding gasped. The gunman's Adam's apple quivered under the pressure. Oh, this would be easy.

But, damn it, he couldn't do it. He couldn't disobey Chris Larabee right in front of him. And Chris was right, g**d**n him. They needed information.

"Josiah, stand down!" Chris' eyes flashed, and Josiah loosened his hold on the man. The big preacher noticed Chris' shoulders relax slightly. But Josiah just felt the anger surge in his stomach, bile in his throat. Chris knew. Chris knew that it took all Josiah's strength NOT to kill the gunman. Chris nodded his respect to Josiah and tossed him a pair of cuffs from his pocket.

Josiah didn't catch them, though. Instead, he leveled the gunman's weapon at the man coming up behind Chris.

"Freeze!" Josiah barked, and Chris spun around. Josiah could see the muscles in Chris' neck tighten, and he figured that Chris was feeling a similar inclination toward killing the man with his bare hands.

But the gunman was surrendering. Josiah watched as Chris yanked the automatic weapon from the man who would have killed him. Then he brought his foot around in a roundhouse kick and caught the gunman's jaw. The gunman crashed into a cart of meds. Chris went over to him and jerked him up by the collar. Together, Josiah and Chris bound the gunmen and dragged them out of the line of fire.

More shots, and Josiah saw Buck and Ezra working their way down the hall.

"Watch the nurses' station!" the preacher called just in time for Buck to dive out of the way. Chris was pulling Josiah into one of the cubicles while Josiah was trying to cover Ezra.

"Sweet Jesus!" Chris said as he reloaded. "It's f***ing armageddon." He looked up at Josiah. "You okay?"

"Yeah," Josiah answered. Chris was slamming the clip into his weapon when Josiah saw Vin slip in the back door.

"Cover me," Josiah said, and as he crossed the hall, he heard Chris mutter "Shit. . . "


Nathan could hear the gunfire. Was he dreaming? If he opened his eyes, would the fighting stop? Maybe it was in his head. Didn't he remember being brought to the hospital? But, the battle was still going on. Either he'd dreamed about the hospital trip, or he was hallucinating now. He forced his eyes open.

He was alone--hooked up to machines, an IV in his hand, and not a soul in the room.

He heard voices in the hallway. Josiah was yelling. There were voices he didn't know.

His friends were in trouble and he wasn't helping. He had to help. He had to do something. He pulled the IV out of his hand and ripped the oxygen tube off of his face. He was just sitting up when Vin slipped into the room.

"Oh, no Nathan," Vin said, making his way over to him. The sharpshooter pushed him back down to the bed. "Don't try to move."

"Wha's go . ." Nathan was trying to ask what was going on, but his mouth wouldn't work.

"Those guys followed us," Vin told him. "Maybe we'll have some help this time."

What did Vin mean? VIn was looking the room over. Nathan closed his eyes. If Vin was here, he could close his eyes for a minute. That would be ok.


Where the hell was Josiah going?

Chris sprang up to cover his friend and saw Buck sprawled on the floor in the middle of the melee. God, was he hit? Chris' breath stopped in his throat for a moment, until Buck rolled toward the nurses' station and scrambled to his feet.

This was some kind of all-out terrorist assault. What had started as a kidnapping had morphed into a well-orchestrated war. And with two men down and no back-up in sight, he didn't know how to end this.

He needed to protect his men. He needed to get Nathan and JD out of danger. He needed to get everyone the hell out of there.

He needed perspective. He needed to go up.

Chris looked around. He wished there was some kind of . . . perch--a place on top of some cabinets or something. A sniper's vantage point.

But he realized he wouldn't need to.

A megaphone. A voice.

A SWAT team.

Thank God.


This was a f***ing nightmare. What kind of crazies shot up an emergency room? Buck bumped into the nurses' station desk and jumped up. He had to find his friends. He stepped into a cubicle and found Vin easing Nathan onto a lower shelf of a gurney--where the corpses were loaded when a patient had to be taken from a regular room to the morgue. Buck rushed over to help Vin get Nathan situated. They draped a sheet over the top of the bed, and the sides hung down, hiding their friend.

"Just wait here," Vin was telling the medic. "I'll come back for you. I swear I will."

Buck eased up to the door and looked out. The gunfire was slowing. A ploy?

No . . .

A SWAT team. Buck looked back at the sharpshooter and motioned for him to be silent. The gunmen were laying their weapons down and the situation seemed to be neutralized. Buck could feel the quaking relief begin to settle in.

Until a hard voice carried over the panic.

"If you don't let me try to start this boy's heart, you'll be dragging a corpse out of here!"


In the strange, tension-laden silence, Ezra reloaded. He'd seen one of the gunmen slip into a cubicle across the hall, but he'd also seen Josiah follow him. He scoped the place and saw Chris near the door that led out to the waiting room. Vin had made his way to one of the side rooms, and now Buck was peering out from behind a partitian. All accounted for except the wounded. Ezra had a sick feeling that it wasn't over yet.


"If you don't let me try to start this boy's heart, you'll be dragging a corpse out of here!"

Dr. Lansing was trying to revive the young agent who had been brutalized at the hands of these gunmen. Now they wouldn't let the doctor work. And the doctor was pissed. He was pissed more than he was scared--or that's the way it looked to her.

This couldn't be happening, the young nurse thought.

And then the words flew out of her mouth before she could stop them.

"Take me . . ."

Why had she said that? Hadn't she just been paralyzed with fear?

But the sight of a man holding an Uzi on a young man whose heart had stopped spurred her into action.

"He's dead already," she continued. "He won't be a bargaining chip for you."

Oh, God! She felt the cold metal of the barrel of a gun at her throat. How was she keeping her voice so steady?

"You can just. . . take me, and we can leave."

The man holding a gun on her reached up and grabbed a handful of her hair. She didn't see what happened in the next moment because the man with the gun pressed his lips on hers in a bruising kiss.

"Clear!!" she heard Dr. Lansing yell.

And when the gunman who was holding her released her, she saw Dr. Lansing . . .

Holding the cardiac paddles against the other gunman's body, sending enough voltage through him to start a heart, but for a span of time that would stop it.

On to part nine
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