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©02 The Media Desk

The MEMORY of theHunter

ch 22

     From Keia, communications and research assistant: Hi. This is Keia giving interview tape about Huntie.
     He was on a very big mission from Mr. Bishop42 and the bad guy, he spray Huntie and agent named DarkStar with something that almost kill them.
     When Huntie didn't come home on time I send computer mail to Bishop and tell him I worry about Huntie. The Bishop said he take care of it.
     He call another agent and he go to find Huntie and DarkStar.

     From Agent Venture: I was sent an emergency voice page by Centre. Two agents were missing and presumed down. I left immediately for the assignment area in a nearby industrial park. There I found theHunter's car. But they were no where around.
     I started a foot reconnoiter of the building assigned to them.
     Local law enforcement was also on the site. I contacted the ranking officer and explained the situation using my assigned FBI cover identity. At first he seemed to resent the perceived intrusion on his turf. Then when he understood my two agents were overdue and possibly dead, his tone changed and the entire situation took on a new character.
     Reinforcements, I dare not call the immediate tenfold increase in all manner of police presence in and around the buildings involved 'backup', arrived. Soon a careful sweep for the perpetrators and the missing agents began.
     TheHunter was found unconscious in a hallway. But it was obvious he had taken down his assailant before he fell. The 'bad guy' had three massive holes in his chest from theHunter's .454. The dead man was holding an empty gas cylinder that had a chemical formula on the side of it neither I nor any of the officers or paramedics on the scene recognized. TheHunter was removed to a trauma center as soon as the immediate area was secured.
     Agent DarkStar was found upstairs, in similar shape, but he hadn't even managed to draw his weapon. From the looks of the aftermath, it would seem they had been surprised and gassed by person or persons unknown. DarkStar was taken away by ambulance.
     A prolonged and detailed search of the building turned up a great deal of evidence but no other suspects, dead or alive. The local police's detective unit came in and went to work. They would forward a copy of all information to the local bureau and they, in turn, to me.
     I left the scene for the hospital to check on the condition of the downed agents.

     From Keia: I drive my car very fast to where he Bishop tell me they had taken Huntie. It was a long way and it take me a long time to get there, but I don't trust airplanes all the time.
     When I get there they say Huntie was on oxygen tube and he had something in his blood. They have them in the Intensive Ward. They let me see Huntie for a minute then I have to go.
     I sit with Venture for a long time and fall asleep.
     I wake up when a doctor sent by Centre and the Bishop come out to tell us about Huntie.
     I didn't understand a lot of what he said, but Huntie was very sick from what the man had done to him. And so was DarkStar.

     From Doctor Melton: I received an emergency call from Centre. I immediately called a contact at Andrew's and got a flight to the scene. There a car driven by a man that could have been a werewolf met me and drove me to the hospital. I felt fortunate to arrive intact.
     There I went straightaway to the ICU to review the agent's cases.
     Agent DarkStar was responding some to his current treatment regimen. But his condition was still most critical. His blood pressure was low with rapid pulse and shallow breathing. Currently he was unconscious, but he was stable otherwise.
     Agent theHunter was in slightly worse shape. He was on a respirator with a very rapid pulse. His lungs had been drained of fluid twice since his arrival. It was evident that whatever chemical Darkstar had gotten a lung full of, theHunter had several times as much.
     Doctor Hychuaiea, the head of the department, briefed me on the investigation into what had stricken the agents. They had sent the empty canister to the chemical lab at the state university, then it went to Walter Reed. So far there were more questions than answers. But it was clear the canister had been used on the men. Until we knew exactly what it was and what it had done to them, detoxing them would be impossible.
     I fully agreed with his treatment plan which consisted of life support and waiting.
     In the waiting area I briefed theHunter's partner and the investigating agent, Venture.
     They were allowed in briefly to see the men, then I told them to get a hotel for the night. We'd call them if something changed.

     From Keia: I am NOT going to sit in hotel and wait for Huntie to die. I get the chemical name from the doctor and go to where the police had tow Huntie's car. I get his big carry around computer and go to hotel.
     Then I start to try to find answers.
     Venture feel same way. He go to building where they were hurt and look around.
     The night go slow but I find reason for some of the things Doctor Melton said Huntie was going through.

     From Venture: The building had been sealed, but I got instant permission from the deputy chief of police to go in for a quick look see.
     I started in the office nearest where we found DarkStar.
     The police had been very thorough but I was hoping they had missed something significant. I took a long slow look around.
     The baseboard just didn't look right.
     I went over to it and kicked it. It was loose. I pulled on it, and it came free on the second tug.
     Behind it was all sorts of stuff. Canisters, and bottles. All of them carefully labeled.
     I took one of each and the stack of notecards rubber banded together. I went down and put them in my car. In the car I called the detectives to tell them about what I had found and that I was taking it to the hospital for the doctors to look over.
     As I was talking to them another car pulled in and several men got out.
     They were not cops. I told the detectives I had company and asked for backup.
     In a few minutes three cars of officers arrived. They descended on the building and the men gave up without a shot being fired.
     I went over their car with a detective. It was no help.
     On the way to the hospital I stopped and let Keia copy the information. She went to work on it. Then I turned it over to the doctors.

     From Police Detective Richard DeSario: The men we picked up at the factory were all career hoods. Some with outstanding warrants. But as far as their current employer, I truly believe they didn't know who it was. They were all paid half up front in cash to go in and clean out the office. The courier that delivered the money was a local small timer we all know well. And we are currently looking for him as well.
     They didn't know what the contents of the containers were, or that they had been used against government agents.
     We kept the wanted ones, but had to let one go. All in all, it was no help in the case.

     From Keia: With new information I was able to send some information to Hunties doctor who thought the information might help.
     The chemical was a new one developed in another country for war. How it got here is mystery Bishop42 say they now work on.
     I put everything on a little disc and take it to hospital to print out in doctor's office.

     From Doctor Hychuaiea: With the information provided by Miss Keia we were able to begin a more aggressive treatment series.
     Patient Darkstar showed some progress immediately. Patient Hunter made some minor steps. It was clear very early that we were still missing a piece of the puzzle.

     From Keia: I am mad with Huntie. He didn't get better with DarkStar. I know we didn't have all information but I thought maybe doctor had enough.
     Doctor Hychew tell me there something else in their blood that was still making them sick.
     I go back to motel and get on Huntie's machine again and try to find answer.

     From Bishop42: I received an untraceable E-mail from a person identifying himself only as Hover. It contained several chemical formulas and a data sheet of the properties of the involved chemicals, the active ingredient was a neural synaptic inhibitor. More importantly, there was also a recipe for the antidote.
     Afterward was a personal note from Hover expressing regret that his operative had used the substance without permission. He also went to great lengths to insist the substances were on their way out of the country when discovered. It also conveyed his personal regards for the injured men and assured me the antidote would do the trick.
     'However,' the note ended, 'there has been known to be some memory loss that will resolve itself over time. There should be no permanent damage.'

     From Keia: The Bishop send me all sort of information he had about the stuff that made them sick. I took it right to doctor.
     They sent man running to the drug pharmacy to get all the things they needed. Then they put it in Hunties tube.
     It took all night, but it worked. DarkStar, he wake up first. He wasn't as sick as Huntie, but he still had problem. He not know where he was or even what he had been doing before he got hurt.
     Venture talk to him, I sit by Huntie and wait.

     From theHunter(some time later): Waking up was the worst experience of my life.
     I was confused and dazed. The first instinct I had was to run for cover and look for dad's gun. But I couldn't move, then I realized I didn't know why I wanted to run, I just did.
     Keia was right there. And Venture too, but mainly it was Keia. She talked to me in her gentle voice and told me everything was going to be all right. Although I didn't know her name, I knew I knew her.
     I think the best thing that happened was when they removed the breathing tube. I wondered how I ever stood having it in after they took it out.
     I was in the ICU a full day after I woke up. Then they moved me and DarkStar to a semi-private room and I could work on getting better. DarkStar helped a lot, he remembered things that had happened at the factory and that seemed to help me come around. Even though I couldn't remember something happening, I knew it had.
     Keia smuggled in my smallest laptop and I had to learn how to type all over again. She assured me I had never really learned in the first place and my hunt and tap now was just a bit slower than I used to be.
     It made me uneasy to learn I owed my recovery to Hover. I had known he was tied in to the chemical smuggling some kind of way. But for him to send the antidote to the Bishop didn't feel right. It didn't surprise me that he knew about the Bishop. Hover was good, and he was right at home in the unreal world of cyberspace.
     Several days later I got an email from him. All it said was basically welcome back and I didn't owe him anything for the favor. I replied that if things had been reversed I would probably have done the same, a good enemy is hard to find.

     From Keia: Huntie went to day job a week after release from hospital. He still wasn't him, but he a lot better. It took long time before he was OK.

     From theHunter: Somebody way on up yonder had pulled one heck of a string. My boss at the computer lab forgave me all the time I was off sick and basically let me do nothing for the next week. He never mentioned why, and when I asked him what had happened, all he did was toss me an old magazine with a big grin.
     The magazine's name was, 'The American Hunter'.
     I just chuckled and walked back to my work station to log on and play the space trading game for awhile.
     In the game I posted a message in the public area. 'theHunter is Back!!!'

end 22 memory

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