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IMMUNITY 2/2

Posted in 24_fanfic

Title: Immunity, Chapter 2
Author: marinw
Rating: R for violence
Characters: Jack/Cheng/Heller/Mandy/Ryan/Moss/Surprise/
Summary: Post Day 6. Jack interferes with a prisoner transfer.
Disclaimer: 24 is the property of the Fox Production Company. Etc.
Notes: Minor spoilers for Day 7 Prequel. Thanks to the constant vigilance of my beta sardonicynic.


“My people did not abandon me,” said Cheng. “They have come just as I expected.”

Mandy pushed the muzzle of her gun further into Heller’s skull. “Bauer, if you want your friend here to live, you’ll uncuff Cheng now.”

“Don’t do it, Jack,” Heller whispered.

“You don’t tell me what to do.”

“Come, on, Bauer, I don’t have all night. I will kill him.”

Jack knew that she would. “Son of a bitch.”

For a moment Jack’s eyes glanced at the concrete floor, as if asking Cheng for his permission.

“Now,” Said Mandy

Jack turned the key. Cheng stood up, rubbing his wrists together.

“Cuff yourself to the table — one hand for you, one hand for the old man.” She pushed Heller towards the table.

Jack did as instructed.

“Now throw me the key.”

He tossed the key out the open door.

"Let’s go," Mandy said to Cheng. “Your friends are waiting.”

“Just one moment. I believe that I will tell Mr. Bauer what he wants to know. He did go through a great deal of trouble to detain me.”

Jack’s eyes returned to the floor. Cheng walked over and whispered into Jack’s ear.

Jack finally understood. His shoulders slumped. For a moment he was unable to speak, not because he chose not to, but because he couldn’t.

Mandy pulled another firearm out of a thigh holster. Cheng got behind her. With both guns aimed at Heller and Jack, she left the room with Cheng. Mandy didn’t even bother locking the two men in. She had always been a little overconfident.

“Jack, snap out of it!”

“I’m fine. Just a second.” Jack reached into his pocket with his free hand and retrieved another key.

“I don’t believe it,” said Heller as Jack unlocked the cuffs from the bolt.

“I know another exit. Let’s go.”

The two men moved through the underground building more slowly than Jack would have liked. Heller was a generation older than Jack and couldn’t move as quickly. At least he had remembered to wear black, although his silver hair could easily attract attention. The detention facility may not have been as empty as it looked.

Finally, Jack and Heller emerged into the forest. They crouched behind a rock outcropping and looked towards the helicopter pad.

“I can’t believe that you’re letting Cheng and that woman escape,” Heller whispered.

Jack checked the illuminated dial of his watch. “That’s not going to happen.”

Jack took the spotting scope from his bag and looked towards the landing pad.

Cheng and Mandy had emerged through the other exit and were now moving across the field. Cheng was now dressed entirely in black. Mandy must have brought him a change of clothes.

Ross and Ryan were there to meet them. Moss aimed his firearm at the two escapees, ordering them to lie on the ground with their hands behind their heads. Mandy and Cheng were quickly handcuffed, and the four of them moved back inside the prison.

“It’s over,” said Jack. “Let’s get out of here.”

“You should have let me kill him,” said Heller. “If it were your daughter you would want the same thing.”

“Do not mention my daughter,” Jack whispered, “I wanted to kill him, too.”

“You brought enough firepower to do the job a few times over. Everyone would have known it was you. You would have to go back on the run. Or back to prison. I already had an alibi.”

“Someone else will do the job.”

“That’s not good enough.”

“It will have to be. Go. Be with your daughter. Audrey needs you. That’s the only reason I let you live.”

“You can’t come with me.”

“I know.”

“Jack, it’s time for you to go.”

“Yeah, I’ll leave a few minutes after you.”

“I don’t mean just from this facility. I mean from this city. Hell, you should leave this whole country. Leave. Get as far away as you can. And don’t come back.”

“How dare you?”

“You know I’m right. You got what you wanted. There’s nothing else here for you. You may find this hard to believe, but I do care about you. I just don’t want you in our lives. Goodbye, Jack.”

Heller stood up and disappeared into the forest, illuminating the path in front of him with his flashlight.

Now that Jack was alone, he could think about what Cheng had told him. He found the nearest tree and vomited.

••••

Jack drove through the still-empty streets of the California morning.

He knew that James Heller was right. It was time to leave. He needed to go somewhere else. East Africa, maybe. He knew someone there. Another former agent who was now devoting himself to humanitarian work. Jack couldn’t recall the specific country, but he could find out.

Humanitarian work. What did that even mean? Constructing houses for orphans? AIDS relief? Ensuring food donations got to the people and not to corrupt government officials?

Jack tried to imagine doing that kind of work. Cleaning up messes rather than creating them. It would be so different.

The nausea he had suffered earlier had vanished, leaving in its wake a ravenous hunger. For once, Jack decided not to ignore the protestations of his rumbling stomach. It was time he started taking better care of himself.

It was just after four in the morning. Not that many places would be open. After a while he did spot the lights on at an all-night diner.

“Home of the $4.99 all-day breakfast,” the sign read.

It used to be $3.99. Inflation. It had been a long time.

Jack parked the car. He took off his Kevlar vest and locked it in the trunk along with his weapons. He would need to get rid of them before he left town. He couldn’t take them with him when he left the country. Not as a civilian. He kept the Halo on him, just in case.

The diner was almost empty. The only other people here looked like they belonged to a film crew who were doing some nighttime shooting. Perhaps they were with that real-time TV series that everyone was watching. Jack was behind on his popular culture.

Jack positioned himself in a booth near the window. After a moment, a red-haired waitress came over.

Jack looked at her name tag and remembered.

“Oh, no,” said Lauren. “Not you again.”

“I don’t want any trouble. All I want is breakfast. Can you do that?”

Lauren poured Jack a cup of coffee. “You had better leave a good tip.”

END