Chapter 21 Rosie sat back on the cold floor, her hands hurting from pounding the icy metal walls of her temporary cell. There was barely enough light to see, shimmers of daylight glistened through the gaps in the steel, fleetingly lighting her environment. She waited, studying each inch of space as the flickers illuminated her surroundings. Her eyes strained as she searched, at last she saw a long thin object lying on the metal framework. She reached out, hoping that the object she sought was metal and strong enough for the task she had in mind. Her fingers trembled as she touched it, feeling its coldness, she grasped it, clutching it to her chest in relief. Kneeling on the floor she started to lever at one of the cracks. The bar was to thick, trying to make the gap bigger, she hit out, making a terrible din. A voice from outside, shouted at her, "Quit the racket, we're not lettin' you out, you're too much of a....." "Yer all gonna regret this later yer know," Rosie disguised the sound of her attempt with her own shouting. She kicked the metal walls and pounded again with her fists. "When my father finds out what you've done to me." She continued to shout, pry, kick, lever and pound. "You're all gonna be in for it." Eventually a metal rivet gave way, remarkably the metal was easy to bend, 'just one more rivet,' she deduced as she persevered. She thought she'd blown it when thudding reverberated from the other side of the wall. She froze. "Stop it, you're giving me a headache." "You poor man, you'll have more than a head ache before I'm through." She yelled back with added obscenities. "Damned woman, never knows when to keep her mouth shut." She heard hum shuffle away 'just a few more minutes,' she continued her task. Finally the rivet broke loose, she peered through the hole she'd made. There was no-one in sight, she bent the metal up, again she looked outside. There was just enough room for her to squeeze through. Unseen she left the hanger and headed out into the desert. * * * * * Al reached the door of his friend's bedroom. Sammi Jo was still there, sitting by Sam's bed. "We're winning," she said as Al entered and approached Sam's bed, "we've managed a make-shift drip." Al didn't hear Sammi Jo's words, all he was interested in was his friend's welfare. He breathed a sigh of relief when he saw a fresh pillow under Sam's head, he looked a little better, some of the waxyness had faded from his face, he looked more human. Sammi Jo noticed Al's expression, realising, she left the room, leaving the two friends together. He pulled the chair closer to Sam. "Weasel Mikowski's coming in especially to see you Sam." Al whispered in his gravely voice, "You remember him don't you? He fixed you up the last time, remember." Sam lay motionless, his chest moving only slightly with his breathing, there was no response to Al's words. "He's flying in, all the way from DC." Sam heard Al's voice, but Al was not with him in the chasm he occupied. He was floating somewhere, floating on a sea of clouds. Was he dreaming? He didn't know, he felt weightless as he drifted. Where was he going? He didn't care, this was a wonderful feeling, peaceful. He saw a crowd of faceless people ahead, waving, standing in line. Were they waving to him? He waved back, but without sensation of motion in his arms. A sea of faces smiled at him as he floated by, faces he knew and recognised. Jimmy La Motta and Jesse Tyler, Tom Stratton and Samantha Stormer, Charlie 'Black Magic' Walters and Harry Spontini. They were all there, faces from his past. Smiling and waving as he drifted by. Last in line he saw his father, smiling with his arms outstretched, reaching for him, their fingers touching for a brief second. He watched as they all faded out of sight, he drifted on. A voice made him turn to another direction, it was Bernie, his beautiful Bernie, but she was crying, a young boy by her side. They floated with him as clouds drifted by, obscuring his vision. As they reappeared, a huge figure of a man towered above them, his fists clenched, beating the boy. She struggled with him, his strength overpowering her, she was tossed aside. In a crumpled mass they lay, Sam tried to reach her, but he was too far away. Helplessly he drifted on. She voiced pleadingly, 'Don't leave me, please don't leave me. Sam, don't go.' "Sam, don't go." Bernie's voice trembled, her tearstained face turned to Al then back to Sam, "Come back to me Sam." Beth stood behind Bernie, she rested her hands on Bernie's shoulders, reassuring her. "He'll be fine, you'll see. The plane will be here any minute." "I'll go check," Al headed for the door, "Done too much waiting in my life, I can't stand it anymore." * * * * * Austin Bebrooks stood at the head of a large oval table. He'd called an emergency meeting of the conglomerate he'd organised. It was just after twelve noon, Sunday, September 21, 2008. Austin Bebrooks had heard about the attack on Dr. Samuel Beckett. It didn't sound good, everyone was concerned about him but when money was at stake, concern took a back stance. Austin Bebrooks addressed his audience formally. "As you are all aware, Dr. Beckett has been brutally assaulted. This I am afraid, gentlemen, has left Dr. Beckett in a coma. We have no confirmation on his condition, but it is early days yet, and all we can do is pray that it is not too serious. For the benefit of those members, who could not be present at this unexpected meeting, my secretary, Mrs. Janet Bassett will be taking notes,." he turned indicating to a small woman in her early fifties sitting next to him. "I will do my best to answer any of your questions. Now gentlemen." A small, pot-bellied man stood, "How long has Dr. Beckett been in a coma?" Murdoch grunted, sitting down again. "Since this morning, he's on his way now to Washington." Austin answered. "What condition is he in Austin?" Berenger looked around at the others, his bald head shining under the glare of the lights. "That information has not been confirmed, gentlemen." They chattered boisterously between themselves. "Quiet, please, quiet." Leroy Tomkins banged his oversized fist on the table to get attention, "I know we were planning to go ahead with this project, but what are the chances now with Dr. Beckett immobilised?" "That depends on Dr. Beckett's recovery, and as his condition is unknown, it cannot be verified at this time." Austin looked around for more questions. Halsinger twirled a pen around on the table, "What happens if Dr. Beckett's recovery is erm, er...... If he doesn't recover, he dies." He looked awkward, stuffing the pen in his mouth, he bit it. The crack shuddered through his teeth, he grimaced and spat out. Everyone gasped. Then there was deadly silence. Austin leaned forward onto the table, his knuckles bending, "Let us all hope that it does not come to that, gentlemen. Dr. Beckett is a greatly valued member of scientific research. There's no-one in the world who could replace him. He is unique, his project is unique. The best brains this world has ever seen, or ever will see. If, God forsake, he doesn't recover, then there will be no project, because gentlemen Dr. Beckett is the project. If he dies, the project will die with him." "What about the capital we've already put up? What's going to happen to that?" A small, weedy man nervously stood up at the back of the room. "Mr. Atkin, I know everyone is concerned with their investments. Every business transaction has its risks, sadly this was unforeseen. At this very distressing time, all we can do is wait and hope for Dr. Beckett's full and complete recovery. Any more questions, gentlemen?" Heads shook, some at nullity, some disbelieving, everyone noisy. Bebrooks stood by the open door and shook hands with everyone as they departed. He looked around the now empty room, his eyes finally resting on Janet Bassett, "Get in touch with Washington," he drawled in his strong Texan accent, "See if there's any news on Dr. Samuel Beckett and keep me informed of any updates." She scribbled hastily in her notebook and left a melancholy, Austin Bebrooks looking out of the window, the Empire State Building in the back drop. He looked around at the buildings, the tall office towers of lower Manhattan, the skyline never looked the same. It had taken seven years, to clear the rubble of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. Now construction had begun on the memorial. For the thousands of lives that were lost, on that fateful day, when the Twin Towers collapsed. He remembered that day, he would never forget that eleventh day in September, when the terrorists struck. He remembered his colleagues, he could still taste the dust and stench of breathing in the powdery gasses that burned his lungs. As always, when he looked out of this window, a silent prayer left his lips, for the dead, the injured and for the guilt of the survivors. As he turned away he whispered, "For you too Sam. May God protect you and keep you safe."