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 

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 

"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 

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 

"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 

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."