Lest we never forget, let today be a day of rememberance, for today the world remembers with us. We remember those taken from their families and from all of us in an insane instant. We remember the heroes born in that instant, on the scene, and in the moments, days and years to follow. We remember those who answered the call to preserve our freedom. We remember those who made the ultimate sacrafice so that each of us might enjoy that freedom. We remember those who are risking that same sacrafice at this very moment.
We remember that freedom costs, and that it is those who answer that call to serve who are making our payments for us in blood, sweat, and tears. Today, from the comfort of your homes, take a look at those you love and then remember that everyday there are heroes among us, in patrol cars, in fire trucks, in classrooms, in hospitals and in far far far away places who love us enough to serve. God bless them, God bless us all the world over...sempre fi Jordan...
Anh yêu em Tuyet...
Tôi yêu con gái KaSandra & Katrina...
Tôi thương con trai của bố Luc…
a novel by nicholas sheridan stanton
Le Rivage Hotel, Mandelieu La Napoule, Friday, August 29th, 2005…9PM
Looks like its true Wesley thought from inside of his dream, you do see your life pass by just before the end. How queer that he should enjoy these last few moments on Earth in relative peace in spite of what his physical body was experiencing. He wondered if this was the same gift the Christ was granted in his final hour, a few moments of clarity and peace before joining the Father in Paradise. The big hearted Aussie was oblivious to whatever was happening outside of his dream, having left the conscious life behind sometime ago. Let them do what they will these bastards, he was beyond caring now. Whatever good he had done in this life was being rewarded with this complete disconnect from the here and now. Not yet dead but no longer living by mortal understanding, he awaited the light so often mentioned in the prose of near death accountings.
He heard his mother's voice call to him as he raced across the Outback on the video screens that were the lids of his closed eyes. The Sudan grass grew wild and high and was wet with morning dew as he chased his childhood companion Rex, a nine year-old Boarder Collie that his Dad had rescued from an abusive sheep rancher who lived a couple of spreads over from the Allendale's property in north Perth on the far Western end of the Australian continent. Wesley had raised that dog from a pup and had buried him on their birthday, he being 9 and Rex being 63 if you subscribed to the theory that a dog ages at seven times the rate of a human being. It was a tough task for one so young and so attached but is father had insisted that he show his pet the same love in death that he showed him in life, that he might understand the meaning of eternity. There is nothing more powerful than a vivid memory of someone or something that you truly loved. Wesley hung onto that image for a while, the memory of his youth washing over him like a warm summer wave from the Indian Ocean.
"He must be gone Herr Price, the voltage was high enough to wake the dead," said Rolf as he removed the clamps from the battery posts, his hands carefully covered with a thick pair of rubber gloves.
"So it would seem. Apparently we captured the wrong conspirator. This one had courage I did not give him credit for. He must be part German don't you think?" Mr. Price said studying Wesley as he lay on the large conference table in center of the hotel suite.
He pressed his cheek close to the probable dead man's face and hovered for a moment to see if he could detect any sign of life. There was no indication that the man continued to breathe. His chest neither rose nor fell, there was no detectable moisture emanating from his nostrils. His skin was cold and clammy which validated the flat line on the monitor he was connected to. Mr. Allendale was dead now and unfortunately he had revealed nothing useful save the fact the time was near. Mr. Price knew the target had to be The Princess Grace but could not throw caution to the wind and was forced to divide his limited resources between the ocean liner and the next likely target which was to his mind the Peck family villa in Monte Carlo. Both he and Sanford Peck knew that Jackson's hate ran deep and they both knew the reason for it. When and where were the last two pieces of the puzzle, they already knew who, what, and why. He covered the dead man's body with a sheet and turned to leave the room.
"Dispose of this quietly," he said to Rolf as he passed by his aid.
"Ja mien Herr," Rolf replied dutifully.
A cool breeze came from nowhere as Wesley caught up with his pup and scooped him up into his arms. He heard himself giggle like a schoolboy and could feel Rex's wet kisses as the puppy lapped at his face while he held him close. In the distance his mother's voice called out to him. He couldn't make out the words but it sounded like the suppertime invitations he remembered hearing so many, many years ago. Wesley Allendale turned toward that sweet sound and ran into the wind and into the bright sunlight, the light leading to peace and eternity.
Mandelieu Marina…slip#18, Friday, August 29th, 2005…10pm
The fireworks display couldn't have ended soon enough for Randy Patel. Every snap, crackle, pop, and boom made him jump as he imagined one of Peck's goons busting a cap in his ass as it were. Randy was nervous enough even under the best of circumstances, but being a marked man had put him way over the top on the scared shitless scale. Oh, he did his best to mask his fear with humor, but his efforts were pitiful and made him look like Don Knotts in "The Shakiest Gun in the West!" Randy finished his fit check of the countermeasure equipment that Jack had installed earlier. It all looked good. Obviously Jack had no trouble with the schematics that he'd provided. Why should he thought Randy, after all Jack had been his professor during his post grad years at Cal Tech. Still, Randy would have taken pride in even the smallest of questions from his mentor.
"Are you checking up on me kid?" Jack asked appearing over Randy's shoulder suddenly.
"FUCK ME!" Randy shouted nearly jumping out of his skin and cracking his skull on the overhead. He hopped around the cabin clutching his head with both hands trying to rub out the sharp pain.
"Damn damn damn, that was fucked up Jack, what's the matter with you," Randy whined while he tried to rub away the pain with the heel of his hand.
"Nut up Nancy, you're not even bleeding," replied Jack taking a seat on the small fold down sofa. Randy stopped whimpering long enough to notice the 9mm Glock in Jack's hand.
He took a step toward him and pointed at the gun and asked, "What's that for man?"
"What do you think it's for? Different rules now dude. Wesley's missing and probably already fish food. I don't know about you, but I'm not going quietly into the great beyond my friend," Jack answered, brandishing the weapon foolishly.
"Does Pat know about that?" Randy asked.
"Yeah, of course," lied Jack.
Randy watched Jack handle the gun and the thought of a little personal protection actually sounded like a good idea. "Do you have another one of those things?" Randy asked nodding at the gun in Jack's hand.
"Have you ever fired one? Have you ever even held one?" Jack said answering a question with a question.
"I got a marksman badge in Scouts when I was 17, so yeah, I've held and fired a gun before," answered Randy in a snotty tone.
Jack suddenly tossed the weapon to Randy, catching him off guard causing him to juggle and drop the handgun. Squeezing his eyes shut Randy winced and covered both ears expecting a loud retort when the gun went off. Jack roared with laughter and walked over to pick up the gun from the floor. He put the gun butt first up to Randy's face and pointed at the empty chamber in the handle of the weapon.
"See? No magazine in there. I thought you said you fired one of these before, won a badge or something?" Jack asked sarcastically as he returned to his seat on the sofa.
Randy sighed deeply and exhaled. He walked over and sat beside Jack on the sofa. Leaning his head back against the bulkhead he closed his eyes. "You could have just said no," Randy said quietly.
"I suppose but where would the fun be in that?" Jack teased.
"Look, I have another one of these back at the hotel. What do you say I bring it over tomorrow and show you how to use it," Jack offered.
"How did you get them through customs?" Randy wondered out loud.
"I didn't. I bought them here about 2 hours ago. What do you say? Want to get a crash course in hand gun do's and don'ts?" Jack asked.
"Sure, why not, might as be prepared for the worst, am I right?" Randy said surrendering to the reality of their situation.
"Pat doesn't really know about these does he?" Randy asked rhetorically.
"Does it matter?" answered Jack anyway.
"Probably," said Randy.
Randy rolled his head toward Jack, "Got anymore surprises?" Randy asked.
Jack smiled and jammed a full clip into the Glock. "Not as far as you know," he replied getting up to leave. He walked over to the hatch and put a foot on the first rung of the ladder. "Let's go over and check on Jeckle as long as we're both here and wide awake.
Randy nodded and got up to follow him on up to the deck and then over to the adjoining slip where the second boat was berthed. Switching off the cabin lights as he climbed up the ladder he failed to notice a faint red light blinking slowly under the second rung of the short ladder. Jack was waiting for him topside, his hand gripping the gun behind his back tightly. Randy popped out and walked silently past him aft to the dock plank. When no question was asked, Jack relaxed his grip on his weapon. Clearly Randy's mind was elsewhere, and that was okay as far as Jack was concerned, he didn't feel like killing Randy anyway.
He would if he had to, but for now he didn't.