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Lost Sheep - Ch. 3/??

Title: Lost Sheep
Characters: Beck, Heather and Others
Rating: PG
Chapters: 3/??

Disclaimer: No, still don't own Jericho, and there was no Beck of my very own under the tree (with or without red bows in strategic places...bummer). Anyway, just having a little fun - not profit - and all characters will be returned safe and sound.

Unbetaed.  All mistakes are my own.

-------------------------------

 

Beck opened the garage door, and stopped short when three flashlights were turned on and aimed directly in his eyes.

"Going somewhere?" Jake asked.

Beck shielded his eyes, blinded, and tried to make out the shadowy trio confronting him. He blinked as the lights were turned on in the garage, and he recognized Heather, Jake and Hawkins through his watering eyes. As he waited for his vision to clear, Beck cursed to himself as he realized he hadn't taken Heather's curiousity or her intelligence into account, or considered the way news travelled in a small town. If he had considered those things, he thought with disgust, he would have handled it differently. Stolen the damn car. Maybe given Clark pointers on how to be discreet.

Even as he thought the last, he knew he was being unfair. Beck had simply misjudged how much the town observed his men - how much they observed him. Just because he was the town pariah didn't mean people weren't interested in his movements. They were probably more interested because he was the town pariah...he gave a mental shrug. It didn't matter now.

"I should have known," he groaned as his vision cleared. "Nothing happens in this town that you three don't know about."

"Where are you going, Beck?" Jake demanded. "And why the secrecy? Are you leaving Jericho and your men to fend for themselves?"

Beck sighed, opened the car door and flung his gear into the back seat.

"I have no choice," he grimly said, turning back to the trio. "I finally have a lead on my family's whereabouts - but it's six months old, and it came through Jennings and Rall. That means I need to keep it secret from the ASA, Constantino and Texas. And from you, Jake," Beck conceded.

Jake glared at him challengingly.

"I didn't want to have to kill you on my way out of town." Beck said drily. "Bad omen."

In spite of himself. Jake gave a reluctant half-smile.

"I plan on coming back and bringing my family with me, if I can find them. I will be as fast as I can. My intel is old - it may be a dead end almost immediately. But I need to try."

Jake stared at him for long moments. "I understand," he reluctantly said.

"You need a partner," Hawkins briskly said. "Somebody to ride shotgun. We're pretty stable around here, thanks to you and your men, as well as the Rangers, but the farther out you get, the more you need somebody watching your back."

"You can't go, Hawkins," Beck replied immediately. "You're still recovering. And - " Beck held up a hand as Hawkins opened his mouth to protest, "Jericho needs you more than I do. Same for you, Jake. Besides the fact that you want to kill me yourself, you're Jericho's sheriff, and leader of the Rangers. If anything happens while I'm gone, Jericho will need you - and Hawkins. And my men need plausible deniability, so I won't allow any of them to come with me."

"Plausible deniabilty?" Heather questioned, frowning.

Beck glanced at her and then quickly looked away. "I need you two to ensure my men are protected that way."

Hawkins and Jake glanced at each other and nodded.

"So, alone it is," Beck said with satisfaction, slapping his palm on the roof of the car.

"What about me?" Heather demanded.

Three pairs of brown eyes turned to her.

"You?" Jake replied. "No! The last time you left Jericho, I was told you died. No. It's not safe."

Heather rolled her eyes. "That's no reason," she snapped. "It's not safe here, either."

"You can't shoot!" Jake insisted.

"No, but I can drive. And I can outdrive anybody we meet."

Skeptical silence met this claim. Heather sighed.

"I souped up cars in high school - what do you think I did with them? I raced 'em. It's how I made my spending money. And gave Constantino a few headaches as well," she added with satisfaction.

Beck cocked his head and looked at her. "No," he said flatly.

"Why not?" she demanded.

"Because Jake is right. It's too dangerous for you."

"You need a partner. I'm the only one who can go with you. Therefore, I'm your partner."

Beck shook his head. "No," he said again, his voice even flatter.

"Look," Heather argued, "I'm the best choice to go. I can drive like a speed demon. I can fix the car if it breaks down. I can watch your back. And I have the only set of keys."

His expression hardened as he looked at the keys dangling from her fingers.

"Are you blackmailing me?" he asked, his voice dangerously calm.

"I prefer the term...persuading," Heather replied demurely. "Blackmail is so...harsh."

"Heather," Jake protested, "this isn't some summer road trip with the girls! It's dangerous out there!"

"Give me some credit, Jake," she snapped. "This isn't a chance for me to see the world and have some fun." She pointed a finger at Beck as she glared at Jake. "We need him! We need to make sure he makes it back to Jericho, and the best way to do that is to send somebody with him. I seem to be the best choice to go."

"She's right," Hawkins said as both Beck and Jake made a move to protest. "You need a second person - you can cover more ground more quickly that way. If she's as good a driver as she claims," Hawkins added, nodding at her, "then that may be what you need to save your lives."

"You can't outdrive a helicopter," Beck said grimly, and reached to grab the keys dangling from Heather's finger. She shied back and promptly tucked the keys into her bra.

For the first time since she met him, Beck's jaw literally dropped. He stared at where she had placed the keys for a long moment while Jake glared and Hawkins tried to hide a grin and a laugh.

"I think she's got you, Major," Hawkins finally managed.

Beck slowly raised his gaze to meet hers and Heather's world narrowed until there was nothing and nobody else but the man in front of her, and his eyes, which showed dark anger and...heated desire? It was the first sign of the man behind the controlled facade she had seen in three months. And then he blinked and time returned.

"You have no gear," Beck grated out, abruptly turning his back to her.

"In the trunk," Heather replied more serenely than she felt, her breathing rapid.

Jake stared at her. "What? When?" he sputtered.

"While you were getting Hawkins, I packed up and headed here. Got the keys and loaded my stuff into the trunk."

"You knew you were going with me?" Beck demanded, turning back to her.

Heather sighed and looked at him pityingly. "If you were going, I was going," she said simply, to Beck's obvious shock.

"Okay," Hawkins said, "that's settled. Where are you headed? And what route are you taking?"

Beck sighed. He knew he'd lost this battle - had lost it before he even knew there was going to be a battle. He may as well tell them everything, he thought with disgust, if only to make sure Heather could be rescued if something happened to him. He opened the car door, reached into his pack and pulled out a map. The four of them leaned over it as Beck spread it over the hood of the car and placed his finger on it. "A place called Antelope Wells, in New Mexico."

Hawkins stared at him, frowning. "That's just a border crossing. Population, two."

"Apparently not anymore. According to J&R, there were ten thousand people there six months ago. My...family among them. God knows how - or if - they've survived. Based on my intel, which has been somewhat limited the last three months, this," he traced a line with his finger, "is the route I've planned. Most of the smaller towns were evacuated - or abandoned. There's little road gang activity reported. There are a couple of larger towns that are supplied by the ASA, so we should be able to refuel as we go."

"How will you pay for gas?" Jake challenged.

"Salt," Heather replied. "I saw the sacks in the trunk," she shrugged at Jake's surprised look.

"Unmarked bags, I hope," Beck stated drily. She nodded. "Nothing can lead anybody back to Jericho," Beck explained in response to her puzzled frown. He glanced at Hawkins and Jake. "You know the ASA can't find out I'm gone."

Hawkins nodded sharply. "We'll work things from our end. You take care of yours."

Hawkins studied the map. "Our intel isn't much better then yours," he said thoughtfully, "but you'll want to go like hell through here," he pointed to a stretch of road about three hundred miles from Jericho. "Dale told us this evening that his men ran into some trouble with a road gang through there. Nothing too serious, but it needed to be noted."

Beck nodded. "Clark mentioned it. The roads were clear?"

Hawkins nodded. "As far as Dale's men went. You'll find out more about Antelope Wells the farther you go, especially if it has grown as large as your intel says."

Beck shook his head, sighing. "Ten thousand people couldn't last long without some kind of infrastructure."

Hawkins acknowledged the point, and then continued. "Take this," he held a cell phone out to Heather. "It's a secure phone - at least for now. Heather should be the only one to speak on it; her voice is less likely to be recognized. Use the code name Bo when you call. If necessary, call Chavez in Texas - have him relay messages. New Mexico is ASA territory. J&R has obviously not established themselves in Antelope Wells, otherwise your intel wouldn be more current - but they're around. So be careful."

Hawkins glanced at Heather. "You're new to this," he nodded at her. "New Bern and Cheyenne were nothing compared to what you'll be facing on this trip. Have you ever fired a gun before?"

She hesitated and then shook her head.

"Well - here," Hawkins handed Beck a small gun and some ammo. "Beck can show you how to use it later. No need to aim - just point and shoot in order to provide cover for Beck if necessary. But your main role will be to drive as well as you say you can." Hawkins gave her a long, cool stare. "And for both your sakes, you better be as good as you claim."

Heather stared wide-eyed at Hawkins and Beck thought she looked incredibly young and frightened.

"Okay," Beck briskly said, taking pity on her, "anything else?"

"That's it for now," Hawkins replied. "It shouldn't take long to get where you're going."

"If all goes well," Beck replied drily. "If we don't run into road gangs and if we can find gas." He rubbed his hands over his face and shook his head. "We may have to walk there and back." He glanced at Heather. "Are you prepared for that?" he demanded.

Heather raised her chin and glared back at him, her face stubborn. "You'd be surprised what I'm prepared for," she snapped.

For the second time that night, Heather felt pinned by his eyes as his mask dropped to show the man within. Even as the world narrowed to just the two of them, she felt a frisson of...something go down her back. For the first time she wondered if this decision to go with him was such a good idea after all.

"Keep us posted as much as you can," Hawkins said, breaking the moment. "If you run into major trouble, I'll see what I can do to get you rescued." Hawkins gave Beck a level stare. "For many reasons," he added quietly, and held out his hand to Beck. "Good luck."

Beck slowly reached out and shook Hawkins' hand.

Jake gave Beck a solemn stare. "Keep her safe," he said grimly, tilting his head towards Heather.

Beck glanced between the two of them. "I will," he promised.

Heather rolled her eyes. Jake turned to her. "This time, I'm not expecting a couple days," he said with a slight smile.

"No," she agreed, shaking her head. "More like a couple weeks."

He pulled her into what Heather privately called a Jake-Green-patented-bear-hug.

"Come back in one piece," he whispered and dropped a kiss on her ear.

She swallowed hard and nodded, hugging him back as hard as she could.

Beck watched dispassionately as they said their good-byes. When Jake let Heather go, Beck held out his hand to her. "The keys," he said.

Heather gave him a pitying look and got in the passenger seat before leaning over and putting the keys into the ignition.

Beck raised his eyes to the roof and prayed for patience before getting into the car and driving out of town.

Hawkins and Jake stood and watched the headlights disappear into the distance.

"This is such a bad idea," Jake sighed.

Hawkins gave a half-smile and kept his thoughts to himself.

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Comments

( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
janiekins
Jan. 1st, 2009 09:49 pm (UTC)
"You can't outdrive a helicopter," Beck said grimly, and reached to grab the keys dangling from Heather's finger. She shied back and promptly tucked the keys into her bra.


teehee! wanna go fishing Beck?

wonderful!
shirleyann66
Jan. 1st, 2009 09:59 pm (UTC)
teehee! wanna go fishing Beck?

You have no idea how truly tempting that thought was! LOL

(oh, and I would suspect the answer is yes to your question. ;) )
janiekins
Jan. 2nd, 2009 12:24 pm (UTC)

"You can't outdrive a helicopter," Beck said grimly, and reached to grab the keys dangling from Heather's finger. She shied back and promptly tucked the keys into her bra.


teehee! wanna go fishing Beck?

wonderful!



You have no idea how truly tempting that thought was! LOL

(oh, and I would suspect the answer is yes to your question. ;

i'm sure if there wasn't a crowd there that would plummet his ass
shirleyann66
Jan. 2nd, 2009 06:37 pm (UTC)
i'm sure if there wasn't a crowd there that would plummet his ass

I thought about it - really, seriously, thought about it. But man, it took me forever to get them out of that damn garage without the added distraction!! LOL Although, definitely a good idea for a totally smutty one shot...LOL

Yes, I need to get out more (or maybe I should say stay in more: it's currently -29 degrees Celsius; -39 with the windchill. Where's a Beck when you really, really, really need one????
:( )

ditte3
Jan. 3rd, 2009 06:41 pm (UTC)
Thanks for updating.Good chapter.
shirleyann66
Jan. 4th, 2009 12:22 am (UTC)
Hi, ditte3.

Thanks for commenting, and I'm glad you liked the chapter. I was wondering where you were. :)

I hope you had an enjoyable holiday season (whatever holiday you may celebrate...or not, as the case may be LOL).
inanna7
Jan. 4th, 2009 03:08 pm (UTC)
I'm thinking if the other two men were not there, the key retrieval would have been a lot more -- interesting.

Sorry, I had a laugh over the trading salt for gas because it made me think of my brother's old Camaro when I was a little girl. Trading salt for gas, good. Using salt for gas, bad... Fortunately for me, the car had many other issues with it at that point, so "foreign additives" in the gas tank were probably the least of its problems. >:-)

Hmm, the fast and the furious Heather, this should be interesting to see... I remember seeing a program with my boyfriend about the secret service and they showed some evasive car maneuvers. It was kind of interesting.
shirleyann66
Jan. 5th, 2009 01:05 am (UTC)
thinking if the other two men were not there, the key retrieval would have been a lot more -- interesting.

Well, now somebody may have to do a one-shot for that scene! LOL I need to keep a list of prompts, I think, so that plot bunnies don't get away from me. :)

made me think of my brother's old Camaro when I was a little girl. Trading salt for gas, good. Using salt for gas, bad...

Ooooohhhh...very bad. And your brother forgave you??? Right away, I mean. Ouch... ;)

Hmm, the fast and the furious Heather, this should be interesting to see...

If I can write it properly. Unfortunately, action scenes and I do not get along. :( Although how evasive can you be on a highway?? LOL
inanna7
Jan. 5th, 2009 05:56 am (UTC)
Actually, nobody was driving the car by the time I did that. It had been sitting in the driveway for about six months at that point because either something in the engine or the gears were shot at that point and I think it was likely more expensive to get repaired than the car was actually worth at that point. Though I did have a lot of fun in that car. My brother took my sister and I and did donuts in it in an unpaved parking lot one night. That was as good as the best roller coaster rides I've been on. By the time, I put that &, uh, well, other stuff, in the gas tank, someone should have played taps over it long before.

Well, the neat maneuver I remember seeing was where they whip the car around. Basically, you lay on the gas while the car is in reverse, the slam on the breaks. While you are slamming on the breaks, crank the wheel, which spins the car around just like you see in the movies and accelerate out. You could always use that if they are going down the highway and meet up with someone they'd rather quickly avoid. Besides, I'd love to read something about Beck saying something like he's unfazed while she's doing some maneuver and she can see his white knuckled grip on the dashboard. That would actually be pretty amusing, especially if it's a maneuver that she's done hundreds of times and has pretty much scared the crap out of everyone else but her. Hoping that gives you some helpful plot bunnies. :)
inanna7
Jan. 5th, 2009 06:04 am (UTC)
sorry, little sleepy... I meant to say brakes...
shirleyann66
Jan. 6th, 2009 02:45 pm (UTC)
:) I understand. LOL
shirleyann66
Jan. 6th, 2009 02:55 pm (UTC)
Hoping that gives you some helpful plot bunnies. :)

Oh, it does! That was pretty much the only maneuver I could think of on a highway in Kansas, in a car. If I had put them in a 4-wheel drive, off-road vehicle, it might have been different. But, no-o-o-o, I didn't think that far ahead! LOL I do have some ideas for dialogue; it's just deciding when in the story to put it in there...hmmmmm... ;)

By the time, I put that &, uh, well, other stuff, in the gas tank, someone should have played taps over it long before.

Well, at least it wasn't in it's prime...I guess...bwahahaha!! Poor car - although it sounds like you guys had a lot of fun with it.


nativefloridian
Jan. 4th, 2009 06:49 pm (UTC)
She shied back and promptly tucked the keys into her bra.

Bwahahahaha!

I once used this to keep things away from my bf. It took him a while to figure out where it was, and thereafter it only worked well in public.
shirleyann66
Jan. 5th, 2009 01:10 am (UTC)
It took him a while to figure out where it was, and thereafter it only worked well in public.

At least he's gentleman enough to behave himself in public! That's not always the case. ;)
nativefloridian
Jan. 5th, 2009 12:36 am (UTC)
Beck raised his eyes to the roof and prayed for patience

Oh dear, this is going to be an interesting trip.

Random thought - you remember that whole plot line in B5 where Marcus escorted Stephen to Mars?

*I am the very model of a modern major general...*
shirleyann66
Jan. 5th, 2009 01:15 am (UTC)
Random thought - you remember that whole plot line in B5 where Marcus escorted Stephen to Mars?

*I am the very model of a modern major general...*


YES!!!! Bwahahahahahaha!!! "This is the kind of conversation that can only end in a gunshot" - man, I miss that show. And I adored Marcus. :)
inanna7
Jan. 5th, 2009 06:01 am (UTC)
I think I sympathize with Stephen a bit on that one. Even though I thought Marcus could be quite funny, having to listen to him open and close his staff for hours on end because it helped him think better -- I'd be forced to wanting to shoot him too...
shirleyann66
Jan. 6th, 2009 02:49 pm (UTC)
I'd be forced to wanting to shoot him too...

Oh, I would have wanted to shoot him, too. Or something... ;) But it was hysterical to watch. Wouldn't want to experience it necessarily (poor Stephen!).
nativefloridian
Jan. 6th, 2009 09:57 pm (UTC)
Do you remember the end credits? they included an outtake...he kept singing after they yelled cut.
shirleyann66
Jan. 6th, 2009 11:50 pm (UTC)
And then you hear Stephen going "aaaahhhh!!!" (or was that before they yelled cut??) Those end credits had me giggling for a long time after the end of that episode. :)
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )

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