Disclaimer: The characters of "The Magnificent Seven" are copyright of MGM, Mirisch, and Trilogy Entertainment. Don't own 'em. Won't make any money writing this story.

Rating: Will vary by part (G to NC-17) M/F

Note: This is Part 7 of the Rescue Challenge Fanfic.

I'm Not Sure About This . . . (The Great Circle Route)
by Rose Taylor

PROLOG

"You've lost six of them!?! That's unfathomable!!" the exec hissed.

"I'm sorry, sir! It's just-" the tech stammered.

"You're sorry! YOU'RE SORRY!! Never mind, just revive the last one. By the way, who is it?"

"Nathan Jackson, the healer."

"Oh, him. Good plot device to bring Larabee and Tanner together! Wasn't he supposed to stay in the Seminole village after the Confederate soldiers were driven out?"

"He decided to ride out with the others."

"Uppity damned character! Uppity damned females, to try rescuing 'em! Well, they won't rescue this one!! Revive him, and get out of here ASAP!!"

"Sir?"

"You heard me. Move! Never mind if he's groggy and disoriented-all the better! He's nothing by himself, but the others aren't complete without him. Wasn't somebody saying something about skinheads in the area?"


The car was nondescript as possible - a boxy imported sub-compact station wagon, with beige-gray paint and a dull finish. No primer spots. No dents or scratches. It whined "Don't look at me." She loved it. It was perfect.

"You're not driving THAT, are you?" from one of the list moms.

"Why not? It's low profile." she replied.

"It's ugly as a blind date!" someone shot back.

She checked her emergency supplies - SNAFUs had happened to the others, and she didn't want to be caught unprepared. Picnic cooler containing ice, bread, cold cuts, cheese slices, assorted fruits and vegetables and non-alcoholic beverages. LARGE first aid kit. Fake ID cards and driver's licenses for both of them. "Both?" they'd asked.

"Both!" she had insisted. She was already making contingency plans. A Rand Mcnally atlas. Cash - all she could scrounge - changing some of it to Canadian currency. Extra clothing for both of them. Blankets. Shaving kit and toiletries. She racked her brain, trying to think of anything else she might need. "Anything else you gals think I should take?" No one had any suggestions, so she got into the Invisimobile (she hoped it would be unnoticed) and headed for the facility.

She was halfway there when she realized there was something she had forgotten - GAS! "Boy, would I have felt stupid if I'd run out of gas trying to escape!" she murmured to herself. Seeing a discount station up ahead, she pulled in and told the cashier she was filling it up. While waiting for the tank to fill, she checked the oil, water, and tires (all were OK), and washed the windshield. There was another vehicle in the station, a van, and she overheard the driver telling his passenger about the man they'd just dumped out near a bar just down the road. As she listened, she realized the were talking about Nathan, and the bar they'd dumped him near was a hangout for a local group of neo-Nazi skinheads! Fortunately, just as she made the connections, the gas pump stopped, signaling the tank was full. She moved without hurrying, bumping the gas pump to get it to the nearest dollar, and walking to the cashier's booth to pay for it, instead of charging around in a panic as she wished to do. She didn't want to draw the attention of the men in the van.

She got in her car and pulled away, still not hurrying, and drove to the bar, trying to figure out how to get Nathan away with the least amount of attention. It became a moot point, as she saw him trying to run down the road, away from the men chasing him. She pulled up beside him and yelled, "Get in!!", throwing open the door as she stopped. He dove in, practically landing in her lap, and slammed the door shut as she hit the gas, and they peeled out, leaving his pursuers choking on dust. He apologized, introduced himself, and asked who she was and why had she stopped.

"My name's Loke, and I'm supposed to be rescuing you." she replied, glancing in the mirror for signs of pursuit.

"Why you?" Nathan asked. "I have six friends who should be doing that."

"Your friends needed rescuing themselves." she said. "Don't worry, they're all safely away, headed to a place called Las Vegas, in Nevada." She suddenly chuckled, and he wanted to know what was so funny. "Not amusing so much as ironic. A Southerner rescuing a black man from a bunch of Yankees."

He had to chuckle about that, himself. Then he noticed a road sign -- RT198 North. "Why are we headed north? Last time I looked, Nevada territory was out West. Since you mentioned Yankees, I figure we must be somewhere in the East."

"There's a possibility we might be pursued, and not by the guys who were chasing you earlier. You haven't asked how you got Back East from where you were. You and your friends were kidnapped by a group of people who wanted to control you. They kept you drugged so you wouldn't try to escape." Not exactly the truth, but as close as she could get without really long, complicated explanations. "You didn't go strait north when you escaped, did you?"

"Have to admit, I didn't." He paused, and then changed the subject. "What kind of contraption is this we're riding in anyway? I've never seen anything like it. Heck, I've never seen anything like a lot of things I've seen today."

"The proper name for it is automobile, but everybody calls it a car. It's sort of like a train engine, but smaller, since it only has to pull itself, instead of a bunch of other cars. There are going to be a LOT of things you 're not going to understand, because," she paused, not knowing how to say it, "well, because you're - Oh, Hell!" she interrupted herself, glancing in the mirror and hitting the gas again.

"What is it?" he asked.

"Somebody's coming up behind us, moving pretty fast." she said.

She supposed the oversized pick-up was a good sign -- it meant their pursuers were from the bar, and not the network. She swerved into a dirt road, hoping it would be curvy enough to slow down pursuit and keep them hidden from possible gunshots. Speaking of which --

"Do you happen to have a gun in this 'car'?" Nathan asked, trying to hold on while she navigated curves.

"Under your seat. Aim at the tires." she replied. She hoped her brother-in-law wouldn't be too upset she'd taken one of his guns, and ammo for it.

"Tires?" he inquired.

"Wheels!" she said, taking another curve and trying to stay on the road while hoping nobody was coming from the other direction.

"Big as they are, shouldn't be too hard to hit!" he yelled back. A sudden "Ping!" alerted them their pursers were armed. Nathan leaned out of the window, took aim and fired. He must have hit something, because the truck fishtailled and slowed. A few minutes later, they came to another paved road. They seemed to have lost their pursuers, so the two concentrated on figuring out where they were. Roadsigns guided them back to the road they'd been on, and soon they were starting to relax. Loke told Nathan about seatbelts, and got him to put his on. She also mentioned the lever at the side of the seat, allowing the seatback to be lowered, and Nathan lowered it and promptly fell asleep. She woke him some hours later, as they approached the Canadian border. She pulled into a rest area just shy and shook him awake.

"Where are we?" he asked, yawning.

"Almost to Canada. Thought you might want to freshen up, since you have to be awake to cross. Damn!" she swore, "I don't think you know how to use the facilities."

"Maybe you could show me." he remarked.

"They're segregated by gender -- I'm not allowed in the Men's rest room. Just try to watch what others are doing, and imitate them." she told him, hoping he wouldn't get into any trouble.

He must have managed, for a few minute later, they met back at the car. She was looking around, hoping to spot anybody who might be from the network. She couldn't believe they'd gotten clean away. She jumped about a foot in the air when Nathan tapped her on the shoulder. "Sorry. You hungry? We could eat something before we leave."

"I could do with a bite to eat," he commented, "and while we're eating, you can tell me what's going on. This place is so strange, I'm certain we're not just someplace Back East. Something more happened than just moving us from one place to another, didn't it?"

She was just reaching for the cooler, and thinking about what she would tell him, when she saw the cars. Dark sedans with dark-suited men in them. They'd been found! "Get in, quick! They've found us!"

Nathan stood there, arms folded across his chest. "I'm not going anywhere with you 'til I get some answers." he said, as the sedans pulled into the lot.

"I promise I'll answer all your questions if you just GET IN the car!" she pleaded. Too late -- a sedan blocked their escape, and two men grabbed Nathan, while another caught Loke.

"That was slick -- heading north to throw us off. Too bad it didn't work. Now, you're gonna tell us where the others are, and the 'doc' here is going back in the freezer, where the rest will soon join him." the one holding her said.

"I don't know where the others are!" she retorted, trying to free herself. Not exactly a lie, as she didn't know how far toward Vegas anyone else was.

"You know the rendezvous point, and that's what we need. We'll just swoop down and gather up all our wayward cowboys and dump 'em back in the freezer where they belong." one of the ones holding Nathan pointed out.

"Don't hold your breath waiting for me to tell you." she tried to bluff, but couldn't keep the fear out of her voice.

It happened so fast it made her head spin to remember it later. Even with him in the car, she'd forgotten he was nearly as large as Josiah. Apparently, so had the goons holding them, and they'd also forgotten he could fight as well heal. He broke free of the men holding him, knocking one out with a swift, straight right, and quickly taking care of the other. Loke tried to help out, biting her captor while he was distracted, and making a break for the car when she was released. She got in and started it up, hoping Nathan would join her. She wasn't prepared for the shots that rang out, three in swift succession, before he dived in through the door she'd thrown open. As they pulled away, going over the grass to avoid the sedan that had them blocked in, she heard him say, "Shot the wheels of their cars so they couldn't follow. They gonna chase us into Canada?"

"I'd hoped to completely elude pursuit, since I'm not much of a fighter, but I'm afraid yes, they're going to follow us into Canada." she sighed. "They said going north was slick. They hadn't expected that, so how did they know? They must have a bug on you somewhere."

"Bug?" he asked, looking down at himself as if to see it.

"It's not an insect type bug," she replied, "it's a device to track people. It's probably in your clothes. I have spare clothing, since I'd anticipated being on the road several days. Wait," she told him, seeing he'd taken off his shirt and was about to toss it out the window, "we need to do something else with the clothes you're wearing. If they stop moving, they'll know we figured out what they did, and try finding us some other way. For right now," she smiled at the cliche, "keep your shirt on till we're past the border."

He slipped the shirt back on, for which she was grateful. Loke'd seen lots of guys without shirts -- a fairly common sight in Hawaii -- but a shirtless Nathan wasn't a good sight. The scars on his back had company -- thin marks across his chest and arms, a legacy of his days as his masters' fencing partner. She was surprised he'd taken his shirt off in the first place.

They crossed the border without incident, using the fake IDs, and stopped at a truck stop just a few klicks down the road. Nathan changed clothes in the men's room, and Loke sold the ones he'd been wearing to one of the truckers. "You sold them?" he questioned. "What if those guys catch up to him? Won't he be in trouble?"

"I doubt it, and since he's headed to Kansas City, it may take them a while to catch up with him. Since he's headed west, they may simply trail him till he gets home, and not realize their mistake until then." she answered, finishing her coffee and leaving a few dollars (American, since they were close to the border) on the table before paying for their meal. She debated buying gas, and decided against it. "We have to change cars. They know what this one looks like. Too late tonight, though, so let's just find a place to sleep, and do it in the morning." They took a room in the motel next to the truck stop, and she showed him how to work the shower and let him go first. The room had two beds, so when she came out, she took the unoccupied one and was soon asleep.

Nathan had finished his patrol, and was entering his room. He saw someone in his bed, and nearly drew his gun before remembering he'd told Rain she could stay there after the fright she'd taken earlier. "Take it easy, it's only me." he told her, coming over to the bed to see how she was doing. Rain sat up in the bed and reached for him, taking his face in her hands and giving him a gentle kiss. The kiss lead to others, and that to the shedding of clothes. Soon they were naked together, Nathan marveling at the satiny softness of her skin. His lips trailed down her neck and chest until they found her breasts, and he took turns suckling first one, and then the other, using his hand to caress the breast not in his mouth. His other hand was exploring her flesh, touching her in ways and places that made her gasp in pleasure. Her own hands and lips weren't idle, driving him on with sweet urgency. His hand reached between her thighs as hers found his rock-hard penis. As she stroked him, caressing him with her thumb, he was using his own thumb to massage her clitoris. He stopped her caresses before he exploded, and gently parted her thighs, asking, "Are you sure you want this?", and receiving a nod in reply before slowly plunging into her, breaking her hymen. She moved against him in a rhythm as old as time, and he responded, his strokes becoming faster and deeper as the urgency could no longer be denied. She arched against him, crying out and clamping the muscles of her vagina around him as she climaxed, driving him over the edge to his own release. He cried out as his sperm shot into her womb --

A loud, sustained ringing woke him from his dream, and he sat up in bed, seeking the source of the noise. It appeared to be coming from an instrument on the table between the beds, consisting of an oddly-shaped object sitting on top of a boxy-looking base and attached to it with a spiraling cord. The -- what had she called it? Telephone? -- paused a moment in its ringing, only to start up again. Loke sat up in bed, grabbing the odd-looking part and putting it to the side of her head. She spoke into it briefly before replacing it into its cradle atop the boxy thing.

"That thing gonna start up again?" he asked, giving the telephone a wary look.

"I doubt it, as the only people who know we're here are the management, and we'll be gone soon. Why don't you, uh, take care of things first?" she nodded towards the bathroom.

He returned her nod, and, grabbing some clean clothes, ducked into the bath and emerged a little while later, freshly washed, clean-shaven, and ready to face the day. Or so he hoped. Loke took her turn in the bathroom, and they dropped off the key and started looking for a used-car lot, eating some of the fruit from the cooler and drinking some juice as breakfast. They quickly located a lot, and got a fairly good price on the Ivisimoble, needing only a small amount of cash to acquire a white miniwagon. They transferred their belongings and were soon on their way once more, stopping only to fill Ivisimoble II with gas.

"Now," Nathan demanded, as they pulled away from the gas station, "you gonna tell me just where it is that I am, where my friends are, and what happened to us?"

Loke spent the next hour telling him everything she knew about the situation, and answering questions to the best of her ability. When Nathan heard about Chris being wanted for murder, he was desperate to go looking for him, and Loke was hard-pressed to convince him it was vital to get to Vegas first. "Look," she pointed out, "he doesn't know you're out, and, if he's good as you seem to think, we'll probably never find him. We do know, however, he's headed for Vegas, along with all the others. Shouldn't we go to Vegas and get the others to help? We don't even know where to start looking. I know you want to help him, the seven of you have been through so much together, but he wouldn't want you to do it by yourself. We need the others, and the only place I know we'll find them is Vegas." That seemed to mollify him, and he was quiet for a time after that, doubtless making plans to find Chris as soon as possible.

The silence was oppressive, and to relieve it Loke turned on the radio, turning the tuner till she found a country station. The sounds of Shania Twain's "Who's Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?" shrieked out from the speakers, and she turned down the volume to a level her ears could tolerate, just slightly louder than the sound of a normal conversation.

"WHAT THE HELL'S THAT?" Nathan shouted, as she turned it down.

Loke couldn't help but laugh at the healer's discomfiture. "It's called a radio, and it sorta comes in two parts -- a transmitter that sends out the sounds, and a receiver that picks the sounds up and plays them. What you're hearing right now is some of what passes for music these days. It's called 'Country Music', because it's popular in rural areas."

He seemed thoughtful as she explained the radio to him, and went back to his musings as it continued to play. She started to sing along as Lee Ann Womack's "I'll Think of a Reason Later" came on, and continued as other songs played, and they drove on through the Canadian countryside.

They stopped and had a picnic lunch at a rest area, and after lunch Loke decided to try something she'd been considering for sometime. When they got back in the car, she had Nathan get in the driver's seat. "You surely don't intend for me to try operating this thing?" he remarked.

"I certainly do." she confirmed. "It isn't that hard. If our ruse should fail, and they come after us, if they see you driving, they'll think twice about stopping us, because they 'know' you can't drive." She went through all the things he'd need to know about driving -- the pedals, the gearshift, the turn signals, and most especially the cruise control. He was a little nervous at first, but when nothing bad happened, he grew more confidant and relaxed. He got the car up to speed, and activated the cruise control, taking his foot off the gas. Now all he had to do was watch the road and steer. She saw how quickly he picked up the fundamentals of driving, as long as the road didn't have too much traffic, but knew he wasn't ready for city driving just yet. "Mind if I turn on the radio?"

"Go ahead." he murmured, most of his attention on the road. This driving didn't seem all that hard, Nathan thought. When darkness started to fall, Loke had him pull over, and took over the wheel. They'd made pretty good time, and were almost a quarter of the way across Canada by now. She debated driving through the night while Nathan slept in the back, but decided he wasn't quite good enough to drive unsupervised yet.

"Campground, or motel?" she asked him. "Campgrounds are cheaper, but they don't provide all the amenities like a motel." They decided on a campground, and quickly found one. They ate another picnic dinner, used the facilities, and prepared to sleep, Nathan stretched out in the rear, and Loke curled up on the front seat. Cramped quarters, but they managed to get some sleep, and Loke's travel alarm woke them in the morning.

They spent two more days crossing Canada before turning south at Lethbridge, Alberta. There'd been no sign of network goons, and Loke was getting nervous. She knew they'd discovered Nathan's clothes had parted company from him some days ago, and now wondered if they were lying in wait for the pair to cross the border. Montana was suddenly looking more and more unfriendly. Should they stay on I-15? It went straight to Las Vegas, but straight was something she really didn't completely trust. She checked her atlas. There were several alternate routes she could take, depending on where they'd have to leave the interstate. She decided to stay on I-15 until the goons found them.

She needn't have worried. No goons appeared during the two days it took them to get to the outskirts of Las Vegas, but still, better safe than sorry. She called the contact number she'd been given. What if one or more of the guys were still missing? What if she was the only one to get through? She hoped there were Nightingales to distract Nathan when she got him to the rendezvous. The phone was answered, and she spoke briefly to the person on the other end, then hung up with a sigh. She turned to the man she'd spent nearly a week with, crossing Canada, and saw his anxious expression.

"It's all right," she said, "they all made it safely through, and they're waiting for us to arrive."


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