Ice monkeys drunk monkey.., p.31

Ice Monkeys [Drunk Monkeys 7] (Siren Publishing Ménage Everlasting), page 31

 

Ice Monkeys [Drunk Monkeys 7] (Siren Publishing Ménage Everlasting)
 



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  “Give me a better option.”

  “I can’t. That’s why this is so fucked up.” Omega pulled his sat-phone out of his pocket and walked away to make calls.

  Less than thirty minutes later, Victor was geared up and strapped in. He still felt okay to fly, even though he was shivering more now. It was him, Doc, Mama, Sin, and Zed who flew with him, leaving Clara behind to continue setting up the lab.

  Victor opted to wait to call Uni to update him after he was safely inside the CDC. Then Donna wouldn’t be able to get to him and put herself at risk trying to see him.

  “Everyone buckled in?” he called over his shoulder.

  “Yeah,” Doc said.

  No one would fly co-pilot with Victor this time. Everyone sat as far back as they could in the cabin, everyone in full protective gear. Because of the headset, Victor couldn’t wear a full hood. They’d covered the pilot and co-pilot seats with plastic bags duct-taped around them. They would remove the pilot headset when Victor got out, and whoever flew the bird out of there would use the co-pilot headset and a bunny suit sans hood. Before it took off, Doc would thoroughly wipe down the entire interior with disinfectant. Between that and the cold air, and the virus’ short external life, Mama was confident it would be enough.

  It was the best they could do, under the circumstances.

  Victor focused on flying and wasn’t even paying attention to the fully suited personnel standing on the roof and waiting for them when he landed the bird on the indicated helipad. It was only after he unplugged the headset, got out, and turned that he got a good look at the guy in the bunnysuit who’d stepped forward to greet them.

  The man grinned behind his protective hood. “Son of a bitch. I can’t leave you alone for five damn years without you getting your ass in trouble, can I, Quent?”

  “Jim?”

  “Major Jim Maddox to you, grunt.” He smacked Victor on the shoulder.

  “That’s Specialist Maddox to you, sir,” he shot back, unable to contain his grin and fighting the urge to hug the man.

  Figures. First time he’d seen his damn brother in five years and it was under these circumstances.

  Doc handed Victor a hood to put on. Once Victor had removed his headset and donned the hood, he turned back to his brother.

  “What the hell are you doing in Atlanta?” Victor asked him.

  “My unit was put in charge of security here. Specifically, I’m now head of security at this facility until the emergency is over. SOTIF13. You can call me Archie.”

  Victor grinned. “SOTIF1, asshole. And that’s Victor to you.”

  “Sonofabitch,” Jim said, still smiling. “You made the cut before me? Dick. I’m proud of you.”

  There were several personnel standing out of earshot. Doc stepped in. “No offense, but can we cut this short? We need to get him into isolation stat.”

  “Sure. Sorry.” Jim stared at Victor. “I outrank you. So I’m ordering you to get better.”

  “Yeah, well, not that I ever did take orders well from you, but that’s one I’m going to do my damnedest to follow.”

  * * * *

  Once they had Victor set up in a secure isolation room and settled in with monitor leads attached to him, Victor finally called Uni.

  His temperature had risen by another three degrees, and considering he’d been out in the freezing cold in an unheated helicopter while wearing little more than scrubs and a bunnysuit, he knew what that meant.

  “How you doing?” Uni asked by way of greeting.

  “Upgraded digs, at least. I’m in a bed with blankets and cable TV.”

  “What?”

  Victor explained.

  “Shit. I need to wake her up and tell her.”

  “Yeah. Let me talk to her, though, please? I want to break it to her.”

  “Sure. Hold on.”

  There were sounds like Uni was moving through the house, then a door opening and closing, and then Uni talking to her before she came on the line, sounding sleepy and disoriented.

  “Victor?”

  “Hey, baby. Sorry to wake you up.”

  “What’s going on?”

  He sucked in a deep breath. “I don’t have any easy way to say this but to say it.” He closed his eyes and struggled not to lose his composure as she started crying halfway through his story.

  “But you’re going to get better, right?”

  “That’s my plan, baby. We don’t even know for sure yet if I’m going to get sick. For now, this is just a precaution.” He didn’t want to tell her about the chills, the growing fever, or the headache trying to set in. It might just be tension, stress.

  Or it could be a sign of Kite.

  “Can I come see you?”

  “No, not right now. It’s not safe. They’ll let you know when you can.”

  Her sobs ripped his heart out. “You have to get better. I can’t lose you. I love you.”

  “I love you, too, babe. I’m tough. Don’t go counting me out. Hey, look on the bright side. If I do get sick, they might be able to guinea pig me.”

  “It’s not worth risking your life though!”

  “It wasn’t intentional, believe me.” He sighed. “I know this is a stupid thing to say, but please try not to worry yet. Now, I love you, and I want you to put Uni back on the phone.”

  “I love you, too. You have to get better.”

  “That’s what everyone keeps telling me, and what I plan to do.”

  Uni came back on. “Hey.”

  “Hey, man. Want to know what’s weird?”

  “Besides you catching a damn glass box full of Kite?”

  “Yeah, besides that. My brother’s here. Head of security. SOTIF13.”

  “No shit?”

  “No shit. Funny way to have a family reunion, huh?”

  “Yeah. Tell me about it.”

  Clara came into the room and held up a hypo. “I need to go. They need to pull some more blood from me. We should have named her Dracula instead of Clara.”

  Uni chuckled. “I’ll mention that to Papa. Love you, man.”

  “Love you, too, bro. Take care of our girl for me until I get out of here.”

  “You know I will.”

  Victor ended the call and sat up so she could get to his arm. “No po-clo, huh? You promise?”

  She glared at him. “Don’t even joke. You think your own brother’s going to let someone in here to do that to you?” She pointed at the observation window, where several people were gathered out in the hall on the other side of the decontamination room that separated his room from the rest of the secured isolation ward.

  “I hope he wouldn’t be that jealous of his little bro being in SOTIF1 to do that.” He grinned.

  Clara glared at him again.

  His smile faded. “Sorry. Just trying to lighten the mood.”

  She drew his blood and then checked his vitals. He wasn’t feeling so great and told her about the headache.

  She noted his symptoms, her face now an unreadable mask.

  “Hey, do not keep shit from me just to spare my feelings,” he said. “I can take it.”

  “Doc’s symptoms came on fast, too,” she reminded him. “And he’s just fine. I’m going to get you started on an IV and push fluids and some antibiotics.”

  “You said antibiotics don’t work against this shit.”

  “No, they don’t, but it’ll help keep any opportunistic infections from jumping in there if your immune system is compromised. And I want to keep you hydrated.”

  Victor glanced out the window again. Earlier, on the walk there from the helipad, Jim had told him there were twenty rooms in that ward, and so far, he was the only resident. They would keep it that way if possible, with two of his men on guard at all times outside the door to Victor’s room. If the guards didn’t recognize someone, they wouldn’t be allowed inside the room without Jim’s clearance, or unless Victor okayed it from inside because he knew them. Four CDC staffers were being assigned to help Mama and Si
n in the lab there on the floor, two of them medics from Jim’s unit.

  “Spreading you awfully thin, aren’t they?” Victor had asked him.

  “No, they’re sending us more backup once they’re cleared. You might be in SOTIF1, but we’re so far off the black-ops books that we’re invisible.” Jim had grinned at him. “Carte blanche.”

  “Yeah? Well, we’re going to take down Hannibal Silo after our eggheads fix Kite.”

  “Wish I could hug you right now,” Jim said before Victor had stepped through the door to his room.

  “Me, too, bro,” Victor had said back.

  Now Jim stood there staring at him and looking pained.

  He nodded at him, and Jim finally nodded back before walking away.

  Clara poked him in the shoulder with her finger. “You’re going to be fine,” she insisted. “Don’t go getting all emo and mushy on me, now, tough guy. You have an image to uphold.”

  “If you guys feel you need to give Donna a sedative or something to help her out, please do it. She’s been through enough.”

  “We’re not even there yet. If you’ve missed the memo, the women in this unit are far tougher than they might appear at first glance.”

  “She’s not like you guys. She’s never been through anything like this before.”

  “Then I suspect you’re about to see a new side of her.” Clara patted his shoulder. “I’ll be back in a minute. I need them to bring me the IV supplies.” She headed out into the decontamination room and tapped on the window to get someone’s attention.

  Victor focused on the TV, bumping the sound up a little. The area was about to be slammed by yet another winter storm and residents were being advised to get and stay inside and not travel unless it was urgent. Government offices and schools would all be closed at least until Wednesday, the roads impassible Monday and probably into Tuesday.

  When Clara returned with the IV pole, bags of fluid, and other supplies, he looked up at her. “Get a message to Uni for me. Have Omega or one of the other guys tell him so it doesn’t tip off Donna. The weather’s gonna turn to shit again. Make him keep Donna there at the safe house. It’s the perfect excuse to keep her away from me.”

  “They’re going to want to come see you.”

  “I know. And I’d rather have a tablet where I can talk to them on a video chat with some privacy. I don’t want Donna near this place until it’s safe.”

  “I’ll have Lima get you a tablet. Anything else you want?”

  “A decent meal would be nice. MREs suck. Maybe some hot chocolate?”

  She grinned. “This is a hospital. Don’t count on the food being better than an MRE.”

  Once she got the IV started and made sure he didn’t need anything else, she left him alone. He hated like hell that he was putting her and the others at risk.

  Oscar and Yankee will kill me if she catches this shit from me.

  Then the thought hit him that he might not survive for them to kill him later.

  Chapter Forty

  Donna didn’t know how much more she could take. Sunday night, several more of the Drunk Monkeys arrived at the safe house to bunk down and weather out the latest winter storm. One of them, introduced as Doc, sat on the edge of the bed while Uni stayed there with her.

  “Mind if I talk to you for a couple of minutes?” Doc asked.

  “Can Uni stay?”

  “Of course. I’d like to examine you.”

  “He’s really a doctor,” Uni said.

  “Okay.” She sat up and Doc took her vital signs, listened to her heart beat, and took her blood pressure.

  “Where’s the script they gave her?” Doc asked.

  Uni handed over the bottle.

  He read the contents. “Okay. Donna, I’m going to give you something else, a shot. It’ll help you sleep tonight. Tomorrow, we’ll see how you feel and go from there. You need to talk to us. Any of us, or even just Uni. We’ve been through this a lot. I caught this shit in LA and I got better.”

  “You did?”

  “He did,” Uni said. “He’s a tough guy, but not nearly as tough as Victor.”

  Doc smiled. “Gee, thanks.”

  “True story.”

  “The point is,” Doc said, “I know you’re hurting right now. I can’t imagine what you’ve just been through. We’re a family, but we need you to lean on us and get through this and get stronger. We need you to be able to deal with this. You’ve got a great analytical mind, and you’re going to be a busy woman helping us with all the data. We can give you time to grieve but there’s going to come a time when you have to get moving again so you can keep up with us. Okay?”

  A fuzzy numbness had set in, probably due in no small part to the meds she was on.

  Yet she knew he was right.

  She’d just started to get a handle on pulling herself out of the emotional quicksand with Lisa and Ginny when they got the news about Victor.

  “When can we go see him?”

  “Maybe late tomorrow. Depends on the weather. But if you go see him, you need to be strong. He can’t see you falling apart. He won’t be able to focus on getting better if he’s worried about you. Understand?”

  She nodded.

  He dug into his bag and pulled out a bolus, prepping the shot. “Not allergic to any medicine, are you?”

  “No.”

  He gave her the shot. In just a couple of minutes, she felt fuzzy, calm, detached.

  He flashed a light in her eyes, checking her pupils. “Better?”

  She nodded, yawning.

  Uni laid her back on the bed and cuddled with her as she slipped into a deep, blessedly dreamless sleep.

  * * * *

  Uni breathed a sigh of relief as whatever Doc gave her kicked in and she went to sleep.

  Doc stood and packed his stuff. “That’ll keep her out likely until morning.”

  “Thanks.”

  “I gave her a strong dose. I can give her a much smaller one tomorrow if she still needs it.” He met Uni’s gaze. “We can arrange a safe house for her.”

  “No. She comes with us.”

  “She has to be able to keep up.”

  “She will. She’s just getting her legs back under her. Just like Ak needed to do. We’re not on the run. We have a base, and we’ve got a safe satellite hideout.”

  “She’s your package.”

  “Scooter,” Uni said, smiling. “Her code name’s Scooter.”

  “Really?”

  “Really. Long story.” After pressing a kiss to her forehead, Uni stood and walked out with Doc, closing the door behind them.

  In the living room, Ax sat huddled in a chair, being glared at by several of their group who’d just met him and realized the role his actions played in the deaths of Donna’s friends. Some of them had just met Donna, but since she was one of them, the deaths of her friends hit them personally, too.

  “Get Mary Silo to come in,” Uni said to him. “However you need to do it. Tell her everything, tell her why she has to come in.”

  “Everything?”

  “Not that we’re the Drunk Monkeys, but most everything else. Tell her about Barstow, and tell her about what we dealt with in LA. Whatever dirty tricks you have to use, we need to find her.”

  He nodded toward the hallway leading to the bedrooms. “Is she okay?”

  “No, she’s not fucking okay. Her goddamned best friends were chopped up into little pieces while they were still alive. She’s not fucking okay. And now my partner, one of the men she loves, might die from this fucking Kite shit. How okay do you think she is, huh? She’s been forcibly pulled from her life, her job, her routine, her family. You’re fucking lucky I didn’t let her kill you the other night. Luckier for you we need you alive or I’d think about taking a few whacks at you myself.”

  “Uni,” Omega said, standing and holding a hand out. “Ease up.”

  “No, I’m not going to fucking ease up!” He pointed at Ax. “Talk about dead wood? If he can’t produce Mary
Silo, all he is is a liability. And I’d be more than happy to personally get him out of our hair.”

  Doc reached out and grabbed Uni’s shoulder. “You’re upset. Understandably so. But this isn’t going to help Victor get better. We need Ax’s help right now. He didn’t mean to cause problems. Silo is our ultimate target. Don’t forget that.”

  Uni jerked away from him and headed to the kitchen. Lima joined him there, handing Uni a tablet. “Victor’s got one, too. You can give him a call. Use my bedroom, if you want.”

  Uni took the tablet in there and initiated the video chat. He was relieved to see Victor give him a pained smile.

  “Hey, there. How’s our girl?”

  “She’s out. Doc’s here and gave her a shot to help her sleep.”

  “Good. Don’t let her come here. Not until they say it’s safe.”

  “How are you feeling?”

  “My fever’s going up and my head feels like someone stomped me. The blood work’s coming back positive when they run it through the protein tests, but the strip tests are not coming up blue. It’s official, though. Kite.”

  His gut chilled, an ice ball forming in his stomach. “You can’t bail on me, Quent. You have to kick this.”

  “Don’t count me out yet. Mama says I’ve got a good chance. She figured out which of three different strains broke open when the case fell and she’s working with them now, trying to fine-tune a serum.”

  “But if you already have the shit, how’s that going to help?”

  “She said she might be able to boost my immune system some with it. I’m a pilot, not a doctor.”

  Uni smiled. Over the years, they’d had a lot of similar conversations. “Glad you got to talk to your brother.”

  “He keeps stopping by to check on me. I’m glad he’s alive, but I wish it was under better circumstances.”

  “I know the feeling.” He tried not to think about Corrine, out there somewhere, hopefully safe in Toledo.

  Victor looked up as someone entered his room. “I’ve got to go. Clara’s back for more bloodletting. Love you, dude. Tell Donna I love her, too.”

  “Love you, man.”

  He ended the video chat and sat there for a moment before leaving the room and returning the tablet to Lima.

 
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