“Justice without Mercy” Chapter 65

Storm had just arrived and was in Kathy’s room asking questions about her father whenJWM Serialization Dr. Green came in. Kathy introduced him to Storm who immediately asked him, “Is my father okay?”

“He has a very serious wound. It will take some time for him to recover. His right lung was too damaged for us to save. His vest saved his life. The 7.62 round veered upward and smashed into his clavicle. He will need more surgery to improve shoulder function later. We got the bullet and fragments out. The bleeding is stopped. Your father is now in the ICU Ward. You can see him, but he’s still sedated and will be in considerable pain for several days. He was lucky you brought him here. Including myself, we have two other surgeons and a few critical care nurses that have had experience with gunshot wounds from serving in the Iraq and Afghan theaters. Your father’s wound was not a new thing for us. He’s in good shape and will make an almost full recovery. I don’t think he will be up to gunfights from a helicopter anymore.”

Storm said, “Thank you, Dr. Green. How long do you think he will be here?”

“At least a week, maybe longer. Now wipe your eyes and go see him.”

Kathy said, “What about us?”

“We like to keep patients with concussions overnight. You should be able to leave in the morning. I must say your group has some real clout. We’ve received several calls from an important National Security Officer who told us to spare no expense and to get you the best treatment possible. The government would move you anywhere for treatment right now.”

Kathy said, “I need my cell. The nurse told me I need your approval.”

“You have it and whatever else you want. The weapons the crash crew took off the helicopter are being held for you. The man who called me at least three times said when you wanted your weapons to give them to you without any delay. So, when you check out, you can pick up your weapons. Your helicopter is not going to be able to fly out of here. As landings go, that one was hard. I’ll check on you in the morning.”

Kathy buzzed the nurse and asked her to bring her cell phone. When the nurse said, it would be a while, Kathy lost it. She said, “Look, if that phone is not here in five minutes, I’m coming out to get it. You don’t want that to happen. So move it now.”

Sam, who was still sitting with Kathy, said, “Wow! I thought you were a laid back lady.”

“Call me ma’am one more time, and you will see laid back. When my cell shows up, please go somewhere for ten minutes. Okay?”

“Sure. I think the nurse is coming now. I’m out of here.”

The nurse came in and put the phone down on Kathy’s bedside table and said, “You didn’t have to be so nasty.”

“It’s a personality flaw. I can’t stand pompous, unhelpful people. You are definitely in that category. If I want to talk to you again, I’ll buzz you and we’ll start over.”

When the scowling nurse left, Kathy called Frank.

He said, “Glad you’re awake. How are you doing?”

“I’ll be better when I get out of this place. Just a slight concussion, bumps and bruises. Lou is in the ICU Ward. Doctor says he will be okay, if no complications. He lost a lung and his shoulder is messed up. It will require further surgery. Dr. Green is good. What do you know about what happened?”

“Start from the beginning.”

Kathy told him the story and asked what he knew about Jack. Frank said, “The State Police found the pickup truck just where you said it would be. A dead man was on the ground on the driver’s side. He was shot three times in the chest with a very tight grouping and had been hit earlier in the abdomen, probably when you fired at the truck from the chopper. I believe he was left behind because of his wound. Even with prompt medical attention, the State Police said he would have died. There were three bullet holes in the windshield on the driver’s side and signs that the man was dragged out of the car. I assume Jack was the shooter. There were big paw prints on the seat. Again, I guess Shadow was acquiring the scent of the two men who left the truck. The state police said they found the tracks of the dog and a man moving swiftly after the fugitives. Reluctantly, they followed my wishes and did not send their team on the trail. Is Shadow a trained tracking dog?”

“Shadow is incredible. He has all the tracking honors. Jack keeps him current by playing find-it games. By the way, Jack is also a very good tracker. I can’t believe what he can tell just by looking at a trail. Change of subject. Have there been any intercepts in the search area from cells or radios?”

“None so far. Reception in that area is very poor. Maybe you could get a signal from some high points. I don’t want to risk a call. It could be a distraction or give Jack’s presence away.”

“Frank, I don’t think the pickup truck turning into the State Park was a random thing. Before the turn, Sam said the truck is slowing down, like they’re looking for something. If that’s the case, they may know the turf, have a cache of supplies, a hideout or a pickup point they are moving toward.”

“Good point. I’ll ask the State Police about cabins, camping sites and access roads they could reach on foot in two days. Call me tomorrow. I’ll send Sam’s partner in another helicopter to pick you up.”

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