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Skyler's legs buckled under the weight of Kip, but he didn't dare move with so many guns pointed at him. Hannah and the Coyotes who carried firearms slowly surrendered them, putting them on the ground before straightening up, hands raised.
"On your knees," a guard snapped. Skyler scowled at him, but slowly began to obey. Kip moaned.
The guards closed in just as a handful of inmates exploded out of the doorway behind the Skyler and his team. The inmates shoved past them, knocking Skyler down, and the inmates took down the security guards.
"Skyler come on!" Hannah tugged his arm. Skyler and Jonah quickly hauled Kip up and hurried to the fence.
"No!" Skyler yelled at the Coyotes with the fence cutters. "Leave the fence intact! We shouldn't give the prisoners here any more chance of escape."
"Skyler how are we gonna get Kip over?" Hannah asked, glancing at the altercation a ways behind them.
"I can do it..." Kip's voice was exhausted. "I can get over."
"Kip you're in no condition to climb!"
Kip straightened, but still leaning heavily on Skyler and Jonah. They helped him to the fence, and he struggled up it. Two Coyotes scaled the fence and straddled it to help him over. Shouts from behind made Skyler frantic.
"Time to go, guys!" Skyler said hurriedly. More Coyotes were filing out. And more inmates.
Kip dropped over the other side. Skyler vaulted over with his team and shooed them all away from the facility. They fled to a safe house a ways south of the facility. Wes showed up a few seconds later with another batch at the rendezvous.
"Yo." Wes nodded to him. "Bravo unleashing the terrors of the town."
"Shut up." Skyler scowled. Alarms blaring at the facility could be heard even from here, but the Coyotes all escaped. Unfortunately, so had several if not all of the prisoners there. "We got Kip out. That's what counts. The prisoners will cause more problems for Horatio, so he'll be too busy saving his image to focus on us."
"Wes I'm not doing this with you right now!" Skyler snapped. "We need to to get Kip to Madison's car and we all need to split up."
"You go with Madi," Wes said. "Whatever reason Horatio's looking for you, you need to clear out."
"What about the rest of you?"
"We'll be fine," Wes replied. "Just go."
Kip was more conscious as Skyler helped him through the streets. It was a long walk, and Kip tried to speak as he walked until Skyler told him to stop talking. They turned the corner and saw Madison's car idling, with Madison snapping photographs nearby. She turned when she saw Kip and Skyler, and if her camera hadn't been hanging around her neck, it would have broken when she dropped it. Her hands went to her mouth in shock.
"Kip!" Madison rushed to them. Kip smiled tiredly as she hugged him. "You're alive!"
"We can talk later?" Skyler urged, feeling antsy. "We need to get him out of here."
"Of course." Madison helped Kip into the car. He sat down with a moan. She felt his forehead. "Get in, Skyler. I'm calling Emma."
The Coyotes who had remained behind at the cemetery crowded around as Madison and Skyler helped Kip into their midst.
"Back off, guys!" Skyler yelled. "Give him room!" They set him down in the shelter that had been made specifically for Kip. The man was half-conscious again, his fever getting worse.
Emma arrived very soon. She had even picked up a few Coyotes on the way. Madison intercepted her before she went in to see Kip and explained to her how he was. But even being prepared that way didn't seem to prepare her completely. Emma nearly cried when she saw him. Skyler, from his position in the corner, watched as she knelt by him, stroking his unwashed hair. Kip stirred at her touch, and she spoke softly as she got to work. She employed Skyler's help while Madison drove around for any kids to pick up (her words. She immediately realized it had sounded a lot better in her head).
Emma did her best not to cry as she tended to Kip's wounds. Skyler felt a surge of anger when he saw knife wounds in Kip's side and back, and the wounds from a needle were seen in his neck and arms. Very gently and carefully Emma injected the soothing medicine she had once given Skyler into Kip, to flush out any remaining traces of Horatio's work. Kip tensed when the needle went in.
"Shh," Emma soothed. "You're okay. It's okay... there we go." She stroked his hair again as the medicine did its work. Kip relaxed, sighing. He fell asleep, not stirring. Emma stayed right by his side. Skyler silently slipped out to check on the others. Most of the rescue party was back, and unhurt. They all had smiles on their faces, talking about their mission. Unfortunately, a lot of the inmates at the facility had escaped into the old sector. Skyler wasn't terribly worried. Either Horatio would round them all up again with a Nabber sweep, or the security over the workers would find them.
Hannah and Wes didn't think it was that easy, but there wasn't anything they could do. After making sure everyone was in bed for the night, Hannah examined Skyler's neck for bruising.
"Why do you think Horatio wants you?" she asked, rubbing a bit of ointment on. Skyler winced at the pressure.
"I don't know. But he wants us both." Skyler looked at her. "Whatever it is, it's probably not good."
"When is it ever?" Hannah smiled. "You're all set. Now sleep. You need it big time, little brother."
"But there's still--"
"Skyler so help me if you do not sleep I will pump you so full of sedatives you'll sleep for days." Hannah glared. She pushed him gently back against the pillow. "Sleeeep."
Skyler was about to protest, but his eyelids felt heavy. He let sleep pull them down and take him away.
A little later, Hannah met with Tag, Kate, Wes, Victor, and Madison. All Coyotes and Jumpers were accounted for. It was a record best as far as missions went, but the concern was on the fact that Horatio had specific targets.
"What could he want with you two?" Kate asked. "Besides the fact Skyler's been his biggest pest?"
"I don't know." Hannah shrugged. "Right now I'm a little more concerned about the man who mentioned it. He didn't look like any guard or Nabber. He looked... higher up."
"So you think Horatio's got his own personal attack dog?" Tag asked.
"Maybe," Hannah replied. "Maybe he's where those guns have been coming from."
"Did he look like this?" Madison turned her tablet around to show a picture of a man included among the text of an article. "Osborne Hayes?"
"That's him." Hannah nodded. "Who is he?"
"He head up these new programs," Madison said. "The work in the old sector, the facility. He's like co-director."
"Well, looks like we have ourselves a new friend," Wes huffed. "Horatio getting bored of his other execs?"
Madison shrugged, skimming the article. "No idea, but the gun idea probably isn't far off. This guy is serious business. Police force up in New Detroit. He actually made security there tighter."
"Wow." Wes grimaced. "So he's the real deal. But why down here?"
"Something happened up north," Madison mumbled, reading on. "A drug bust, I think? But things went poorly, and Hayes' eyesight was affected by fumes or something. Too much to work safely there again."
"So we need to get this Hayes lad out of the picture for you lot to work right," Victor spoke up.
"Skyler's going to be hard to convince to take this detour," Hannah said.
"Yeah, well if he knows this new danger involves you too, he'll join our new quest." Wes rolled his eyes. "I want to rescue our friends too, but we need to lie low. We're all exhausted and emotionally drained. Again. Give a few days to recuperate. Horatio's gonna be busy trying to retain his image with the public to worry about us. We can snoop on the new guy while we plan rescue mission number two."
Everyone looked up as Emma approached the small fire, supporting Kip. Wes and Hannah hurried to their feet with excited cries.
"Hey guys." Kip smiled tiredly, pulling them both into a hug.
"What are you doing up?" Hannah asked as Emma helped him sit down.
"Being helpful," Kip replied. "Spent two years doing nothing but be a pin cushion and a punching bag. Someone give me something to do or I'm going to lose it entirely."
"Start by eating." Madison rolled her eyes. She smiled. "It's good to have you back."
"Good to be back." Kip smiled. "Alright, someone catch me up."
"Wes." Kip looked at him. "I'll be fine. I'm not going to get up and get to work. I want to be around my kids and hear them talk." Kip smiled at Wes and Hannah. "I want to hear all you've been up to, because I'm pretty sure you haven't been idle." He looked at Tag and Kate. "I don't believe we've met."
"Kate. This is Tag," Kate said simply. But she did manage a smile. "It's great to meet you. We've heard a lot about you from the Jumpers."
"You're not Jumpers?"
"Coyotes." Tag grinned. "Hardcore version."
"Oi!" Wes looked at him. Kip laughed. Hannah's heart nearly soared. It had been so long since she had heard Kip laugh. Hearing it now made her feel that they had a chance at winning.
"Someone start talking," Kip said as Emma passed him a bowl.