Danielle Banister®. Standing On The Edge of Invisible.

©Clifford A. Davis, III Richardson, Texas USA 2011-2020.

All rights reserved. This document may not be copied for any reason without the express written consent of the author Clifford A. Davis, III

Dani (Danielle Banister) started experimenting with life when she was 13, her and Frankie. He was 17 and in Dani’s, mind a true man. An Adonis. He was the perfect man to have as her first lover. And have him she did. And had her, for the entire summer before she went back to school as a freshman in high school and he joined the Corp. It was his dream (to be in the Corp) and Frankie was hers. So for the hot days of the long summer, they competed with the sun to see who could burn the brightest.

Chapter 1.

By the end of the summer they had lived as a couple almost as man and wife, except everyone knew she was a kid. They kept to themselves and never caused any trouble.

When summer was over, Frankie signed his papers and she was there. She gave him a passionate kiss and sent her man off to his beloved Corp. He never made it. He died in a fiery bus crash with about 30 fellow new recruits when the turned over, rolled and burned. Dani saw it on the news and called his home number. She introduced herself and asked the question she didn’t want to hear an answer to. Yes, Frankie had died on the bus. And it was as if her life ended the moment Frankie’s did.

For the next two years, it was as if she was dead, and asleep at the same time. Then, she woke up.

Chapter 2.

Dani walked through the office of the investigation teams with a sour look on her face and a bad feeling that it wasn’t going to be a good day. It should have been a good day because she had cracked a nasty case the day before and took more bad guys off the street. This group was very nasty indeed.

She hadn’t slept well because of a recurring dream where she was back in the bad lands and couldn’t find her weapon. Not one of them. A distinctly bad feeling when you are surrounded with people whose main purpose in life is to kill you.

As she walked towards her office she could sense the quiet settling around her. Something was up alright. She wasn’t sure but it wasn’t going to be good. People were watching.

“Hi Dani” a soft voice said behind her. She turned to see one of the female beat cops motioning for her to stop so she did. “Hey Lois, what’s up?” she asked. “I just wanted to give you a heads up, you have a new partner, again.”

Oh shit, not again she thought. “Thanks Lois, I promise to be gentle” she said half under her breath. This was all for show since she had previously been told about the new guy and had talked to him. This might be fun she thought to herself.

As she walked further and deeper into the room she thought about her last partner, still mending in the hospital where he was recovering from two gunshot wounds and several broken bones after a fall from a second floor balcony. As soon as he woke up from surgery, he requested, demanded actually, a transfer. This transfer was granted.

He was her forth in the six months she had been in the department. Two had retired and one just quit. He said nothing. He turned in his badge and left, never to be heard from again.

Now she wondered who had drew the short stick and been stuck with her. Even though she had met and talked with him, she didn’t know him.

As she neared her office area, she could have sworn she saw money change hands and smiles exchanged. They are dumb asses she thought.

Nearing her desk, she saw that her ex-partners desk was cleared, and a new box was already sitting on it.

“Dani, a word” she heard the captain shout from his corner office. She turned and walked to his office. “Dani, this is Sgt Michael Stoner. Stoner, this is Lt. Dani Banister.” ”Stoner has volunteered to be your new partner. He is from the 25th. The paperwork will be here tomorrow, so be nice till then okay Dani?”.

“Good luck Stoner, that’s all.” “Oh, Dani, good job closing that deal. Are you ok? Do you need some time off?”

“I’m fine” Dani said, looking at Stoner. “Do you like coffee?” Without hesitation Stoner said, “As long as it doesn’t come with some name that doesn’t make sense, sure”. “Let’s go” Dani said as the Captain stood there with his mouth open.

The entire section was stone quiet as they walked out of the room and into the hall.

When they got to the parking area, Stoner looked around and quietly said, “Do you think it worked?” Dani smiled and said “pretty sure it did. I swear I saw money changing hands. Thanks for playing along. You don’t have to follow through with the process if you don’t want to. Just tell the Captain I’m a bitch and you can’t deal with it” . Stoner said, “nah, I’m good. How much you think we made?” Probably about a grand to split. That’s what I heard was in the pot last time.” Stoner asked, “Captain going to be pissed when he hears about it?” “Probably, but I could care less. He was betting also, so it serves him right. Bastards” she spit.

As they were about to get in the car, her phone rang. “Dani” she answered, listened a minute and swore_ “Shit, there goes the morning. If you have something to do, I need to go to court for something. It’s on the 12th floor here.” “I’m with you” Stoner said and closed the door. “Unless you had rather be alone”. “Nope, you’re here, let’s see what it’s about.”

As they rode up from the sub basement, the door opened on the ground floor. Dani stopped mid sentence and looked at the back of the man’s head who had gotten on with two others. He had a deep official sounding voice and spoke like an attorney giving instructions to a client. Stoner was about to say something when Dani’s eyes shut him down. Then she made busy looking for something in her inside jacket pocket. The man who had been speaking looked at the top of Dani’s head and kept talking. They also got off on the 12th floor. Dani held back for a second when they got off.

Stoner looked at her but didn’t say anything.

Dani put her hand on Stoners arm, “do you know him?” “Nope” Stoner replied.

Dani walked to the small concession stand and asked the long-time owner if he knew the man and was told he was Thomas Blackman, a big shot attorney.

Dani walked back to Stoner smiling. “As I live and breathe, karma does indeed work” she said.

Stoner, bewildered said nothing.

Dani asked, “isn’t that a judge he is talking to?”

“Yeah”.

“Ok, here’s the deal. I want you to follow me about two feet back. I bet you one hundred bucks I can make this guy throw his coffee on the judge then punch him hard just before he goes balistic and tries to kill me.”

“What? Are you serious?” Stoner said only mildly stunned.

“Very, are you in”?

“No bet, but I got your back. This I gotta see.” Stoner said smiling.

The words were scarcely out of his mouth and Dani was walking casually towards the two men. As she walked behind Blackwell, who was at least a foot taller than the judge she took her thumb and jammed it stiffly into the crack of Blackwell’s butt. The pandemonium that followed was captured on at least 5 different phones and was prominently shown the evening news. “ATTORNEY ATTACKS JUDGE AND POLICE OFFICER”

The judge was mildly bored as he listened to the attorney blather on about something he deemed important. He was suddenly aware of a very attractive lady walking towards himself and the attorney. As she passed behind the attorney, he looked up at him and saw his eyes cross just for a second before he bleeted like a stuck sheep. Then he felt the hot coffee on his face and saw a ham sized fist coming at him. That was the last thing he remembered until two days later.

As Dani goosed Blackwell, she heard the bleating noise, the splash of the coffee, the cry of pain from the judge and the thump of the judge’s head hitting the floor after being punched by Blackwell. Dani turned around. “Is everything okay big guy?” she asked with a shocked look on her face.

“YOU, YOU, YOU, I’LL FUCKING KILL YOU, YOU BITCH, YOU DID THIS… I’LL KILL YOU” Blackwell sputtered and screamed at the top of his lungs. People were all watching now. He took 3 knock out swings at Dani and was going for a fourth when he was tackled by five deputies from the surrounding courts. He went down sputtering and screaming and cussing for all he was worth. All of it directed at Dani and her ancestors for hundreds of years in the past.

As Dani watched bemused while the screeching mass was carried off, she wondered how many days in jail he would spend for cold cocking a judge.

Stoner was still standing with his mouth open stunned at what he had seen when he realized Dani was saying something. “Well”, she said. “I guess we won’t be doing any court today. I think that was our judge.” As calmly as he could, Stoner said, “uh, what the hell was that about? I have seen that guy around lots of times and he is always Mister Cool. I have never seen him lose it, ever.” Dani shook her head, “I guess we all have our sensitive spots” and she walked back towards the elevator.

 

Danielle Banister. Standing On The Edge of Invisible. CHAPTER 3

Chapter 3.

On the other side of town in a building behind the Masque a man arrived in a car. In the street where the car pulled up there were several cars blocking the street in both direction, they were not police cars. Outside each vehicle stood a man with an AK47. Both the road block and the weapons were illegal.

The man got out of the vehicle and took the time to straighten his jacket and tie, all the while looking at the surrounding area. Looking as an experienced warrior would look. Seeing the shadows and places where he would be hiding if it were him, looking to stage an attack. Seemingly oblivious to the men with automatic weapons in the street and on the sidewalk he was in all actuality totally aware of all of them. He was not impressed with the display of power. It attracted more attention than it did offer protection. “Never mind” he thought and walked into the building.

The man was Farak al Zawaki and he was the leader of a band of almost a thousand very extreme and devout followers. He was known as a ruthless and fearsome leader and as harsh as he was fearless in his battles.

As he walked into the meeting hall he noticed that there was a small gathering of officious looking men which were probably the Masque main leaders. A couple of them stepped out as he approached.  As he walked towards them he reached quickly under his coat jacket and pulled out a 9mm Berretta with a short but effective silencer attached and shot both men before they could say a word. The rest of the men, all stunned at the suddenness of the death before them, fell to the ground hoping they wouldn’t be next. All murmuring the prayer of their choice.

Farak walked past them and said over his shoulder to his right-hand man, “have them clean it up.”

When he reached the far side of the hall, he stopped before a door for a heartbeat before walking into the room.

In the room was a group of 12 men sitting in chairs all facing the center of the room. All of the men wore police uniforms and had all their duty equipment on except their duty weapon. Those had been taken from them. All of them had their hands and legs bound with plastic cuffs. Around their necks was a section of det cord and an electronic detonator. This was connected to a radio device which could be activated via push button transmitter.  Along the walls were 30 young men ranging from 15 to 25 years of age.

Farak approached the leader of the group. “Who is the most deserving to meet Allah today?” “Which of these warriors of the cause shall be held in the bosom of the most holy love this day?” “Each is worthy of this honor today, for they are all loyal and willing to be martyrs at any instant. But I would volunteer now and show these men how it is done if you would allow.”

“So it shall be. You are a brave and true man.”  Farak turned to his man who opened a case he had been carrying reaching in and pulling out one of the det cord neck devices the cops in the chairs were wearing. “Do you know what this is?” Farak asked.

“No” the young man replied.

“It is the most modern version of the neck tie” Farak told him. “It doesn’t matter how it works, but you will test it for Allah and prove its value and you will be with him instantly” Farak said kindly as he placed the device on his neck. “Now, please go sit in the chair in the middle of the circle. Soon, you will have done Allah a magnificent service and these infidels’ will marvel at your braveness. ” At that he hugged and kissed the young man on the cheeks and turned to watch him go sit in the chair.

There was a deadly stillness in the room. The cops all watched with their eyes, afraid to turn their heads. Not knowing what it would take to set the device off.

When the young man was seated in the chair Farak asked him, “are you ok, do you need help?” “No!” was the instant reply. “Then when you are ready” coached Farak. “10 seconds” came the reply. After a few seconds he screamed in English PRAISE BE ALLAH and pushed the button.

Instantly his head was lifted a foot off his shoulders spurting blood and matter fell onto his shoulder toppled into his lap and onto the floor and rolled a short distance toward the ring of cops. Almost at once the cops all screamed and threw up. One of the young men along the wall shat himself and looked embarrassed. The rest of the young men remained stoic. Not moving. Farak said nothing. Did nothing. But took it all in instantly. He turned his head and looked at his man. The man knew what to do. He walked the long way around the circle and stopped in front of the boy who messed himself and without a word shot him in the head. He returned to stand behind Farak. To the rest of the men, “prepare the martyr carefully for he deserves our best and forget the unworthy one. When you are finished make sure the cameras are setup in all four corners.” With the instructions given, he left the room.

Top of Form

Danielle Banister. Standing On The Edge of Invisible. CHAPTER 4

Copyright Clifford A. Davis, III 2011. Not to be used for any reason without written consent from the author.

CHAPTER 4

Stoner returned to the Special Crimes office after Dani said she was going to see one of the DA’s about another case.  When he reached the office the Captain motioned him to join him in his office.

“What do you think so far Stoner” Capt. Mays asked.

“Well, she totally screwed some guys day but said she didn’t know him” replied Stoner.  “What’s her deal anyway? Where did she come from? I have been with the department for about 10 years and I haven’t heard of her before.”

Mays hesitated, then sighed, cleared his throat, “there isn’t much I can tell you. She came here about 5 months ago. I got a call and was told to take her on, give her the equal to a lieutenant rank if there wasn’t an opening, create one.

“Where did the directive come from” asked Stoner.

Mays rubbed his forehead and said… “Well, I got a call from the Chief who said he got a call from Justice who said they got a call from someone we didn’t want to talk to and that this woman would appear on Monday ready to work. Make sure she had a place. Don’t trace her, don’t back track her… just do it. And Monday morning there she was. Never put on airs, never said anything except “What do you want me to do” and she began solving cases and getting partners folded, spindled and mutilated.  I’ll tell you this, I don’t know why she took a liking to you but there it is… she has. Never before… “. And with that, it was like Mays had purged himself of some god awful sin and felt better because of it.

Stoner sat there a couple of minutes before he said anything.  “Well, somehow she knew I was picked to be her next and out of the blue she showed up at my apartment last night and was sitting in my living room when I got out of the shower.  I went for my piece and she started throwing pillows at me and said if I didn’t settle down she would throw harder things. After about 20 seconds of that and me trying to find something to useful to kill her with, I realized I was naked and she was pointing and smiling… I grabbed one of the pillows and beat a tactical retreat to the bedroom. Very stupidly I grabbed my pants and a knife and returned with full intent of making things right. Well, Capt. Mays, I am embarrassed to say she toyed with me like a cat with a sickly mouse. After I had worn myself out trying to slice her to ribbons she took the knife as if from a child and tossed me across the room onto the sofa.” Stoner took a breath. “Sir, I’m really good at stuff like this and she made me feel like I had never done it before. It was the most befuddling thing I have had as a fighter, street or anywhere. I never want to go against her if she is really serious. Ever.”

Mays shrugged and said “you don’t want her shooting at you either.”

What neither man knew was that they had not even come close to understanding how really lethal Dani was.

Danielle Banister. Standing On The Edge of Invisible. CHAPTER 5

©Clifford A. Davis, III Richardson, Texas USA 2011.

Chapter 5.

Daemon was sitting by the window at the front of the Denney’s so he could see outside. He knew there would be trouble when he saw the Olds Cutlass park and two black guys with hoodies get out and walk into the lobby. They spoke animatedly for a few seconds then walked in. The dirtbag in the lead took out a pistol and shot the woman who was running the cash register. There was shocked silence then screams and pandemonium.  People trying to get out of the emergency exits which were locked and running to the restrooms if they could get to them.

The second thug pulled a sawed-off pump shotgun and shot a teenage girl in the back as she ran to the restroom. Thug number one pulled a bag out of a pocked and walked into the dining room and yelled “AHRITE MOTHERFUCKERS… TAKE YOU SHIT AN PUT IT ON THE TABLE… DON FUCWIT ME CAUSE I KILL YOU.. “! To punctuate his point, he smashed his pistol against the face of a grandmother who was sitting with her old husband and grandkids. On seeing the love of his life struck and opened like cantaloupe, the old man lunged at the thug and got a couple of punches in before he was smacked down and kicked in the face. Now both of them were lying in their blood.

The crowd sat stunned.

The thug at the front door area saw what was going on and came to help his partner in crime. As the first thug was gathering his stuff the second one shot the old man and his wife with his shotgun.

Crying could be heard from the diners.

“I TOLE YOU FUKERS !!! I DONE TOLE YOU… NO LOOK AT DEM CRAZY OLE BITCHES… NOW GIMMI YO SHIT… ” screeched the lead thug. People started digging in their pockets and purses.

The second thug noticed that Daemon hadn’t made a move other than sipping his coffee. Feeling mighty after all of his success, he knew he could take care of this problem with ease. He put his shotgun cockily over his shoulder and walked to Daemons table. Little did he know he had less than 15 seconds to live.

Full of confidence, he walked to Daemon’s table and reached for his coffee.

As he reached for the cup, Daemon grabbed his wrist and pulled him closer and at the same time jammed the knuckle of is first finger into his Adams apple. Hearing a crunching sound, he released the wrist and with one hand grabbed the back of his head and his chin with the other and viciously twisted breaking the thugs neck. Without hesitating he grabbed the thugs shotgun and shot the fast approaching lead thug in the groin. The force of the blast knocked the legs from under the nearly unconscious almost dead thug and smashed his face hard on the floor.

Daemon shoved the already dead thug off the table and barely heard the sickening thud and splat as he hit the floor. He walked over to where the now groin less, moaning leader lay and kicked the pistol far enough away that it could not be reached by the dirt bag and then stomped sharply on his neck, instantly breaking the spine. As he stomped, the thugs right leg snapped up sharply, went rigid and dropped to the floor.  Less than a minute had elapsed from when he had been accosted by the thug, now they were both dead.  

Daemon walked to the front counter where a waitress was cowering against the wall. Seeing that Daemon still had the shotgun started whimpering.

Daemon watched out the window as he walked to the front to see if someone was going to come in from the car parked where the punks had come in. There didn’t seem to be anyone in the car.

Walking to the check out stand, Daemon reached across and grabbed a pin and wrote two words on it. “Dani Passing” gave it to the waitress and slowly and calmly said “when the police get here, give this to them and tell them to give it the Sergeant in charge”. With that done, Daemon went to the thugs car, got in and drove away.

Across town, a police officer sitting in the back of a cab, suddenly exploded. His head separated from his body.

Danielle Banister. Standing On The Edge of Invisible. CHAPTER 6

©Clifford A. Davis, III Richardson, Texas USA 2011.

Chapter 6.

The day that Frankie died was like the flame of life being turned off. Dani felt nothing but an empty void. So she drifted. Drifted from party to party. From guy to guy never feeling anything. Not looking for anything. Not knowing if there was anything to look for. Word around school was the she was easy. Very easy. She was up for anything at any time. Just no drugs.

It was rumored that she had slept with every sports team in the school. No one would talk with her about it. No one had the nerve. It was also rumored that she could be a very very vicious when she wanted to be.

Then one day, something clicked and she woke up. She realized that if she didn’t change she wouldn’t have a life. So she took a couple of days and went for long walks, then long runs and slept hours on end. 

Finally, when she thought she was ready she started making her plans. She went to the place where the show is met with the team, and started making plans for what’s going to happen that day and it wasn’t going to be nice. She had a baseball bat behind the door, a hammer above corner shelf, a large stick behind another door. If everything went the way she planned it was going to be a mess.

As soon as everyone started getting there,  all the boys with their smerks and smiles expecting what they normally got which was her, they all were standing around drinking their beer. The leader of the group had, the quarterback went for Dani first down trying to get her into the back room and she said no. “What do you mean no” he said. “Just what I said no” Danny said. That’s when he slapped her. And that’s when Danny hit him right in the knee a baseball bat she had strategically placed. And then the screaming started. And that’s when all the other boys came to protect their leader. What they didn’t expect was Dani with a small bat in each hand. When she finished she had a few bruises but they were all laying around on the floor holding broken parts of their bodies. And then, the fun started.

Each one was stripped to his knees and his private parts were super glued to their legs or in some cases to the floor. Their hands were also glued to the floor. She had arranged them so they were all looking at their leader who was sobbing like a baby. When she had them all in place, glued to the floor, she went to their hero and drove a large nail into his scrotum. Not so it would damage anything but so it would be painful, very painful.

Suddenly she was aware of someone else there. Dani wheeled and was ready to attack. The guy just stood there, looking at her. Then he spoke, “you have two choices, stay here and wait for the cops and spend the next 20 years in jail or go with me. You have about one minute to decide, I’ve already called the cops.” “Why would you do that” Dani asked. “Because a couple of these guys have some pretty nasty breaks. Times up. What’s it going to be?” “Let’s go” Dani said dropping the bats.

The next thing Dani knew was she was waking up in a soft bed feeling like she had slept for a month. She also noticed that she was wearing cloths she didn’t recognize or own.

She walked out of the room into some living room with sofas and chairs. It looked nice. Then she saw him. The bastard who had drugged her and she flew into a rage and headed across the room as fast as she could. With her goal in site suddenly a huge man got out of a large wing backed chair and screamed “STOP!” And she did, or tried to. Her momentum carried her forward and her sudden change of direction caused her to fall and bounce twice landing at the man mountains feet. “Oh god, please don’t let him step on me” she thought.

The giant slowly bent over and held out a hand, “Hi, I’m Ben, that little shrimp over there, he’s Damon. Now, if you can control yourself and show a little respect, we can have some breakfast. What do you think?” So scared she was about to wet herself she could barely say “umm sure”.

As they started breakfast Damon said “I know you have a thousand questions and I will answer them all after we eat. Then we will talk about your future.” Again, meekly Dani said “ummm sure” and continued everything in front of her.

Ben commented to Damon “notice how she is eating with one hand and holding the knife with the other, good instincts but bad form. We can fix that.” Damon replied “and she has one leg coiled beside her chair ready to spring. We have a real panther sitting here.”

Over the next 3 years her time was spent learning everything about fighting there was to know. It didn’t matter what the style was, she learned it and added it to her bag of fighting tricks. But the main thing she learned was surviving. Damon was right there with the right mix of drill sergeant, big brother, wise old uncle or sparing partner. The later was the hardest because every time Dani thought she had learned enough to match his skill he came at her from a totally different direction. Then came a very special day. She could feel the tension in the air. Old Ben was there, and Damon was on edge. He hadn’t spoken to her all morning. She finally went to Ben and asked, “what’s going on”? He looked at her and said, “it’s a reunion of sorts.”

Dani went back to her room and was going over some long range shot data when she heard the vehicle arrive. She went to the window and watched three guys get out of the truck. They were all different sizes and shapes. One was short but not as short as Damon. The next looked like a body builder but with less mass. The third was almost as big as Ben but much thinner. She looked at the five of them and knew instinctively that this was a very bad group of men. Suddenly they all looked in her direction like they could sense her looking at them. “Dani, come one out” Ben cried out.

Dani walked out, all 125 pounds of solid muscle and hair trigger reflexes. But she didn’t think it would matter with these guys.

Damon stepped forward and said “Dani, I want you to meet three of the best war fighters on the planet. All of them are five times better than me and probably two times as good Old Ben”. “Bull shit” Ben spat and everyone laughed.

The shorter of the three stepped forward and said “HI, I’m Craig, that big slug there is Mike but we call him Sugar cause he’s so sweet. And mister muscles here, well we just call him Evil because, well you will find out soon enough. Nice to meet you, we have heard tons about you and thought we would come and see for ourselves.  So, Mr. Godfather, sir, when do we begin?” Dani looked at Damon and Ben wondering what was going on. She would soon find out. “After lunch” Damon said. “Dani, come with me please.” “Ooooooeeee, please… he ever say please to any of you guys.. never did to me.” They all laughed. Dani could tell they knew each other well and were a tight knit group.

When they were in Damon’s house he asked her to sit down. “Dani, these guys are all very special men. I told you before they were the best war fighters I know, and they are. All of them are ex something special, a lot of it I don’t even know. But we have been working together for about 20 years.” “Ben too?” Dani asked. “Him longer, maybe 30 years.” “What this is, is a decompression time. I have been trying to get this set up for about six months. It’s the first weekend the time tables meshed, and we could all get together. None of us drink, smoke, chase women so we come here to trade ideas and skills. And eat food. So you are invited to join in the fun, watch, learn, and no matter what, do NOT hold back on anything you do. Do your very best as if your life depends on it. This is sort of a test for them. They want to know if they can trust you with their lives.”

“Now, what you don’t know is that each of these guys has worked with you before over the past three years. You just didn’t know it. Even Ben. Everyone of them sent back reports of the good, the bad and the downright ugly. But to a man, they were all impressed. Now they want to see it up close and personal. So, let’s go have a light lunch and have some fun, shall we?”

Dani sat there a moment, realizing that she had seen each of them before and specifically when and where. Then she knew what to do.

What she did was sprinted to her room and dug through all her field notes until she found the 4 pages she needed. Then folded them, put them in her pocked and went to lunch.

After the lite meal was finished and happy banter was floating around the room she looked at Craig and said “Craig, you still like trees?” The room fell silent. “Say what?” Craig asked almost with a laugh. “Well, about 8 months ago I did my first HALO jump in the area where a group of Team Six members were doing field nav training. My job was to shoot all of them with a paint ball gun without getting caught. I shot all the Six guys and on the way out of the AO I saw this “thing” perched in a tree. It looked like a growth of ivy except for the white eyes. So I shot it, twice. I wasn’t sure if it was one of the Six guys and didn’t want to leave it to chance. It was you correct?”

“Holy shit, you little monster, that hurt like hell just so you know and I had to run my ass off not to be caught by a bunch of pissed off Six players. They thought it was me.” “Damit Dani, that’s good, what else you got there.” Craig said.

“How come that wasn’t in the after-action report?” Damon asked with a slight smile.

“Well, she did good boss, what can I say.” Craig said a little embarrassed.  

As Dani went through the list of who she had seen and where on her outings Damon was more impressed than he had been before. He had no clue she was keeping these types of notes on her “outings”.

“Ok, let’s go have some fun!” Daman commanded. And have fun they did. It was rough and tumble. It was dangerous and it was..fun. Not that any scores were kept but each person knew where they stood in the group. And surprising to everyone Dani was close to the top in every category. And she was the top of one of them. By far she was tops. That was long range shooting. Craig looked at her, “Dani, was it you that shot ten exploding targets in under fifteen seconds on the sniper range a few months ago?” Dani looked at him dumbfounded. ” What on earth are you talking about, and it was thirteen.” Dani replied as she walked away from the group.

Suddenly four phones range at the same time and everyone stopped dead in their tracks. Dani ran back to the group. “What’s going on?” she asked.

“It’s a call out” Damon said. “Only it’s strange for all of us to be called at the same time.” He looked at the other three and said “saddle up, wheels up in 15.” and ran for his house.

Dani looked at Ben, “not you?”.  “Nope, not any more. My days are past.” Ben replied and walked off. Dani looked around, suddenly feeling very alone.

After the four had left Dani found Ben in the arms room. He looked up from cleaning the weapons from today’s practice. “I think we may need these.” Dani instantly started cleaning weapons with him.

For the next two days everything was silent. Dani trained hard to keep her mind busy. Ben watched the wires and intel reports from everywhere he knew. He saw nothing that looked interesting. Dani walked into the com’s room just as his phone rang. “Ben.” he said and suddenly his face drained and he looked like a ghost. “Are you sure, completely sure?” Ben asked in a soft but demanding voice. “Right, got it, thanks”.

Slowly he turned and looked at Dani, tears running down his face. “They’re gone Dani. Just gone. No trace. Nothing. There was an explosion. No trace. Nothing.” He started sobbing. There was nothing Dani could do except join him. And for the next fifteen minutes that’s what they did. Suddenly Ben said “Dani, I have to go find them. You stay here and train. I will call you when I know something.” Dani didn’t say anything. She just looked.

For the next three days Dani trained like she never had before. With everything. Not holding anything back. She would train until she was exhausted, fall asleep on the cot and wake up and do it again. Finally on the third day, the phone rang. “Dani.” She listened and before she could ask who was talking they hung up. “So this is how it works.” she thought.

So Dani went to the airport and got on a small but fast airplane and flew quietly for the next 4 hours. When they landed, a man in a black car approached her and quietly said, “I will be your contact on this job. Call me on the number in the package. An account has been set up in your name where you will be paid. There is a card in there that you can access your funds. There are funds in there for this job, whatever is left is yours.” He walked away.

Dani got on the plane and headed north. When the job was finished she took the large sum of money left over and went back to the farm. On the way home, she took the credit card and check her balance at an ATM. “Holy shit” she thought. 500K for a day’s work. Plus another 15K left over from the job. She shrugged and went home for a shower and some food.

When she got there she didn’t find anything in the com’s room , ate something and went to bed. About 6am the phone range, “Dani”. “Where are you?” She recognized the voice of the man from yesterday at the airport. “At home asleep why?” “When are you going to do your job?” he screamed. Dani hung up on him. He instantly called back. “How da…” Dani hung up again. Waiting for the phone to ring, it did. “If you raise you voice at me one more time, I am going to start hunting you. You won’t be hard to find. The job is finished. Just like you asked. Do I make myself clear?” The man stammered a few times “finished, you finished it already?” “I got back about 6pm yesterday. Now I am tired, I am going back to sleep. Good bye.” She was about to hang up the phone again. “No wait, there’s another job if you want it.” Sure why not she thought.

And for the next six years that’s how she lived. One job to the next. She kept trying to reach Ben but nothing. Nothing at all.

The after-action reports that Dani turned in were getting increasingly violent and brutal.  Not that they didn’t need to be, but sometimes seemingly exceedingly so. That’s when the decision was made to pull her out of the field for a while. Let her cool off and climb off the edge a little. That’s how she wound up as a Lieutenant in the special crimes unit even though everyone thought she was a Sergeant.  The LT pay was better plus, she got 100K a month from her other job. With that and the three million she had in her bank, she didn’t need to work. She just didn’t know how to stop.

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