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beth writing 30 days without

FIC - Primeval - When Walls Come Tumblng Down (1/3) PG, Becker/Jess

Christmas Exchange Fic for anonyme1

Well here is my Christmas Exchange fic just in time for Easter!!   HUGE apologies or being so late.  Not only did I miss Christmas, I missed New Years, Valentine’s Day and a few others.  But I was determined to finish this story if it took until NEXT Christmas.  RL got so busy last December.  Within three weeks I hurt my back, tore up my knee and broke a tooth.  I had hand surgery and knee surgery at the beginning of 2012.  But the real killer was remodeling the bathroom in December.    Never, and I do mean never, remodel anything during the Christmas Holiday. 

Again, my apologies for taking so long.  This is unbeta’d so any mistakes are mine.

Title: When Walls Come Tumbling Down

Author: maddie_amber

Words: 6957

Rating: PG

Summary/Prompt: The prompt pretty well summarizes the story. 

The Prompt: Something angsty. Jess is injured in an accident away from the ARC but the team doesn't know about it. When the team realizes she's very overdue is there a massive scramble to find her. Once they find out what's happened will this finally make Becker admit how he feels?



When Walls Come Tumbling Down

A sharp gust of wind hammered against her rocking her back and forth.  The sensation was almost soothing, like a big porch swing on a blustery day, pushing just enough that it moved with no effort.  But the wailing sound screaming around her devastated that sense of calm, wrenching her painfully back to the present.  She struggled to open her eyes fighting the urge to simply give in and sleep.  Forcing her eyes open, her head pounded and spun, completely disoriented.  She seemed to be hanging, drawn sideways but suspended by a tight constriction across her chest and hips. Seatbelt, she thought groggily, as she slowly realized that she was in her car, but that her car was canted at a crazy angle.  Peaking through squinted eyes the gaily colored lights on the vehicles dash danced and swam, but refused to completely come into focus.  She squinted again, trying to make sense of what was before her.  The tachometer told her the engine was still running.  Struggling against the leaden weight of her own limbs she reached for the ignition to kill the motor, her trembling hand barely able to grasp the cluster of keys and turn them to the off position.  As she did so the interior of the vehicle plunged into darkness and howling of the wind rose to a primeval scream blotting out all thought.  Unable to remain focused amidst the darkness and rush of the wind she slipped into unconsciousness.

# # # #

A flurry of activity on the main floor of the ARC caught Lester’s attention and he leaned forward to determine the source.  Becker.  Lester glanced at his watch.  This was the third time in twenty minutes his chief of security had appeared on the floor, scanning the area around the ADD, ostensibly contacting incoming personnel at shift change.  Though it was far more likely, Lester thought, he was checking on the current lack of a team coordinator.  As much as Becker tried not to wear his heart on his sleeve it had become obvious to his teammates that the emotionally guarded young captain had fallen hopelessly for their young field coordinator. Becker appeared to be the only person who had not realized his entanglement yet.  Still, he could understand Becker’s concern

The young soldier seated in front of the ADD, while quite capable of handling his assigned duty, should have logged off and gone home thirty minutes ago.  Instead he continued to man his post in the absence of the normally punctual Ms. Parker.  While concerned that Jess had not phoned in to report the reason for her delay, Lester had assumed her arrival had been hampered by the same foul weather that had snarled traffic and disrupted telephone and cell service all through London.  The unusually high winds that had pounded the country over night had downed trees, damaged structures, and wrought havoc on all major services and systems.  He himself had been delayed as a result.  He had also been eternally grateful that there had been no active anomalies during the storm.  Response to such an emergency would have been severely compromised.  

Lester sighed and reached for his com panel. “Captain Becker, could you please report to my office,” he said succinctly. Time to distract the captain before his prowling about disrupts the entire ARC, Lester thought, more so than it already has.

Two minutes later Becker stood in front of his desk, black uniform crisp and fresh, hands clasped loosely behind his back, balanced, composed and ready to spring into action.  Not a hint of concern in his posture or demeanor, only the consummate professional.

Clearing his throat, Lester addressed the captain with the same professional calm. "It appears the weather has delayed the arrival of several key members of your team."

Becker nodded the affirmative.

"Please make sure all personnel remain at their posts until they are relieved."

"Already taken care of, sir," Becker answered crisply, then waited a moment before continuing. "Was there anything else, sir?"

Other than the obvious, Lester thought. "Have Matt, Connor, Abby and Jess arrived in the facility yet?"

This time Lester did detect the slightest frown before Becker's face was once again masked with calm. "Matt has, not yet for the other three."

"Would you keep me apprised of their arrival?" As he spoke he sensed another flurry of activity beneath his office.

"It appears Connor and Abby have arrived, sir," Becker noted dryly.

Lester cleared his throat then turned to his laptop. "Thank you," he replied with equal dryness. "You may return to your duties."

Becker nodded, quickly retreating from Lester's office, and, Lester noted, with some predictability headed directly to the ADD.

# # # #

Abby was busy finger combing her wildly windblown hair into a braid at the nape of her neck when Becker charged down the steps into ops from the upper level.

"Good, morning," she said cheerily, grinning as Becker quickly scanned surrounding area. "A bit blustery out there."

Becker nodded absently.  Abby stifled the giggle she felt rising in her throat.  It wouldn't due to tease in front of everybody, but she knew exactly what, or she should say who, the good captain was looking for.

"If you're looking for Jess, she spent the night somewhere other than her flat," Connor called out in a tone that seemed to carry to all levels of the ARC.

Abby's elbow caught Connor in the ribcage, stifling his next comment before he blurted anything else that might make Becker blush.  As she did she heard, with some satisfaction the whuff of air that slipped past Connor’s lips.

"Abby," Connor wailed in mock despair. "Come on now, what was that for?"

Abby stepped in front of Connor diverting him again from his target.  "The wind is quite wicked.  Is Jess here yet?" Abby asked Becker directly.

"I assumed she would be with you," Becker responded noncommittally.  "Most personnel were hampered by the weather situation and have been arriving late.”

Not a hint of personal concern slipped into Becker's voice, but Abby could see the tension along his jaw as he clenched his teeth.  "She didn't come home last night," Abby said calmly.

Becker did not respond verbally, too reserved to take the bait from either Connor or herself, but she saw the fleeting look of concern in his eyes.  The same sensitivity to non verbal communication that made her an extraordinarily adept animal handler had also made her particularly adept at ‘reading’ the captain over the past two years.  She prided herself on that ability.  “Jess planned on visiting a friend after work Friday,” Abby said, “A girl friend,” she added intending to allay at least one of Becker’s concerns. “She was supposed to come back to the flat last night, but she wasn’t there when we got up this morning. We hoped she’d decided to wait out the storm at her friend’s house.”

“Did you try calling her?”

“At the risk of sounding like a doting auntie, I did,” Abby confessed. “She didn’t answer.”

There was no longer any disguising the concern on in Becker’s face and suddenly Abby felt guilty not only for teasing him, but also for her blasé attitude about Jess’s tardiness.  She really did believe her friend had simply been delayed be the weather, as had everyone else.  She laid a hand on Becker’s arm.  “There’s no reason to assume anything is wrong,” she said reassuringly.

Becker’s look turned grim. “And every reason to assume there could be.”

Abby knew quite well that Becker might be right.  Jess was never late and was always quick to use her phone if she thought she might be.  To not hear from her was suspect even if the weather was causing problems.

“Did she give any indication were she was going?”

“I’m not her mum.  She’s a big girl and doesn’t have to report her comings and goings to me or anyone else,” Abby responded somewhat defensively.

“But did she?”

“No,” said Abby quietly.

Becker froze for a moment then spun on his heal and headed straight for the young officer in Jess’s seat.  Abby caught up to him in time to catch his first string of orders.

"I want you to access the cell phone records for that number and tell me exactly where that phone was last used.”

“But sir, is that not highly irregular?"

"Perhaps, but a good field coordinator would do the same to save your backside.  You can reciprocate.  Then start assembling search teams."

"Ahem."

Abby and Becker turned simultaneously to face James Lester.  Abby stood slightly to the rear of the captain and felt she was hidden half behind him.  Lester's look was sharp. 

"And did you intend on requesting permission to place the entire ARC on high alert, or were you going to trust in my understanding and good grace?" Lester asked firmly. 

Abby was glad she was not standing between the ARC Commander and its Security Chief as they faced off toe to toe.  A long moment of tense silence stretched between the two, broken at last by Captain Becker, who drew himself to his full height, feet spread and hands firmly clasped behind his back.  "Sir," he said formally, "Request permission to initiate a search for Ms. Parker."

"And what evidence do you have that a search is necessary," Lester shot back.

"She has not yet reported for duty…"

"Half the ARC's personnel have been late reporting for duty," Lester interrupted.

"She is not responding to repeated attempts to contact her by phone…"

"Phone communications have been disrupted all over London."

"Her current whereabouts are unknown, and she has not made contact with any member of the team in over 48 hours.  All of which is highly unusual for her." Becker finished as though he had never been interrupted.

Lester took a deep, exasperated breath.  "Permission granted."

Becker did not wait for Lester to continue, spinning on his heel and heading in the direction of his ready room and the armory.

"Try to leave at least a skeleton crew behind," Lester called out after him.  "We might actually need them.  Anomalies and such," Lester finished, more to himself than to Becker. "That is our primary function."  He muttered something else under his breath as he turned towards his office.  Abby was not sure what she actually heard but it sounded suspiciously like 'I should know better than to come between the hero and the object of his affection.'

# # # #

A bone rattling shake jarred her suddenly to consciousness, jolting her against the seat belt that still held her firmly in her seat, the wind screamed with malevolent intensity, as it forced its way through the twisted door frame.  Jess caught a powerful scent of pine pitch, and felt a giddy laugh bubble out of her that sounded tinged with hysteria even to her befuddled ears.  She had had the most macabre dream about Christmas trees covered with ornaments that more resembled a carnivore's teeth than any sane decoration, and tiny chicken sized dinosaurs danced a twisted jig around its base nipping at her heels while she clung to its branches for dear life.  A groan escaped her lips.  Putting one hand to her pounding head to ease the ache, she felt a sticky mess in her hair.  At first she thought it was the pine pitch she had smelled, but even in the feeble light she could tell it was blood that stained her finger tips.

She tried to shift her weight off the seat belt that cut into her hips, but when she put pressure on the floor with her feet a sharp pain in her right ankle and knee made her cry out.  Her leg, which had been numb before she tried to move, now throbbed.  Slowly she worked both her feet afraid they might be wedged tight beneath the dash and found her right foot immobilized.  Even these slight movements left her head swimming and her stomach churning with pain.  She allowed herself to go completely limp, hanging from the seatbelt like a rag doll.  What had happened?  How had she ended up trapped in her car, which appeared to have come to rest on its side, with the nose pointed sharply downward?  She had to be in a ditch. She opened her eyes, trying to take stock of her situation.  Her head swam with the effort. 

There was enough dim light filtering into the passenger compartment of the car to let her know it was daylight, but the windscreen was obscured.  She forced her eyes to focus on the moving mass outside until she realized she was looking at the branches of a tree, jammed against the glass, yet still moving in the wind. That explained the strong scent of pine sap as well as it appeared to be an evergreen of some sort.  So her vehicle was in a ditch, tipped on its side, pinned by a fallen tree.  And she had no clue how it had happened. 

Yet another gust of wind buffeted the small car.  She fought to stay focused, to think clearly.  If no one knew where to look for her, she would have to help herself.  Jess shivered.  The right side of her clothing was soaked from the rain dripping through the bent frame of the driver's side door.  If she could run the engine to stay warm while she tried to get herself free she might avoid becoming hypothermic, but the keys were no longer in the ignition.  She groaned softly, searching in the dim light for the cluster of keys.  Vaguely, she remembered killing the engine so they had to be here. 

####

"You're certain that was the last location of her cell phone?"  Becker tried to keep his voice level and professional, even though his heart pounded and every nerve in his body screamed at the young man to work faster.  He had to find her. 

"Yes, sir," the young soldier sitting at Jess's console answered.  "Last location was Evesham.  We can approximate the route she took leaving London by mapping the towers her phone picked up and the times.  This is the general route, if we presume she stayed on the main roads."

"Evesham is two hours distant from here.  That's a lot of ground to cover."

"At least we can guess her route," Abby added, attempting to play the optimist.  "Jess probably took the same route home that she took when she went to Evesham"

"And assuming Evesham really was her destination and she didn't travel beyond that."  Becker ran a hand through his hair.  "Abby," he said with an exasperated sigh, "the next time Jess decides to go off, I'll pay you to be a bit more inquisitive and ask where she's going."

"And do I ask her for an itinerary as well?"

Becker glared.  "We're going to spread out along the route we think she took to Evesham.  We'll need to concentrate our search on the south and east bound lanes of traffic as she was most likely on her way back to London, but we need to check the outbound lanes as well.  Start contacting all of the intervening police and medical facilities in case she has already been located.  Matt is going to start the search from this direction.  There's a plane waiting to take me and two search crews to any airport close to Evesham.  We'll work our way this direction." 

"Connor is going to go with Matt," Abby said. "I'd like to join your team."

Becker nodded.  "Let's get moving."

####

Jess blinked, rubbing her eyes to remove the dried blood from her eyelashes.  She needed to find her keys, and start the car before she became hypothermic.  There was enough space around the damaged driver’s side door that carbon monoxide shouldn’t be a worry.  She hoped.  Two deep breaths helped calm her.  If she had dropped the keys, they would be somewhere on the passenger’s side, and if she was lucky they would be within her reach.  It was difficult enough to see in the gloomy interior of the car, made even worse by her vision which insisted on swirling instead of focusing.  She reached out with her left hand and began to grope along the edge of the seat and the passenger’s door, hoping the keys were not down in the foot well.  Her ankle and knee screamed, the awkward position pulling at the tendons of her knee and pressing on her injured ankle.  Jess tried very hard to ignore the pain and concentrate on making her eyes work together. 

Forcing herself to work slowly and methodically, she ran her hand over every surface within an arm’s length.  And found nothing.  She fought down a moment of panic as a shiver ran through her.  The incessant dripping rain leaking though the twisted door frame had saturated most of her clothing.  The whipping wind whistled through the gap with chilling intensity.  She shivered again.  She had to find her keys.  Her only other option was to escape from the car and hope she could flag down someone on the roadside.  But both her doors were pinned, one by the ground and one by the tree that had fallen on her car.  There was no way she would be able to open them.  She would have to try and smash a window, but to do that she would have to free her foot.  And to do that she would have to release her seat belt, which currently was the only thing keeping her weight off her injured and trapped ankle.  Her heart sank as a wash of despair overwhelmed her.  She was so cold and so tired.  All she really wanted to do was curl up and drift off to sleep.

# # # #

Comments

Oh dear! Jess is in a bad way!