Title: Uneasy Lies The Head
Rating: R for violence
Characters: action!Jack/Chloe/President Allison Taylor (sort of)
Summary: Takes place shortly before Day 7, so minor spoiler warnings. Jack protects a new president.
Disclaimer: 24 is the property of the Fox Production Company, whose execs are into torturing their fans.
A/N: I wrote this because I needed a Kievlar © fix. Thanks to my awesome beta and grammer nazi, wordthatfail, and The Official CTU Operations Manual. This is my--drumroll--24th fic posted to this forum. Ta-dum! (The term “Kievlar” © bysardonicynic, xbedhead, and catch22girl)
Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.
~ William Shakespeare. Henry IV, Part II
At this range he needed a sniper’s rifle. He would have to make due with his nine-millimeter.
The pilot was well over a hundred meters away from him, running in an erratic manner to confuse any pursuers. He knew what he was doing.
Jack aimed his inadequate firearm and pulled the trigger.
The pilot was shot, but obviously not in a lethal location. He slowed down but didn’t stop, and he was still able to reach the helicopter.
Jack ran. The propellers were already thumping as their speed increased. Jack had to cover a lot of distance in a very short time.
He almost made it. As the chopper left the roof of the curved, covered stadium, Jack jumped. He was able to grab onto the chopper’s landing skis.
Don’t look down. Amazing that he still needed to remind himself of that. His Kevlar vest provided his chest with little protection as his torso hung over the landing ski. He grabbed the forward strut and was able to swing one leg over. Not exactly comfortable but slightly less precarious.
It was windy up here. And cold.
With his free hand Jack reached for his cell, cursing the lack of a comm unit. Working without the resources of the now-disbanded CTU was becoming problematic.
“Division. O’Brian here,” came the familiar voice.
“Chloe, it’s Jack,” he yelled, struggling to be heard over the noisy propellers.
“Jack! Do you have control of the chopper?”
“Not exactly. Do you have the chopper on satellite?”
“You’re ten minutes from the compound.”
“You have got to contact the president. Tell her to get out of there. Or at least get to the bunker.”
“All the channels are blocked. I can try to re-route through a decommissioned military satellite, but….”
“Fine. Keep the line open.”
Jack now had an even more immediate problem: The chopper wasn’t moving properly. Its nose was dipping and it was yawing from side to side. The pilot was either incompetent or badly injured. Jack had shot him.
The door had been left open. By balancing both of his big feet on the landing ski Jack was able to put his other hand on the door handle. He tumbled into the cockpit and saw that the floor was stained with blood.
The pilot was still at the controls. Jack had to stop him.
Only the pilot wasn’t a him. The pilot was a her. Jack could try to use that to his advantage.
“You’re injured. Let me fly.” He kept his voice as soft and sympathetic as possible. The cabin dampened the noise somewhat, but Jack still had to shout.
“I have to do this.” Her voice was full of pain. He could see the blood pour out of the wound in her thigh. He might have hit an artery. Yet she was still conscious, and still flying the chopper, albeit erratically. She was tough. Jack felt a measure of respect.
“No. You don’t. Whatever they’re paying you, it isn’t enough.”
“Yes, it is. You wouldn’t understand.”
“We can talk about this. We can work something out. But you have to let me fly.”
The pilot responded by reaching into one of the numerous pockets on her flight suit…
God. Please. Don’t make me do this…
…and withdrew her gun.
Jack shot her first, between the eyes.
Jack laid her body to the floor as gently as was possible under the circumstances. He studied the controls. This chopper was similar to Bell 206 Jet Rangers that had been used by CTU. He could fly her.
The nose was dipping forward. The chopper was far too close to the ground.
Helicopter controls were counter-intuitive. A pilot almost had to do the opposite of what he could do while flying a fixed-wind aircraft. Jack relied on his muscle memory as he steered the chopper away from the suburban buildings and up into a safe altitude.
Jack could now look behind him, into the rear end of the cockpit. The C-4 explosives were still there, just as he had suspected. They looked rigged to explode on impact. Unless the pilot had been paid for a suicide mission. There was no way to determine that now.
“Chloe, I have control of the chopper. How are you doing?”
“I’m sending the compound schematics to your PDA. I was also able to reach the compound. I sent a coded message to the security guard’s cell phone. But they probably get crank messages all the time. I don’t know if…”
“They’re on to me. I have to go. Bye.” The line went dead.
Jack looked at the screen of the PDA. And then the houses below him.
They were the same. He was directly over the compound.
Jack set the chopper down just outside the main gates of the presidential retreat. Already the security personnel were running towards him. He quickly checked the explosives: No timer, the pilot must have been planning to drop the C-4 and detonate it remotely.
Before Jack stepped out of the helicopter he threw his gun to the ground and raised his blood-covered hands above his head. He had just landed a stolen helicopter filled with explosives and a dead body outside of a secret presidential compound. This was not going to look good.
At the very least I’m going to be arrested for not having a current pilot’s license.
“This chopper is filled with C-4. You need to get a containment unit here now,” Jack shouted in lieu of an introduction.
“A SWAT team is on its way,” one of he burly guards said. He didn’t seem surprised.
Chloe, thank you. You came through for me. You always have.
The guard walked towards Jack, but he didn’t produce a pair of handcuffs or order Jack to lie on the ground. Confused, Jack kept his hands raised and his palms facing outwards.
The guard whispered in Jack’s ear. “This never happened.”
Jack nodded his understanding. He finally lowered his hands.
Through his peripheral vision Jack could see the gates of the compound open. A limousine emerged, flanked by two smaller escort vehicles. The windows were tinted, but Jack knew the identity of the occupant.
She would never know who saved her from the first of what could be many assassination attempts. Jack knew he wasn’t going to be granted a pardon. The Senate hearings would proceed as scheduled.
Right now that didn’t matter. Jack wasn’t thinking of himself.
I did this for you, Madam President. I did all of this for you.