CHAPTER 14

It was late when Alan awoke relieved to find Scott and Gordon by his bedside. Scott dosing in the chair and Gordon figiting as he glanced about the room looking for anything that would distract him from his current state of bordom. As he looked towards Scott contenplating if he dared do something to the sleeping form of big brother Scott, suddenly saw blue eyes watching him in amusement.

"Allie your awake!"

"Yeah and you better forget what your thinking of if you want to live."

"Man you don't know how glad I am to see you! And..." Gordon crossed his arms,... "how'd you know I was planning on doing anything?"

"Cuz, I know you, and that look of bordom I just saw." Alan's throat was dry and he began to cough. Gordon held a glass of water with a straw out for him. "Thanks. What are you doing here? And how is it Scott can still be asleep.?"

Before Gordon could answer, Scott did. "Allie, how are you feeling?" He sat up moving closer so he could push Alan's bangs back.

"I'm better this time." He tried to sit up, unsuccessfully.

"Hold on. Not to fast, you do not want to get that nausea back again." said Scott as he used the button to slowly raise the head of Alan's bed up.

"You got that right! Thanks." replied Alan as he looked from brother to brother, a worried look coming over his face as he sensed something wasn't quite right. "Something wrong?"

"No, course not, just worried about you, sprout."

"Yeah sprout, you gave us quite a scare," replied Gordon.

Alan starred at his big brothers for a long moment, then before he could say more, Virgil, John and Jeff walked in.

"Alan your awake," said Virgil as the three of them walked over to his bed.

Jeff saw the worried looks of his other two sons. "What's wrong?"

"Nothing. We were just telling Allie not to get up to fast or the nausea might start up again." said Scott.

"And I was about to ask them, why your all here. Who's taken care of the family business?"

"Alan," said Jeff, "we are all here because we were all worried about you. After all,... you had been kidknapped!"

The others all nodded in agreement and gave soft reassurances of how glad they were he was back with them all now, that he was safe and would recover from his physical injuries.

Alan cocked an eyebrow at this as he studied his family. Finally he said, "They told you didn't they? You know what they threatened to do to us."

For a few moments there was only an uncomfortable silence.

Finally Jeff broke the uneasy silence. "Yes Alan, we know and we know how hard it was on all of you, but they also told us how much harder they were on you."

"You know the reason." said Alan quietly. "But I wouldn't have told them!... No matter what they said or did."

"Yes we do know the reason... We also know you would never reveal anything. Alan I,... I cannot begin to tell you how proud of you I am," said Jeff as he put an arm around Alan shoulders.

"We are too", added his brothers.

Alan gave them all a skeptical look. "How can you be? I disobeyed a direct orders and... the danger I placed everyone in..."

"Alan you don't need to worry about that... Not that I want you to make a habit of disobeying orders, of course," smiled Jeff.

"You had no choice, there was no other way to get all of them away. The Hood had escaped from prison and was on his way back. From what Belay and Farrelli told us a lot of people would have faced dire straights if you had not found a way out," said John.

"But, it's worse I...I..." looking even more distressed as he tried to find the right words.

"Allie, hey come on now, we're telling you it's okay, there is nothing we can't work out," said Scott.

Alan looked at his commander and field commander and the rest of the family, "you don't understand." Alan whispered as he hung his head.

"Alan look at me as your father and not your commander for a moment." said Jeff as he lifted Alan's chin up so he could look into his eyes. He was dismayed at the deep fear, shame he saw there. Something he had never seen in those big blue eyes before. Not even when the Hood had invaded their home.

"Alan tell me what's wrong son, there is... nothing... you cannot tell me."

"B-But the radio...what I said...and the others the dangers I talked them into. If you hadn't got to us when you did..."

Now everyone had a look of confusion on their faces.

"Radio? What are you talking about? Tom King was the one running the radio You hardly spo..." John suddenly realized what Alan was saying. "You can't mean that,... Allie, stop and think about what you were undertaking at the time!"

"Want to let the rest of us in on what you're talking about!" requested Virgil.

Scott and Jeff looked to John then back to Alan. Suddenly it was as if a light bulb went off in Scott's head. He turned quickly back to Alan.

"Allie everyone was scared!"

"But I was the one who said it out loud...on the radio and anyone who heard, knew I was scared, a...a...coward. An-and It was my fault everyone was up there in danger in the first place. And.." Alan again dropped his face as tears began to fall.

"Alan, how can you even think such a thing?" replied everyone looks of compleate shock on there faces.

"Alan," said Scott. "You need to understand all of us were scared. Okay, so you said it out loud, but dispite you're feelings you took charge and did what had to be done in order to keep everyone as safe as possible."

"Safe? But..."

"Son," said Jeff, "most hero's are scared people who dispite their fears, put their feelings aside and do what needs to be done anyway. Alan,... son...you are a hero! If I didn't already know it for myself, all anyone would have to do is talk to any of the other boys and then of course Katheryn, to see how much they appreciated your leading the way out from a world that had been a nightmare for Katheryn, and could have been a fate all may have had to endur if you had not taken the lead."

Scott continued, "Alan you cannot... in any way, shape or form... believe you are somehow responsible for what the Hood attempted to do. Because of what you did the world police are now onto him and his evil practice. a lot of people are sleeping in freedom tonight."

Alan stared at his commander/father, /field commander/brother, then the rest of his family. Tears began streaming down his face as Jeff hugged him tightly. The rest of the family also placed a hand to let him know their support.

Finally Alan was able to let go, as he pulled back he looked into his father's and brothers eyes, doubly checking that this was real. His family was here and they did love him. This is 'real' he told himself over and over.

Finally Jeff spoke, "I will talk to the doctors in the morning about a plan get you home as soon as you are able, but right now you are exhausted. I want you to try to sleep tonight. The others are looking forward to seeing you tomorrow if you are up to it. Do you need anything for pain?"

"No I'm fine. I think I can sleep okay." He still had an anxious, look in his eyes.

"Alan there will be many up and down days ahead, but don't you ever feel you are alone. I and the rest of your family will always be here for you." said Jeff as he gave Alan a tighter hug.

"And tonight?"

"Don't worry sprout at least one of us will alway be here with you," said John.

Alan gave a partial smile as he snuggled back into his pillows. Jeff continued to hold his hand till he was sure Alan had fallen back asleep.

"I'll take first watch," said Jeff. "I want the rest of you to get something to eat and get some rest,"

Scott looked about to argue when Jeff continued, "Scott get some piliminary flight plans worked out for over the next several days, so we are covered as soon as the doctors give us the go ahead to take Alan home."

John couldn't help but smirk knowing the added order was an excuse to get Scott out of Alan's room.

Scott sighed, as he also knew what Jeff was up to, but also knew it was a battle he would not win, shrugging his shoulders as he turned to go, "FAB dad."

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It was almost forty eight hours later, before Alan showed any signs of waking up. Though Jeff and the others were worried, doctor Volz did his best to reassure that Alan's exhaustion and long periods of sleep would be common over the next several weeks. That he had to heal physically as well as mentally. It was to be expected that during this time his mind and body would just shut down at times to heal, and as it did the length and number of times would slowly decrease. Alan finally was awake enough to recognize where he was and what had happened.

"How long have I been asleep?" He asked as he spied his father and eldest brother.

"Just over two days," Jeff replied as he watched son's face for signs of distress.

"Two days!...You're kidding right?" disbelieve clearly on his face.

"No Alan, it is no joke. But you're awake now and that is what counts." Jeff reassured.

"But dad, you and the others ...you can't be...I mean what if your needed?...I am so sorry."

"Alan I want you to understand something right now,...look at me," he gently held Alan's face in his hand, "you have nothing to be sorry for. And don't worry about the family business, we'll get back to it soon. Right now all that is important is that you and the others are safe."

Alan sighed, "Dad will I...we ever be truely free from Hood?"

"Alan...I do not know when, but I can assure you,.. we will get Hood and his parisites. The important thing now is that you and the others are safe. We will just take one day at a time."

Alan gulped as he tried to take in this information. Instead of anymore exchange he was happy to just lay his head against Jeff's chest and let the strength and love he felt from his father soak in.

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"Alan darling, I as does Parker want to wish you a continued speedy recovery before we depart," said Lady Penelope as she walked in the room, giving Alan a dazzeling smile.

As much as they hated to leave, Lady Penelope and Parker would have to take their leave as their was much work to do to if there was to be any chance of finding the Hood and band of slime. "I also wanted you to know that I have already found placement for Farrelli and Belay. They will be coming with Parker and I inconspicuously. We, your father and I, wanted them safe evan before their leagal entangelments come to light. They can start their new lives in safety, while the lawyers work out the nasty details."

"Thanks Lady P, I really appreciate it."

"It's the least I can do. Now you get home and allow yourself to heal. I will be in touch with your father for updates." She gave him another dazzeling smile then took her leave. Parker following.

"Thanks again Parker."

Parker tipped his hat, "your health and safety master Alan."

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The next day that Alan woke up seemed to be a turning point and from then on he was able to sleep and wake within normal amounts of sleep and awake hours. Jeff had Scott and the other boys go back to the island earlier to start getting things ready to go back into service, though he had to go into commander role in order to get Scott to comply. Now between Jeff, and Virgil with Brains on the vid-com, they were able to convince the doctors that they could continue Alans recovery at home on the island.

Dr Volz agreed, and helped to get the ball rolling, so to speak. "If I can be of any further service, please do not hesitate to call me."

" I cannot begin to thank you enough for the care you gave my son, Major." said Jeff.

After another handshake, Major Volz took his leave. Jeff turned back to Alan.

"What about the others dad? I know Lady Penelope took Farrelli and Belay to a safe place, but what about the others that escaped with us, and the guys, Katheryn and the twins?"

"Yes Penny has gotten Belay and Farrelli to safety and Katheryn the twins and the other boys have already left with their families. They were disappointed we couldn't all get together for a proper celebration. Katheryn's and Jack and Jillians' parents really wanted to meet you, but it was decided we'd give everyone some time to heal. We will have a proper get together and celebrate later. As far as the others, I have top lawyers working to get them all home to their own families as soon as possible."

For the first time since the ordeal started Alan ws able to give his dad a real smile.

Virgil helped get Alan onto Tracy One and settled for the long flight home. Alan watched out the window, as at last they began to taxi down the runway towards home. It seemed a lifetime since he'd been home. A home that for a while he thought he might never see again. Even now that he was finally enroute, he could not shake the feeling or that distant voice that kept telling him that this ordeal was not over yet.

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The Hood and his small band of cut throats had again landed back at his now mostly vacated camp. Only a few of the guards that had been locked in by Belay still remained.. The others had fled joining other small fractions in the area. The Hood looked about, his thoughts becoming darker by the minute. This had been one of his more fruitful camps. Hidden away from prying eyes, a place from; which, he could have his way with the world as he saw fit. Now it had been compromised, as even now it was being invaded by those most annoying drones. Though Mullion had brought one down, others had gotten away with their sought after information and it would not be long before the free world he dispised so much would be arriving to see if they could once again capture him. No not ever again would he allow those unworthy creatures to lay hands on him. He was furious beyond reason that his plans had once again been twarted by none other than that snippet of his arch enemy Jeff Tracy. His thoughts became as black as a moonless night. Someone had to pay for this unforgivable act.

Mullion and Transom kept clear, making themselves as scarce as possible as they preparred the plane for take off. They would take the remaining loyal guards along with themselves to another safely hidden camp.

Unfortunately Smeada had not yet learned that no one was safe, when this type of darkness encircled the master. She entered the building coming straight towards him as she spoke, "do not worry, we can always capture the young Tracy again, together we..."

Smeada never finished her statement as the Hood turned on her and with a flash of his eyes and flick of his fingerers he lifted her into the air as he crushed her trachea, then let her drop to the floor gasping as a fish out of water as she struggled for a breath of air that would never again come.

"You worthless maggot! You dare to think you can stand beside me! You have failed me twice you shall not live to fail me a third." With that he turned, his robes swirling out behind him. He walked away not waiting to see that her struggle for life would be in vain. He walked out of the building and ordered the plane to be readied for immediate take off.

Transom and Mullion quickly took note that Smeada did not come back out with the Hood. As their eyes met they both knew she never would come out again. Years of working with the Hood had hardened them in the knowledge that the Hood did not tolerate failure, nor did he ever forgive those whom he felt wronged him.

"Sir,"said Transom somewhat hesitently, "the plane is ready. Where will we be heading?"

"Back to my temple in Maylasia. I must repair the holes that have been allowed to open during my forced absence. We will bring in and preseve what we can from the other mines, before they are breeched. Then after I have restored my empire, I... will... deal with those responsible.