Altered Fates; “The Bodyguard” Ch 2 of 16

Author Note:

1: This story is based on the Altered Fates Universe concept established by Jennifer Adams, however I’ve taken some artistic liberties so this story doesn’t strictly adhere to the rules Jennifer established.

2: This is also a fanfic of the J.R.R. Tolkien world of Middle Earth in an untold tale of the First Age. Please note; I didn’t stay completely true to the Middle Earth that Tolkien set up. This is my take on what Middle Earth in the First Age might have been like


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CHAPTER TWO

“…it’s an adventure”

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Logan couldn’t help staring at her reflection in the bathroom mirror in awed fascination. Dark red hair flowed down past pale shoulders and the large blue eyes had an innocent look that caught her breath. Logan couldn’t resist reaching up to run her slim fingers lightly over the smooth flawless skin. It felt surreal to Logan as she slowly touched her new dainty nose, then the delicate cheek bones and finally the small cute chin. Logan’s eyes were drawn further down to the twin bumps pushing out from the overly large men’s shirt.

After taking the medallion from Molly Logan had put it on and then wrapped the dress around it. Logan had felt a shock as soon as the fabric came into contact with the medallion and the shock was followed by a tingle throughout his whole body. He’d looked up to see both Richard and the guy who claimed to be Molly looking at him in fascination.

“Keep holding the dress to the medallion.” Logan’s doppelganger instructed. “You’ll need as many of my mannerisms and memories as the medallion can give you if you want people to think you’re me.”

Logan had complied, still a little skeptical, since nothing seemed to be happening. Several minutes slowly dragged by and just as Logan was about to ask if they were done with this nonsense a long strand of red hair fell into his eyes. At that point he realized that he was now shorter than both of the men.

“Oh shit!”

Molly stepped forward and tried to wrap his large hand around Logan’s now smaller one before Logan could let go. Unfortunately Molly was too slow and the dress fluttered to the floor as Logan held up his now delicate hands and stared at them.

“Damn it!” Molly said in frustration then glanced at her dad. “Do you think it was long enough?”

Richard looked at his expensive wrist watch, “He held the dress to the medallion for thirteen minutes and fifteen seconds. From the experiments I’ve done a full 30 minutes and he’d have had almost all of your memories and skills.”

“I know, daddy, we’ve already been over this, remember?”

“Yes, sorry my dear, so we were trying for fifteen minutes. Just long enough so that he’d be comfortable in your body, have your mannerisms, and some of your memories, but still retained his own skills and memories. At thirteen minutes? I don’t know, maybe it’s enough.”

“I-I don’t think . . . shit what happened to my voice?” Logan stopped talking mid-sentence as his voice cracked and changed. He glanced back and forth between Molly and her dad watching as they seemed to slowly get even bigger.

“Son-of-a-bitch, this is actually working!”

“Just try to relax and breathe Logan. It will be over before you know it.” Molly said trying to sound comforting.

Strange sensations assaulted his senses to the point that he couldn’t seem to focus on one particular sensation before the next hit him. Then there was a tugging twisting feeling from his torso and an unfamiliar weight began to drag on his chest. Logan reached up to touch the newly formed breasts just as he felt a tightening in his groin. The gasp was an involuntary reaction when he reached between his legs and felt smooth skin. Then it was over. Logan lifted the hand that he’d used in countless fist fights and stared at the slim, scar free, fingers with well-manicured nails.

“Shit, this is one sea-story none of the guys will believe.” Logan said as he slowly and experimentally groped his new breasts. Then louder, “I think I need to use a bathroom.”

“I understand completely, the transformation is quite shocking.” Richard said.

“You’ve used the medallion?”

“Yes, at first just to get a few years back and lose a couple of pounds. Then later I experimented with a few more drastic changes,” Richard replied with a strange gleam in his eye. “It has been very useful artifact.”

“What do you mean, it’s been very useful? How long have you had it?” Logan couldn’t resist asking.

“Just two months. I’ve used it to escape the estate and see how other people live, among other things.” Richard replied a little evasively.

“Daddy, let the poor girl be! Come with me Logan I’ll show you to the closest bathroom, if you’re having the same reaction I did the first time I used it, you’ll need to see the changes to really believe it.”


***

Logan woke up his head pounding and found that even though his head hurt he was laying on the most comfortable mattress, cocooned in blankets, with only the faintest ray of sunlight streaming in from the heavily curtained window. For a second Logan was very confused. The dichotomy between his pounding head and extremely comfortable nest distracted him. Then he realized the reason he had come abruptly awake was because there was someone in his room. The stranger had moved very quietly over to his bed and was reaching down to touch him. Logan reacted with controlled violence, he caught the wrist of the hand that was about to touch him and twisted it to one side bringing up his other hand to strike the elbow. As he did he realized that this guy must be huge because the wrist and arm felt very large and strong in his hand. Even as that thought flashed through Logan’s mind he brought his hand down on the elbow only to have the giant catch his wrist in a gorilla sized mitt.

“Logan, wake up, it’s me Molly. I was just checking in on you.”

The events of yesterday washed over Logan’s mind and he let out a soft, alien, feminine, sounding moan. “Oh, God, then it wasn’t a dream?”

“No, but after watching how much you drank last night, I’m guessing that you wished it was. I’m not much of a drinker and my body’s a lot smaller and lighter than yours. If I drank that much I’d have a wicked hangover!”

“Ugh,” Logan groaned again and relaxed back down into the soft bed. As soon as Molly felt Logan relax he let go of her wrist and moved away from the bed.

“Come on lazy bones. We’ve got a busy day.”

“What are you talking about? It’s Saturday, right? You don’t have any classes today.”

“True, but Daddy is having his assistant arrange for my “vacation” so I’ll probably be leaving tomorrow.”

“Um, okay, why can’t you just jump in the private jet?”

Logan sat up trying to ignore both the headache and the shifting weight on her chest. Molly pulled open the curtains and Logan started blinking at the sudden bright light that flooded the room.

“It would look pretty suspicious if Daddy sent a bodyguard, no matter how grateful, on a vacation and used his private jet. We don’t want to draw attention to me, remember?”

Logan nodded and glanced over at Molly, he had turned around and folded his arms over his new muscular chest. ‘This is so weird,’ Logan thought, looking at her former body. His hair was the dark black he’d inherited from his Italian mother while he’d gotten the height from his Scottish father. His face had a clean rugged look with a strong jaw. Adding to this was the lean athletic build he’d developed over the course of hundreds of hours spent in the grueling physical training required by the Teams.

“I never knew I was such a stud.” Logan heard a woman say and then realized he’d spoken out loud.

“I know, right?” Molly’s deep voice sounded delighted. “I think I spent more time looking in the mirror last night than you did! Before this, if I had to take a vacation from my life, I’d never have turned into a guy. But now, anytime you need a break from this beautiful body just let me know!”

“Hey, this isn’t a vacation. We have a job to do, yours is to stay alive, and mine is to keep your body safe.”

“Oh, yeah, I forgot, Logan is all work and no play. Well, I may have used the medallion to hide from the terrorists, but I plan to enjoy this experience. You should loosen up a little and try to enjoy it as well.”

Logan just grunted and climbed out of bed feeling flesh she’d never had bounce and jiggle while her silk pajamas slide erotically over her sensitive skin. As it did Logan felt her nipples grow hard like a pair of twin hard-ons.

“You know I never really saw myself from another’s perspective, but I’ve got to say, my girl-body is hot!”

“Okay, you’ve checked on me. Was there another reason for your visit?”

“Yup, I . . . err . . . I mean MOLLY goes for a long run every Saturday morning. From your memories I know you enjoy running so I figured we could go for one together before I leave. Besides, while the medallion might have given us each other’s mannerisms and a few memories we should probably talk and establish some ground rules.”

“Fine, if you’d get out I’ll get changed.”

“Why, you don’t have anything I’ve not seen a thousand times.”

“Not from that body you haven’t, and I’m shy.”

“Bullshit!” The expletive burst out of Molly, startling him more than Logan. Before Molly could recover from his shock Logan grabbed him by the arm and led him to the door. As she did Logan realized how large Molly’s bicep felt in her small hand and knew that if Molly wanted to he could have stopped her at any time.

“I’ll be out in a few minutes.”

Logan shut the door behind the now amused looking Molly and went into the bathroom attached to her new bedroom. Knowing that she needed to hurry Logan tried not to think about the tasks she was performing. ‘Alright, focus on the mission,’ Logan thought. ‘Just take this one step at a time.’ Logan moved over to the toilet and after a second turned around and sat down to pee. It took a minute of experimentation to figure out that instead of squeezing muscles she no longer had, to drive urine down and out her dick, all Logan had to do was relax and squeeze new muscles and the pee flowed freely.

Then Logan realized that if she didn’t think about what she was doing the actions just came naturally. She wiped herself dry, brushed her teeth and hair, and then quickly put her long red hair up in a ponytail to keep it out of her face while running. She returned to the bedroom and dug out shorts, sports bra, socks, and shoes, somehow knowing exactly where they were. As long as she didn’t stop to think the actions felt normal but then Logan spotted her reflection in the mirror above her dresser. The gorgeous red head in running shorts and sports bra was someone Logan would have asked out in a heartbeat. Deciding to grab a running shirt Logan turned to go to Molly’s closet and spotted something on her back.

Twisting to look at her back in the mirror Logan saw just above the small of her back, a tattoo of a sexy witch-demon. Logan had to twist a bit more to get a better look and was impressed with how flexible she now was. The sexy female demon had a slightly over exaggerated figure. Her skin had a very slight red tint, a pair of small silver horns poked out of her midnight hair. She was wearing some kind of black corset that looked almost like armor while managing to show off her cleavage and tiny waist. Her skin tight black leather pants were tucked into knee high boots. Her demonic wings were partially spread and she was holding a Kris in her right hand while her left was surrounded by what looked like a burning pentagram. ‘What the fuck?!’ Logan thought, ‘The magic was so thorough it gave me her tattoo.’ This caused Logan to wonder if Molly now had his tats. Last night she’d been in too much shock to look.

Logan pulled on a tight running shirt and returned to the mirror and saw Molly’s beautiful image staring back. As she studied her reflection Logan wondered what her measurements now where and then she realized she knew. She was now 5’10” and weighed 120 lbs. She had a lithe athletic figure with entirely too much chest, hips that flared, and butt that was far too big, as far as Logan was now concerned, even though yesterday he’d thought that Molly had a perfect figure.

“Boy oh boy, Dorothy you’re not in Kansas anymore,” Logan said, looking at her reflection. “Okay, get it together Logan. You’ve got a job to do. Mission objective one, stay alive,” after pausing for a moment to cup her new breasts in her sports bra Logan shook her head. “If it weren’t for these boobs it’d be a piece of cake.”


***

The morning air was cool and it hit Logan like a slap in the face. For the first time in her life Logan felt the sensation of her nipples reacting to the cold by becoming hard. Fortunately, Molly had already started running and was out in front without a view of Logan’s new chest or she’d have died of embarrassment.

Pushing down her discomfort Logan focused on jogging. There were so many new sensations that it was tough for Logan to pick out the strangest. First, there was the lack of equipment in her shorts. The familiar feeling of her now missing manhood as it moved with each step was gone. Instead the tight female running shorts fit snuggly around her bottom. Then there was the crisp air hitting her now much more sensitive skin. Although as her body heated up from the run this sort of faded into the background. Logan had always kept her hair short Molly however had long hair and it now hung down past Logan’s shoulders. The hair moved around quite a bit as she ran and was surprisingly distracting.

Then there was the movement of the new flesh on her chest. When Logan had been guarding Molly she’d thought that Molly’s chest was perfectly sized for her body. Now Logan was having second thoughts. Even with the sports bra her chest moved around far more than Logan would have thought possible. In fact of all the new distractions this was by far the most annoying.

Logan followed Molly about half-way down the driveway before turning left onto a running trail. The trail was wide enough for two to run side-by-side and Logan had too much of an ego to just let Molly lead. With a short burst of speed she pulled up beside Molly and figured that talking would distract her from the sensations assaulting her masculine mind.

“This is pretty weird, right?”

“You can say that again. Although, I’ve got to tell you that your body is in amazing shape!” Molly said, enthusiastically.

“Uh, thanks, I guess. But this is just a little run and we’ve only been going for five minutes.”

“Ha! Before I woke you up I went down to the gym in the house and spent an hour lifting. Yesterday, I could bench-press 80 lbs. ten times and 135 lbs. once. This morning I pressed 225 lbs. ten times and 365 lbs. once! And right now I feel like I could just take off, this pace is barely causing me to sweat.”

Logan didn’t know what to say. Molly’s gleeful enjoyment of his new body had just driven home the fact that she was now so much weaker. She knew that she’d lost a lot of upper body strength but hadn’t really thought much about it. At least this pace wasn’t giving her too much trouble. Molly was a college athlete and as a tennis player she had great cardio so Logan picked up the pace.

“In that case let’s see who can get to the boat house first!”

Not waiting for a response Logan sprinted ahead feeling very light! She may be a lot weaker but she’d also lost a lot of weight! Soon Molly pulled up beside Logan and then slightly ahead. Logan knew this trail, perhaps not as well as Molly, but she’d scoped it out for security reasons several times. The trail wound through the trees and up and down a series of small hills, as both Logan and Molly settled into the run pushing their bodies, Logan started to plan. They soon moved off the property belonging to Falk’s as the trail joined a public running trail that lead into the lake community adjacent to the Falk property.

Logan stretched out her stride trying to cover as much ground with each step as possible, while controlling her breathing. Molly was pushing the pace forcing Logan to speed up or yield the contest. Her lungs were beginning to burn and Logan felt sweat running down her back and between her breasts as she ran. As weird as the sensation was she refused allow her body to distract her or to slow down. Instead she pushed harder drawing on her new body’s reserves.

Then they came to a series of switch-backs as the trail climbed a small but steep hill. Logan poured on as much speed as she could her lungs now felt like they were on fire and her breathing was ragged. Logan put her head down and focused on lifting her knees and pumping her arms, ‘attack the hill,’ she thought straining. She passed Molly who was now also breathing heavily, catching him by surprise. Logan used her position in the lead to take the inside of each turn forcing Molly to stay wide if he wanted to keep up.

When they got to the top of the hill they could see the lake and boathouse through the trees. From here it was a quarter of a mile to the Falk boathouse and all of it was downhill. Logan gave another burst of speed and knew that she was pushing her new body to the limit. But the sound of Molly’s footsteps right behind her drove her forward. Then they were running side-by-side.

“Nice try Logan,” Molly said, as he blew by in a full out sprint.

Logan did her best to match him but Molly’s legs were longer and each step took him further and further away. When Logan got to the boat house she came to a stop feeling her legs cramp and doubled over gasping for air. Logan did her best not to throw up as a fit of dry-heaves knotted her stomach muscles.

“That was a great run Logan. Its two and a half miles from the house to here. My personal record was nineteen minutes. We just finished that run in seventeen thirty a new PR and I hardly feel winded!” Molly said looking down at his watch and then over at Logan with a grin. “How are you doing?”

“I’ll be alright.”

At this Logan straightened up and looked around. The view of the lake from here was beautiful. The pristine blue water glimmered in the morning sun through the trees. At this time of morning there were almost no boaters out yet so it was very quiet and peaceful. There was a fence around the boat house where the Falk’s kept their boat along with a couple of jet-skis. Since neither Logan nor Molly had a key they wouldn’t be able to go into the boathouse. After a few minutes they started the run back to the estate only this time they jogged at a much slower pace.

“I’m sure that you’ve got my class schedule memorized.” Molly said looking over at Logan, “I’ve cleared my social schedule for the next two weeks. So all you have to do at first is just go to class, practice, and come home. Hopefully you’ll feel comfortable enough to go to the spring formal in three weeks, although no one has asked me . . . err . . . you yet.”

“I doubt I’ll feel like going on a date as you in three weeks.”

“You might change your mind. If you decide to go I wanted to let you know that I’ve already picked out a dress.” At this Logan grunted in an unladylike sound. “We should probably set up some ground rules. Don’t go out and get another tattoo and no new body piercings!” Molly said, and then after a pause, “I suppose if you want to have sex you can. I’m on the pill so you need to make sure you continue to take them. Just don’t get pregnant or we won’t be able to swap back before you experience the joy of motherhood!”

“What?” Logan sputtered. She didn’t know if she should be shocked or offended. Either way her face felt hot with embarrassment.

“It’s the medallion. If you’re pregnant it won’t change you until after the baby’s born. So don’t get pregnant!”

Logan focused on her running for a few seconds before she responded. “I think I can live with those rules. I expect you to follow them as well, oh, and you have to promise to exercise five to six days a week. I don’t want to get a fat out of shape body back.”

“Deal!” Molly replied, with a laugh. “I’m sort of an exercise junky anyway so I plan to see just how far I can push this body.” After this they ran in silence for a few minutes. “There are some things you should know about Daddy. He’s a good, kind, man, but he’s still hurting from mom’s death. He’s turned over control of most of his business interests and spends a lot of time collecting artifacts. He’s sort of obsessive about it.”

This wasn’t anything new to Logan since it had been in the file on Richard Falk. By this time they’d reached the point where they left the public running trail and headed back onto estate grounds. For a few seconds they ran in silence each very conscious about the way their new bodies were moving, and both avoided bringing that subject up. Abruptly, a loud explosion ripped the air and through the trees Logan could see smoke coming up from the mansion.

“What the fuck!”

The expletive burst out of both Molly and Logan nearly simultaneously and they stopped to stare. Then the crack of automatic gunfire sounded from the estate.

“Daddy!” Molly exclaimed and started sprinting toward the house.

“Molly, stop!” Logan shouted and after a second of hesitation took off after Molly.

Molly quickly outdistanced Logan and she realized that Molly had been holding back during the race to the boathouse. Now he easily disappeared. Cursing profusely under her breath Logan slowed down. It wouldn’t do any good to get to the house and run right into the arms of whoever was attacking the estate. Logan slowed down even more as she got closer. ‘I won’t be much help to anyone right now, armed with a sports bra and a pair of running shoes,’ she thought grimly.

Logan changed direction slightly heading off the trail and cutting toward the security command post. From there she ought to be able to talk to the guards and find out what was going on. The command post was set up in the space above the garage. The garage was a standalone building housing a dozen cars. The Firm had added an external staircase around the back when they’d been hired to handle security for Mr. Falk. As Logan approached the complex she saw that smoke was pouring out of the garage and the whole upper level was on fire. ‘So that was the source of the explosion,’ Logan thought, staring at the building. The command post was wired to the Firm’s headquarters and they should have gotten an alarm. Local authorities would be on their way, but it would take time. The sound of more automatic weapons fire from the house drew Logan’s attention. Time was something that Logan realized the Falks didn’t have.

Logan spotted movement out of the corner of her eye and turned in time to see Molly stand up, having used a waist high hedge for cover and grab a guy wearing a ski-mask holding an AK. Molly put one hand under the guys chin and the other at the back of his head and twisted violently. Logan couldn’t hear the sound of the guy’s neck snapping but knew he was dead by the way he crumpled to the ground. Molly collected the AK and disappeared into the house.

“Shit!” Logan muttered and raced across the lawn after Molly. Unlike Molly’s approach Logan was totally exposed coming from the garage instead of the running trail. She breathed a sigh of relief when there were no shouts in her direction or bullets kicking up dirt. Again, Logan heard the sound of gun fire from within the house. Now she’d reached the terrorist Molly had killed and took a minute to look him over.

Logan quickly pulled the ski-mask off exposing dark skin, hair, and beard. ‘Probably middle-eastern,’ Logan thought, as she checked the guy for a pulse. He was wearing street clothes. Jeans, boots, and a black t-shirt; over the t-shirt the guy was wearing a tan SecPro Level IIIA tactical combat vest. This was “soft” body armor with Kevlar padding in front, behind, and under the arms. It would stop a 9mm round and was much lighter than the MTV (modular tactical vest) with the heavy SAPI (Small Arms Protective Inserts) ballistic plates. There were several magazine pouches attached to the vest via webbing and a pistol in tactical holster on the left side under the terrorists arm. Obviously, designed for a cross-draw, also on the front attached to the webbing was a Bowie combat knife with the hilt low and the blade high. This would allow the knife to practically fall into the guys hand, once the release was pressed, if he needed it. Cursing her new weaker upper body strength Logan took the time to get the vest off the guy. This amounted to undoing the buckles, unzipping the vest, and then getting one arm out. After that Logan rolled him over and out of the vest. With this was done Logan quickly put the vest on cursing the fact that it was too big and that she didn’t have the time to adjust the straps for a better fit.

Once on Logan drew the 9mm and did a quick condition check. With a full mag and a round in the chamber Logan flipped the safety off and, feeling much more confident, moved into the house. One of the first things Logan noticed about the weapon was that it felt much heavier than she was used too! The second thing she noticed was that the grip was a little large for her hand. Even though she felt better, now that she had a weapon, Logan knew she had to be careful. She wasn’t used to using a weapon in this body and then there were so many other little things distracting Logan. The vest rubbed against the bare skin her shoulders and lower back. The ammo pouches were in the way and pushed uncomfortably against Logan’s breasts. This made it more difficult to keep proper form as she moved from room to room. If she had to wear this damn thing for any length of time she’d need to do some major adjusting of the straps and buckles.

Then Logan rounded a corner and spotted two guys with their backs to her wearing similar vests and ski-masks. Logan opened fire, knowing they weren’t from the Firm. At this range it was almost impossible to miss. The first guy went down with a bullet in the back of his head although Logan was so startled by the kick that her second round went wide. The second guy started to turn as Logan brought the gun back on target. She squeezed the trigger and the round grazed the side of his head as the terrorist threw himself back. Logan continued moving forward arms extended in a perfect moving Weaver stance and fired again and again. Her second bullet missed but the third took the terrorist full in the face before he could get a shot off. Because they had both been wearing body armor Logan had been forced to go for head shots and her lack of practice shooting in Molly’s body had almost cost her!

Moving forward Logan saw they both were carrying AKs. She holstered her 9mm and slung one AK over her back while doing a quick inspection of the other. Wishing she had pants with cargo pockets instead of skin tight running shorts, to allow her to acquire more magazines, Logan had to be satisfied with putting one AK mag in the empty vest pouch and a fresh mag into the AK she’d decided to use as her primary weapon system.

Once done Logan moved forward again going slow and trying to think. Richard would probably have been in the family wing when the attack had started. If he’d heard the fighting he was supposed to go down into the basement below the wing. There was a vault there and the Firm had looked it over and told Richard that it would work as a panic room. If there was an emergency he and Molly were supposed to go to the vault and stay put until help arrived.

Logan made her way cautiously through the quarters. From time to time she heard the sound of gunfire but instead of seeking it out she continued toward the lower level. Once in the family wing Logan opened the door that led down and heard the sound of gunfire. There were two staircases down to the basement below this wing. One at either end of a long hallway so far Logan didn’t see anyone so she continued cautiously down. At the bottom of the staircase Logan peaked around the corner. Half way down the hall there were a pair of doors on the left. Using one of the doorways for cover a terrorist was firing away from Logan toward the door that led to the other set of stairs. Logan couldn’t see who it was at the other end of the hall, but figured it was probably one of the guys from the Firm.

Logan took a deep breath and then moved forward rapidly. Not running, Logan moved at a very fast walk, the AK locked painfully tight into her shoulder, her cheek pressed into the stock. As she moved she kept the terrorist in the rifle’s iron sights. By the time Logan was two thirds of the way to the terrorist, whoever it was at the other end of the hallway had stopped shooting. This caused the terrorist to inch forward to get more room for a better aim. It also exposed more of the guy to Logan. The sound of the rifle firing almost surprised Logan as she pulled the trigger. The first couple of bullets tore into the terrorist while the rest went high. Logan was startled by the kick of the weapon and at how much it wanted to rise when she fired it. Another difference between this body and the one she was used to Logan thought angrily.

Logan moved quickly into the room stepping over the dead terrorist body. She spotted three other terrorists ducking for cover as she stepped into the room. Logan stayed low and moved to her left and kept up a steady fire on the terrorist as she moved. The rounds went wide, but they kept her opponent’s heads down. Logan continued to move to her left while firing to her right. Then her weapon ran out of ammo. Logan took a knee behind a metal display case and reloaded, fumbling for a second as the familiar task felt awkward with her new, smaller hands. Unfortunately, the break in fire allowed her enemies time to begin shooting. The sound of bullets snapping and ricocheting around her was one that she was familiar with, but it still got Logan’s attention.

Then someone came through the door firing a steady stream of rounds and moving quickly to the right. At the sound of an ally entering the firefight Logan was on her feet and moving. In a flash she saw that one of the three terrorist was down and they were turning to focus on the newcomer. Logan used the distraction to kill one of her two remaining opponents. Working as a team Logan continued to flank the last terrorist by moving further to her left and around the room while her ally moved similarly only to the right. In seconds they had the last terrorist in a cross fire and he went down.

Breathing deeply Logan looked over to see which of the Firm’s agents had come down to the vault and saw her own face looking back. At some point Molly had stopped and picked up a vest like the one Logan was wearing only it looked like it might be a little small on him.

“God, I look hot in body armor.” Molly said, leering at Logan.

“Shut up.” Then after a pause Logan continued, “Have you seen your father?”

“No, I figured he’d either come down here or go to the panic room near the master suite. I took a guess and came here.”

For a second Logan cursed silently, she hadn’t known anything about a second panic room. Then Logan took a quick glance around the room. The hallway that ran the length of the basement, under the family wing, was on the north side of the mansion. The basement was divided into two large rooms. The one they were in and a second room that was sealed off from this room by a heavy steel vault door. Logan saw that very little had changed about this room. It was full of display cases and tables made mostly of heavy metal and ballistic glass. Each display case held artifacts from all over the world. While the firefight had caused some damage to the display cases the artifacts looked okay.

“Do you think your dad is already in the vault?”

“There’s only one way to find out.”

With that Molly moved over to a key pad and typed in a pin and then just as he was about to put his finger on the plate next to the key pad he stopped.

“Uhm, I think you’ll have to do this, use your right index finger.”

Logan suddenly realized that while Molly had used his PIN it was her finger that would be needed to open the door. Logan pressed her finger to the pad and the light next to it went from red to green and there was a click. Logan could hear a hiss of air and the sound of a hydraulic motor as the vault door slowly swung open.

The room beyond was smaller than the room they were in and had far fewer items. When the door opened a light automatically came on and Logan saw that there was no one inside. There were a pair of shelves that ran along the walls to the left and right, while in front of the far wall was a desk and a pair of chairs. The center of the room was dominated by an arch made of some kind of black stone sitting on a raised platform. Half a dozen symbols had been carved into the arch and they vaguely reminded Logan of the Kanji she’d seen in Japan.

Just then the sound of boots running down the hallway caused Logan and Molly to turn around. They both backed into the vault using the protection of the doorway for cover as a terrorist came through. Logan caught him with a well-placed shot to the chest. However, right behind him a blonde guy, wearing the uniform of a Firm security guard, dove through the door and started to shoot. Logan and Molly ducked back, but Logan could hear additional terrorists entering the room.

“Shut the door,” Logan shouted at Molly. Logan tried shooting the blonde traitor, but the volume of fire forced Logan to take cover. Molly hit a button Logan couldn’t see although she heard the sound of the hydraulic motors closing the door. Logan heard one of the terrorists shout something in Arabic and then the sound of heavy bolts locking into place was accompanied by the feeling of Logan’s ears popping as the chamber pressurized.



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