The Four Swords
John sat in the cave facing the hole Martin had created. It was much bigger now, widened by the large monsters he had seen Natalya and Johanna defeat. Night had long since fallen, the sky was clear allowing all the stars of the galaxy to shine brightly, but as beautiful a sight as it was, John still watched the darkness that lay beyond the broken cave wall.
Firelight lit the scene, the shadows dancing to the silent rhythm of the flames, only two others were in the cave, both Tomas and Shoknee had gone for a walk along the beach.
"John, I already told you, when Draktar was destroyed, so was all his minions."
"Grace, leave him be, if he wants to keep watch, let him," Jack said as he leaned against the rock out crop he had once used as a shield against bullets, his mind replaying many of the events he had been involved in.
He suddenly remembered why he had risked his life running from the cave in a bid to turn the attack, and leaned forward, edging closer to Grace who sat opposite him,
"There are still a few things I don't quite understand."
"Besides finding away off this island?" Grace giggled, "I thought that was your only concern."
"I know it wasn't the best of comments, but it is still an important one. However, since we wont be able to do much more tonight, you could help pass the time by answering a few things for me."
Grace smiled as she too leaned closer, though her true feelings for the man had still not been revealed, she was just too shy right now.
"Okay, what is it you want to know?" she smiled.
"What happened to you?" Jack asked bluntly.
Grace sat back surprised,
"What do you mean? Have I changed that much?"
"You have changed a little, that I can tell, but what happened when the plane crashed? You bang your head, and not even Lucas could wake you. He even said he couldn't find your soul."
"Ah," Grace said biting her lower lip, "that's a little complicated."
Grace sighed and leaned against the cool rock.
"My original body had been buried on this island, so when I lost consciousness during the plan crash, my soul got dragged to my original body. Not just because I was so close to it, but also because my soul was incomplete."
"So why did you not just jump back into this body after?" Jack asked.
"I couldn't, Draktar's minions had sealed my coffin. I could enter, but could not escape, I was trapped."
"That would explain why Lucas couldn't find you." Jack nodded in understanding, "but how did you get out if you were trapped?"
"A man, one who had been on the ship with John and Draktar, he was the one who opened my coffin. Unfortunately he died in the process. You are taking this extremely well." Grace said impressed.
Jack leaned back and gazed at the ceiling,
"I like to think I'm open minded, but to start with, it did seem somewhat fantastical."
Jack looked back at Grace, locking her eyes with his,
"After everything I've been through so far, I don't think anything could take me by surprise."
"I love you," Grace blurted out without thinking. She quickly covered her mouth and looked away in same, "Sorry, I didn't mean for you hear that."
When Jack didn't respond, Grace slowly turned back to him. His mouth hung open, his eyes were wide, and he seemed frozen to the spot.
"It appears he was wrong," John observed over his shoulder, "he looks very shocked from your last remark."
Grace waved a hand in front of Jacks face, but he didn't even twitch.
"What's wrong with him?" Grace said in all innocence.
"My dear, even as old as you are, it seems you lack a little understanding of man. He will come round when the shock wears off..."
"Professor!" Tomas shouted as he ran into the cave, "Everyone! We're saved!"
"What are you talking about?" John asked standing.
Tomas noticed Jacks frozen form, and looked from Jack to Grace, who blinked in all innocence, and back again,
"What happened to him?"
"It's just shock, just tell us what you meant about being saved," John pressed.
"Oh, yeah. There's a helicopter coming towards the island, Shoknee spotted it first, it should be hear any minute."
"Then what are we waiting for!" John said grabbing a burning log from the fire, "lets go and signal them."
He stepped past Grace and Jack and was heading out of the cave when Grace called up a question.
"What about Jack?"
"Slap him, that should bring him out of it," John said over his shoulder.
Grace watched the two men leave and then looked back at Jack, still frozen in the same silly pose.
"Sorry Jack," Grace said biting her lower lip, and slapped him hard on the cheek.
The sound of her hand slapping his face reverberated around the cave, and Grace hoped she hadn't hit him too hard.
"What the hell was that for? Jack suddenly asked, holding his burning cheek in pain.
"I didn't know what else to do, there's a helicopter coming towards the island."
As Grace said this Jack could hear the distant thrum of the blades. Everything else was forgotten as he jumped to his feet and practically dragged Grace out of the cave with him.
Shoknee watched the light grow bigger, and could hear the unfamiliar sound of the spinning blades. A spot light suddenly blinked on, flooding the muddy beach on which she stood, and causing her to cover her eyes. She backed away from the sudden downdraft and into Tomas, who was back at her side,
"That's a big bird," Tomas said over the noise of the blades as he watched the large helicopter touch down just in front of them.
"It's a military chopper, a US101 All-weather medium lift military helicopter to be precise, it's been in service since 1998 and can transport up to 30 troops. Has a maximum speed of 309km/h and a ferry range of nearly 2,100km." Jack added, glad of the distraction, "I might not like flying, but I do like my helicopters, and she's a beauty"
"Who do you think it could be?" John shouted over the noise.
"I haven't a clue."
"Looks like we are going to find out." Tomas said and watched two men disembark, one was wearing a posh suite and carried a briefcase; the other was more casually dressed. They quickly covered the small distance between them,
"Is there an FBI agent Jack Carter here?" The man with the suite asked.
"That would be me," Jack replied moving forward.
"Good, is there somewhere quieter we can talk?"
"There's a cave just a short way from here, should be a little less noisy in side." Jack said.
The group returned to the cave, the two new comers close behind.
Once inside, the noise from the helicopter was still easily heard, but at least now they didn't have to shout.
"Who are you?" Grace said before anyone else could ask the question.
"Federal agent Don White," the suited man said, "and this is Timothy Dent."
The plain clothed man raised a hand in acknowledgement, but was obviously nervous,
"Please, its just Tim," he said.
"How the hell did the FBI know we were here?" Jack asked, "after all, I never left any info about this place."
"We received an anomalous Email a few days ago, but had to wait for the storm to pass before we could even attempt to fly out here. Weather experts are still mystified about the strange storm; no one has ever seen anything like it before. Timothy here is an acquaintance of a..." Agent White stopped to check his notes, "a one Lucas Frost, and has been helping us with our investigation, the same investigation that you started over two months ago."
Jack rolled his eyes and leaned back against the cave wall, Grace a little closer than he would have liked right now,
"I should have guessed," he sighed.
"You know Lucas? Where is he?" Tim asked.
"Sorry, he's kinda dead."
Tim looked a little down, but appeared to have expected the sad news,
"He did mention in his last Email that he would most likely be dead." Tim sighed, "He was a good friend."
Jack nodded towards the briefcase,
"What's inside the case? If you don't mind me asking."
"Ah yes, we also received a strange attachment with the last Email, one we received only a few hours ago, with instruction to print it out and hand it to one of you. Have to say we were more than curious but even our best code breakers couldn't understand it."
The agent put the briefcase on the floor and opened it, the printout he took out was A4 in size and he handed it to Jack.
Jack raised an eyebrow,
"I can't read anything on this but the date, who sent the Email?"
"Let me see," Tomas asked.
Jack handed the young man the paper work as he waited for an answer to his question.
"We were hoping you might be able to tell us, we just received the Email a few hours before flying out here."
"It came up on my laptop," Tim added, "though it use to belong to Lucas. It's impossible to trace the signal."
"I recognise this," Tomas suddenly spoke up, "it's just like the scripture we found on the black obsidian tablet."
John perked up at that,
"Let me see."
Tomas handed him the paper,
"It's a shame I can't read it, if I still had all the previous knowledge from the ship it would be easy," he sighed.
"You're right, it is the same as the obsidian tablet."
"So you can read it?" Jack asked.
"Sorry, even if Johanna was able to decipher it, the secret died with her. Grace might be the only one here who might be able to read this."
All eyes turned to Grace, and she blushed at the sudden attention. She accepted the sheet of paper from John and everyone watched her bright green eyes grow wide.
"Looks like you can read it, what's it say?" John asked eagerly.
Grace didn't answer, she was so engrossed in reading that she didn't even hear the question repeated by Jack. She was half way down the page when she suddenly ran out of the cave, a large smile plastered on her face.
"Grace, wait up, what is it?" Jack called after her.
The others followed Jack outside as he ran after the short woman, her dark red hair trailing behind her like fire from a jet engine, as she ran past the helicopter and down to the waters edge.
She didn't stop until her feet splashed into the cold sea, the sound of the waves trying to drown out the sound of the still spinning helicopter blades.
"Grace! Hold up, what the hell's gotten into you?" Jack said as he finally caught her up. He had been through so much and had had so little sleep that the short run had tired him out quickly. He put his hands to his knees as he struggled to catch his breath.
"They aren't dead," Grace said, and looked down at Jack, "They aren't dead," she repeated with joy.
"Look up to the North Star, Lucas sent the Email knowing I would be able to read the scripture."
Jack stood up and looked into the clear sky, the others were still someway up the beach, he and Grace had been the only ones to run, and for a moment they were alone.
"Will they be coming back?" he asked as his eyes scanned the sky.
"No, they can not return, but they do wish to say goodbye to both of us. Found the north star yet?"
"Sorry, I'm no astronomer," Jack admitted.
He was suddenly aware of Grace's body pressing up to his as she leaned close to point the star out, her warmth was surprisingly welcome, and he was starting to enjoy being so close.
"It's that big bright one, Lucas said they would know when we were both looking.
Jack followed the direction she pointed with his eyes, and then saw the large bright North Star, clearer than any other in the sky. Suddenly a cluster of four bright blue/red lights flashed around the star, and vanished as quickly as they appeared.
"Wow, was that...?" Jack asked pointing.
Jack looked down into her bright eyes, her young features hiding the long years of her life, but that no longer bothered him. With courage he never knew he had he bent down and kissed her.
His move caught her by surprise, but she was soon kissing back. Time, however, was not on their side, for before they could fully fall into each other, they were interrupted.
"What's going on?" John asked before Shoknee could silence him, "What does that scripture say?"
Jack let the kiss die, knowing there would be time later to carry on, Grace leaned into him as he continued to hold her.
"It's just a message from four of our friends," Jack said.
"And what does that message say?" John pressed.
"It's mainly a farewell note," Grace explained, "Part of it is only intended for my eyes, another part for Jack..."
Grace nodded, looking up into Jacks eyes,
"Yes, that you should look after me, not spend the ten million in your account too fast, and Lucas said you're not too bad a guy."
Jack blinked in shock.
"And the rest?" Tomas asked as he held Shoknee.
"You are to look after Shoknee and her people, and that the professor should also stay with her tribe. Lucas also mentioned an older sister who missed you."
"Is Lucas turning into some sort of matchmaker?" Jack asked.
"No, he mentioned that both Johanna and Natalya were putting words into his mouth."
"But Lucas is alive?" Tim said.
"Sorry, but its a little more complicated than that, and since the four will never return, it is best to except they are dead. He wants you to make sure his business firm never goes bust."
"So it's just a farewell message?" John said.
"That's right." Grace nodded.
"So why the code?" Agent white asked, not wanting to get forgotten.
"The four only wanted me to be able to read it, so they used my brothers code. The language is just an early form of Latin, but my brother wanted to create a writing that only a few would be able to understand."
Jack gave a long sigh and shook his head,
"Okay people, that's enough interrogation for one night, might I suggest we make use of this helicopter, get off this dam island, and find a nice warm bed to sleep in?"
"Now that's a wonderful idea," Grace smiled up at Jack.
"Mind if I emphasize the word sleep a little more?" Jack sighed.
(Thanks for reading this tail, I hope you all enjoyed it. This story was not as easy to write as others, I tried a few new things, altered my style a little and spent almost one and a half years writting it. It turned out quite different to my original plan, but I am quite pleased with the result. This is the longest single story I've created so far, and I am hoping to get it properly published before the year is out. I'll be starting a new story soon, so keep an eye out for that one.)
This story is now fully published!!!
Go read my profile to find out the details, and please be aware that at the end of the year I will be deleting almost all of this story from the web.