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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Who's the Real Todd? Chapter 47

Todd finished dressing, closing the clasp on his watch, and taking the band-aid off the ring. He had to get the supplies he and Pete would need to complete next part of his plan. He thought back to the early morning shower Pete and Blair had shared before he had taken back over from Pete. It had been hot to view and he was surprised at Pete, he had always considered him a little cold but there was nothing cold about the way he made love to Blair. It had actually shocked him that Pete harbored those kinds of feelings for Blair.

"You think you're the only one of us who can love her. Think again Pal, I can feel for her too. I find the sexiness about her and her tendency for trouble intriguing. It makes me hot. She's a girl after my own heart. By the way, thanks for not stepping back in right away, she capped off the evening nicely. I can see why you don't want to share." Pete laughed wickedly and wandered away leaving Todd with his own thoughts.

Todd laughed "You bastard." Todd wandered downstairs and found Blair in the breakfast room off the kitchen. "What are your plans for today?"

"I need to go into Capricorn today. Everything is a mess because Christian is MIA. I've already had a call from Carlotta wondering if I've heard anything from him. There was a call from Larry on the answering machine. He was checking on you and said he had information on Christian. A reporter from the Banner wanted an update and I stalled him. When are we going to let them know you're alright?" Blair looked across the table at him.

"I need about 48 hours, Blair, maybe less. I'll call Larry and find out about Christian and have John contact Carlotta. We'll bring her into the loop but getting her into Christian's room at the hospital can't happen since everyone believes the patient is me. You, Starr and probably Vicki should go to the hospital to keep Hesser from getting suspicious. If all goes well, this will be over soon and everything can begin to get back to normal. Don't worry I won't go out, I'll use my contacts to procure anything I need." He sat there and scooped up some eggs and kept eating.

An hour later Todd called Larry. "Hi Doc, what's the word on Vega?"

"Just as you suspected, more implants. I've been on the phone with Michael and we've decided he's going to bring his team here to work on Christian. Todd, we have to find out if possible, how many people were used by Carlo and Kipling. Christian's implants are just beginning to show signs of corroding. There could be people out there working for the government, working on borrowed time." Larry said. "John's been alerted to the situation and we've informed Christian. He's finally talking since he's seen what Carlo and Kipling put into him. John's already had several people in to get his statement. I've noticed a couple of people on the staff who have been making inquiries into the state of our patient and their names have been given to John. He's investigating and is checking for connections to Kipling. Have you had any problems with your wound?"

" I'm fine Doc. Blair and Starr and Vicki might be coming into the hospital to check on me just so that Carlo and Kipling's stooges can report they're visiting me. Can you help them out with that?" asked Todd

" We'll put on a good show Todd, I must say since Blair brought me in on this, my days have continued to be eye-openers."

"I'm glad we could enliven your days Doc. I can't really say the same, but then you know what I've been through." Todd had a knee jerk reaction to Larry's statement and then he kicked himself.

"Whoa Todd I didn't mean to say that everything you've been through was just for my entertainment." Larry was alarmed, he knew what Todd was going through and had been through, the last thing he had meant to do was make light of Todd's experience.

"Relax Doc, I'm fine. I know you weren't denigrating my experience. You're an alright guy. If it weren't for you the implants would still be in me and killing me. I'm just a little raw right now, what with the vision loss and everything. Don't mind me." Todd knew he had lost his cool and now he had to try and smooth it over with Larry

Larry heard something in Todd's voice that told him Todd was near the end of his rope when it came to Carlo and Kipling. He knew Todd was volatile and he had been holding it in for quite some time. Would he be able to keep hold of his anger a little longer or was he planning something?

Todd shook himself, he had gotten a little ragged with Larry and pulled himself back in. He couldn't afford to give himself away this close to having his plan work out. He owed Carlo and Kipling and nothing was going to stop him at this juncture. Todd signed off his call with Larry and made a call to one of his underground contacts. He needed something only they could provide. The shipment would be delivered the next day and his plans could go forward from there.

The next call he made was to Jake. "Are you ready to get some of your own back....Good... we go out tomorrow night. I'll call you, expect a late night....If all goes as planned this will be over by the weekend. This is between us, keep Tea out of it."

Todd contacted his reporter and got the location in Kipling's house that led to the hidden lab. Todd advised him to find a way to take the next night off and be out of Kipling's house, he would receive a call when it was safe for him to get his final story. Todd closed down his laptop and leaned back in his chair. It was happening and he knew he would have to lie once again to Blair. It was for her own good and that of the kids. If the plan fell through, at least she and Tea would be in the clear. Jake understood the ramifications of the actions they were about to undertake and it was possible it could blow up in their faces but somehow Todd had a good feeling about it. This time he and Jake were going to come out on top.

Blair arrived home with the boys in tow. Todd was overjoyed to see them and knew it was only the one night for right now, but it felt good to have them there. While Blair had Jack take their overnight bags up to the High Tech suite. Todd took Sam into his office and had a man to man talk with him.

"Sam, what I have to tell you is very important and you need to keep it a secret for now. Do you think you can help me out?" Sam nodded. "Very well there is something you need to know. Remember when I introduced myself as Samuel. Well, Samuel is just one of my names. I have another name and it's one you're very familiar with, my name is also Todd Manning just like your dad. Is that alright with you?" Sam nodded again. "Good, I'm glad to hear that, but you should know that some bad men are out to hurt me if they find out I'm Todd Manning, so I need you to still call me Samuel. You're part of a group of people that know my real name but can't tell it. This is really important and you have to keep it secret. Now have you ever made a solemn promise." Sam shook his head no. "Okay this is how you do it, we take our index fingers and we lick them then we press them together real hard and we swear not to tell anyone that I'm Todd Manning." Sam solemnly licked his finger and Todd did the same and pressing them together, Sam swore to keep the secret.

Todd remembered the last time he had made that vow. He had needed help long ago and two beautiful children had helped him, they had turned out to be his niece and nephew but he hadn't known it at the time. He hadn't thought about CJ and Sarah in such a long time. They would be adults by now, it was hard to think of them that way, in his mind, he would always see the two of them at his wedding with Blair. CJ had ushered and little Sarah had been the flower girl and having them there had been the icing on the cake. Todd came out of his daydreaming and realized Sam was waiting patiently for him. "Sorry Sam, got lost in some thoughts."

"That's ok, my dad's been doing that a lot too. He's got another name too and I have to keep it a secret, so I can't tell you but I know you won't mind. What happened there?" Sam pointed to the stain on the floor.

"I had a mishap the other day and the stain won't come out. You remember I told you some bad men want to hurt me. Well, the other day they tried to do just that and I got hurt a little bit. I'm alright as you can see but we're not letting people know that. I'm pretending to be hurt badly so the bad men will leave me alone for a while." He wasn't sure why he told Sam the truth, but now that he had, he had to trust the little guy to keep it quiet.

Sam's eyes widened and he said. "Bad men came here and hurt you? Did you get them?"

"As a matter of fact Sam, I did. At least that bad man, but there are more, so I'm being really careful since you and Jack and your Mom are here with me. Will you help me protect your Mom and brother, I could use some help?" Sam nodded again. "Great, I feel a lot better knowing I have some help. I'm counting on you to let me know if you see any strange men around the grounds okay."

"Okay." said Sam solemnly.

"Listen, enough with all the serious talk let's go find out what Jack is up to." he hoisted Sam up into his arms and headed upstairs. They found Jack thoroughly involved with the games console in the suite and soon all three were playing.

Jack had been playing for some time when he realized that his dad wasn't just watching but actually playing. He stopped and stared at his dad. "You can see!"

Todd looked over at his son and smiled. "Yes, but I have some help. I have a special device which is helping me. It's experimental and doesn't work for everyone. This is just between us Jack. It doesn't leave this room or house okay. Whoa Sam, you just beat us." Todd turned the conversation away from his eyes and both he and Jack congratulated Sam on his gaming skills. The little boy just beamed. Todd looked at Jack and knew he had been going through some pretty tough stuff since Gigi Morasco's death. He was meeting with Jake, and after everything was settled with Carlo and Kipling, he intended to have it out with Jake about Jack.

A short time later Starr and Hope arrived. Sam took charge of Hope and they went to play in the playroom while Jack went back to his games. Todd walked downstairs with Starr. He had taken her arm because it had gotten to be a habit and they went into the living room to talk. Blair saw his hand on Starr's elbow and flashed him a quizzical look. He looked at her and then saw her eyes move down to his hand on Starr and he realized what he had done. He released Starr and moved to sit with Blair.

Starr hadn't seen the look and instead marveled at her dad's ability to maneuver around the house. "Dad, that's really good. You're getting around in here almost as well as if you could see."

Todd looked at her and cleared this throat. " Well actually I need to tell you something." he looked at her and then just said it. " I can see you, but it's not what you think. I'm not cured physically, I'm being aided by a device. As long as I have the device, I have my sight back. Your mom and I decided to not alert the media. Hesser believes I'm incapacitated and we want him to keep believing that for the time being. You, your brothers, your mom and John McBain are the only ones that know what the device enables me to do. Until this thing with Hesser is finished it's best for all of you if the truth stays hidden. Now tell me what happened when you two went to the hospital."

Blair and Starr told him about their visit with Larry and about the reporters snooping around the hospital frustrated by the lack of any word. Blair let him know Christian was still under Carlo's control although willing to talk because of the implants being shown to him. "It was scary Todd, he was Christian but he was so cold. I hardly recognized my friend. Those implants are monstrous and Kipling and Carlo need to be incarcerated for life. Larry was telling us that even after Chris's implants are removed, he might still have some residual effects because of the training and memories that went into making him an assassin. I don't know how Carlotta is going to take this latest turn of events."

"From my own experiences with the implants, nothing is going to be easy for Christian and John informed me that Christian was responsible for two deaths. He'll have to face some time in jail probably, even though there are mitigating circumstances. I won't offer testimony against him but I can't offer testimony for him either. He almost killed me." his hand went to his side rubbing unconsciously, the memory still fresh in his mind of how close he came to dying.

Starr had only heard a portion of the story but seeing her father's serious face and looking where he had been shot it was clear it had been too close for comfort. The only thing her mom had told her was that her father hadn't been seriously injured and not to believe the newspaper account. Now she wondered what her mother had left out.

"Enough of all this serious talk, I have my family here and I want a real family night. I say we have another movie night. Jack and Sam's common room is more than a high-tech computer room it also is equipped to be a Movie viewing room. You and Hope can stay tonight too, Starr. Your suite is stocked with extra clothes for both you and Hope. What do you say? We'll call for pizza and for one night we'll forget about Hesser." Todd was almost pleading and didn't even realize it.

Blair reached over and took his hands in hers gently rubbing them giving him comfort. She knew something had been troubling him when she got home with the boys but he shook it off when he played with the boys. The talk about Christian had brought him back down to earth. She knew he was planning something, Pete had been out for a reason last night. Whatever he was plotting was dangerous.

Todd had been watching Starr and was startled when Blair had taken his hands but he found it strangely comforting and didn't pull them free instead he intertwined his fingers with hers and waited for Starr's reply.

"Sure Dad, why not. James is working and we haven't seen you and spent time here since you got home from your honeymoon. Besides, to reporters, it will look like we gathered here out of comfort. But Mom, what about Capricorn?" Starr asked.

"Capricorn is closed due to a family emergency. It was the easiest way to cope with the loss of Christian and the fact that your dad is supposed to be so injured. Go find out what kind of Pizza everyone wants and let's get this night started." Blair said. Starr got up and went looking for the boys and Hope. Blair turned to Todd. "It's going to be alright. Let's enjoy the night," she leaned in and gently kissed him, feeling him respond and pulling her close for a much deeper and satisfying one.

Blair was asleep, as Pete rolled out of bed again. He had about a half an hour before he was meeting Jake. He walked downstairs gathering up the duffel bag Todd had packed. He had everything he needed to get Hesser and Kipling both. He turned around and looked back up the stairs where Blair was sleeping only to find her staring down at him.

"You be careful, Pete, and come home, all of you," Blair said down to him.

He was stunned, no one had ever expressed concern for his welfare, she was a vision. Only one thought came to mind at that moment. Dropping the bag, he took the stairs two at a time until he reached her, swept her into his arms and kissed her with a savagery that took her breath away. He smiled sardonically and said "That, sweetheart, will definitely give me a reason to return." he left abruptly, as she stared after him.

Pete roared out of the driveway heading for his rendezvous with Jake. "Damn Todd, she's quite a woman. How much did you tell her?"

"I didn't tell her anything, Pete, she just knows me. We've got a mission to think about, get your thoughts off my wife and back onto the matter at hand." Todd knew what Pete meant and his heart swelled with pride that Blair had let him go tonight. It reminded him of the early days when she had helped him without question.

Pete pulled off the road about a quarter of a mile from Hesser's hideout. He hid the car so no one could see it from the road. Sitting on the hood he waited for Jake to arrive, then jumped off as Jake got there. "You ready?"

"What do you think? What's the plan?" Jake was dressed in black the same as Pete, what they were going to attempt required stealth. Pete pulled out Samuel's drawing of the property. The perimeter was marked, along with the distance between air vents around the cabin and the cabin itself. Pete also had another set of pictures and a blueprint for Ivan Kipling's house. He packed those away till it was time for their use.

Gathering up the needed equipment for this raid, he and Jake went the quarter of a mile to the entrance to Carlo's property. Pulling out a can of hairspray Pete sprayed in front of him until the laser beams appeared before them, then together he and Jake placed the mirrors so they could get through without alerting Carlo. He pointed out the two cameras Carlo had placed at the front of the cabin and pulled out a couple of cassette tapes. On the count of three, he and Jake replaced the recording tapes with tapes that played a constant loop back to those watching inside. That completed, Pete gave Jake several canisters of sleeping gas and directed Jake how to set them off and then they began dropping them into the air vents around the cabin. Pete tossed the last canister into the entrance of the cabin and waited the appropriate minutes required for the gas to take effect. He donned a mask in case of any lingering fumes, passing one to Jake, and entered the cabin heading for the fireplace. Pulling out the badge he had taken a couple of nights before, he scanned it and watched the fireplace move revealing the elevator. Using it one more time, the elevator opened and he and Jake descended into Carlo's hideout. Exiting the elevator he and Jake moved passed the sleeping bodies of Carlo's men as they lay in various positions on the floor.

They began a methodical check of rooms until they found him. Pete pulled out the duct tape and began binding him up especially his eyes and mouth and then threw a hood over his head and tightened it. Pete put a tape on with Carlo's voice saying he didn't want to be disturbed on his desk. It would go off when one of his guards came and asked him if he was alright. He locked the door and pulled it shut behind him. Then because of his injured side, Pete helped Jake hoist Carlo on his shoulders in a fireman's hold and they departed the cabin. Changing out the tapes in the cameras with the original ones they headed back to the road where they set Carlo down and removed the mirrors allowing the perimeter to return to normal with one exception. They had Carlo. The next phase was underway.

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