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“She wants me to come there?” Ayala asked when Martine told her what Shaw said.

“She was a little light on details,” Martine explained. “Listen, did you have any medical training?”

“Are you asking me if I can doctor you needs?” asked the younger woman. “Because I’m pretty sure I proved that ….”

“Okay, no!” Martine said, still not used to her girlfriend’s spontaneity and lack of filter. “Just come here and … yeah.”

“Well, that was smooth. She won’t suspect a thing,” Janine said dryly.

“I don’t even know what she wants her to do yet,” Martine said, defensively because she didn’t like her loyalties tested. It wasn’t that she didn’t know where they lay; she just didn’t want to deal with an upset girlfriend.

“Well, based on the items she asked me to get, I’d say you were right and we’re going to operate,” Janine said and emphasized the collective pronoun.

We? Are you kidding me?” the tall blonde woman exclaimed. “You passed out when they described Shaw’s wounds. Now, you want to be the OR nurse, handing Ayala the instruments?”

“Shaw needs me,” Janine offered as the reason she wouldn’t faint.

An hour later, Ayala sat with her sister and girlfriend and Janine. “You want me to what?” she asked, waiting to see which one of them would tell her it was a joke.

“Reese shot me with a tracking device and if you dial 1-800-Shaw, I’m pretty sure my ass shows up on your phone,” Shaw yelled.

“Okay, first, that makes no sense. And two, if Root invented it, wouldn’t’ she know how to get it out?” Ayala asked.

“It was meant to go in an arm,” Shaw said, her teeth clenched.

“Reese? Shot you? There?” Ayala laughed and then coughed to cover it up. Her sister’s dead stare was like a tractor beam.

Martine decided she needed to interpret for the two siblings. “So, Shaw thought maybe you’ve had some medical training in the army.”

“Well, sure, I had some for battle wounds,” Ayala said, realizing everyone was serious.

“Oh, there’s going to be a battle as soon as I find Reese,” Shaw huffed.

Martine attributed some of her girlfriend’s impulsiveness to her youth, but there were times when she thought the girl threw caution to the wind a little too quickly.

“Okay, let’s do this,” Ayala pushed back her chair and stood up.

“Let’s do this?” Martine said worried. “Do you have any idea how to retrieve it?”

“She said it’s in her…,” Ayala said.

“Yes, I know, but how deep is it?” Martine asked. “How are you going to find it?”

“Janine?” Shaw said and the woman produced the items that were on her list.

“You’re going to use a hand held metal detector?” Martine asked wide-eyed.

“You have a scalpel and a stitching kit?” Ayala asked like they were to do something sane.

“And alcohol wipes,” Janine announced because even though that wasn’t on the list, she thought of it herself.

“Any lidocaine?” Ayala asked about the local anesthetic.

“We don’t need that,” Shaw barked and not one person in the room with her believed that.

“Shaw! This isn’t a splinter she’s taking out!” Martine pointed out.

“I couldn’t get that,” Janine reported. She had run some scenarios through her head of where she might be able to steal some, but she didn’t have the time.

When Sameen dismissed her concern and tried to hurry things along, Martine put her foot down. “Wait here,” the woman said in a definite tone that even her girlfriend had not heard her use.

“You two are perfectly matched,” Shaw sneered of their common bossiness.

Martine was conflicted about this, but if Shaw was going to insist, she was at least going to do something to dull the inevitable pain. “Who the hell gets operated on without drugs?” she murmured to herself.

“Rousseau?” Reese said when he heard her talking to herself. “You okay?” he asked when he noticed what she had in her hand.

“Me? Oh yeah. You, I’m not sure about, but me, yep, never better,” Martine stammered. She watched his blue eyes go from her to the item in her hand. “Oh, this? Ja… Janine. She’s… pregnant. Yeah, well, she might be and we’re toasting her.”

It wasn’t just pathetic; it was the worst confabulation the woman ever came up with.

“She’s not drinking if she’s pregnant, right?” Reese said in his gravely authoritative voice.

“What? No! Geez, Reese, be serious,” Martine said, small beads of perspiration appearing on her forehead.

“Okay, we’re all meeting up later with Root,” he reminded his top security person who promptly dismissed him.

Reese stared as Martine rushed back down the hallway. She burst through the door of the conference room like someone was chasing her. Out of breath, she leaned on the closed door and said; “If you’re going to do this, please have a shot of this before. Maybe it will dull the pain.”

“You want her to drink?” Janine asked, not sure this was medically approved… anywhere. She tried to google it, but Shaw had already agreed and Martine poured some in a glass.

“You’re not the kind who sings when she’s drinking, are you? Because I don’t want you moving around,” Ayala pointed out.

“Listen you,” Shaw said, and Martine gently tipped the bottom of the glass for Shaw to drink up.

“This is nice, siblings helping one another,” Janine pointed out as she spread out the white sheet on the table. Then, she set out to cut a hole in another sheet so that only the right area of Shaw’s derriere would be exposed. “I couldn’t find any videos on YouTube on this, so I really hope you know what you’re doing,” the worried assistant implored Ayala.

“First in my class in shrapnel removal,” Ayala smiled. “Although most of it was not in the gluteus maximus.”

“You know, I should just do this myself,” Shaw balked and was beginning to believe she could. “Just give me a mirror,” she said and Martine could tell she needed a little more whiskey.

“Here you go, Shaw. No driving or doing surgery when you're drinking. I'm sure they taught you that in med school,” Martine said and handed her another glass.

“Do you have any idea how much of that I have to drink to get drunk?” Shaw asked, proud of her alcohol tolerance.

“Yeah, so drink up,” Martine said as Ayala looked at the scalpel like it was the first time she saw one. “Oh, God,” Martine said, and took a mouthful right from the bottle.

“Now, I’m going to need someone to use the gauze on the blood,” Ayala said and Martine could see the blood drain from Janine’s face.

“Yeah, that’s me,” Martine said and poured more into Shaw’s glass.

“LET’S DO THIS!” Shaw laughed out loud and Martine looked at her.

“We’re good to go,” Martine said, trying to take the glass out of Shaw’s hand, but she pulled on it until she drained it.

“Daz good stuffs,” she slurred her words.

“Only the best for you, Shaw,” Martine said.

“You know, I couldn’t stand you when I first met you,” Shaw said to the ceiling as they led her over to the table.

“Who?” Martine asked.

“All of you. I mean, at least Janine gave me her clothes, but you two were just annoying as hell,” Shaw shared.

One look at the assistant told Martine that she had to get Shaw back on track. “But you really like us now, right?” she directed.

Shaw looked at each one of her friends. “I do,” she said sincerely. “I really do.” Martine could tell that Janine was relieved and could now concentrate.

“Great,” Ayala said and was about to begin when Janine told her she had to go wash up. Ayala agreed and walked out of the room. She returned in minutes, holding her hands up like OR doctors do. Janine opened to door. She presented the woman with a sterilized gown and gloves.

“Where did you shop? Doctors are Us?” Ayala asked because the woman thought of everything. Including masks that she insisted they all wear.

“What will I do?” Janine asked.

“Probably pass out,” Martine whispered to herself. “You sit her and keep Shaw occupied. You have a very important job.”

“I do?” Janine asked enthusiastically.

“Yes, you’re going to remind her that this was her idea, ok?” Martine instructed as she and Ayala went over what they would do.

“Sameen?” Ayala said to her sister. “You need to take your pants off.”

“Sure,” Shaw said, and did so, exposing a pair of lacy black boyshort panties. “I can dead lift…,” Shaw was going to share, but couldn’t remember. “A lot.”

“I bet,” her sibling said. “Now, lets’ see where that tracker is, shall we?” she asked, as Sameen crawled up on the table.

“Tell the truth,” Shaw said on her hands and knees on the table. “You had an app that showed where the hell I was, right?”

“Yes,” Janine immediately confirmed.

“I knew it,” Shaw said and fell over on the table.

“Okay there,” Ayala said, and helped her sister stretch out and lay, face down on the table. Then, she got her ready as Shaw turned her face toward Janine and closed her eyes.

“Is it going to hurt?” Janine whispered to Martine and she meant, how much, because she wanted to be prepared.

“Like hell,” Shaw murmured because she wasn’t so drunk that she didn’t know that. “You know what?” Shaw said and got up from her horizontal position without warning.

“Oh, God, Shaw!” Martine yelled. “She could have been cutting you.”

“Yeah, but this is important,” the very inebriated Shaw explained. “If anything happens,” she said pulling Martine into her with a great amount of strength. “Give Root a message…,” Sameen said, but couldn’t put everything she felt into words.

“I think she knows, Shaw,” Martine assured her. “But nothing is going to happen.”

“I got this,” Ayala assured everyone. She really did have experience in this and was commended for her steady hand in medical procedures that were carried out when no medic was available. “Keep her occupied.”

Janine took Shaw’s hand as she appeared to fall asleep, but it was just that her eyes were too heavy to keep open.

“Hold her,” Ayala whispered to the woman who was close to Sameen in strength. Martine put her arm on Shaw’s waist so she wouldn’t move.

Ayala found the location of the tracker and pressed down on Shaw’s flesh and could feel it. “Not too deep,” she said and drew a deep breath.

As soon as the blade cut through the skin, Shaw grabbed Janine’s hand tightly. The assistant stroked Shaw’s head, assuring her it would be all right. Martine dabbed the blood while the would-be surgeon stuck the long thin tweezers in to retrieve the tracker. The incision looked much bigger than the damn transmitter that finally was plucked out. Minutes later, Ayala carefully stitched the wound and placed a sterilized bandage on it.

“All done,” Ayala announced and took a long drink from the bottle because she was far more nervous than she had let on.

“It’s all over,” Janine said soothingly to Shaw.

“Good, because she has the touch of a jack hammer,” Shaw complained. With that, the patient attempted to get up.

“Whoa,” Martine said, trying to hold Shaw in place. “How about resting for a few minutes post-op.”

“Does it hurt?” Janine asked and Shaw nodded. “Here,” the assistant said, and held Shaw’s head up while she gave her another sip of whiskey. “For the pain,” she tried to convince herself.

Sameen finally insisted she needed to get up and did so with the help of her operating room staff. “I need my pants,” she said, even though when Martine let go of her, she wobbled and almost fell over.

“I’ll give them to you, but you have to promise me that you’re rest here for a little while,” Martine bargained.

“Sure, sure,” Sameen said, and winked at Janine. Martine put Shaw’s feet through the legs and gently pulled them up. “You’re a really good friend, Martine,” Shaw said, patting the blonde woman’s head. “I would trust you with my life.”

Martine looked up at her friend and smiled; the heartfelt compliment was making her speechless.

Inebriated Shaw wasn’t done. “Thank you,” she said to Ayala. “I knew you could do it. Well, no, I didn’t know, but I figured if you screwed up, I’d just tell Mommy on you.” Then Shaw laughed at her own joke and fell over, but Janine caught her. “This woman is the best assistant I could ever have,” Shaw yelled in case the people standing right near her couldn’t hear. “She makes me smile every day. She’s so sweet,” Shaw all but squealed and automatically, Janine’s devotion subscription was renewed for another hundred years.

“Oh, Shaw,” Janine said, thinking there was no one like this woman in the world.

And Shaw should have left it at that. She had given her heartfelt thanks to each of her friends.

But Shaw was on a roll.

“I need water,” she said and insisted on walking to her office.

“No, you stay here. I’ll get it,” Martine said, “…but you have to be quiet.”

“Since when did you get so bossy?” Shaw slurred her words to ask.

“Since around your third glass of whiskey,” Martine admitted.

“I rather like it,” Ayala blurted out because she didn’t often see her girlfriend like this.

“You two were made for each other,” Shaw shared. “I used to think you and Janine,” she said to Martine, “…but we have to find the right person for her. No offense,” she said to Martine.

“None taken,” Martine said, reminding Shaw to keep her voice down as she gave her the water.

“We need someone… someone…,” Shaw said out loud, trying to decide what Janine’s type was. Now, Janine was thrilled just to be the topic of Shaw’s deep thoughts. Sameen looked at the woman, and it finally dawned on her what type of person Janine liked. “Someone… like me.”

Shaw didn’t say it in a conceited way, she was just being honest. But hearing that Shaw wanted to find someone like herself was too much for Janine to deal with, and the woman – already lightheaded from the procedure, fainted.
Ayala and Martine let go of Shaw and ran to get Janine.

Which meant Shaw was free to roam about.

Root’s team had worked very hard on the antivirus software. She asked Azar if she would use a hardcopy of it on the machine and Azar said she would stop by on her way and pick it up.

The two women were standing outside the IT room when Sameen saw them.

“ROOT!” she called out and started to walk towards her.

“Is she okay?” Azar asked, because her daughter was swaying as she walked.

“MOMMY!” Shaw called out when she saw her mother there.

Inside the conference room that just doubled as the OR, the two women were getting water for Janine when they heard Shaw outside.

“Did she just say – ‘Root’?” Martine asked in horror.

“Did she just say ‘Mommy’? Ayala asked anxiously.

“I am so fired,” Martine decided.

“I am so grounded,” Ayala concluded.

“Sweetie?” Root asked, and held onto to Shaw who looked up adoringly into Root’s eyes.

“Mommy?” Shaw said, not altering her gaze.

Azar looked at Root and then at Shaw. “Yes, dear?” she said.

“I love this woman,” Shaw declared, staring lovingly into Root’s eyes.

“Yes, Sameen, I know,” Azar assured her daughter.

“Are you okay?” Root asked and could smell the liquor on Shaw’s breath.

“Yes, look!” Shaw declared and pulled her pants down to show Root. “It’s gone!”

A fellow security member was walking by when Shaw displayed her bandage. He walked straight into the wall and bounced off, falling backwards.

“Let me take you in here,” Root said, wondering what had happened since she last saw her girlfriend. Azar helped the stunned young man to his feet as Root took Shaw in the conference room, where the three cohorts had been hiding.

As soon as Root walked in and Azar behind her, Ayala was the first to crack. “She made me do it,” she blurted out.

“Oh, this can’t be good,” Azar said.

Made you do what?” Root asked and the three women stood at attention now.

“She made me remove the tracker,” Ayala said and Martine was calculating how many boxes she would need to pack up her desk.

“Do you have medical training?” Root asked slowly.

“Some,” Ayala admitted.

“Some?” Root, Martine and Janine all asked in unison.

“I got it out!” Ayala assured them.

“Oh, sweetie,” Root said, believing that Shaw could orchestrate her own operation and make these three women participate. “Did it hurt?”

“A little,” Shaw admitted.

“And the whiskey?” Root asked, wondering whose brilliant idea that was.

Janine wasn’t about to let her friend get into trouble. She pushed in front of Martine and yelled; “That was my idea. Mine, alone. I got the bottle. You can check it for fingerprints. I gave it to Shaw,” she said dramatically, touching the bottle to smear any fingerprints on the bottle.

No one believed her.

“I did it,” Martine said, grateful for her friend’s attempt to take the bullet.

“Well, it was a good idea in theory,” Root acknowledged. “But it’s going to have its own consequence I fear.”

“You… operated… on her?” Azar finally realized what had happened.

“I made them. See?” Shaw said, forgetting she had shown her mother. “Look.”

“We saw, Sweetie,” Root said soothingly as she stopped her. “I think we better get her home.”

Root could see that Azar was torn now between going with them and taking care of the machine. “Come with us,” she said. “I’ll get Reese to do this.”

Root and Azar helped Sameen onto the elevator and took her back to the Penthouse to recuperate. The only thing that took Sameen’s mind off the pain was the Root whispered in her ear that she would kiss it and make it better. It all but reduced Shaw into giggles.

Reese took the hard copy of the antivirus program and successfully downloaded to the machine in its private residence.

Greer’s team was behind Root and the BEAR team in developing something to counter the global virus.

But they were about to come across something that would help.