Allen Carmichael wanted more. He wanted adventure and experience, and he found it in the jungles of Vietnam where he went from a quotidian teenager to a man dealing with the atrocities of war.
That was not the whole of it, either. Allen looked up from Streak's slack features to another face startling in it's contrast, a face so contorted in pain and fear that he failed for a moment to recognize it. Farmboy Pete, helmet tipped back from that blond and tousled head, legs in the water, freckles stark against skin gone monstrously pale. he was trying to get his hands onto his belly where the medic was working; Two men were struggling to hold his wrists while Pete writhed and gulped for air, his eyes locking on to Allen as if to a life ring. Allen splashed over to his side, and one of the bloody hands shot away from its keeper to grab Allen's arm.
"don't leave me, Carmichael, don't leave me here."
Nobody's going to leave you, Farmboy, you're safe now. the medic's going to patch you up and it's off to the hospital with you, nice, clean sheets and plenty to eat, all those pretty nurses, don't worry." Nonsense phrases poured out, nonsense because it did not seem possible for a man to lose that much blood and survive to the medevac's arrival. "can't you give him some morphine?" he asked the medic.
"Any more might kill him."
Years later, after many years of living in disconsolation, Allen is ready to pick up the pieces as he realizes his very specialized soldier's skills could be put to good use as a professional kidnapper helping abused children escape the suffering that encompasses their daily lives. When Allen meets Jamie, a 12 year boy who claims his father is going to kill him, he knows the boy will be his last job. Soon however, Jamie's father's plane crashes and evidence is revealed that makes Allen wonder, if possibly, it's really the other way around. It seems this one last rescue is not going to be as simple as Allen originally thought.