Survival Of The Fittest
By Sissy (sissy@svs.net)
& Chris (ckline-usa@foreverling.com)

"I'm sorry about this Walker. I intended to only involve you and Ranger Trivette in this matter. I had no idea Ms. Cahill would be with you."

"Then let her go. Trivette and I are all you need."

"Sorry, I can't do that, now. She's seen too much." He moves his eyes to Alex, who is standing behind Walker. "She has just become part of your team."

"Team, what kind of team? Who are you anyway?"

"I'm a lover of games. That's all you need to know. This is a game of survival-survival of the fittest. Another team has already been taken to a remote area and, in a few minutes, the three of you will be dropped in another section of this same area. Each team will have only one knife. No other weapons will be provided. You will find backpacks at your drop zone, which will contain sleeping bags, cooking utensils and a rope. You must depend on your survival skills for everything else." He starts to leave them, hesitates, and then turns back to face them. "Oh, I'm sorry, but since we did not expect Ms. Cahill, there are only 2 backpacks. It is up to you how you share the contents. And another thing, the area is surrounded by an 8-foot, high voltage fence to ensure that you finish the game." He turns, gets into a jeep and leaves the area.

"All right, let's go, into the chopper." They are flown to a small clearing in a forested area. The helicopter lands just long enough for the passengers to get out, then rises and disappears from sight.

They stand staring after the helicopter, praying that this is all a joke and the chopper will return for them. Then they turn to face each other still a little dazed by the happenings of the last four hours that have brought them to this.

Walker and Trivette had just been getting ready to leave for the first Cowboys home game of the season when Alex came into C.D.'s and had begged them to let her join them. If they had just held their ground when they first denied her request, she wouldn't be with them now.

Alex moves close to Walker, who circles her waist with his arm, "God, Walker, this can't be happening?"

"Yeah, man, why us? Where did this guy come from, anyway?"

"I don't know Trivette, but right now, we need to find those backpacks and find a place to make camp. It'll be dark soon." He starts looking around the small clearing, "Let's split up. The backpacks should be in this clearing somewhere." They split the area in sections and each starts a diligent search of their respective sections.

"Walker, did you find anything?"

"No! I take it you haven't either?"

"There just isn't anything here, Walker." Alex says as she looks out into the thick brush around the perimeter of the clearing. "This has got to be the most dense forest I've ever seen. This underbrush really looks … Walker, look over there, hanging in that tree."

As they look to where she is pointing, "The backpacks," Trivette shouts. All three hurry over and as Jimmy pulls them down; they quickly go through them to see what they will have to work with for this 'game'.

"Well, partner, he was right about one thing. There are only two sleeping bags. Guess two of us will have to share a bag or someone will have to sleep on the ground." Looking from Walker to Alex, a grin on his face. "And, Walker … you ain't sleeping with me."

Walker gives him an exasperated look and continues looking through the bags. Finding the knife, he hands it to Trivette. "Here, take care of this. Come on, Trivette, grab a pack and let's get out of here." He shoulders one of the backpacks and takes off into the trees with Alex right behind him and Trivette bringing up the rear.

****

They silently trudge through the thick undergrowth, each lost in thoughts of what has happened and wondering what the outcome of this little 'game' will be. The sun is on its downward swing when Walker finally stops and points to a dark area behind some bushes along the hillside. He drops his backpack and cautiously moves forward, parting the bushes and stepping through. When he disappears from their sight, Alex moves up next to Jimmy, hanging on to his arm, "Jimmy, what is it?" She whispers.

"I think he found a cave. He's probably checking it out to make sure it's not occupied." They stare at the spot where Walker has disappeared hoping that he doesn't find an occupant inside the cave. They wait nervously for him to return. Suddenly the bushes are parted and Walker emerges back in front of them.

"What did you find, partner?"

"It's a good sized cave, doesn't look like it's been used for quite some time. There is a small stream running through it way in the back so I think we'll use this as our home for awhile." He helps Alex through the bushes into the cave and Trivette follows.

"Wow, I thought it would be dark in here. Where is the light coming from, Walker?"

"There seems to be a natural chimney in the back that is letting light in, but it's slightly overgrown with brush so light will be at a minimum."

After Walker shows Alex and Trivette around the cave, he calls them together to make plans for how best to utilize the cave. "We have a good fortress here but we need to make sure it stays hidden as long as possible. Once we start going in and out, we'll start leaving signs of use. We'll have to keep our tracks brushed out and watch that we don't break over the bushes in front. But right now, we need to find supper and then figure out some kind of a warning system."

"Alex, you take the backpacks, empty them and set up things in here. Trivette, use the knife to cut some pine branches to put under the sleeping bags. Make sure to cut them deep inside the tree so the cut won't be noticeable to anyone passing by. While you two are doing your thing, I'll see what I can round up for our meal."

"I gotcha, man." Trivette says as he starts out of the cave.

As Walker starts to leave, Alex takes him by the arm. He turns toward her and sees the worry in her eyes. "You be careful out there, okay?"

"Aren't I always?" He touches her lips softly with his, gives her a quick embrace then turns and goes out of the cave.

By the time Alex has the cave checked out and divided into a storage area, a cooking area and a sleeping area, Trivette arrives back with an armload of cedar branches. He piles them up inside the door and goes back for more. By the time Walker returns with supper, Trivette has a fairly good size pile in one corner. He has also collected a pile of material to use to build a fire.

"Well, Walker, what did you find? Not snake I hope. Or grubs. Yuck!"

"No, Trivette. I've got two rabbits, how's that sound?" Walker holds up the pair to show to Trivette.

"Man, how in the world did you catch them?" He looks in wonder at Walker, shakes his head, "Forget I said that."

"Jimmy, if you'll give me the knife, I'll get them cleaned." Turning toward Walker, "Are we going to be able to cook them?"

"Well, if I can find the right kindling, we'll be alright."

"Hey, I brought some stuff in, Walker. Check in that pile, first."

Walker rummages through the pile, comes up with a good armful, "Trivette, you're getting good at this, you remembered!"

*****

After a good meal, which they realize may be their last for awhile, they douse the fire and sit on their sleeping bags making plans for the next day. Alex sits next to Walker as he and Trivette discuss strategy for handling the other team. They don't want to resort to killing, but know full well that the other group may have different ideas. As they talk, the cave gradually grows dark as the sun sinks in the west. After nodding off several times, Alex's head finally relaxes against Walker's shoulder. When he realizes that she has fallen asleep, he eases her down on the sleeping bag with her head resting on his thigh. Glancing at Trivette, "Maybe we ought to call it a night and get an early start in the morning."

"Yeah, I think you're right." Looking at Alex, and knowing that Walker would be sleeping with her, he decides to give them some privacy. "Man, I think I'm gonna move my bag over by the entrance just in case someone or something decides to make use of this cave. Reckon that'll work?"

"I really don't think we'll have any trouble tonight, but it's probably better to play it safe, anyway." When he looks at his partner, he understands why he is doing this. "We can take turns as guard, okay?"

Trivette nods and picks up his bag and the cedar branches then moves carefully towards the front of the cave, Walker murmurs, "Thanks, Trivette."

After Trivette leaves, he shifts Alex around and slides her into the sleeping bag. After taking his boots off, he slides down into the bag with her. As she feels him next to her, Alex snuggles up close to him and he wraps his arms around her pulling her close. She rests her head on his shoulder. As he feels her relax, he places a kiss to the top of her head, closes his eyes and soon joins her in slumber.

Sometime in the early morning, Walker stiffens as he feels a hand touch his shoulder. Then a whisper, "Shh … someone's moving around outside."

Recognizing Trivette's voice, he turns and puts his hand over Alex's mouth. With his lips close to her ear, "Alex, we may have visitors. Stay still until we get back, okay?" When he feels her nod, he removes his hand, crawls out of the sleeping bag and silently follows Trivette to the front of the cave. It is not an easy matter navigating in nearly total darkness, but the light near the entrance is better than the rest of the cave. Nearing the entrance, they hear hushed voices and a slight rustling of bushes.

"I think it's pretty damn stupid to go looking for the other team in the dark. They could be hiding somewhere watching us, right now."

"Well, if I was you, I'd keep that opinion to yourself. Harley still ain't too happy at being dumped out in the middle of nowhere to fight someone he's never seen, with nothing but one knife between us."

"I ain't happy either, but he's the one with the knife. What the hell does he think we could do if we found them?"

"I don't know, Roscoe but all we're supposed to be doing is seeing if we can find any sign of where they've been."

"In the dark?"

"Shh … if you don't be quiet, they're going to find us first. Come on, let's get back to camp."

As the voices fade into the distance, Walker steps outside the cave to see which way they are going then steps back inside. Slowing making their way back to where they left Alex, Walker finds her sitting up.

She jumps as he touches her, then as he sits down beside her she wraps her arms around his waist, pulling him tight. "Did you see them? How many are there?"

"Not really. It looks like there are three in that team also."

"Well, I guess both teams have the same number, at least we're evenly matched."

Trivette smiles at her, "Oh, I don't think so, Alex. Not evenly matched at all."

With her eyes flashing, "James Trivette! Are you saying that I'm a handicap to our team?"

Jimmy walks up to her, kisses her quickly on the cheek, smiles and with a wicked grin, "No, counselor, that is not what I'm saying. I'm saying that our team is way out of their league. With our Cherokee Warrior, karate champion and world's greatest Texas Ranger, those other guys don't stand a chance."

Alex laughs and takes a half-hearted swing at Jimmy, then pulls Walker in closer and kisses him on the cheek. "I guess you're right, Jimmy. I forget that fact for a minute there." Looks up into Walker's face, "Forgive me, honey?"

"Will you two cut it out. It's nearly dawn; we need to make some plans." He sits down on the floor, takes a stick and starts marking in the dirt. "Trivette, I want you and Alex to set up alarms around the perimeter of the cave, say about twenty feet out. I'll give you some ideas before I leave."

"Leave? Walker, where are you going?"

"Take it easy, Alex. I'm just going to follow those two who were here earlier and make sure that there are only three. We don't need any surprises."

Alex relaxes, then listens intently as he shows her and Trivette how to go about rigging up triggers and traps so they would be warned if someone comes close to the cave.

Walker takes off into the brush leaving Alex and Trivette gathering branches and vines for their traps, promising to be back before dark.

Alex and Trivette work side by side most of the day stringing vines around the perimeter leading back to the entrance of the cave. About an hour before sunset, they decide to take a break inside the cave and eat the berries that Alex had found while looking for vines.

When Walker steps inside the cave, he just barely makes out the two bodies laying side by side on the sleeping bag. Trivette is on his back with an arm around Alex who has her head on his shoulder. Walker smiles, wishing he had a camera, then shakes his head and proceeds to build a fire to cook the small wild turkey hen that he managed to catch for their supper. The hen is well on the way to being done, as Walker stands on the opposite side of the fire and fans the aroma in the direction where his two friends are sleeping.

Trivette's nose starts twitching, then he sniffs several times. With the aroma really getting to him, he opens his eyes and sees Walker standing by the fire with a stern look on his face. Alex's eyes flutter a little then she snuggles up closer causing Trivette to look at her. When he sees her head lying on his shoulder, his eyes jerk back to Walker's, and he quickly removes his arm causing Alex's head to fall to the floor, jarring her awake. He quickly stands, "Walker … we … ah…"

"What…?" Alex rubs her eyes and sits up. When she sees Walker, she jumps up and puts her arms around his waist pulling him close. "Oh, I'm so glad you're back." She puts her arms around his neck pulling his head down for a kiss. "What … is that wonderful smell?" She turns around then and sees the hen roasting over the fire. She kisses him again, then notices that Trivette is standing very still on the other side of the fire, just staring at Walker.

It's all Walker can do to keep from laughing at the look on Trivette's face. He finally smiles, "Sit down, Trivette. If I didn't trust you, I wouldn't have left the two of you here alone."

Alex looks from Walker back to Jimmy, sees his face visibly relax and then pokes Walker in the ribs with an elbow, "Darling, stop messing with Jimmy's mind. Let's eat, I'm starved."

They sit down around the roasting turkey, pulling strips of meat off while discussing Walker's trip. "Did you locate the other team's camp, honey?"

"Yeah, I found it. It's a good thing I did, too. They have a slight advantage over us."

"Walker, don't tell me they have more in their group than three!"

"Several more than three, Trivette. How about seven."

"Seven!"

"Oh, God, Walker, this is getting scary."

"That's not all; I know this bunch. You do too, Trivette. It's Harley's gang of misfits."

"Walker, are you sure? That's got to be the sickest bunch of humanity that ever walked the earth. They would just as soon shoot you as look at you. None of them place any value on life." He stares hard into his partner's eyes. "Man, I think we're in trouble. How many did you say there were?"

"I saw seven in their camp but I can't be sure they were all there. I did see Harley and his second in command, Bowers."

"What are we going to do, Walker?"

"Right now, Alex, we're going finish eating and get a good night's sleep. Tomorrow, we'll start making plans to pick them off one by one." Alex scoots a little closer to Walker as she starts eating again. They eat in silence as they contemplate what the next day will bring.

When they finish eating, they clean and put away the dishes, put the leftover turkey in a tight container and place it in the cold water. "Let's turn in now. I want us out of here before daybreak." He waits while Trivette puts new cedar branches under the sleeping bags then he douses the fire throwing the cave into total darkness. "We do have one advantage, though."

"What's that, darling." Alex's voice is soft in the darkness.

"We know where their camp is. Trivette, I'll take the guard spot tonight."

From the front of the cave, "Sorry, man, I'm already snuggled in and I ain't moving. Guess you're stuck with Alex again."

Walker smiles then reaches out in the darkness to locate Alex. As he touches her shoulder and feels bare skin, he whispers, "Alex…" then feels her fingers touching his face followed by her mouth. As her lips cover his, her tongue finds entrance and playfully caresses his. When her arms go up around his neck, he pulls them down, leans back slightly, already breathing hard, murmuring, "Alex, we can't…" her mouth covers his again, bringing a silent moan up to his lips. As his arms circle her waist, he realizes that she is completely nude. Whispering against her lips. "Oh, God … Honey, we can't … Trivette … will … hear."

Her fingers are already at his belt buckle then on the button of his jeans. She breathlessly murmurs at his ear, "Not … if we're … real … quiet." As his jeans slide down to the floor, he quickly locates the sleeping bag and somehow manages to get himself and Alex snuggled down into it with a minimum of noise. As the passion builds, the sleeping bag becomes only a slight hindrance as they both try to reach the height of ecstasy that they're striving for. At the final thrust, sensations of pleasure ripple through them both as Walker quickly covers Alex's mouth with his own, drowning out any small, or large, exclamation of bliss that might be uttered. As movement in the sleeping bag stops, all is still for several minutes. Then Walker, holding on to Alex, rolls on to his side, turning her with him.

Hearing a cough from the front of the cave brings whispers of, "He heard us." "No, he didn't." "I bet he did." "Darling, he couldn't have." "Why not?" "Because we were quiet."

"Hey, will you two be quiet, so I can get some sleep." Then a mumbled, "And I didn't hear anything."

Alex giggles and Walker kisses her trying to get her to be quiet. Eventually the cave becomes still, and then soft snoring can be heard in three different tones.

*****

"Come on, Trivette, its time to rise and shine." He makes his way back to the small fire that has started to give a little light. "Alex, how much of that turkey is left? We should eat something now because it might be awhile before we get to eat again." He turns to see if Trivette is moving yet and sees him dragging himself toward the fire.

"I'll have a coffee, black." Yawns, scratches his head, and reaches for a piece of turkey.

"Yeah, right, Jimmy. If you find some, I'll have some, too."

"All right, you two. We need to figure out what we're going to do with those guys, once we catch them. I don't want any killing if it can be helped. But we can't very well tie them to a tree, either."

"Hmmm … you're right, Walker. Too bad we can't find another cave; we could pen them up in it."

"Trivette, that's a good idea. Come on; let's get our stuff together. Put everything back into the backpacks. We'll take everything with us when we leave." Walker grabs the backpacks, throws one at Trivette, "Here, fill it." He begins pushing stuff down inside the one he is holding. "Alex get our sleeping bag."

"But, honey, this is our home, where are we going to live?"

*****

After filling the backpacks and making sure nothing is left behind, they leave the cave, "Now, we need to find something to block the entrance so they can't get out once we get them in there."

"Walker, I think I know what will hold them."

"What, Trivette?"

"When Alex and I were putting our alarm strings around the perimeter, we found a very thorny bramble bush. We could secure it with ropes to keep it over the entrance. We strip 'em, put 'em in there and I guarantee they ain't gonna try to get past those thorns buck naked."

Alex giggles, "Jimmy, that's cruel." Turning to look at Walker, "Do you think it would work?"

"It might if we can get the brush over here without getting thorns in us, too." With Alex's ingenuity, they manage to get the job done with a minimum of pricks. As they stand back, looking at their handy-work, "Alex that was smart thinking to use the rope to pull the bush to one side so we could cut the base loose. Now, let's go find someone to put in there."

"Why, thank you kind sir." They turn into the brush and begin their hunting expedition.

*****

A man receives a poke in the ribs and a whispered, "Roscoe! Man look over there! I didn't know there were any women out here." They see a blond woman with her back to them looking at something on the ground.

Weasel looks in the direction of the point. "Me, neither. Boy, she's a looker, too." Both men scan the area to make sure no one else is around, "Come on, Jake, let's have some fun." Jake jumps up quickly, a hissed, "Quiet, man. We don't want her to run" stops him in his tracks. They separate and slowly creep up behind her.

Before they can touch her, Walker and Trivette grab them from behind and place them into a chokehold that neither can break. As the two men sink slowly to the ground, Alex turns to watch Walker and Jimmy hoist the limp bodies over their shoulders. All three begin the trek back to their cave. Dumping the men in a heap just outside the entrance, Walker turns and looks at Alex, "Honey, I don't think you want to watch this."

She stares at him for a minute, then red creeps up her neck into her face as she realizes what they are about to do. "Oops, you're right." Then she quickly turns and makes a beeline back into the thick brush.

Several minutes later, she hears, "Okay, Alex, all clear." She makes her way back to where she left them and watches as they hide the clothes behind some bushes at the side of the entrance.

"Walker, what is going to keep them from shouting for help? If someone hears them, we'll be back where we started."

"We've already thought of that, Alex. I closed up the door and had Trivette stand inside and shout as loud as he could. Unless you are standing right up against it, you really can't hear much. It's pretty muffled. As thick as those brambles are, no one is going to get very close, believe me." With that settled, they start out for another hunt.

The second catch is only one man, but then the third time they catch two more, bringing the total to five very cold men inside the cave. "Well, Walker, that only leaves Harley and Bowers. They'll be on the alert now since all of their men have disappeared. How do we go about getting those two?"

"I don't know, Trivette. Let's see if we can find them first, then maybe we'll come up with something."

*****

They leave the cave and start making their way back in the general direction of the enemy's camp. Suddenly Walker comes to a dead stop, turns with his finger to his lips and squats down on his heels. Alex and Trivette follow his actions. With the sun starting to set, the shadows are getting longer and the brush takes on spooky look. As Walker listens, he can hear no woodland noises at all. The air is still, not a breeze is stirring. He turns to look at his friends behind him, motions them to stay still and wait, then he, like a whisper of air, slips silently into the brush. They see him disappear instantly, like a ghost evaporating into thin air.

Alex turns to look at Trivette, with a raised eyebrow, silently asking if he saw the same thing she did. He shrugs his shoulders then settles back on his haunches for the wait and gestures for Alex to do the same.

Walker makes a swift and silent search of the area trying to locate the reason for the silence in the forest. After making a thorough search and finding nothing, he starts back to the area where he left Alex and Trivette when he hears Alex scream 'Jimmy', followed by a few curse words and the rustling of bushes.

Jimmy hears something behind him, turns expecting to see Walker, but as he starts to stand, he is hit on the head by the butt end of a knife. Alex hears a moan, turns and screams, "Jimmy!" She flings herself at Harley, trying to get him away from Jimmy. Harley swings his fist at her, catching her on the jaw, knocking her out cold. "Damn, that bitch scratched me."

When he reaches the spot where he left Alex and Trivette, he finds several spots of blood. He knows someone is hurt and feels a panic in needing to find them, fast. Looking at the ground, he quickly follows the trail through the broken bushes. As he closes the distance, he stops and watches the direction they are heading then breaks off to one side. In a silent run through the trees, he races parallel to Harley and Bowers. When he stops, he is slightly ahead of them. He sees Trivette gagged and with his hands tied behind him, unsteady, but as least he is walking. Alex is draped over Harley's shoulder like a sack of wheat, unconscious.

He stays out of sight, watching but following. He realizes they probably have Trivette's knife, which means they are both armed. Not wanting to take a chance with Alex and Trivette's life, he decides to wait until Harley and Bowers stop for the night before trying to free them.

He follows them for another thirty minutes before they stop. Bowers sits Trivette by a tree and ties his hands behind it. Harley dumps Alex on the ground beside the same tree, smiling wickedly, "We'll have some fun with her when she wakes up. This little trip isn't going to be half bad." They move away and start gathering material to make a campfire.

Walker waits a few minutes then quietly moves up behind Trivette and begins untying his hands. Trivette had heard movement behind him so did not betray Walker's presence. A whisper, "Trivette, are you all right? That looks like a nasty head wound. How bad is Alex hurt?"

"I've got a headache, but I'm all right. Alex is just knocked out."

"I've going to try to take them out. You stay here, when Alex wakes up, keep her back out of the way."

"Bowers, I'll finish this, you go see if you can find that other guy. By the time you get back, Blondie should be awake and we can have some fun. Hell, I've never had a boy, but I may even try that." Both of them laugh at the thought of the enjoyment to come later.

"I'm right here, Bowers, you don't have to go looking." Walker moves into the clearing, facing the two of them.

"Walker!"

"Yeah, Harley, you're worst nightmare." Walker watches as the two of them move in opposite directions, Bowers trying to get behind him. Harley makes a play and Walker plants a foot in his midsection, knocking the wind out of him. He turns just as Bowers comes at him with the knife, catching him just below the rib cage. He grabs Bowers' arm, twisting it hard, when the knife falls, Walker kicks it toward Trivette, then flips Bowers over on his back. By this time Harley is coming at him again, and Walker does a spinning back kick hitting Harley square in the chest, then with a kick to the side of the head Harley goes down, out cold. Walker quickly turns looking for Bowers, then smiles and relaxes as he sees Trivette sitting on him with a knife to his throat.

As he walks up to Trivette, Alex stands and comes up to him putting her arms around his waist, when he flinches, she steps back and sees the blood beginning to show through his shirt.

"Oh, God, Walker, you're hurt." She begins pulling his shirt out of his pants to see how bad the wound is. "I need something to use for a bandage."

"Here, Alex. Use Bowers' shirt, he ain't gonna need it." Trivette chuckles as he starts pulling it off.

"No way, Jimmy. I don't want to kill Walker. No telling where that shirt has been. I'd use mine, but … Walker, I'm gonna use your shirt." She takes it off of him, tears it into strips then takes one piece and uses it to put pressure on the stab wound. As the bleeding slows, the rest of the shirt is tied around his waist holding the pressure bandage in place. She looks up into his face, noticing a slight paling of his features, "Come on, honey. Sit down for a few minutes. You and Jimmy both need to get to the hospital."

Alex moves over to Trivette, "Are you all right, Jimmy? You look a little wobbly." Taking him by the shoulders, she pushes him down on a stump, "Let me take a look at your head."

As Alex checks out Trivette's injuries, Alex finds a cloth and some water to take care of his head laceration. "Jimmy, this cut's gonna need stitches." She cleans it and bandages it with part of Walker's shirt. "

"What happens now, Walker? This bunch is out of commission, so they should let us go. But I've seen no indication of that, yet." Trivette finds a rope and ties up Harley and Bowers, with a shackle on their ankles.

I don't know Trivette. Let's get these two back to the cave then we'll go to the clearing where they dropped us. Maybe they'll be there. But don't count on it." Walker stands and with Alex at his side they start the trek back to the cave.

*****

Alex stays back in the forest out of sight, as Harley and Bowers shuck their clothes, "Just our luck to run into you Walker. Anyone else and we would have been the winners. Sometimes I wonder just what drives you Walker."

Trivette sitting on a stump, holding his head, looks up at Harley, "One thing for sure, Harley, you don't go messing with the one thing that puts Walker on the warpath, man."

"Yeah? And what is that?"

"Walker's lady, man. That will put him on the warpath every time." Trivette chuckles as he lowers his head back to his hands, shutting his eyes, trying to shut out the pain.

Walker goes out for Alex and as they rejoin Trivette at the cave, "Walker, you need to sit down, you're starting to bleed again." She checks his wound, and tightens the bandage adding more pressure, the bleeding finally stops.

She turns toward Trivette and raises his head up and checks his bandage, too. "I'm alright, Alex, you just take care of your feller. I'm … fine."

Noticing the slurring of words, "You don't sound fine, Jimmy. I'll take care of both my feller's."

"Come on, Alex, we'd better get started. Walker helps Trivette to his feet, and they begin the hike back to the clearing.

Still feeling the effects of being hit on the head, Trivette starts to lag behind Walker and Alex. Alex notices Jimmy having trouble keeping up and taps Walker on the shoulder.

"Darling, Jimmy's not doing to well."

Looking over his shoulder at Trivette and seeing that he is stumbling, Walker nods his head, and moves back to put Trivette's arm over his shoulder to help support him. Alex gets on the other side and with Jimmy between the two of them, they continue on their way. "Don't let him sit down. I'm afraid he's got a concussion and if we let him stop, he may lose consciousness."

The farther they go, the heavier Trivette becomes. "I think you're right about the concussion. He's having a real hard time staying awake, Walker. We need to get him to a hospital."

Walker stops and takes Trivette's weight from Alex. Looking into his partner's eyes, "Trivette! Trivette! Come on, pard, stay with me."

"Need…to…sleep. Can't…go…on."

"Sorry, partner, I can't let you do that. You gotta stay with us. We gotcha. Just lean on Alex and me; let us do the work. We'll have you outta here in no time."

At their slower pace, it takes them nearly an hour to reach the clearing where they were dropped off. As they approach the clearing, Walker is shocked to see the helicopter and their "host" waiting for them.

"How did you know the game was over?"

"Oh, we've been monitoring your progress since you were dropped off. I must say that I am impressed with the ability of your team. However, the game is not over."

"What do you mean, we defeated the other team. You'll find them all in a cave about 2 miles into the forest."

"Yes, I know where you put them. However, as I explained, this is a game of survival, which means that you were to eliminate your opponent."

"You mean kill them!?"

"Yes, Ms. Cahill, that's exactly what I mean."

"Well, you can forget it because that's not going to happen."

"Ranger Walker, you disappoint me. These are criminals. They deserve to die."

"That's for a court of law to decide, not you. You can't be judge and jury and expect us to be the executioners."

"I am sorry you feel that way, Ranger Walker, since they have already been executed using your gun."

Walker lowers Trivette to the ground and tells Alex to stay with him. He then approaches their 'host.' "You son of a bitch. If you think for one minute that I'm going to let you get away with this, you're dead wrong."

"No, Ranger Walker, I didn't think you would. That's why I plan to eliminate you and your friends as well." He raises his hand and points a gun at Trivette and Alex.

As he squeezes the trigger, Walker rushes him, slamming into him and causing the shot to go wild. As he hits the ground, he lets go of the gun. A swift upper cut to the jaw and he is unconscious. Walker quickly retrieves the gun and races toward the helicopter as the pilot tries to take off. The chopper is just lifting off when Walker grabs the skid, climbs into the seat and orders the pilot to land again. He then motions for Alex to come to him. When she reaches him, he gives her the gun and tells her to cover the pilot while he gets Trivette. Once he and Trivette are aboard, Walker orders the pilot to take them back to Dallas.

******

C.D., Walker and Alex enter Jimmy's hospital room later that evening and all are happy to see their friend awake and alert.

"Hey, guys!"

Walker and C.D. shake hands with him and Alex leans in and gives him a kiss on the cheek, "Hi, Jimmy. How're you feeling?"

"Much better, thanks! Doc says it's a mild concussion and he wants me to stay overnight just for observation. They'll kick me loose tomorrow. How come they didn't keep you, Walker? That knife wound looked pretty bad, man."

"They just cleaned it and stitched it. I'm as good as new." He looks at Alex, who looks up to the heavens, and mouths, 'Yeah, right!'

"Jimmy, you should know by now, that Walker isn't staying in any hospital if he can find a way to avoid it."

"Does that mean, he should be in here with me?"

"No, Trivette, that's not what she means."

Trivette give a small chuckle, "So Walker, did you find out what this was all about?"

"Well, I found out that our host was none other the Jonathon Palmer. A retired judge who had become disillusioned with the judicial system and this was his way of handing out the punishment he thought the criminals deserved." He watched Trivette as this all sunk in, "He's being brought to trial for the killing of Harley and his gang. Since his fingerprints were all over my gun, I don't think there will be any questions as to who did it."

"Man, he really had to be sick. What he did made him no different then Harley and his misfits. I've heard of Palmer. Always thought he was an all right guy. I guess you never know how some people will handle stress. I guess that is something we all need to think about."

"I don't think we really have to worry about something like that happening to any one of us, Trivette."

"And why not, Walker?"

"Because, we're always watching out for each other, Jimmy. Right, darling?"

"You said it, Alex."

C.D. joins in, too. "Yeah, it's all for one, and one for all. Right?"

All four give a rousing, "Right!"

The End