Thicker Than Water

by Brate


Disclaimer: MagSeven characters are the property of MGM, Mirisch, and Trilogy Entertainment.

Notes: Thanks to Heidi DJ, who added some emotional oomph, and to Gemini who found my participle that dangled!

0300 hours, Friday
Vin's houseboat, SS Bounty
Vin Tanner woke up with a start. He clutched the sheet to his chest, breathing heavily. Dammit! It was that freakin' nightmare again. Every night for the past week he had awakened in a cold sweat, trying to shake the image from his mind -- the vision of his dad dying… alone.

And now his dad's killer was getting out. After eight short years he would be set free from the four walls that held him in check. Free to hurt someone else. Free to destroy someone else's life. Free to kill again. There was no reason that man should be alive when his father was not. Eight years compared to an entire lifetime just didn't add up.

Vin groaned and got out of bed. In the darkness of the night, he walked across the boat's cabin and out onto the deck.

Yesterday was the last straw. The murderer had called and left a message on his voicemail. That asshole even knew how to reach him! He had asked Vin to come see him in prison, most likely to ask him for forgiveness, as if that were a possibility. And Vin was having a hard time deciding what to do. Should he go see the man or do what his gut screamed for him to do? He tried so hard to fight his instinct telling him to wait outside the prison and shoot the man as he exited. But his code of honor warred with that, calling the action murder, and telling him it would make him no better than the man he hated. And yet, he still longed to take the man's life -- to punish him.

His turbulent thoughts were not lessened by his tranquil surroundings, and his houseboat brought him no peace, no escape from the conflict. Normally, he was content here. He wasn't sure if it was the subtle and soothing feeling of being on the water or just being by himself.

It's not as though he ever launched the boat. It remained tied to the dock that Josiah had helped him build in the lake at the back of the team's property. Even when his father owned it, the boat merely stayed at dock at the Reservation. But it was a great feeling, a balm to his wild soul, not being locked inside a house or apartment. He knew the rest of the team thought he was odd for wanting to live in an old houseboat that never went anywhere, but to him it was freedom. Even if the only traveling he did while on it was within his mind.

Now that he had a family again, alone time was harder to find. A family, unbelievable as it seemed, after being alone for so long. And now he had six new brothers where before he'd been an only child. Visiting the Res, being adopted by his father's tribe, it hadn't been the same. It wasn't enough. There was a void that had never been filled, an empty spot in his heart… until he met Chris Larabee. From the moment he saw him from his perch on the fire escape, he'd seen a soul mate --someone who had the same emptiness inside.

Now his fragile peace was threatening to come crashing down around him. The news that the bastard who had killed his father had been granted early parole had brought stark reality back with a vengeance. And the void, so slow to heal and fill, was being ripped open and widened.

Vin stood up and stretched out, casually stepping out of his boxers and stripping off his t-shirt. He jumped off the end of his boat into the water, and let himself sink below the surface. Looking around the dark water, he remained submerged until he could hold his breath no more. He shot up from the water, sucking in precious oxygen in a great gasp. The young man swam back and forth, strong strokes sliding easily through the water. He soon tired and headed back to his boat.

He pulled himself back up on the deck, wiped himself off, and wrapped the towel around his middle. Vin sat down in a chair, stretched out, and hiked his feet up on the rail of his boat. He leaned back, looking up at the moon and down on its mirror image in the water. The ripples washed the reflection, the swaying motion soothing his tattered fears. Slowly his eyes drifted shut and he slept.


Chris Larabee slid his truck to a stop and parked it. He got out and walked over to the dock where Vin's boat, the SS Bounty, was tied up. He drew a deep breath. There was no way he wanted to do this.

His sniper had been acting squirrelly for the past week or so. Tanner no longer spent any of his free time with them, no longer ate with them, no longer wanted to be part of the group. He'd effectively shut them out. It made Chris and the others nervous and they looked to him to find out what was going on. Nothing like drawing the short straw. He walked the length of the dock and glanced over the rail of the boat to see Vin, eyes closed, clad in only a towel, shivering in a deck chair.

Chris looked down at his best friend. Vin clearly hadn't been sleeping much. There were dark circles under his eyes and he'd lost weight. It wasn't as though the lean man could afford it.

Without even opening his eyes, Vin seemed to know he was there. "Just gonna stand there or are you gonna offer me a beer?"

"It's seven in the morning."

"Your point being…?"

"It's too early."

"No such thing." The sniper proved his point by rising smoothly to his feet, retreating inside his boat's cabin, and returning with a beer. He leaned against the doorframe and took a swig. "What brings you out here? I thought we were off 'til Tuesday."

"You are." Chris glanced around, wishing there was an easy way to approach this. Tanner was notoriously closed-mouthed about his past. Even after being in the team for a few months, he was still separated by an invisible barrier. Only Chris had come close to breaching it; he knew what was in the sniper's soul even if his mind was still blocked. "I was wondering if there was anything I could do for ya?"

"Nope." Vin took another slug of the beer.

"There's something wrong, just look at you." An inner pain haunted the young man's eyes; it was something that Larabee ached to alleviate.

"I can't; I'm just too pretty. Hurts m'eyes."

"I'm serious, Vin."

"I ain't no damsel in distress, Larabee."

"How 'bout a man who's stressed?"

Vin polished off the bottle. "I think the visit's over." He turned around and walked into the cabin, closing the door behind himself.

"That went well," Chris muttered to the door. "Guess I have to try something else." He walked back out to his truck and dialed Buck's cell.


"Buck, it's Chris. I'll be gone for the rest of the day."

"You find out what's bothering Slick?"

"Not yet," Chris answered, "but I'm working on it."

1115 hours, Friday
Travis Industries Main Office

"Mr. Travis?"

"Yes, Jeremy?" Orrin looked up from his desk to see his assistant in the doorway.

"Mr. Larabee is here to see you."

"Send him right in."

"Yes, sir."

Jeremy left, and Travis pushed aside his work, clearing off his desk as best he could. Larabee wasn't prone to spontaneous visits, especially with the distance between them, so it must be important. The SRT's leader entered the office and greeted the businessman warmly.

"What can I do for you, Chris? Something the team needs?"

"Actually, it's personal."

"Oh?" Travis was surprised. Even though Larabee had been head of the Special Response Team for months, the man had yet to make a personal request. "What do you need?"

"Information. About Vin."

"And you think I can help you," Travis stated.

"You knew about him. You knew how he could be found."

"Yes," Orrin said, nodding slowly.

"Can you tell me any reason why he'd be upset lately?"


Larabee started pacing, showing his frustration. "For the past week he's been off."

"Off?" Even though Travis knew exactly what Chris was getting at, he was stalling. He didn't look forward to telling him about Vin.

"Yeah. He doesn't want to do anything with us. Just sits out on his boat and drinks. He hasn't been sleeping and I don't think he's been eating much, if anything."

Travis sighed. "I can't say I'm surprised. I should've known this would happen." He motioned for Chris to stop pacing and sit down. "How much do you know about Vin's father, Joshua?"

"I know he was one of the best snipers the Marines ever had before he was killed."

"I could be breaking Vin's trust by telling you, but if he's in bad shape, someone needs to step in. I only hope he forgives me." Orrin paused, collecting his thoughts. "Vin's father was hit by a car was driven by Bill Tandy; the man was drunk at the time. When the charge turned to vehicular manslaughter, he pled no contest and went to prison." He dropped his head to his chest, shaking it back and forth. "Vin was crushed. He was sixteen and his whole world had revolved around his father. He was sent to live with his maternal grandparents; two less tolerant people you will never meet. Vin lived with them until his eighteenth birthday when he disappeared."

"What happened?" Chris spoke, his voice barely above a whisper.

"He hated living with them; I knew he would. They tried to make him into a carbon copy of themselves -- self-important and posh." Travis saw Chris smile, probably at the same mental picture that Travis saw: Vin Tanner being 'civilized' by his two relatives. With everything the billionaire knew about Vin, the lad would've balked at every turn. "As soon as it was legal for him to do so, he left. I lost track of him for a while. On purpose, actually. I knew he didn't want to be found. After a year with no word, I was concerned. His mother had been a good friend of mine, and I felt somewhat responsible for him. I hired a private investigator to track him down."

"Where was he?"

"It took me two investigators to find him. He was lying low, out west, working as a bounty hunter. I'm not sure how he managed to get into that business, but he was amazingly good at it. Vin only went after big bounties; he would capture them, turn them in, collect the money, and disappear. He sent money to the Reservation, but nothing else would show up on the radar, no bank accounts, no big purchases. I think he was worried about his grandparents finding him."

"Did they ever find him?"

Travis shook his head. "I don't think so. I switched investigators every year or so; I didn't want Vin to get scared off. JD was the last one I used."

"That's how the kid knew about him for the team."

"Yes, he kept track of Vin for a few months before you hired him."

"That still doesn't explain why Vin is freaking out now," reminded Chris.

Orrin lowered his voice, pain clearly showing through. "Bill Tandy is being released next week."


When Chris arrived at the ranch that evening, after the long, thoughtful drive back, he barely got in the door before the questions started.

"Did you find out what's wrong with Vin?" JD asked.

"Is he okay?" Nathan wondered.

Josiah and Buck came in the room.

"Did you discover what troubles our brother?" Sanchez crossed his arms on his chest.

Buck got right into Chris' face. "So, what'dya find out?"

Larabee pushed Buck away and told everyone to settle down. "How 'bout y'all give me a minute to breathe here?"

The ladies' man held up his hands in surrender and went to sit next to JD on the couch. The others took their own seats, and when Ezra wandered in and saw the somber group, he sat down as well.

Once he calmed himself and gathered his thoughts, Chris supplied the information he'd learned from Travis. The only one who didn't seem too surprised was JD, although even he was unaware of the upcoming release of the man who had killed Vin's father.

"And what should we do to relieve our companion's burden?" Ezra inquired.

"Leave him be," Chris stated.

"Inaction might not be the wisest action," Josiah said. "A shepherd must not only tend to his flock, but fight off the wolves."

Chris angrily confronted the peace-loving psychologist. "And what is that supposed to mean?"

"I think our brother can use some help fighting his demons."

1730 hours, Sunday
Vin's Houseboat, SS Bounty

For the second time in as many days, Chris approached his friend's boat apprehensively. He'd struggled all the previous night and that morning over what he should say to Vin. Knowing his own pain, and his own reluctance to discuss it, he was loath to pry into his friend's life.

It was decided for him when he caught a glimpse of Tanner scrubbing down his boat. Shirtless, in cutoff jeans, he looked even more gaunt than yesterday, if that were possible. Concerned about the health of his friend, Chris stepped forward and said, "Do you want to talk about him?"

Vin whipped his head around; he hadn't heard Chris coming. "Who?" He stood up and faced the new arrival.

"Your father."

"Who told you about him?" Blue eyes narrowed.

"Travis. He's worried about you," Chris admitted. "And so am I. I thought you might like to talk."

Vin laughed harshly. He dropped the brush he'd been using to scrub his deck. "This from a man who don't say more'n three words in a day. Now you wanna talk?"

Chris remained silent through the outburst.

Vin had started pacing the length of the deck. After a couple circuits, he stopped and stood, eyeing his friend. Making a decision, he walked inside and brought out two beers, handing one to Larabee.

Chris took the beer and a seat, waiting to see what would happen.

Vin sat on the deck railing. He looked out over the water, refusing to look in Chris' direction as he started to speak. "My grandparents always hated m'dad. Never knew if it was from him bein' in the service or him bein' part Indian. Never much cared. When I was five, my ma died and they tried to take me away from 'im. They said me traveling 'round with him was 'no life for a boy'." Vin shook his head and smiled ruefully. "Luckily their money didn't win and my dad cut off all contact with 'em."

"So you got to stay with your dad," Chris said quietly. He hoped his interruption wouldn't stop the story, but it appeared Josiah was right; Vin had held his pain in for too long -- he needed to talk about it.

"Until he was killed when I was sixteen." At this, Vin finally faced Chris. "He was walkin' down the street and got hit by a drunk driver. Judge said I had to go live with the Stantons; they made me cut my hair."

"Which is one reason you like to wear it long now," Chris ventured. "Shows your stubborn streak."

"I like to think of it as independence."

Both men chuckled.

Vin's smile quickly faded as he returned his thoughts to the past. "I made it two years with 'em before I took off. Wasn't sure if they'd come after me so I stayed outta sight. Met a guy who was trackin' people and bringin' 'em in for money. Turned out to be good at it, m'self. Made a good living, and just kept on movin'."

"Sounds like your dad would be proud. You never gave up and you used the skills that he taught you."

Vin shrugged. He set down his still-full beer bottle, picked up the scrub brush, and once again started scouring his boat clean. "Did ya know I got a couple million in a trust somewhere?" he called over his shoulder.

Larabee hadn't known, but he wasn't surprised. "Don't let Ezra hear that. He'll expect you to pay your poker debts."

Vin shook his head. "I ain't ever gonna touch it."

"Maybe you can put it to good use."

"I said I don't want it!" he lashed out, throwing the brush. It sailed past Chris and landed in the water with a splash.

The blond held up his hands. "We want to help you, Vin."

"I don't want your help."

"But you need it."

Vin glared at his boss. His chest heaved in fury, his breathing harsh and his jaw clenched.

Chris withstood the anger easily.

The young man made a visible effort to relax. He drew in a deep breath and exhaled slowly, eyes closing in acceptance. "I'll call if I need you."

Larabee knew that was all he could expect from his exceptionally private friend. "You have the number," he called as he turned and walked away.

1045 hours, Monday
Exeter County Prison

Vin hesitated at the entrance. He'd already passed through the gate, now he just had to step through the doors into the visitor's center and ask to see the man who wrecked his life. He wasn't sure if he had enough willpower to go through with this; it was now or never. The young man took a deep breath and walked inside. He saw a woman behind bulletproof glass, and assumed that was the place to sign in.

"I'd like to visit someone, please," Vin told her once she looked up.

"Name of prisoner?"

"William Tandy."

The woman typed into the computer and, after a moment, glanced up sharply. "Are you a relative?"

"No, ma'am."


Vin laughed harshly. "Not hardly, I just want to see the man. Is there a problem?"

"Yes, I'm sorry to have to tell you… Mr. Tandy was killed."

Vin's eyes widened in shock. "What?"

"I'm very sorry."

"When did this happen? I mean, he just called me on Thursday."

She seemed reluctant to give him any more information, especially as he was not a relative of the deceased.

"Please, miss. I'd just like to know what happened."

She glanced around, making sure no one was nearby, and leaned over the counter, speaking in a low tone. "It says here he was knifed by his cellmate at approximately seven o'clock Friday night."

Vin knew that was scarcely a day after Tandy had left the message on his voicemail. He nodded at the woman and remembered to say, "Thank you," before exiting the facility. He returned home, barely conscious of the long drive.

1100 hours, Tuesday
Vin's Houseboat, SS Bounty

Vin had finished cleaning his boat the day before after returning from the prison. He hadn't known how to react to the news. The man who killed his father was dead. He should be happy, but….

All he felt was emptiness.

The ringing of his cell phone interrupted his misery and self-pity. It had to be Chris. The blond had called him twice yesterday, but Vin hadn't been in the mood to talk. He flipped open the phone and shouted, "I done told you, I'm fine!"

"Uh, Mr. Tanner?"

Vin paused. This definitely was not Chris. "Yeah."

"Mr. Vin Nighthorse Tanner, originally from Red Gate, Texas?"

"Yeah, now who is this?"

"My name is Douglas Beckley. I am the lawyer that is taking care of Mr. William Tandy's Last Will and Testament."

Inwardly Vin groaned. It seemed the nightmare was not over yet. "What's that gotta do with me?"

"Mr. Tandy left something for you in his will. I was to contact you in case of his demise."

"What?" Vin stood up, clutching the phone. "What are you talking about?"

"Mr. Tandy left an envelope for you to open in case of his death," Beckley stated. "Is there any way you can come to Albuquerque to pick it up?"

"Yeah," Vin said, making a quick decision. "I can be there in a few hours."

"Wonderful." The lawyer gave directions to his office before hanging up.

Vin closed the phone. What the hell was Fate up to now?


Tanner walked through the door that read: Beckley, Harris, and Howe; Attorneys at Law. The reception desk was directly inside and after announcing himself, he was escorted into the inner office of Douglas Beckley. A slightly overweight man, with a less-than-full head of hair, was bent over his desk. At Vin's approach he looked up and rose, extending his hand.

"Mr. Tanner?"

"Yes." Vin shook the offered hand and sat down.

"Did you know Mr. Tandy well?"

"Well enough."

Perhaps Beckley could feel the tension radiated by the young man. He got right to business. "May I please see some identification?"

Vin brought his driver's license out, handing it across the desk.

The attorney checked some papers before holding up an envelope. "This letter was supposed to sent to you on the day of William's release or in the event of his death, which ever came first."

Vin took it carefully, folding it into a pocket. He didn't know what to make of it, but he was certain he didn't want to open it here.

"I just need you to sign this as acknowledgement that you've received the item and then you can go," Beckley stated, pushing a paper and pen toward Vin.

Scrawling his signature, he stood up and remembered his manners enough to say thank you before darting out of the office.

There was a small park across the street from the lawyer's office, and Vin jogged over to it with the envelope clutched in his hand. He didn't want to open it, afraid to know what it contained, but at the same time knew his curiosity would win. What would his father's killer need to tell him? Sitting down on a bench on the outskirts of the park, Vin paused. He looked around, watching life: children playing, families walking, dogs running. It simply reminded him of what he'd lost so long ago.

After enough time had passed, Vin decided he was ready to read the letter he'd been unconsciously stroking. Taking a deep breath he carefully tore the flap and brought out the single sheet of lined paper inside. It was a handwritten letter dated almost two years prior.


I cannot tell you how sorry I am that I entered your life years ago. I chose the wrong path and have regretted it ever since. I thought I'd be able to live with myself, but it's been too hard.

I was paid $100,000 to kill your father and told exactly how to do it and where he would be. I was instructed to drink enough alcohol to show up on a screen, but not enough to inhibit my ability to finish the job. I am ashamed to say I did it to give my own son a chance at a better life.

I cannot tell you who hired me, because I fear for my life. The man has visited me three times since my incarceration, and I am certain he is keeping tabs on me.

I know I can never have your forgiveness and yet I cannot help but ask for it.

With deep shame,

William Franklin Tandy

It was intentional? Shaking hands held the letter, re-reading it again, and again. His father died, not in an accident, but because someone wanted him dead? Who could have done that, been so callous to end a good man's life? Tears streamed down his face, and he felt like he had taken a severe blow -- to his heart. A life taken, deliberately, and made to look like an accident.

He rocked back and forth on the bench, feeling the reality he knew and lived shake beneath him. Someone had paid Tandy to make him an orphan and send him into hell. Vin didn't know how long he grieved, or at what point rage started taking hold, but the pain was all encompassing, all consuming.

Eventually, his rational mind started to return, and he racked his brain, trying to see through his sorrow and fury.

Who could have wanted his father dead? Someone from his time in the military? Something personal? How could he find out?... Tandy's cellmate! It couldn't be a coincidence that Tandy was killed after calling him. The cellmate must've been paid to insure Tandy's silence. But how could he find out the cellmate's name? And could he get in to see him?

He needed to stay in town, and head back to the prison tomorrow. He'd figure something out. And there was one place in town that he knew would be available to him.


Orrin Travis marched up to the door as if he owned the place -- which, technically, he did. But he hesitated as his arm reached to knock on the penthouse door. Vin wouldn't be expecting or wanting company. The businessman knew Tanner was there because he'd received a call from Benjamin Macy, the manager of Ambassador Arms West. The executive apartment located in the building was made available for any or all of the Special Response Team when they came to Albuquerque. Travis had called Macy earlier in the week and asked to be notified immediately if any of the team came to stay.

Knowing what he had to do, he steeled himself and knocked firmly on the door. Travis heard movement from within, but none came close to the entrance. He knocked again, harder. By the third knock, the door flew open. Vin stood there with a violent expression on his face.

Chris hadn't exaggerated the lad's condition. He was even skinnier than usual and the furrows in Vin's face showed a distinct lack of caring for himself. And the irate look on his sniper's face ensured Orrin he'd better take command of the situation swiftly.

Pushing past Vin without a word, he walked over to the bar and poured himself a Scotch. Bringing it to his lips, he glanced around at the apartment. He saw that Vin had been in front of the television, though probably not watching it judging by the program that was currently on: Trading Spaces.

"I don't want to talk," Vin told the older man, returning to his seat in the easy chair.

"You don't have to," Travis responded. "I'll talk." He made himself comfortable in the couch across from Vin. He swirled the liquor around in his glass before lifting it up to take a sip. Orrin held the glass on his lap as he started to reminisce. "She was beautiful, your mother. I remember the first time I saw her." Vin didn't say anything, but Orrin could tell he was listening intently. "I was only 20 years old and she was about five, I'd say. She was running around the Country Club garden, refusing to listen when her mother told her to behave. Even back then she was headstrong.

"She loved music. Do you remember her playing the piano?" Travis didn't wait for the young man to answer. He continued, "You used to run around the piano while she played, blowing on that harmonica your dad gave to you."

Vin unconsciously patted the pocket in which he carried the harmonica. Still, after all these years, it remained one of his most prized possessions.

"She loved your father dearly. When she looked at Joshua, there was nothing but love and affection shining in her eyes… I never knew why your grandparents couldn't see that." Travis regaled him with a few more memories before falling silent. He took a few more sips of his drink. He hoped Vin would feel comfortable enough to talk to him; he wasn't disappointed.

"I need a favor." Vin sounded as if the request was being ripped out of him physically.

"Name it."

"I have to find out the name of the man who shared a cell with Tandy, the man who killed him. And I need to talk to him."

Travis studied his young charge. "On one condition: I get to go there with you."

After a short pause, a whispered, "Okay," sealed the deal.

0900 hours, Wednesday
Exeter County Prison

If the woman at the counter recognized Vin, she showed no sign. Vin announced that they would like to see Grant Beatty. She nodded, typing the information into the computer. When she frowned, Vin worried that something had happened to Beatty, the last link he had to Tandy. But she merely typed some more and then nodded toward a set of blue-painted doors. He mentally thanked Travis for getting him in so fast. It still amazed him what people with money could do.

"Go through there and wait for the officer to escort you to the appropriate visitor's block."

"Thanks, ma'am." He and Orrin followed her directions and were ushered to a cubicle. Vin sat in the chair and looked through the mesh grating while Travis remained standing behind him. Both men twitched nervously while trying valiantly to remain calm on the outside. After ten minutes, a squat redheaded man entered on the other side.

He eyed the visitors curiously, settling his gaze on Vin. "Do I know you, kid?"

"My name's Vin Tanner. I got a letter from William Tandy and figured I should talk to you."

"Yeah, poor Billy boy. Shame what 'appened to him."

"Didn't you happen to him?"

"Yep, damn shame." He lowered his head in mock remorse.

"Who paid you?"

"I don' know whacha mean. I just got tired of Billy's whinin'."

"Bullshit! Who hired you?"

"Well," the convict drawled, "I might be able to tell you something."

Vin couldn't contain his eagerness. "Tell me."

"Twenty thousand."


"I want $20,000." Beatty had seen that eagerness and hoped to profit from it.

"I don't have that kinda money."

"I do," Travis said, stepping forward. "Tell him what he wants to know and I'll deposit the money into any account you wish."

"How do I know I kin trust you?" The convict squinted, eyeing the older man through the divider.

Vin slammed his fists on the desk in front of him. He roared, "You tell me or I swear I'll come straight through this wire and tear your tongue out!"

The billionaire placed a restraining hand on Vin's shoulder, in order to keep him calm so they would not be thrown out.

Something convinced the convict -- either Travis' assurance or Tanner's threat -- because Beatty said, "All I know is his name's Burke."

"First or last?"

"Last I think -- I only heard the name once. Don't really 'member the first."

"Was it Edgar?" Vin asked in a raspy whisper.

"Yeah." Beatty nodded and smiled. "Yeah, that was it."

Travis watched Vin's face drain of all color. The name meant nothing to the older man, but obviously it was recognized.

Vin quickly stood, shaky but upright. "I'll meet you outside," he said quietly and then he was gone.

Travis turned to the man inside the cage. "You'll get your money."

"I'm tellin' ya, someone wanted that dude dead." Grant Beatty shook his head in false regret. "Billy boy was willin' to take a fall for eight years and they kilt him anyways."

Travis turned and left the facility. Out front he looked around to see how Vin was doing only to find him gone. He walked over to his car and leaned into the window.

"Where's Tanner?" he asked his driver.

"He took off like a bat out of hell," his driver replied, pointing at the exit.

The billionaire cursed the fact that Vin had driven separately. He sighed as he got in the back of his car and picked up the phone. Time to tell Chris that he'd lost Vin.


As soon as Travis told them about Vin's hasty departure, Chris and the team were on the phone to locate the missing man.

Josiah was the first to report in with something substantial. He had contacted an old friend in the Albuquerque Police Department. "They found his car at the airport, but have no record of him flying out. I'm guessing he paid cash and went under an assumed name."

"What about video?"

"With all the extra security requirements, the airport officials don't have any people to spare. When I used Travis' name, they said we could look ourselves."


"On it."

"Take Ezra. JD?"

"Yeah, Chris?"

"I want you to get on that magic box of yours and find out all you can about Edgar Burke. I want to know everything about him from his shoe size to whether or not he eats tofu."

"Yes, sir."



Chris lowered his voice. "How bad do you think this is?"

"I can't say for sure," Josiah hedged.


"I don't like the fact he left us out of the loop. I think he's utterly focused on this crusade and I don't know if common sense or his own code of ethics will control him."

"What's that mean?"

"He might do something dangerous. Either to himself or those he believes responsible for his father's death."

Chris swore loudly.

"Couldn't have said it better myself."

"JD," Larabee called, "you got anything?"

"Chris, it's only been a few minutes. It's gonna take me a little time, I'm sorry."

"No, I'm sorry. Keep doing what you're doing. Nathan, I want you to get the plane prepped. Once we know where he went we're going after him… and bringing him home."


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