CHAPTER FIVE: The Break-in
Chris paced impatiently across the hotel room. He had already talked to Travis, the President and Vin. Vin had informed him that security was still low. He figured most of them would be arriving the next morning right before the funeral.
Finally, there was nothing to do but wait for JD to call back. This was between JD and himself. He flung himself on his bed, exhausted from the stress of the day. He most of dozed off because the next thing he knew his cell phone was ringing.
"Talk to me JD," he answered.
"Chris, you're not going to believe this! The house belongs to Marty Shorten."
"Meaning?" Chris prompted.
"Shorten was one of the men O'Shea worked with in Belfast," JD stated.
"Can I get in?" Chris asked.
"We don't know until you get there," JD stated. "Chris are you really going to break in?"
"Yup," Chris answered, instantly wide awake and his mind racing. I'm gong to take cab and give the driver this address. Do you have a tracker on this phone?"
"Yup," JD answered. "I've got tabs on everyone right now."
"Good," Chris answered. "I want you to call me when I'm close enough to walk. I don't want to bet let of right at door."
"Sounds good to me," JD answered. "Take the laptop I gave you, we might need it to break in and if there's anything we need to save. You should see the new programs I downloaded..."
"I'll talk to you soon JD," Chris stated, before hanging up the phone. He decided that he wanted to keep his ear for the evening. He pulled the black laptop and its bag out from suitcase and set in on the bed. Then he picked up the hotel phone.
"I need a cab," Chris stated.
"There will be one here in ten minutes Mr. Larabee," the voice answered.
Chris sighed and hung up the phone, not believing what he was going to do. He slung the strap of the black bag holding the computer over his shoulder. His heart had already begun to beat furiously; the adrenaline already starting to pump through his body.
There was a knock on the door. The sudden noise made him jump. He immediately flung the bag off his shoulder and onto the other side of the bed where it would be hidden from his visitor He walked over and looked into the peep hole. He sighed and opened the door. .
"Sidney," he stated, hoping the flush in his face didn't give anything away. A quick glance behind him revealed that the computer bag was well hidden from view.
"I'm sorry," she stated. Her eyes were rimmed from tears and she looked exhausted. "Chris, I shouldn't have blown up back there the way I did. I just screwed everything up." She was working hard to fight back tears. "It's just that that bastard was talking and..."
Chris's expression softened and he put a hand on her shoulder and squeezed tightly.
"It's okay Sid."
"No its not, I embarrassed you and may have...."
"The least of my worries is getting embarrassed in front of a jackass like O'Shea. As far as Fitzgerald goes, I'm sure he understands. In fact I'm surprised that you managed to hold it in as long as you did."
Sidney smiled slightly, but didn't look him in the eye.
"You had to sit through some pretty awful conversations Sidney. Everybody has a breaking point. Hell, I was almost at mine." he paused, trying to think of some way to get out of the hotel without arousing her suspicions. "You don't belong here Sid. Tomorrow, I'm sending you to Ireland with the rest of the team."
Sidney jumped in surprise and looked up at him.
"You stay here any longer Liam isn't going to have an opportunity to kill O'Shea." He smiled when Sidney blushed. "You'll be better helping with the investigation. Besides, I think you should be there for the funeral."
"Thanks Chris," she answered.
Chris nodded his head. "But a high strung, overtired agent isn't going to do anyone any good so go get some sleep. I'll get you on a plane first thing tomorrow morning.
"Good night," she called over her shoulder as she trudged back to her room.
"Good night," Chris answered, closing the door.
He let out a loud sigh of relieve as soon as heard the door close, proud of the way of the way he had handled the situation, He lunged over the bed and gabbed the computer bag. Slowly, he opened the door and walked out. He closed the door quietly, making sure it made no noise so Sidney didn't hear him leave.
Ten minutes later the cab was driving down the London streets with Chris shifting nervously in the backseat.
"Are you going to see O'Shea too?" the cab driver asked suddenly.
"What?" Chris asked, caught off guard.
"I asked if you were going down to Clarmort Street?" the driver repeated.
"Why do you ask?" Chris growled menacingly, His whole body tensed up. Who was this guy?
:"Relax Mister," the driver said, visibly cowering and drawing his eyes away from the rearview mirror. "I mean no harm. I've just driven men to O'Shea's house before. Although I must say you don't look like those fancy dressed dandies that usually use my services, in fact..."
"Who are these fancy pants dandies?" Chris asked, inching forward. The agent instinct began kicking in.
"I'm not sure of their names," the man answered. "But I know that they're businessmen or something along those lines. They are always talking about big land deeds, hiding it from Scotland Yard, and using big words and such..."
Chris's mind was reeling.
How do you know they're going to see O'Shea?" he asked.
"Because they've said it as clear as day chap, 'the driver stated.
. "They talk about illegal actions loud enough so you can hear them?" Chris asked skeptically.
"I figure they don't think I can understand them," the driver stated. "They probably treat me just like any other in the working class. They don't think I understand what they are talking about. That's been happening for as long as I remember..."
"And they specifically mentioned O'Shea?" Chris asked.
"Many times, believe me when I hear that name it leaves impression. I believe I share the sentiments of many English when I state that I have less then favorable impressions of the man.
"Did they give any hint about where O'Shea was buying up land?"
The man looked into his rearview window again and eyed Chris suspiciously.
"You're sure asking a lot of questions mate."
"Just curious," Chris stated He tried to look as offended as possible.
"Didn't mean anything," the driver stated, his face softening. "These days a bloke can never be too careful. People who speak out against O'Shea have a feeling of either shutting their mouths fast."
"How come you didn't tell any of this to the police?" Chris asked.
"Didn't you just hear what I said? Nothing good comes to people who speak out against O'Shea. There was a lawyer about three years ago who tried to persecute O'Shea for fraud. Three days before the trial was supposed to start, the poor chap mysteriously died of carbon monoxide poisoning."
"And he had guards that were supposed to protect him," the driver continued. "What do you think would happen to me if I tired to do something? I've got a little flat that I share with my misses and two little ones. I won't do anything to put them in trouble. I'll leave O'Shea to Scotland Yard."
Chris heard the low hum of the vibrating phone in his bag. He looked out the window for a good location to be dropped off,
"That's my stop," he told the driver, spotting a dark alley that he could easily disappear into.
"Roger," the driver stated. He signaled and waited until all the cars were clear before he pulled along side the curb. Chris reached into his wallet, pulled out a generous tip, and handed it the driver.
Thanks Chap," the man's face lit into a smile. Chris paused for a second and then reached into his wallet and pulled out one of his business cards.
"Call this number if any of Dickey O'Shea's friends decides to talk around you again."
The driver took the card and his jaw dropped.
"Agent Larabee," he asked, flabbergasted. "This means that you are...and you're going to... and then...Oh bloody hell!"
The edges of Chris's mouth curved up into the slightest trace of a smile. It was the first time he had heard the man tongue-tied during the entire ride.
"Relax, I'm one of the cops that wants to nail O'Shea. I won't tell anyone what you know as long as you keep your mouth shut about our conversation." Chris lowered his voice to a sinisterly low tone at the end of the sentence. The driver's face went pale.
"Yes sir, you can count on me. My lips are sealed,"
Chris hated scaring the man, but he guessed that it might be a necessary evil.
"Good," Chris stated, getting out of the car and slinging the bag over his shoulder. "Have a good night," he said before slamming the door and walking to the corner. The only person to see him walk into the space was trim brunette dressed all in black, but his attention was consumed by his ability to walk in a straight line, not the actions of the agent.
As soon as he well hidden, Chris pulled the phone out of the front pocket.
'You get all that JD?" he asked.
"Yes!!! Holy Shit Chris! Some of its muffled, but..."
Chris didn't catch the last part of the sentence, because he switched the phone to his other ear. It did not really matter.
"and I can change the tone quality and add more background noise so the voices are undistinguishable. I could also..."
"JD..." Chris stated quietly.
"But wait, that would mean..."
"JD!" Chris bellowed, not sure if that would even stop him.
"Yeah?" JD asked.
"Just get me to O'Shea's house."
"Okay, just give me a minute to get the computer program booted up."
Chris could hear the clicks of JD's mouse.
"Alright, at the end of Chester, you're going to take a right onto Nelson."
JD's dictation of directions continued for the next fifteen minutes as Chris moved at a fast pace, but not fast enough to attract too much attention.
"Stop!" JD stated.
Chris stopped so fast, he almost tripped over a crack in the concrete.
"Dammit JD," Chris swore, regaining his balance.
"Sorry," JD stated sheepishly. "You see that blue house with the white windows?" he asked.
Chris was standing right in front of the house.
"It's the one next to it."
Chris shook his head as he walked in front of his destination. It was a shabby gray two story stone building, hardly a place a man like O'Shea would choose to inhabit. That was probably the point. Chris looked up and down the street.
"The whole street's empty," JD stated, answering Chris's silent question.
"Thanks. Wait! How the hell do you know what's on the street."
"I've got a direct link from a satellite that's currently zooming in on that area of London."
"So that means that somebody could be watching me right now?" Chris asked, unintentionally looking up at the sky.
"Possible, but not very likely. There are thousands of satellites circling the globe, recording useless information. Most of the Intel gets loaded onto a computer and then trashed within a week."
"But there's a possibility?" Chris asked, shivering. He wasn't sure if was from the moist air or the fact that somebody might be watching him.
"Not a chance," JD answered. "When I hacked into the system, I was able to shift one of the lenses less then a tenth of a millimeter so the image appears blurry to every guy watching it, except me. But I can guarantee you that nobody else is wasting their time."
Chris whistled appreciatively.
"Do you realize how much money you could be making for people like NASA or the military?" Chris asked.
"And do boring work in a cubicle my whole life when I've got Ezra's bank account and the chance to work with Batman?" JD asked. "No thank you."
Chris could not prevent the smile on his face. It had been a while since the nickname used on Ezra. It had become Sidney and JD's joke.
"So what's next Robin?" he asked.
"I suggest you use the ear piece and microphone from now on," JD stated. "It's going to be much easier to work."
Chris reached into the bag hanging off his shoulder and reached into the large compartment. He felt the small box rubbing against the laptop and pulled out. As the ear piece was in and the tiny microphone was attached to his shirt, he hung up the phone.
"JD, can you hear me?" Chris asked.
"Shit" Chris swore. "These stupid high tech gadgets aren't good for anything. I'm going to..." He tapped the earpiece hard trying to get to work.
JD's chuckles echoed in his hear.
"Damnit JD!" Chris growled. I swear if you were standing front of me right now..." The threat fell short, because it was a clever trick on the kid's part. He also knew JD probably would not have the courage to do it if there wasn't an ocean separating the two of them "What next?" he asked.
"There is a front porch right?" JD asked.
"A small one," Chris confirmed.
"Alright, walk up onto the first step, but don't go any farther."
Chris obeyed and stopped at the first step.
"You see any security cameras hanging from the eves?" JD asked. "If so, we're going to have to knock them offline."
Chris looked up at the eves that were dangerously close to falling off.
"I doubt it," he stated. "They can barely support themselves."
"That doesn't mean they're not there. We'll not have to proceed with caution."
Chris wondered if JD realized how much he sounded like an FBI agent charged with leading a mission.
"What about a security system?" JD asked.
"What am I looking for?" Chris asked, as he carefully walked onto the porch, half expecting it to be booby-trapped. He began scanning the side of the building.
"A little black box most likely," JD stated. "Although, it could basically be anything. Does anything seem like it shouldn't be there?"
Chris put on a pair of gloves to hide his fingerprints, knowing that you could never be too careful. He reached out his hand slid it along the side of the house. He stopped when he felt a loose stone brick.
"Think I got something," Chris stated. "Loose stone."
"Careful," JD stated. "If there's a security box in there, and I'm assuming there is, bumping it too hard might trigger the alarm."
Chris reached into his pocket and pulled out a small flashlight. He scanned stone and saw that it had been taken out right on the lines of the rectangle, too perfect to be coincidence. Slowly and carefully, he eased the stone out of the wall. The bleeping red light almost blinded his unprepared eyes.
"Damn!" he swore, pulling back. He dropped the stone on his foot and howled quietly in pain.
"Chris, you okay?" JD asked, franticly. .
"I found your security box," Chris stated, holding up his foot and rubbing it.
"I knew it," JD exclaimed "Okay, I need you to find out what kind of security system it is. It should say somewhere on the front."
Chris shone the flashlight into the box. He found what he was looking for.
"It says SC5C52O," he said.
"Yes! Oh man, I didn't know it was going to be this easy."
"What?" Chris asked.
"I designed this system almost a year ago. Give me a minute and I'll have it decoded and turned off."
Chris though that the exuberant youth might be making an overstatement, but no sooner had he batted an eyelash, then the offending red light flashed its last
"It's off," Chris stated.
'Try the front door," JD suggested.
Chris took a few paces to his right. First he opened the screen door. With a slight sigh of hesitation, he reached for the inside door. He turned the door knob and the only sound that greeted him was the creaking of the old wood.
"I'm in," Chris stated, walking quietly into the kitchen. "Nice work JD."
"No sweat," JD answered, but Chris could hear the sigh of relief.
Chris slowly reached for his sidearm and walked into the next room using only his flashlight as a beacon of light. His entire body was ready to spring in the case of any sudden movement. He quickly scanned the living area occupied only by a coach, coffee, table, and old TV. Judging by the dust gathering on the furniture, it hadn't been cleaned recently.
"I'm moving upstairs," Chris stated quietly when his scan of a small bathroom and closet revealed nothing out of the ordinary. JD did not respond, but Chris knew he was listening. He silently climbed up the old stairs. A loud crack sent the agent into a defensive posture with his gun raised, but the offending sound of breaking wood appeared to bother nobody. He continued up the stairs, and quickly scanned the two sparsely decorated bedrooms and the bathroom. Finally, he breathed a loud sigh of relief.
"We're all clear," he stated.
"Good," JD exhaled like he had been holding his breath the entire time.
"I saw a computer in one of the bedrooms; you want me to go turn it on?" Chris asked. JD did not answer.
"JD?" Chris asked nervously.
"Sorry, I was just thinking. If I was storing information about illegal land deals, the last place I would store it would be on my computer. That would be the first place I would think the cops would look."
"Do you think O"Shea thinks like you?" Chris asked, with a smile.
"What do you think?" JD asked. "You met the man."
Chris thought a moment.
"He's a bastard, but he's a smart one."
"Okay, then start checking the rest of the room for any file of papers, anything unusual."
Chris took turned on his flashlight again. Turning on the light might attract unneeded attention. He began searching the bedroom. He checked the drawers of the dresser, in the closet, under the bed and every other place where incriminating evidence might be hidden.
"Got nothing in here," he told JD. "Moving into the next room."
Chris repeated the same process in the next room. The results were the same.
"I got nothing JD," Chris answered. "Not even a piece of paper. The place is dirty, but otherwise there is nothing out of place.
"Maybe I was wrong," JD stated. "I just thought...why would you rent a house under a secret alias if you weren't trying to hide anything?"
"I don't know," Chris stated, just as dejectedly as JD. "I'm going to go and check the computer."
"Wait a second," JD stated. "The security box was hidden inside one of the stones right? Well, if that box was that well hidden that might mean there's something hidden in the insides of the wall or something."
"I'll check," Chris stated. Once again, he began searching the room, but this time running his hands alongside of the wall.
He was about to tell JD that he still hadn't found anything, when a sudden idea came to him. Getting down on his hands and knees he began searching the floorboards.
"Bingo," he stated when he found what he was looking for.
There was a gap in between two boards. This particular gap wouldn't have been so strange if Chris hadn't realized that it was the others.
"What?" JD asked, excitedly.
"Hold on a second," Chris answered, pulling a knife out of his pocket. He began cutting through the plaster that held the boards together. A few minutes later, he had cut enough of the plaster away and was lifting the wooden board up. He set it to the side and reached in and grabbed an old paper box. Inside were hundreds of computer disks and the plastic things JD called Jump drives.
"You did it again JD," Chris stated as he looked through the box. He proceeded to explain what was inside the box.
"Yes!" JD exclaimed, and then got serious. "Alright, this is going to be the interesting part. I want you to download everything on those disks onto the laptop that's in that bag."
"JD, I have no fricking clue how to do that," Chris growled.
"Fine," JD stated. "Why don't you just walk out of the house with all that possibly incriminating evidence and try to find a place to hide it all? Not to mention, letting O'Shea know that somebody is on to him."
Chris was surprised at the young man's audacity Apparently so was JD, because a few seconds later be whispered a barely audible apology.
"Alright JD, tell me how to do it," Chris stated.
"I think I created a simple enough system for you to use," JD stated. "So just take out the computer and turn it on..."
Chris snorted. JD's definition of simple usually meant that it would take al least four hours for him to figure out the first step. As it turned out, JD had outdone himself this time. Chris found it was rather simple to download the information of the disks and transfer onto a network connected to JDs computer across the ocean. It also helped that JD was dictating instructions into his ear the entire time.
"Alright you're going to want to copy that file and move it into the folder marked Emails," JD stated as the two worked on transferring the information from the final disk.
"How do you copy again?" Chris asked for the eighth time.
"Highlight it and push the Crtl and C keys at the same time." JD answered patiently.
As soon as Chris had completed JD's instructions, he hit the send key in the corner of the screen. He waited impatiently as the hourglass ticked away the seconds it took to send the information across the ocean.
There was an eerie silence in this dark room. He shifted nervously on the bed he was sitting on. The only light came from the screen of the laptop. The agent felt a shiver run down his spine.
Chris jumped at the sudden noise. He hand bumped against the laptop and sent it crashing onto the ground
"What was that?" JD asked concerned.
"Nothing," Chris answered, embarrassed. "What did you find?"
"I think there might be good information all this stuff, there's all sorts of land deals and contracts and stuff, but its going to take hours to sort through everything in them, but this..."
"What is it JD?' Chris asked again.
"It's an email correspondence between O"Shea and Paddy Flanagan," JD answered.
"Isn't that the guy Liam blew up his house a few months ago?"
"Yeah," JD interrupted. "Hold on a second. Oh man, its all about O'Shea buying up the property of the people Flanagan arrested.
"Arrested?" Chris asked.
"Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that Flanagan was a cop. He was the one that sent Liam's dad and uncle in Long Kesh prison. "
"And wouldn't let Murphy see his dying wife." Chris was beginning to understand.
"I guess Flanagan offers the property to O'Shea as soon as it is one the market and O'Shea uses one of his secret companies to purchase it," JD continued.
"JD, is there any way that Liam knew the correspondence between O'Shea and Flannigan?" Chris finally thought he had found a reason why Liam wanted to kill the Prime Minster's husband.
"I don't know," JD answered truthfully. "I don't see how he could have if these are the only copies of the emails. Why do criminals always keep trails of their contacts with other people? It always seems like the cops are busting them on their emails or stuff like that."
"It's some kind of power trip for them," Chris answered, getting off the bed and stretching his legs.
"What?" JD asked. "That makes no sense."
"Ask Josiah to explain it to you sometime," Chris stated.
'Here's something interesting. Flannigan responds to O'Shea's emails by stating that there may be a time when O'Shea's own son will succeed in finally killing him."
"What? The O'Shea's have no children!" Chris answered.
"I know that's why this whole thing is so confusing," JD sighed.
"Is there anything else in the emails," Chris asked.
"No, just small talk about working in Long Kesh prison," JD stated. There was a long pause. "Chris, I was just thinking there might be more emails on the computer. If you don't want to, I understand..."
"Give me a change to get over there," he answered, putting the disks back in the ground and replacing the board. He walked over into the next room. The computer looked like it was waiting for him.
"What should I do?" Chris asked.
"Turning it on would be a good start," JD stated. Chris could hear the humor in his voice, but decided against commenting.
He reached down to turn the computer on. A piercing screech began echoing throughout the whole house.
"Damn," JD swore. "There must be some kind of alarm system hooked up to the computer! Get out of there now Chris!"
Chris didn't have to be told twice. He sprinted down the steps and out of the house. It was pouring outside. The loud noise of sirens echoed on both sides of the street. His heart was pumping fast and he could feel the beads of sweat starting to pour down his forehead
"Where do I go JD?" he asked frantically.
He could hear JD typing frantically. "Okay, I've got the satellite images back up. Go south on the street.
"There are sirens coming from that direction JD," Chris stated.
"Yeah, but there still two miles away. It's your best bet for getting out of there without getting caught."
Chris didn't need to be told twice. He followed JD's instructions away from the office just as he did before. The only time he stopped sprinting was when the police cars flew past him. Apparently none of them were interested in what was happening on the streets, only getting the house.
Soon he was about five miles away from the hotel and out of breath.
"I think you're good," JD stated. "Oh shit,"
"What?" Chris asked.
"Bonnie Richardson is heading your way," JD stated.
Chris quickly pulled the ear piece out of his ears. His mind raced through possible reasons why he would be out on the streets so near the scene of the break in.
He watched as four cars went speeding past him in the opposite direction of the house. This confused the hell out of the agent. The last car slowed down and stopped next to Chris. Agent Richardson stuck her head out of the window.
"Chris, what the hell are you doing out here?" she asked suspiciously.
"Taking a walk," Chris lied between his teeth. "The stress was starting to get to me."
"Awfully long walk in the rain," Richardson commented, the look of suspicion not leaving her face. "How come you're not answering your phone?" she asked.
"Is this an interrogation?" Chris growled. "I told you I was stressed out. I needed to escape from work for a few hours. It's been ringing off the hook for the last couple of hours.
"You mean to tell me that you are not in contact with your agent?" Bonnie continued on her tirade of questions. Chris read the look on her face and felt her heart drop.
"What did she do?" he asked.
The British agent's face lit into a smile.
"She's got Mason stuck in the hotel. Apparently he tried to break into her hotel room and she got him cornered."
Chris took a sharp intake of breath. What was Mason doing in London and why the hell had Sidney arrested him? The look of surprise must have been evident on his face.
"I thought you said that you would trust your life in Mark's hands," Richardson stated. ""Can't believe she caught the bastard by herself?"
Chris chose to ignore the comment.
"What the hell was Mason doing at the hotel?" he asked.
Bonnie smiled slightly.
"Get in the car, I'll tell you along the way."
CHAPTER SIX: Friend or Foe?
Chris's mind was racing. What the hell was going on?
"There should be a force arriving shortly. They will help Agent Marks keep him contained until we get there," Bonnie stated, taking a sharp corner.
"It doesn't make sense," Chris shook his head. "Mason's too smart to get caught off guard like this..." A sudden thought came to his mind. Liam was too smart. He and Sidney were plotting something. They had to be. Now if only he could figure out what.
"....we thought to," Bonnie didn't realize that her passenger's thoughts were elsewhere. "But then I think I figured him out. He's getting scared Chris. You're whole team came here to search for him. Like you said, you and your agents have gotten close to catching him on many occasions. I bet he figured trying to take you out at the hotel was worth the risk. Fortunately for us, Sidney was on her guard."
"Yeah, lucky for us," Chris stated, feeling sick to his stomach. He knew he wouldn't be able to get Liam out of this mess. He was going to wring Sidney's neck.
The rain drops on the window blurred the flashing lights of the police cars as they pulled into the parking lot.
As soon as the car was parked, the two agents sprinted out the car. Bonnie reached for her gun.
The two agents turned to see a tall bond running towards them. The man put on the breaks three feet before slamming into them. He had a look of apprehension on his face.
"What is it Rick?" Bonnie asked.
"Mason got away!" The young man exclaimed, than winced, as if expecting a strike to hit him.
"What are you talking about?" The woman answered, glaring at the young man.
"Agent Marks was trying to hold him in her room until we could get here," Rick stated. "Apparently he broke out of the room with guns blazing. He shot her in..."
"What?" Now it was Chris's turn to roar.
"She's over in the ambulance right there," Rick whimpered. "But she's..."
He didn't get the chance to finish his sentence, because Chris was already sprinting towards the flashing lights of the ambulance He felt himself breathing a huge sigh of relief when he Sidney sitting on a stretcher, She looked pale and there was a huge bandage wrapped around her arm, but otherwise appeared fine.
."Hey boss," she greeted, lowering her eyes to the ground.
"How bad?" he asked.
"It's just a graze," Sidney stated, before she realized that Chris was not speaking to her.
"How bad?" he repeated.
The woman sitting next to Sidney, a stocky brunette, looked up at the agent.
"As Agent Marks said, the bullet simply grazed her skin. It should hear completely in a few days, but, of course, there's always the risk of infection. She should keep it clean and leave the bandage on for at least two days."
"Thank you," Chris stated. "Is she free to go?"
The woman nodded her head.
"I'd rather stay here,' Sidney grumbled. Chris chose to ignore the statement. As soon as they were far enough away from the doctor's hearing range, Sidney looked up at him.
"I can explain Chris," she stated desperately.
"You'd better," Chris growled. "In fact you...."
Both agents turned to see Bonnie running towards them, her high heels clicking on the sidewalk.
"You take the lead," Chris whispered in her ear. "I'll follow you."
"Sidney, are you alright?' Bonnie asked as soon as she reached them.
"It's just a scratch," Sidney answered.
"Oh honey, I'm so sorry!" Both Chris and Sidney suddenly jumped at the sudden change in demeanor of the woman.
"It would have been worth it to catch that bastard," Sidney stated weakly.
"Don't ever say that Sidney," Bonnie stated gently, but firmly. She wrapped an arm around the younger woman's uninjured shoulder. "Come and sit down, you look like you're about ready to fall over."
Chris had to bite his tongue as he watched Sidney put on one the most pitiful, pain filled looks he had ever seen. He followed the two women who sat down on the bench across the street, and stood behind hit.
"Now Sidney, tell me what exactly what happened," Bonnie stated.
Sidney sighed heavily.
"I decided that I needed some ice for a glass of water before I went to sleep," Sidney began. "Of course, the ice machine wasn't working on the second floor so I had to go all the way down to the first to get some. One my way back up, a worker stopped me and told me that he had seen Mason walk into my room. He..."
"Wait, how did the hotel workers know what Liam Mason looks like," Chris interrupted, glaring at Richardson.
"We gave pictures to all the hotel workers once we booked your rooms," Bonnie stated. "It was for your own safety."
"Right," Chris stated, rolling his eyes. He doubted the true intention had anything to do with his and his agents' safety.
"Please continue Sidney," Bonnie encouraged.
"I told him to not tell anyone, because I thought...well if...I was afraid that if the hotel found out it would scare Mason into using his gun. I really thought I could handle him if he decided to try and break out so I sent the guy to call you and I waited by the door."
"And he came out shooting?" Bonnie asked.
Sidney nodded her head.
"I wasn't expecting that," she stated. "I think it was the third or the forth bullet that hit me. He didn't check to see what happened to me. He just kept shooting over his shoulder as he ran down the hall." Sidney paused. "I was freaking shell-shocked! I could have shot him, I wasn't that hurt!"
"Shhh," Bonnie soothed "It wasn't your fault. I probably would have the done thing in that situation."
"Really?" Sidney asked, letting the tears drip out of her eyes.
His tongue was going to hurt really bad later, Chris decided.
"I'm not staying that it was the wisest idea, but I'm pretty sure that your boss has done something pretty similar to this before."
Sidney looked up at Chris.
I'm sorry Chris," Sidney stated, looking at the agent with puppy dog eyes.
"It's alright Sidney," Chris answered. Ezra would also be quite impressed with his own acting skills. He turned to look at Bonnie. "She needs to rest, wouldn't you agree Bonnie?"
The woman nodded her head.
Most definitely," she answered. "But neither one of you can obviously stay here."
"It's going to be safe here now though," Sidney answered. "He wouldn't come back, not after that."
"You're probably right," Bonnie stated. "But you're not going to get any rest here. There's going to people running around the hotel all night," she paused a moment. "Why don't the two of you stay the night at my house? It will be quiet and safe."
Sidney opened her mouth to protest, but Chris got there first.
"We couldn't impose Bonnie."
"You're staying at my house tonight Agent Larabee." Her eyes flashed, "and I won't hear any arguments. Now I want you to go upstairs and get yours and Sidney's suitcases. I'll wait down here with Sidney."
Chris knew better than to argue. He walked into the hotel. It was complete chaos inside. The police officers were trying to conduct their investigation while the workers were trying to calm the angry and upset patrons. The agent pulled out his badge and flashed it at anyone who eyed him suspiciously. He wasn't stopped once. It only took his a few minutes to gather his and Sidney's things. He had barely unpacked and Sidney had obviously gotten most of her things ready in preparation for her trip to Ireland. He had just finished grabbed his agent's toothpaste and stuffing in the front packet when a voice called his name.
"Agent Larabee?" a heavily accented voice asked.
Chris turned to see a lean red haired bellhop standing in the doorway. He was looking around hesitantly.
'Yes?" Chris asked.
"I have a note for you from a mutual friend,'" the bellhop stated. He held the note up.
Chris eyed him suspiciously, but walked over and grabbed the note.
"Mutual friend?" he asked, eying the bellhop. He looked to be in his mid twenties.
The younger man shrugged his shoulders.
"That girl who was in here, is she okay?"
"Sidney?" Chris asked, "Yeah, she's fine, but how did you..."
He stopped talking as soon when he heard voices running down the hall. Chris saw the look of horror on the bellhop's face.
"Go," Chris told him. "I'll head him off."
"Are you serious mate?" the man asked, caught completely off guard.
"I'm serious," Chris answered. "The last think I need right now is the IRA getting involved."
"I thought Liam was away in his head for trusting peelers, but I guess I was wrong," he stated before turning around and walking the other way.
Chris watched him go then waited for the owners of the voices.
Two attractive agents, a tall man and woman, came rushing towards him.
- "Did you see anyone up here?" the woman asked.
Chris shook his head.
"No one," Chris answered.
"Well let us know if you see anyone. Agent Richardson believes that Mason may have some of his men posing as hotel workers."
"I'll keep my eyes open," Chris answered.
This seemed like the answer the two agents were hoping for. With a nod of their heads, they disappeared down the hallway. The conversation between them was inaudible except for the low hum of their whispers.
Chris waited until they were all the way gone before opening up the note in his hand.
This wasn't supposed to happen this way. When you can get away, meet me at the Lord Nelson Tavern on Chester Street.
A small hand drawn map was contained inside.
He quickly stuffed the note and in his pocket before grabbing Sidney's small tote bag. The agent began his descent down the hotel steps and out the exit. Sidney was in the same position, still maintaining the pitiful look in her eyes. Bonnie was yelling at a poor officer from Scotland Yard. Chris walked over to Sidney. He jerked his head and neck to the right.
Sidney nodded her head and stood up.
Bonnie saw them move. With a wave of her hand, she dismissed the officer. She walked over to the two American agents.
She handed Chris a piece of paper.
"These are directions to my house. You may take the car I drove over here Chris. The keys should still be in the ignition. Make yourselves at home. There's not much food, but you are welcome to whatever is there."
"Thanks Bonnie, we owe you." Chris stated.
"Yes you do." The cold tone that the woman had used back in the Prime Minister's office was back, but her eyes were not quite as harsh and a small smile was evident on her face.
Chris placed his hand on Sidney's uninjured shoulder and guided her, rather firmly, over to the awaiting car. He opened the passenger side door and pushed her inside before getting into the driver seat.
Sidney didn't say a word until they had been driving for several minutes. Finally she attempted to break the silence.
Chris motioned for her to say quiet. She gave him a confused look but heeded his order. The remainder of the fifteen minute drive was made in silence. Finally, Chris pulled the car into the driveway of a small, but pleasant little whitewashed house. Even in the dark, the agents could see the large garden that surrounded the entire front of the yard.
"From what I remember, Bonnie always had a passion for gardening," Chris stated, turning of the car. He motioned for Sidney to do the same. Once again, she followed his orders without question.
"What are we doing?" Sidney asked quietly, once they were outside the car.
"Look for some kind of listening device," Chris whispered. "I know Bonnie Richardson too well. There has to be an ulterior motive for this kindness.
"Perhaps I can be of assistance?" a voice asked from behind them.
Both agents whirled around pulling for the guns. They spun around to face the owner of the voice.
Chris cursed under his breath when he saw Bonnie Richardson walk out of the shadows. Her gun was drawn and her face had an evil glint on it.
"Tell me Agent Larabee, why on earth would you be looking for a listening device. Do you not trust my generosity?" She asked taking a step closer.
Chris pushed Sidney behind him.
"I don't know Bonnie, maybe the fact that you've never been kinder than a rattlesnake to anyone made me a little suspicious," Chris growled. His mind was racing.
"So tell me what your plans were for the evening Agent Larabee?"
Chris sensed a trap, but he didn't know how else to answer.
"I was going to take care of my agent. Show her a little love and compassion, something that you've probably never experienced."
Bonnie laughed, the pure mirth in it sent a shiver down Chris's back.
"Chris Larabee, show love and compassion, now that's the funniest thing I heard all night." She paused a moment. "I'll tell you what I think was going to happen tonight, Chris Larabee. You were going to find the chip I placed under the passenger seat and then you were going to remove all forms of identification from the car. Finally, you and your cute little agent were going to sneak off to the Lord Nelson Tavern."
Chris had to swallow the response he had on his lips. Involuntarily, his hand slid to the note and map in his pocket. He felt Sidney's questioning stare behind him. The look of surprise must have been evident on his face.
"As hard as it is to believe Chris, I actually gained this position in more ways than just sleeping with my superiors," she stated.
"But, how did you..."
"FBI Team Seven aren't the only ones who use unconventional methods. I never trusted you Chris. The man who slipped you the note is employed by Scotland Yard."
"You ..." Chris growled under his breath.
"Save the insults for your interrogation Agent Larabee." She pulled a pair of handcuffs out her pocket. "Would you be so kind as to place these on Agent Mark's wrists?"
Chris sensed Sidney tense behind him. He was surprised that she had remained quiet the entire time. He grabbed the cuffs out of the woman's hands and turned to face Sidney, knowing that he didn't have any other option.
"I'm sorry Sid, I didn't ..." he started to say, but Sidney wasn't looking at him. Her eyes were glued to the woman standing in front of them. Chris stared at her a moment and realized that she wasn't watching Richardson, but looking beyond the blonde's shoulder.
The two black shapes appeared out of nowhere. Bonnie sensed movement behind her, but it was too late. A gun was placed on her neck and a big hand jerked her head back. Buck pushed his captive into the porch light.
"Drop it," a familiar voice growled.
"Back-up," The female agent wheezed, struggling for breath.
"Unfortunately for you my dear Agent Richardson, the IRA has been spotted in England, at your office in fact. I am sure they are racking havoc as we speak. It may pain you to know that your agents have abandoned you to preserve what remains of your headquarters." Ezra stepped out of the shadows, also holding a gun pointed at the woman.
"Meaning there isn't anyone coming to save you Bonnie, so I suggest you drop your weapon before this gets ugly," Buck growled. . Bonnie kicked back. Buck was prepared for the movement. He easily sidestepped the well placed kick.
"That worked once sweetheart and I couldn't sit for a week, not this time."
Buck tightened his grip until the female agent finally stopped struggling.
"Atta girl," Buck smiled evilly. They watched as Buck pulled a bandanna out his pocket and tied it around the woman's mouth.
While Buck was struggling with the woman, Ezra had walked over and placed a hand on Sidney's uninjured shoulder. He didn't need to voice his question.
"I'm fine,' she stated.
Ezra looked up at Chris for confirmation, and Chris nodded his head. The silent communication between the two men drew an exasperated sigh from Sidney.
"Are they really down at the FBI headquarters?" Sidney asked
"I thought that was your idea," Ezra stated. "You stated that it would be a good way for Liam to blow off steam after the funeral."
Chris had chosen not to say a word. His head was still reeling from the sudden ambush and his two friends' unexpected rescue. Finally, he couldn't hold in any longer.
"What the hell is going on?" he yelled. "The funeral's not until tomorrow."
"Well, they will be burying caskets tomorrow, but the remains of Liam's poor family will not be inside. You see, a small funeral of the Mason's closest family occurred in the wee hours of the morning. Most of the British police force will not be arriving until tomorrow morning so we were able to give them the slip quite easily."
"Even better Liam was able to there," Buck answered. "It was beautiful. Everyone said their goodbyes in this small little graveyard with the early morning mist. Liam's sister sang this Irish folk song. Even Ezra as tearing up."
"Excuse me, I already stated that the sun was in my eyes."
"Right, you're just an old softie."
Chris growled, realizing that he had just had the wool pulled over his eyes.
"You knew about this?" he asked Sidney.
She nodded her head, but she didn't look him in the eye.
"We decided it best to keep as many people in the dark as possible," Ezra answered. "None of your team knew about the change of venue until they arrived in London."
"There was another reason too," Sidney answered, looking from Ezra to Chris. "I think its time they all deserve to know why Liam wants to kill O'Shea so bad."
Ezra nodded his head.
"I agree Sidney. In fact, Mr. Mason does too. He is waiting for us."
"But I thought the IRA was at the FBI headquarters," Sidney stated.
"Liam decided it was best to keep a low profile after he was caught visiting you at hotel," Ezra answered. "He is waiting at a tavern not far from here."
Sidney nodded her head and allowed Ezra to lead her towards an awaiting car that neither she nor Chris had noticed before.
Chris looked at Buck.
"What are we going to do with her?" he asked, motioning towards Bonnie. "We can't let her go. She obviously knows too much now. If she gets the chance to talk..."
Buck looked down at woman whose glare was shooting bullets up at him.
"I think that once she hears Liam's story, she'll think twice about what who she's trying to protect." He began walking, pushing Bonnie in front of him. "You've still got a heart in there somewhere, don't you honey?"
Chris shook his head and followed him.
"You don't honestly believe that do you?" he asked.
"I almost married this woman Chris; you don't think I know her well."
"You thought you did," Chris answered quietly, but decided not to push the subject. He sighed heavily knowing that this crazy night was going to get even more interesting.
CHAPTER SEVEN: A Tragic Tale
Vin took a long swig of the much needed beer. He finished the glass and reached over for a refill. There was no bartender at the Rebellion tavern. There hadn't been since it had been shut down twenty years ago when the owners had been arrest for conspirating with the IRA. Still the bar was always well stocked for the few people who still had a key.
The old bar was in bad need of some home repair. The structure of the building was beginning to tilt and the cream paint had almost completely chipped away leaving a sickly yellow color on the wall. The Gaelic symbols that had been carved into many of the walls appeared to add to the rapid degradation of the paint. Still the old bar had character. He could only guess the stories that these walls could tell if they could talk.
Liam Mason was sitting at the one table, his right hand unconsciously fiddling with the key ring. Chris, Buck and Josiah occupied the other three chairs. Sidney had fallen asleep on the lopsided couch; an expensive suit coat covered most of her upper body. The owner of the makeshift blanket was leaning against the bar. Nathan was at his side, scrutinizing the sleeping young woman, checking to see if her account of her health was true. Buck had handcuffed Richardson to the remaining chair, the gag still firmly placed in her mouth.
"It's been a long time. Liam sighed heavily. "Last time I was here, I was twelve years old. I was with my uncle. I was supposed to be in the back room watching Brady, but I was listening to the meeting between the old vents."
"Liam," Chris stated. "I know that..."
"that I don't want to tell the story," Liam finished, looking Chris square in the eye. "Quite the contrary, I think it's about time I finally told everyone. God knows it's been the main thought on mind for the last few days." He sighed and looked around the room at the men that were staring intently at him. The Irishman took a long swig of his drink and began telling his story.
"All of you already know that my father and uncle were arrested and sent to prison. Flannigan is the one that arrested both of them. He caught the two of them planting a bomb outside the meeting house where O'Shea was supposed to be meeting. Took an entire British force to bring the two of them down though," Liam's face lit into a huge smile. "I remember my father basically had to carry Uncle Murph into the courthouse. Flannigan kneecapped him so hard, he was never able to walk the same again." Liam took another drink. "Trial was rigged from the beginning, both of them knew it. When it was finally my father's turn to talk, he launched into a long speech about independence and fair representation. I didn't understand what he was talking about, but I remember seeing tears in people's eyes, including my ma's. My pa would have kept talking forever, but O'Shea stood up and punched him in the jaw. Pa got right back up and hit back even harder."
Vin watched as Liam retold his story. He could only imagine viewing this scene from a seven year old's eyes. Liam's eyes shone with pride at the memory of his father and the courtroom brawl.
"Before Pa knew what hit him, two men came up and tackled him to the ground... O'Shea walked to where my ma and I were sitting. Now Ma's a strong woman, I'd never see her cower from anyone until O'Shea was within a few feet of her. He grabbed me by the neck and pulled me towards my father." Liam unconsciously reached for his neck and if he still felt the pain from the day.
"He pushed me down and until I was eye to eye with my Pa and asked me if I wanted to grow up and be like him someday. I answered proudly that I would grow up to be just like my pa someday." Liam's hand tightened around the keys in his right hand and his jaw clenched. "He told me that he was proud of me for saying that, any son should want to be like his father. Pa's eyes began to fill up with tears. It was the only time I ever saw him cry. Even when he came home two years later and he..." Liam stopped and looked at Chris, his own eyes wet.
"There is no easy way to say this, my friends, O'Shea's my father."
There was a sharp intake of breath across the room.
"Shit," Buck stated, rubbing his hand through his hair.
"How is that possible?" Chris asked.
Liam began shaking so bad; he made the whole table shake.
Ezra walked over and placed his hand on the young man's shoulder.
Liam seemed to take strength from the man's attempt at comfort.
"My ma came from a very wealthy family. My grandfather was mates with some of the highest British officers stationed in Ireland. She was also very pretty. Uncle Murph always called her the belle of Belfast. Needless to say, she caught the eye of O'Shea. Of course, ma was above that bastard. She wanted nothing to do with O'Shea or his politics. She met Pa at a political rally..."
"and it was love at first sight," Buck answered chuckling.
"Not quite," Liam answered with a smile. "They hated each other actually. Both of them suffered from a strong case of Irish Pride. It was my Uncle Murphy and my ma's sister Anna that fell in love first. Eventually though, the fell in love, more in love than I think I've seen anybody, His eyes involuntarily turned towards Sidney, still fast asleep on the couch.
O'Shea didn't take the news of wedding too well. Neither did my grandfather at first, but when he saw how in love she was, he eventually gave them his blessing. "Both my parents were popular in Belfast so naturally a big catholic wedding was planned.
The priest, who was a good friend of the family, heard that O'Shea was going to arrest him during the wedding ceremony, so they decided to move it out of town . Only close friends and family were told of the change of plans."
"After meeting you ma, but she liked it better that way anyway," Nathan answered
"She always said she did," Liam agreed. "After the wedding, they planned to stay at a friend's house for a few days, stay hidden until O'Shea had time to cool down. Somehow, the bastard found out." His voice was quickly growing hostile again. "He and Flannigan came barging on the night of their wedding and...:"
He didn't need to go any farther for the men to get the picture.
"He offered my mother a deal. My father would go free if she would....He made my pa watch the whole thing after he tied him to a chair."
"Jesus," Buck swore rubbing his hands over her face.
Each man battled with his own emotions. The thought of watching the woman that he loved put in that position and having to watch the whole thing without being able to do a thing about it.
The room was deathly silent for several minutes. Liam seemed lost in his own thoughts. Chris reached across the table and grabbed hold of Liam's hand. He didn't say anything, only offered silent solace.
All of a sudden the door to the tavern flew open. All the men jumped reaching for the guns at their hips. Sidney awoke with a start, completely flabbergasted to see Dicky O'Shea standing in the doorway. There were no bodyguards with him. He didn't even carry a weapon. He just walked into the room with his hands up.
"What the hell?" she breathed, pulling herself to her feet.
The guns pointing straight at his chest didn't seem to faze the politician.
"Good evening gentlemen," he greeted, smiling at each of them in turn. His eyes fell on Liam.
"Well son, I see that you have grown up. I've heard that you look like your mother, but I can see the resemblance between the two of us."
The words had their desired effect. The Irishman winced as if slapped in the face. He lunged forward, but Josiah grabbed him around the waist before he could do anything stupid.
The action only caused Dicky to laugh.
"Rash too, I don't know where you got that from."
This time Liam didn't move, but he was taking in sharp intakes of breath.
"Give me one good reason why I shouldn't kill you now," Chris growled, motioning up and down with gun.
:"Liam, I suggest you take a look out the window and perhaps you can give Mr. Larabee a reason why it would not be a wise idea to shoot me."
Liam walked to the window on shaky legs. Vin got out of his chair and followed the young man, giving O'Shea a look, daring him to stop him.
O'Shea made no protest.
Liam looked out the window.
"Oh God," he gasped as his face turned white. "You bastard!" he growled and rushed at O'Shea again. Vin was barely able to hold on to his younger companion as Liam fought hard to break his grip.
Vin was half tempted to join Liam in ripping out O'Shea's throat.
A large black car was parked next to the sidewalk. A beautiful middle aged woman stood on the sidewalk. Her long blonde hair was snarled at her eyes were full of fear. It was no small wonder considering that two thugs at least twice the size of her 130ish frame stood on either side of her, each with a gun pointed at her head. Despite her fear, her stance remained strong and her arms firmly placed on the young woman in front of her. Vin knew the young brunette was fighting hard to stay calm. Every inch of the slim eighteen year old looked ready to spring like a caged animal. The young woman had the same eyes as her brother who was fighting Vin's embrace hard.
" I don't think I will face anymore arguments," O'Shea laughed gleefully.
Chapter EIGHT: Running Out Of Time
Ezra shifted uncomfortably in his seat. The hard back of the old bar was causing tremendous pain in his back. The ropes binding his wrists and ankles to his chair were not doing anything to add to his comfort.
He turned his head and watched as O"Shea and his goons finished tying the occupants of the bar to chairs. At some point, one of the men must have given O'Shea a gun. He was using it to dictate orders. Liam and his sister, Bevin, were the last to be tied. Ezra was heartbroken to see that all signs of fight had appeared to have left the young man. The fire had left his eyes and his body was limp in the chair.. His eyes never left the corner of the room where is mother and younger sister had been placed.
"Its about time," a female voice yelled. The voice of Bonnie Richardson made Ezra jump and turn his head towards the location of the woman.
O'Shea had taken the gag out of the woman's mouth.
'I'm sorry lass," O'Shea stated, before putting the gag back on and tightening it.
Everyone in the room looked at him in surprise, especially the female agent who was once again unable to talk.
"You've heard too much my dear. How do I know that you won't turn around and backstab me? I've heard you have a reputation of doing that." O'Shea's placed a hand on Buck's shoulder. To the two agents were sitting back to back. If their hands weren't bound they easily could have touched hands. Buck shuddered.
The politician walked over to the chair that Liam had just been tied to. He bent down so he was staring the man straight in the eyes.
"Did you honestly think you were going to be able to kill me?" O'Shea laughed. "A dumb little Irish kid against the most powerful man in England? That's the problem with you Irish. You never realized that you never stood a chance."
Liam didn't respond. He faced the other direction.
"Are you forgetting that you're Irish too O'Shea?" Brevin stated from her corner of the room. She tried to break the grip of her captor, but had no success. O'Shea smiled evilly and walked over to the girl.
"But unlike you're family little girl, I strove to be something better."
"If you call graveling to vermin and sucking their....."
Brevin never got a chance to finish. O'Shea struck her heard in the face.
'You're manners are worse than your father's were," O'Shea growled.
"Go raibh maith agat," she answered.
"What the hell did you just say?" O'Shea answered, raising her hand to strike her again. Brevin made no sign of fear.
"She took the statement as a compliment," Carrie answered.
O"Shea walked over to where the woman was sitting. He stroked her check gently. The woman cringed, but she never lowered her gaze.
"We could have done so much together Carrie. You could have lived in the life of luxury for a long, long time."
"I thank God that I had ten years with Connor rather than spending my entire life in hell with you," Carrie hissed, before spitting O'Shea in the face.
O'Shea shook with fury, but he calmly wiped the dripping saliva off his face.
"I see," he answered. He walked over and to the door and picked up a black suitcase that had gone unnoticed before. He set in on the table next to the table where Brevin was still being held captive.
He opened the case and pulled out a little ticking mess of metal and wires. Everybody drew a sharp intake of breath. The bomb's intimidating noise echoed menacingly throughout the small tavern.
"Whoa, just what are planning to do with that?" Buck asked, pulling against the rope.
O'Shea didn't answer, but shot Buck a sick smile. Before anyone was quite sure what happened, he had attacked the bomb around Brevin's waist and pushed her into the chair. The roars of protest echoed throughout the room, but none were as loud as Liam's.
"No!" he yelled and attempted to stand up. The movement knocked the chair over, but he continued to struggle.
O"Shea just laughed out loud, clearly enjoying himself.
Ezra began scanning the room desperately for anything that might get them all out of this predicament. He saw Buck slowly edging his chair closer towards the female agent. Buck shot him a desperate look.
'I would be ashamed of myself O"Shea," Ezra stated, drawing O'Shea's attention his way. "This is beneath you. A man of your power and resources should have been able to calculate a more cunning plan."
"What are you talking about?" O'Shea turned to look at Ezra.
"A massive explosion, FBI agents from two countries, two civilian women... There is bound to be an intensive investigation."
Chris picked up where Ezra trailed off.
"Your wife is on to you O'Shea."
"She's clueless," O"Shea answered. "She's so concerned about being noble that she doesn't give a damn about what I do."
Now it was Chris's turn to laugh.
"She told me to take you down," the agent stated. "Even if it means she has to pay the price too."
The fact seemed to stun O'Shea for a split second, but a smile quickly reemerged on his face.
"It doesn't matter. She will be disposed of shortly."
Several sets of confused looks turned to him. O'Shea held up a remote.
"I made arrangements to meet her in a little house we keep just outside the city.
I'll be joining her motorcade shortly in my own personal car. When we are within a three kilometer radius of this tavern..."he held up the remote.
"You Bastard!" Vin growled.
O"Shea acted like he didn't even hear Vin.
"The country will be in complete shock. They will look to me for guidance
"Not when they read about it in The Times tomorrow," a familiar voice stated. The door to the tavern flew open and JD walked inside. "I think the tabloids will also enjoy the emails I sent them explicitly describing your business dealings with Flanagan and all the people you've killed over the years, most recently the deaths of Murphy and Brady Mason."
"You little..." O'Shea answered, raising his gun. JD saw the movement and brought his own gun up.
"I wouldn't," JD stated. Thy young man was so occupied with O'Shea he didn't notice O'Shea's guard take aim at him. The others noticed a second too late.
"No!" Buck yelled jumping, out of his chair. He knocked the would be killer to the ground as two shots were fired. One lodged itself into the ground, the other flew over the wall and lodged itself into the wall.
Evan burst into the room, his gun drawn.
"Drop them," he growled. O'Shea smiled and dropped his weapon. He nodded at the other man to do the same. Buck picked up one gun and Evan picked up the other two.
"Why are you smiling?" Evan asked, suspiciously.
O'Shea reached into this pocket and pulled out a remote. He pointed to Brevin.
"It would appear that I still have the upper hand," O'Shea stated. "I would kindly appreciate if our guns would be given back to us."
The men had no choice. After that, everything happened fast.
Ezra closed his eyes and winced. They had been so close and it appeared that their luck had run out. He watched as Buck was retied to his chair. The knife in Bonnie's pocket had quickly been discovered and pocketed by one of O'Shea's men. Evan and JD were handcuffed to the bar.
"Well ladies and gentlemen, I believe it is time I said my good-byes," He checked his watch. My lovely wife should be in range in the next fifteen minutes, you have that long to say goodbye."
He turned too look at his men.
"Wait across the street until the bomb goes off. Shoot anyone that tries to come in. Once the bomb goes off, meet me at 322 Clairmount Street."
The three men left the building, slamming the door behind them.
"Brevin, are you okay?" Nathan asked.
"Other than I'm about to be blown home to Belfast, I couldn't be better Dr. Jackson."
Ezra was once again looking desperately for a way out. His mother always taught him that there was a way out of every mishap, although he doubted Maude had ever found herself in this dire of a situation. He looked at the men and women in the room. It didn't seem fair that it should all end so soon, that the people had finally been able to trust...
"Don't look so depressed Ezra," a voice interrupted the gloomy thought of the millionaire.
"Do tell how you are able to maintain such a chipper disposition in the situation Mr. Dunne," Ezra stated, looking at his friend. He was surprised to see the smile on the young man's face.
Apparently, the others had seen the smile as well.
"Just wait," Evan stated. He bore a similar expression to JD's.
"We don't have time to..." Sidney started to say. She stopped when loud hoots and hollers erupted on the street outside.
"What the..." Chris never got a chance to finish. The door to the tavern flung open.
No woman had ever looked so beautiful to the captives as Casey Wells did when she ran into the tavern. A pack of least ten young men of various shapes and sizes followed her.
"Trouble follows you like bees to honey my friend," a man with fiery red hair laughed as he looked at Liam. Liam was untied and the two old friends embraced.
All of a sudden, the small room was full of activity as the rescuers untied the captives. As soon as Buck had his bonds removed, he was trying to diffuse the bomb. A terrified mother and older brother looked on.
"You didn't think we'd be stupid to come barging in here without any type of back-up did you?" JD asked Ezra who was rubbing his wrists.
Ezra had to pause a moment, before carefully choosing his words.
"I admire your courage and loyalty very highly, so highly that I knew you would risk ..."
"Don't dig yourself into a deeper hole," Evan stated with a smile.
'Excuse me, but I never." Ezra stuttered.
"The guards outside?" Chris asked Casey.
"Taken care of," she answered.
"I've never seen a devise like this before!" Buck exclaimed after a couple of seconds. "I don't know to diffuse it!"
"Here, let me take a look at it," The red head stated.
He bent down next to Buck and smiled.
"O'Shea talks about hating the IRA, but he sure like to use our design."
"Can you stop it Paddy?" Carrie asked, nervously.
"Of course Mum," he answered respectfully, pulling a knife out his pocket. He looked at Brevin with an evil smile.
"You've got nothing to worry about."
"Last time you said that Paddy O'Donnell, I ended up with a broken arm falling off your damn motorbike!"
"Its not my fault that you didn't know how to handle my ingenious design," Paddy answered with a smile.
"I except you've perfected your designs since you've moved to London?" Liam asked. His face was lined with worry, but a small trace of a smile could almost be seen."
"I've got one outside that's waiting for you to try out mate," Paddy answered.
"Bombs and motorbikes," Carrie shook her head with a smile. "Your poor mother."
"She'll love me no matter what I do mum," Paddy answered with a smile. "One more wire," A split second later the bomb tickled off.
The room breathed a collective sigh of relief.
"My God, the Prime Minister!' Bonnie exclaimed, after a few seconds. Everyone had been so caught up in deactivating the bomb attached to Brevin, they had forgotten about the second part of O'Shea's evil plan.
"Casey, do you have a cell phone?" Chris asked, urgently.
"Yeah," Casey answered, pulling the phone out of her pocket.
"I need you to call Senator Travis and tell him to find a way to get ahold of..."
"There isn't time for that," Bonnie stated. "Give me the phone girl."
Casey held out her hand with the phone, but Chris pushed it away.
"How do we know you can trust you?" Chris asked..
"Do you have any other choice?" Bonnie replied.
Buck stepped forward and put a hand on his friend's shoulder.
"Give her the phone Pard," he stated.
Casey looked at Chris who nodded in consent.
The female agent quickly grabbed the phone and began dialing. The room was suddenly quiet.
"Thatcher 442391," Bonnie stated.
Josiah couldn't prevent the small smile from appearing, despite the circumstances. The Prime Minister's password was a reference to the first ever female political leader of England.
"Prime Minister, this is Agent Richardson. Whatever happens tonight, you need to stay out of your car." There was a long pause. "What?" A horrified look spread across the woman's face. "She's already driving!" She stated to the room.
Chris grabbed the phone out of the woman's hand.
"Prime Minister, this is Agent Larabee. Can you try opening the car door?"
Chris swore, when the Prime Minister responded that the doors wouldn't budge. O'Shea had rigged the car so there was no escape. They were running out of options.
Ezra motioned for Chris to give him the phone. Chris shot Ezra a questioning look, but gave him the phone.
"Hello Prime Minister, this is Ezra Standish. You have not met me, but I'm going to try and help you so we have that pleasure. Please call your husband and tell him that Liam Mason has informed you about his illegal land deals. Say you have worked out a deal with him, if you die than he releases everything to the press." There was a long pause. "Thank you ma'am. I will hang up now so you are able to talk to your husband now." He hung up the phone. "I may have bought us about five minutes," Ezra turned around and realized that he was the only one left in the tavern.
Sidney stuck her head in the door.
"Come on Ezra, we're leaving now!"
"But how are we going to go anywhere without..."
Ezra's question was interrupted by the sound of motors turning over.
"I must say the IRA comes prepared," he smiled.
CHAPTER NINE: Loyalty
Chris had never driven so fast in his life. He could see the motorcade up ahead just about to cross over a bridge. Vin sat in the passenger seat next to him. Sidney and Richardson were in the back. Although he had taken off before seeing them, Chris figured Josiah and Buck were in the second car playing catch-up.. In a few seconds, it had been decided that saving the Prime Minister would have to be the goal of the FBI. He wasn't sure where Ezra and the others were, but right now it was the least of his worries.
The only mode of communication with the Prime Minister was the cell phone that Bonnie was clenching in her hand. The Prime Minister had not called back and Richardson had been unable to get reception.
"What are we going to do now?" Vin asked.
"I'm trying to think of something," Chris stated. His knuckles were white.
All of a sudden, a motorcycle flew past the racing car.
"What the?" Chris exclaimed as it flew past him and was soon within a couple of feet of the last car in the motorcade.
:Liam!" Sidney yelled. "What is he doing?"
Shots began firing from the back car, but it didn't stop the Irishman. He lowered himself on the bike and kept going.
'The idiot is going to get himself killed," Chris growled, urging the car to go faster. It didn't work, The gas petal was already touching the ground.
Liam swerved the bike right up next to driver's side of the last car.. They all watched as he reached for his hip and pulled out a gun. Liam raised the weapon and fired one shot. A split second later the car turned hard left, sending the bike and it driver into the air.
"No!" Sidney cried as Liam's body landed in the middle of the road. The bike sailed over the railing of the bridge and disappeared. Liam didn't move. Chris had to maneuver quickly to avoid running over him.
The driver of the car lost control after swerving to hit Liam. They all watched as the car spun out of control and teetered on the weak railing, before it plunged over the edge.
The motorcade came to a stop and men started jumping out of cars, rushing to guard the large limo in the center.
Chris pulled up alongside. Guns were immediately pointed at the car. Richardson opened the door and then stepped out.
"There's a bomb somewhere in the president's limo," she yelled.
. A few seconds later, Josiah and Buck arrived at the scene. The Prime Minster was safely extradited from the car and the bomb taken care of.. Vin went with a team down to the car crash and confirmed that O'Shea's body was inside.
"Agent Larabee, I don't know how I can thank you enough," Bonnie stated. "As soon as I heard about the bomb, I thought it was the end."
"It was my pleasure ma'am, we..."
"What the hell do you think you're doing?" Sidney's voice interrupted Chris's statement.
Chris looked at the scene behind him and felt his blood run cold.
"Excuse me Prime Minister," he stated before walking over to where Bonnie Richardson was placing handcuffs on Liam.
The young man's face was bleeding in several places and he was shaking, but otherwise had come out lucky from his tumble.
"Stand back Agent Marks," Bonnie demanded harshly. "You are not helping your cause right now."
"What is going on Richardson?" Chris demanded, coming to stand next to his agent. They were far enough way from the rest of the scene, to prevent others from overhearing.
"I am arresting Mason for the attempted murder of Annie O'Shea and the death of her husband Dicky O'Shea," the agent answered.
"You're really going to go through with this after..."
"I have death threats and the bomb underneath the car matches the design typically used by the IRA," she answered.
"The IRA saved your life you bitch!" Sidney was shaking in rage, but she kept her voice down. "You would be dead if it wasn't for Liam."
"Here's the deal," Bonnie said, looking at Chris and Sidney. "I get Mason and you won't hear a peep out of me about the Red Glove."
"Do you honestly think we would betray him that easily?" Sidney cried.
"Sidney," Liam looked up with sad and painful eyes. "Don't."
"Liam, you have friends that will protect you," Chris growled, looking at Bonnie. "We won't let her win."
"Chris, please let me be the scapegoat. If I go free, we'll have to explain everything. It will be the end of the Red Glove. I'm only one man. You and Ezra and the Red Glove cannot die! I've worked too hard for everything to end right now. There is still too much work to do!"
Chris stared at Liam long and hard. He wanted to punch Richardson in the face and yell the truth to the world, but he knew that Liam was right.
Sidney saw him nod his head.
"No!" she cried, but body showed her resignation.
"I had more faith in you than this," a voice growled maliciously. Buck stepped forward and put a hand on Sidney's shoulder. "Despite everything that you've done, I always figured you cared more about justice than you own damn career." Richardson flinched, but she didn't back down. "I hope you can live with yourself," Buck growled.
Richardson looked down at her feet.
"I love you Sid," Liam stated with tears in his eyes, before he was roughly pushed away by the agent.
Buck pulled Sidney in a tight embrace, so her sobs were muffled by his chest. Chris watched as Liam was pushed into a cop car. He had never felt so helpless in his life.
+ + + + + + +
:"What about asking for a pardon? God knows that O'Shea and Fitzgerald both owe their lives to Liam," Vin asked..
It was two days after the near tragedy on the bridge. The British news was full of stories about O'Shea's death at the hands of the Red Glove. Nobody seemed too upset about the politician's death.
Vin, Buck Ezra, Nathan, JD, and Evan were sitting in the tavern before they had to catch their flights. JD had suggested the visit. For some odd reason, it seemed to bring closure to the men.
In a few hours, the Americans would be flying home. Fitzgerald and Travis had already left. Chris, Josiah and Sidney had gone with them. Chris and Josiah had all wanted to get Sidney out of London as soon as possible.
"That would be political suicide," Nathan answered with a sigh. "I think both of them would be willing to do it, but that's not what Liam wants. Really, things turned out well for most people. O'Shea's dead, but the blame on The Red Glove has saved the Prime Minister. Because of it, She's on our side now."
"A lot of good it does us," Evan stated, walking inside. He looked close to tears.. "Liam's still locked up where nobody can get to him."
"You checked about a possible..." Vin asked.
"No way in hell are we ever going to get through that security," Evan answered, sitting down. Vin pushed his open beer towards him. Evan took a long swig..
Everyone in the room sighed heavily. They had all stayed in London for once reason. Each of them had been more then willing to offer aid in a rescue but if Evan stated there wasn't a chance, then there was nothing they could do.
The door to the tavern flew open. The men watched as the new visitor walked inside.
"Where did you come from?" Josiah asked.
"Contrary to popular belief, I did rise through the ranks based on my skills," Bonnie Richardson answered. "I followed the kid." She walked through the doorway, holding a newspaper in her hand.
Evan looked down at the floor sheepishly.
"You've got a lot of nerve showing up here right now," Buck growled.
Richardson cowered slightly, but she didn't lower her gaze.
"I could arrest all of you right now," she answered
"and it would be quite easy to make you disappear," Ezra growled in a rare case of open hostility. The others looked at him in surprise.
"Were you planning on breaking Mason out of jail?" Richardson asked.
"I think you should leave," Buck stated. "I'm kind of interested to see if what if Ezra would follow through."
"Would you like to place a wager?" Ezra's tone was light, but his eyes revealed his true feelings.
"Fine," Richardson stated walking for the door. "But I thought I'd save you the time and energy," She threw the newspaper down on the table before walking out. "This just hit the streets a few minutes ago."
JD picked up the newspaper. His eyes grew wide.
"Shit! Guys, I think you should take a look at this!"
Josiah grabbed the paper and read aloud.
"Mason escapes from custody!"
"On his way to a high security prison located outside of the city, Liam Mason escaped when the car transporting him spun out of control. Director Bonnie Richardson, Director of the American FBI division, was in charge of Mason's transport and was driving when the car spun out of control. Richardson has refused comment, although Scotland Yard has stated they launch a full investigation. Many questions need to be answered, including why Director Richardson told no one about the sudden transport of the prisoner."
Josiah put the newspaper down and looked at the people in the room.
"You don't think she..."Vin stated, looking at Buck.
"Yeah, I think she knew exactly what she was doing," Buck stated, a small trace of a smile on his face. "She is one hell of a woman.
CHAPTER TEN: Joys of Saturday Part 2
Chris reached over and patted Pony on the neck. He leaned back and closed his eyes. He was exhausted, but the relaxing ride was doing wonders on his aching back. The sounds of the running stream and the chirping of the birds were replaced by the unmistakable sound of the horse hoofs.
"Nice day for a ride," Vin stated, pulling Peso up alongside Chris's horse.
""Yup," Chris answered, without opening his eyes.
"Nice day to rechallenge Peso for his title of fastest horse in the west too,"
Chris opened his eyes, and turned to stare at Vin disbelief.
"Just kidding," Vin smiled, trying unsuccessfully to stifle a yawn.
+ + + + + + +
"What DVDs did you bring Josiah?" Buck asked, stretching out on the coach.
"Brought my Clint Eastwood collection. I figured a western would be nice and relaxing," Josiah answered. He set the movie cases down on top of the TV. "Which one should I put in?"
"Surprise us," Nathan answered, making himself more comfortable in his big armchair. He reached out his foot and scratched Monty behind the ears with his toes.
Josiah opened a movie case and popped a DVD in the player. He sat down in the other armchair.
"What about the clinic Nathan?" Buck asked.
"I got some friends to cover it for me," Nathan yawned, "Figured it was somebody else's turn to cover for me. I'm tried."
By the time the opening credits were over, the Standish living room was full of loud breathing and snoring.
+ + + + + + +
"Beep, Beep, Beep!"
JD groaned as he reached over to turn off the offending alarm clock on the nightstand. He sat up in bed and rubbed his eyes. Last night's sleep had not been enough.
Casey also sat up.
"What are you doing up so early?" she groaned.
'I have to grade papers," JD stated.
"Can't it wait until tomorrow?" she asked.
JD thought a moment, then let his body slide back down onto the bed. He pulled Casey next to him.
'It can wait until tomorrow," he answered.
+ + + + + + +
Ezra yawned as looked out at the scene in front of him. The bench were he was sitting overlooked a small well-kept graveyard. The setting was peaceful, the birds chirped loudly in trees shading the small graves. It was nice final resting place. The man shifted to a more comfortable position. The action was made more uncomfortable thanks to a head of brown hair that was resting on his thigh. Looking down, the man smiled and brushed the hair out of Sidney's eyes. Despite her best efforts to stay awake, Sidney had fallen asleep only minutes after they had sat down to wait.
"What are you doing here?" a familiar voice asked. Caught slightly off guard, Ezra turned to see Liam walking towards him.
"I should be asking you the same thing," Ezra stated.
'Richardson is giving me a three day head start before she starts chasing me again," Liam explained. "I never would have guessed that a woman like her would risk her entire career for someone like me."
"I think she surprised us all," Ezra responded. Sidney shifted.
"Is she okay?" Liam asked. His body tensed with concern.
"Just exhausted," Ezra stated. "The plane ride to Ireland was long and I don't think she slept well at your mother's house last night."
"My mother's house?" Liam asked.
"Agent Larabee decided that Sidney needed some time off of work. This last case has been hard on her. I decided that a vacation in Ireland would replenish her spirits."
"My ma and Sidney, do they get along?" Liam asked nervously.
"Splendidly," Ezra answered with a smile. "She and Brevin also seem quite fond of each other, too much so I fear. I am glad we are only in Belfast for another two days."
"I can only imagine the evil plans the two of them will think of," he stated. Several possibilities ran through his mind, before he shuddered, "How did you know I would come here?" he asked changing subjects.
"We didn't. It was your mother's idea. She figured that you would come and say good-bye."
"She knows me too well," Liam smiled. "I figured I would talk to my pa and then go home and say good-bye before I have to disappear for a while."
"Then please do not let us disturb you," Ezra stated. "Sidney and I will see you in a little while," Ezra stated, starting to turn towards the bench. Liam reached out and put an arm on his shoulder.
"Would you like to meet them?" Liam asked.
Ezra was about to protest, but he saw the pleading look in the young man's eyes.
"I would be honored," he answered.
Ezra followed the Irishmen to a small patch of grass at the end of the graveyard. A stone angel holding an Irish flag guarded six small markers.
"These are my grandparents," Liam began pointing to each stone. "That one's my aunt, this is my pa," Liam stopped and choked on his breath, "and my Uncle Murphy and my cousin Brady." Tears began flowing from Liam's eyes.
Ezra put a hand on Liam's shoulder.
"I am sure they are proud of you Liam," Ezra stated. ."
"As my uncle was dieing," Liam said, wiping tears out of his eyes, "he asked what kind of men my American friends were. He wanted to know if you would make good Irishmen."
Ezra's eyebrows rose in interest, but he did not push for more. There was no need.
"I told him that all of you would make fine Irishmen," Liam continued.
"Liam, you know that I think accepting too flattery weakens a man, but that is one compliment I will accept most graciously."
"He also told me not to let go of the ones I love," Liam stated looking towards Sidney.
"Your uncle sounds like a very wise man," Ezra said.
"But how am I going to do that? I am a wanted man, constantly on the run. Who knows when a peeler will take a shot at me?"
"It seems like you've done a good job dodging them so far," Ezra answered with a smile.
"But who knows when the next one will not miss?" Liam stated. "I am not being fair to Sidney."
"Do you think your uncle would want you to ignore your feelings and forget about the woman you love?" He paused as a small crept onto his face. "Hell, do you think Sidney would let you?"
Ezra's smile was contagious. Liam smiled too.
Ezra laughed hard and reached into his pocket. He pulled out an envelope and handed it to the young man.
"I think you should find out."
Liam dumped the contents of the envelope into his hands, two piles of hundred dollar bills and a passport. The picture inside was a doctored photo of him with black hair and glasses. There was also a fake name with fake information.
"JD made the passport. He figured with a little hair dye, you could look like the man in the picture."
"I don't understand," Liam stated. "What's all this for?"
"It's a way to travel through the world undetected, at least before the authorities catch on. Although, in exchange I have a request."
"Ezra, I'll do anything!"
Ezra reached into his pocket and pulled out another passport. The document contained a photo of Sidney, but with made up information.
"Agent Marks is cleared for three weeks off of work. I am certain that if she is forced to remain in Denver, her cabin fever will drive me insane," he paused. His eyes danced. "Show her a good time won't you?"
"Well, my uncle also said that we Masons make good fighters, but we're even better lovers."
Ezra and Liam both laughed as they made their way back over to the park bench.