Follows Understanding the Other Side
But there is
Another kind of evil that
we must fear the most, and that is the
Indifference of good men
CHAPTER ONE: Making a Statement
The Denver skyscrapers almost completely covered the full moon, yet a small amount of its ray caste light on the city streets. Vin Tanner stalked through the city's business park, using the light to advantage. He carried no flashlight. There was no reason to; his years in the armed forces had taught him that relying on his own night vision was to his benefit. He was searching for anything out of the ordinary, any tree could be used as a hiding place, and any parked car could be a potential threat.
Vin shook his head at his overactive imagination. He highly doubted that there was a terrorist lurking behind a tree or a bomb ticking away beneath one of the cars. Still he could understand the city of Denver's concern. This would be the site of the World Trade Organization's annual meeting tomorrow. He glanced at the banner hanging between two trees. It read, "The WTO: Saving the world economy, one country at a time."
He didn't know about the other countries, but he figured that the only thing the WTO did the United States was give the press something to talk about. For the next couple of weeks, reporters and journalists would talk about the protesters and comparing them to the rioters at the Seattle WTO conference in 1999. Denver swore they weren't going to become another police brutality story. That included patrolling the grounds the night before, in case some protesters got a crazy idea. That is why Vin was here, wasting a perfectly good Sunday evening. He was about to walk by the semi truck containing donated items for the attendees, when he heard a noise.
Vin's mind immediately turned to alert mode; He slowly walked towards the disturbance taking slow and deliberate steps. He was careful not to step on anything that would cause noise or make any sudden movements that would give his location away. There were people moving around the truck. All of them were dressed in black and wearing ski masks. He was about to take another step forward when something was jammed painfully into the small of his back.
"Idiot!" Vin yelled at himself
'Make a noise and I will shoot you," a menacing female voice hissed in his ear.
"Just relax, I don't want to cauce you any trouble. Maybe we can work out a compromise," Vin kept talking trying to buy himself more time.
"The Red Glove doesn't make compromises and you've just interrupted some very important business!" Her voice rose to a normal talking level. Vin felt the gun shoved harder into his back. He winced.
"What the ..." one of others heard the confrontation. "Holy shit Casey! Let him be, he's a friend."
"Are you sure? He looks like a cop to me!" she said.
"This is Vin Tanner, he's part of Chris Larabee's FBI team." Vin felt the gun leave his back as his rescuer walked up. JD pulled off his ski mask.
"Sorry about that Vin. But you can never be to careful."
Vin turned to look at his assailant. She had a slight build and long dark brown hair.
"Casey Welles, JD has told me a lot about you," she introduced herself in a much different tone. She held out her hand.
"Any relation to Nettie Welles from the Boys and Girl's Club in Purgatorio?" Casey looked at him suspiciously, and withdrew her hand.
"You can trust him Casey," JD reassured.
"She's my aunt," Casey answered.
"So you're that out of control niece she's always talking about. Says she doesn't always approve of the crowd you run with."
"She's making it all up," Casey answered. "She's always helping the Red Glove when she can. Her house is a hideout with a warm meal for whoever stops by.
She'd probably be out here with us right now if she could."
"Alright it's coming up," the last person on the ground called in a heavy Irish accent. Vin watched as he raised a metal object to the top of the truck using a simple pulley system. There was somebody on top ready to grab it.
'Got it," she called. Although the girl was dressed all in black, Vin would have recognized Sidney Marks anywhere.
"What exactly are you guys doing?" Vin asked the members of the notorious Red Glove.
Some people liked to call the young rebel band a terrorist group. Vin thought otherwise. His FBI team and a millionaire vigilante named Ezra Standish had formed a strange kind of alliance a few weeks ago. With that partnership, Chris Larabee and his team had learned the truth about the Red Glove. They were nowhere close to a terrorist organization. In reality, they were doing a job that the cops were too scared to do, ridding the city of bad guys.
"Making a statement!" Sidney stated, as she got to her knees.
"Yeah, and how many people are going to get hurt during this statement?" Vin asked.
"If were lucky, every rich bastard out there," JD responded.
"Nobody," JD said with a sigh. "We just want to get a message out there telling the world that there are people who aren't going to tolerate the inequalities established by the WTO."
"You're setting a bomb aren't you?" Vin said raising an eyebrow.
'Just a wee little one," Liam, one of the leaders of the Red Glove, stated. "The bomb in there is just big enough to destroy the gifts for the self proclaimed philanthropists. It shouldn't even be strong enough to penetrate the walls of the truck. But just in case, we detonated it to off at a time when the guards will all be directing traffic."
'How do you know the guards will be gone?" Vin asked, intrigued.
"Chris gave us a schedule of the day's events," JD answered.
"And does Chris know what you are using that schedule for?"
"Hell Vin, Chris is the one that gave us the idea!"
Vin was taken back. "Jerk didn't tell me. He'll have to pay for that one.".
'Alright I'm coming down," Sidney called.
"Hold on I'll send a carabineer..." By the time Liam got the first few words out, Sidney was flying through the air..
'Ciach ort!" Liam swore in Gaelic.
Sidney landed on her feet, but couldn't keep her balance
"Oww," she moaned as she fell to the ground.
"I don't feel sorry for you," Liam answered, as he pulled her to her feet.
"But my wrist hurts," she complained..
"What do you want me to do about it?" he shot back.
"Kiss it and make it feel better?" she suggested.
"Will he just swallow that damn Irish pride of his and ask her out on a date already?" Casey grumbled, out of their earshot.
"He'll do it when he's ready," JD stated.
"Well I hope he doesn't take as long as you, otherwise I'd still be waiting by the phone. I was the one that had to ask you to that concert."
Vin smiled in amusement. He hadn't realized that JD had a girlfriend. The cool night wind began blowing and a putrid smell reached Vin's nose.
"What's that smell?" he asked. The four friends exchanged knowing looks.
"This is was my idea," Liam said motioning for Vin to follow him. As Vin got closer to the second truck, he realized that the smell was growing stronger. He laughed out loud when he realized what was inside the truck."
"Nice touch, why manure?"
"The others bombs we could get were too big, but we couldn't not do something to this truck," Liam explained. "I think Ezra will be happy to have this out of his stable."
"He won't be too happy if we can't get the smell out of the Caddy by tomorrow," Sidney stated.
"I'm in the wrong kind of work," Vin said, shaking his head. His watch beeped the hour. It was almost one in the morning. "You guys better get going. Somebody's supposed to be relieving me in a couple of minutes."
"Are you still coming over to take a look at the new foul tomorrow?" Sidney asked.
"Be there as soon as I'm done working here. Now get, before this turns ugly!" He watched as Liam led the group behind the building. Vin yawned, but he couldn't relax just yet. He still had one more job to do tonight.
+ + + + + + +
There was somebody in his house! Chris Larabee could hear whoever it was moving around downstairs. Quickly and quietly, he rolled out of bed and grabbed his gun off the nightstand. He slowly crept through the hallway and down the stairs, wondering who the hell had broken in. There was nothing valuable in this house, well at least not money wise. The noises were coming from around the TV set. When he got the bottom step, still undetected, he reached for the light switch. He raised his gun and illuminated the room, revealing his intruder.
"Damn it Vin, I almost shot you!" he swore.
"Wouldn't be the first time tonight," the sharpshooter growled.
"How come you didn't turn the light on?" Chris asked, setting his gun down on the table.
"Couldn't find the damn switch.. The door was locked so I had to use the window." He plopped down in one of the armchairs.
"You ever hear of a doorbell?" Chris replied shaking his head.
"You turning Communist on me Larabee?" Vin asked, glaring at his boss.
'What the hell are you talking about Vin?" Chris asked, completely confused.
"You got something against free trade? You know planning on making a show at the Conference tomorrow?"
"Oh that, guess you found out about the Red Glove," he stated. He took a seat on the couch.
"How come you didn't tell me?"
"Shit Vin, I guess I just forgot about it. It wasn't intentional. To tell you the truth, I wasn't sure they'd go through with it."
"You give kids like Sidney and JD an open invitation to create a mess and you don't think they'd take you up on it?" Vin asked in disbelief.
"You're full of questions tonight," Chris grumbled. "So exactly what are they planning to do?"
"They are..." Vin started to say, but stopped. "You know I don't really remember. Guess I just forgot about what I saw. Nothing intentional," he finished with an evil smile."
'You are really something," Chris glowered.
"What something might that be?" Vin asked smiling sweetly.
"Never mind, just get the skinny ass upstairs before you do something I'm going to regret."
Vin didn't need to be told twice. He walked up the stairs to the spare bedroom he had adopted as his.
"Good night Chris," he called. Chris shook his head, wondering what he had done wrong to deserve this
CHAPTER TWO: Something's Are Worth Dying For
If he heard one more honking horn, Chris swore he was going to shoot somebody. Buck was supposed to be the one on traffic duty, but he had beaten his friend in a game of poker the night before.
"Well Agent Larabee, I see that they have finally found a productive use of your God given talents," a familiar southern drawl chuckled.
Chris didn't even need to look down at driver of the green jaguar to know what had just insulted him.
'I still got my gun on me Ezra," he growled. "What are you doing here?"
'I have been asked to give a presentation about Standish Corporation's recent technologies. I also wouldn't dream of missing today's festivities," he answered with a mischievous grin.
'Sidney and JD here?"
"Sidney and Liam are. I didn't think it nessissary to add the unneeded risk of having the entire organization here." Cars started blasting, causing Chris to cringe.
"It seems that our discussion is creating a disturbance, I will make it my priority to talk to you later." Chris watched as the expensive sports car drove away. He looked over to where the rest of his team was sitting on the grass. They were supposed to checking any suspicious vehicles and keeping the protesters at bay, but right now they weren't dong much of anything.
"If I have to listen to that conceited bastard one more time," Buck growled. "I swear I'm going to do something the both of us will regret."
"God tell us to turn the other check," Josiah chuckled.
"Well, God didn't have to deal with people like Sergeant Brandon Walters," Buck spat. He watched as the Denver PD sergeant returned from his patrol.
"It's hotter than hell out here," the balding cop said. "This reminds me of a time I was on a stake-out in the dessert with no food or water for almost three days! Honestly thought I was going to die of dehydration there for a while, but it was all worth it to catch that murderer. I would willingly risk my life to make sure that justice is done," Walters said in a noble voice.
"Maybe we should test it out," Buck whispered through gritted teeth.
"What was that?" Walters asked. Buck shrugged his shoulders The cop assumed it was nothing important.
"I just discovered that the semi trucks on the west side will not be a guarded for the next fifteen minutes. Somebody needs to go over there and start security. Who knows what a couple of hot headed rebels could do?"
"Sounds like a plan," Buck answered as sweetly as he could. "I couldn't think of anyone more fitting for the job than you, Sergeant Walters."
"Was thinking the same thing myself. I will see you gentlemen later," With a nod of farewell, Walters disappeared from view.
"Yeah, you go guard those expensive watches and pottery," Buck commented. "Good Riddance! What?" he asked when Josiah shook his head.
"Hey boys, what happened to Walters?" Vin asked, He had returned with Styrofoam cups of coffee. He handed them out and sat down on the grass.
"Well, you know, he went to save the world from complete destruction, while sacrificing himself to the name of justice," Buck answered nonchalantly, sipping his coffee.
"Where did you really send him Buck? Vin asked, amusement dancing in his eyes.
"Hell Vin, he wanted to guard some stupid trucks," Buck answered. Vin nearly choked on his coffee.
'The ones with all that free stuff?" he asked.
Both Buck and Josiah nodded their heads.
"Oh shit!" Vin jumped to his feet spilling his coffee on the ground. "Sidney and JD put a bomb in one of the trucks last night. It's supposed to go off in a couple of minutes."
"What are you...? Josiah started to say, but Vin interrupted him.
"There's no time for that now! We've got to get to those trucks!' Josiah got up and sprinted after Vin.
"Come on Buck,"' he called.
"Do we have too?" Buck asked. Before he could say another word, a loud explosion shook the ground. Buck sighed and got up, running after his friends.
+ + + + + + +
"Bastún! What the hell is he doing? There aren't supposed to be any cops here," Liam hissed from his hiding spot in the alleyway. He and Sidney had a perfect view of the trucks. The back doors were almost exactly diagonal from their view. "That bomb is going to go off at any moment!"
"So?" Sidney whispered, moving their black supply case out of the way. "So he's around when the bomb goes off. A tiny piece of debris might hit him. That bomb shouldn't even damage the truck."
She turned to head to watch. The two gasped at the same time. The cop had swung the doors open. Before Sidney had a chance to react, Liam had jumped out his hiding space. She watched in horror, as Liam body slammed the cop to the ground. She rose to her feet, but a loud explosion and blinding light knocked her the ground.
She had to duck as a large piece from the door sailed over her head. Both trucks were now ablaze. The manure in the second truck was making the air almost unbreathable.
"What the hell?" Walters asked as he pushed Liam off of him. He looked at burning trucks and at the man who had just saved his life.
"You!" he hollered, reaching for his gun. "You bastard set that bomb didn't you?" Liam was on his feet, and sprinting towards the alleyway He dodged through the burning trucks before the cop could get a shot off.
"You idiot!" Sidney yelled at him when he returned. Both of them heard Walters calling for back up. The only route far enough from Walter's shot range was in flame. Both knew that they were trapped. They watched in horror as the flames got closer to their hiding spot. The heat was starting to make their skin burn.
"What do we do now?" Sidney asked, terrified. She stared as Liam opened up the case and pulled out a pair of handcuffs. Before she knew what happened, he had slapped the cuffs on her wrists.
"I'm sorry Sidney, but I'm not going to let both of us get killed," he told her. "If we stay here much longer, we're goners. Tell them that I was holding you hostage. You saw me plant the bomb. I'm going to go out there, and tell him where you are."
"He'll shoot you!" she cried as Liam took out a piece of duct tape.
"That's a risk that I'm willing to take," he told her. "It's not worth watching you die."
"You are going to die!" she cried, tears of frustration starting to flow from her eyes. Liam took her head in his hands. He kissed her hard. Despite the circumstances, Sidney felt her heart leap.
"Something's are worth dying for," he said quietly, before sticking the piece of tape over her mouth. Sidney tired to scream out in protest, but it only came out muffled. She could only watch as her friend jumped over the garbage can and disappeared behind the flames. The smoke was starting to make her dizzy as her eyes faded in and out of focus. The last thing she heard was the sound of a gunshot before she passed out.
+ + + + + + +
"Back off, she waking up," Buck hollered at the people standing round him. He looked down at the girl in his arms as she was attempting to wake up. Sidney opened her eyes, and began struggling in his arms.
"Easy sweetheart," he soothed. "It's okay, Buck's got you." He helped her up to a sitting position. She began looking around frantically. The lights from the fire truck were giving her a headache. A flashing ambulance was right behind her. There were several people standing around a gurney, talking loudly. She recognized Nathan Jackson. Things began rushing back to her memory. She was about to scream out Liam's name, when Buck covered her mouth with his large hand. He saw her gaze was focused around the crowed ambulance.
"Walters got him in the gut," Buck whispered in her ear. "He doesn't look to good. Nathan's with him right now." He saw anger cloud her eyes as they narrowed into slits. "I don't know what Liam told you kiddo, but I suggest you do what he said. "He probably just died for you, don't blow it."
"She's awake!" a voice called. There were at least ten cops standing around the smoking debris. She leaned back into Buck's protective arms.
"Don't crowd her!" Chris's familiar growl forced everyone to take a step back.
'Are you okay Miss?" Vin asked.
"What happened?" she asked.
"We're not quite sure," Josiah answered, kneeling down next to her. "Why don't you tell us?" he asked. Sidney caught the eye of the stupid cop that had opened the door. He was glowering at her. She could hear Nathan's distinct voice giving orders.
"We can't move him until we get that heart stabilized, He's too shocky! The ride over will kill him!"
Sidney thought of her friend laying on the gurney, and what his kiss had done to her. She would never get the opportunity to do it again. For a split second, she thought about telling the truth, cursing the bastard who had shot Liam.
Josiah was the first one to see of defiance in her eyes. He quickly put a hand on her shoulder, bringing back her to reality. Buck's words rang clear in her mind. She could not waste Liam's sacrifice
"I remember walking around these trucks. My friend was giving a presentation at the conference hall and he was supposed to meet me here. The next thing I know, I had a gun pointed at the back of my head and this guy was telling me I had to go with him. He handcuffed me dragged me over behind those garbage cans."
"Did he hurt you?" an elderly cop standing next to Walters asked. Sidney shook her head.
"Are you sure my dear?" he asked in a kindly voice, He didn't try to..."
"No!" Sidney yelled, not needing him to go any farther. "He would never do anything like that!"
"Oh really?" Walters asked. "And you know this because?" He took a step closer to the girl.
"Back off Walters," Buck growled, hugging the girl tighter. "You don't have to answer this honey."
"I think it's a perfectly legitimate question," Walters answered. "We did find her with a murderer.."
"She had a freaking pair of handcuffs on Walters!" Vin yelled, Everyone turned to look at the normally quiet Texan. Nobody expected such an outburst from him. Embarrassed, he lowered his voice, "He was holding her hostage."
"This is a classic example of an assault victim," the aged cop stated, shaking his head. "She is lying about him to protect herself."
Chris knew that Anderson meant well, but the comments were infuriating Sidney.
"Miss, can you just answer the question?" he asked. "Have you ever..." He never got a chance to finish the question.
"What in heaven's name is going on here? Sidney are you alright?"
Sidney had never been so glad to hear that voice in her life. Ezra held out his hand to her. Buck let her go, and Ezra wrapped the girl in a tight embrace. Sidney collapsed in arms, unable to stop the tears from flowing.
Walters and Anderson only knew Ezra Standish by reputation, and he hadn't seemed like the compassionate type, certainty not one to hug a girl in public. Ezra made sure Sidney could support herself before he let go. He kept a protective arm around her shoulders. She kept glancing over at the ambulance and the emergency crew.
"My dear sirs, I have heard rumors that Ms. Marks was held hostage by a member of the Red Glove, only to rush down here and discover that an explosive device has detonated. My young equine trainer is very dear to me, and I implore you to inform my person about the occurrences that have just transpired."
"Huh?" Walters asked.
"Tell him what is going on,' Buck answered disgustedly.
As Walters explained and Buck oversaw, Chris wondered over to where Nathan and his team were working on Liam. The young man's body was white and clammy. Chris would have assumed he was dead if it wasn't for the very shallow moving of his chest. Chris had seen many people near death, but that didn't make it any easier. This kid did not deserve to be here, not like this.
"He's not getting better," Nathan stated. "We have to move him now. He doesn't stand much of chance, but maybe we can get him the hospital."
Chris noticed that Nathan was standing directly in Sidney's line of view. He didn't doubt that the doctor was doing it to prevent her from the ghastly sight.
"Why are we doing all this to save him?" one young man asked. "I mean come on, he's a terrorist! He doen't deserve our time and energy."
Nathan looked at the man with cold hard eyes. The man involuntarily took a step back.
"Are you involved in law enforcement Tom?"
"No sir," Tom answered in a very quiet voice.
"Than I suggest you leave those judgments to the cops and lawyers," Nathan responded. He then looked at the rest of his team. "Anyone who needs medical attention deserves all the time and energy we can give them. We were hired to save lives, not play God and decides who lives and dies. Alright lift on the count of three."
Chris watched as the gurney was lifted inside. Nathan looked up and caught his eye. He nodded sadly. Chris nodded back. The two of them would talk soon, there was no doubt about that All of a sudden, he had the creepy feeling that someone was watching him. He turned to see Sidney looking at him with questioning eyes. He shrugged his shoulders, than shook his head. Sidney nodded her head in understanding. He did not know, but things were not looking good.
"If you gentlemen don't mind, I would very much like to take Ms. Marks home. This is not the place for her right now."
"We still need to get a statement from her," Walters protested.
"And she should see a doctor," Anderson added.
"She's in no condition to talk about it right now," Vin stated, "Look at her." He noticed that Sidney's eyes danced dangerously, but she didn't say a word.
"If you don't mind Ms. Marks, I can stop by your house later this afternoon and talk to after you've had time to collect yourself," Josiah stated. Sidney nodded her head.
'Then it's settled," Ezra said. "I will welcome your visit and the opportunity to help in whatever I can. One of my associates is a doctor, and I know he will give Sidney a through check when the opportunity arises," he said before Anderson had a chance to open his mouth.
'Mr. Standish, I do need you to answer a few questions," Walters said.
'If you insist," Ezra sighed heavily as if Walters was asking him to perform some laborious activity. "Sidney why don't you wait for me in the car? I am parked in front of the conference center."
The girl walked out of the alleyway and disappeared.
"Mr. Standish, do you believe that Sidney Marks is an honest person?"
"Of course, honest and blunt to a fault some of the time."
"And do think that she would join a terrorist cell?"
Ezra smiled. He had expected a question such as this, but the vague wording allowed him to answer truthfully.
"Sidney Marks would never belong to any organization that would cause harm to any innocent person."
"And your relationship with Ms. Marks allows you to answer these questions?
"I believe so. I know her better than most people. She is essential to my work, and an even better friend. She is good hearted and more loyal than most people I have met."
Chris and his team exchanged looks. They all realized that the only time the aloof millionaire let his guard down was when he was talking about his young "associates" Sidney and JD.
"And in what capacity does this knowledge come from?" Walters continued.
"What exactly are you implying Officer?" Ezra asked, his eyes narrowing into suspicious slits.
"Oh come on Mr. Standish, don't kid yourself. I know about girls like her. Always willing to do rich men certain favors. I can see where she might blind your judgment though. She's pretty damn attractive, wouldn't mind doing..."
"That's enough Walters," Chris growled menacingly, taking a stop forward.
"It's quite alright Agent Larabee," Ezra stated calmly. "I can stand by and let my person be criticized by an inferior being, but I will not tolerate the insults directed at Ms. Marks. Our relationship is purely based on a mutual understanding and respect for each other, clearly this idea can not penetrate that think ape-like scull of yours.
Ms. Marks is a truly wonderful person who brings much happiness into my life. In exchange, I offer her protection from scum like you. Although, I have complete faith that she could, how can I put this in terms that your menial mind will understand?"
"Kick your ass?" Vin supplied. Ezra cringed, but nodded.
"Quite vulgar, but I do think you might understand the statement, Officer?" Walters was speechless.
"Good. Then gentlemen, I will take my leave. I look forward to your company this evening." He disappeared out of the alley. Walters was not sure how to handle the situation. He chose to ignore it.
"There's something he's not telling us, I can feel it," he stated.
"You're right," Buck agreed. "He forgot to mention that you've got shit all over your shirt, to go with them ideas of yours."
"So that's where that smell was coming from," Josiah chuckled. Walters glared at them and stalked away. Anderson burst out laughing
'I've wanted to tell him that for years!"
Chris walked out of the alleyway. He felt sick to his stomach.
"Agent Larabee!" a voice called out his name. Chris was going to walk right by.
"Chris!" Chris turned around to see Mary walking towards him. He stopped so his reporter friend could catch up.
'Was that boy really a member of the Red Glove"" she asked.
"Now Mary, you know that I can't disclose that kind of information. Your news station is just going to have to wait for the press conference."
"Off the record. Please Chris," she pleaded. Chris sighed.
'Let's just say that Denver just lost one of few who had the courage to do whatever it took to see justice done."
Mary was speechless, as Chris walked by his truck. She pulled out her cell phone.
'Get Professor Sorkin on the line, I'm putting that story on the air tonight."
CHAPTER THREE: Peeling Potatoes
It was almost six-o clock by the time Chris and Vin were able to drive out to the Standish Estate. Buck and Josiah were still tied up at the office. The dark skies and hanging clouds cast a dreary feeling over the area, matching the mood of the agents.
Ezra had the door open before they even had the chance to knock.
"Come in gentlemen," he greeted sadly, ushering them inside.
"Any word?" Vin asked.
"Nathan called to say that he didn't think he would make it through surgery, but we haven't heard from him since."
Chris bent down pet Ezra's German Sheppard. Monty showed no ill effects of the bullet he had taken in his paw during Chris's first encounter with Ezra and his friends.
"Can I offer you anything to drink?" Ezra asked, as the two men sat down in chairs. Both of them shook their heads. JD was lying on the couch. He acknowledged the agent's entrance with a nod of his head, but didn't say anything else.
"How you doing kid?" Vin asked.
"I'm fine," JD answered, which was a far cry from the truth. His face was pale and his eyes were brimmed with red, probably from crying and exhaustion.
"Really?" Chris asked, fishing for a better answer. "You don't blame Sidney or anybody for what happened?"
"I don't blame anyone, but myself!" he yelled. "I should have been there instead of Liam. There would have been something that I could have done to stop this whole thing from happening."
"The only difference would be that you would be lying on that operating table instead of Liam." Chris said.
"I could have tried talking to that cop, reasoned with him."
"JD, Walters was looking for blood. Nothing you would have had said could have prevented bullets from flying." Vin answered.
"Yeah, whatever." He plopped back down on the couch, his eyes never straying far from the telephone.
"Where's Sidney?" Chris asked
"I believe she is the barn with Dagger at the moment," Ezra responded
"Is it a good idea for her to be alone right now?" Chris asked
"Mr. Larabee, I would have enjoyed watching you try to stop her," Ezra smiled despite the circumstances. 'But I would very much appreciate if somebody else would try and talk to her."
Without a word, Chris got up headed for the door.
"Thank you Mr. Larabee," Ezra called.
Chris saw the girl's footprints in the snow leading into the barn. He walked inside to see a dim light coming from one of the stables. He slowly walked up not wanting to disturb her. Sidney was sitting in with her back turned to him. Chris couldn't believe what she was doing. She was peeling potatoes! Dagger, Sidney's little roan, was happily lapping up the skins.
"You want to stay something or are you just going to sit there and stare?" she asked without turning her head.
"Making supper?" he asked. Sidney turned around on her stool. She had a knife in one hand and a half-skinned potato in the other.
'Liam said his mother used to do this as a stress reliever back when he lived in Ireland. It usually works." Chris looked at the large already peeled pile.
"Not having much of an effect now, is it?" he stated, leaning on the stable door. Dagger stuck his head over the door in greeting. Chris scratched him behind his ears.
"Not really," Sidney responded truthfully. She stood up and began putting the vegetables into a bucket. "One time when Liam was over for dinner, he started feeding some of the horses mashed potatoes. Now instead of sugar cubes, we give them slices of potato." She let herself out of Dagger's stall.
"Now that would be an interesting product to try and market at Marty's tack store," Chris chuckled softly. Sidney laughed too, but her face quickly fell.
"JD's bad enough Sidney. You don't need to go beating yourself up too," Chris said. He sat down on a bench at the end of the stalls. Patting the seat, he invited the girl to sit down too. He was surprised to see that she did it obediently.
"He was so important to all of us," her voice choked. "The Red Glove was so much more than just a group for radical thinking kids. Liam offered an opportunity for angry and lost kids like me to lash out against the system that had brushed us aside. He showed me how to channel my anger into using it to making a difference. I don't know where I would be if he hadn't saved me from getting arrested when I was sixteen years old. There's plenty of other kids out there that need him. Hell, I still need him too." Sidney did not elaborate on her final statement, but Chris did not need her too. He understood that the bond between two vigilantes had probably had amounted to more than a friendship. Another romance lost to the cold reality of the real world.
"You keep talking about him in the past tense Sidney," Chris stated trying to lighten the mood. "He isn't dead yet. There's still hope that...."
"Come on Chris," she interrupted harshly. "We both have seen this happen before. Hoping only sets people up for disappointment."
"The Red Glove is based on the belief that you guys would make a difference. Liam's life was devoted to the hope that he could make the world a better place."
'Yeah and look where that got him," Sidney answered. Her eyes were cold. "Dead on an operating table, and forgotten by everyone in a couple of weeks. The Red Glove will fall apart and his hopes shattered." She was about to get up and leave, but Chris grabbed onto her wrist.
'Let me go," she hollered.
'I think you should listen to him Sidney." She turned to see Ezra and JD standing there. So were all the members of Chris's team. Buck and Josiah had just arrived.
"And what would you know Buck?" she asked glaring at the agent, but she allowed Chris to guide her back to her seat.
"I know what happens when someone looses hope," Buck stated, not cowering under her glare. "I saw what happened to Chris when his wife and little boy died, and he lost faith in everything."
Chris sifted uneasily, he didn't like his past being talked about so openly.
"Sorry Chris, but she's got to hear this. I watched how it nearly destroyed him. There was not much I could do as it consumed his soul, turning everything good about him into spite and anger. The only thing that saved him was the hope from one good hearted old cop that believed Chris could change, and you know what? He's the man sitting in front of you because of hope."
"Sidney, the Red Glove will never die. Evan Kestner believes the same things Liam does. If Evan doesn't step up, there are people like you, me, and Casey He shared his hopes and dreams with all of us Sidney. We are not going to let them fall apart. I thought you'd be with us Sidney, but now I'm not so sure." JD's voice grew quieter, the disappointment evident in his voice.
Sidney hung her head in shame, not saying a word.
"Look at me Sidney," Ezra said. "In the course of the day, did you hold a single shred of hope that Liam might survive?"
"I've been praying for the last few hours," she answered honestly. "I didn't give up hope until..." She didn't finish the sentence.
"Well those prayers have paid off, because Nathan just called,' Vin said "Miraculously, Liam just pulled through the surgery."
Both Sidney and Chris turned to look at the four smiling faces.
"You're lying," Sidney said, shaking her head. "I saw him, there's no way he could have pulled through that."
"God Damnit Sidney!" JD swore. "Why do you have to be so stubborn all the time? That damn attitude is hurting everyone. Do you really think we'd lie to you about this?" He stormed out the stable towards the house.
"I'd best go talk to him," Ezra said, turning to follow JD. Buck put a hand on his shoulder.
"Why don't you let me take care of this one?" he suggested, Ezra nodded his head and Buck walked off.
"Is he really going to be okay?" Sidney asked, visibly shaken.
"Nathan said that he's not out of the woods yet. They got the bullet out and stopped the bleeding in time, but complications could still happen," Josiah answered.
"It seems impossible," Chris said shaking his head.
"Nathan said that he was dead on the operating table, flat line and every thing," Josiah answered. "Couldn't believe it when he started breathing again. I think we just witnessed a miracle."
"Or just damn Irish pride," Sidney answered with a smile. "Liam made sure that the Red Glove always did something that nobody expected. Guess that included living when everyone knew he shouldn't be. I really was an idiot wasn't I?"
"We all have our moments Sidney. Despair is a natural human emotion. We all feel lost sometimes. Humans are one of the most social types of animals We crave human companionship to get us through those trying times."
Everyone stared at Ezra.
"Please do not give me those dumfounded stares, I can be as philosophical and perceptive as Mr. Sanchez on occasion."
"Were you reading my psyche textbook again Ezra?" Sidney asked with a smile. Ezra did not answer, but his non response told them the answer..
"You should not leave those lying around Sidney," Josiah scolded gently. "You see what happens when they fall into the wrong hands?"
"Did Nathan say anything else?" she asked anxiously.
"He will call if anything changes. He said he's planning on sticking around for awhile. Once the press finds out, things could start getting real sticky."
'Reckon I should go and try talking to JD. He is upset with me."
"Why don't you let Buck talk to him for a little while?" Chris suggested. "Buck's got a way with calming people's nerves."
Sidney's stomach rumbled her answer.
"Sidney, have you eaten anything today?" Ezra asked.
Sidney shook her head.
"Than the first item is to put together a late dinner. Nathan would have my head on a silver platter if I did not make sure you were properly nourished." He looked at the men around him apologetically. "Unfortunately, my food stores are lacking at the moment. I am not sure what is available.
"We've got enough potatoes to feed the army," Sidney said, holding up the pail.
+ + + + + + +
"I do not want to hear it Buck," JD said when he saw the man approaching. He was sitting with in the back porch swing with his back turned to the approaching agent.
"You heard me coming?"
"You sound like a stampede of elephants, I could have heard ya if I was deaf."
Buck walked up to the front porch and stood in front of the swing. JD turned his head so he didn't have to look at the older man.
"Mind if I sit down?" he asked.
"You're the lawman, you get to decide," JD answered. Buck sighed and sat down in one of the wicker chairs.
"You want to talk about that little outburst back there?"
"Well, I got nothing better to do kid, so guess I'll just sit here and watch you pout."
"Is that what you think I'm doing?" JD yelled, basically jumping out of his seat. "Acting like some little kid?"
"Well that's what it looks like to me," Buck answered calmly, not raising his voice. "Why don't you try explaining."
"You wouldn't understand," JD huffed. Buck lowered himself so he was at direct eye level with the kid.
"Try me," he challenged.
"You aren't going to leave me alone till I tell you are you?" JD spat.
"Nope," Buck answered with a smile on his face. He leaned back the chair, and put his feet up on the end the arm rest of the swing.
"It's like having my ma here all over again," JD scowled.
"I ain't as pretty as her, but somebody's gotta try and fill her shoes."
JD sighed, knowing he was fighting a loosing battle.
"She can be so negative," JD started. "Instead of admitting how hurt and scared she is, she just gets angry and mean. It makes living with her a living nightmare sometimes."
"I knew somebody like that," Buck answered, recalling the nights he had spent with a friend not so long ago.
"I can live with that, but when she gave up hope on Liam, I lost it. She started talking like everything we have worked for in the last couple years didn't mean anything, that all our hard work amounted to nothing. I cannot hate her or anything. I understand that living with her father's unsolved murder has to be hard, but my mama died too early too. My heart isn't nearly as full of anger as hers. She the closest to a sister I've ever had, but sometimes I just can't understand her."
Buck leaned forward and sat straight in the chair. "I'm going to tell you a story JD, about two people who were kind of like you and Sidney. You see there was this guy who lost his family. In his grief, he nearly lost himself too. He became ornery and stubborn, downright scary to some people. Nobody understood him. He had this friend who watched him..."
"Cut the bullshit Buck. I know that you're talking about you and Chris."
'You should watch your manners boy, when your elders are trying to teach something. Anyway, I didn't understand why Chris was doing what he did. Why he didn't cry or talk about or why he was so angry all the time.
I slowly came to realize that Chris's anger was just a defense shell, a way for him to mask the pain that he was really feeling. We both lost people that we loved JD, but we both got to say goodbye. Can you imagine hearing that your mama was murdered? Better yet, have no idea who did it?"
In a rare occurrence, JD remembered Sidney describing to him what her father's murder scene had looked like. He pictured his mother's pretty face in setting. He shuddered and felt sick.
"I decided that it wasn't my place to decide what was right for him. The only thing I could do was be there for him and help him in whatever way I could. And you know what, Chris got better. He still tends to mask his pain, but I always let him know that I'm there for him, no matter how many hurtful things he does or says.
"You think Sidney said those things cause she was trying to hide how much pain she felt?" JD asked. Buck nodded his head. "Well she was doing an awful job at it. She wasn't fooling anybody."
"I think she was trying to hide the pain from herself. She didn't want to face the fact that she could loose somebody else she cared about." Buck answered.
"What do you think I should do?" JD asked.
"That is up to you. I know one thing. That little girl depends on you more than you know, the way that Chris never depended on me."
"JD, Buck, Dinner's ready!" Josiah called. JD rushed for the door. He turned when he saw that Chris had walked onto the porch.
"You guys coming?" he asked.
"We'll be along in just a second," Chris answered. JD walked through the door, and slammed it shut. Chris turned to Buck.
"You plan on publishing my life story now, open it up so others can debate my sanity?" Chris growled.
"Don't start with me Chris. I don't want to see another set of friends go though the same hell that both of us did."
Chris didn't answer. He opened the door and was about to walk in when he stopped.
"You have no idea how much I still depend on you Pard."
CHAPTER FOUR: Without Courage, There is No Justice
By the time dinner was finished, it was around ten-o clock. Nathan had called about a half an hour ago. Liam was making a small improvement. Everyone was sitting in the living room, with a much-needed drink. The room was dimly lit and the warmth of the fireplace spread through the room. It should have created a warm comfortable feeling, but everyone was a bundle of nerves. The alcohol wasn't doing much to curve the tension.
"Mind if I turn on the news?" Josiah asked. JD tossed him the remote. He was fidgeting in the armchair; His constant movement was causing Sidney's head, resting on the end of the chair, to bounce up and down.
"You're worse than a five year old," she sighed in well-mannered disgust. JD began to intentionally bounce harder. Sidney picked a pillow of the couch and chucked it at him. Buck smiled. The two of them were going to be just fine.
Ezra reached into the drawer on the side of the coffee table and pulled out a small red notebook.
"What's that?" Chris asked.
"The reporters have decided that the world terrorist is being overused. They have made their goal to use as many alternative adjectives as possible," Ezra smiled.
"As of now, we have anarchist, insurgent, agitator, mutineer, revolter, and nihilist to name a few."
"We have a very interesting piece coming up," the anchor, a Dan Rather look a like, began.. "Late tonight, we will provide coverage of President Fitzgerald's veto of the bill permitting unlimited amount of campaign financing and the negative reaction of Congress."
"I hate politicians," JD snorted. "They are only making the situation worse with their own agendas and their money.
"Still I think Fitzgerald is a rare type in Washington," Ezra mused, before diverting his attention back to the news anchor. .
"Our reporter in the field, Mary Travis, will present an alternative look at the seditionist group that has been the focal point of our news today."
JD and Sidney burst out laughing. Ezra couldn't prevent the amusement that lit up his face as he wrote the new word in the notebook and put it back in the drawer.
"What does that mean?" Vin asked
"Well if you take the root of the word and figure how the prefix and suffix are used," Ezra said, and then paused. "I am as clueless as you Mr. Tanner."
"Shh," Chris scolded when the news came back on and Mary Travis was standing in a classroom.
"His girlfriend is on TV," Buck whispered in Sidney's ear. Her eyebrows peaked in interest. If Chris had heard his friend, he made no signs of acknowledgement. His eyes were glued to the television set.
"I am here with famed Psychology Professor and head of the University of Denver's criminology department, Doctor Marcus Sorkin," Mary greeted her audience. She was seated in an office across from a very regal looking grey haired man..
"Hey 'Siah, isn't that..." Vin started to say.
"And old friend, yeah," Josiah nodded. "And one damn good criminologist."
"Sidney, isn't he also one of your professors?"
Sidney nodded her head, her attention absorbed on the interview
"Doctor Sorkin has testified in many trials and has released many controversial studies about the workings of the criminal mind. His most recent study may be the most controversial of all. Can you please explain it Doctor?"
"For the last several years, my work has focused on the inner workings of modern rebel groups. This basically means how they form, function, and gain recognized autonomy."
"And what can you tell us?" Mary prompted.
"Most modern social movements are started by a group of dedicated youth. The sixties and seventies were turbulent times when young people found their voice and weren't afraid to use it. Lasting social movements were formed. Recently, there has been a dramatic decrease in youth involvement over the last few decades. A colleague of mine attributed it to the recent threats this country has faced in the last couple of years. Young adults, like their parents, are more willing to put their trust in the government because it is the only way they can stay protected."
"That colleague is Josiah Sanchez," Sidney said. "He used that study all the time."
Josiah just nodded his head, but he could not hide the pride in his eyes.
"But than how does the Red Glove manage to survive for so long? Where are they getting their support from?" Mary asked.
"The Red Glove has been my focus for the last two years, ever since the first bomb attributed to them went off. They are a rarity in two main ways. They are just as effective as any small rebel group in history at getting their messages across, yet they remain extremely secretive. Since tonight is the first known arrest of a Red Glove member, nobody knows much about the group. My observations at this point are all speculations."
"I think we'd all be interested to know them," Mary said. She looked just as interested as the people in the Standish living room.
"I think the Red Glove is relatively small. I would guess around twenty members. These kids are not your typical gang street kids. Most are probably well educated. I think this because each of their attacks is planned out carefully, to avoid every opportunity of capture. They also have to have supporters in high places, they use expensive equipment that none of them should be able to obtain."
"Many think that the recently arrested and gravely injured Liam Mason is the leader of the Red Glove. They believe that this may be the end of the group. What are your opinions?" Mary prompted.
"I am sure Mason's capture and possible death will be a huge set back to the Red Glove. This kind of action could have the potential to destroy the morale of the group. Many probably felt themselves infallible and beyond such injury, but would I bet a lot of money that we haven't heard the last from the Red Glove."
"So you still think the Red Glove is a threat to the people of Denver?" Mary asked, feigning surprise. Like any good reporter, she knew exactly what he was going to say. Chris could see it in her body movements.
"An often overlooked fact is that the only victims of the Red Glove have been guilty of horrendous crimes. All the evidence is incriminating until some clever lawyer can twist the facts to get his client off. One only has to look at the case of Assistant District Attorney Cortez to figure that out. Thanks to the work of Senator Travis, Cortez is believed to be guilty of the murders he was accused of. Attacks are planned carefully so no innocent person gets hurt. If the officer had followed the schedule he had been given, nobody would have gotten hurt. Mason risked his life to protect the life of an innocent.
The Red Glove is no more a threat to us than the sweet little lady that put on our makeup before we went on the air. I hope this doesn't reflect badly on the station, but while people go to bed at night fearing what the Red Glove might do, I sleep better knowing that these kids have the courage to do something that law is afraid to, take justice into their own hands. I pray that this isn't the end of the Red Glove," he ended. Mary turned her attention directly to the video camera.
"A very different perspective on a group that many in this city have come to despise. Is it possible that we have been wrong all along? Is the Red Glove really doing what the city law enforcement is scared to? Maybe the Red Glove are Denver's courageous heroes. After all, there is no justice unless people have the courage to see it done." She paused for a second. "Back to you John."
Josiah turned off the TV before the anchorman came back on the screen. An awkward silence fell on the room.
"Got to give her credit," Vin said when nobody else appeared willing to break the quiet. "That was a pretty gutsy story."
"She wouldn't be a Travis if she didn't manage to piss a bunch of people off," Buck chuckled.
"Something wrong Sidney?" Ezra asked. The girl was staring out the window. Her nose was wrinkled up, the way she always did when she was in deep thought.
"I think Sorkin knows," Sidney answered, taking her eyes away from the window.
"Knows what?" JD prompted.
"That I'm Red Glove. We are one of the main topics in my criminology class. Sorkin's always looking at me when he gets questions and always asking for my opinion."
"He can't know, he's just some dumb teacher," JD said with a shrug of his shoulders.
"I don't know," Josiah said with a smile. "Sorkin has always been quick about things that. He's got this amazing intuition that would have made him a great cop. He always said that he didn't want to deal with the bureaucracy."
"So what should I do next time I talk to him?" Sidney asked, but she never got her answer. Red and blue flashing lights illuminated the dimly lit room. Buck was on his feet in an instant. Josiah walked into the kitchen.
"Damn, it's Walters!" Buck swore. "Looks like he's got a warrant."
The tension in the room immediately skyrocketed.
"I've got to get out of here!" Sidney's face had turned white. He noticed her eyeing the stones on the fireplace. When removed, they led to secret downstairs headquarters where Ezra and his team did most of their work.
"No time for that either," he said. There was a knock on the door.
"Relax Sidney, and let me handle this," Chris told her, as he got up to answer the door. JD squeezed the nervous girl's shoulder. Sensing the change in atmosphere, Monty growled. Ezra put a hand on the dog's head to calm him down. The last thing he needed was the dog to attack the cop, although his concern was purely based on legal reasons.
"What do you want Walters?" Chris growled when he opened the door. There was genuine shock on the cop's face when he opened the door to a menacing Chris Larabee.
"What are you doing here?" Walters asked.
"We're here to question the victim of course," Josiah answered, joining Chris in the doorway.
"It's almost eleven o clock at night!" Walters said, but with much less force. He hadn't reckoned on dealing with the intimidating factors of Chris Larabee and Josiah Sanchez. Chris opened the door far enough so Walters could see inside. The cop looked into the house and to his horror, he saw the remaining two members of the FBI team.
"Things ran late," Buck stated. "What can we do you for?"
"Well umm... We just wanted to make sure that Ms. Marks was interrogated properly. But since you are here, I guess we don't need to worry about it.' He was about to turn around for his car, but Chris's voice stopped him.
"What's the warrant for then?" the agent asked.
Walters stopped dead in his tracks. There was a look of guilt written all over his face. Josiah moved in front of Chris
"Oh, it's not a search warrant, it's a statement from," he stuttered his words, as he tried to stuff the piece of paper into his jean pocket. Josiah was too quick for him. He grabbed the piece of paper out of Walter's hand. The DPD cop was left with nothing but the right corner of the paper and a sheepish look on his face.
"This papers calls for an arrest of Sidney Marks. It claims that she was seen near the trucks last night around midnight," Josiah read.
JD and Sidney exchanged secret looks of horror. It looked like Walters had the evidence against them. Ezra's mind was thinking of a logical excuse, but was coming up empty. They were in a mess that not even their FBI friends could get them out of.
Vin was on step ahead of them. He looked at Walters, who cowered under his gaze.
"Hey 'Siah, who reported her?" he asked.
"Says here it was the cop doing security at the time," Josiah answered. Vin's face lit up into a smile. He had been wondering why Walters was so scared, when the law appeared to back him up.
"I was doing security in the area around midnight, and I never reported anything, especially not seeing anybody."
Chris turned to Walters, Walters took a step backwards. He tripped on the porch steps and landed on the ground.
"I know she's lying!" Walters yelled. "This attempt might have gotten her to come clean. She could have given us other names in order to save her own hide."
Sidney eyes burned with fury, as she opened her mouth, but Ezra's look made her shut it fast.
"Let Chris handle this Sidney, he knows what he's doing," JD whispered in her ear.
"And they would have sued you for fraud Walters," Buck hissed. "Even if she was guilty, do you think Ezra Standish wouldn't hire the best lawyer this country has to offer? You would have been found out."
"So? she may have gotten off in court, but we'd still have had a confession," Walters answered, pulling himself to his feet. "She and her hoodlum friends wouldn't last one minute in this city. There would be lynching mobs formed in a matter of hours!!"
"You listen to me Walters," Chris said, voice calm and quiet, but still bone chilling. "I'm going to give you two seconds to get off the property."
"She's Red Glove, and I wouldn't doubt that Standish is helping her. I'll see them in court yet! Then I'll arrest all of you for aiding known felons!!" Walters yelled back in a fit of rage.
"Perhaps you didn't understand me," Chris said taking one step forward. Josiah didn't leave his spot. Buck and Vin had risen to their feet. "Get off this damn property now, or we'll do more than ruin your career!"
One look at their faces told Waters that he only had one option if he wanted to leave the Standish Estate with his life. He walked towards the car.
"This isn't over Larabee; I will find a way to prove that she just as guilty as that idiot at the hospital." he called. Pairs of eyes turned to Sidney, but she remained remarkably calm.
"Watch your back Marks. Standish's influence cannot save you, and Larabee won't always be here to protect you."
Chris shut the door, stopping any chance that Walters could upset any of them more. Nobody said a word until they saw the lights from the squad car disappear.
"That was close," JD whispered, he collapsed in the chair like a puppet who had just had his strings cut.
"It's not over though," Sidney said quietly, getting to her feet. "He'll be back, and next time it might be the real thing. I could end up getting everyone in trouble."
"Easy Sidney," Buck soothed, "Men like Walters are nothing, but talk. This will be his battle cry for a couple of weeks, but when the press lets the story go, so will he."
"That's all he wants," Vin agreed. "He doesn't care who gets arrested as long as he gets good press coverage and a medal. Everyone will settle down."
Sidney sighed as her she let herself calm down, but the worried look in her eyes did not go away.