Follows Making a Statement
But there is
Another kind of evil that
we must fear the most, and that is the
Indifference of good men
Thank you so much to my great Beta readers Angie and Antoinette. You guys were great!!!!
CHAPTER ONE: Reunion
The techno music was so loud it was deafening. Black lights flashed across the bodies grinding against each other on the dance floor. A powdery substance was being passed around and snorted. The British dance club was full of activity.
In the middle of the action, an attractive blond clung to the neck of a middle aged British man.
"I must say Ellie, you really do know how to show a man a good time," he sighed in bliss.
The woman ran her hands through his hair.
"The feelings mutual John," the woman answered.
The man grabbed her wrists and pulled her in front of him, kissing her on the neck.
"Don't go anywhere," he whispered in her ear. "I have to got and visit the gentlemen's room."
He let go of her and walked towards the bathroom. Ellie quickly slid the debit card she had been holding into the pocket of her tight black pants.
John Cracklin was an identity thief who was wanted in both England and the US. He had managed to earn the name "Blackfox," amongst his peers and by members of the FBI team chasing him.
The woman smiled, pleased with what she was going to be able to hand to Larabee. She was about to walk away when she felt strong hands slide around her waist. She was pulled close against a lean body. A hand was placed around her neck so she could not turn and see her captor. A sudden wave of terror spread through her as her blood ran cold. She tensed, prepared to fight. His face was so close; she could feel his warm breath on her neck.
"Well Miss Ellie, what have you gotten yourself into?" the accented voice whispered in her ear.
The woman felt a warm sensation spread through her entire body as she relaxed.
"What are you doing here?" she asked.
The man let his grip loosen slightly.
"I thought a reunion between us was long overdue," he told her. The affection was evident in his voice. "Your boyfriend's coming back and he looks like he's going to pull a knife on me. Meet me in the back alley when you get away."
The woman felt the man let go of her. She turned, but he had disappeared into the mass of black clad bodies.
Ian was back at her side.
"Who was that?" He growled.
"I don't know," she answered, but her eyes were twinkling. "Come on, let's dance."
Liam Mason paced back and forth in the back of the club, his eyes darting back and forth between the door and opening to the street. He knew he was risking a lot by waiting here, but the only threat right now was a drunken couple stumbling down the street. He turned his head when the door opened, his long legs preparing to run.
It wasn't necessary. A body crashed into him slamming him backwards. He almost tripped over the blond wig now laying on the floor.
"Damn Sidney, you trying to give a man a heart attack?" he asked, but he gratefully returned the hug. He lifted her off her feet.
What are you doing here?" She asked
"A little bird told me you were going to be in London. I figured that I could risk being captured and come and. . ."
"Liam," Sidney interrupted.
"Bí ' do thost," she answered, before kissing him hard. After a few seconds, Liam pulled away.
"You've been practicing," he stated, before pulling her close. "God, I've missed you."
"Me too," Sidney stated and her face grew hard. "I've heard that you've gotten yourself in quite a bit of trouble back home. God Damnit Liam, blowing up a freaking building for the IRA isn't helping your publicity. You're supposed to be keeping your head down!"
"Yes Ma," Liam answered, disgusted. A smile crept onto his face. "Looks like you've managed to get quite a bit of publicity for the Red Glove yourselves lately. I heard about the newscast a few weeks ago. Don't you think you're being a wee bit hypocritical?"
"None of us have been on America's Most Wanted," Sidney answered. She leaned against his shoulder.
"Really?" Liam asked. "When?"
"Last week. The FBI's getting antsy that they aren't getting anything on us. They're getting desperate."
"That's something to be proud of," Liam laughed. "I'll bet that's never happened to an Irishman before." He lifted up Sidney's chin. "What's wrong?"
"How long are you planning on running Liam?" She asked.
"Why? Is life getting so scary that you need a man in your life?" he asked with a smile.
Sidney's eyes flashed.
"I'll shoot myself the day that happens," She answered, kissing Liam again.
"What's going on in there?" a gruff voice called.
Instinctively, Liam stepped in front of Sidney. He reached for his side and pulled out a gun.
"Since when did you start carrying a gun?" Sidney asked, stepping forward to side.
Liam sighed in exasperation at her movement.
"Since two of the world superpowers started chasing after me," he answered.
"Let me handle this," Sidney answered, pushing Liam gently against the wall.
She walked forward before the Irishman could say anything.
"Can I help you Sir?" She asked the officer.
The overweight gray-haired man walked towards her
Sidney did not like the way he was looking at her or her revealing curves in the tight fitting clothes.
"Are you out here all alone?" he asked, stepping closer. His hungry look did not leave the woman.
"I just needed to get a little air," she stated, bracing her body for the impending attack.
"A pretty little girl shouldn't be out here all alone," he told her. "I can fix that problem." He lunged forward. He felt a shooting pain through his knees and white light flash in front of eyes, before his legs buckled out from under him.
"Disgusting," Sidney growled. She stretched out the ankle that had connected with the man's legs.
"Lucky you hit him when you did," Liam said as he walked out of the alley. 'Two more seconds and I would have shot the bastard."
"That would have been smart," Sidney snorted. "
"Sid, I. . .." He walked over and tried to put his arm on her shoulder. She shrugged it off and walked a few steps away.
"Just drop it Liam," Sidney answered.
Liam sighed and reached down to grab the man's wallet. He checked the ID.
"Officer Wickes?" he asked aloud. "Ring a bell?"
"Nope," Sidney answered, still not turning around
"What do you want to do about him?" Liam asked. "We can't just leave him here."
"Five minutes ago, you wanted to kill him, and now you're worried about his safety? What's your problem?"
Liam heaved a sigh as he got to feet. He tossed the wallet on the ground and walked a few feet away from Sidney.
"This isn't all about me is it?" he stated.
"Of course this has everything to do with you!" She cried, turning to face him. "I haven't heard from you in almost four months, only to call your mother and find out the Brits want to arrest you too. Jesus Liam, how am I supposed to react?"
"Why are you here?" he asked, trying to bait her into revealing the truth.
Sidney pulled the debit card out of her pocket and held it out in front of his face.
"We don't know." She answered. "We're hoping that guy in there, Blackfox will help us out."
"How's that?" Liam asked.
"There's been a break-out of security breeches across the Denver area. People are losing their entire bank accounts, credit card numbers are being stolen, and security systems on houses are being bypassed. People have been killed during these robberies."
"Denver's always had a problem with crime Sidney. That's why the Red Glove was started in the first place."
"Not like this," Sidney answered. "There's too much of a connection in these cases. One person has to be in charge of it all."
"And you think that person is Black Fox?" Liam asked.
"No, he's too small time. We're banking on the idea that the bastard in there might somehow be connected to our mastermind."
"How do you know?" Liam asked. He was leading the conversation where he wanted it to go, and Sidney was taking the bait.
"I watched Chris interrogate him at work the. . .." Sidney stopped talking when she realized what she had just said.
The sides of Liam's mouth curved. He was proud of his accomplishment.
Sidney knew he had got her.
"Bastard," she swore, but the curse only came out as a half hearted sigh.
A car horn honked at the end of the road.
Liam pulled out his gun.
"You going to let me handle this one?" he asked. He started to walk forward when she nodded her head.
"There's going be a lot of really pissed of people if you shoot him though," she added.
Liam stopped dead in his tracks and turned to face her.
"What are you. . ." he started to say.
"Well if it ain't the modern day Bonnie and Clyde," a familiar voice exclaimed.
"Hey Buck," Sidney greeted, walking over to stand next to him.
Buck stepped over the body of the unconscious cop.
"What the hell happened here?" he asked.
"Ran into a few problems, nothing that Sidney couldn't handle," Liam chuckled quietly.
Don't you ever think of turning off your microphone like that off again," the FBI agent scolded gently.
"Microphone?" Liam asked
Sidney reached into her shirt and pulled out the tiny piece of equipment.
"I turned it off when I cam out here," she explained, and turned to Buck. "I told you where I was going."
"Still you might have needed a chaperone," Buck answered with a smile. "I'm glad to hear that you're managing to stay out of trouble Liam. Good to know that I dragged your scrawny ass out of that hospital for a reason." Again Buck's words were harsh, but his tone was good natured. The two men shook hands.
Sidney handed the debit card to Buck.
"Atta girl!" Buck slapped her gently on the back. The gold card shone in the dim light coming off the dance club. "We might actually have something to work with now."
The door to the club opened and a couple spilled out onto the street. The woman's high pitched laugher made them all cringe.
"Come on. Let's get out of this hellhole," Buck motioned for Liam and Sidney to follow him.
A shiny red sports car was parked on the side of the road.
Liam whistled in appreciation.
"Where did you get a set of wheels like that?" he asked.
"Rented it," Buck answered. "Thought I'd splurge with the Bureau's money."
He walked over and got into the car. Both of the raised their eyebrows and snickered when Buck reached for a steering wheel that wasn't there. They broke into fits of laughter when the agent slammed his hands on the dashboard and exited the passenger seat.
"Geez Buck, I've had a couple of drinks tonight. I don't think I can drive," Sidney told him before erupting in a fit of giggles.
Liam almost tripped over her as he clutched his sore stomach from laughing too hard.
"Damn foreign cars,' Buck swore. "Knock it off you two or I'm. . .." His threat was cut off by the ringing of his cell phone.
"Yeah?" he asked. "Yup, she got it. Sure, she's right here." Buck held out the phone to the young woman who was just beginning to get her breath back. Sidney took it hesitantly.
"This is Agent Marks speaking," she answered.
CHAPTER TWO: Eyes Closed
Buck set down the file he was looking through and chuckled as he felt his seat move up and down. The leg to his left had been bouncing up and down for the last two hours.
"You did good last night Sid," he told his traveling companion.
"What?" Sidney asked, drawing her attention away from the window she was staring out of. Her leg stopped bouncing.
"Nice job on snagging that debit card," Buck smiled.
"It's not like I'm new to the pick pocketing game," Sidney answered. She unconsciously pushed the carry-on containing the credit car closer to her feet.
"Still you acted like a pro inside there," Buck continued. "Anyone would have a hard time believing that was your first time undercover."
"If you can call that undercover," Sidney snorted. "I put on a wig and acted like a slut for half an hour. It wasn't exactly the most difficult task in the world."
Her harsh tone of voice sent Buck leaning back in his chair. "I'm sorry," she sighed. "I know I'm a little ornery"
"A little?" Buck raised his eyebrow.
Sidney blushed and turned to look out the window again
Buck smiled and patted her hand.
"I'd be a little cranky too if I had to leave my boyfriend behind," he reassured her.
"Fool is going to get himself killed before the next time I see him," Sidney answered.
"So he's supposed to hide in his house while you go gallivanting around the globe catching bad guys?" Buck asked. "That's not the Liam Mason you fell in love with honey."
"Yeah," Sidney conceded. She began fiddling with her watch..
"That's not the only thing that's bugging you though is it?" Buck pushed. Sidney threw her hands up in the air.
"Why does everyone think that I'm having problems?" she yelled exasperated. She lowered her voice when people turned to glare at her. "Liam said the same thing. There's nothing wrong!"
"Really? You want to explain why JD glares at you every time he looks at you?
"We're just arguing over something stupid right now," Sidney answered. "He'll get over it soon." She shrugged her shoulders nonchalantly, but Buck saw the hurt in her eyes.
"How about Ezra not saying more than ten words to you this entire week? When that man shuts his mouth for more than two minutes it has to mean that something's wrong,"
"You spying on my house?" Sidney glared at him.
"I had a drink with Nathan the night before we left for London. He was telling me that things aren't so peachy keen over at the Standish household. You know Sidney. . ."
"We have reached the City of Denver and will begin our descent shortly. Please fasten your seatbelts," the pilot's voice on the speaker interrupted him.
"It's nothing that I can't handle," Sidney answered leaning back in her chair. "I'm alright."
Buck shook his head knew things weren't alright with the young agent, but he had learned when not to push a subject.
"I called Chris before we left the airport. He said he'd give Ez a call so somebody will be there to give you a ride home."
"I thought we had work to do at the office," Sidney said, leaning forward in the chair.
"You don't," Buck answered. "Boss wants you to take the rest of the weekend off. You worked hard and should relax a bit."
"I don't need to rest," Sidney replied..
"Once Chris knows how much work he can get out of you, the only place you'll be staying is at the ."
The plane landed with a soft thud. A few minutes later, the passengers began leaving their seats.
"Maybe I should just stay in the office tonight," Sidney said quietly.
Buck grabbed her small suitcase off the conveyer belt and handed it to his young agent.
"Why's that?" he asked. "Oofff," he groaned as heaved his much larger suitcase to the ground. "Damn thing's heavy!"
"Why the hell did you pack so much," Sidney asked..
"You never know what kind of lady you might run into. Have to pack enough for any occasion."
"I swear you're the only one I know that bases his traveling wardrobe on the women he's going to meet," Sidney answered with an amused smile.
Buck smiled too; it was the first smile he had seen from Sidney the entire day.
The two agents rolled their suitcases to where Chris and Vin were waiting for them.
"Hey guys," Vin greeted. "How what the trip?"
"You know went clubbing, stole some debit cards, the usual uneventful vacation," Buck answered with a smile.
Sidney pulled the debit card out of pocket and proudly handed it to her boss.
"Just as you ordered boss," she answered.
"I told you not to call me that," Chris scolded, but his eyes were gleaming. "Nice work Rookie."
Sidney made a sign of disgust when Chris addressed her.
"Tell me again why we needed the card?" Sidney asked. "All the info you gave me was to follow Blackfox to London and steal his debit card."
"And like the good little agent you are, you followed obediently." Vin easily ducked the swipe at his head.
"Well?' Sidney prompted.
"Tell you tomorrow," Chris answered. "Right now, I want to take the rest of the night off. Go home and get some sleep."
"But Chris. . ."
"I don't want to hear it Rookie. We've got a lot of work to do tomorrow and the last thing I need is a tired agent.'
"Ms. Marks, are you prepared to make our exodus from this atrocious facility?"
The five agents turned to see a dapper looking man walking towards them.
"Hey Ezra," Sidney greeted hesitantly, looking down at her feet. "Yeah, I'm ready."
"What's wrong with this place Ez?" Vin asked.
"He ain't used to mixing with us common folk," Buck chuckled. "He used to his own fancy jet."
"Something that I have never appreciated more than just now, Mr. Whilmington. Please excuse us, but I can not stay long and chat. I have more pressing engagements."
Sidney sighed heavily and started to roll her suitcase after her benefactor and friend.
"See you guys tomorrow," she called.
"What's up with them?" Chris asked.
"You really that dumb Boss or you just turned off your brain for the last few weeks? Vin asked, with a surprised look on his face.
"Stop calling me boss," Chris growled.
"Stop calling me Rookie," Sidney answered.
The men turned to see the return of the newest member of their team.
"What' s up Sid?" Vin asked when Chris's only answer was to glower at her.
"I just wanted to tell you guys thank you," she stated.
"For what?" Buck asked, confused.
"Getting hold of Liam for me," she answered, before turning her back and walking back to where Ezra was waiting.
"Any of you let Mason know we were going to be in England?" Buck asked, looking around.
"Nope," Vin answered.
Chris shook his head.
"Must have been Josiah then, he always thinks about stuff like that."
"Why has my brain been shut off for the last few weeks Tanner?" Chris asked as he led the two men out of the airport.
"Think Ezra and JD are having a hard time getting used to the idea that Sidney's a federal agent now. JD's taking it the hardest. I figure he thinks that she's abandoned the Red Glove."
"Nathan says that JD won't talk to Sidney unless he has too, and the two of them don't go a day without arguing at least once," Buck supplied.
"Shit," Chris answered. "What's it doing to the Red Glove?"
"Don't know," Vin stated. "They've been awfully quiet lately. Don't know what to make of that." He got into the front seat of Chris's Dodge. He didn't say a word on the way home, and the other two men knew not to mess with him when he got into his meditative state.
Vin's thoughts were absorbed on the Red Glove and the way it had become interconnected in all of his friend's lives. Until recently, the entire city of Denver believed that that their city had been inflicted with one of the worst terrorist groups in history. As it turned out, Denver was not suffering at the hands of rebels, but the lack of integrity and justice by the law enforcement.
Liam Mason had formed the Red Glove to restore honor in the city Together he and other wronged youth from across the area did whatever was necessary to take down the bad guys. Often times the Red Glove's targets were men charged with protecting the city themselves. Along the way they had joined forces with millionaire Ezra Standish and his doctor friend Nathan Jackson. The Red Glove had become an unstoppable force. No cop had been able to find any trace of them. The Red Glove's one slip up had introduced them to the Chris Larabee and his team. Vin smiled when he thought about their first meeting with a Red Glove member. It was hard to believe that Larabee's newest agent had once been in the interrogation room.
Vin could only shake his head and the roller coaster ride his life had become since becoming an ally of the Red Glove. One of the biggest loops came when the President of the Untied States actually asked them to carry on the Red Glove's questionable and sometimes illegal practices. There had been plenty of challenges along the ride, but the Red Glove had withstood it all. Vin believed that he had played a small part in making the world a better place. He swore that he'd go to hell if he let egos and hurt feelings destroy the progress that they had all made. He made a vow to ride the rollercoaster to the end.
CHAPTER THREE: Setbacks
Ezra watched in his rearview mirror as Chris's Dodge took the exit to downtown Denver.
"May I ask why you are not accompanying your team?" he asked.
Sidney had been staring absently out the window. She jumped when Ezra talked to her.
"He says I'm supposed to take the night off," she answered, without turning her head.
"I take it everyone went well in London then," Ezra answered trying to make small talk.
"It went good."
Ezra sighed. This conversation was not going the way he had rehearsed it in his mind.
"Are you hungry? Perhaps we can stop and get a bite to eat."
"I'll just make myself a sandwich or something when we get home."
Ezra couldn't take it anymore. He slammed his hand down on the dashboard of the Jaguar. The sudden movement caused the wheel to spin to the right, almost sending the car into the right lane. The truck behind them honked its horn; but Ezra was able to regain control of the car before he was the cause of a major accident on the freeway.
"What the hell was that!" Sidney hollered. She breathed hard as she felt her heart race inside her chest. "You almost got us killed, you idiot!"
Ezra took deep breaths and tried to regain his composure. He took the nearest exit off the freeway and they ended up in some suburb. Slowly, he eased the car to the side of the road.
"I've been an idiot in more ways than just that,' he stated.
"What are you talking about?" Sidney asked. She noticed that her knuckles were just turning back to their original color.
"You wouldn't know what I am talking about, because we have carried on a conversation that has lasted more than one minute since Chris Larabee hired you."
Sidney opened her mouth to answer, but shut it when she realized what Ezra had just said. She let him continue talking.
"I'm going to be honest with you Sidney; it was pure jealously on my part that has caused this rift between us."
. "That I'm an agent?" she asked in disbelief.
"Oh Lord no! Becoming a public servant would be a disgrace to my God given talents," he paused. "I was jealous of Chris and his men. Jealous that they were taking you away from us."
"Ezra. . ."
"No Sidney, let me talk. You know that I have never really had a family. My mother shipped me off to relatives who I've never lived with very long. There were very few times in my life when I was able to get close to anybody, including my own mother."
Sidney shifted uneasily. She had met Ezra's mother on several occasions, and every time her dislike of the businesswoman had grown.
"Nathan, JD, and you are truly the first family I've really had, and I must admit that I am very protective of it. I was sure that when Chris hired you, he would take you away from all of us."
"Ezra, he never wanted to. . ."
"I realize that Sidney, and I think I always have," Ezra sighed. "I would like to start over Sidney. Although I'm not promising I will be the most agreeable person at all times. . .."
"Just say you're sorry Ezra," Sidney interrupted, exasperated.
"I do believe that you and I are both more worthy of a. . ."
"Shut the hell up Ez," Sidney answered, but she was smiling.
Ezra realized how much he had missed her smile.
"Very well. Perhaps I can take the new federal agent out for dinner and a celebratory glass of wine."
Inez's?" Sidney asked.
"I was thinking of a more refined place, but if you insist."
"I do. Hey Ez, we've got a bunch of people looking at us."
Ezra looked out the window and saw the female inhabitants of the well manicured lawns trying to see through the windows.
"Nosy suburbia woman," he growled.
"I doubt they rarely see a fancy car like this," Sidney answered. "Or a fancy pants like you."
Ezra's lips curled, but he didn't say anything as he started the car again.
+ + + + + + +
JD sat in the overstuffed armchair with his laptop on his knees. He was so absorbed in the computer screen that he didn't hear anyone enter through the back door into the kitchen. He paid no heed as Monty the German Shepard and Ace the Golden retriever raced into the kitchen.
"A fine welcome I receive," Ezra huffed as he walked into the living room.
JD jumped at the surprise sound and turned.
"Hey Ezra," he greeted.
"Pray tell me what would keep so absorbed in that contraption on your lap?"
JD opened his mouth to speak, but Ezra held up his hand.
"On second thought, I would like to keep my head from spinning tonight." Despite the comment, the millionaire was smiling, knowing full well that JD was going to explain it to him anyway.
"I've just set up a trace on Handsome Jack Averal's computer computer. The Red Glove will know about his email access, what he orders online, even what music he listens too."
"Wait, I thought Averal was an electronic genius. How were you able to get into his computer network?"
JD hadn't noticed Sidney. He bristled when he saw her kneeling on the ground petting the dogs.
"Yeah, well he's not as good as me," he growled back. "I've got talk to Evan privately." The over enunciated words was directed at Sidney. A few seconds later, JD was climbing the steps with his closed laptop.
"Jerk," Sidney hissed.
"You must give him time Sidney," Ezra sighed.
"He doesn't need time, he needs an attitude adjustment," Sidney answered, before running up the steps.
Ezra figured the loud banging most likely was not unintentional. He sighed heavily and looked down at Monty rubbing his legs.
"What do you think I should do my friend?" he asked, holding up his hands to reveal that he had no food.
Monty stood up and pranced into the kitchen.
"Fine then!" he called. "I should be glad that you do not possess the power of speech also. I would surely go mad if I have to listen to one more disagreeable voice."
He sighed heavily once more and sat down in the chair JD had just vacated. The greasy pizza and cheap wine from Inez's was beginning to make his stomach churn.
CHAPTER FOUR: Arguments and Bad News
Nathan groaned and tried to drown out the noise downstairs. The pillow jammed over his head wasn't helping to block out the colliding forces of Storms JD and Sidney. He got out of bed and began walking down the hallway. The shouting match between the two was in full force.
"Maybe if you would be home to attend meetings, you'd find out about these things. Instead you're on vacation in Europe."
"I was not on vacation idiot! I was working. I don't blame you for thinking that though, since you've hasn't ever had a real job."
"What are implying Sidney?"
Nathan knew that Sidney had struck a nerve by the sudden change in JD's volume level.
"You figure it out," Sidney answered.
"What do you call the Red Glove? I've worked my ass off lately to cover for you. I've got some inside information for you Sidney. You don't start pulling your weight soon, we might be forced to vote you out of the organization."
"We?" Sidney asked. "Since when did you start taking charge of the Red Glove oh fearless leader?" Her voice was laced heavily in sarcasm.
"Since you've decided that desk jobs and vacation time are more important He answered icily "Evan and I. . ."
Well you and Evan can drive the Red Glove to the ground for all I care!" Sidney yelled.
Nathan cringed when he heard the door slam shut. A few seconds later, he heard the grinding engine of Sidney's old Ford Ranger. The arguing between the two had gotten so bad that Ezra was forced to work out a schedule on who got to use his black Cadillac on what day.
His heard a groan coming from a closed door behind him. Obviously the door slam had awoken Ezra too. The door opened and the southerner walked into the hallway. Nathan smiled at the usually dapper looking man. Ezra's usually perfectly combed hair looked like a rat's nest and his expensive clothing had been traded in for flannel pants and an oversized t-shirt.
"This had to end soon or I am going to go insane from lack of sleep," Ezra groaned.
Nathan nodded his head in agreement. He hadn't gotten home from work until two thirty that morning. These early morning fights had to end soon.
"I think we need to go have a talk with JD," Nathan stated. "See if we can't knock that green-eyed monster out of him."
"I have a feeling that it has less to do with the color green than it has to do with the color blue," Ezra answered cryptically. "I am not an expert when it comes to human emotions, but I sense our young friend is feeling a tad bit cast off."
"Whatever the reason," Nathan agreed, "this has to stop. I'm not going to let them continue to hurt each other like this."
"Agreed," Ezra nodded his head. "Let's settle this once and for all."
The door slammed shut once again.
"Or perhaps we can wait for this evening," Ezra yawned, rubbing his tired eyes with his hand.
+ + + + + + +
Chris walked into the bullpen and yawned. He had been up late last night. An old friend had stopped by and the two had sat up till the early hours of the morning talking. The FBI agent's chest tightened when he thought of Ella Gaines. He was feeling emotions that he hadn't felt in a long time, not since the two old sweethearts had parted ways after he left the SEALS. Chris had met Ella right after he graduated high school. He had never met a woman like her again. If the agent had to describe the woman in one word, it would be wild. Ella was a free spirit, she did want to she wanted and nobody stood in her way. Her exotic looks matched her spirit. Sarah was pretty, but Ella had a face that belonged on magazine covers.
The relationship had been a five year whirlwind. Ella had insisted that their exciting life would continue once they were married, but Chris had changed in those five years. He realized that Ella's lifestyle was not the one for him. They had parted on less than cordial terms and hadn't spoken to each other since the day she had left for Europe. Last night, Ella had returned to the US and Chris with news that she wanted to open up an American base of Solaris Enterprises, her successful Spanish based technology firm. Now that she was back, emotions that he had thought had left him were now resurfacing again.
Chris turned to see Sidney emerge from the break room with a cop of coffee and several files.
"What are you doing here so early?" Chris asked.
"I thought I'd get a start on my report from London. We're supposed to have them done in two days," Sidney answered.
Chris thought about opening his mouth to scold her for working too hard, telling her that the two day rule was only loosely followed by everyone in the building. He thought better of it. She would be corrupted by the likes of Vin Tanner and Buck Whimlington soon enough.
"I just brewed some coffee," she offered, sitting down at the newly installed desk.
Chris squeezed his way though the desks. The small office had only been designed for three people. Four had been crowded, five was almost unbearable. He would had offered to share his own tiny room with one of teammates, but he knew the solid oak door that often separated him from the rest of his team was his one tool against loosing his mind.
"She thinks my tractors' sexy; it really turns her on. . .." Buck's booming voice echoed all the way into the small break room.
"Kenny Chesney, you're not," Vin's quiet voice responded.
"You're right junior. I've often been told that I could win a Tim McGraw look a like contest. What do you think?"
"Buck, keep your shirt on!" Sidney screeched.
"You know, comparing yourself to a famous person is often a sign of low self confidence," Josiah's deep baritone added to the banter.
"I'll show you low self-confidence," Buck growled.
Chris ran a hand over his face and took a sip of the coffee. He was forced to spit it out when the sugary syrup almost made him gag. He now knew why all the windows above the second story would not open more than six inches. It was the only thing that kept him from jumping some days.
There was a loud knock on the office door
Chris walked out of the break room to see who the visitor was.
An older, graying man was standing in the doorway. He was somewhere in his mid-sixties, but the athletic man appeared much younger.
"Director Watson," Chris greeted, shaking hands with the man.
"Chris," Virgil Watson returned the greeting warmly. Watson had spent most of his law enforcement days in the CIA, but had recently been transferred the FBI. The only reason he had so willingly accepted the transfer, was the chance to command one of the best law enforcement teams he had ever seen, and as a favor to two old friends.
Senator Orrin Travis and President Edward Fitzgerald had personally asked him to oversee the actions of Chris Larabee and his unconventional team. The agents in the office were not the only ones included in the request. Virgil had heard about the Red Glove all the way in Washington DC. He still remembered the day when Orrin had told him that he knew the masterminds behind the rebel band. An avid reader and an armature author, Virgil thought it sounded like the plot to a thriller. The thriller had become part of his life, and he was glad to be a minor character.
`I've got some good news, some better news, and some bad news," the AD told the team.
"Good news first," Sidney stated.
"The office bought your story about you working undercover for another FBI unit," Watson answered. Almost a year ago, Sidney and the Red Glove had infiltrated the federal building. Sidney's alias had been Natalie Davis, an archives secretary. It had been her work in the office that had forced the meeting between Ezra Standish and the Red Glove and Chris's team.
A collective sigh escaped the lips of the men in the office. They wouldn't face any more questions about why the former secretary had suddenly been promoted to field agent.
"The better news is that the former Judge Paxton and Connie de Madera each face twenty years in prison without the possibility of parole. Gordon is still facing charges, but it is expected that he will face similar charges." Watson smiled when he saw the looks of disgust that crossed this agents' face at the mention of the crook that held the Assistant Director position before him. Gordon, Paxton, and the Mexican drug dealer had planned to bring drugs into the city of Denver, but the Red Glove had foiled their plans by exposing their meeting to the city.
"What about Paulo de Madera?" Vin asked. "We've got his daughter, but he's the one we're really after."
"Don't get too demanding," Watson answered sternly. "You'll get De Madera someday. I'll make sure of it."
"What's the bad news?" Chris asked suspiciously.
"I was forced to give Agent Mark's debit card to the Technical Surveillance unit," he answered with a sigh.
"What!!!" The office exploded with voices of protest.
"I thought we were going to have JD hack into the account," Josiah protested.
"I planned on it," Virgil answered. "I even had a cover story set up for you guys and everything, but the command came from people higher than me. I'm sorry boys."
"Bastards," Chris growled. "So Sidney busted her ass in England for nothing? Virgil, we've been looking for this bastard for months. Black Fox might be our only way to nail him."
"I know, I know," Virgil answered. He looked at the dejected looks of his team. He felt like a deflated balloon. "I'm going to keep fighting it. Maybe we'll get lucky."
Nobody answered him. He figured it was time to go.
"Well gentlemen, I have work to do. Sidney, may I see you privately for a second?"
Sidney looked at him with a confused look in her eyes, but got up and walked out the door that the man opened for her.
Watson turned to look at his men.
"One more thing, I've been told that you're attire has been inappropriate for work lately. Fix that and get those damn reports to me on time," ha paused. "Perhaps you can take a leaf out of Agent Mark's book." With a smile, he closed the door behind him.
"Hard to believe that she's spent most of her life on the wrong side of the law," Buck spat. "Damn Director's pet." He turned to look at Josiah. "Nice work on getting a hold of Liam. I think it really did Sidney good to see him."
"It was a good idea," Josiah smiled. "Wish I could take credit for it."
"You didn't call him?" Buck asked in disbelief.
Josiah shook his head.
"Ezra must have done it," Vin answered with a shrug of his shoulders.
CHAPTER FIVE: The Break-in
The red lights on the security system blinked on and off every few seconds as the beams of light caste an eerie glow on the office, The small black box strategically positioned on the inside of the large oak door was the only security device used to protect some of the most top secret information in Denver.. This security system was impenetrable, the best in the world. After all, nobody to date had been able to beat the technology coming out of Standish Corporation. Nothing more was needed.
The red lights flashed once more and suddenly the room was left in complete darkness. Slowly, the door opened and three sets of feet slowly crept into the room. The light from the intruders' headlamps illuminated the room in a dull glow. Shadows of the men danced across the wall as the occupants moved across the office space.
"My congratulations on the superb break-in."
"I better be able to break into it. I designed the damn thing,"
"Where is that debit card?" the third member asked, as he searched across the room. He tripped over a chair and sent it crashing to the floor.
"Have a nice trip?" the owner of the first voice drawled.
"Shut up Ezra. That hurt," Evan whined. Evan Kestner was dark and had the well-built figure of a linebacker. He had been Liam Mason's second in command of the Red Glove. In the leader's absence, Mason had taken control of the Red Glove. All thought he was the unquestionable leader of the group he often looked to Ezra and the others for guidance. Now, he watched as his two accomplishes walked through the room."What are you doing?"
JD has sat down at one of the computers and turned it on. He slid the small backpack off his shoulders and began pulling out cords, disks and, and a small modem.
"I want to see if they tried breaking into the account already," he answered. "It would make my job a hell of a lot easier. All I want to do is get this done with."
Ezra and Evan watched in fascination as JD typed frantically, pausing every once in a while to take out a cord or a disk.
Ezra chanced a question.
"Dare I ask what you are doing right now?"
JD didn't even bother look up from his computer.
"I'm installing a virus into the computer. It will bypass all the computer password systems. It works by attacking the memory chips and. . .."
Ezra continued to look at JD as if he was truly listening, but his mind began to flow to other thoughts. He knew that his young friend could go on forever and he wouldn't understand a word.
Evan sat down in a computer chair and placed his feet on the desk, knocking over a paperweight and pen holder in the process.
"I could get used to this," he chuckled quietly.
"Idiots," JD criticized under his breath.
His two companions turned their attention back to the skilled computer hacker.
"They've got all the intel downloaded into the system, but they have no idea what to do with it. I doubt that they found out anything from the card."
"That is interesting," Ezra mused.
"Why is that?" Evan asked.
"I received a call from Director Watson telling me that the surveillance team in this very office had a detailed report of the account belonging to that card.."
"Bastard cops are lying then," JD answered. "They didn't find out shit. I hate cops."
Ezra opened his mouth to respond, but thought better of it and closed it.
"So we broke in here for nothing?" Evan asked, looking up as he dug into one of the desk drawers.
"I never said that," JD smiled mischievously He began typing again, giving a play by play of his actions. "I'm hacking into the files of all the banks in the Denver area, and running the debit card number through all their customers." Bright green numbers and names flashed on the screen. "This may take a while," JD sighed.
Evan pulled out a cigar box from the desk and sat back down in the chair. Ezra leaned on the desk, waiting patiently.
Two hundred thousand names later, the computer began to beep. The name John Cracklin appeared on the screen.
JD began to type frantically, continuing his explanation.
"I'm gong to open up his account, and see if there's anything in there that will connect him to this person that Team Seven is after."
Ezra leaned over JD's shoulder as they searched the list. Half way down the inventory, they both began to get disheartened. There were no incriminating transactions on the record. JD was about to scroll down when Ezra grabbed onto his shoulder.
"What's that?' the millionaire asked. He pointed to a long series of numbers and the location London, England following.
"Probably just a hotel purchase or something," Evan stated. "He did just get back from Europe."
"This was a deposit, A deposit of almost 100,000 dollars." JD stated, "I'm going to run that number and see if I can get a match."
"You can do that?" Ezra asked skeptically. "Please don't take this the wrong way my young friend, but searching through the monetary deposit system in Denver is in itself no small feat. You are proposing breaking into a bank system thousands of miles away?"
JD pulled out a computer disk with a smile.
"Not entirely," he answered. "If the money was deposited from an English account into an American account, It has to involve some sort of international system. This disk contains access codes into all the major international banking systems in the world." He interested it into the disk drives. "Banks thought they were becoming safer by putting all their record online, instead they just created a hacker's dream come true."
"How on earth did you obtain such a valuable tool?" Ezra asked, with a dumfounded look on his face.
"A hacker never reveals his secrets," JD smiled as Ezra rolled his eyes.
"How long is this gong to take?" Evan asked as the numbers began flying across the screen again.
'No idea," JD answered honestly.
The minutes on the clock clicked slowly by and the green blur of names showed no signs of stopping. Evan began to pace around the room, looking nervously out the window. Ezra knew that they would have to move quickly. Somebody was bound to notice that security system was down eventually. He almost got whiplash when the computer began to beep again.
JD was staring at the computer with a look of disbelief on his face. Cletus Fowler?" he asked.
"Who?" Evan asked.
"I must say that I have never heard the name before," Ezra answered.
"Shit," JD answered.
+ + + + + + +
"Shit," Buck cursed. "Who the hell is Cletus Fowler?"
"I have no idea," Chris answered, as he plopped down in a desk next to Buck's desk.
"JD really got the name for us?" Sidney asked.
"He broke into the techie's office and everything," Buck answered. "Maybe you need to give him the benefit of the doubt Sidney."
Sidney sighed. "I think I'll talk to him when I get home from work tonight."
"That's my girl," Buck smiled, patting her on the shoulder.
Chris wasn't paying that much attention. His eyes were glued to the profile that he had brought u p on the computer. Fowler's handsome face stared back at him. The guy had no criminal record, not even a speeding ticket in the last ten years. He was a single insurance agent living on the east side of the city. There was nothing that explained how Black Fox had ended up with 100.000 in his account from the man.He sighed heavily. God, he was tried.
"You okay Chris?" Sidney asked.
"I'm fine," he answered. "Just tired."
"You should be after last night," Buck smiled mischievously.
"Shut up Buck," Chris growled.
"What happened last night?" Sidney asked curiously.
"Don't you say a word," Chris warned, but of course it had no effect on his old friend.
"He went out to dinner with an old friend last night," Buck answered.
"Ella Gaines again?" Sidney asked, her eyes twinkling. She couldn't believe it. Chris didn't answer her, but she could see him going pink around his ears. She exchanged a smile with Buck. Both of them were glad to see their leader taking another step and opening up to the world.
The door to the office swung open and Vin walked in a huff.
"Get anything on Fowler?" Buck asked.
Vin shook his head.
"It doesn't look like he's been home for a while, but we found this lowlife slinking around his house."
Josiah walked through the door, dragging a small dark haired man behind him. The weasel looking man was whimpering at Josiah's hard gaze.
"Bring him to the interrogation room?" Josiah asked.
Chris nodded his head.
"Wait, we're going to need a warrant," Buck stated. "We got busted last time we didn't have one."
"Of course I'll hold for the judge."
All four turned to see Sidney on the phone leaning over her desk.
Chris's lips curved into a small smile. This was not the first time he was glad he had taken Sidney into this team. He hoped it wouldn't be the last.
CHAPTER SIX: An Unexpected Twist
"Tell us why you were trying to break into Cletus Fowler's home," Chris growled, slamming his hand down on the table in front of Black Fox. He had a hard time believing this small man had caused so much trouble for so many people.
I wasn't doing anything," the man howled, terrified at the look in his interrogator's face.
"Really?" Josiah asked, deciding to play his team's trump card. "You want to tell us how you ended up with 100,000 dollars of Fowler's money in your bank account."
"That's all I got?" Black Fox asked.
Chris and Josiah exchanged looks of confusion.
"What do you mean, that's all you got?" Chris prompted.
Black Fox realized that he had said something wrong and closed his mouth fast.
"We have enough evidence to make you serve three life sentences," Josiah told
him, exaggerating the truth just a little bit. "There are murders in California that are associated with you. You could end up getting the death penalty."
Black Fox's lip started to quiver, but he didn't say anything.
"Have you ever watched an execution?" Chris growled. "Those legal injections don't always go according to plan. Sometimes they have to stick that needle in you a few times, and even then it doesn't work. You're whole arm swells up and. . ."
Josiah cringed at his boss's graphic description. Apparently it had the same effect on Black Fox.
"Okay!" he cried. "I'll tell you everything as long as I don't get the death penalty!"
Chris and Josiah exchanged smiles. Their technique had worked again.
"What were you doing near Fowler's house?" Chris asked again.
"I wanted to make sure I got my money," Black Fox said quietly.
"Money for what?" Chris asked.
"For helping plan to kill somebody," Black Fox answered.
"Who?" Chris was beginning to loose his patience.
"I'm not sure of their names," Black Fox stated, getting jittery. I was just told to put a tracking device on a small blue SUV. A woman with brown hair drove it. I know she had a small son with blond hair."
"Oh shit," Buck whispered quietly, not believing what he was hearing. He pushed his earphones tighter to his head.
Vin and Sidney turned to look at him.
"What?" Vin asked.
"Sarah had a little blue Rodeo," Buck answered.
The color drained from Chris's face.
"What happened to them?" he asked.
Black Fox's face also drained of color.
"I never knew what Fowler was planning to do. I was hard up for money at the time and he promised me three hundred thousand dollars. If I would have known. . ."
Before Black Fox knew what happened, his feet were off the ground and he was gasping for breath. Larabee's strong hand was clenched on his throat.
"You son of a bitch! That was my wife and son!" His whole body was tense and a hard far away look took over his eyes.
Nobody in the room had any doubt that Chris would kill the man in front of him.
Earphones were thrown off and the door to the interrogation room flew open.
Black Fox's mouth was opening and closing like a fish out of water His body began to twitch from the lack of air.
"Easy Chris," Vin soothed, trying to talk some sense into his friend. "Killing him isn't going to do anything."
Chris swung out and tried to knock the sharpshooter out of the way. Vin ducked the punch, but was knocked off his feet.
Josiah and Buck moved in towards their distraught friend. With difficulty, they pried the smaller man from his prey. They dragged him out of the interrogation room and sat him down on the ground.
A few seconds later, Sidney emerged from the room.
"Get Watson on the line," Buck ordered. "I want a call out on Fowler. If he's anywhere in this city we'll get our hands on him."
Sidney nodded and was on the phone in a split second.
Back in the integration room, Vin watched Black Fox shake on the floor as the men regained his breath. There were already bruises forming around his neck.
"Thank you Agent Tanner," he wheezed, reaching out for his leg.
Vin stepped out of the way in disgust.
"I didn't do it for you, you piece of shit. I don't want my friend having to go through a long court battle over killing you. Besides, I reckon you've got more information on this Fowler guy for us."
Black Fox shook his head.
Vin knelt down and stared the man in the face.
"Chris can't handle a court case right now, but nobody said I couldn't," Vin's voice was barely more than a whisper, but Black Fox twitched.
"I don't know much, honestly. We only talked a few times. Once to tell me where to put the tracking system and bomb, and a few months ago to ask me where he could put the money."
"The Larabees died almost five years ago. He waited this long to pay you?" Vin asked skeptically.
"Wanted to make sure that nobody was on to him. I waited years for that money and he gips me of what. . ."
"What do know about him?" Vin asked. "What kind of car does he drive?"
"Ford Explorer. I think the license plates started with an S " Black Fox answered, "a grey one." Black Fox looked like was thinking for a moment. "I want a lawyer," he demanded.
Vin sighed, knowing he wasn't going to get anything farther out of this man. He grabbed the pair of handcuffs from the table and cuffed Black Fox to the table. He walked back out of the room where Buck and Josiah were talking to Chris. Sidney was sitting at the computer, typing, although every few seconds she shot a concerned look towards her boss.
"Grey Explorer," Vin whispered to her. "Says he thinks it starts with an S."
She gave him a desperate look.
"I know it's not much to go on, but maybe we'll get lucky." He whispered patting her on the shoulder.
Sidney sighed. What had she gotten herself into?
+ + + + + + +
"I really appreciate this JD. This means a lot to me."
JD looked down at his feet and back up at one of the most important people in life.
"Chris is my friend too, Sidney. I want him to find this bastard as much as you do," JD answered. "If Fowler's truck is anywhere in this city, the Red Glove will find him."
"I know," Sidney answered. "I'm still a part of it remember?" Her voice was not accusatory, but sad.
JD looked down at his feet.
"It really does feel like you don't want to be anymore. You're never there. It's really not fair for the other members that you still get a huge say and you don't even attend the meetings."
Sidney sighed heavily. She knew JD was right.
"Here's the deal, If I'm not at the next meeting, then I'm out."
"We're going after Handsome Jack Averal tomorrow night."
"What are you going to do?" Sidney asked.
"Just scare him a little bit. Let him know that he's being watched. He's got a room in a skuzzy motel on the north side of town." JD answered. "We aren't going to go if we don't get enough people, but if we can count on your skills. . .."
"No stupid rules to follow?" Sidney asked.
"No stupid rules to follow," JD responded with a smile
"Wouldn't miss it for anything," Sidney laughed.
Ezra Standish sat in his Jag with the window rolled down, listening. He felt like a hundred pound weight had been lifted off his shoulders. .
CHAPTER SEVEN: Quick Results
Ezra drove on the outskirts of Denver past Inez's. He wasn't planning on stopping until he noticed a familiar Dodge in the parking lot. For reasons unbeknownst to him, he found himself pulling into the parking place next to the Ram. The bar was not busy on the weekday evening and his quarry was not difficult to find.
Chris was sitting at the bar by himself; a half empty bottle was gently being pushed between both his hands. He was staring at the TV which was playing a college basketball game. He had a distant look in his eyes and didn't acknowledge the man that walked up to him.
"Do you mind if I sit down Mr. Larabee?" Ezra asked. He took Chris's no reaction as an invitation.
"What can I get for Senior Ezra?" Inez asked walking up to her unusual patron.
"I will just have a glass of water my dear," Ezra answered. "I'm here to talk, not to partake in spirits."
Usually Inez would not allow non paying customers into her business, but for this man and his friends she was always willing to make an exception. The perceptive woman knew that she was not wanted for this conversation. She filled Ezra's glass and then walked to the other side of the bar to clean.
"I have complete faith the Red Glove will find your Mr. Fowler," Ezra began talking.
Chris nodded his head, but said nothing.
"May I say something rather presumptuous Mr. Larabee?" Ezra asked hesitantly.
Chris didn't nod his head, but he didn't decline.
Ezra began talking wondering were on earth this wave of gumption had come from.
"I only begin to imagine what you are going through my friend, to finally know the murderer of your wife and son. The need to turn to the bottle are completely understandable, but I wonder if it the best solution." Ezra expected a punch to the face at any moment, but none came. In fact, he cold feel Larabee's cold stare on his neck.
"My gut tells me that Fowler will not be an easy man to apprehend. He managed to elude you all these years. You had not even heard his name until today. It will take some of the cleverest minds to find him and bring the bastard to justice." He paused for a second. "Of course, I have complete faith that you are up to the challenge, but it will not be an easy task. Trying to drown out the pain is only going to make it more difficult." Ezra cringed when he finished, expecting some form of awful retribution.
To his surprise he felt a warm pat on his back. He turned to see Larabee smile at him and then walk out the door. Ezra was left by himself and the still half empty bottle of whisky.
"Nice work Ezra."
The man turned to see Vin walking towards him with a huge smile on his face.
"Am I correct in assuming that you heard that entire conversation?" Ezra asked.
"Yup," Vin answered. "I've been watching him for the last hour to make sure that he didn't do anything stupid, but I never would have been able to say something like that. You sure got a way with words."
Ezra's cell phone began to ring.
"Please excuse the interruption," he apologized before answering the phone.
Vin watched as Ezra talked. As the phone call progressed, the millionaire's face lit into a huge smile. He hung up the phone and turned to Vin.
"I do believe that we have found Mr. Fowler," he stated calmly, but his eyes revealed his true emotions.
"That quick?" Vin asked in disbelief.
"If you have learned anything about the Red Glove," Ezra responded. "It should be that we pride ourselves on results. But I will admit that JD and the others outdid themselves this time."
Chris passed around outside his truck. Not for the first time in his life, he was glad that he hadn't let himself succumb to his personal demons, that he had allowed himself to open up to some of the best men he had known. He had come close again tonight, but his friends had not known just when to intervene. Ezra's accusatory, but comforting words and Vin's simple presence had kept him from sliding off the deep end.
A flashy red sports car pulled up so fast that the agent had to take a step backwards for fear that his feet were going to get run over. He smiled when the door opened, the fear was soon forgotten. He felt his heart lurch when he saw the familiar face emerge from the car.
"Chris, I'm so glad I found you! I just got off the phone with one of your co-workers. He told me where you would probably be." Ella Gaines exclaimed. She held out her hands, and the man obediently grasped them.
"It's good to see you Ella," he greeted, "but was I worth chasing me half way across the city for?"
"I just had to see you Chris; you don't know what its been. . .." She turned her head at the sound of approaching footsteps. Her lips curled sinisterly at the approach of Vin and Ezra.
Chris didn't look happy either.
"What's wrong?" he asked.
"The Re. . .We've got a lead on Fowler," Vin stated, correcting himself when he saw Ella. He was quick to hide his distaste for the woman.
"Fowler?" Ella asked, inching closer towards Chris.
Vin's lips curled when he saw that Chris did not move away.
"Where?" Chris asked. His whole body tensed up.
"I'll tell you inside the truck. Sidney says we have to move."
"If Sidney says so, then we're moving." Chris answered with a slight smile. He pushed Ella away from him.
"Sorry honey, but we've got work to do. I'll call you later."
Ella watched as the two agents got into their separate vehicles. She noticed that Standish was still standing behind her.
"I don't believe we have not been properly introduced Miss Gaines," Ezra said with a slight bow. "Of course we know each other on business terms of course. I have found that many of my Europeans customers are disappearing and my fear is that you may be the reason." Ezra's voice was jovial. "Perhaps we can discuss this dilemma over some spirits inside?"
Ella only briefly heard Ezra's statement.
"Are you friends with Agent Larabee?" she asked, distractedly.
"We have a very interesting business relationship," Ezra answered, only disguising the truth a little bit.
"Who is this Sidney he's talking about?" Ella asked.
"That would be the lovely young Agent Marks, a new addition to Team Seven. Although Mr. Larabee will refuse to admit it, I do believe he is quite fond of the young lady." Ezra saw the woman's shoulders tense up.
"Are you alright Miss?"
"Of course, Mr. Standish. Perhaps we can postpone your invitation for another time?'
Ezra gracefully bowed again.
"I will wait patiently for the pleasure," the millionaire answered. He watched as Ella's car drove away, wondering why the normally unreadable Texan had been so harsh with the charming woman.
+ + + + + + +
"We hear the bastard's name two days ago, and we're already going to drag his sorry ass down!" Buck whooped. "Looks like the dice was shook in our favor," he laughed aloud. The agent was sitting at his desk. He, Vin and Josiah were sorting through the equipment spread over their desks.
Cletus Fowler turned out to be a retired Army Ranger who had turned to the wrong side of the law. He was now a hired assassin. He had been hired by the Russian mob to oversee a trade of explosives that night.
"Thank the Red Glove," Josiah stated, nodding over to Nathan. He was checking the weapons and radios for the night's bust. He also made sure the batteries on the cell phones were charged. These phones had been a gift from JD at a less tense time. He still remembered the young man's explanation.
"These are a great way for you guys to keep track of each other. I've hooked them up to a tracking system that can be accessed from a PC system or from the cell phones themselves. Most cell phone tracking systems are slow, but not this one. You'll be able to figure out where each other is within a matter of seconds. Even if the cell phone is turned off, you'll still be able to find a signal. Only way it won't work is if the microchip inside the phone is destroyed."
"Looks like you're all set. You should be set to survive a natural disaster with this thing." Nathan smiled as he looked over the first aid kit. He was kneeling sorting through the items of the large plastic box.
"Is it normal for a doctor to make a house call to check a first-aid kit?" Josiah asked.
"Going a step above the call of duty," Nathan answered, pulling himself to his feet. "Did Sidney show up yet?'
"Not yet. I don't know what's keeping that kid. Tonight could be the biggest night of her life. Chris is getting pretty pissed," Buck answered.
Nathan looked down at his feet.
"You know something we don't?" Buck asked.
Nathan lifted his head slowly. Not sure if he should be talking or not. Just as he was about to open up his mouth, the door to the office flung open.
Sidney rushed inside. Her face was flushed, and she was hauling a large bag. The first person she locked eyes with was Nathan. No words needed to be said. She smiled slightly at Nathan's understanding nod. She knew where she needed to be.
Chris stalked in out of the break room.
"Where were you?" he growled.
"I had to get gear," Sidney answered, pulling a gun case out of her bag.
Chris never even sensed the lie.
"You won't need that," he told her. "You'll be working out of the surveillance vans."
The whole team turned to look at him in disbelief.
"What?" Sidney asked. The gun case dropped to the floor with a crash.
"Not my fault," Chris answered. "Based on seniority, I had to put some of the more senior agents in the field, ones with more experience."
"You honestly think that half those wahoos out there can do the job better than her? She's on your own freaking team!" Vin asked.
"JD found out about the warehouse exchange less then twenty four hours ago, I'm not concerned with hurting people's feelings. You work surveillance or you're out," Chris glared at Sidney.
"I'll get a headset," she sighed, and walked back towards the storage closet, The footsteps behind her told her that Chris was heading towards the break room. She opened the door and sneezed when the dust reached her nose.
"Stuff in there hasn't been used in a while," a voice said behind her.
"Tell me about it," she answered, disgustedly. She turned to look at Vin leaning against the door.
"You know that he's not doing this to hurt you right?" the sharpshooter asked.
Sidney shrugged her shoulders as she reached for an old box marked headsets.
"Sidney?" Vin questioned.
"Yeah I know," She sighed, as she looked through the break window at her boss.
Chris was sitting at the table with his head in his hands. His eyes were bloodshot and his hands were trembling. All of the anger towards her boss disappeared at that second, most of it at least.
She looked up at Vin.
"Let's get this bastard okay?" she asked.
Vin patted her on the shoulder.
"Sure thing Rookie," he answered
The telephone rang. Buck answered it.
"Agent Whimlington speaking," he greeted. He listened to the speaker and his face turned solemn. "Thanks Mac, I'll tell everyone."
Josiah looked at him with a questioning look.
"Black Fox was just killed on his way to the courthouse," Buck explained.
"Shit," Josiah answered.
Nathan didn't hear any of the conversation. He was already half way down the stairs. He never took the elevator if he could help it. No need to waste the extra exercise.
His cell phone was pinned to ear as he raced down the steps two at a time.
"Ezra, Sidney decided to. . ."
"I am well aware of what she decided to do."
"Do JD and Evan know?" Nathan asked.
"I felt it best that I simply do Sidney's task and provide back-up. I am giving my keen eyesight at the motel room right now." he paused. "Our young friends will find out soon enough. In fact. . .."
Nathan cringed at the sound of the gunshot.
"Ezra! What the hell was that?" he asked. He heard Ezra swear and gunshots being fired.
"What the fuck is going on?" he yelled into the phone.
"Something just went horribly wrong," Ezra answered in a huff. "We need you! Somebody just took a bullet!"