Stop the Press

by Sammie

1532 EST

"...a youthful indiscretion," Terri explained quietly. "I'm not proud of what I did, and so I was grateful when Mary found me a job through the parole probation program."

"Did you see her when she came?" Samantha flipped open her little notebook.

"Oh yes. We had lunch on Monday, together."

"The job seems to agree with you." Mary smiles at Terri.

"It does." Terri laughs. "The times are great for Olivia, too...I get home early enough to meet her when she comes home from school. Who would've thought...the safecracker becomes the safe security team head." She sobers a little. "I just wanted to than--"

"Terri." Mary shakes her head. "Whatever. There's no need for that. You've already done so."

Terri smiles. "And you? How're you doing?"

"Busy. This is a really nice break." Mary sighs in relief. "Just getting away from Denver for a little rest."

"How's Billy?"

"He's doing well," Mary smiles. "He's getting into things he shouldn't be. Just like any little boy should."

"No doubt led on by the Larabee boys," Terri replies, laughing.

"Yes, well." Mary chuckles. "They're more like kids than Billy is, sometimes."

"And Chris is good for 'im," Terri dares.

Mary's eyes shoot up to look at Terri. "Terri--all right, he is." She looks up to see Terri smiling. "There. Happy?" She can't help a smile.

Terri chuckles.

"You know the team?" Jack queried.

"They helped me out when an old colleague came back, wanted me to do a safecracking job. He'd kidnapped my daughter to force my hand, but the team came in and helped out."

"How'd you meet them?"

"Through Mary."

"How was she acting that day?"

Terri shrugged. "I...I don't know. We chat on the phone, but I hadn't seen her since we first met three years ago. Then, she was still--she was still mourning and missing her husband. She seemed to be recovering these past few years. That day...she seemed happy enough. But I wouldn't really know."

"And this Chris person?"

"Chris Larabee, head of ATF Team 7." Terri watched the two agents exchange looks. "He'd never do anything to Billy or Mary. You don't know him."


"...wife and child died in car bomb six years ago," Danny murmured to himself. "Larabee's a character." He stacked up the sheets, stapled them, and scrawled 'Larabee' across the top.

He moved on to the next pile. "Ezra Standish...." Danny looked up from the sheet, his brow furrowing. Ezra Standish. The name was incredibly familiar...why couldn't he quite place....

He headed over the computer and called up the database.


"Look, I don't know," the manager shouted over the engine noise as he headed to his office. "Drivers take a little longer to get back, what can I do? There's traffic, they stop to make on last run, whatever!" He shut the door behind the agent as they walked into his office.

"Give us a name," Martin countered. "We need to talk to him."

"Look, I had several drivers then," the manager exclaimed. He pulled down records. "Peter was the dispatcher that night. Let me check his records." He flipped through the pages and then pointed. "There. You can look through what he has."

"What about this Peter?"

"He's a good guy. Been working for me for 5 years, never any trouble. Keeps great records and the drivers like him because he tries to be flexible for 'em."

Martin scribbled down several names and handed the list to the manager. "We want these addresses."

1723 EST


"Danny, you go first."

Danny shifted in his seat. Was he the only one who had doubts about the ATF team? Vivian and Jack seemed to be quite confident of the Judge's position, and Martin...well, Martin had gone over their heads to talk to that terrorism team leader that one time. "Team is unconventional. Denver Missing Persons is going to fax over all the reports when the ATF gets up the list of cases Team 7 has. Martin and Viv already told us that 'Chris' is an adult. I checked up on the other name the waiter gave us. 'Vin' is a working adult."

Danny waved a single sheet of paper. "This is some prelim info. I don't have much yet, and no photos, and I have research scaring up the ATF team's past cases. Chris Larabee is the team leader. Retired Lt and former Navy SEAL. Six years with the Denver PD before joining the ATF. Wife and son were killed in a car bomb. Has a ranch now. Vincent Tanner is their sniper, an ex-Army Ranger and ex-US Marshal. Was a ward of the state for 10 years or so."

"US Marshal."

"Apparently did a little bit of bounty hunting, too, between stints." Danny nodded. "Could be the reason he and Larabee were able to locate Billy so quickly when he ran away the first time.

"Josiah Sanchez. Stint with the Army during Vietnam, with the Kansas City PD as a profiler before Larabee picked up him up. Buck Wilmington, longtime friend of Larabee's. Denver PD until he joined Larabee's team. John Dunne, Boston PD...he's their computer guy. Nathan Jackson, forensics. He's also a medic; was one in the Army, too."

"They have their own medic?" Samantha asked disbelievingly.

"Well, you should see this." Danny snorted and slid a list across the table to her. "Stats. They seem to get hurt every bust."

"Doesn't seem to affect their record," Samantha commented.

"And then there's Ezra Standish." Danny looked out of the corner of his eye to guage Jack and Vivian's reaction. "He was on the Atlanta PD before joining the FBI."

"Standish, Standish...sounds familiar," Jack muttered.

"Atlanta drummed him out of town when he was up for playing both sides of the fence. That sound familiar?" Danny raised an eyebrow at Jack.

Jack narrowed his eyes. "What?"

"He's an undercover agent. He was supposedly getting a payoff for keeping the FBI one step behind the people they were tracking."

"And he's still working in law enforcement?" Jack asked, his brow furrowing.

"Charges were never proven, but no FBI office will take him. Jack, you know as well as I do that just because something doesn't hold up in court doesn't mean it isn't true."

Martin frowned.

+ + + + + + +

"Get off'n me."

"You should've taken the other cab. There was more room there."

"There'da been plenty of room here if'n you'd stop movin'!"

"Gentlemen, please cease such puerile behavior. We have arrived at our destination." Ezra opened the cab door and stepped out, glad to get away from his squabbling teammates. He looked up at the FBI headquarters silently.

"So here we are," JD murmured as he followed Ezra out.

"Let's go, boys!" Chris called as he stepped out of the other cab with Nathan and Josiah.

Buck and JD started after the three other agents, but Ezra moved a bit more slowly.


"Mr. Tanner."

"Ez, if'n the Fibbie mailroom mouse so much as looksit ya funny, ya tell us." Vin turned his piercing gaze to his teammate.

A genuine smile crossed the undercover agent's face. "Will do, Mr. Tanner."

+ + + + + + +

"...isn't exactly everyone's favorite reporter," Vivian continued. "She begins off with special interest articles for the Denver Post...and moves into investigative articles pretty fast." She pushed a stapled list down the table to Jack. "And this is just the list. I haven't given you her reports. Research is working on it."

Jack slid his glasses on and looked at this list. "Bribes in the local school district, corruption in the social services branch in a nearby town, colleges not reporting incidents on campus to keep their crime record down...ouch, she got a couple schools on that one."

Vivian nodded. "Gets better."

"Tony Donetti...weapons smuggling. She started on his trail four years ago, right during her transfer to the Clarion News. Enough to have the ATF, INS, and FBI bring him in and lock him up." Jack nodded. "Impressive. Let's see...Butch Wickes for child prostitution--guy is shot dead on a bust. Richard O'Shea and land deals. Jiang Mu arrested by the Chinese after her article on his Triad drug smuggling.... Not exactly Mary Hart, are we."

"That's only the cases that are closed," Vivian interjected. "Take a look at the next sheet. People she's still investigating."

"Stuart James...that's a long list of accusations."

"None of which they've been able to make stick," Vivian replied.

"Sounds like a suspect to me," Samantha interjected.

"Guy Royal...same thing, lesser charges. Former--whoa." Jack's eyes widened a bit. "She took on the former governor of Colorado over the extension of the police force in Colorado."

"That loser Hopewell?" Martin asked.

"Appears so. 'Cept the charges are unsubstantiated. He apparently retired to Hawaii for his 'much needed rest.'"

Danny snorted.

Jack pushed the list back to Vivian. "Starting to look like 'America's Most Wanted.'"

Vivian shook her head. "We haven't even got to the fun stuff. Kidnapped, friend stalked, once a near target of a serial killer."

Danny gave a low whistle.

"You check these records with Danny's ATF records and the Judge's cases. I'll guarantee you that the ones under the ATF jurisdiction, they collaborated on--and the Judge takes the cases. Those not under the ATF? The team'll be there anyway." Vivian nodded.

"So what's your feeling on this?"

"Some sort of retribution. Judge, the team, or Mary make someone mad. They come back to get revenge on the Judge, team, or Mary by taking Mary and Billy. Or, they come back to stop the presses--a trial, case, or article 'gets lost' and Mary and Billy are kept alive."

The door whished open and two carts loaded with boxes were wheeled in.

"Agent Taylor, Agent Johnson," said a voice from behind the boxes. "Here they are."

+ + + + + + +

"Did you see 'em?" the one intern whispered to the secretary and nodded towards the hall. "Heard about them when they first entered."

The secretary followed the intern to the door and peered down the hall. Seven men were stalking down the hall like a tornado, a man clad all in black leading. "Wow."

"I'll say," the intern whispered back, wide-eyed. "How come our agents don't look that good?"

They shrank back a little when the man in black stopped a man coming out of the room...the little weasel Dutman. "Where's Jack Malone."

"Sir, I'm sorry, but you can't just go--"

"Where. Is. Jack. Malone."

"Sir, I'm sorry, but I simply can't--"

The two women gasped as the man in black pulled out what was obviously a government-issue weapon and pointed it at the agent.

"My dear sir," came a Southern drawl from one of the men, "meet Mr. Colt. He is Agent Larabee's personal assistant. Should you have any trouble remembering the location of Agent Malone's office, I'm sure Mr. Colt would be delighted to provide you his assistance."

"Next floor, office on the left!"

Without a word, the man in black reholstered his gun and continued up the hall, his men behind him.

As they passed, the longhaired agent smiled shyly and tipped the slouch hat on his head.

The intern sighed dreamily.

The secretary smiled for a moment, and then her expression fell. That couldn't be -- ? No way. Martin Fitzgerald would never grow his hair.

+ + + + + + +

"Would help if Team 7 were actually here," Samantha muttered as she eyed the large box next to her. She turned back to the report in her hands and leafed through it. "They blew up a warehouse? What kind of team is this?"

"We wouldn't have caught 'em if we hadn't!" blurted a voice.

Five heads shot up.

"JD, learn ta keep that trap shut," hissed a voice.

"Guess we won't be needing those photos," Danny muttered.

"Next time," Martin whispered to Samantha, "be a little more careful about what you wish for."

"Jack Malone?" The man in the front swept his eyes over the FBI team and settled on Jack.

Jack stood. "Yes?"

"Chris Larabee."

2148 EST

Samantha stopped in the doorway to the bullpen. It was a buzz of activity, even this late. Each of her teammates had one to two agents with them as they poured through the casefiles, trying to find some link between the Denver cases to New York and to the Travises.

She watched Martin look up ever so slightly to take another look at his twin. It had been no little shock for both to see each other, the two circling each other like boxers in a ring as they tried to digest this new information. If the meeting hadn't been under such dire circumstances, she would have laughed.

Martin and Vin were quite different. That was, of course, a good thing...she and Vivian agreed that one Martin Fitzgerald in their lives was enough. Martin might not be a Armani/Gucci man, like that ATF undercover agent, but he dressed pretty well. And Martin would never grow out his hair. Vin was wearing worn leather boots, faded jeans, and a old blue flannel shirt. His long hair hadn't been revealed until he'd removed an old slouch hat, like those worn in the nineteenth century, and a rough leather duster. It was quite obvious, however, how much the two men resembled each other physically.

Well, "'cept that Vin looks younger." Samantha couldn't stop the smile that crossed her face, even now, when she remembered Martin's glare. The ATF computer expert seemed to have trouble keeping his comments to himself and, as a result, had gotten quite a cuff in the head from a teammate.

Martin was smart, she grudgingly admitted. He was more than a pretty face, and he seemed to care about the people in their cases...although they had to share that with his concern over his career. He was considered untried. Vin, from the case reports, had a wealth of experience Martin didn't have, despite being younger. And his loyalty seemed to be only to Larabee.

"Thank you, ma'am." The soft Texan drawl drifted over to her. The owner accepted a donut from the plate Vivian had passed to him.

And Vin was unfailingly polite...and shy. It was rather cute.

"Nuh-UH, Buck! That's not it!"

"Kid, I was there. I saw it."

"Who knows what ya saw. You're getting old."

"I'm like wine. Get better with age."

"You're full of cr-p, Buck."

'Got that right.' Samantha snorted. Buck Wilmington had been attempting to charm her since the team got there. At least he hadn't made disgusting Barbie comments yet.

An intern pushed past her in a hurry and put a stack of papers next to Jack.

"Here you are, Agent Malone."

"Thank you."

Standish smiled warmly at the intern in silent thanks.

Samantha smiled as the intern went a little moon-eyed. She couldn't help her chuckle when Danny, who was working nearby with Jackson and Sanchez, looked horrified.

She didn't know what to make of Standish. Danny had mentioned quietly to her that he thought Jack, Vivian, and Martin were putting too much stock in the Judge and the team, and she had to agree. Vivian and Jack hadn't been all of very objective during the Chet Collins case. Granted, they'd been right, but still--there were things they'd missed because of it. Martin, well...Martin was a little difficult. He had gone over their heads before to talk to the JTTF leader.

The more she read of the ATF team, however, the more she trusted them. They were strange, but they were good...and genuine. She sighed, took a sip of her coffee, and stepped into the whirlwind of activity.


Jack blew past the door into his office, Vivian close behind. Samantha fell into step with them and let the door close behind them.

Jack pulled out files from his filing cabinets and his desk. "Well?"

"They were up good portion of the night," Samantha replied.

Vivian shook her head. "They aren't going to find Mary and Billy when they're tired."

"Hard to tell 'em 'no'," Samantha replied.

Vivian sighed. She and Jack had both gone home that night. Actually, Jack had ordered everyone do it, but the ATF team had refused to check into a hotel. Samantha, Martin, and Danny--despite protests--had stayed on to watch them. Danny had said pointedly to her and Jack, "Go home and see your kids." She and Jack left.

Samantha shrugged. "It wasn't that bad. They worked in shifts and caught some sleep. Danny with Larabee and Sanchez. Martin with Wilmington and Dunne. I with Standish, Tanner, and Jackson. We ended."

"Standish give you trouble?" Jack asked.

Samantha shook her head. "Didn't work at the computer, just like you'd asked. We read him some stuff and he replied with what he remembered."

Vivian turned to look at her. "What's your gut feeling on this guy?"

Samantha paused. "I think he's probably okay."


"I mean, I know he's an undercover agent, and pretending is what he always does. But he seems genuinely concerned about Mary and Billy...especially Billy. Then there's the men on the team and Judge Travis. Maybe he could fool most of them, but I doubt little gets by Larabee and Tanner." Samantha nodded at the two men talking quietly in the bullpen. "He couldn't fool both of them and Travis all at the same time." Samantha smiled a little. "Tanner looks like he'll skin the next person who says anything about Standish."

Jack nodded. "Let's see what you all got." He headed out the door.

+ + + + + + +

Jack settled in his chair at the head of the table and looked around him. The agents all looked a little tired and bleary-eyed, but, like Samantha had said, he doubted that 'no' was in their vocabulary. Jackson and Sanchez were sitting at the table, calmly waiting for the session to begin. Standish looked to be still asleep in his chair. If Wilmington ate his breakfast any faster he would be inhaling it. Tanner and Dunne were perched precariously on the back of their chairs, their feet on the seat.

Jack winced. He could already visualize them falling off.

Larabee was looking his usual explosive self, sitting there across from him. He'd heard Larabee described as a man who hid his emotions well, particularly after the death of his wife and his son. Jack begged to differ. Larabee wore his heart on his sleeve--complete with flashing neon lights indicating its location--when he was angry about something. He just seemed to control it all far.

Danny slid into his seat, bagel in hand and nodded at Jack. "Morning."

"Morning. Where's Martin?"

"He's been downstairs in the print room the past hour, trying to hurry up some records and reports we put out to research. We think some of us should go to Denver to check out some of these leads. He's trying to prep up some stuff to go."

"All right. What've you got?"

Danny flashed his trademark grin and handed Jack a list. "Here we go. This is who we think have the resources and motive with the ties to New York."

Jack looked it over as Vivian and Samantha came in. "Should get some coffee before we get started."

"Ah...not a good idea, Jack." Danny shook his head and grimaced. "Don't."

Martin wandered in, a cup in hand, and moved to his chair. At Jack's questioning look, he replied, "Reports'll be right up. I didn't want to miss the meeting." He lifted the cup to his lips.

"DON'T!" came a screech, followed by shouts.

To Martin's credit, the coffee cup ended right side up on the table without a drop spilled. Six guns pointed at the criminal cup.

Jack wasn't surprised that none of them belonged to his team.

"It's all right," JD said authoritatively as he indicated that the other ATF agents should reholster their weapons. "Just that Vin made the coffee this morning."

"Brother Vin," Josiah said disapprovingly. "You know that you shouldn't do that, when only the two of us can drink it."

Vin made a face. "Fuuuunnnneeee." If he were just a little younger, Vivian was sure he would've pouted.

Martin, curious, picked up the cup. His eyes still on his twin, he took a tentative sip. To Martin's credit, the coffee cup ended right side up on the table without a drop spilled...despite the coughing. "Tanner, you're supposed to put a filter into the machine!"

Silence. Then smiles. Chuckles. Laughter.

"Ya's all a bunch of jokers. Ain't nothin' wrong with m'coffee!" Vin was insulted.

"All right, all right, cut it out." Jack put an end to the conversation. The table immediately sobered and looked contritely at the FBI team leader, who was looking through the list Danny had given him. "You can make another pot later."

Silence. Then smiles. Chuckles. Laughter.

Vin looked insulted.

"All right. Tony Donetti, weapons smuggling ring, base moved to just outside New York."

"Mary was on that case first, 'fore we were even formed. She was the one who referred us to it," Nathan supplied. "He's in jail, but his associates are still running around."

"But we haven't had problems with Donetti's gang, at least in Denver, for the past year and a half," JD added.

"Quint Hartson. Child pros--child prostitution?" Jack looked up. "What does this have to do with the ATF?"

"We...acted on a tip," Buck said vaguely.

"Sure," Jack muttered sarcastically. "Hartson was working for...ah. Butch Wickes, who's dead--let me guess. You shot him."

Team 7 tried to look innocent.

Martin rolled his eyes.

"Hartson's in prison," Jack said doubtfully.

"He's got associates. And he was recently transferred to New York."

"Stuart James. Corporate rancher...that's not a crime."

"No, 'cept for the fact his nephew tried to kill the judge and then he tried to burn down the whole neighborhood where Mary and Billy live, besides--"

"Wasn't substantiated."

"Like I said, Jack," Danny cut in. "Doesn't have to be substantiated to be true." He shot a pointed look at his boss.

"Will you--" Tanner jumped out of chair, faster than anything, nearly catching Taylor had JD not grabbed his arm. Danny whirled around, out of his seat and on his feet. Martin, Samantha, and Buck jumped up, each grabbing their own teammates.

"Danny, stand down!" Jack shouted as Martin and Samantha pulled him away.

Tanner shot a deadly glare in the FBI agent's direction as Buck and JD pulled him away. "Calm down, Junior. Take it easy."

"I'm sick 'n tired of this guy. He keeps talkin' like Ez's done somethin', and Ez don't haveta put up with--"

Chris stood and shot one stare at his teammate. Vin shut his mouth, glared back, shook off his teammates' hands, and sat down hard on his chair. Chris turned a warning gaze to Taylor before sitting back down.

"James has associates in New York," Jackson cut in, changing the subject. "Mary's been on his tail for quite awhile."

"It all works out," JD continued as he resumed his perch on the back of the chair. "He's got the motive. The only thing that isn't going to ruin him yet is the fact that Mary hasn't printed her findings."

Buck nodded. "He's got the ties; he's tied to the Judge, us, and Mary; he's got the resourches. It's got to be him."

Martin finally tossed his pen onto his pad and leaned forward. "I don't know what's going on here," he started edgily, "but I'm getting the feeling here that you want it to be James."

Jack shot him a warning look.

"Jack, you weren't here all night. These other guys--Hopewell, especially--have as good a shot as being a suspect as James. They just seem to want to target James."

Six glares were cut off by a heavy sigh. "Perhaps Brother Martin is somewhat right."


"Brothers, you tell me that you don't hope it's James." Sanchez shut them up. He turned to the FBI team to explain. "No one likes James, and we've been trying to bring him in on something for the past three years. But the truth of the matter is that the man still has some scruples. Somewhere."


"Stuart James fancies himself some old school cowboy type rancher or whatever--mind your own business, he'll mind his. He manages to distance himself from most of the things we know he's ordered and thus gets away clean all the time. However, he does have some qualms towards women and children. He doesn't want to ever be tied to their getting hurt."

"You're saying that if we can link James to Mary and Billy, he'll be careful not to hurt them." Jack looked up in disbelief.


"That doesn't make any sense," Samantha retorted. "That's just stupid. What kind of criminal is that?"

"Their criminals are as weird as them," Danny muttered to Martin.

"He doesn't care what people to do to them so long as he doesn't know or he isn't linked to it. It's part of his image as a private entrepreneur who's victimized by the government."

"All right, all right." Jack quieted the murmurs. "Last one is Clayton Hopewell, former Colorado governor." Jack put down his papers. "I'm guessing this is the police thing."

"Mary opposed him rather vocally," Buck replied. "He took out two men who agreed with her, and we guessed she was the next target...barely escaped one shot. And then there's the thing that the assassin was shot dead by one of Hopewell's men before he could talk. With that guy dead, we didn't have enough ta nail 'im."

"But enough so that the voters decided to pick someone else last election," Nathan added.

Martin wanted to bang his head against the table. Was there someone in this world that wasn't mad at the Travises or at the team? They were just a magnet for trouble.

"All right, then."

"Vin and Ezra are going back to Denver to see what they can find," Chris spoke up for the first time. "If you want to send one of yours, that's fine."

"I'll go." Danny stood up.

"Ah, maybe I should," Martin started a little nervously. "I know more people out West."

Jack took a long, hard look at this two agents. "Danny, get your gear. Samantha, get back on the cab driver info. Martin, you and Vivian see what you can find on these suspects."

The two teams scattered. Chris Larabee stood up and took a long look at Jack, apparently thinking. "Doubt they'll work out their problems, Malone."

"Not my concern. I need to get away from them," Jack deadpanned with the same small smile of understanding now crossing Larabee's features.

Vivian shook her head amusedly.

0943 EST

"Thanks for taking me to pick up my stuff."

"No problem." Martin made a left and stopped at the light. "Thought you didn't like to fly."

"It's not long."

They sat in silence for awhile.

"Danny--" "Martin--"

"Go ahead."

"Look, Fitz, I just think you and Jack and Viv are putting too much stock in these guys. Samantha thinks the same."

"That why you think you should be going, instead of me?"

"I'm going to watch Standish like a hawk."

Martin sighed as he watched the light change. "I know what you and Samantha are thinking. You think that I'm some rich white boy just out get ahead by sucking up to Judge Travis."

The silence confirmed his statement.

"For one, you don't know Travis, Danny. When I worked in Seattle, my team leader had come out Denver. He knew Travis--he was on one of the many teams that used to hand off their cases to Travis's courtroom. Didn't matter what agency it was, everyone loved Travis. Man can't be bought and is a good judge of character, and he'll do anything to protect agents on the job. He wouldn't have let someone who really doublecrossed his team--if Standish did do it--to get by."

"Standish is an undercover agent. His job is to pretend."

"Look, Danny, all I'm saying is that you need to be a little nicer to the guy. At lot of things might've happened that we don't know about. Things aren't always what they seem."


"Look, Buck, you don't have to explain." JD brushed past him. "I'm a kid. I don't go. I know that."

"JD." Buck sighed and ran his hand through his hair. "Ain't that."

"Whatever, Buck."

"JD. Ya know how it is." Buck tried to follow JD around the small room in the headquarters where the ATF team had been 'staying.' "Vin's gotta get out of the city before he goes plum crazy."

"I'm not so stupid I don't know that."

"Chris sent Ez because Ez is startin' ta feel unneeded." Buck paused. "Ya know how he gets. Thinks he's unwanted, unneeded, and then he considers goin' ta Italy or wherever ole Maude wants him to go. Ain't helpin' that that Fibbie's been givin' him all that flak."

JD's eyes darted to his friend before dropping. "Didn't really think of that."

"Don't matter. Chris did." Buck shook his head comfortingly. "In Denver, we're on our own turf. Ez and Vin can do what they need to do."

"What about Danny?" JD asked, somewhat mollified. "He'll be bound to give 'em trouble."

The big man grinned. "That's why I'm going along."

JD grinned.

1400 EST

"Jack, I think you need to take a look at this." Samantha entered the office and dropped the report in front of Jack.

Jack frowned. "What is it?"

"Mary took another dive into the Stuart James case about a month ago," she reported as she sat down.

"Doesn't that woman ever give up?" Jack muttered, somewhat frustrated.

"It's still an open case, Jack," Samantha refuted. "And I think she's running on guilt now." She waved her hand at the folder.

Jack nodded for her to continue.

"Now she's got all the more reason to go after James. She found ties from James to the land deeds her husband was investigating." She sighed heavily. "Yeah, the one he got murdered for. Report was just faxed in to the Clarion office from the FBI this morning. Denver research was helping her."

Jack's eyes darted to Samantha's face. "The trigger for the nightmares."

"Maybe." Samantha shook her head. "Most likely confirms James is after them."

"But we can't rule out the possibility that Mary took Billy and ran because it was safer," Jack added. "Someone coming after them."


Jack leafed through the information. It was pretty bad--James was directly tied to the hotel owner and the banker who had hired the murderers of Stephen Travis. This, of course, on top of the fact that Mary had been the one to tell Stephen about the land deeds in the first place. "Woman's walking around with a load of guilt."

"Yeah. Probably thinks she caused her husband's death doubly over. Asking him to investigate, and then having his investigation too close to hers."

"He might've been killed because of her investigation," Jack spelled out Samantha's thought.

Samantha nodded.

Jack blew out a breath of frustration.


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