The black SUV pulled up alongside the two-story house. The automatic window
slid open and the driver stuck his head out. He was a tiny person, couldn't
have been more than five in a half feet and under a hundred and fifty pounds.
His blond hair or what was left of it was slowly turning gray. He had been
trained to spy and that is what he was doing. His commanders may have hated
him for many things, but they could never deny that he did his job well.
The silhouette of the big man could just be made out through the living room
curtains. A cold breeze blew through the open Explorer, but the driver wasn't
cold. His body's adrenaline system was keeping him warm. He grabbed onto
the high power rifle on the seat next to him. He had a whole stash of them
in the back. The weapons had cost almost everything he had, but they were
essential tools for the revenge he had planned. The Gun felt comfortable
in his hands. It was like hugging a long lost friend. It had been a long
time since he had held the power to kill in his small fingers.. He lifted
it up and clicked off the safety. He aimed it at the man moving around inside
the house. Suddenly, the driver put the safety back on and set the gun back
"A bullet through the head would be to easy for you my friend," the man whispered
although there was no one around to hear him. "I once called you a friend,
but then you betrayed me. Hard to believe it's been almost twenty years since
you last set eyes on me. You may have to forget about me, but I had lots
of time to think about you in that place you sent me." He mock saluted the
house and started the Explorer. "See you soon Sergeant." The man laughed.
"You are in for quite a reunion."
"Now Ms. Marks, there is a logical way out of this. All you have to do is
use the brains that I know are in that head somewhere," Ezra said shaking
his head. He could only stare at the girl who had somehow gotten her hand
stuck in his file cabinet.
The office had been unusually quiet for a Thursday afternoon. Josiah, Vin,
Chris and JD were testifying at a trial. Ezra had gone downstairs to pick
up some back files. Apparently, the girl had heard about the chocolate squares
he was hiding from the carnivores he worked work. This was not just any
chocolate. This was the best chocolate that Switzerland had to offer. His
mother had sent it to him a few days ago.
For reasons unbeknownst to Ezra, The drawer had jammed, capturing the culprit's
"How?" She asked.
"Why don't you let the chocolate go and squeeze your hand out?" Nathan suggested.
"No way! I waited along time to eat some of this!" She exclaimed. She tried
to yank he hand out again, but had no luck.
"I must say, you will make a very interesting addition to my office decor,"
Ezra answered, sitting down at his desk as if nothing had happened.
"This would have never happened if you would have just given me a piece,"
Sidney said to him yanking harder.
"Unlike most in this office, I am trying to wean you off that terrible sweet
tooth of yours. I always said that it was going to get you into trouble.
This time it looks like I am correct. Sidney picked up a plastic Batman figurine
with her freehand and threw it at Ezra. The undercover agent ducked it easily.
Sidney yanked on her arm again. This time the drawer flew off its railing.
The girl fell to floor in complete surprise. She saw the drawer come sailing
through the air. She tried to get hands over her face in time. All three
men heard the sickening sound of steel hitting skull as they watched the
drawer bounce off Sidney's head. The files had flown all over the office
floor. The three men were by her side instantly.
"I am alright Nathan. Just get off of me!" Sidney whined as he helped her
sit up. The action made her dizzy.
"Oh man," She sighed and lay back down. "Stop spinning in circles Buck!"
"Buck, go get me something cold to put on her head. Grab a bottle of Tylenol
out of one of the cupboards." Buck walked into the break room to abide by
Nathan began checking the girl's eyes.
"Am I going to die Nathan?" She asked with a smirk on her face. Nathan sighed.
The crap he had to put up with. Sometimes, he figured he was the one that
needed medical attention, from a shrink. She did not have a concussion, just
a very large bump on her head.
"Think you can sit up now?" Nathan asked. The girl nodded her head. Everything
had already stopped spinning. Buck had returned with the cold cloth, a glass
of water, and two white pills.
"Take those pills Sid. or you're going to regret it later."
Sidney sat up and took the pills. She slowly got to her feet and glared at
"And just think I could have died, all because I never got a piece of chocolate."
Ezra reached for the small box of Swiss chocolate and handed her the largest
piece with a sigh. She took it gleefully and went to sit at her desk. She
began to eat it blissfully. Ezra was met by the amused looks of his male
"It had nothing to do with guilt," He answered defensively.
"Sure Ezra, of course not," Buck answered with a knowing smile. "I'll help
you pick up these all these papers. I got nothing important to do anyway."
There was a knock on the door. Nathan got off his knees and went to open
it. He had to look down a few feet. A little boy, who could not have been
more than eleven years old, was standing in the doorway. His clothes were
dirty and his face was caked with mud. His brown hair was hidden under a
baseball cap that was too big for his head. By the smell of him, it seemed
like the kid had not taken a bath in days.
"Can I help you son?" Nathan asked.
"I got a message for Josiah Sanchez." The kid answered holding up an envelope.
His dirty hands left smudge marks all over it.
"He's not here right now, but should be back in a little while," Nathan answered
checking his watch. The judge was supposed to have delivered his verdict
twenty minutes ago. You are welcome to wait for him if you want." His mind
was thinking about the available food in the office that he could give to
the kid. The little guy in front of him must have been one of kids that Josiah
helped at the shelters.
"No thanks, Mister. I got to go. Just make sure that your friend gets this
message," He handed to the envelope to Nathan. Nathan looked at the handwriting
on the front of the envelope. By the time he looked up again, the boy was
halfway down the hallway. He thought about calling him back, but decided
not too. He couldn't make the kid stay. He walked back into the office, closing
the door behind him.
"What was that about?" Buck asked as Nathan reentered the office.
"Kid was looking for Josiah," Nathan answered tossing the envelope on Josiah'
s desk. All the files were basically all picked off the floor. Buck and Ezra
were reorganizing them and putting them back into their correct files.
"That's so sad," Sidney said shaking her head.
"What is Squirt?"
"That there are multimillionaires in this city who have more money than they
know what do with, and there are still poor kids like that who can't even
afford food," She answered. Silence filled the office as they all pondered
the sad state of affairs in the world.
The door slammed open. The remaining members of Team Seven had returned to
the office. A dark and stormy thundercloud entered with them. .
"The bastard got off!" Vin exclaimed.
"What?" Sidney cried.
"How?" Nathan asked. "We caught him red handed. He was recruiting those college
Martin Stevens, a rogue Army Ranger linked to Al Queda had been traveling
between Denver and Chicago trying to gain support to set up a new terrorist
cell. He was suspected of stealing information and selling it to high-ranking
officials in the terrorist organization. Team Seven had been apart of a joint
mission with an ATF team out of Chicago to catch the man in the act. The
trial was supposed to get him court-martialed and out of the Army where he
could no longer obtain top-secret information.
"Idiot judge said we have no proof that is what he was doing. The First Amendment
says there's nothing wrong with talking about or even planning an attack."
"Damn First Amendment is more trouble that it's worth!" Buck swore. "I don't
think that's what Washington had in mind when he wrote the damn constitution.
"Actually, George Washington didn't write the Constitution. James Madison
was the major contributor to the Bill of Rights," Ezra supplied.
"I don't care who wrote the damn thing, it wasn't meant for traitors like
Stevens!" Buck answered.
"What did Harris from Chicago say?" Nathan asked.
"Nothing he could really say. They are already on their way back home. He'll
keep his eyes open for anything. Judge gave him clearance to loosely monitor
Steven's movements." Chris answered. "We were taken off the case. If we try
to tail him in anyway, severe discipline action will follow."
"At least, we let him know that we're on to him," JD said. "He won't be trying
anything for a while."
JD's comment was well intentioned, but it did nothing to ease the sting.
Two months of hard work slowly washed down the drain. They all slowly made
there way to their desks to finish the day's paperwork. Chris stomped over
to his office and slammed the door.
Josiah worked his way over to his desk. He picked up the dirty envelope with
"Some kid left that here a few minutes before you got back," Nathan told
him without taking his eyes off his computer screen.
Josiah opened the envelope and pulled out a piece of loose-leaf paper. He
read over the short note and quickly crumpled it up. He tossed into the garbage.
"What was that?" Sidney asked.
"Mind your own business!" Josiah shot back. Sidney fell back into her seat,
hurt by the older man's unexpected hostility. Everyone's attention was quickly
diverted from their work to the man.
"It's nothing Sid," Josiah answered with a much softer tone. "It's just a
note from one of the kids at the shelter. They want me to stop by there tonight."
His smile seemed calmed the nerves in the office. They returned to computer
screens, papers and dismal thoughts. Only one set of eyes noticed the faltering
smile and the look that followed on the usually calm man's face.
A few hours later, Chris walked out of his office. He glanced at the clock.
There was still two hours left until the end of the usual workday. He looked
at the drawn and tired faces of his team. JD and Sidney weren't even giving
everyone their usual close to the end of day crap.
He sighed heavily. The highs of busting a criminal and the lows of watching
him slip through his fingers were part of the job, but it didn't make it
any easier. There was no use prolonging the day. He really wanted, no needed,
a drink right now. Hopefully, they would open up a new case tomorrow and
this one would soon be forgotten.
"Alright guys let's wrap things up for the day," Chris said. The others looked
up at him in surprise.
"Who died?" JD asked.
Chris laughed. He couldn't remember a day when he had released his team early.
"Nobody, but I was thinking about killing a few brain cells over at the Saloon
tonight," Chris answered.
"Sound like a good idea to me," Buck answered. "The first rounds on Ezra."
"May I ask why?" The undercover agent asked logging off of his computer.
"Well I would have bought the first round, except you took all my money last
Sunday," Buck answered.
"Yeah right, you haven't bought a round since that chick Molly got you drunk,"
"Don't remind me of that little she demon," Buck answered. "Her heart was
so cold, that you could chill a beer by it." He shuddered. .
"Are you coming Josiah or are you heading over to the shelter?" Chris asked.
Josiah tensed up a little bit. "I'm heading over to the shelter. I promised
Sister Mary that I would play a game with the kids." He grabbed his coat
and walked out the room, without another word. The others followed him. Chris
blamed his gruffness on the day's events. Military people gone bad always
seemed to hit a sore spot for Josiah. Chris assumed it had something to do
with his Vietnam days, but he never asked. He under stood perfectly that
there were some things that a man just didn't want to talk about. Pretty
soon he and Vin were the only ones left in the office. Vin was still typing
on his computer.
"I don't think I've ever seen you work so hard on a report," Chris chuckled.
"Are you sure that Stevens isn't getting to you more than you're letting
"Hell no," Vin answered. "I just know that you won't stop chewing my ass
until I get done. I like to keep the rest of what I've got."
Chris chuckled. "You want me to wait for you smart-ass?" He asked.
"Naw, I'll meet you down there. I'll get done faster when I'm by myself."
Chris walked into his office and grabbed his jacket. He said good-bye to
his friend and walked out the door.
Vin waited a few minutes until he was sure that none of them were coming
back. He got up and walked over to the Josiah's trashcan. He fished the discarded
note out of the wrappers and paper and held it in his right hand guiltily.
He didn't like to dig through another man's privacy, but the look in Josiah's
eyes had rubbed him the wrong way. Vin had seen an emotion that he didn't
think the old psychologist had ever felt. There had been pure and undeniable
fear in his eyes.
He justified the need to look up the paper with his need to protect Josiah's
well being. He knew the older agent would do the same for him. He opened
up the crumbled piece of paper.
There was a short message scribbled on the paper.
I'm back! Remember when I promised you the day that they took me away? It
was only just a matter of time. Kari was just the first one.
"Squeaker?" Vin asked aloud. He tried to remember if Josiah had ever mentioned
the name before. He couldn't think of any. He stuffed the letter into his
fringe jacket and made a mental note to watch Josiah. He planned on doing
a little snooping tomorrow, but there was nothing that he could do tonight.
He turned off his computer and the lights. He closed the door and headed
to the Saloon for a much needed drink.
Chris rolled out of his bed when he heard the phone ring.
"Shit," He cursed. He glanced at the clock. The red numbers on his clock
read two-thirty. He had gotten around home midnight. The few drinks had done
him good. All of it had been within reason. They all still had to get up
and go to work the next morning. He picked up the phone.
"Hello?" He asked, still half asleep.
"Chris?" Buck's voice said on the other end.
"What's the problem Buck?" He asked.
"You haven't heard from Sidney or JD, have you?" Chris was wide-awake instantly.
The younger agents had seen an old friend and had stayed behind.
"They didn't come home?" Chris asked.
"No, the bar closed over an hour ago. I got a hold Inez on her cell phone
and she said that they left about a half an hour after we did.
Chris wanted to ask how Buck had gotten the bartender's number, but there
would be time for that later.
"You checked up in her apartment?" He asked.
"Yeah, nobody's up there except her dog. He's throwing a royal fit."
"Why? She's gone half the time anyway. That old woman that lives across from
you takes care of him."
"I don't speak dog, but if you ask me. He knows something's up." Chris tried
to remind himself that Sidney and JD were still kids. They had probably just
gone somewhere else for fun, but he knew that his agent's were not that
irresponsible. They both knew they had to get up early.
Chris heard the sound of a car pulling up in his driveway. He looked out
his down out of his bedroom window and recognized Sidney's little red truck
pull up. It was caked in mud.
"Hold on Buck, they just pulled up," He answered.
"What are they doing there?" Buck voiced Chris's confusion.
"How would I know? Let me go ask them."
"Knock them along side head for me. They nearly gave me a heart attack!"
"Your worse than a mother hen you know that?" Chris laughed.
"Don't even start. You are making poor Ryan turn cartwheels and flip upside
down to impress you." Buck answered referring to Sidney's boyfriend and Denver
Bronco's wide receiver.
"Have to make sure he's got his head screwed on right." Chris answered and
hung up the phone. He grabbed a sweatshirt off the floor and sprinted up
By the time he got outside, the young agents were kneeling by the rear bumper
of Sidney's truck.
"What the hell is going on?" Chris asked as he walked over to them. He noticed
"You kids almost put Buck in cardio arrest!"
"Looks like we got you pretty scared too old man," Sidney chuckled softly.
Chris slapped her lightly on the side of the head and followed Sidney's eyes.
The red and silver bumper was full of scratch marks and chipped black paint.
The back window behind Sidney was shattered. There were similar markings
on the side of the vehicle. He looked up at the agents. Both of them were
pale. Sidney's hands were shaking.
Millions of thoughts about could have happened rushed through his head.
"Somebody was tailing us," JD explained. "Sidney couldn't get rid of him.
He followed up all the way off the freeway ramp and to the Washington Street.
She pulled onto the dirt road behind the old Miller Farm. He had a gun with
him. I don't know if he was trying to shoot us or just scare us. We lost
him on that road. You're house was the closest place."
Chris breathed in deeply. He felt the hackles rise up on the back of his
neck. JD was trying to look tough, but there was an anxious tone in his voice.
JD and Sidney were the top agents of their ages. It took a lot to scare them,
and they were obviously terrified now.
"No use standing out here. Come on inside. You are going to explain everything
to me." He ordered, but with a calming tone. He followed his agents inside
the house. He flipped on the living room light. JD and Sidney sat down on
the couch. Sidney was still shaking. Chris walked over and placed a hand
on her shivering shoulder. She looked up at him.
"I'm just being stupid. Don't worry it wasn't that bad." She answered.
"Like hell Sidney, whoever was in that car was riding you tail over ten miles.
That bullet was inches away from your head. He probably would have driven
us into the lake if you hadn't turned on that road."
"Oww!" Sidney cried. Chris hadn't realized that he had been tightened his
grip. He let go and sat down in his brown Lazy boy chair.
"Tell me everything," He said giving them is devout attention.
"We didn't leave that long after you guys left," Sidney said. "This black
SUV pulls up behind us out of JR's Liquor Store."
"Did you get the make of the car and the plate number?" Chris asked. They
both shook their heads.
"It was too dark to see much. I think I could tell that it was an Explorer
when it pulled up alongside of us. My little truck didn't stand a chance
against a beast like that."
"What about the driver?" Chris continued.
"The windows were tinted," Sidney answered. Chris swore under his breath.
"Alright, what happened next?" Chris asked.
"JD figured out he was tailing us about ten minutes later. He started to
bump the hack of my truck. I tried to loose him I must have been going at
least ninety miles an hour. He pulled up alongside of me at the spot where
that ditch goes down that hill to river. That's where he fired the gun. .
We're lucky we didn't end up in the water."
"Luck has nothing to do with it Sidney. Your driving is what saved us from
ending up in that damn water," JD exclaimed. "You should have seen her Chris.
She whipped that truck into a U turn and drove just as good as any of those
NASCAR drivers. . I looked behind us when I finally got my breath back. The
guy wasn't following us anymore. I don't know where he went. That's how we
ended up here," JD finished.
Chris fought the urge to yell at their stupidity for not using their cell
phones. Realization hit Chris. The kids may not have known who was following
them, but he had an idea. He sighed heavily. The terror in the young agents'
eyes was slowly being replaced by tiredness.
"You're not driving home tonight. Go upstairs and get some sleep. I don't
want to see your faces until seven o clock tomorrow morning. That's an order!"
The two knew better than to protest. They trudged up the steps to their usual
"Hey Sid," Chris said. Sidney turned around. The look on her face had been
replaced with fury. "We'll get him sweetheart, and you'll get first dibs
Sidney smiled and continued her trek up the stairs. Chris knew she would
be asleep the moment her head hit the pillow.
Chris sat down in his chair brooding. He was a long way from falling back
asleep. He had a pretty good idea who had been following his agents and it
was making his temper flair to unhealthy levels. There was nothing he could
do about it either.
An idea came to his mind. He got up and walked over to the kitchen and grabbed
the cordless phone off its cradle. He thought about calling Buck, but decided
against it. He would, as Sidney called it, freak out, as soon as he heard.
He could wait to know until tomorrow with the rest of the team.
He glanced at a list of phone numbers on the small bulletin board next to
the fridge. He glanced at the clock, wondering if he should wait until later
to call. His decision was made quickly. His fingers flew as he pushed the
"Hello?" A surprisingly wide-awake voice answered.
"Harris, this Chris Larabee. I'm sorry to call so early." Chris had thought
of somebody who might be able to help him. Mark Harris was the hardnosed
ATF captain form Chicago. Harris's team had an impressive record and techniques
were very similar to Team Seven's.
"Don't worry about it. I wasn't sleeping anyway. Our computer system broke
down while we were in Denver and our loveable superiors wouldn't give us
an extension on our paperwork. Something tells me this is not a social call."
"I have a favor to ask you. Somebody was tailing Sidney and JD tonight. Bastard
almost forced them into the lake."
"Shit,' Harris swore. "Are they okay?"
"A little shaken up, other than that they're just fine.'
"You trained them well Larabee. Those young ones got nerves of steel. Do
you have any idea who it was?"
"I think it was Stevens," Chris stated.
'It makes perfect sense. He just managed to weasel his way out and convince
the judge that he was innocent. He's not likely to forget how close we were
to nailing him," Chris answered; his hand was shaking from anger.
"What do you want me to do?' Harris asked.
"I can't find out if he did. Judge ordered us to stay away from him. All
of our evidence and information was taken away
"And you want me to dig around and see what I can find," The other man finished.
"I just want to know if he was in Denver last night. If there was any possibility
that he chased or sent someone after my agents, I need to know about it,"
"Let me talk to my guys and see what I can find out. I've got a meeting with
Travis that will hold things up, but I'll give you a call if I find something."
"Thanks Mark, I owe you one," Chris sighed. Some of his tension was lessoned.
Harris had some of the best snoops in the country on his team. If Stevens
was somewhere in the city, Harris's team would find out, even if there thousands
of miles away.
"Consider it payment on saving my ass Chris. I would be six feet under if
you hadn't seen that druggie with the gun. Talk to you later." Chris hung
up the phone and walked back into the living room. He walked up the steps
and listened for his agents' heavy sleep breathing. Satisfied with what he
heard, he walked into his bedroom. He grabbed his gun and walked back downstairs.
He set the gun down on the coffee table and lay down on the couch. He didn't
thing Stevens would try to break in, but he would rather be safe than sorry.
"Sit still JD, you are giving me a headache!" Nathan scolded. JD stopped
spinning in his chair and sulked.
"I'm trying, but I'm bored out of my mind! We've been sitting here in this
office for hours with absolutely nothing to do!"
"Perhaps you can use you endless energy to help clean the office," Ezra said
peeking his head out of the break room doorway. He had a Swifter in his hand.
"Why? The place isn't that dirty," JD answered. Ezra shook his head and went
back to cleaning the office. The sound of the vacuum cleaner was soon heard.
"How is Hogwarts?" Buck asked looking at Sidney. Sidney ignored him, refusing
to lift her eyes up from the fifth Harry Potter book.
"Leave her alone Buck," Vin said. "She can read what she wants, even if it
is a little kid's book," he added with a twinkle in his eye.
"Watch out she might pull out her wand and put a spell on you," Nathan laughed.
. Sidney rolled her eyes and put her bookmark in her place. She should have
known better than to pull out the book. She just needed something to do.
For some unknown reason, they had been pulled off the case that had been
assigned to them. Chris had locked himself in his office and hadn't emerged
for the last hour and a half. Once the commotion from her morning chase had
died down, the agents had been left with lots of free time and nothing to
fill it up with.
Sidney picked up a koosh ball and threw it at Vin. He batted it away before
it hit him in the face. It landed beside Josiah's empty desk. Ezra's vacuum
cleaner kept on going in the break room. Vin got up and walked over to pick
He couldn't get rid of the sense of dread that he felt as he looked at the
empty desk. Josiah had called sick earlier in the day. He said thought he
had the flu that had been going on around the building and was heading to
the doctor. He had hung up with the promise that he could call if it turned
out to he something worse. The others may have believed Josiah's story, but
Vin didn't buy it. Something was up with the older the man. The phone call
and last's night had created a painful knot in the sharpshooter's stomach
that he could not get rid of.
"Are you okay Vin, you look awfully pale," Nathan said glancing at the younger
"I'm fine," He grumbled getting to his feet. He chucked the Koosh back at
Sidney and walked back to his desk.
"You might have what Josiah's got," Nathan continued. "Maybe you should let
me take your temperature."
Before Vin got the chance to say where he would stick the damn thermometer,
the phone on Josiah's desk started to ring. Each agent had their own line
for private calls and Internet access at work, in addition to the general
"Go get it JD," Buck said.
"You go get it. I'm no your slave!" JD protested. Nathan rolled his eyes
and reached across the table to grab the phone. He wished Ezra would turn
off the vacuum cleaner. The office should stay clean, but his cleaning spree
was getting a little ridiculous.
"Agent Jackson speaking
I'm sorry but he is not in the office today
called in sick
No, I don't know where he is right now
. Who the
hell is this?" Nathan's voice was rising each time he answered a question.
Buck got up and hit the speakerphone button..
"Tell me where Josiah Sanchez is?" The voice on the other line yelled.. The
voice was so high pitched that it almost hurt Buck's ears.
"Not until you tell us who are," Buck answered. He motioned for Sidney to
go and get Chris out of office, the girl got out of her seat and opened Chris's
"Asshole, you will tell me where your friend is, if you know what is good
"I don't have to tell you anything, especially not rude people like you."
Chris walked out of office on Sidney's heels.
"I have private business with Sanchez. I made him a promise that I intend
to keep." The voice answered.
Vin felt a shiver run down his spine. He had read those words before.
"Go and tell Ezra to turn that damn thing off," Chris hissed at the noise
coming from the break room. He was surprised to receive no protest from the
girl at being ordered around. A few seconds later, they heard Sidney scream.
"When you see Josiah, tell him I send my best. He'll know what I'm talking
about," The voice laughed than hung up.
Five pairs of boots rushed towards the location of the scream. The scene
inside the break room made their stomachs lurch. The vacuum was lying on
its side. The grey bag was stained with red spots. Sidney was kneeling a
few feet away covered in blood that was not her own.
Ezra was lying on the ground with a glassy look in his eyes. His mouth was
opening and closing like a fish deprived of oxygen. Sidney was pushing down
on his blood stained side. Blood was oozing through her fingers.
Nathan began to shout out orders..
"Get an ambulance over here," He yelled and moved to join Sidney. JD sprinted
out of the room to heed the order. Ezra's head drooped and his eyes closed.
"Are you hurt?" Nathan asked the girl. Sidney shook her head.
"He was on the floor like this when I cam in. He was bleeding like crazy.
He opened his eyes when I started to apply pressure. It can't be a gunshot
wound, we never heard a shot." She cried.
"Take you hands away from a second," He told her. Sidney obeyed and slowly
slid her hands off the wound. It stared spraying out blood as soon as she
took her hands away. She quickly put them back on.
Sidney's handed been away from the wound for more than a second, but Nathan
had seen enough. Nathan had seen enough gunshots to know.
"There's no doubt that's a gunshot," Nathan said glancing at Chris, and then
returned to his patient.
Chris's trained eye ceased up the situation quickly. His eyes went from Ezra
to the open window. The undercover agent must have opened up to get rid of
the fumes from the cleaning supplies. They went from the open window to the
window in the building about fifteen yards away. The window straight across
was also open.
"Follow me," He growled. Vin and Buck followed him out of the room, and out
of the office. They rushed down the steps out the building, and into the
building next door. He heard the sound of an ambulance siren. He said a quick
and silent prayer for his agent lying on the floor. Vin and Buck offered
their own prayer that Chris wouldn't get into himself into trouble when they
found the sniper.
The building next door was an insurance building. The receptionists behind
the entrance desk rose to their feet. One of them screamed, but Chris didn't
hear her. Neither he nor Vin showed any signs of stopping. Buck slowed down
just enough to flash his badge. They flew up the steps and went to the room
that could be the only location of the sniper. The door was locked. Chris
looked behind him to make sure that Vin and Buck had their guns drawn. He
saw that did, and wasted no time in kicking down the wooden obstacle. . The
door revealed a rather large storage area. Boxes and old pieces of furniture
were piled up everywhere.
He moved forward in the standard scanning position. Vin moved on his left
and Buck on his right. They checked behind every nook and cranny in the room.
"I'm clear, there's nothing here." Buck said form the right.
"There's nothing over here," Vin chorused. Chris had made his way to the
widow without everything. He saw Ezra being lifted onto a stretcher.
He sighed heavily. He had known that the chances of the sniper still being
there were slim. He put his gun back in its holster. He turned around to
look at his agents. His foot kicked something. He looked down and saw a rifle
laying on the gourd.. He almost had it in his hands, when Buck called,
Chris looked at him in surprise.
"Don't ruin the fingerprints that might be on it," Buck clarified.
"Chris!" Sidney called from across the window. Chris turned to look at the
"How is he?" He called.
"Nathan thinks he going to be okay. The bullet went through and he's sure
the bleeding was stopped in time. He and JD went with Ezra to the hospital."
The three men sighed. Another brush with death had ended in their favor.
"Did you find anything?" She called.
"Bring over a pair of gloves and we'll show you," Chris answered back. "Bring
my cell phone too," He called. Sidney disappeared from the window. The three
men occupied themselves with searching around the room for anything else
that might reveal who the killer was, but found nothing.
A few minutes later, Sidney appeared at in the doorway. She had pulled on
her ATF jacket over her bloody sweater, and washed her face. A skinny gray
haired man in a black business suit was standing next to her.
"What the hell is going on here?" He cried. "Over half my office is screaming
bloody murder. You are hurting my business, I want you out of here now!"
Chris took a step forward fuming. Vin placed a hand on his shoulder to hold
"This building is now a federal crime scene sir. Somebody came into this
room with that gun that you see on the floor over there and shot one of our
agents from across the window." Buck clarified.
"I want to see some kind of warrant," The man said with little emotion.
"I suggest you let us do our job unless you want us to press charges about
the lack of security in this place," Chris growled. "I think that would hurt
your business more then we could."
"I am calling the authorities!" The man yelled. He turned on his well-polished
shoes and left the room.
"Idiot," Sidney said with a shake of her head. "Why do they call those insurance
people, Agents? They don't do anything."
"Yeah, but those guys are some of the most powerful people in the world.
You will be glad ones around next time you wreak someone else's car or arrest
the wrong person. You will probably want to stay on their good side," Buck
told her. "Did you bring the gloves?"
Sidney pulled out a few pairs of latex gloves and handed Chris his cell phone.
He started to walk out of the room.
"Where are you going?" Vin asked.
"To call Josiah, he has some explaining to do. The reception in here is shit."
"Let me talk to him Chris, I know some things that you don't," Vin said
hesitantly. Chris eyed his friend with suspicion.
"What kind of things? What aren't you telling me Vin?"
"I'll tell you after I talk to him. Just please let me do this." Chris knew
the pleading note in his friend's eyes. He handed him the phone. He was rewarded
with a grateful smile. He watched Vin walk out the room. He took a pair of
gloves and bent down next to Sidney and Buck. Buck was holding the gun in
his gloved hands. He whistled appreciatively.
"Talk about your Saturday night Special," He said.
"What does that mean?" Sidney asked. She was a downright genius when it came
to narcotics, but she was clueless when it came to firearms. All she knew
about guns was how to load, shoot and fire.
"It's a slang term for an illegal weapon," Chris told her. "What kind of
gun is it exactly, Buck?"
"Yugoslavian SKS military rifle," Buck answered, studying the gun more deeply.
"They aren't included on the list of illegal weapons," Chris said. Sidney
"That beast isn't illegal? Look at the damn thing! What idiot decides what
guns are legal and or not" She cried.
"That would be our beloved federal government. The same one that let the
firearms ban slide so felons have an easier time of getting their hands on
things like this. You can take that up with them later. Just because the
actual model isn't illegal, doesn't mean the gun isn't."
"How?" She asked.
"You see this fold down stock and detachable 30-round magazine?" He pointed
to the parts on the gun. Sidney nodded her head. "These little additions
to the gun are what make it illegal. All the parts of perfectly legit by
themselves, but together like this, the guy is facing up to five years in
"Not to mention life for an attempted murder," Chris snorted holding out
his hand for the gun. Buck handed it to him.
"You missed something Buck." He said after eyeing the gun. He pointed to
the small silencer.
"Well I'll be damned," Buck said with a sigh. "I think I'm getting to old,
my eyesight is starting to go.
"That's why we never heard the shot," Chris said with a shake of his head.
"Guys, we got a problem," a voice said from the doorway. They all turned
around to see Vin standing in the doorway.
"Josiah's not answering his cell phone and the Phone Company says his home
phone has been disconnected.
"You're sure this Squeaker guy is the one that shot at Ezra?" Chris said
dodging through the slow moving traffic on his way to the hospital. Vin was
sitting in the passenger seat. He nodded his head.
"He said almost the exact same thing on the phone that was in the note."
"Do you still have the note?" Chris asked.
"Yeah, it's in the glove compartment of the jeep," He paused. "I should have
said something sooner. This is all my fault."
"You at least noticed something was up," Sidney said from the backseat. "The
rest of us were too dense to notice something was wrong."
Chris shook his head. Guilt was going to get them nowhere. He opened his
mouth to say something, but was interrupted by the ringing of his cell phone.
He swore under his breath and pulled it out.
"What?" He answered, not caring about manners at the moment.
"Did I catch you at a bad time Chris?" Doug Flogger's light tenor voice answered.
"Sorry Flogger, I've just got a lot on my mind right now." Chris saw no reason
to tell anybody about their problem. Not yet anyway.
"I checked out Stevens location for you. He wasn't even in Denver last night.
Twenty minutes after the trial, he boarded a plane down to Florida. Either
he hired one of goons, or somebody else has it in for JD and Sid." Chris
swore in his mind, knowing which option is was.
"Thanks for your help Harris, I owe you one."
"No problem, give me a call if you need help with anything else."
Chris hung up the telephone and took a quick glance back at Sidney.
"I figured out who was after you last night, and it wasn't Stevens." Sidney
slammed her hand against the back of the seat.
"Who is this bastard?" She asked.
"That's what I intend to find out," Chris answered her.
Chris pulled into Josiah's driveway. They had left Ezra resting comfortably,
or at least resting at the hospital. . He and Vin got out of the truck
"Go through the garage door. Obviously he doesn't want to talk to us about
something. He might try to get away."
"You don't think that he would really do that do you?" Vin asked.
"I thought we were at least safe in office and that was proven wrong. I don't
know what to think any more," Chris sighed. He walked to the front door,
Buck walked over to the side door that led into the garage.
"Josiah, its Chris. I need to talk to you," Chris yelled, pounding on the
door. There was no answer. "God dammit, whoever is after you just shot Ezra.
What the hell is going on?" There was still no answer.
Chris was about ready to kick down the door, when it opened. Vin was standing
in the doorway.
"He's not here Chris, and his truck is gone." Vin answered. Chris swore and
walked into the house. He looked around the living room; nothing seemed out
of the ordinary. He made his way to the kitchen.
"Who is Sqeaker, Josiah?" Vin asked. "This guy must be the spawn of the devil
to scare you like this. Why did you run? You know that we would help you
nail this guy." He noticed something lying on the couch. He walked over and
picked up a small leather bound book. A black and white photograph fell out.
He bent down and picked up the photograph. Two men in army uniforms were
standing in front of a tropical looking tree. The taller man had pulled his
hat over his eyes, but his smile was obvious even through the grainy lines.
His arm was around the other, a short, scrawny, looking guy with a mop of
blond hair. Vin flipped the picture over. Bien Hoa, 1962 was scribbled on
the back. He set the picture down on the table and opened up the book.
Familiar cursive writing greeted him on the first page, Josiah's handwriting.
He wanted to read it, but the nagging feeling of invading a man's privacy
"He left here fast. There are still dirty dishes in the sink and it looks
like he didn't pack anything." Chris had walked back into the living room.
"What have you got there?"
Vin picked up the picture and handed him the two objects. Chris looked at
the picture and smiled.
"God, I can't believe how young he looks," He said. Vin looked at him in
"Who?" He asked.
"Josiah, that's him in that picture." He pointed to the bigger man. "He must
have been in his early twenties.
"How can you tell? He's got a hat over his eyes," Vin asked looking at the
"He's wearing his cross necklace," Chris answered. He pointed to guy's neck.
"Who's the other guy?" Vin asked.
"No idea, probably an old arm buddy," Chris answered with a shrug of his
shoulders. He handed the picture back to Vin and opened up the book.
"Should you read that?" Vin asked.
"The guy is missing Vin, this is evidence now," Chris answered. Vin knew
he was right. "It's his journal from his time in the war," Chris said sitting
down on the coach. He started to quickly scan through the writing. Vin was
left with nothing left to do, he shifted back and forth from one foot to
"Here we go," Chris said after a few minutes.
"What?" Vin asked. Chris began to read aloud
"The fighting was pretty bad today. Our commander says we will get used to
it, but I don't know if you can ever get used to seeing innocent little kids
getting caught in the crossfire. Hopefully, God understands that it wasn't
us that killed them, it was the war. Sqeaker is starting to scare me. He's
not the life loving, fun friend that I knew back in the States. His talk
about the gooks and other derogatory terms makes me sick to my stomach..
He shot a kid today, I was sure that it was an accident, but now I'm not
so sure. I'll have to keep an eye on him from now on. I got a letter from
Kari Sands today.. I don't know what will happen now that I'm over here,
but before I left, I think we both realized that there was something special
behind us." Chris finished. He looked at Vin.
"So Josiah knew Sqeaker in Vietnam," Vin stated, but that still doesn't explain
why this psychopath has got it in for Josiah. He said that they were friends."
Chris began to read again and Vin began his pacing. Chris read through the
horrors that Josiah experienced and he formed a new respect for his agent.
Chris had seen some terrible things in Dessert Storm, but none of it came
close to the horrors that Josiah talked about. Sqeaker wasn't mentioned again
until the last entry. After a while, Chris began to read it.
"How could a war change a man so much? He went from being a gentle human
being to a raving lunatic murderer in a matter a few short months. I will
never forget the look on his face when Commander Burg dragged him away in
handcuffs. It was same the look on his face when they took him out of a courtroom
today. He is no longer the man that I would died to save. He made me a promise,
before he left my sight. I will never forget the chill that it sent down
my back. I have no doubt that he will keep it, if he ever gets out. There
will be only one thing for me to do if that ever happens. That is to disappear.
Disappear to a place where he can never find me and draws him away from the
ones that I love. This will be last entry. Now begins the difficult healing
and forgetting process. That is why Kari and I will be leaving this place.
Tomorrow we'll be heading to Detroit." Chris finished and closed the book.
He picked up the picture and stared at it.
"Vin, put out a missing report out on Josiah. Then we have to find out who
this damn Sqeaker is before he attempts to kill someone again. Next time,
we might not be so lucky.
"Who's Kari?' Vin wondered, but got no answer.
Chris looked at his watch as it started to beep, He glanced at his watch
and saw that it was two o clock in the morning..
"This is really unnecessary," a disgruntled Ezra said from his bed. "You
and Ms. Marks should be with the rest of the team trying to find our esteemed
"You should be sleeping so we can get your sorry ass out of here later today.
Somebody needs to make sure that the son-of-a-bitch doesn't try and finish
"I am quite capable of taking care of the villain arises," Ezra stated.
"And have you start bleeding all over that fancy hospital gown again? I think
not," Chris laughed. They both turned their head as the occupant of the chair
on the left moaned. Sidney had crashed about a half an hour before.
She had wiggled herself into a seemly uncomfortable position. A nurse had
given her a pair of scrubs, so she could get out of her bloody clothes.
"Sometimes, I think that girl could sleep through a hurricane," Chris said
shaking his head. "Or suffers from Narcolepsy"
"I think last night's car chase and everything that happened today did her
in, We all need to get sleep when he we can. Josiah isn't going to be easy
to track down. He's not you Ezra, but he can stay hidden when he wants too."
An older blond haired nurse walked into the room. It was understatement to
say that she was one of Ezra's least favorite person. .
"How are you feeling Mr. Standish?" She asked checking the machines that
he was hooked up to."
"What answer will allow me a quicker exodus from this god forsaken location?"
"For you information, if there is no change, the doctor had cleared your
leave for ten o clock this morning. I suggest you get some sleep before then.
Take the hint from your friend over there." She pointed to Sidney.
"She sure looks like a little angel," She said with a smile.
"You wouldn't say that when she you see her awake ma'am. Appearances can
be quite deceiving." Ezra commented.
"Get some sleep now," She ordered. "Or I might find a reason to delay you
"You can't do that!" Ezra exclaimed.
"Watch me," She said with an evil glint in her eye. "All I have to do is
fudge a few numbers on your chart.
"You will be in my nightmares," Ezra said sliding down. Chris chuckled as
the nurse walked out of the room. His cell phone started to ring.
"Tell the person on the other end of the line that it is imperative that
I get some sleep." Ezra grumbled.
Chris picked up the pillow that the nurse had given him and threw it at Ezra.
It missed the bed by a mile, and knocked over the metal tray that contained
a glass of water and Ezra's painkillers. It hid the ground with a shattering
Sidney shifted a little bit but didn't wake up.
'Like I said, she could sleep through everything," Ezra grumbled and turned
over in the bed.
"Talk to me Buck," Chris answered shaking his head.
"We have a profile of Squeaker!" Buck answered excitingly.
"What? How?" Chris asked.
"Nathan just went to all the shelters to look for the kid that delivered
the letter. He found him at the one on the southwest side of town. Kid' name
is Byron. Nathan set Bryon up with Lindsey Cornell."
"I bet she wasn't happy about being woken up in the middle of the night,"
Chris said thinking of the young artist that drew the profiles for the law
enforcement teams of Denver.
"No she wasn't, because my bright smiling face woke her up right away. When
are they going to let Ezra out?"
"If he manages not to piss off the nurse, around ten this morning,' Chris
"I'll be in there in a couple of hours to relieve you guys. We'll work through
the night. Maybe, well get lucky and something will turn up."
"Keep me updated," Chris said hanging up the phone. He sighed heavily and
leaned back in the chair and turned off the lamp.
"He's fine Chris," Sidney's voice reached his ear. "He survived Vietnam;
He can make it through one night alone."
Chris wished he felt the same amount of confidence.
Ezra sat in his usual chair in the conference room an hour after his release,
trying to ignore the pain in his side. He felt a pinch in his stomach when
he looked at the empty chair across from him and the drooped heads and tired
eyes of his teammates. There was a definite melancholy and desperate feel
in the air.
Josiah's presence had never been missed in situations like this. His calm
and commanding demeanor usually helped the others keep themselves under control,
even under the most stressful situations. Without him the tension was even
becoming almost unbearable.
"He was his friend, the bastard," JD whispered staring at Josiah's black
and white photograph and the Lindsey Cornell's drawing. The tow matched almost
perfectly. The picture had been sent out to all members of the Denver law
enforcement squads. If Squeaker was anywhere in the city, hopefully, someone
would recognize him.
The picture helped, but there were still many unanswered questions. Who was
Squeaker and what had he done to scare Josiah so bad? How did he get out
of jail? Why was he trying to kill Team Seven and most importantly, where
"Does anyone have any ideas where to go from here?" Chris asked desperately.
There were huge bags under his eyes. He hadn't slept a wink in the last
thirty-six hours. It was hard to believe that he had testified at Steven's
Trial only two days ago. Nobody said anything. The office fell back into
its uneasy silence.
"What about Hannah?" JD asked. "Josiah's sister. She might know who Squeaker
"You're forgetting something JD," Nathan said. "Hannah's
" He stumbled trying to find the right word.
"She's in a mental institution kid. She's not going to remember anything,"
Buck helped Nathan out.
"I know, Josiah said that she suffers from massive anxiety attacks. That
doesn't mean she doesn't remember anything. Hannah wasn't admitted to the
hospital until the early eighties, long after the war ended. So far none
of you can come up with any better ideas," JD stated. He looked at Chris.
"It doesn't hurt to try."
Chris nodded his head at the younger man.
"He's right. It's the best option we got. The worst outcome will be that
we don't learn anything and a few will be wasted. Right now, we have no leads
and nothing to do." He stopped and looked around the table. "Who wants to
Nobody volunteered. They were all embarrassed, but none of them wanted to
interview a person who was not quite with it. They had enough problems dealing
with completely sane people.
Sidney looked around the room. "I'll do it. You guys always say that I am
easy to talk too."
"Thanks Sidney," Chris said gratefully. She smiled weakly not quite sure
that she had done the right thing.
"I'll call and get directions for you. You will leave as soon as possible."
He got up and started to walk to the phone.
"Wait," Sidney stopped him. He turned to look at her. "I don't want to drive
down there by myself." She answered sheepishly. She hoped that the reason
why was obvious. Apparently, it was.
"I'll go with you Sidney, just give me a few minutes to get all my stuff
together," Vin answered with a knowing smile.
"Are you going to be alright driving? The last thing we need is you falling
asleep at the wheel," Nathan asked.
"I'll be fine. I just need to get a couple mugs of coffee in my system."
Nathan still looked hesitant. Buck patted the EMT on the shoulder.
"Don't worry so much Nathan; Vin's coffee has the power to wake the dead."
Sidney and Vin walked through the first set of doors of the stone white building.
They both looked inside the windows. It resembled a hotel lobby. There were
several couches and chairs. Vin reached out to grab the second set of doors,
but discovered that they were locked. He knocked hard on the door
An Asian man in a white uniform saw them and walked over to the door. He
took a card from around his neck and scanned it in a little black box. The
door beeped and he opened it.
"Can I help you?" He asked. Sidney held up her badge.
"I am Agent Marks and this is Agent Tanner. Our Captain sent us here to interview
one of your patients." The man nodded his head.
"Right, uur director, Molly Tyson is waiting to see you. Please follow me."
The two agents followed the nurse through the empty lobby and one more door
that was opened with his card. He stopped them by the door.
"Wait here please. Mrs. Tyson will be here in a moment." He left them and
disappeared through a large oak door.
Sidney and Vin looked around the room. The room was painted a very pleasant
light blue. People in terry and silk robes were sitting around the room.
Some were playing card games and others were looking through magazines and
picture books. The rest were sitting in front of a TV where some movie was
"Are these the patients?" Vin whispered in Sidney's ears.
"I think so, why?" Sidney asked.
"This isn't what I expected. Ii mean where are the straightjackets, lines
of people waiting for their pills, and the electrical therapy tables?"
"This isn't the One Who Flew Over the Cucu's Nest, Vin," Sidney answered
with a smile.
"Many of the people who have never been to a mental hospital picture Jack
Nicholson," A voice said behind them. They both turned to see a stocky older
women walking towards them. "We are long past those days, believe me." She
had a very motherly look on her face. She held out her hand.
"I am Molly Tyson. I assume that you must be the agents from the ATF." Sidney
and Vin shook her hand. "Mr. Sanchez talks about you often when he comes
to visit Hannah. If you are half the people that he makes you out to be,
than this is an honor." Both of them looked at their feet, embarrassed. The
director smiled. "I understand that you are here to talk to Hannah."
""Yes ma'am, we need to ask her a few questions," Sidney answered.
"Josiah knows that Hannah doesn't do well with strangers, why didn't he come?"
Molly asked, although her tone wasn't rude.
"Josiah is missing. We have reason to believe that he is in danger," Vin
The older woman's hand flew to her mouth. "Dear Lord, what happened?"
"We are not quite sure ourselves. That's why we need to talk to Hannah."
"Then please follow me. I can't promise that Hannah will be able to help.
Some days are good, and the others, well, we choose to forget about those."
"That's all we can ask for," Sidney told the women following her through
the large oak door. Vin motioned to her that he would wait in the lobby.
Sidney was escorted to a closed white door. A female nurse was standing outside
"She's not talking to anybody right now, I don't know if having anybody go
in there is such a good idea," The nurse directed the statement to the Director.
"Please, I need to try. Josiah's live could depend on it. I don't want to
cause her any distress. If Hannah is scared or doesn't want to talk to me,
than I promise I will leave."
Molly looked into the young women's eyes. She saw Sidney's sincerity.
"Alright, good luck Agent Marks. Remember that Hannah has the mind capacity
of a five year old. She responds best when questions are stated simply to
her. If anything happens, there is a red button inside. If pressed, one of
my aids will come to your assistance immediately."
Sidney walked through the door. Hannah was sitting at the table with her
eyes down. Sidney figured that she must have been in her early forties. She
was tall like her brother and was a very pretty woman. Sidney took a deep
"Hello Hannah," She said brightly. '"My name is Sidney, I'm a friend of
"I am here to talk to you, about your brother."
Hannah didn't even make any acknowledgement that she had heard. Sidney sighed.
This was gong to be harder than she thought. She tried many different questions,
but received no response from the women. The situation was growing desperate.
Sidney had no idea what to do. She was about ready to leave, when she noticed
a box of colored pencils and a few sheets of construction paper next to Hannah's
Her memory took hold as she remembered a drawing of two people fishing on
the bulletin board behind Josiah's desk. She remembered Josiah telling her
that she Hannah had drawn it for him.
She reached out for the box of pencils and paper.
"Josiah tells me that you like to draw, is that true?" Hannah's head moved
in a just noticeable nod. Now they were going somewhere.
"I bet that you can't draw as good as me," Sidney said taking out a yellow
pencil and drawling son. Hannah lifted her head.
"I can too, Josiah says that I'm the best artist that he's ever seen," She
"Why don't you show me," Sidney suggested.
Hannah took the piece of paper and pencils. She added clouds and some birds
to Sidney's drawing.
"That's great Hannah!" Sidney praised. "You really are a lot better than
me. Josiah would be proud of you." Hannah beamed and she kept on drawing.
"Where is Josiah? Why didn't he come and see me?" She asked. Sidney thought
for a moment, about the best way to approach the situation. She didn't want
to scare the woman, but she had to get some definite answers. She reached
into her pocket and pulled out a copy of Sqeaker's face.
"I want to show you a drawing that one my friends made," She unfolded the
drawing and set it on the table.
A look of terror covered Hannah's face. She pushed her chair back and stared
at Sidney in horror. Sidney had to take a deep breath to get herself under
control. This was not the reaction that she expected.
"What's wrong Hannah? Do you know who this man is?" She asked.
"Bad man, very bad man. He hurt many people. He hurt Josiah and Kari." Hannah
answered in a quiet voice. Sidney almost cried out in glee, but she managed
to keep her voice calm. She would ask about the strange woman mentioned in
Josiah's journal later.
"Do you know what his name is?" Sidney prompted.
"Don't want to talk about him. He scares me," Hannah said turning her head.
Sidney felt bad for the poor women, but she had to get an answer. This was
the closest they had come to learning anything.
"Hannah, Josiah's in trouble. This man tried to hurt him again. I need you
to help me find him."
"Josiah's in trouble?" Hannah asked, looking at Sidney once again. Sidney
nodded her head.
"Don't let Jeff hurt my brother again," She cried. Sidney made a quick mental
note of the name.
"Do you remember his last name?" Sidney asked, praying that she had gotten
"Josiah called him Squeaker, because he made funny noises when he talked,"
Hannah said. "Everybody called him Squeaker after that. People thought it
was funny." This wasn't what Sidney was looking for, but she let Hannah keep
talking. Maybe she would get some information out.
"Squeaker didn't seem to care. He said it was better than the name that his
parents had given him. He said Squeaker sounded a lot better than Jeff Burns."
Sidney could have kissed Hannah.
:What about Kari Sands? Do you know who she was?"
'I was going to wear pretty blue dress in church. They were going to get
Something caught Sidney's eye out of the window. The flash of light came
from sun reflecting off steel. The girl wasn't aware of the fact that she
could move that fast. She slid across the table knocking Hannah to the ground.
The woman called out in surprise just as the sound of shattering glass pounded
in their eardrums.
In a matter of seconds, her agent instincts kicked in. She pulled over her
gun and stood up. A quick glance revealed that the sobbing woman was just
fine. The door flew open to reveal the distraught nurse.
What is going on?" She cried. Sidney didn't respond. She kicked out the rest
of the window. Pieces of glass pierced her bare skin, but she ignored it.
She pulled herself through the window and sprinted towards the spot she had
seen the sun reflect of the gun. She stopped beside a tree. The gunman was
nowhere in sight. She looked down on the ground. A familiar weapon lay on
the ground right below her feet.
"How many Saturday Night Specials does this guy have?" Sidney asked shaking
her head. An exact replica of the gun that had been found in the insurance
office was sitting on the cop car hood. She and Vin were standing just in
front of the building. Two cops from the closet police prescient were standing
next to him. Tom Hubert pushed his grey hair out of his eyes. His retirement
was coming up in a few months. His hopes of his last few months being easy
were shattered. His young partner, Robert McClellan was standing next to
him. He noticed the admiring looks that the young cop was giving Agent Marks..
He made a mental note to warn McClellan about the Feds.
"Saturday Night Special?" McClellan asked.
"It means an illegal weapon. You wouldn't know about it. It's an ATF word,"
She answered smugly, conveniently forgetting that she had just learned what
the term mean the day before.
Vin rolled his eyes at the girl. He had just gotten off the phone with Chris.
The Captain was fuming, but there was one big consolation. They now had a
real name to work off of.
"What do you think we should do about Hannah?" Hubert asked. "I think we
should move her to a witness protection home or something. There's no telling
if this bastard will come back to finish the job.
Sidney looked through the window to see Molly holding the still distraught
Hannah in her arms. She felt a twinge of guilt shoot through her stomach.
"No, the poor woman is terrified enough as it is already. This place is her
home. Everything here is staple for her. Moving her away, even for a short
time, will only make things worse."
"There are more men running around our office than we know what to do with,"
Hubert answered. "I'll make sure this building is better protected than Fort
"Sound good. Chris wants us back at the office as soon as possible, Sid.
We should really get back if everything is under control here."
"We got It covered," The cop said with a smile. "I'll call you if anything
"Thanks," Vin answered.
"I hope you find your friend. Good luck in bringing this bastard down. Give
him a good kick in the ass for me."
"Sure thing," Vin answered. The four shook hands. Sidney and Vin walked out
towards the parking lot.
"Wow, she was something," The young cop said when the agents wee out of earshot.
Hubert shook his head. "You've got a lot of things to learn, Kid. First and
foremost is that you never want to deal with the Feds more then you have
too. All they care about is getting promoted, and staying nice and pretty
for the cameras. They always walk around like they got a stick up their ass."
" McClellan started to say.
"Those agents are an exception to rule. Still, you can never be too careful.
You just keep your eye on that cute little redhead at the diner."
"Vin, can you bring the truck up? I want to explain things to the director."
Sidney asked stopping in front of the main entrance. Vin nodded his head.
"Take as long as you need," He told her. Sidney turned and walked into the
building. The second door to the lobby was unlocked so the cops that were
running around could come inside.
Molly got up as soon as she saw Sidney walk in, leaving Hannah on the coach.
"There will be guards here during all hours of the day. They will stay here
until this case is cleared up. I have complete faith that the men of the
thirteenth prescient will keep this place safe."
"Then we are safe indeed," Molly smiled. Sidney looked into Molly's face
and her eyes filled up with tears.
"I'm sorry. I never would have come here if I had thought something like
this would have happened." Molly pulled the girl into a tight hug, the same
way she had done to her own children. She had sensed had been lacking a mother's
touch in her life.
"You never could have imagined something like this. This is not fault,
sweetheart. This Burns guy could have been after Hannah, even before you
got here. You saved her life, Sidney. You remember that."
She let go of the girl and wiped the tears off her face.
"Now stop those tears. Josiah needs you to be strong and find this monster."
"Sidney?" Hannah said from the coach. Sidney got up and kneeled down next
to the women. Hannah held out a piece of paper. It was the picture that she
and Sidney had drawn. She took it.
"Thank you Hannah," She smiled.
"Please find Josiah," Hannah said desperately. "Please bring him home."
Sidney gently grabbed onto Hannah's hands."I'll find him Hannah, I promise.
The first thing I will make him do is come see you." Hannah smiled.
"You will come see me too?" She asked.
"Of course, I will come see you too Hannah," Sidney smiled. She left the
building and jumped into the jeep.
"Now that the adrenaline was gone, She slunk down into the chair. The
uncontrollable shakes came again.
"Are you alright?" Vin asked. "Don't let this bastard scare you."
"This is the second time he almost killed me, Vin. I was beyond scared a
long time ago. Now, I am officially pissed off!"
"Oh really, you aren't even scared a little bit?" Vin asked with a smile.
"Well maybe, a little bit," Sidney answered blushing.
"Hell Sidney, you wouldn't be human if you weren't.
:"I got something!" JD exclaimed. He pushed the enter button on his laptop
and a whole screen of documents came onto the screen. He looked around the
room when he received no reply.
The rest of team were sprawled out all over Josiah's living room, sound asleep.
The days of little or no sleep had finally gotten to them. Chris had made
the decision that the team would spend the night at Josiah's house. One reason
was he wanted to be there if either Josiah or Squeaker showed up. The vehicles
had been parked in an abandoned parking lot about a half mile away. The other
reason came from concern for his team's safety. Each of them was in danger
with Squeaker still on the loose.
At the moment, Chris was asleep in Josiah's usual lounge chair. JD didn't
have the heart or the gall to wake any of them up. He would rather wake up
a grizzly bear.
The document on the screen was a court record form a trial in Montgomery,
Alabama. He started to read.
November 17, 1974
Jeff Burns was found not guilty by reason of insanity for the slaughter
of fifteen villagers in Vietnam on the third of March Nineteen Seventy three.
Case was presided over by His Honorable Justice John Martin.
Witnesses for the Defense include: Harold Jones, Sam Gordon, Ruth Burns
Witness for the Prosecutions: Commander Tom Rivers, Corporal Josiah Sanchez.
Physiologist Kari Sands.
Defended was omitted to the Alabama Sate Mental institution for further
JD gasped. He fought the urge to wake the others up. This article explained
a lot. Josiah's testimony at the trial explained why Squeaker had it in for
Josiah. Josiah had testified against him. But one major question was left
unanswered. Josiah just didn't get scared. Even the devil himself had been
chasing him; Josiah would have turned and met him face to face.
He closed to document and opened up the files from the Alabama Sate Mental
institution. He laughed quietly. These kinds of places prided themselves
on the high security of their confidential files. What they didn't realize
was that keeping the paper files in locked cabinets was safer. Once the documents
were put on computer, any hacker will minimal skill could bypass the codes.
He found Burns, Jeff and opened up the file.
Burns H. Jeff
Omitted: March 22, 1973 Reason: Court order
Excused: March 25, 1978 Reason: See Below
Severe case and incurable case of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Disorder
obtained during experience during his time in the service. Shows very violent
tendencies and often mutters about seeking revenge on the one who put him
here. Very friendly person most of the time.
JD scrolled through the middle of the file. All it talked about was the
medication and treatment that he received. He stopped at the last category
on the paper and gasped.
Reason for Dismissal:
On December 24, during the Christmas Eve celebration, escaped through
unknown means and traveled to Detroit. Murdered Doctor Kari Sands. Doctor
Sands was a witness at his first trial and presumable killed for her part
in his conviction. In February faced a new trial and found Guilty Sentenced
to higher security mental hospital in Michigan.
JD was about to research mental hospital in Michigan, when he heard footsteps
upstairs. He looked around and saw Nathan sit up from his spot on the loveseat.
"Do you hear that?" Nathan asked. JD nodded his head. JD pulled out his gun,
Nathan lifted his own weapon of the coffee table. He stood up, careful not
to step on Buck who was lying on the floor beside him. He motioned for JD
to follow him up the stairs.
The two men slowly crept up the steps. Neither one of them had a doubt of
who had just entered through the window. Nathan did a quick scan of the hallway.
He didn't see anything. He pointed to one end and started to walk down it
towards Josiah's bedroom. His steps were slow and deliberate. He was attempting
to make no sound on the hardwood floor.
JD assumed he was supposed to go down the other way. He waited a few second
to let his eyes adjust a little better from the light of the computer screen
to the darkness. He walked a few steps and entered the spare bedroom. He
heard a footstep. His gun was raised in the direction of the step.
He was to late, the gun was ripped out of his hand. Two hands grabbed onto
his neck and squeezed. JD kicked and squirmed, but he could not break the
grip. He started to see purple spots in front of his eyes. JD had no doubt
that he was going to die. He gave one last valiant kick out. This time the
kick knocked over a table. The glass figurines shattered on the hardwood
floor. The hands tightened. JD knew that this was it.
"This is for Kari," JD's assailant growled. Suddenly the room erupted in
bright light. The hand's around JD's neck loosened just enough for the young
man to turn his head.
Nathan was standing in the doorway, with his gun raised, a look of complete
surprise on his face.
"Oh my God," JD's assailant cried. The hands were immediately taken away
from his neck. JD collapsed to the ground, gasping for breath.
The first face he saw was one that he wondered if he would ever see again.
"God JD, I'm sorry. I didn't realize it was you. It was dark in here, and
you're not much bigger than
"It's okay," JD rasped. "I'm fine Nathan, just let me get my breath. He looked
up when he saw the rest of the team standing in the doorway. Josiah noticed
"Looks like I've got some explaining to do," He sighed heavily.
A few minutes later, Team Seven, complete once again, were sitting around
Josiah's living room. A huge weight had been lifted off all of their shoulders.
It didn't matter that there was a psycho killer after them. They were all
together again, and if felt like they were invincible.
Josiah looked at his friends. He saw the black and blue marks on JD's neck
and the pain on Ezra's face every time he moved. Chris had told him about
Sidney's high speed chase and the attempt on Hannah's life. His running away
had caused the same thing that he had hoped to avoid. He had just finished
telling them the whole story.
"Why did Jeff Burns kill all those people?" JD asked.
"He was a product of a bad situation JD. A man in our platoon was killed
by Vietcong soldiers disguised as South Vietnamese civilians. When my commander
and I dragged the dead man's body back to camp, something in Burns snapped.
He ran away at night and set fire to the village. By the time we got there,
eight children, five women, and two old men were dead. All of them were innocent.
We found Squeaker with the body of a dead little boy in his arms. He was
"Bastard," Sidney hissed. She was clutching her glass of water so hard, her
knuckles were white. 'that guy deserved the death penalty."
"Don't you ever say that." Josiah turned to the girl. "It wasn't his fault.
"Why not, he murdered innocent people, including your fiancée. He
is so obsessed with destroying you that he willing to kill anybody that had
ever talked to you."
There were tears of fury in the girl's eyes. Buck put a strong comforting
arm around her shoulders.
Josiah cringed. Kari Sands had been the love of his life. Their wedding had
been planned only three months after her murder. He had been at work the
night Squeaker had broken into their house. Instead of calling the cops,
she had tried to help the distressed man. Her kindness had been her downfall.
Josiah could still remember Kari's bouncy red curls and how her smile lit
up her entire face.
He had often tried to blame Squeaker for all the pain and suffering that
the little man had caused, but he couldn't. Not even the threat that his
old friend had uttered while leaving the courtroom of his second trial.
"Don't forget me Josiah. Don't you dare! I broke out once. I can do it again.
Someday, I am going to find you. It will be when you least expect it. When
I do, nobody that you love will be safe. Your pretty little psychologist
was just beginning."
"There is no excuse for what he has done," Sidney said. Josiah turned to
look at her.
:"Just take a minute to listen to me Sidney. "You are to young to understand
what Vietnam did to the people. The country was turmoil. We were a bunch
of kids, ripped away from our homes and everything we knew. We were barely
old enough to leave home, but were forced to learn to rely on ourselves in
matter of days. Guns were forced into our hands and we were put on a boat
heading to a foreign country. We quickly learned that we either had to kill
or be killed. We slept on the ground at night, fully aware of the fact that
the friend next to us probably wouldn't be there the next the night. The
war may have ended, but the agony of the med did not. Men were forced back
into normal civilian life wit missing limbs and terrible memories that last
a lifetime. Some times the ones died had it easier. Its no wonder that more
men didn't end up like Squeaker.
The room was completely silent by the time Josiah finished. The silence lasted
a long time.
"I'm going to sleep in the spare room,' Sidney said getting up. "Good night
A chorus of good nights followed her. Josiah sighed heavily and fell back
in the chair.
"Don't worry about her Josiah. She'll come around. This whole thing just
has her shaken up pretty bad," Vin said.
"What are you planning to do about him?" Chris asked.
"I don't know Chris," Josiah answered. "Catch him again and send him back.
Josiah, this guy has escaped two times. Obviously, he's a threat that can't
be contained in any mental hospital."
"What are you suggesting, Buck?" Josiah asked suspiciously.
"More extreme measures need to be taken," Nathan clarified. It took Josiah
moment to figure out what his friend was saying. His face clouded over.
No!" He yelled. "That's part of the reason why I left. You guys couldn't
understand." He ran for the front door, but Ezra got there first.
"You departed from our group once Josiah, you will not do it again." The
few seconds were incredibly tense. For a while, it looked like Josiah might
barge right through Ezra, but slowly the hard features on his face softened.
He sighed heavily.
"You asked Sidney to listen and try to understand you. Now its your turn
to try and listen to us," Chris's commanding voice echoed throughout the
"Whether it was Vietnam or not, Squeaker is a menace to society. He will
not stop for anything Josiah. Putting the poor man out of misery is not only
protecting us, but helping him. He doesn't deserve to live in that crazed
Josiah sat down in his chair. He rubbed his big hand over his face. The others
waited patiently. There was nothing they could say. A man had to face the
demons inside alone. Finally, Josiah raised his head. He looked like had
had aged ten years. His bloodshot eyes bore into every member of his team.
"Fine, but its going to be done my way."
Chris sat at Josiah's kitchen table watching the coffee swish around in his
was almost five o clock in the morning, and he hadn't slept a wink. At least
the others were getting some much needed sleep, or so he thought. He lifted
up his head when he saw Buck walk into the kitchen.
"Couldn't sleep either?" He asked. Buck shook his head.
"Got to much on my mind," He answered.
"There's a little bit of coffee left," Chris told him, motioning with his
head towards the pot. Buck walked over to the cupboard and grabbed a mug.
He poured the hot liquid into the cup and took a long swig.
"You always knew how to make this stuff taste right," He smiled and sat down
next to Chris. Not a word was spoken between the friends for a few minutes.
Finally, Chris broke the silence.
"A penny for your thoughts?" he asked.
"You'd only get change back," Buck answered.
"Honestly Buck, what's on your mind? There must be a reason, cause you usually
sleep like a rock."
"I was just thinking about what Josiah said about the Vietnam War. Even as
boy, I knew something was wrong. "
"I had an uncle that was killed over there. We saw some of the things that
Josiah was talking about in the Gulf."
"Yeah, but we wanted to go. Most of the guys like Josiah didn't even know
what they were fighting for."
"Where are you going with this?" Chris asked.
"God damn Chris, what if the whole spread of Democracy thing gets out of
hand? What if those guys up in Washington reinstate the draft?"
"The president said it would never happen."
"Presidents have lied in the past, Chris. FDR said that we would never go
to Europe. I've got mixed feelings on this whole War on Terror thing, but
I'm damn set against a draft to get soldiers to fight it. It's Iraq today
then who knows where tomorrow."
"Why are you so against a draft Buck?" Chris asked, playing devil's advocate.
"Because not everyone was meant to be a soldier. Do you know what fighting
would do to JD? He is to sweet. His heart of gold would be destroyed the
second he fired a gun. I can see him letting himself get killed, instead
of killing the enemy. What's sad is there are hundreds more kids just like
""JD's a lot tougher than you think he is Buck. He find a way to get through."
"Watching him come home a cold hard soldier would break my heart. And what
about Vin and Sidney? You think they would be left out.
"Vin's almost above drafting age and they won't draft women."
"Vin will go if the draft happens in the next few years Chris. With this
president's ambitious agenda, it might happen sooner than later. Vin can
handle the emotional strain, but you and I both know he's immortal. He's
as likely to get ambushed as the next man. As far as Sidney goes, we live
in the twenty-first century Pard. Women have basically proved that they are
equal to the task. Even if women are not drafted, do you think Sidney would
just stand by and watch the men go? No, she would be on the first boat over
Chris had rarely heard Buck speak with such conviction. The same questions
had also arisen in his mind, but he had pushed it back into his mind. He
would worry about it when the problem arose. Now he wasn't so sure.
"Well, then we better home our brave men and women over in Iraq right now
can get the job done." Chris answered. He also hoped that his team could
get their job done too.
Josiah sat on a wooden bench in Cedar Park, about ten minutes outside of
the city. He looked around the dark sidewalk and lawn, but saw nothing. He
had come here on his own. He didn't care what Chris thought. He would deal
with his boss later. The team could never understand Squeaker. Lying to his
team had almost broken his heart. Surprisingly, no questions had been asked
when he said he was going to the office. He had an idea that Sidney knew
something was up, but she hadn't said a word to him all say. His on regret
was leaving her on such a bad note.
He lifted his head when he heard a rustling in the trees. A familiar shape
walked into view. The park lamp made Squeaker look sinister.
"I have been waiting a long time for this meeting,' the small man grinned
stroking the muzzle of his gun.
"Hello Squeaker," Josiah answered. He couldn't stop to fight the involuntary
shudder than went down his back. Squeaker was just the way he had remembered
him, except his blond hair had been replaced by grey.
'I told you that you that I would always find you. I could always get to
the ones that you love. Running away like a coward couldn't even stop me."
Josiah didn't bother saying anything. Was it his imagination or had he just
seen something moving behind the garbage can?
"You destroyed my life, Josiah. You couldn't possibly know how good it will
feel to kill you."
Josiah still didn't answer.
"Answer me. Damnit!" Squeaker was getting angry. "You better talk to me or
maybe I'll go back and knock off some more of your teammates. I already proved
that I could do it. Maybe I'll finish off that smart-ass southerner or that
nigger. I never liked them anyway."
Josiah couldn't control his anger anymore. He whipped his gun out of his
hostler and pointed it at Squeaker. The man didn't flinch. His face only
lit up into a huge smile.
"Good ahead Josiah, kill me," Squeaker mocked. Josiah held up the gun and
tried to pull back the trigger. His hand began to shake Slowly he lowered
his gun and hung his head.
"I knew it. You could never do things that needed to be done. You and I both
knew that village needed to be taken care of, yet I was the one that had
the courage to burn it down. You could have convinced those jury members
to give me the death penalty, but you chickened out and helped convince the
jury that I didn't deserve jail. Locking me up could have saved your sweetheart
and maybe that girl on your team if I get the urge to kill her."
The words hurt Josiah more than any bullet ever could. Squeaker took pleasure
in seeing the pain in Josiah's face. His final words stabbed into him like
"You will never be anything more than a yellow-bellied coward. I should be
thanked for taking you out of this world." He raised his gun. 'Good bye,
A gunshot rang out. Squeaker collapsed on the ground. Josiah looked to the
source of the gun. Vin and Sidney were standing behind the garbage can where
Josiah had seen movement. Sidney lowered her gun.
"He's not a coward," Sidney stated. The two agents walked over to Josiah
who starring down at the body.
"How did you know?' He asked Vin. Vin pointed to Sidney. "Ask her. I just
came along for the ride." He kneeled down next to Squeaker and felt for a
"Call it a woman's intuition," Sidney answered with a shrug of her shoulders.
"He's still alive," Vin answered.
"Of course his is," Sidney answered. "I wasn't aiming to kill. Squeaker's
future lies in somebody else's hands." She handed Josiah her gun. He took
it with shaking hands.
"Remember what he said about you Josiah. Remember about the risk that he
poses. He's unconscious right now, he won't feel a thing. Is saving him really
worth the risk? Are you willing to sacrifice another life like Kari's?"
She motioned for Vin to follow her. The two agents started to walk down the
"Do you think he'll do it?" Vin asked. A gunshot echoed throughout the trees
before Sidney got a chance to answer. Her face lit up into a smile. They
both waited for Josiah to meet up with them. When he finally did, his face
was tear streaked.
"He's at peace now Josiah. Let him go." Vin said. Josiah nodded his head
and rubbed his eyes.
A loud rumbling noise reached their ears. Sidney grabbed a hold of her stomach.
"Sorry," She answered
Josiah tilted his head back and laughed
Josiah walked into an empty bullpen. He had taken the morning off to visit
Squeaker's gravesite. The healing process was long and tiresome, but he would
get there eventually He didn't bother taking off his coat. He still had one
more trip to make today. Loud yells were heard from the conference room.
He smiled and walked into the large room. His team was sitting around the
oak table. A scrabble board was set up in the middle.
"There is no Rivering is a world JD," Nathan said.
"Yeah it is. You guys gave Ezra the points for Honorificabilitudinitatibus!
"I already explained this Mr. Dunne. My word is the longest English word
consisting strictly of alterating consonants and vowels.
"You're so full of shit Ezra," JD answered.
"Hey that gives me an idea!" Buck exclaimed. Josiah didn't need to hear the
word that Buck was thinking off He cleared his throat.
"Hey Josiah," Vin greeted. Josiah nodded his head.
"You ready to go Sidney?" He asked. The girl jumped out her seat.
"Thank God you got here. I swear I was going to shoot someone." She answered
running out of the door.
Are you going to see Hannah?" Nathan asked. Josiah nodded his head. Glad
that his two favorite girls had become friends. He couldn't believe how close
he had come to loosing both of them.
'Let's go Josiah," Sidney called. Josiah waved good-bye. The hundred pound
weight on his shoulders finally disappeared as he followed the girl into
the bright afternoon.