Storm Surge

by KatLyn


Rating: NC-17

Status: WIP

Disclaimers: There mine. Do not use them, steal them, or abuse them.


Part 8

Chapter Twenty-Four

Alex led her team across the river in a small inflatable dinghy. When they reached the other side, Richard Blake pulled a stiletto from his boot, and in one quick motion, sliced a long slit down the side of the craft. Conner took a long, slow breath as she watched as their only means of escape via the river, deflate before her eyes. She glanced at Alex and saw that she too was watching, before snapping her head to the side, silently ordering them to move out.

The four stealthily moved through the darkness, entering the warehouse property through a narrow opening created by the first team. Silently, they moved closer to the warehouse using hand signals and experience to guide their progress.

Everyone felt the meeting would be held in the original warehouse location with the container building being used as a decoy to throw them off. Regardless of this, they had decided earlier in the day that they could not risk missing Hernandez, and placed the first and third group close to the Container building just in case.

Alex couldn't force away the uneasy feeling that kept creeping into her stomach. Things had gone extremely well so far, almost too well. As she knelt behind an old, rusted oil drum to watch the warehouse for any signs of movement, Alex decided she had to make a committed decision about Olivia. She knew she was only endangering the rest of the team with her uncertainty. Either Olivia was part of the team or part of the organization, but which?

A movement caught Alex's eye, and she watched as a tall figure moved from the building and out onto the concrete drive, stopping within the amber circle created by a halogen flood light on the side of the building. The figure pulled a pack of cigarettes from their left breast pocket and Alex watched on, as the small flame created by the lighter, illuminated Olivia's face.

Olivia took a long drag of her cigarette, then blew out a stream of smoke, before running her left hand through her long dark mane. She then stretched her arm above her head, fist clenched in a tight ball. At the peak of the stretch, she opened and closed her hand four times, letting her fingers spread apart in the dim light. Well, I'll be damned, Alex thought as she read the silent hand signal from her ex-partner, she is one of the good guys.

Years before, Alex and Olivia had worked out many silent signals, and this particular one was formed to say that everything was a go and that twenty individuals were in the warehouse for them to deal with. Anyone in the Hernandez organization witnessing the movement would only think their Chief of security was out for a smoke and a stretch.

Alex smiled and turned to give a thumbs-up to her team. She could hear Conner's sigh of relief in the darkness and quickly glanced over and gave a quick nod of her head. Alex knew she had only one transmission to Donald before the frequency would be silenced. She motioned to DeTomasso, giving the go ahead, and listened as he spoke through the tiny microphone taped to his collar.

"Got this one set, boss. Let's have a beer."

Alex turned and watched as the dark figure on the boat moved into the cabin, then the running lights were shut off, and all was dark except for the dim lights peeking through the portholes. She turned back towards the warehouse, and saw that Olivia was now talking with another person, this one a large male, with what appears to be an Uzi slung over his shoulder.

Olivia pointed towards the Container building and the man began walking away. Alex hoped Olivia was dispersing the armed men in an attempt to ease the team's forward movement. Alex looked around, and motioned the team to move out. They dispersed quietly, each member going in a different direction, to allow a wider coverage area. All was quiet for a few minutes, and then Alex heard a muffled thud, followed by a click in her ear.

The click was Blake keying his microphone, indicating a take down. The unique communications signal was agreed upon earlier in the day, and as Alex watched the warehouse, she saw Olivia turn her head in Blake's direction. Olivia was apparently listening to their signals through her earpiece, and as she turned back to the door, she looked up towards the roof. Alex interpreted this as a signal the there were men on the roof, and headed towards a shadow on the left side of the building.

Conner lay in the grass and watched Olivia as her head angled up towards the roof. She then made her way towards the rear of the warehouse, and using her strong hands and legs, she shimmied up a drainage pipe, stopping just short of clearing the parapet wall of the roof. She listened for any movement then eased a small mirror over the edge. Swiveling it, she could see three men on the roof, one on the opposite side from Alex, and two kneeling behind the parapet towards the front. There was a large exhaust fan sitting approximately ten feet in front of her, and she eased herself over the wall and moved quietly until she was securely crouched behind it.

Conner looked towards the side of the building where Alex had headed, but didn't see any indication that she had cleared the roof. Picking up a small pebble, Conner threw it several feet away, near an air conditioning unit, and watched as the guard near the side wall jerked his head around. As he made his way towards the sound, Conner used the time to move from her temporary hiding place behind the fan, to the opposite side of the unit, where she again waited.

She heard the guard approach and eased the stun gun from her belt, as she slipped her weapon into the holster under her right arm. She watched the shadow, cast by the street lamps, as it came closer, and took a quick glance around the other side of the unit to see the other two guards still standing quietly at the front wall. Just as the guard rounded the A/C unit, Conner pressed the stun gun against the guard's neck, sending 500,000 volts of electricity through his body. The muscular guard fell limp into Conners arms.

She quickly stuffed a gag in his mouth, and using flex cuffs, she bound his hands and legs behind his body and rolled him onto his stomach. She pulled the limp appendages together and further strapped his hands to his feet. By the time she had completed the task, she looked around to see Alex on the other side of the building, hiding behind another exhaust fan.

Alex gave Conner a thumbs-up, and then heard the quick click in her ear, indicating the takedown. Alex pulled the Taser gun from the holster on her hip and held it up to Conner. Getting a quick nod in return, the two women eased their way into striking distance. Once they were positioned, Conner glanced over towards Alex. Alex held up three fingers and silently counted down. When her fingers formed a fist, they both pulled the triggers on the Tasers, and watched as the Electro-Muscular Disruption (EMD) darts carrying 50,000 volts imbedded themselves into the guards thighs. The men fell hard onto the gravel rooftop, and the two women sat silently for a few seconds listening for any sounds that would indicate their cover had been blown. Hearing none, Alex and Conner quickly bound the two guards, lifted the heavy dead weight and carried the guards into a dark shadow in the corner. Conner quickly keyed her mic twice as Alex quickly calculated the results. With the three guards down on the roof, the one Blake had taken out and six others she had heard, there were now ten remaining guards.

Alex signaled Conner to head for the access door and covered her as she made her way across the roof, before following. Once they were beside the door, Alex checked the doorknob and found it was unlocked. Conner stepped beside the door and raised her Sig, as Alex snatched the door open.

Moving through the door, they saw a dim light coming from the bottom of the stairs, and quietly made there way down, stopping every few steps to listen. Once at the bottom, they peered around the corner and Alex held up two fingers. They reloaded the Taser guns, and eased out into the hallway, "Hey guys," Alex whispered.

The two burly guards brought their weapons up, quickly turning towards the sound, but didn't have a chance to fire as darts hit each man center chest. Alex and Conner moved quickly, catching the men before their dead weight hit the ground, causing any noise. Pulling them into a side room, they quickly bound and gagged the two, and headed back out the door, clicking the mic twice on the way.


Olivia listened from the other end of the hallway as Alex and Conner made their way in her direction, impressed with her ex-partner. The team had managed to take out 12 of her guards without any trouble, leaving only eight more. Olivia knew all but one of the remaining guards were posted within the cavernous area of the warehouse, and silently headed through the door that would lead her back to Hernandez.

Malcolm watched Olivia closely as she walked towards two guards and spoke to them in a low voice, before turning and strolling back to where he was sitting.

"Where did you just send my two best guards, Captain?" Malcolm always addressed Olivia with the military rank he had given her when they were around others. However, they resumed a more relaxed nature when speaking in private, especially when they were in bed.

Olivia met his cold glare, "I couldn't raise Saul out in the field, so I sent them out to have a look," she shrugged her shoulders, "Probably nothing, but I don't want to take any chances. Where's Thomas?"

A thin line formed across Malcolm's face as he smiled, "Oh he's around somewhere."

From the corner of the room, Alex and Conner listened to the exchange. Alex could feel the cold sweat that suddenly covered her body when she first eyed Hernandez, slowly trickle down her back. Her eyes bore holes in the man as she struggled to control her breathing. Her first gut instinct was to raise her Sig and take him out right then and there, I have waited so long for this moment Malcolm, she thought to herself. Alex jerked as Conner placed a gentle hand on her arm. As she looked into Conner's eyes, she could see the concern they held. Nodding her head, she quietly inhaled a deep breath, forcing her body to relax and focus, OK Montgomery, stick with the plan.

One moment of hesitation was all it took to give the dark figure his opportunity. While the two women were distracted with each other, he eased forward, smiling Their bodies stiffened on hearing the hammer of his gun cock, "Good evening ladies, so glad you could join our little party."

The two women slowly turned and Conner's mind reeled as she looked into the face of the man before her, "Seth!"

Seth's mouth widened in a slow malicious grin, "Hey Conner. You know, I never did get a chance to thank you for keeping Magnum while I was away onŠummŠvacation."

Conner lunged towards Seth, but was pulled back by Alex, "You sorry son-of-a-bitch."

"Now, now Conner. You know, it really doesn't become you to speak such foul words, my dear." Seth pointed the gun at Alex knowing Conner wouldn't attempt anything daring as long as the gun was aimed at the Agent. "Now, why don't you hand me your weapons, very carefully, and then we'll go join the guest of honor?"

Olivia watched silently as Seth marched the two agents into the center of the warehouse, "What do we have here Thomas?" Olivia took a long drag off her cigarette and watched as Seth pushed the women closer.

"Just a couple of rodents I found in the hall, Liv. This beauty here is Alex Montgomery, 'The Shadow' is what they call her," Seth heard a low chuckle from Malcolm who was sitting at the desk in a dimly lit corner, enjoying the introductions, "and this little spitfire is Conner Harris, my esteemed partner against crime."

Seth gave Olivia an amused look, "What Liv? Did I finally get a little information before you? I'm disappointed you know, I thought you would have done your homework. Hard to believe you're not familiar with these two."

Olivia rose and walked closer to the two women stopping directly in front of Conner, "Nope, not this one. I'll have to make sure I get familiar though, she's very cute, Seth." Olivia raked her eyes over Conner's body before reaching out to grip her chin in her hand, "Very cute indeed."

Conner jerked her head away and glared at Olivia, "Fuck off."

Olivia raised a brow and cocking her head sideways smiled, "Umm, and such a little fighter."

Alex heard Seth's snorting laugh behind her, "Yes Liv, my dear, and just your type too. I know for a fact she likes tall, dark, sexyŠwomen."

Olivia's eyes became hooded, as she moved closer, "Hmmm, well now, we just might have to get better acquainted a little later."

Conner remained silent and glared back at the woman. She refused to give Olivia the satisfaction of humiliating her. Conner could see Alex's muscles flex as Olivia grabbed the front of her shirt, pulling her roughly against her chest, and growled, "You'd better be nice blondie. I'll be the closest thing you have to a friend before the nights over." Olivia then leaned down and planted a rough, hard kiss on Conner's lips, taking the women completely by surprise.

It took Conner only a second to regain her composure and she quickly bit down hard on the intruding lip. Olivia jerked away, and brought her hand up to her face, wiping away the blood that Conner's bite had drawn, "You bitch."

Conner's head snapped to the side as the back of Olivia's hand struck her face, but she quickly faced the glaring woman once again, "That's what you get for not asking politely."

Olivia glared at Seth as he roared in laughter, "My, my Conner, I would have never guessed you were such a live one.' He looked at Olivia, "You're going to have some fun with this one, Liv."

"Yes, I certainly intend to have a grand time," she turned and faced Alex, "Take her to the office and tie her up. I have a few more pressing matters to take care of right now."


Conner felt the gun pressed against her spine, and as Seth pushed her forward she heard Olivia call back over her shoulder, "Seth, be nice and don't hurt the poor girl. I certainly don't want you to ruin all the pleasure I'm going to have later tonight. It's been a long while since I've had a chance to saddle break one like her." Conner could hear the roaring laughter from Olivia as she was shoved through the doorway of the office.

Seth shoved Conner across the room as they cleared the wall making her lose her footing. "When this is over, you'll pay for this Seth, I promise."

Leaning against a metal desk in the center of the room, Seth glared at his partner, "I'm sure you would like to try, but unfortunately when this is over, you'll be leaving in a body bag. I don't think I have anything to worry about."

Conner had eased herself into a sitting position against the far wall. Looking around the room, she searched for something within range to use as a weapon, "Why?"

Seth raised his arms in exasperation and shook his head as he gave Conner a glaring stare, "Come now Conner, think about it. Not everyone has the privilege of coming from a rich family like you, " he snarled.

Conner's eyes widened in shock, "If you needed money, Seth, all you had to do was ask me. God Seth, you've been like a brother to me, I would have helped you."

Snarling, Seth walked closer to Conner and knelt in front of her, "Yeah right, little sister. You mean to tell me, if I had come to you and confessed that I had gambled away my life saving, and owed my bookie 200 grand, you would have bailed me out? I don't think so," Seth leaned in until Conner could feel his breathe on her cheek, "Not the great, noble Conner Harris. I'm sure you would have run straight to Cappy."

"I would have helped you, Seth." Tears stung Conner's eyes as she learned what her friend and partner believed about her. "So how did that lead to all of this? You telling me you trust Hernandez more than you trust your own partner?"

Seth stood and walked back towards the desk, "It's not about trust Conner, don't you see? It's about survival." Seth raked a hand through his hair and Conner could see the stress in his face, "Hernandez came to me and offered to pay my way out, if I would do him one little favorŠkeep and eye on you. After Montgomery's girlfriend got killed and you decided to play the white knight, you started getting too close for Malcolm's comfort."

Conner was trying to understand Seth's desperation, "So, how did that get you hereŠtonight?"

Seth's malevolent smile sent chills up Conner's spine, "Money, my dear Conner, something you don't have many concerns with. Malcolm made me an offer I couldn't refuse, making more money in a month than I could make a year on the force. He gave me wealthŠfreedom. All I had to do was keep an eye on you, anyone else that got in his way, and deal with them appropriately."

"You mean murder them, right?" Conner could no longer keep the venom from her voice. This man, Seth, her brother, her partner, her friend, had fallen prey to the dark side of evil, betraying all that was right and good, "You're pathetic, Seth."

Seth lunged off the desk. Before Conner could react, he had one hand around her neck and the other held a gun pointed against her temple, "Don't preach to me, Harris. I may be pathetic, but tomorrow I'll still be alive and well, sorry, I can't say as much for you." He reached behind his body and pulled a set of cuffs from his pocket, "This discussion is over, Harris. Don't move or I'll blow you righteous brains out, right here."

Conner seethed with anger as she stared her partner down, "You don't have the fucking guts." Conner felt the explosion in her head. She could feel the darkness begin to envelope her, and fought to remain conscious as the pain ripped through her body. She knew the blow Seth had delivered across the side of her face with the butt of his gun, had shattered her cheekbone. She felt her body begin to sag as the darkness wrapped itself around her mind.

When Conner regained consciousness, she felt her left arm wrenched behind her back, then her right, as Seth snapped on the handcuffs. He rolled her over and moved on to her feet. When he took his eyes off her for a split second, reaching for a length of rope, Conner reacted. Her foot snapped Seth's head back as it made solid contact, and he fell back onto the floor, howling in pain, as blood gushed out of his nose.

"You fucking bitch," He turned onto his side, slowly regaining his balance, when another stabbing pain hit him in the ribs, sending him back to the floor writhing in agony. He quickly crawled out of Conner's reach, retrieved the gun that had fallen from his hands and pointed it at Conner, "I should kill you right here." He took a labored breath, as the pain in his side increased, "However, I am going to enjoy seeing what Olivia has in store for you later. She is a real rough bitch, Harris, and I can't wait to see her break you." He stood and pulled the straight chair from behind the desk. Still aiming the gun at his partner, he walked closer, "On your stomach, NOW."

Conner rolled over onto her stomach and felt the legs of the chair straddle her legs. Seth was using an old trick she had taught him, "Glad you learned something from me."

"Shut the fuck up." Seth quickly tied Conner's feet together and stood, "You make one move, and you're dead." He turned and walked towards the door, jerking it open. Taking a deep breath, he turned back to his partner and friend, and with a small hint of remorse spoke softly, "I'm sorry it had to end this way Conner." Seth quietly closed the door and made his way up the stairs, to the roof, to release the guards Alex and Conner had earlier subdued.


Alex glared at Olivia as Conner was shoved towards the office door. A wave of guilt surged through her body as she realized the she had let her emotions persuade her to trust Olivia, even when all the evidence pointed towards her involvement in the Hernandez organization. Now they were in a tough situation, one Alex didn't know if she would be able to get them out of. Her head snapped to the left as she heard Malcolm's dark, smooth voice from a few feet away.

"Please Alex, come and join me, won't you."

Olivia's hand pushed her towards the desk in the dimly lit corner of the warehouse, and she felt a hand on her shoulder, as she was pushed down into the chair facing him. "Hello Malcolm. Long time no see." A thin smile crossed her lips, "How's the leg?" Alex knew the only chance she and Conner had of escaping this situation was by unbalancing Malcolm's focus.

Malcolm sat forward in the chair, placed his elbows on the desk before him and glared at his nemesis, "Yes Alex, it has been a long time." Completely ignoring the cutting question, he smiled and continued, "May I offer you a glass of wine?"

"No. Thank you."

He leaned back in the chair, took a sip of his wine, and regarded Alex with probing eyes, "Well, since you won't allow me to be a good host, maybe we should just get down to business then."

Alex glared back at the man who had torn her life apart, "Yes. Let's."

Hernandez reached into his breast pocket for one of his imported cigars and took his time lighting the small, brown roll of cured tobacco, as he considered his options. After sucking in a long draw, he blew out a stream of pungent smoke above his head. Leaning forward Malcolm smiled, "You have become quite a nagging problem for me, Alex. What will it take to make you go away?"

Alex regarded Malcolm Hernandez with flat, dark eyes. This man had almost destroyed her life, and now the only salvation she had been able to find was being held captive in the office, out of her reach. She also knew that if Olivia had turned rogue, neither would live to see tomorrow. Alex had worked with Olivia long enough to know she could be a brutal adversary, and if her suspicions were correct, the plans Olivia had for Conner would be merciless and deadly. She held Malcolm's eyes as she spoke, "Seeing you taken out in a body bag, would be the only thing that can make me go away Malcolm.

Alex heard footsteps behind her, turning to see the five guards they had taken down earlier, enter the room, followed by Seth. Alex noticed that they spread out, essentially covering all areas of the warehouse, and knew the Special Ops team outside was in no position to assist them. She mentally calculated the numbers. Now that the five guards were back on their feet, there were a total of thirteen guards, Olivia, and Malcolm to contend with. Looking back at Hernandez, Alex knew she had to buy some time, "What is it that you want?"

Malcolm smiled, knowing he had the Agent right where he wanted her, "Call off your team outside. I want them all to walk up to the building, lay down their weapons, and walk out the far gate. I have a very important meeting in a little over an hour, and I don't want any unnecessary distractions."

Alex smirked, her eyes showing her amusement, "Sorry Malcolm, that's not going to happen. You might as well admit defeat. You're trapped in here. If you think the FBI is going to let you walk away simply because you happen to have two of their agents held captive, you're more stupid that I thought."

A small thin smile crept across Alex's face, "Listen, I'll even give them the instructions myself. Alex lifted her hand pressing the tiny mic clipped under her shirt. Dipping her head, she spoke in a strong, clear voice, "Garrett, you're in charge. No way are you to, under any circumstances, surrender you're weapons to this piece of -."

Malcolm was out of his chair and in front of Alex before she finished giving her orders to the Special Ops team. He grabbed Alex's shirt and ripped it down the front, exposing the small microphone attached to her chest. Ripping the device from her skin, threw it on the floor and crushed it beneath his foot. Before Alex could pull her head back, Malcolm's heavily jeweled hand struck her face, tearing a long gash down her cheek. He glared at Olivia over Alex's head, "Check the other one."

Seth moved towards the office and was stopped by Malcolm's raging words to Olivia, "This is your mistake Captain. You clean it up."

Olivia glared at Malcolm then turned and walked towards the office. She hesitated for a moment to look back over her shoulder at Malcolm, and saw he was watching her movements closely. She opened the door and stepped into the darkened room.

Flipping the light switch on, she found Conner slumped in the corner, her right eye swollen shut from the brutal blow Seth had delivered earlier. She walked over and knelt down in front of Conner. Grasping cloth in both hands, she tore open the front of Conner's shirt sending the buttons flying across the room. Olivia refused to make eye contact with Conner as she ripped the microphone from her chest, and crushed it beneath her booted foot. Only when Conner whispered her name, did the guilt run through her soul.

"Why, Olivia?" Conner could barely form the words through the pain, but she had to know why Alex's friend and ex-partner had turned against them.

"Be quiet," Olivia's voice was flat and emotionless.

"She loved you, trusted you. Why?" Conner pressed.

Olivia made the mistake of looking into Conner's eyes and saw the torment the younger woman suffered. Tearing her eyes from Conner's, she practically ran to the door but stopped short of opening it. Olivia tore a hand through her hair, took a ragged breath, then turned once again towards Conner, "You love her, don't you?"

Olivia's face was blurry, as Conner tried to see the woman's face through only her good eye. She nodded her head and smiled, "Yes, Olivia, I love AlexŠmore than life itself."

Olivia stood in the silence and looked into Conner's eyes. Even through the pain, the woman's eyes lit up as she spoke Alex's name. Olivia slowly walked back towards Conner and knelt down close to her crumpled body, reaching out to touch the smooth skin of Conner's chest.

Conner felt something cold pressed against her skin, then watched as Olivia slowly walked to the desk in the dark corner, opened a drawer and placed something Conner couldn't discern inside. Conner jumped as the desk drawer was slammed shut and Olivia stomped from the room.


Donald and Jack sat in the cabin of the boat listening as the confrontation in the warehouse played out, and watched the tiny dots representing the other members of the team blink on the screen as they moved closer to the warehouse.

"Fucking asshole. If I ever get my hands on the piece of shit, I'll kill him." Jack had been stunned when Seth's voice came through the speakers. Never had he dreamed that the rouge would be Seth. Then where does Bivin's come into the picture? Jack thought to himself.

"OK. We have to think here. If Seth is the rogue, then what is Frank Bivin's role in all of this, Donald?" Jack was pacing the narrow center lane of the cabin,

Donald took a haggard breath and watched his comrade closely, "Bivin's was a set up, Jack." Before he could react, he felt his body being pulled out of the chair and slammed against the wall of the cabin.

Jack's eyes bore into Donald's, "A plant? You're telling me you knew about this all along."

Donald held Jack's eyes, "It was classified information, Jack. I couldn't tell you."

Jack pulled Donald away from the wall and slammed him back again, "I'll give you a little classified information, you son-of-a-bitch. If anything happens to Alex or Conner in there, I'll kill you myself."

Donald's eyes held Jack's in a hard stare, "Sit down Jack, and I'll fill you in."


Chapter Twenty-Five

Donald shrugged Jack's hands away, walked to the cooler and pulled out two beers. He twisted the cap from the first one and handed it to Jack, then did the same to the second one, sitting down heavily in the chair.

Leaning against the far wall, Jack waited impatiently for Donald to begin, "Well?"

Donald swept his hand over the day old beard growth on his face and began to explain, "Remember when Bivin's came to Jacksonville a couple of years ago?" Donald looked at Jack and saw him nod. "Well he came from Colorado."

Jack cut off Donald's words, "I know all of this. Donald, I'm the one who hired him, remember. He works for me!"

Donald looked at his friend warily. "Actually he works for me too, Jack. Bivin's was a detective in Denver and accidentally ran across a vein of the Hernandez organization while working a drug case out there. He knew it was a big case for the FBI, worked his way into the set-up, and only then contacted the local field office. Graham Richardson, the local man out there, let him into the agency on the condition that he maintained his cover as a bad cop. He didn't want anyone in the organization to think Bivin's was FBI, it would scare them away from him." Donald took a long pull from the beer and glanced at the screen, giving Jack a little time to absorb the information.

Jack sat down on the couch in front of Donald, "Go ahead."

"Anyway Bivin's worked his way in, but the head honchos in the Colorado division never quite trusted him, so they sent him to the Jacksonville organization. I guess they felt like he wouldn't cause any problems if he were located somewhere away from his family and known associates in the police force. Anyway, after he was settled in, he contacted me by way of Richardson, and we met. I put him on as a Special Agent, Jack, specifically to work this case.

"The Hernandez organization wanted an inside man in your department so they sent him in to apply for a job. He went, you hired him, and his cover was complete." Donald took another long pull from the beer and glanced back at the screen. All of the agents were positioned near the warehouse, helplessly waiting.

Jack raked his hand through his hair and growled. " So he was working for you all along. You didn't think you could tell me this before now, Donald?"

Donald looked at his friend and comrade. "No, I couldn't. I had orders from higher upŠmy hands were tied, Jack. Alex was the only agent we've had who had ever gotten as close as Bivins did. Actually, Alex had imbedded herself deeper, but when she was injured last year, we had no choice but to turn to Bivins. His contact with our office was José Gonzolas."

"Well, José's dead Donald. Has Frank contacted you since the explosion?"

Donald looked away and exhaled a long sigh, "No, we haven't heard from him. I can only hope he is in that warehouse somewhere, and still on our side."

"What do you mean, 'hope he's still on our side'?" Jack was once again pacing the narrow lane in the cabin.

"He's been avoiding everyone for a while; missing meetings, delaying the transfer of information. Right now, we honestly don't know for sure whose side he's on."

Stopping in front of Donald and glaring, Jack shook his head exposing his pulsing arteries, "Great, this is just fucking great Donald. My best detective and your best agent are in there, and you're telling me you don't know whose fucking side anyone is on! You'd better be glad you don't work for me because I'd fire your sorry ass right now, then I'd beat the shit out of you for putting them in the middle of this cluster fuck without giving them all the facts."

Donald looked up at Jack in defeat, "I don't blame, you Jack. If I were in your shoes, I'd feel the same way."

Jack pulled a service revolver from his pack, and stuck it in his belt, "Well, you can sit here and feel sorry for yourself all night if you want to, Donald. Personally, I'm going to get those two out of there, with or without your help." Jack turned and climbed through the companionway leaving Donald below staring at the blinking screen.


Conner lay in the dim room trying to comprehend what Olivia had just done, but her mind was foggy and she couldn't stay focused on her thoughts. There on her chest, lay the key to the handcuffs. Now all she had to do was figure out how to get it from her chest and into her hands. She lay perfectly still, knowing if she made any movement towards either side, the key would slip down into her clothing. Her head pounded, she closed her eyes, tired, gotta rest.

The sound of the office door opening pulled Conner from the haze. A searing pain tore through her head as the light switch was flipped and the fluorescent lights flickered on above her head. She slowly turned her head to look at the guard, getting a glimpse of the cop before shutting her eyes against the pain.

"Well, well, what have we here?" He knelt beside Conner and ran his hand down her neck, picking up the small shiny key between his fingers. "Someone leave you a little present, Harris?"

Conner closed her eyes again, trying to block out the glaring lights, "Fuck You." Garlic, he always smells like fucking garlic, Conner thought to herself.

The cop stood and walked past her. Leaning against the desk, he pulled a pack of cigarettes from his pocket, lit one and slowly inhaled before blowing out a thin stream of bluish smoke in Conner's direction. "Looks like you got yourself in a little bind here, Harris."

Conner kept her eyes shut. "Fuck You."

The man snickered. "That bump on your face cause your limited vocabulary, or are you just not very talkative tonight?"

Conner refused to respond, and lay there quietly, listening to him tap his foot on the floor as he finished his cigarette. When she heard footsteps stop near her head, she opened her left eye and saw his black boot. Slowly, he knelt beside her again, and reached out to run his hand across her neck. She knew the tattered shirt was the only thing protecting her from his groping hands, "Tell me what you want Bivins, then get the fuck away from me?"

Bivins looked over his shoulder towards the door, then back down at the battered cop. Leaning down close to her ear, he whispered, "Believe it or not Harris, I'm one of the good guys. All I want is for you to get to the roof, give your team a signal, then find a hole to crawl into until all this is over. You're in no condition to help with this so stay out of my way, Conner. I'll make sure everything turns out alrightŠI promise."

Conner opened her eyes a few moments later, found herself alone in the room, and realized she must have fallen asleep. She turned her head to the side, and although the pain continued to sear her brain, it wasn't as intense as it had been earlier. She looked down at her chest, and panicked when she couldn't find the handcuff key. Looking around, she released a sigh of relief when she saw it lying on the floor next to her body. Easing her body over onto her right side, she moved carefully until she felt the key beneath her fingers. She closed her eyes and concentrated until she had unlocked one cuff, but stopped and fell back, covering her hands, when she heard footsteps rapidly approaching the door.

Conner closed her eyes and listened intently as the footsteps entered the room, paused, then continued, finally stopping next to her head. The boot lightly kicked her shoulder and Conner opened her eyes to see Olivia standing over her. "You lose something?"

Conner looked confused for a moment before she realized what Olivia was referring to, "UmmŠNo."

Olivia removed the cap from a bottle of water, kneeled down, and gently lifted Conner's head. "Here drink this." Olivia held the bottle to Conner's lips as she eagerly drank. "Slow down, I'm not going to take it away from you."

Conner relaxed her head into Olivia's hand, "Why are you doing this?"

Olivia raised an eyebrow, "What? This?" she lifted her head indicating the warehouse. "Or this?" she lifted the bottle of water.

"Both." Conner pulled her head back up and Olivia helped her drink more water.

"I'm doing this because it's my job. "She gently lay Conner's head back down, "This," she looked at the bottle, "I'm doing because, believe it or not, I care about you."

Conner looked at Olivia not knowing what to feel, or say. Before she had a chance to gather her thoughts, Olivia stood and walked across the room, "I need to get out of here. Be careful." Olivia leveled a final glance at Conner and walked through the door.

Conner lay there for a few moments waiting and listening for any signs of movement beyond the door, then slowly sat up, unlocked the other handcuff from her wrist, and quickly untied the bindings around her ankles. A wave of dizziness rushed through her head as she stood and made her way across the room to the desk. Pulling the drawer open, she found Sig lying there beside two extra clips. Quickly tucking the clips into her pocket she headed towards the door.

Conner struggled to keep the dizziness and nausea at bay as she stood by the door. She turned the knob slowly and cracked the door just enough to peer into the hallway. Seeing no one, she pulled the door open, pushed the locking mechanism, and eased into the hallway closing the door behind her, remembering too late that she had left her vest inside the room. It took Conner a moment to organize her thoughts and remember the layout of the warehouse, before she eased down to the opposite end of the hall to the stairwell that led to the roof. Staying on the inside edge of the steps, she slowly made her way to the top of the stairs, and felt a cool blast of air as the door pushed open easily in her hands.

Conner closed the door quietly. Looking around for guards, she slipped towards the backside of the roof, staying low, so as to avoid attracting any unwanted attention. Reaching the parapet wall, she peered over. Seeing no sign of the guards, she crawled over the wall and gripped the same pipe she had previously used to access the roof. She quickly slid down the pipe and hit the ground hard, her head vibrating with pain. Not knowing where her other team members were located, she headed in the direction of the boat. All I have to do is get to Jack.

The pain resonated through her head with each step, and she continued the mantra on her trek across the warehouse grounds, Get to Jack, get to Jack, get to Jack. Her head was throbbing, she didn't know how much further she could go, and then she felt two strong hands grab her from behind, just as the darkness overtook her conscious mind.


"Very clever, Alex, very clever indeed." Malcolm removed the diamond-studded ring from his fingers, and using Alex's shirt, polished her blood off the gleaming jewels. "It seems we now have a dilemma on our hands." Malcolm returned to his seat behind the desk and regarded Alex with keen eyes that sparkled when he next spoke, "Liv darling, I think it's time to show Agent Montgomery the little surprise I have for her tonight, don't you?"

Alex turned towards Olivia and saw a moment of uncertainty in her face, and then returned her stare to Malcolm. "What little surprise would that be, Malcolm?" Alex continued to watch Olivia and felt a stabbing pain in her gut when her ex-partner refused to make eye contact with her.

"Liv, why don't you go retrieve our little package?" Malcolm continued to carefully watch Olivia as she abruptly turned and walked down the hallway. Turning back towards Alex, Malcolm sat and waited silently until he heard footsteps draw near. His face broke into a malicious grin as he watched Alex's face pale when she saw the women enter the room, "Alex, my dear, you must remember that I am always prepared for the unexpected." His laughter echoed off the concrete walls of the warehouse, as he savored the tortured look on Alex's face.

Alex lunged from the chair and was over the desk with her hands around Malcolm's neck before any of the guards could react and stop her, "You fucking bastard. I'll kill you."

Malcolm rubbed his throat as the guards pulled Alex away and pinned her back into the chair. "My, my Alex, I thought you would be delighted to see your sister after all this time. Karen, Mrs. Fairfax, please join us for a glass of wine."

Olivia pulled a chair on each side of Alex and motioned to the women to sit. Karen rushed towards Alex and fell into her arms, "God, Alex, are you all right?"

Returning her sister's embrace, Alex kissed her cheek, and whispered, "Yes, baby, I'm fine. Now just do what they ask, okay?"

Karen nodded and sat in the chair next to Alex, but continued to grip her hand. Catherine sat on her other side carefully scanning the room, as Alex turned back towards Malcolm.

"You see Alex, the tides always have a way of turning in the blink of an eye. One moment you're floating on a peaceful sea, the next you're swept away in a violent vortex. One must always be prepared for those changing tidesŠ and the consequences of being caught unprepared," Malcolm chuckled as he sat with his hands interlocked behind his head. "I do believe it is time for you to make that call now, Alex."

Alex glared back at Malcolm, "I don't think so. As I told you before, it's not an option."

Malcolm stood and walked around the desk. Taking Alex's chin in his hand, he leaned close to her face, "I think your sister has been through enough the past year. I would hate to have to kill her now and see all her suffering be for naught."

Alex tore her face from his hand, "Fuck you, Mal-"

Karen cut her off before she had a chance to finish. In a quiet voice she spoke to Malcolm Hernandez for the first time, "Mr. Hernandez, I'm not sure what your little game is here, but I can tell you this. Obviously, my sister believes that bringing you down is the right thing, otherwise why would she have given up as much of her soul as she has, to this case." Glancing at Alex and Catherine she saw the shock on both their faces.

"I stand by Alex's decision, and if my dying is what it takes to get you off the street, then so be it. Death can't be nearly as bad as what she and I have had to live through this last year." Karen held his stare, never wavering, nor blinking. "So, which one of your guards would you like to have the honor, Mr. Hernandez?" Karen dared another glance at her sister, "Personally, I think it should be Olivia, since she knows both of us so well. What do you think, Alex?" Karen sat back and smiled when she saw all the color drained from Malcolm's face."


Conner woke up to see Jack's concerned face looking at her intently, "Hey Kid, you okay?"

Conner blinked several times trying to bring Jack's face into focus. Suddenly, through the fog, she remembered why she was trying to reach him and struggled to speak, "HelpŠAlexŠwarehouseŠroofŠclear."

Jack felt Conner's body relax in his arms and gently lay her back on the ground. He knew he had to make some fast decisions. Obviously from the last transmission, Alex was being held hostage, and Hernandez knew they were on the grounds as well. He pressed the mic on his chest and directed the Special Ops team to switch to the secure channel. While he waited for each member to call in, Jack thought about the situation. They had the Hernandez group pinned in the warehouse with no method of escape. He couldn't guarantee that Hernandez wouldn't harm Alex, but with the agent being his only means of security, he doubted the man would be so foolish. At least that would buy them some time to reorganize.

After each member had called in, Jack directed all but Bannister, Willis, Seay, and Garrett to meet him at the dock. Then lifting Conner, pulled her arm over his shoulder, and headed over.

When Jack arrived with Conner, Donald was waiting, dripping water on the weathered boards under his feet. Jack simply raised a brow at Donald's appearance, and gently sat Conner on the deck. He took off his jacket and placed it around her shoulders.

Conner's eyes widened and as she stood the pain ripped through her head, "AlexŠshe's in there, the roofŠgo now."

Jack pushed on Conner's shoulder easing her back down, "Easy Conner, everything's under control just relax." He looked up at Donald for the first time, "Gather everyone up, will you Donald."

Donald began walking towards the team that was gathering at the edge of the dock. Jack had left before he could catch him, and after hearing Jack break radio silence, calling everyone together, he had no other way to reach the shore except swim. He was now out of breath and facing the Special Ops team. They looked at him with questioning eyes, but knew to stay quiet.

Jack joined them a few minutes later, Conner walking along beside him. The pain was still searing her brain but she forced herself to focus on what had to be done, "Someone hand me a floor plan."

Quincey handed over the map and Conner knelt down to spread it out on the ground. They gathered around as Conner pointed out Hernandez's location and the probable location of his men. She also looked at Jack and with disappointed yet angry eyes informed him of Seth's involvement, as well as Bivin's and Olivia's, "Seth's definitely turned, but I think Bivins is ok. As for Olivia, well, I think she is struggling with something, but I believe when things start going down she'll be with us."

Jack sat stunned for a moment as he absorbed the news of Seth's betrayal, "Well Harris, looks like you're the only one around here that I can trust." Jack turned to the Special Ops team, "Okay, listen up. Here's what we're doingŠ" Jack made the assignments as Donald hung in the background, defeated. He knew the mistakes he had made in handling this case were probably going to end his career, and he resigned himself to letting Jack call the shots. As Jack finished talking, the team looked towards Donald with expectant eyes, "You heard the man, get going," his voice harsher than he had intended.

Jack turned to Donald, "Why don't you take Conner back to the boat, and put a call in for the paramedics, and backup."

Conner stood slowly, "No, I'm going back in with you." Before Jack or Donald had a chance to disagree Conner added, "I know the way in and out, andŠAlexŠshe's in there. She wouldn't leave me, I'm not disserting her either." Seeing the looks in their eyes, she started walking towards the warehouse as she called back over her shoulder, "You coming Cappy, or am I going to have to do this all by myself?"

Jack grinned and shook his head, "Right behind you squirt." Jack turned to face Donald," The dinghy is in the grass over there. I'd take that if I were you. You're too damn old to be swimming." With a sad smile, he turned from Donald and trotted off to catch up with his spitfire officer.

Donald retrieved the dinghy and quickly motored back to the boat where he called for backup and a medical response crew. As he was gathering his extra gun and ammunition, and was halfway back to the dinghy, a thought crossed his mind. Turning back to the cabin, he quickly grabbed his cell phone from the desk and punched in the number in Miami.


Conner led Jack back to the warehouse where they met up with Garrett and the other three Special Op's. members. Jack quickly gave the men their orders and motioned for Garrett, Seay, Bannister and Willis to follow Conner and him to the roof. Conner led the way to the back of the building, then stopped and turned to the men, "There is only one way into the warehouse from the roof. We'll enter by way of the stairs, two at a time. Captain, you and Seay give us two minutes then follow us down, then Willis and Bannister."

Conner waited for an objection from Jack but when none was forthcoming, she continued, "When you get to the bottom of the stairs the hallway leads directly into the main warehouse. There will be crates stacked along the aisles to give you some cover but the guards will probably be in there as well, so keep your eyes open."

Jack knew they would have to improvise once they reached the main warehouse area, "I want us to get into a position to reach Alex, then we'll give the signal to the men outside." Jack eyed the lead team for any questions, and then nodded his head, "Let's move out."

Conner let Garrett lead the way. Once he was safely on the roof, she followed, and took up the 'watch' position, while the other members ascended the wall. They made their way to the door and as Conner looked back at Jack, he winked and gave her a thumbs up, "Let's knock'm out kiddo."

Conner returned the smile, slowly opened the door and eased into the darkened stairwell. A chill ran through Conner as she thought back on her previous decent of the stairs and the events that had occurred shortly thereafter. Shaking off the ill feeling, she crept down the treads with Garrett following close behind.

Conner peered around the corner, found the hallway deserted, and edged towards the door of the office. Wanting to retrieve her vest she twisted the doorknob of the office, but found that it remained locked indicating that her absence had not been noticed. She and Garrett maneuvered further down the hallway and into the main warehouse. They took a position near the hall so they could monitor the other members' entrance, as well as the adjacent area. Conner watched the darkened lane until she saw Jack and Seay two minutes later.

Jack took Conner's place as lookout, as she, Garrett, and Seay spread out through the warehouse. The tall stacks of crates and boxes provided sufficient cover to keep them well hidden. Conner watched as a shadow fell over the gap she had ducked into. She held still as the guard walked by then stopped a short distance from her. He lifted his head as if straining to hear, then turned and once again started in her direction.

Conner pulled the stun gun from her belt and waiting until the guard was directly beside her before she pressed the device against his back. He collapsed into Conner's arms as the electricity surged through his body, and she quickly pulled him into the gap. Gagging and binding him quickly, she then moved out in search of the next guard.

The team outside listened as the clicks continued to sound over their earphones. So far, seven guards had been disabled and Andrews calculated that there were now only six armed guards remaining in addition to Olivia and Hernandez. Andrews motioned to his men to move out. Three would enter the building from the roof as the initial entrance team had done, and he and the other two members would enter straight through the front door.

Andrew's pulse quickened as the minutes ticked off and more adrenaline rushed through his bloodstream. The time was near, some would liveŠand some would die. The question that loomed large in all their minds was, who?


Chapter Twenty-Six

All had been quiet as Catherine and Karen talked during the day about the upcoming raid on the warehouse. They had eaten a light lunch with agents close behind and taken a leisurely stroll through the residential neighborhood where Karen had been moved to the previous day.

Catherine had arrived a little after six the same day as Karen and had explained that Donald, Alex, and a team of Special Operations Agents intended to raid a warehouse where Malcolm Hernandez was expected to be the next night. Karen's first reaction was of panic at the thought of Alex returning to face the man who had almost killed her a year before. It was only after Catherine explained that Alex was healthy and doing well, that Karen relaxed somewhat. She knew Catherine would never agree to help them if she thought that Alex was in any more danger than was absolutely necessary.

Still, Karen felt tense knowing Alex would once again be facing Hernandez "You said Donald was with Alex now, but didn't he just get out of the hospital?"

Catherine strolled alongside Karen. "Yes, he left against his doctor's orders. I knew there was no way I could get him to stay with the raid about to go down, but I tried anyway."

Karen looked up as a light colored sedan began slowing as it approached. "What time is all of this supposed to happen, and why was I moved here?"

Catherine stopped and touched Karen's arm, "Alex didn't want to take any chances with your safety Karen. I know you have some issues about this case with Alex, but her primary concern has always been your safety."

Karen smiled sadly and nodded, "I know. It's just that, well, I'm so isolated from everyone, and I have been for almost a year now. I'm ready to get on with my life, but I can't as long as that monster is still out there." The two women continued their walking, each lost in their own thoughts.

Karen thought back over that fateful night at the warehouse. It had been almost a year since she had received a call from someone warning her to stop Alex from going to the raid that night. After trying unsuccessfully to reach her sister on her cell phone, Karen panicked and drove to the warehouse herself. Just as she drove up, all hell had broken loose.

During the course of the last year, she had often felt angry. She had tried to save her sister and ended up losing her freedom, and herself, in the process. When Karen arrived, the confrontation had just begun. Karen had raced back to her SUV and hid in the back, tucking between the camping equipment she had left there from a weekend trip.

She had heard and felt the impact of several bullets as they penetrated the exterior shell of the truck and tore into the tent and sleeping bags. One of the last bullets fired had torn through her leg and she screamed in pain. Two of Hernandez's guards had heard the scream and pulled the door of the SUV open eyeing her in the back of the truck. One of the burly men crawled into the driver's seat, the other into the back, and the truck sped off in the direction of the warehouse.

Karen had been smart enough to stay quiet as the men commandeered her truck. The last thing she wanted them to know was that she was 'The Shadows' sister. The truck had screeched to a stop and two more men jumped inside, before the truck sped off once again.

They had been just outside the city limits of Jacksonville when Karen felt the truck slow down and pull to the side of the road. One of the men got out, pulled open the back hatch, and hauled her out into the ditch. With a calm, calculating face, he fired a single shot before jumping back into the truck and speeding off.

She remembered lying there afraid and bleeding, wondering if this was how she would die, when a car stopped along beside her. The driver jumped out and ran to her while his wife called 911. Soon the area was lit up with flashing lights and she felt herself being lifted onto a gurney. Only after she had been placed into the safety of the ambulance did she let herself relax, as she fell into the warm, soft comfort of unconsciousness.

Karen had awakened two days later to find herself in the hospital. The bullet had penetrated her upper chest and nicked her subclavian artery. She was told that had it not been for the couple that had stopped, she would have quickly bled to death.

There was no phone in her room, and neither the nurses, nor the guard posted at her door, would answer her questions about the raid. She had been told that someone from the FBI would be by to see her soon. Karen had waited for six more hours before Donald walked in looking tired and stressed. One look into his eyes and Karen had known the news he brought wasn't good.

She remembered that Donald had sat on the bed and held her hand as he recapped the events of that night. All he would tell Karen was that Alex was alive and getting the best care possible. It had been another three weeks before Donald dropped by the house early one morning and sped off with her to visit Alex.

They had taken a private plane to Washington, D.C. and spent an hour driving around the city before re-boarding the plane and flying to Dover, Delaware. Once there they had driven for what seemed like hours, before pulling into a small diner, switching cars and driving another two hours to the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center.

Donald had tried to prepare her for seeing Alex for the first time. She had sustained three gunshot wounds, any of which should have been fatal, and numerous injuries from flying debris as the warehouse had exploded. He explained that Alex had been in a coma since being transferred to the facility the day after the raid, and the medical specialists, although optimistic, couldn't say for certain if she would ever regain consciousness. The only thing the specialists could say was that Alex's will to live was stronger than that of any other patient they had ever seen, or any medicine they could prescribe.

When Karen had entered the room and saw Alex, she gasped. Her sister's form was shadowed by numerous pieces of equipment, monitoring and measuring her vitals, and delivering fluids and medications. Karen was glad that Alex was asleep, not having to experience the pain and fright associated with all the wires and tubes running to her body.

She had sat beside the bed, holding Alex's hand for hours, before Donald entered the room and told her they had to leave. Karen had kissed Alex on the forehead and had whispered in her ear that she loved her, before quietly leaving the room.

She and Donald had taken another roundabout route back to Jacksonville, and on the way home, Donald had explained very delicately how her life would change. She had identified Malcolm Hernandez as one of the men in the truck and because Karen had been the only witness to live, who could positively identify Hernandez, he was now placing her in protective custody, until Henandez could be apprehended.

After arriving back in Jacksonville, he gave her only six hours to pack and close up the house before again whisking her away to an unknown destination. She spent the first three weeks inside a safe house, not knowing where she was, until late one night she was again moved to yet another unknown destination.

For the last year, her life had been a series of moves. She had never known from one day to the next where she would sleep, and it had become almost more than she could bear. The only thing that had kept her going was Donald's news that Alex's was recovering and his assurance that their continuing investigation into the warehouse raid would lead to Hernandez's arrest. He kept promising that one day the nightmare would be over. Now, as she walked along with Catherine, she felt a surge of excitement knowing that maybe after tonight it would all be over, at last.


Donald's stomach lurched as he listened to the agent on the other end of the line describe the scene earlier in the day. Apparently, their careful planning had failed and someone had followed them to Miami, where Catherine met with Karen, the day before. The women had decided to take a walk after lunch, and had been kidnapped as they were strolling through the neighborhood.

"Why the hell didn't someone notify me?" Donald was furious as he listened to the agents reply. "Who told you not to contact me?"

Donald sat down heavily in the chair and took a deep breath, trying to focus, "Have you received any communications from the abductors since they were taken?" Donald listened as the agent responded; "You tell Assistant Director Albertson that I would like to speak to him as soon as possible."

He slammed the phone shut, and headed for the door. There's only one person who would want Karen. As Donald hurried to the bank of the river in the dinghy, he thought about the possibility of Karen and Catherine being in the warehouse. As he jumped from the craft and sprinted across the open field, his one and only thought was that of saving the three women that were being held captive by Malcolm Hernandez. He never saw the sniper on top of the Colorado Container building, nor did he immediately feel the bullet that penetrated his back. All he heard before stumbling to the ground, and falling into the darkness, was the loud popping sound of the rifle followed by his own voice as he screamed out Catherine's name.


Dennis Andrews heard the crack of the rifle fire, just as he rose to move towards the door. He saw someone running toward him, then heard a growling scream as the figure fell to the ground. Looking on top of the Container building, he saw one of the guards watching the fallen figure. Andrews knew the wounded person had to be Donald, as he was the only member of the team not accounted for at the moment.

With a quick move, he tapped Gabe Watson on the shoulder and pointed in the direction of the Container building. Watson immediately spotted the guard, and in one smooth motion, raised his rifle to his shoulder and fired one shot. A couple of seconds later the guard fell and Andrews took off running in Donald's direction, while Watson covered him from the warehouse.

Andrew's reached Donald and quickly accessed his condition. He had a weak pulse, but he was alive. Using as much care as possible, Andrews lifted Donald onto his shoulder, and hurried back across the field to the warehouse. Once there, he and Watson decided to place Donald in the shadow, along side the building. They were ready to move in, and knew they didn't have the time or manpower to move him back to the boat. Watson felt a lump in Donald's pocket as he carefully laid the man out on the ground. Pulling out the cell phone, he quickly placed a call to 911, gave the operator Donald's location and told him to forward the message to the backup team and rescue unit as well. He and Andrews then moved back towards the door to join Quincey, and waited for the signal to storm the warehouse.


Catherine caught a movement to her left and slowly turned her head to see a female peering around a large shipping crate. The woman slowly brought a single finger in front of her lips and made a circular motion. As a shadow covered the majority of the woman's face, Catherine squinted in hopes of recognition as she couldn't be sure who the woman was or what the signal meant. She decided to go with her gut feeling that things were about to happen Taking advantage of Malcolm's shock over Karen's declaration, she softly touched Alex's leg. When Alex turned to look at her, she moved her eyes in the direction of the woman, and heard a soft gasp come from the woman beside her.

Conner repeated the same motion, telling Alex that they had the area surrounded. She tipped her head towards Malcolm and Alex interpreted that to mean she wanted some sort of distraction. Alex was about to make a move, but then froze as Seth moved from the shadows to place his gun against the back of Karen's head. Malcolm walked slowly towards Olivia, pulled his own gun from his jacket and fired a shot point blank into Olivia's chest.

Alex 's body jerked as she watched her ex-partner and friend fall to the floor. A dark red stain saturated Olivia's white shirt as blood flowed from the wound. Alex couldn't tell if she was alive, but doubted the agent could have survived a shot from that range. Alex watched as Malcolm slowly turned towards her again and smiled.

"I guess you'll have to choose another executioner, Alex. I'm afraid Liv is unavailable, at the moment." A dark menacing smile crossed his face as he regarded his adversary, "I haven't trusted her for quite some time now." Turning towards Karen, he smiled, "Thank you Ms. Hilliard, for clearing up that bit of confusion."

Karen sat in shock as she stared at the man in front of her. A wave of guilt surged through her body as she realized she had caused Olivia to be killed, "You son-of-a-bitch."


Conner and Jack watched as the scene in front of them unfolded. They both heard the crack of the rifle fire outside and now, seeing this, knew something had to be done and quickly. Malcolm Hernandez was swiftly coming unraveled. They had to make their move now, before anyone else was killed.

Just as Conner was about to move, Frank Bivins emerged from the back of the room and walked towards Hernandez and Seth Thomas, "Get her out of here Seth. You know how Mr. Hernandez dislikes blood." Bivins placed his gun to the back of Karen's head and dismissed the other man.

Alex recognized Bivins as one of Conner's fellow officers, and as the man she had confronted both on her beach, and in the garage of the police station. She was trying to process all of the conflicting information when she heard a sound to her left, followed by shots that began echoing throughout the warehouse.

Malcolm Hernandez turned to flee just as Bivins raised his gun from Karen's head and pointed it at his back, "Freeze, Hernandez."

Hernandez stopped and slowly turned to face his most trusted guard, "Not you too, Bivins? And to think you would have made such a great soldier."

Alex took the opportunity to pull Karen and Catherine, who were frozen in their chairs, and push them towards Conner, "Cover them," Alex shouted as she turned back towards Bivins.

Alex could hear scuffling sounds from around the warehouse, but the sounds of gunfire had stopped. Jack held up a hand to everyone ordering them to stand back and allow Alex to handle the situation.

"Good evening Agent Montgomery," Bivin's smiled. He pulled a Glock from behind his back and passed it to Alex. "I think I'll allow you the honors. You've worked hard for this collar, take it."

Alex reached out with her left hand and took the Glock from Bivins, never taking her eyes off Hernandez. A rage slowly welled up from her gut as she walked towards him. She raised the gun to his chest, her hand shaking and her finger tight on the trigger. She had waited so long for this moment and now that it was here, all she wanted to do was pull the trigger and watch him die. Her rage surged even further as she saw a smile cross his lips.

"You know you won't pull the trigger, Alex. It's not in you to kill a man in cold blood. I'm unarmed, totally defenseless."

Alex stepped closer, "You're never defenseless, Malcolm. We both know it, but no, I won't kill you. I want to see you rot in prison the rest of your life. I want to know that every day I live, you'll be pinned up like an animal in a cage. I may even come by to see you on occasion, just to watch as your miserable life wastes away behind bars, and to remind you each time that I put you there." Alex smiled and stepped closer, "For now, I'll settle for this. She brought her right hand up hard and smiled as Malcolm's head snapped backwards and he fell back onto the desk.

Alex quickly turned him over and pulled his arm behind his back. Reaching out behind her, she felt the cold metal of handcuffs as Bivins slipped them into her hand. Alex smiled as the ratcheting sound echoed through the warehouse, locking Hernandez's hands behind his back. She pulled him up and turned him around once more, "Oh, I almost forgot Malcolm, this for Feryle."

Hernandez's body screamed as Alex's knee made solid contact with his crotch. She let go of her hold on his arm and watched as he fell to the floor retching. She bent down to lean in close to his ear. "Well, Malcolm, how does it feel to be unprepared? Looks to me like you're the one caught in the vortex now." Alex smirked and as she was beginning to stand, she caught sight of Seth running across the warehouse floor.

Everything seemed to move in slow motion as Conner watched the scene unfold before her. One moment Alex was cuffing Hernandez, the next Seth was running with his gun pointed at Alex. Conner pushed off the wall and tore across the warehouse towards Alex, "Nooooooooooooo."

Alex saw another movement to her right and saw Conner rushing towards her. The warehouse echoed as a scream pierced the shock-induced quiet. Alex heard the gunshot at the same moment Conner leaped towards her, and felt the hard impact as Conner's body crashed into hers, throwing them five feet from where Alex previously had been standing.

Seth's attack had taken Bivins by surprise and as he raised his gun to return fire, a second bullet fired from Seth's gun pierced the base of his throat. Bivins felt his finger pull the trigger then the gun slip from his hands. As his body collapsed to the floor, he heard a multitude of gunshots echo around him. He lay on the cold concrete floor staring at the ceiling, as the mayhem continued around the warehouse.

Although he heard screaming, he couldn't make out the words as the darkness began to overtake his vision and he felt a thick stream of blood run down his neck and pool behind his head. He tried to focus on the noise and activity around him but felt a chill, as his body responded to the loss of blood. Slowly he surrendered to the overpowering need to sleep, closed his eyes and let the darkness encompass his soul.

Jack saw Seth at the same moment Conner had and began running towards Alex. He heard the shots as they exploded from Seth's gun and brought his own up to return fire. He felt a blistering pain as the third shot pierced his arm. Helplessly, Jack watched Seth turn and quickly run into the shadows.

The warehouse was suddenly overrun with agents and police, and Jack felt someone pull him to a crate and sit him down. His head snapped up as he heard a primitive howl from across the room. Holding his injured arm, he stood and raced across the floor to see Alex cradling his best detective in her arms.

Conner's vest had been removed during her captivity earlier in the evening and she had argued the point with Donald earlier but insisted in going back into the warehouse unprotected. Now, Jack felt a flood of guilt wash over him as he watched the blood saturate Conner's white shirt. From where he was standing, Jack couldn't tell where the bullet had entered her body. He knelt beside Alex as the paramedics converged on the fallen women, "Alex let her go. Come on babe, let the paramedics do their job."

Alex continued to cradle Conner in her arms, rocking her gently as Jack tried to remove her hands. Alex didn't hear any of them as she looked into the pale lifeless face of her lover, "Come on baby, wake up." Alex stroked Conner's hair, panic rising with every second, "Conner, come on now, please wake up."

Jack pried Alex's hands from around Conner's body and pulled her away, allowing the paramedics room to work, "AlexŠAlex." Jack pulled Alex against his body with his uninjured arm holding her back, "Alex, you have to let them work." Although her eyes never left Conner, she finally fell back into his embrace, tears pouring from her eyes as she watched the paramedics work on Conner.

Alex felt the room spin as she saw one of the paramedics look at the other and shake his head. "Nooooo Cooonerrrrrr." The anguished scream echoed throughout the building and Alex felt her body begin to fall. Two strong arms wrapped themselves around her body as she sank to the floor, oblivious to everything except her pain as Karen held her and let her cry. Minutes seemed like hours to Karen before Alex was finally placed into the ambulance and taken to the hospital.

The bullet that had penetrated Conners chest had passed through her body and into Alex's, lodging itself in her shoulder. Yet, the pain she felt was not in her body but in her soul. She lay on the stretcher staring at the ceiling of the ambulance as the flashing lights flickered across the landscape. The paramedic leaning over her spoke but she didn't absorb his words. From somewhere in her mind, she watched as he inserted the needle of a syringe into the IV tube and pressed the plunger. Soon her world began to turn gray, then black, and she let herself fall into the abyss.

When she woke up, Alex vaguely recalled arriving at the hospital and the warm reassuring hand that held hers during entire journey. She looked around the room taking in the equipment and monitors hanging from the walls. Turning her head, she saw Karen asleep in the chair beside the bed and felt her sister's fingers interlocked with her own.

When she tried to move, her body screamed its objection. The bullet that had passed through Conner's before entering hers had shattered her shoulder. She had lost a great deal of blood before arriving at the hospital and had spent six hours in surgery to repair the damage. Alex's body felt numb and empty as the events of the previous evening returned to her memory. A single tear slipped down her face as the image of Conner's lifeless body reappeared in her mind and she closed her eyes allowing the darkness once again to be the avenue of her escape.


Continued in Part 9.

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