The Major Crime Family Sticks Together
By Debbie Tripp
Captain Simon Banks finished signing off on the reports from his detectives. He leaned back in his chair and smiled. The quarterly efficiency reports had just been distributed to the various departments and for the fourth straight quarter, Major Crime had the highest solve rate in the entire department. Simon knew it was a combination of his leadership, his detectives and the mutual respect between the two. In addition, Major Crime had an ace in the hole. Blair Sandburg. Blair was partnered with Jim Ellison, current police officer of the year. However, Simon could count numerous times when Blair had helped with other Major Crime investigations where Jim was not the primary detective. Blair was an unofficial official member of the Major Crime *family*. Blair brought a fresh perspective to cases and a different angle to pursue in investigations.
Simon looked at his watch - it was just past 6:00 PM. Time to go home. He got to his feet and looked out towards the bullpen. He frowned when he saw Jim sitting at his desk, typing away. Simon put his coat on, left his office and went to stand by Jim's desk.
"What are you still doing here, Jim?"
"Running down leads in that latest murder case." Jim hadn't looked up and kept typing.
"Where's the kid?"
"He has a night class - some sort of seminar on rituals."
"Go home, Jim. All of this will be here tomorrow. By the way, do you expect Sandburg in anytime tomorrow?"
"Yeah. He should be in some time after noon. He usually has Friday afternoons free."
"Good." Simon said nothing more.
Jim quit typing and looked up at Simon. "Why are you asking about Blair?"
"I'm going to make an announcement and I want everyone in the department there to hear it. Including Sandburg."
Jim was shutting down his computer. "Okay. I'll tell him it's mandatory. He'll think it was something he did." Jim was smiling as he got to his feet. He put on his coat and walked to the elevator with Simon. They rode down together to the garage, and separated to go to their individual vehicles.
"I'll see you in the morning, Jim."
As Simon watched Jim head towards his truck, he came up with the idea of rewarding his detectives (and observer) with a night out at one of Cascade's finest restaurants. His treat.
Simon walked into the bullpen the next morning at 7:45 AM. He greeted both Henri Brown and Brian Rafe, who were standing by Rhonda's desk, talking with her. Simon looked around, surprised that Jim wasn't at his desk already, working on more leads from the murder case.
"Is Ellison here yet?"
Henri spoke up. "No, captain. Haven't seen him yet. He's usually here before the rest of us."
"I'm sure he'll be here soon, Captain."
"You're right, Rafe. You two better get to work now." Simon used his best authoritative voice to motivate his detectives. He smiled as he watched them scurry back to their desks, muttering, "Yes, sir!"
"Good morning, Rhonda. Any messages?"
"Good morning, Captain. Nothing yet this morning. Forensics did drop off a couple of reports for Jim on that murder case he's working on. I left them on his desk. It is odd that Jim isn't here yet."
"Maybe he just overslept, Rhonda. I'm sure he'll be here soon."
Simon continued on into his office, closing the door behind him. As he sat down at his desk, he thought once again about the unlikely partnership of Jim Ellison and Blair Sandburg. Ever since they had joined together, about two years ago now, it had been interesting. Blair dived right into police work. Sure, he made his share of mistakes, but Blair learned from his mistakes. Simon knew it was from Jim's influence that Blair learned. Blair, on the other hand, helped Jim with his heightened senses. They made Jim an even better police detective. Even though Jim's heightened senses were not common knowledge, Simon had seen evidence of Jim using his abilities. Jim repeatedly explained to Simon how helpful Blair was in aiding him to use his senses to the fullest. Simon always heard genuine pride in Jim's voice whenever he spoke about Blair. Like an older brother who was proud of his younger brother.
The knock and opening of his door brought Simon out of his contemplation. He looked up to see Rhonda standing there. "Yes, Rhonda?"
"Dispatch just got a 9-1-1 call saying there had been some type of disturbance at 852 Prospect, apartment 307. Whatever it was, had already occurred. That's Jim's and Blair's place, sir."
"Have the first units arrived yet?"
"They're still en route."
"So are we, then." Simon got to his feet and followed Rhonda out of his office. He saw the worried look on Rhonda's face. Henri and Brian were already on their feet, ready to go.
"Keep me updated?" The concern was evident in Rhonda's voice.
"When we can. Let's go, gentlemen."
The three men left the bullpen, getting into the elevator. All of them worried about what was going to be found when they reached the loft.
When they arrived, the entire block seemed filled with police cars and officers. Simon, Henri and Brian took the stairs to the third floor and made their way down the hall to #307. The officers stepped aside to let them inside the loft. The sight of the loft took each man by surprise. A major altercation had taken place there recently. Simon found Captain Paul Michaels in charge of the scene.
"Paul, any indication of Ellison or Sandburg?"
"No, neither man is here. But somebody put up a hell of a fight. I have forensics and the crime lab going over the whole apartment. Even though it appears most of the action took place between the front door and the living room." Captain Michaels looked around the area. "Is Ellison working on any high-profile cases at the moment?"
Simon looked around the loft as he answered. "He was working on a murder case. But it wasn't high-profile. We'll check into what he was doing. We'll also check all of his past cases. Are your men canvassing the neighbors and the neighborhood?"
"Yes. So far, nothing yet. I can't imagine that someone didn't see or hear something."
"Paul, we're going to handle the preliminaries of this case. We are going to need all of the Forensic reports ASAP. Time is of the essence when a cop goes missing. Of course, I don't have to tell you that."
"I know, Simon. And I have no problem turning the case over to you. If it were one of my men, I'd want to handle it also. But if you need any help, any additional manpower, let me know. After all, Ellison is one of us. But what about Sandburg? Why grab him along with Ellison?"
Simon thought about that. He wasn't sure he knew why. Possibly, Blair had come in before the assailant had finished removing Jim.
"Maybe he walked in on whoever was grabbing Ellison. Consequently, he was grabbed along with Jim. We're just lucky Blair wasn't killed outright and left in this chaos."
"It shows balls that whoever did this took both Ellison and Sandburg. We may be looking for more than one person involved in this crime."
Simon looked around again, spotting Brown and Rafe. "We'll go back to the PD and start on Ellison's past cases for any clues. Can you send a couple of officers to Rainier University and double-check to make sure that this doesn't have any connection to Sandburg and the university? Just so we cover all the bases?"
"Does Sandburg cause trouble at the university, Simon?"
"No. I don't want to give that impression, Paul. I just want to make sure every option is covered and to find Ellison and Sandburg as soon as possible."
"Okay, Simon. We'll check in with the university and campus security and see if Sandburg has received any unwanted attention lately or any threats."
"Thanks, Paul. I really appreciate all of the help."
"I hope you have success finding them, Simon. Remember, the offer of help still stands."
"Oh, by the way, who called in the 9-1-1?"
Paul looked through his notes. "A Mr. George Crandall, a neighbor who lives in #304. He works overnight as a security guard at the hospital. When he came home at 8:10 this morning, he noticed Ellison's front door was wide open. Mr. Crandall peered inside #307 and saw the disarray and no immediate visual of either Ellison or Sandburg. He called 9-1-1, suspecting something was wrong."
"Make sure the crime lab understands that the results are needed ASAP."
"Will do, Simon. Go and let us finish up here."
Simon motioned for Brown and Rafe to follow him out. They stood in the hallway just outside the loft.
"Did you see the destruction inside the loft?" Rafe shook his head.
"Yeah, several of Hairboy's artifacts were nothing but broken pieces on the floor. I wonder who did this."
Simon spoke up. "That's what we are going to try to find out. We're going back to the PD and go through Jim's past cases and check on who would be likely candidates for grabbing a detective. I have a gut feeling it's someone from one of Jim's past cases. I'll get Dills and Crawford to come in to help out. I want all of Major Crime to work together on this."
"If the answer is in Jim's past cases, we'll find it, Captain." Henri looked over at Brian, who nodded his agreement.
On the drive back to the PD, Henri and Brian spoke about the prospects of finding Jim and Blair alive.
"There's no question. We have to find them alive," reasoned Brian. "The alternative simply is not acceptable. But if whoever it is wanted Jim, why grab Blair also?"
"Maybe Blair was grabbed first and Jim was given no choice but to go along. You know Jim wouldn't stand for Blair being hurt if he could prevent it in any way."
"Blair is the same way about Jim. He's fiercely protective of Jim and he'll do anything to help Jim. I say heaven help whoever grabbed Jim and Blair if they hurt them. They'll have to answer to the partners AND the rest of Major Crime."
Jim kept an eye out on Blair, concerned that the younger man was still unconscious. It had been Jim's fault that they were both in this predicament. When Jim had come home, he noticed Blair's car had been in the parking lot. Jim parked his truck by Blair's car, surprised that Blair was home when he said he'd be in a seminar at the university.
As Jim walked towards the loft, he picked up Blair's heartbeat and another heartbeat, a little more frantic than Blair's. Jim walked inside the loft, taken aback by the sight before him. Blair was slumped unconscious in one of the kitchen chairs, held upright with rope around his midsection and his arms and legs. A man was standing beside him, a knife pressed against Blair's throat.
"Welcome, Detective Ellison. Carefully remove your gun and send it over towards me cautiously. Try anything and I won't hesitate to cut his throat and spill his blood right here, right now!"
Jim did as the man demanded. There was no opportunity to get the drop on the man. All the while, Jim kept his eye on Blair, who remained unconscious. The man reached down, picking up Jim's gun, putting it in his pocket. Jim allowed the man to get the better of him because of his worry over Blair.
"I'm going to make Blair here pay for sending me to prison." He punctuated his words by nicking Blair's neck with the knife, drawing blood. Jim moved forward to stop him, but the man pressed the knife deeper.
"I wouldn't if I were you, detective. Don't worry; you are included in my plans. I want you to untie Blair and carry him down to my van out front."
"You'll never get away with this, Morton. We'll be missed and the cops will catch you."
"They'll never find me. And I am getting away with this." Morton put the knife in his pocket and pulled out Jim's gun, pointing it at Jim's chest.
"What did you do to Blair?" Jim walked over to the chair, starting to undo the ropes on Blair's arms and legs.
"Just a little sedative to make him manageable. We'll take the elevator down to the lobby and I'll have your gun trained on the both of you. If you try anything, I won't hesitate to shoot both of you without a thought."
Jim removed the ropes around Blair's midsection and caught Blair as the younger man slumped forward. Jim easily picked up Blair in his arms and turned to Morton. "We'll be missed and the PD won't stop until they find us."
Morton pressed Jim's gun into Jim's back. "Get moving, Ellison! Or Blair gets it in the head right now."
Jim moved towards the door, was able to open it, and stepped out into the hallway with his precious bundle. Jim could hear Morton right behind him. They walked towards the elevator and got inside. Jim shifted Blair in his arms, supporting his head. He focused his senses on his partner, pleased to note everything seemed normal, except for Blair being unconscious.
The elevator reached the lobby and Morton prodded Jim with the gun again. They walked off the elevator and Jim was dismayed no one was there. Morton was going to pull this off.
They walked outside and Jim saw the van right there. Morton opened the back doors.
"Place Blair in the back."
Jim moved to comply with Morton's demand. He lay Blair down gently and a moment later, Jim felt the impact of his gun against the back of his head and his world went black.
Brian Rafe got to his feet and stretched his arms over his head. They had been going through Jim's past cases. All of them wished they were out on the streets, looking and finding Jim and Blair. Each man was acutely aware that each minute that passed made it less likely Jim and Blair would be found unharmed.
The evidence at the loft indicated that whoever was responsible held a grudge against Jim or Blair or both. The canvas of the neighborhood had come up empty. No one had seen anything out of the ordinary either last night or early that morning. Analysis of the evidence taken from the loft was still being processed, even though a rush had been placed on everything. It had only been a couple of hours.
Brian walked around the conference table. "How many possible suspects do we have so far?"
Greg Dills looked through the pile. "We have six so far. Shouldn't one of us start a check on these?"
Henri Brown looked up from the file he was reading. "As soon as we finish. Then we'll divide up the list. It'll be more efficient that way."
"Yeah, that would be Blair's suggestion if he were here helping," Thad Crawford chimed in.
Each man nodded in agreement. The mood was somber in the room as Brian sat back down and each man went back to work.
About twenty minutes later, Simon walked in with Lt. Foster from Forensics. All four men looked up expectantly.
"Anything, men?" Simon's tone was hopeful.
"We've got about eight possible suspects right now." Henri Brown, being the senior detective in the room spoke for the group. "Did something show up with the evidence?"
Lt. Foster spoke. "We have Mr. Sandburg's blood and DNA on the rope we found on the floor. We also have blood drops from someone else, not Detective Ellison. The blood type is B, both Sandburg and Ellison have type O."
"Any fingerprints found?"
"We're still running them through the system. Most are Ellison's and Sandburg's. But it is apparent someone else was in the loft with them."
"Thank you, Lt. Foster. No one yet with type B blood, unless it's an accomplice. We still have several cases to go through."
"When we get something on the fingerprints, or other information on the evidence, we'll let you know."
Crawford spoke up. "Jim and Blair are missing! There's a real possibility "
"Crawford!" Simon's voice interrupted Thad's complaint. "All of you need to get back to work. I'm going to try to come back and help you go through the rest of these cases." Simon turned to Lt. Foster. "I want to go to the lab and check on some things."
Simon came back to the conference room about twenty minutes later. "We just received an alert from the Washington State Penitentiary that Richard Morton escaped from the prison as he was being transferred to a medical facility. This was two days ago."
"Morton? Isn't he that drug dealer Blair took out after the guy shot Jim in the arm? About a year ago."
"Yes, that's the guy. Do you have that case file?"
The four detectives went through the files they had piled up. Henri was the one who found the file and handed it to Simon. Simon flipped through the file. He found Morton's arrest sheet and his fingerprints, along with the information about his blood type.
"Well, his blood type is B. I'm going to take his fingerprints down to the lab so they can check them against what they got from the loft."
"Captain, do you want us to try to track down Morton? If he's come to Cascade to get revenge on Jim and Blair, we need to come up with likely places he would have taken them."
"Not yet, Rafe. I need you to finish going through the rest of these case files. We're not sure that Morton even headed towards Cascade."
"But, captain "
"Don't but captain me, Dills. We have no hard evidence yet that Morton was even in the loft. Keep at what you are doing."
"I'll get them back to the task at hand, captain. I know how these leads don't pan out. But I hope we have some shred of a clue soon."
"I'll let you know. We'll get something soon, Henri."
Thad spoke up as soon as Simon left the conference room. "Look, we've been at this for over three hours and then the captain tells us that a guy Jim put away escaped from prison. He was put away because he was caught in Cascade. Of course he would come back to exact retribution on the two men most responsible for putting him away."
"Look, we all think it's Morton, but we don't have the proof we need. We can finish going through the rest of these files while the lab is confirming Morton as the one responsible."
"H is right, Thad. We have to do this the right way and to cover everything. If we miss something, it could make the difference in how long it takes for us to find Jim and Blair."
"I understand, Brian. It's just I don't like the idea of them being held by a known drug dealer who has escaped prison just to get his revenge on Jim and Blair. Remember he threatened Blair during the trial?"
"Well, you could hardly blame the guy. After all, Blair took Morton out with the element of surprise and a 2 X 4. Anyone would be pissed off. I loved the way Blair didn't flinch and was calm and composed when he gave his testimony." Dills and the others smiled at the memory.
"It also didn't hurt that all of us, especially Jim, were there to back him up and to intimidate Morton."
"Oh, yeah, Thad. I hope it is Morton. We'll teach him not to mess with Major Crime." Brian was dead serious.
The four of them went back to the files, with each man thinking of how to make Richard Morton pay for grabbing their colleagues. None of the punishments would be pleasant.
It was an hour later when Simon came into the conference room, waving a piece of paper. "Morton left his prints on the pieces of artifacts and frames he destroyed at the loft! We have his address of where he lived when he was running his drug operation before getting caught. I thought you'd all want to be involved in getting this guy! And finding Jim and Blair!"
There was a loud chorus of, "YES, SIR!" as all four men got to their feet and followed Simon to the PD garage. All of them were determined to bring Morton down. Brown and Rafe went in one car and Dills and Crawford were in another. Simon took his own car and arranged to have backup available, just in case they were needed.
Simon had the backup evacuate the neighbors as Major Crime covered the front and back of the house. They simultaneously entered the house. The house was empty; no one had lived there for some time. The Major Crime detectives showed their frustration when they came out of the house to face Simon.
"No one has been there for a long time. There's dust on the shelves and the furniture." Henri Brown looked ready to punch something.
"Okay, then we finds out where he is."
Just then, Simon's cell phone rang. He answered it. "Banks. Yeah, what do you have? It's as good as anything else we have at the moment, Joel. Thanks for looking over the file. No, we didn't find a thing at the house. We had to check it out. What's that address again? Yeah, I'll let both you and Rhonda know if it pans out. Thanks again, Joel."
Simon closed his cell phone and turned to his detectives. "We have another location to check out, men. The warehouse Morton ran his operation out of - 183 Front St. It's amongst a lot of abandoned buildings. The way it was when he was caught before. Let's go see if he returned to the scene of the original crime." Simon brought along the backup and also asked for ambulances to stand by, just in case. After all, their official investigation had been ongoing for over five hours, but chances were almost certain that Jim and Blair had been taken last night. Simon didn't want to be too late to save his men. And Blair was one of his men.
They reached the warehouse, stormed inside and took Richard Morton by surprise. Henri Brown placed his handcuffs on the man, noticing he had a knife and what looked like Jim's police issued weapon on the table beside him. Henri turned Morton over to one of the officers there. Others were gathering up the evidence.
Henri went to join the other three in looking for Jim and Blair. They found a locked door and Brian shot off the lock. It was the right room. Henri and Greg went over to Jim, while Brian and Thad went over to Blair. Both men were unconscious at the time.
Henri and Greg started to remove the ropes binding Jim's arms and legs. Henri removed the gag from Jim's mouth. All of a sudden, Jim jerked awake. Both Henri and Greg held onto Jim.
"Calm down, Jim! You're okay. We found you."
Jim suddenly looked from Henri to Greg and back. Recognition dawned in his eyes. "H? Greg? Where's Blair?"
"Brian and Thad are taking care of him."
"What about Morton?" Jim's head was clearing up more now.
"We surprised him. He'll be back in prison soon. This time, his sentence will be longer."
"I've got to check on Blair. He's been unconscious for too long." Jim struggled to get to his feet. His legs wouldn't hold him up. Henri and Greg helped Jim to sit back down.
"Just sit still, Jim. You're legs are probably numb from being bound so tight. Hey, Brian? How's Blair doing?" Henri yelled over to his partner.
"He's still unconscious. But his pulse is strong and he's breathing okay. He's got a lump on the side of his head. Could be a concussion."
"See, Jim? We'll have you both checked out at the hospital."
With that announcement, Simon came in with the paramedics. Simon stopped to look down at Jim sitting on the floor.
"You okay, Jim?"
"Yeah. Morton was prolonging our demise. He wanted us to suffer. Although he kept Blair unconscious most of the time. He kept injecting him with some type of sedative. My legs are weak."
"Probably from being bound up so tight. I'm glad we found both of you." Simon didn't say it out loud, but he was thinking finding both of them *alive*.
"He grabbed us from the loft. I don't know why Blair was there." Jim yawned and Henri patted him on the shoulder.
"Just relax, Jim. You can explain it all later."
Jim allowed the paramedics, and Henri and Greg, to help him onto the gurney. He watched as Blair was placed on another gurney a short distance away. Jim tried to concentrate enough to run a sensory scan over Blair, but he was just too tired to do it. He had been injected with the same sedative, although it hadn't affected him as much as it had affected Blair. But it seemed to be catching up to him now. He didn't want to risk going into a zone, so he just relaxed on the gurney.
Henri and Greg told Simon they were going to escort Jim's ambulance to the hospital and stay there until they got word about Jim's condition. Simon approved the move. He could understand why they would want to stay with Jim. They were a team, a unit.
Jim was peripherally aware of leaving the warehouse and being loaded into an ambulance. He had heard other paramedics with Blair, giving his vitals and tending to his wounds. Jim already knew the knife wounds were superficial and not life-threatening. He had examined them when he carried Blair from the loft.
"We'll be at the hospital with you, Jim." Henri assured Jim. "And Blair will be right behind us. Brian and Thad will escort him."
Jim was pleased. Major Crime had handled this. He drifted off, pleased he and Blair had been found and Morton had been caught.
Joel and Rhonda came to the hospital after Joel had processed Richard Morton after he had been transported to the PD. Simon had called Joel to ask him to help by processing Morton while the rest of Major Crime went to the hospital. Joel had said yes and had found out both Jim and Blair was okay, probably just needed to be observed overnight at the hospital. It was a miracle, according to Rhonda, who was pleased with the news when Joel relayed it to her.
Both men were still being examined when Joel and Rhonda arrived. So they sat with the rest of Major Crime to wait for word about their colleagues. It was still another hour before the doctor came out to speak to them.
"All of you here for Ellison and Sandburg?"
Simon spoke for the group. "Yes. I'm Captain Simon Banks, and those are two of my men. These are their colleagues. How are they?"
"Well, Detective Ellison has some sensation problems in his arms and legs, a result of being bound tightly with rope. It should clear up in the next several hours. He's also been injected with a sedative which is having some adverse side effects with his lucidity and conscious level. He's agreed for him and his partner to be admitted to the hospital, as long as we place them in the same room. We have no problem with that. Mr. Sandburg is still unconscious at this time. He had a few moments of wakefulness, but he received a higher dose of the sedative than Detective Ellison. We'll be moving them into a room in a couple of hours. I would suggest you let them rest for tonight and come back tomorrow to see them. Both of them will be more alert tomorrow."
"Thank you, doctor." The doctor walked away and Simon turned to the others. "There you have it. I don't think we should disturb them tonight. They deserve the rest."
Everyone agreed with Simon and left the hospital. All went back to the PD to finish up the paperwork on this case and to reflect on how they had worked together to bring about a successful conclusion.
Jim shifted in the bed to look over at Blair. He was surprised to see that Blair's eyes were open.
"You with me, Chief?"
"Yeah, Jim. I thought maybe it was you in the other bed. I'm sorry. He got the jump on me. He told me he was going to get the jump on you, too. I didn't think he'd be able to do that. But I wasn't able to warn you. I "
"Sh-h-h, Blair. It's okay. We're both okay. Simon and the rest of Major Crime found us before Morton could do anything too bad. We should be able to get out of here tomorrow."
"They're a good bunch of guys, Jim. I'm glad I decided to stick things out with the PD."
"You were going to leave?"
"Well, I've thought about it. I mean, look at all I've gone through in just two years. Lash, Quinn, Kincaid, Brackett, Golden, Zeller, damn, Jim, the list just goes on and on. And I'm NOT a cop. A lesser man would have run away long before now."
"A lesser man, yes. But not Blair Sandburg. You are as good as any cop on the force, Chief."
"Really?" Blair let the surprise taint his response.
"Of course you are. Ask anyone in Major Crime. They'll tell you the same thing. Even Simon would say the same thing. And you know how Joel feels about you. We're one big, happy family, Blair. And it just wouldn't be the same without you. Now, get some sleep. It's 2:30 in the morning."
Blair drifted off to sleep, thinking of his adopted family.
The next morning, Simon Banks stopped by the hospital to look in on Jim and Blair. He was surprised when he saw Henri and Brian already there and Greg and Thad coming in when Henri and Brian left. It was just as Simon suspected - not only did they care about Jim, but had accepted Blair as one of the gang. Before everyone left to go into the station, Simon decided to give them the good news he had gotten two days ago.
"Before my WORKING detectives go off to the PD, I have an announcement to make and it affects all of you." Simon pointedly looked at Blair in particular. The others followed Simon's glance and all were looking at Blair.
"What? You making me feel self-conscious here. I didn't do it, I swear!"
"Believe me, Sandburg; you had as much a hand in this as my fully trained detectives did." Simon saw the confused looks on everyone's faces and smiled. "Believe me, it's not bad news, men. I have received the quarterly efficiency reports for our department and for the fourth straight period, we had the highest solve rate in the entire PD. And with the successful conclusion of this case, our solve rate stays high. And Sandburg, I'm sure I speak for the detectives in this department when I say you have had a very positive influence on our solve rate since you've joined our ranks."
Everyone agreed with Simon and Blair was sufficiently embarrassed. But each of the other detectives gave their heartfelt thanks that both Jim and Blair had been found and came out relatively unscathed when it could have turned out much different. Then Simon shooed off his working detectives and stayed at the hospital to find out the story about what had happened from Jim and Blair. Even Simon would have a report to write about this case.