Since they had not brought that much stuff with them, packing up took very
little time. Jim watched as Blair continually glanced over at Katie's house.
"She's going to be all right, Chief." Anything else he might have said was interrupted by the arrival of Bud Flint.
"What the hell are you doing, man?" he asked angrily.
"Well, the department feels we've, uh, fulfilled our requirements, uh, during our time here, and, uh, we're out of here."
"Are you kidding? Don't you people read your own reports? House on Cedar Creek Road last night got hit with a home invasion. I mean, that's just a couple of miles from here."
"Look, Flint, the reality is, we don't have enough people to be in every neighborhood 24 hours a day. It's just an impossibility."
"Oh, so, you're just going to leave us hanging?"
"You need us anytime, you know the drill. You call 911."
"Yeah, oh, I'm going to do that. That's just great. Thanks a lot."
Megan had finished securing her bag, when she noticed Phil and Susan coming up to the trio. "Come on, let's get going before they start asking questions, too."
Phil surprised them all by calling out, "Detective..." and showing them a US Marshal's badge and ID.
"US Marshal's office." Susan showed her badge as well, "We just want you to know we got the situation under control."
"That's good to know, thank you," Jim replied. "Uh can I ask, when did you know about us."
"Almost from the first day," Phil answered. "Thanks for the help, but we can take it from here."
As Phil and Susan headed back to their house, Jim looked at Megan. "Do you still have that fruit basket they brought over?"
"It's in the house, why?"
"Go get it, would you, Chief? Put it in a large plastic bag, and try to handle it as little as possible."
Blair turned to follow the detective's instructions, and Megan asked, "What's wrong, Jim?"
"Something about this whole thing does not ring true. I want to know who exactly we are dealing with."
Returning to the station, Jim and Blair took the fruit basket down the Serena. Jim wanted to know if there were any fingerprints aside from his, Megan's or Blair's and if so, Jim wanted to know to whom they belonged. Then both men headed up to Major Crimes to bring the captain up to date and get an update themselves.
Just as they reached Jim's desk the phone rang. Blair, being closer and hoping it was Katie, answered it. Jim continued on to Simon's office.
The door was open and Simon waved Jim in as he continued to talk on the phone. "What kind of dog-and-pony show are you people running anyway? Have that field supervisor get in touch with me as soon as possible. Thank you." He hung up the phone none too gently. "The guy I talked to this morning, he's out on some survey somewhere."
"Captain, you were told that Washington pulled out of this case months ago. Well our neighborhood 'swingers' showed us Marshal's badges this morning and said they knew about us almost from the first day. They said that they would take care of the situation."
"That's strange, The feds don't normally keep anybody under guard once they're relocated."
Blair and Megan entered Simon's office. Blair was bouncing and looked both scared and worried. "Jim, your hunch paid off. There were fingerprints on that basket."
Megan handed Simon the file she was carrying. "Only their name's not Tanner. It's Polk, and they're wanted for murder in two states, both paid hits."
"I just called Katie's house, Jim. And the phone is dead or something like that. I can't help but be a little nervous here."
"Sandburg, you stay calm. Everything's gonna be fine. Jim, you and Connor get to the house. I'll jump on the Marshal's office. Maybe now they'll listen to me."
While Simon tried to get some answers from the Marshal's, Katie was trying
to get her daughter to understand why her life was to be uprooted yet again. Phil and
Susan had shown Katie their badges and explained that they had been assigned to protect
her and her daughter, now that her ex-husband, Lonnie Stevens, had nearly completed his
jail time. They were to take the Johnson's to a safe house until new identities and a new
home could be prepared. But Rachel was not being cooperative.
"But, Mom, I don't want to move again."
"I'm sorry, baby, but we have to."
"And why can we only take one suitcase? What about my new computer and all my dolls?"
"We'll have to leave them behind for now." Katie tried to be calm and reasonable, knowing her daughter didn't understand the urgency.
"No, I'm not going!" Rachel ended the argument in typical kid fashion.
Katie looked at the two Marshals who were waiting impatiently. She did not like these two. All the other Marshals had understood and been patient with her and her daughter once Rachel became old enough to express her opinion. Katie followed her daughter, calling back over her shoulder, "She'll be okay."
Susan looked at Phil and said, "I'll move them along."
Just then Phil's cell phone rang. "Yeah? Where are you?"
In a black car, not many miles from the Downing Street address, Lonnie Stevens replied, "We're getting close. I'll be there in a couple of minutes."
"You know those cops that were watching us, they've cleared out."
"Well, that's convenient, isn't it?"
"Look, why don't you just let us do her now, get it over with?"
"You will do nothing in front of my daughter. You will do nothing to upset her or hurt her. Do you understand me?" ordered Lonnie, vehemently. "When Rachel and I are out of the country, that is when you can dispose of my ex-wife." Lonnie snapped the cell phone shut and looked down at a picture of Rachel Johnson. "Just a little longer, dear, Daddy's coming," he said softly.
Banks had spoken to the Deputy Director of the U.S. Marshal's Service
again, this time telling him they knew who the witness was and informing him of the two
assassins posing as U.S. Marshals. The Deputy Director told Simon Katie Johnson was really
Katie Stevens, ex-wife and the prosecution's star witness against Lonnie Stevens. Several
years eariler, Stevens had been involved in a stock market deal that, if it had occurred,
would have made a few people very rich, but hurt thousands. His wife decided she could not
allow that to happen and went to the authorities. Lonnie and several others were tried and
convicted. The case against Lonnie rested on Katie's testimony. When the guilty verdict
was read, Lonnie threatened his wife, and she and her infant daughter were placed in the
witness protection program. Simon was also told that although Stevens' sentence was not up
for several more weeks, his lawyer had somehow convinced a judge that his client needed to
be freed immediately. Lonnie's exemplary behavior while in prision, and his ex-wife's
tragic car accident were the reasons for the highly unusual early release. The judge was
convinced that Stevens' daughter was begging for her father.
Blair knew that to be a lie as Katie had told him Rachel had no idea who her father was. She had told her daughter that he had died when Rachel was little. Blair had insisted he go along with Jim and Connor as they returned to Downing Street and Simon had waved them out of the office. Because the local Marshal's office was severely understaffed due to the internal investigations into both Carson's and Beckman's deaths, the Deputy Director asked for the Cascade PD's help with the situation. Simon would bring back-up with him.
"Come on, Jim, can't you drive faster?"
"Not on these side streets, Chief. It's too dangerous."
"Where's the backup?"
"Sandy, the captain's set up roadblocks. But we don't want to provoke a hostage situation if the Tanners are with Katie."
"I know. I know. I'm just ."
"Just try and relax, Chief. We're gonna be there any minute."
While Jim, Blair, and Megan made their way back to Downing Street, Bud was
still stewing at the departure of the cops he considered his own. And since they had
skipped out, he figured he was no longer obligated to keep to the agreement he had signed
with the DA's office.
"Ed, Tom, I called you here today because my buddy, Jimbo, and his family are cops."
"After all the stuff going on here, they were sent to watch the neighborhood. But they bailed. So it's come down to us to look after things around here. Now, it's going to take a little more time so we may have to miss some work. Are you with me?"
"Oh, I'm in. I'll just have to okay it with the wife."
"Aw, Tom. Did you even bring your gun?"
"Oh, I got the gun." Tom patted at the pocket of his coat.
"Look here, guys." Bud reached into a storage chest and brought out a cloth-covered object. "An AK-47. A buddy of mine smuggled it out of China piece by piece." Bud gingerly unwrapped the gun and held it out for his friends to admire.
Ed reached forward, taking the gun from Bud's hand. "Whoa. Let me see that."
"Take it easy," Bud warned, "The trigger is very sensitive."
Bud and Tom watched as Ed began aiming the gun around. Suddenly Ed jerked and the AK-47 went off. Shots and shattering glass created a deafening sound. Tom and Bud fell to the floor of the garage, trying to stay out of the way of the wildly firing gun.
As the gunfire stopped, Bud got to his feet, and yanked the gun away from Ed. "What the hell is that about, Warner?"
"It's not my fault."
"Oh, yeah, the gun just went off on its own? Let's go. Most of the shots went towards the Johnsons' house.You've got some explaining to do. And you'd better hope no one was hurt."
"Me? You're the one with the loaded AK, pal!"
"You just stay away from all my weapons."
All three men left Bud's garage, still carrying their guns, and started over to Katie's house. They stumbled to a halt when they spotted a man standing in Katie's driveway holding a machine gun. The neighbors and the gun-toting man all saw each other at the same time. Bud, Tom and Ed had the presence of mind to duck behind Bud's car as the man with the machine gun started shooting.
"Who is that?" Bud yelled over the din.
"Who cares?" was the common reply.
Inside Katie's house, things had calmed a little, but Rachel was still upset and defiant about leaving again. Katie was trying to be understanding, but it was difficult.
"Mommy, I don't want to go." Rachel had resorted to whining.
Katie bit her lip and looked up at Phil and Susan. "This all feels so sudden. What if your people are wrong? I will have disrupted my daughter's life again for nothing."
Susan had lost most of her jovial, carefree manner and snapped, "This isn't the time to question our judgment. We're doing this for your protection."
Phil had been watching out the window and saw Stevens' black car arrive. He grabbed Katie by the arm, pulled his gun from his jacket and started dragging her to the front door "Okay, let's go now."
"What are you doing?! You leave her alone!" Katie yelled as Susan pulled Rachel from the couch. Just as they get to the door, it opened and Stevens walked in.
"Hi, honey," he sneered. "I'm home."
At that moment, gunshots sounded and everyone fells to the ground, ducking under furniture as the shots struck the windows, walls, and shelves. Outside, the driver of Stevens' car, grabbed a machine gun off the seat beside him and got out of the car, searching for the source of the shots.
Inside the house, Stevens glared at his hired assassins. "I thought you said the cops had left."
Phil looked out the shattered front window. "Cops wouldn't just open fire. What about your driver?"
"Charlie is completely trustworthy." At that moment, more shots came from outside, "Go outside and see what's going on," Stevens ordered then turned to Rachel, who was clinging to her mother, looking around with wide terrified eyes.
"Rachel...are you all right?" he asked, "Come on, honey, we're leaving." Stevens grabbed Rachel by the arm and using a gun, motioned Katie toward the inner garage door. "Let's go. Let's go!"
"You're insane, Lonnie."
"Shut up and get in the van," Stevens' demanded, opening the van door. "Where are the keys?"
Rachel, still caught in Stevens grip, asked "Who is he, Mommy?"
"You didn't tell her about me? I'm your father." Stevens took the keys Katie produced from her pocket.
"My daddy's dead," Rachel answered.
"No, Rachel. I'm your father."
"How can you do this to her?" Katie glanced at the gun still aimed at her.
"She'll be fine. Get in the van."
Outside, Susan and Phil joined Charlie as Tom popped up from behind Bud's car and fired at the three professional gunmen. None of the gunmen noticed the blue and white pickup that entered the end of the cul-de-sac
"What the hell are they doing?" Jim exclaimed as the exchange of gunfire continueed. "Hold on!" he warned his passengers and pulled the truck to a stop sideways in front of Katie's driveway. Bullets began hitting the side of the truck, forcing the trio to bail out on the driver's side. Jim and Megan returned fire, aiming for the professional gunmen.
Charlie suddenly fell, clutching his arm. Rather than stick around, Susan and Phil started running away from the scene. Megan checked to be sure the gunman was incapacitated and started after the 'Tanners.' Jim checked to see that Blair was hidden behind the truck, then made his way over to Bud, Ed, and Tom.
"What are you morons doing?"
"They started it," Bud began, but was interrupted by the sound of rending metal and breaking wood.
Katie's minivan, with Stevens at the wheel, crashed through the closed garage door. It couldn't go very far, however, as Stevens' own car and Jim's truck blocked most of the driveway exit. Stevens tried to scrape past his car, but the minivan's fender caught the fender of the black car. The opposing forces turned the minivan onto a path that caused it to run into several garbage cans. The trash exploded out of the cans and most of it ended up on the windshield of the minivan. Stevens', his line of sight obscured by the trash, ran into a fire hydrant. The hydrant broke off at ground level, sending a high pressure stream of water into the air. The van continued to roll a few more feet, out of the path of the water. Getting out of the van, Sevens opened the side door, and grabbed Rachel, trying to pull her out away from her mother.
"Rachel, come on!" Stevens yelled.
Screaming and fighting, Rachel clawed at the man who was grabbing her, "No! No! Mommy!"
Jim had followed the van's progress with his gun. Zooming in, he saw Katie and Rachel huddled in the back seat. When the car hit the hydrant, he saw Katie's head hit the side window. She was too stunned to stop Stevens from pulling Rachel out of the van.
Just as Stevens got Rachel out of the van, Jim and Blair came up behind him, Jim's gun pointed at Stevens' head.
"Put the girl down," Jim ordered.
Stevens let go of Rachel, who immediately ran over to Blair. "I'm not going to hurt her. She's my daughter, man. She's my daughter. It's okay."
"Get down. Put your face on the ground. Do it. Do it! All the way down. Put your hands behind your back." As Stevens complied with the command and Jim got out his cuffs, Blair, murmuring quietly to Rachel, led her over to the van to check on Katie.
"Katie, you okay?"
"Oh, my head..." Katie put one hand to her head and the other arm around her daughter as she watched Jim escort Stevens away from them.
A short while later, the normally quiet cul-de-sac was filled with police
cars, two ambulances and a fire truck. One of the ambulances was used to transport the
gunman, Charlie. The fire truck was needed to take care of the broken fire hydrant. In two
different police cars sat Susan and Phil. Megan had chased them into one of the police
roadblocks. Katie and Rachel sat on the bumper of the other ambulance, trying to comfort
Katie kissed her daughter and held her closer. "It's all right, Rachel. Everything's going to be all right now."
"I was so scared."
"I know, baby, but you don't have to be scared anymore," Katie answered and smiled as Blair crouched on the ground in front of them
"You guys okay?"
"We're going to be all right."
"You okay, Rachel?"
"So, after all this you think you'd still want to go out with me?" Katie asked.
"Uh, well...sure, if I can track you down."
"They'll put Lonnie away forever now. We're done with running."
"Good. I guess I'll be seeing you soon."
Blair stood up as the paramedic came up behind them from inside ambulance and helped Katie and Rachel inside,
"We're gonna go ahead now."
"Bye, Rachel." Blair leaned forward as Rachel leaned out, gave him a big hug and kissed him on the cheek him. "Take good care of your mom for me, okay?"
On the other side of the street from Katie and Rachel, Bud, Tom, and Ed were seated on the ground in front of Bud's car. All three were handcuffed.
Jim stood in front of the would-be gunfighters, telling them exactly what they did wrong.
"But, we didn't have time to call 911," Bud tried to defend himself and his actions.
"Bud, that's three numbers. You always have time to call 911. What you did was a stupid thing and it endangered the lives of a lot of innocent people." Jim turned and gestured to several uniformed officers to come over and take custody of the three neighbors.
"Bud, don't ever call me Jimbo again...not even if we see each other on the street."
Jim watched as Blair said goodbye to Katie and Rachel, hoping that his friend would get a chance to see both of them again. As the ambulance pulled away, Blair joined Jim and they walked over to where Simon and Megan had been directing and watching the cleanup.
"I think we're about wrapped up here, Captain." Jim then turned to Megan. "Why don't you go finish packing up the house, dear?"
Simon closed his eyes and rubbed his forehead.
"Me?" Megan choked.
"Captain Banks, I'd like to officially request a divorce."
"But, sir..." Jim started, but stopped at the look Simon was giving him, turned and followed Megan into Katie's house.
"Whew...man...I am so glad this particular stakeout is over," Blair said.
"Sandburg, is it my imagination or are those two still not getting along?"
"Tell me about it. I did the best I could, sir."
"Sandburg, I put you here to keep an eye on them."
"No. Wrong. You put me here so they wouldn't kill each other. I'm an anthropologist, not a therapist." Blair paced after Simon has he headed for his car.
"Yeah, well, maybe you should consider supplementing your degree. Go to night school. Do something!"
~ The End ~