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Counterstrike
“Deja Vu”

Hong Kong was usually a busy place for private investigators such as
Hector Stone. Since the chinese had retaken the island things had gotten
kinda slow.
The former navy SEAL had just propped his feet up on his desk and
settled in for a nice nap when his secratary plopped a package on his
ankle.
Stone cracked one eye open looking from the young brown haired woman to
the package and back again,"Lunch?"
Cindy Weisner grinned,"Not unless you had it airmailed from France."
That got Stone's full attention,"France?"
Cindy nodded,"City of lights to be exact. Who do you know in Paris?"
Stone picked up the package and scooted closer to the desk. Remembering
his promise to Alexander Addington and the rest of the team he shook his
head,"Nobody."
Cindy caught the look on her boss's face but didn't press the
issue,"Well nobody has quite a deep pocket. Do you have any idea how
much it costs to airmail something from France these days? Or anywhere
else for that matter?"
Stone nodded absently as he flipped the legal size envelope over,"Is
that a phone I hear ringing?"
Cindy shook her head,"Not in this dimension but I can take a hint."

Once she was gone Stone carefully opened the envelope and took out the
contents.
"Round trip ticket to Paris."Stone read outloud as he examed the
tickets,"What's up Mr. A?"
***********************************************************************

“Is there any news?”A slightly balding middle aged British man asked in
a hurried whisper as he entered the high rise office.
Helene Previn shook her head as she glanced at the closed dark paneled
office doors,”Nothing yet,Bennet. Did all of our packages arrive at
their destinations safely?”
The butler nodded briskly as he moved closer to the secratary’s
desk,”Yes,everything is going according to plan.”
The dark haired woman in her early forties glanced nervously at the
closed doors,”I just hope he doesn’t kill me for this.”
In spite of the circumstances Bennett smiled at his friend,”Of all
people,Ms. Previn you are the last person on the face of this earth that
Mr. Addington would think of killing. Besides you and I both know that
he can not handle this current situation on his own.”
Helene nodded,”Yes he needs the Team’s help now more than ever. Whether
he knowws it or not.”
***************************************************

Miami,Florida


Former Scotland Yard dectective Peter Sinclair squinted against the
bright noon day sun.
/There were some bright sides to owning your own computer/internet
service provider busniess./Peter thought with a smile as he opened the
door to his apartment’s spacious balcony.
His apartment was on the fifth floor of a circular highrise along an
exclusive stretch of Miami Beach.
The view of the ocean was spectacular.
However Peter saw none of it.

Despite the money,the sucess of his four year old busniess, Peter
Sinclair was miserable.
He missed solving crimes.
He missed putting the bad guy away.
Hell he even missed Paris.
Part of him still couldn’t believe it had been four years since he had
worked for Alexander Addington.
Four years since the cold sound of a cell door closing had changed
everything.

The sound of the doorbell jarred Peter from his reverie. Absently
straightening the collar of his gray suit jacket Peter quickly reentered
his apartment and crossed the living room.
“Peter Sinclair?”A young red haired man in a mesanger uniform asked
briskly.
The blond haired man in his late thirties nodded,”Yes.”
“Have a package for you,Sir.”The teenager replied thrusting a clipboard
forward,”Need you to sign here.”
Peter quickly intialed the paper and took the package.
“Thankyou Sir.”THe messanger replied pocketing Peter’s generous
tip,”Have a nice day.”

Sinclair nodded absently as he closed the apartment door. His right
eyebrow went up as he saw the postmark:France.
There was no letter of explaination inside,which didn’t really surprise
Peter.
“One round trip ticket for Paris.”Peter mused as he sat down on the
sofa,”If I remember correctly Paris is very nice this time of year.”
Placing the tickets on the coffee table Peter retreated to his bedroom
to pack and make arrangements to the airport.
********************************************************

At eight thirty the next morning, or at least that’s what his watch was
telling him, a bleary eyed Peter Sinclair stepped out of a cab.
It had been a long time since he’d had to deal with jetlag,Peter thought
as he paided the cab driver and walked into the familiar high rise
office building of Addington International.

The elevator doors were just about to close when a slim hand halted
them,”Hold the elevator!”
Peter blinked at the familiar voice,”Gabrielle?”
The blond frenchwoman stepped into the elevator brushing a stray hair
away from her face,”Peter? What are you doing here?”
Peter leaned back against the far wall a smile crossing his face,”I was
going to ask you the same question. Let me guess you recieved an airmail
package containing one round trip ticket to Paris?”
Gabrielle Jamont grinned as the elevator began its climb,”Very good, Mr.
Holmes. You think this is a reunion?”
Peter shrugged and Gabrilelle noticed a shadow of pain cross his face.
This was the first she had seen him since he had been released from
prison.
She could only hope the time behind bars hadn’t changed her friend too
much. Unfortunately Gabrielle knew first hand what false imprisonment
was like.
“I don’t know,Gabrielle.”Peter replied softly as he watched the numbers
change,”Something about this just doesn’t feel right.”
*********************************************************

When the elevator doors finally opened onto the penthouse level Gabrille
and Peter were suprised to find the hallway deserted.
“Well it is early,”Gabrille suggested as she slowly opened the door to
Alexander’s main office,”Maybe they’re not in yet.”
Hector Stone rose to his feet as a pair of familiar faces entered the
room,”You guys get the cloak and dagger treatment too?”
Peter smiled as he grasped his friend’s hand in greeting,”Well the
gang’s all here,just wish we knew what the game was.”

“I’m afraid its no game,Peter.”Helene Previn said grimly as she closed
the door behind them,”I’m glad you all could come on such short notice.”
“Helene?”Gabrille asked softly,”What’s going on? Why all the secrecy?”
Alexander’s personal assistant motioned them to be seated,”Mr. Addington
doesn’t know I’ve called you here. I hate going behind his back but I
have no choice.”
“Is he ill?”Peter asked with concern.
“No,”Helene replied shaking her head,”Suzanne’s been kidnapped.”
***************************************************************

Dublin,Ireland



Twenty five year old Suzanne Addington slowly opened her eyes. Bright
morning sunlighted filtered through the borded up windows forcing her
eyes back close.
She groaned as pain coarsed through her head. She must have been to one
heck of a party last night to have this kind of a hang over.

With her senses half way under control Suzanne reopened her eyes and was
startled to see she wasn’t in her hotel room. She had arrived in
Ireland’s capital only two days ago to visit some college friends.

“Well,well,well sleeping beuty finally awakes.”

Suzanne’s head jerked to the right at the unfamiliar male voice,”Who are
you?”
The blond haired man in his late twenties grinned as he approached
her,”Don’t remember the fun we had last night,luv?”
Suzanne tried not to wince as the barrel of the gun was pressed against
the base of her neck.
“Why are you doing this?”
The man’s irish accent thickened as his voice dropped to a whisper,”All
in good time,luv. All in good time.”
*************************************************************
Stone saw Peter switch to ‘detective mode’ even before the british man
opened his mouth.
‘some things never change.’Stone thought with a slight shake of his head
as he exchanged a concerned glance with Gabrielle.

“When and where did she disappear?”Peter asked as he leaned forward.
Helene sighed and Peter could see that this ordeal had taken its toll on
her,”She was visiting friends in Dublin. Mr. Addington had protested her
going alone with all the unrest there. But you know Suzanne once she has
her mind set to something nothing can shake it.”
“I thought the IRA had agreed to peace talks.”Gabrielle commented as she
moved to sit next to Helene.
Stone shook his head,”There’s been a number of splinter groups that
weren’t happy with that.”

“All of you out,now!”

The four friends turned at the familiar voice now filled with quiet
anger.
“We know about Suzanne.”Gabrielle stated quietly as she took a step
toward Alexander.
Alexander stalked to the window behind his desk,his hand clenched around
his cane,”All the more reason that you should leave and never come
back.”

“I asked them here.”Helene said quietly,”They didn’t come on their own.”
“I will deal with you later,Ms. Previn.”
“But we would have if we had known what was going on.”Peter added
quietly,”Let us help,Alexander,off the record if need be.”
“You know why that’s not possible.”
“I don’t give a damn about Lord Hannah and the British government.”Peter
said icely as he approached the desk.
“If you value my daughter’s life you will care about them.”Alexander
said quietly his gaze fixated on the city below,”As much as I hate it I
gave them my word that the team would not be reactivated no matter
what.”

“These are hardly normally circumstances.”Stone said softly,”Let us get
her back,Mr. A.. If need be we don’t have to use the jet or any of your
resources.”He grinned,”We have been pretty resourceful on our own,you
know.”
“Is it the IRA?”Gabrielle asked as she stood.
Alexander finally turned to face them and they all were shocked to see
how ashen and thin his face was,”That’s one theory but there hasn’t been
any kind of ransom yet.”
Peter walked behind the desk and grasped Alexander’s hand in his,”I
promise you,Alexander we will get Suzzane back.”
****************************************************
“So you finally got the princess out of the tower,huh?”A scotish brouge
commented through the static of a cellular phone,”What are you going to
do with her now? You know that Addington will part the Red sea if he has
to to get his precious daughter back.”
The blond man glanced at his sleeping captive with a smile,”That’s what
I’m planning on,Paul. That’s exactly what I’m planning on.”
The tall man ended the conversation and placed the phone on a small
coffee table.
He leaned against the window frame as he turned to watch Suzanne,”Soon
little one you and I are going to get to know each other. Then the real
fun will begin.”
****************************************************

Helene Previn stood akwardly at the right side of Alexander’s desk as
she watched the team fly into action.
She felt very guilty for having gone behind Alexander’s back,but she
knew it was the only way to get them here. 
The dark haired woman glanced at Addington and saw him advert his eyes.

With an inward sigh,Helene squared her shoulders and walked out of the
office wondering if she had ruined one of the most important friendships
in her life.
She could only hope that one day he would realize she was only looking
out for his best interests. 
****************************************************
“If it is the IRA we aren’t going to be able to infiltrate in order to
get her out,”Stone was saying as he and Peter huddled over several
maps,”They aren’t exactly the trustworthy bunch.”
Sinclair nodded,”Agreed.”
Gabrielle absently played with a pen as she stood between the two
men,”How did they recognize her?”
“Papers,more than likely.”Peter replied without glancing up from the
maps spread out before him.
Gabrielle shook her head,”No,there wouldn’t have been a recent photo of
her. Alexander has gone to great lengths to keep the media away from
Suzanne. He thought it was part of the reason that Chantel became a
target in the first place. He didn’t want the same thing to happen to
his daughter.”

Stone glanced at Addington who stood looking out the windows at the
bustling streets of Paris,”But she was kidnapped anyway. Gabby raises a
good point,Pete.”
Peter nodded slowly as one hand rubbed a tired kink out of the back of
his neck,”We’ll find that answer when we find out who took her.”
**************************************

Gabrielle noticed Helene’s quiet exit and glanced at Alexander’s stiff
form by the window.
She hoped their precense wasn’t causing a rift between those two. Helene
was only looking out for Alex and Suzanne’s best interest. 
The blonde woman straightened and touched Peter lightly on the
shoulder,”I’ll be right back,Peter.”
Peter nodded before turning his attention back to Stone,”I have a few
calls into some old friends at Interpol. They’ll be descreete in their
inquiries,should know something in a few hours. What about
your.....sources?”
Stone grinned,”Closest ‘source’ is an old S.E.A.L pal of mine who’s in
Scotland. He’s checking a few things out now,but says the IRA have been
very quiet this year. The ones making trouble our the splinter groups.”
Peter nodded glancing at Addington,”That’s what worries me. If the main
IRA has her we have a hope of negoiating,but if its some right wing
fanatic group.......”

JJ Johnson stepped into the room a grim expression on the young black
man’s face,”Mr. Addingtion? The jet’s all fueled and ready to go as soon
as the team is.”
Alex finally turned away from the window nodding slowly,”Thankyou JJ.
The team will be departing in a few moments.”
The piolt nodded as he glanced around the room noting the person
missing,”I’ll let Gabrielle know.”
“Thankyou JJ.”Peter replied as the piolt left closing the door behind
him.
****************************************************

Gabrielle found Helene Previn in one of the small offices a couple doors
down from Alexander’s.
The older woman instantly started shuffling papers when she noticed
Gabrielle standing in the door way.
“I’m fine Gabrielle, you don’t have to check up on me.”

The reporter walked farther into the room,”You don’t have to keep up a
brave front for me,Helene. I know you care about Suzie just as much as
Alex does.”
Helene finally pushed the papers aside and sat down behind the desk as
she looked at her friend,”I just feel so responsible,Gabrielle.”
Gabrielle leaned on the corner of the desk,”There is no possible way
this could be your fault,Helene.”
The dark haired woman shook her head,”I backed her up when Alex told her
she couldn’t go to Ireland. I fairly bullied the man untill he gave in
and allowed her to go.”
Gabrielle smiled,”Helene you know as well as anybody that Alexander
doesn’t do anything he doesn’t want to.”
Helene tried to return her friend’s smile but failed miserably,”He kept
saying he had a bad feeling about her taking this trip but I kept
insisting that Suzie needed time with her friends.”

The sound of a throat clearing jerked both women’s heads toward the
doorway.
“Sorry to interupt ladies,”JJ said softly,”Just wanted to let you know
Gabrielle that the jet’s fueled and we’ll be leaving shortly.”
The french woman nodded,”Thankyou JJ,I’ll be right there.” 
“Okay.”JJ replied as he exited the office.
Gabrille squeezed Helene’s hand reassuringly,”This will all work out,
Helene. Peter will get her back.”
The secratary nodded as her worried gaze looked past Gabrielle to the
open doorway,”I truely hope so,Gabrielle. I truely hope so. Alexander
could not take another loss.”
*************************************************

“We’ll be in Dublin in about five hours.”J.J. reported as soon as the
jet had reached crusing altitude.
“Thanks JJ.”Peter Sinclair replied wearily as he undid his seatbelt and
glanced around the main room of the jet which was essentially the team’s
‘command center’.

Hector Stone came up quietly behind the former detective,”You
okay,Pete?”
Peter nodded as he stood and walked over to a small refridgerator taking
out a bottled water,”I just have this strange feeling of deja vu,Stone.”
Stone leaned against a corner of the desk,”Chantel?”
Peter glanced out the window,”Her kidnapping was the reason Alexander
assembled the team in the first place. Now after disbanding we’re
reuniting to rescue her daughter from the same fate.”
“This will have a different ending,Pete.”Stone promised as he absently
played with a pen.
“I pray that you’re right,Stone.”Peter replied sadly his gaze never
leaving the window.

Gabrielle walked quickly into the office her blue eyes sparkling,”We may
have our first lead.Peter one of your discreet calls into Interpol came
up with a possible witness to the kidnapping.”
Peter smiled for the first time all day,”Great,were we lucky enough to
get a name for that witness?”
Stone plucked the fax paper from her hands before she could reply,”Yep,
Renee Gibson. Twenty six year old graduate student,journalism major.
Lives near the river.”
Peter took the paper from him,”Well then Ms. Gibson will be our first
stop. Stone see what we can pull up on her and what her connection to
Suzie if any is.”
“Right.”Stone replied as he settled himself behind the computer.
***************************************************************

The day passed very slowly for Suzanne Addington. For a person who was
used to being very active,being confined to a wooden chair was
agonizing.

A brown haired man wearing army fatigues had brought her a tray of
breakfast about twenty minutes after the leader had left. On the tray
was a simple bagel and a glass of orange juice. She had turned her head
away when he had tried to feed it to her,eyes shut.
Now the tray lay at her feet,taunting her.

Even though her stomach growled she refused to touch it. Not that she
could if she wanted to with her hands tied securly behind her back and
her feet bound.
Her head swam slightly from the combination of lack of sleep, no food,
and too much alchol.
She only wished she could remember the actual kidnapping.

As hard as she tried it was all still a fog. The last thing she
remembered clearly was arriving at her friend Thomas’s apartment on 
Grafton street. Being that his apartment was in one of the city’s trendy
night club districts the party had instantly became mobile. Going from
one nightclub to the next.
Suzanne shook her head tiredly. She only had a clear memory from the
third bar after that it all disappeared into a cloud of images and
music.

The dark haired young woman glanced out the boarded up window. As she
felt the sun’s warmth she wondered if her father knew she was missing
yet. 
She could only pray this ordeal didn’t go on for very long.
She didn’t think her father could go through it again.
The loss of her mother had been too much for him.
For both of them.
************************************************************

It was too quiet.
Too damn quiet.

Just like the house was after Chantel’s disappearnce. With a frusterated
sigh Alexander turned away from the office window and sat heavily down
behind his desk.
Inadvertently his eyes fell on the framed photo of his wife and daughter
that was propped next to the computer monitor.
“I let you down twice,Chantel.”Addington whispered sadly as he picked
the frame up,”I hope that someday you can forgive me.”

After a few moments Alex composed himself enough to replace the photo
and hit the intercom,”Ms. Previn? Could you come in here for a moment?”
A puzzled frown crossed his features when silence answered him.
With a sigh Alex hit another button,”Bennett? Have you seen Ms. Previn?”
The british man’s concerned voice came back through the static,”I
thought she was with you?”
/Damn/Alex thought sadly,/I was too hard on her eariler. She was only
trying to help Suzie and I took it all out on her./

“Try tracking her down,Bennett.”Alex ordered softly,”This place will
fall apart with out her.”
“Yes sir.”Bennett acknowledged before ending the conversation.
****************************************************************

The team set up temporary headquarters in a sparse office nestled in a
string of resturants along O’Connell street.
The office was on the second floor nestled between a chinese resturant
on the first and a art gallery on the third.

“Okay so let’s recap,”Peter began as he settled onto the corner of the
desk laptop computer next to him,”Gibson has no criminal record and she
was roommates with Suzie during their junior year of college.”
“She comes from a blue collar background. Father’s a history teacher,
mother’s a waitress.”Gabrielle replied picking up the story,”Renee
worked her way through school.”
“She works part time at a night club over on Grafton,tending bar.”Stone
added.
Peter glanced at his watch,”Should be just about to open. Let’s go have
a chat with Ms. Gibson,shall we?”
******************************************************

Alexander Addington paced the small area behind his desk. It had only
been thirty minutes since he had told security to look for Ms. Previn,
but it seemed like an eternity.

“Bennett,any word?”Alexander asked the rational part of him knew Helene
had just stepped out for a cup of coffee or something. But with
everything that’s happening with Suzanne he just couldn’t take loosing
one more person that he cared about.
Not one more.

“Paris is a big city,Sir.”Bennett replied softly.
Alex glared at the speaker,”This is no time for humor,Bennett!”
“Yes,Sir. I will let you know as soon as I hear anything from the
security teams.”
“Thankyou,Bennett.”Alex replied softly.

Just then a loud conversation in the hallway caught his attention.
Before he could step out from behind his desk to investigate the
conversation came into the room.

“What is the meaning of this?!”Alex demanded seeing the two six foot
plus young security guards had Helene Previn in a tight hold. One man
pinning each of her arms behind her back.
The blond haired guard blinked,”We were following your orders,Sir.”
Alex stepped forward,”Like hell you were!”

Hurt was clearly in Helene’s brown eyes as she looked at her
employer,”Was dragging me back by the hair really necassary,Mr.
Addington?”
Seeing the pain on her face Alex’s expresssion softened,”This was never
my inention,Ms. Previn. I only told them to bring you here so we could
*talk*. Unhand her and apoligize I will have Benett forward your last
paycheck to your home address.”
The red haired guard’s eyes widened,”So we’re fired for following
orders?”
Alex came within two inches of the young man,”No you’re being fired
because you can not follow orders or treat people the way they deserve
to be treated. Now for the last time let Ms. Previn go and get out of my
sight!”

The two guards exchanged a glance before quickly releasing Helene
Previn. With mumbled apolgies the two young man left the office.
*************************************************************

“Sorry we’re not open yet,”A young woman with short black hair pulled
back into a pony tail called from behind the bar,”You’ll have to come
back in an hour or so.”

On instinct Peter started to reach into his pocket for his police
identification then sheepishly realized he no longer had one. 
/old habits really do die hard./Peter thought wrily.
However before Peter could think of an excuse for their being there
Gabrielle took charge of the situation.
With a well trained smile Gabby stepped forward extending her hand in
greeting

“I’m sorry if we startled you,”Gabrielle began softly as she stood a few
feet from the oak bar,”We’re friends of Suzanne Addington. This is Peter
Sinclair and Hector Stone.”
Stone glared at her momentarily for using his first name but remained
silent shoving his hands deeper into his coat pockets.
The young woman’s face brightened with recognization,”Yes,Suzie has
mentioned you. You work for her father?”
“Yes,”Peter replied softly as he stepped forward,”We just got in from
Paris tonight.”
Renee smiled as she set her dish towel down on the bar,”Here on
vacation?”
Stone shook his head sadly,”Actually we were wondering if you could tell
us about the last time you saw Suzzanne?”
Renee blinked in surprise as she turned her attention to the dark haired
man,”Is something wrong?”
“I’m afraid she’s been kidnapped.”Gabrielle said softly as she glanced
at Peter.

Renee Gibson slowly walked around the bar and sat heavily down on one of
the wooden stools,”Oh God,that’s awful. Seems so unreal I just saw her
the other night. We were planning on meeting tommorrow night to go club
hopping there was a new band she wanted to see.....”
Peter sat down on the stool oppisite her as he took out a small pad of
paper and a pen,”Can you tell us about the last time you saw Suzie? Who
were you with, etc.....”

Renee nodded as she leaned her back against the bar,”We met up about
eight thirty and headed to Thomas Krieg’s apartment. He was a year ahead
of us in college but we all stayed in touch after he graduated. He and
Suzie dated for a time.”
“What does he do?”Stone asked.
Renne smiled ruefully,”He just graduated from the police academy here in
Dublin. That’s another reason Suzie was here visiting this week. She
wanted to congratulate Thomas.”
Gabrielle’s eyes widened slightly,”Ireland’s a rough place to be a cop.”
Renee smiled grimly,”No worse off than your America,”She replied looking
at Stone,”Or so I’ve heard from the news.”
“Point taken.”Stone replied as he impatiently shifted from one foot to
the other and back again.

Peter nodded as he flipped to a new page of his notebook,”This party at
Officer Krieg’s apartment,can you give us names of the people who were
there? We believe the kidnapping occured later that night.”
Renee nodded,”Of course. If there’s anything else I can do please let me
know.”
Gabrielle patted her shoulder reassuringly as she turned away from the
bar,”Thankyou for all your help,Renee. We’ll keep you updated.”

Renee Gibson’s voice halted Peter in the doorway’s threshhold,”Oh Mr.
Sinclair,you might want to enlist Thomas’s help. He has quite a few
contacts here in Dublin.”
Peter nodded,”Thankyou again for your help,Ms. Gibson.”
“Just bring Suzie home,Mr. Sinclair.”Renee said softly as she returned
to her duty behind the bar,”She has a lot of people who care about her.”
Peter smiled sadly,”We will get her back,Renee. I promise you that.”He
opened the door,”We’ll be in touch.”
******************************************************************

Helene Previn sat awkwardly in one of the leather chairs,not quite
meeting Addington’s gaze,”Has there been a ransom demand yet?”She asked
quietly.
Alexander shook his head,”Not yet, which leads me to believe they aren’t
after money.”

“Alexander,I’m so sorry.”Helene whispered as she looked down at her
hands.
Alex came to stand next to her his eyes widening in surprise,”Whatever
for?”
Tearfully she met his gaze,”For what happened to Suzie. If I hadn’t
practicly bullied you into letting her go.”
In spite of his bad knee,Alex knelt down next to her taking her right
hand in his,”Don’t you dare apoligize. If anyone should, its me.”

Helene started to protest but Alex held up his hand,”No,let me finish. I
am sorry I shut you out. This whole ordeal has taken me back to loosing
Chantel......”Shaking his head he forced the painful memories away,”Then
when Bennett couldn’t locate you,I thought I had lost everything.”
Helene squeezed his hand,”I’m so sorry I didn’t tell anyone where I was
going. But the walls started to close in on me. I just had to get some
fresh air so I walked over to the park.”

Alex nodded as he gingerly stood drawing a chair next to hers,”I
apolgize also for the way the guards treated you,they will be taken care
of. I told them to locate you,not drag you here by the hair.”
Helene smiled slightly at the mental image,”Its alright,Alex. I just
wish everything was back to normal.”
Alex grimaced as he glanced at a picture of Chantel and Suzie on his
desk,”Or whatever passes as normal around here.”

The intercom beeped and Bennett’s British voice echoed through the
static,”Sir,the team’s reporting in.”
Alex glanced at Helene before walking behind the desk to activate the
intercom,”Thankyou Bennett. Hpefully Peter has some good news.”
The video screen on the far wall flashed to life,”What have you found
out,Peter?”

Peter Sinclair sat on the corner of the desk,”We have made some
progress. One of Suzie’s friends, Renee Gibson, told us that Suzie was
at a party the night she disappeared.”
Alex nodded,”Gibson,yes Suzie spoke of her often.”
Gabrielle continued the report,”She directed us to another friend who
just joined Dublin’s police force.”
Peter nodded,”A Thomas Krieg,Stone’s tracking him down now.”
Alex looked like he was going to protest about them involving the police
but held his tounge,”Do whatever you have to Peter,just bring her home.”
Sinclair nodded grimly,”You have my word,Sir. We will bring her home.”

“Link out.”The computer announced as Peter ended the video transmission.



Hector Stone was just heading back to their office on O’Connell street
as he shifted a manillia file folder to his left hand.
As he climbed the steps Stone realized he was starting to feel
frusterated. Even though they had started to make a few contacts who
*might* or might not know anything about Suzie’s situation it still felt like they were hitting a brick wall.
A brick wall called time that Suzie was rapidly running out of.

Stone reached the second floor and turned left the no ransom thing was
nawing at him. The kidnapper had to know of Alexander’s status in the
business community. They had to know what kind of wealth the man had.
Everyone has a price,they say,so why hasn’t this guy called?

As he neared the small office Stone heard Gabrielle on the phone. She
was talking in her native french which ment she was calling in a few
favors of her own.
His hand gripped the black doorknob and his instincts went into
overdrive.
His black eyes quickly scanned the interior of the room through the
glass but could see nothing out of place.
But his gut was screaming at him that something was definetely wrong
here. And he never went against his gut.

In one move he yanked open the door snagging the blond woman buy the
wrist propelling her out into the hallway.

“Stone,what the he......”Gabrielle demanded once she recovered her
balance.

Stone’s only reply was to usher them down the hallway and into the
stairwell. Once there he pushed her into the corner covering her body
with his.

The next instant their office exploded in a brilliant burst of orange
and red flames as the bomb went off.
The explosion was so powerful that it took out the front wall of the
office and blew in the door of the stairway raining debris over them.

After a few minutes Stone cautiously raised his head shaking off shards of glass,”Coast’s clear.”

Shaking slightly Gabrielle turned to face her friend,blue eyes
wide,”H-how did you know?”

Stone grinned as he gently tucked a stray blonde hair behind her left
ear,”Instincts. Alarm bells went off as soon as I got near the 
office.”

“Thankyou.”Gabrielle whispered as she dropped her head to his chest,”If you hadn’t come along when you did I’d be......”

“Don’t even think about that.”Stone replied softly as he pulled away
from her,”Lets get back to the plane,Pete’s gonna flip when he finds out about this.”

Gabrielle nodded as she rose to her feet. Turning toward the stairs she had just barely made it two steps before the world spun,darkness closed in and the floor came up to greet her.

Stone rushed forward catching his friend before she hit the floor.
“This is defintely not a good day.”

************************************************************

Officer Thomas Krieg nearly collided into the back of the man in front
of him as he stopped suddenly.
Peter fought down the wave of fear as his blue eyes took in the string
of police cars and firetrucks that surrounded the building where the
team’s office had been.
Had been.
That thought propeled Peter’s feet forward. 
As he manuvered through the first row of police cars he got a better
look at the damage.
Nearly the whole second floor was gone. The corner space where the
temporary office had been was now a shell of fallen woodbeams and
shattered glass.
He had watched Luke Brenner die. Peter did not want to bury any more
friends.
Not today,not ever.

A fireman tried to block his path but Sinclair glared at the man easily sidestepping him on the way to the nearest ambulance.
He started to breathe again as Stone’s familiar voice drifted toward
him.

“Get that thing away from me!”Stone barked at the paramedic trying to
apply anteseptic to a cut on his forehead,”I told you I was fine. I’ve
cut myself worse shaving!”

The young black woman glared at her patient slightly as she rocked back on her heels,”This cut could get infected if I don’t treat it and I don’t want you doing the bloody american thing and sueing me.”

Peter’s heart froze as he came around the corner seeing Stone was the
only occupant,”Stone? What the hell happened?”

Stone made a futitle attempt to evade the paramedic,”A bomb went off.”

Peter glared at his friend,”Now is not the time for humor,Stone.”

Stone finally broke free of the paramedic and moved to stand next to

Peter,”It wasn’t humor I was stating fact,a bomb went off.”

Sinclair fought to keep a reign on his temper,”I can see that. Where’s
Gabrielle?”

Stone ran a hand through his short dark hair,”I got her out of the
office as fast as I could but she still got knocked out. Docs say she
has a concussion and took her in to keep an eye on her.”

“Thank God.”Peter said softly.

Stone gestured to the young man standing paiently behind Peter,”Who’s
your friend,Pete?”

Sinclair jumped slightly having forgotten Krieg was there,”Sorry,
Officer Thomas Krieg,Hector Stone.”

Krieg nodded in greeting,”Good to meet you. I see a few friends I’m
going to see what I can find out.”

Once the young man was out of earshot Stone commented,”Lets hope he’s
not as green as he looks.”

Peter ran a weary hand over the back of his neck,”For Suzie’s sake he
better not be. The stakes just got raised and I’m not liking these
odds.”

*********************************************************************

Helene was just setting a cup of tea in front of Alexander when Bennett
came rushing into the office.

Alex stood at his long time assistant’s frazled expression,”Bennett,what is it?”

The british man held up a small tape recorder,”This tape was just
delivered to our main Paris office.”

Helene exchanged a concerned glance with Alexander,”Is it the ransom
demand?”

Bennett hesitated,”Yes and no.”

Alexander glared at him,”Stop talking in riddles man and play the damn
thing.”

Bennett quickly set the tape recorder on the desk and hit play,”Yes
Sir.”

A voice clearly distorted by a computer richochetted through the room,”I thought you were smarter than this Mr. Addington. The instructions were not to involve the police. The bombing was a warning if you continue to disobey my orders your daughter will disappear,forever.”

Fear raced up Helene’s spine as she glanced at the two men,”Bombing?
What bombing?”

Alex slammed the stop button,”Bennet,get Peter on the phone.Now!”

Bennett quickly picked up the desk phone,”Yes Sir.”

At the mention of the team Helene turned fearful eyes on Alexander,”You don’t think that.......”

Alexander turned to look out the window,”I don’t want to think of that
possiblity,Helene. I’ve lost too many people in my life I don’t want to add them to the list.”

Bennet hung up the phone a solemn expression on his face,”Sir,JJ didn’t know anything about a bombing but said that the team missed their last check in. He’s trying to track them down now.”

“Damn.”Alex swore softly as he turned away from the window leaning
heavily on his cane,”Bennet get that tape analyized! I want to know who that bastard is before the stakes get raised any higher!”

Bennet glanced at Helene before quickly picking up the tape and scurring out of the room.

*************************************************************

For some reason her captors had untied her on the third day and had
given her the freedom of the small bedroom.
Since then Suzie had been racking her brain trying to remember more of
the kidnapping but it still came in fuzzy images.

Frusterated she stood and walked over to the window. She remembered when Gabrielle was a suspect in a murder and Peter and Stone had walked her through that night so she could remember.
Unfortunately Suzie didn’t have that opportunity. Turning away from the window Suzie sat down on the small bed her thoughts once again returning to her father. She could only pray that he wasn’t doing anything foolish.

**************************************************************

After Bennett left the office Helene busied herself by strightening some papers on the desk. It was better than dwelling on what might have happened to the team.
Helene sighed she could’nt help but feel responsible she had brought
them back in.

Helene and Alexander glanced up as Bennett scurried back into the office a black cordless phone in one hand.

“Good news Sir,”Bennett reported slightly out of breath,”JJ got a hold
of Mr. Sinclair.”

Alexander practicly snatched the phone away from his assistant,”Peter,
what the hell is going on?!”

In the hospital corridor Sinclair winced holding the phone away from his ear,”And hello to you too,Sir.”

“What is this about a bombing?”Alexander demanded ignoring the sarcasm.

Peter sighed,”A bomb took out our office. Unfortunately Gabrielle was in it at the time.”

Addington closed his eyes briefly,”Is she alright?”

Peter nodded,”Thanks to Stone and his instincts. He some how managed to get her out of the room before it went off. The doctors are holding her over night for observation because of a concussion.”


To be continued.........

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