S.W.A.T. Headquarters – Morning –
Hondo had found solitude in his office; a place he very rarely used; in fact, most people didn’t even realize that he had been given an office shortly after his promotion. But nonetheless, he had an office and now was one of those times that he needed the privacy it afforded him.
He hadn’t gotten much sleep after returning home from meeting with Buck’s ex-wife. He’d studied the files and pictures; Buck was nothing if not thorough. Even now as he studied the files contained on the flash drive, Hondo wasn’t quite sure what he was looking at. At the least it was nothing more than a sick dangerous conspiracy theory. At best if carried out, the entire city of Los Angeles would be in grave danger and hundreds even thousands could lose their lives. Clues of corruption on all levels of government and law enforcement made it nearly impossible to determine who Hondo could trust and perhaps Buck had placed his trust in the wrong person and that, not suicide was the real cause of his death. Hondo knew that even with the information in his possession, it would be near impossible to prove that Buck’s death was nothing more than what the coroner had listed, suicide. The powers that be, could easily make it all disappear…they could make him disappear too.
Marriott Hotel – Downtown Chicago – Morning –
She was a coward; she hadn’t realized it until now, but Nechelle had to admit that she was without a doubt a coward. As she put the final touches on her makeup, she found it impossible to hide the disappointment. Not in Hondo or the relationship but she was disappointed in herself for being so willing to call it quits with him. At the very core of who he was, she knew he was a good man; loving, devoted and loyal and he wanted to be more than what his past had said he was. She’d run, just like he had run at the thought of meeting her parents and even after all he had done to show his support of her dreams, she refused to give him a chance to make a mistake. Yup…a coward; there was no other way to describe it.
Nechelle had hit the ground running with her newfound wealth determined to make the community center all that she had ever dreamed of. The sudden trips out of town seemed the perfect escape that protected her from having to explain to a man who deserved an explanation that he wasn’t worth the fight. Hondo deserved more; she knew it and so the real question was, now what? Here she was, ready to conduct business that would have never been possible had he not believed in her. Another thing that she had to admit to herself was the fact that she missed him and even if her pride would not let her say it out loud, she was wrong and he was worth fighting for; she wondered if it was too late.
S.W.A.T. Headquarters – Afternoon –
Chris was worried about her boss; he was always concerned with taking care of them and even before he had become 20 David, Hondo was the one who looked after them as if they were a part of his family. In a way they were family; good, bad and in between. With what they did every day being family was key to their survival. As much as he took care of them, he never allowed them to return the favor. He was too strong, too stubborn and too committed to being their boss and their caretaker to allow them close enough to take care of him. No matter how he tried to hide it even taking refuge in a rarely used office, Chris was worried and whether he liked it or not she was going to make sure he was okay.
Chris was surprised that his door was open. She hesitated before stepping across the threshold. His eyes were fixed on the computer screen and he never realized that she was there. She wondered what had his attention.
Hondo was surprised to see her. He was so busy watching the information cross his screen that he hadn’t realized that he had company.
“I finished the inventory in weapons, so Street and I are going to lunch; you want anything?”
“No, thanks, I’m good.”
Chris turned and pretended to leave, then turning back she took a few more steps toward him.
“You okay, Hondo?”
“I will be.”
“You want to talk? I mean I’m here, right?”
He paused for a moment before going on.
“It’s the woman I told you about.”
“How’s that going?”
“She broke up with me. I screwed up and she got out before it was too late.”
“Too late for what?”
“I don’t know Chris.” Hondo stood and stared out the window at nothing in particular. “I was supposed to meet her parents at that big awards thing the other night and…”
“…You got scared and left her hanging.”
“Yeah something like that.”
Chris joined him at the window.
“That’s not a reason to break up with someone, not if you really care.”
“So, what are saying, Chris that she didn’t care?”
“No. I’m saying that she got scared. Just like you got scared when it was time to meet her parents.”
“Chris, I don’t know. I haven’t had the best of luck when it comes to relationships.”
“See, there you go; scared! Look Boss, if you really care about this woman and she cares about you then you’ll work this out.”
“You’re a good guy Hondo and you deserve to be happy just like everyone else.”
“I better go, Street is probably looking for me.”
Chris turned and headed toward the door.
Chris smiled and headed down the hallway.
Home of Herman Lauder – Evening –
Herman Lauder had spent the last twenty years building his fortune. He’d been groomed by his father, a strict hard-working man who had immigrated from Germany when Herman was an infant. Herman had learned the value of hard work and he’d learned to manage his finances better than anyone on Wall Street. Now he was one of the wealthiest men in the state; known for both his philanthropy and his bold business dealings.
With all that he had accomplished, Herman was on a mission. He wanted to prove a point and he had patiently launched a plan of revenge against the City of Angels. Before his rise to wealth had begun, he had watched local politicians ruin his father’s reputation in an effort to garner favor and votes, labeling his father as a slum lord and a racist. Now it was his turn to make them all pay, white, black, everybody and what better way to do it but to turn them all against each other. Then when the city was in ruins he’d swoop in and make them all pay. Nothing and no one would stop him, and he’d kill anyone who got in his way in fact, he already had.
S.W.A.T. Headquarters –
Hondo had been the first to arrive and now as he made his way toward his car, he was the last to leave. His mind was still trying to make sense of the information that Buck had left for him. He was more certain than ever that Buck had been killed and not by his own hands. His friend had stumbled upon a conspiracy that certainly would be hard to believe but could also have gotten him killed if indeed it were true. One thing was for sure, whoever Herman Lauder was, he was a very dangerous man and he needed to be brought down before he got a chance to go through with his plans.
Home of Herman Lauder –
There was something about the L.A. cityscape that was hypnotizing, and Herman made a point of drinking it in every evening over a glass of expensive red wine. He was expecting an old friend to drop by with some important news; too important to be shared over the phone. So as if on cue the doorbell rang and he reluctantly pulled himself away from the magical view from his 27th floor balcony.
“Hey man, come in, come in.”
Herman stepped aside as the tall dark-skinned man entered. Without asking he made his way to the bar and made himself a stiff drink. Herman watched; Maurice was one of only a very few that he’d ever allow to be so informal and relaxed in his place.
“So, you look stressed. What happened that couldn’t wait until tomorrow?”
“We’ve got problems.”
Maurice downed his drink and began fixing another.
“Problems what problems?”
“That cop, he’s snooping around, man!”
“That cop; the one I told you about! The one that was at Spivey’s the day he, died.”
“Damn it! I thought that bloody business was done! It was ruled a suicide and it’s been what, almost three years!”
“It was, is, over but he’s looking around! I have security programs in place so if anyone and I mean anyone starts looking in places they shouldn’t I get a ping. I got a ping today and it’s that damn cop!”
“Can he hurt us? Does he even know what he’s looking at?”
“I don’t think we can take the chance we have too much to lose.”
“Then you know what needs to be done.”
Maurice swallowed his drink before answering. Then with a stern look at his friend he nodded.
“Yeah, I know exactly what needs to be done.”
(photo credit: tvguide.com)