Home of Herman Lauder – Morning
Things had not worked out as Herman had expected or planned; still, he felt that the night before had been productive. In a perfect world he would be waking up with Nechelle lying next to him but his former lover still seemed to be distracted with feelings for Hondo Harrelson. The man had let her slip out of his arms choosing to be a super hero instead. Hondo Harrelson was hell bent on being the best S.W.A.T. officer he could be as if he had something to prove. The cost of his singlemindedness was the love of an amazing woman like Nechelle. Herman was here to pick up the pieces and put her heart back together, not because she needed saving but because he, Herman Lauder was on a mission and he would do anything and use anyone to further that mission.
Nechelle wasn’t the only person Hondo cared about; Herman had done his homework and he’d done it well. The man had come too close in discovering who he was and now even though his phone calls to powerful men who owed him favors had stopped his search, Herman knew that Hondo would be a constant thorn in his side. How do you deal with thorns, Herman chuckled to himself; you pluck them out.
The city owed him for what they had done to his father and Herman was going to collect on that debt. His father who had worked so hard to make a name for himself had given the city his blood, sweat and tears only to be shamed and accused of being a slum lord and the cause of the injuries and deaths of dozens of people. Lies, all lies and Herman would not rest until the city of Los Angeles was brought to its knees.
Home of Hondo Harrelson –
If Commander Hicks and the feds thought he was going to stop his search for the truth behind Buck’s death and the fact that Herman Lauder was involved, then they were wrong. He owed Buck the truth and he was going to get that truth and restore his friend’s reputation even if it cost him his job with SWAT. The man had gotten too close to him personally showing him what would happen if he did not stop looking. Hondo knew the cost and he took the threats seriously; no one else could get hurt because of him, he wouldn’t be able to live with himself if they did. Nia was still in the hospital and Nechelle was in Lauder’s crosshairs. Some how and some way, Hondo had to protect them all; his family, his team and the woman he loved…the question was, how?
Hondo checked his watch and grabbed his bag and headed out. For now he would play nice and outwardly he would obey orders to stop his investigation but he wasn’t done, not by a long shot. There was more but he had to make sure no one else paid because of him. Nia would probably never be safe nor would she forgive him for putting her life in danger. He’d been warned and he didn’t listen; he’d been ordered to stop…but how could he?
S.W.A.T. Headquarters –
Deacon had made a point of getting into work early; he was worried about his friend and it was obvious that his investigation into Buck’s death had created some problems. Deacon hadn’t quite bought in to Hondo’s theory of Buck’s death actually being a homicide and not suicide. If that were the case then there would have to be a lot of moving parts in and outside of the department to pull it off and the real question would be, why? Why was it important for Buck’s death to be considered a suicide? There were a lot of questions, questions that had consequences and questions that could spell trouble for all of them if they didn’t stop asking.
Hicks paced the floor of his office. He didn’t like being told what to do and he didn’t like favors and politics being played at the expense of the lives of others. Oh, he knew the games and he was a master at playing but he disliked them nonetheless. It was going to be hard looking Hondo in the face. He respected Hondo and it had been hard for Hondo to trust him but after a lot of trials and errors, he believed that he had finally earned the man’s respect. Now in one fell swoop, he wondered if everything had been lost.
“You think he’ll stop?”
Hicks turned toward the door and saw Deacon; he hadn’t heard him come in.
“So, do you think he’ll stop?” Deacon repeated.
They both knew the answer, each hoping beyond hope that Hondo would allow this mess to go away.
“Hell no! You’ve known him longer than I have, what do you think? Do you think he’ll stop?”
“No; no I don’t and that’s what scares me. He took Buck’s death pretty hard, harder than the rest of us. He never believed Buck could kill himself.”
“Yeah but Buck wasn’t himself, especially after the Raymont Harris shooting. He lost everything, his job, his family.”
“What are we going to do about Hondo?”
“We watch his back, that’s all we can do.”
Hondo saw the black sedan pull in behind him shortly after leaving his house. The driver was wearing a black hoodie that made it difficult to see his face. Maybe he was being paranoid but he’d always learned to trust his instincts and his instincts were telling him that this wasn’t a coincidence. For the next several blocks Hondo took turns down random streets; turn for turn the car continued to follow him; matching his speed and making sure he stayed close. Hondo knew that once he arrived at the precinct, the driver would vanish.
Maurice knew that he had been made and that was the point. He followed close enough to be seen by Hondo and the fact that he was taking a random tour of the city confirmed that assumption. Maurice loved his job; the guts and gore of it and he loved the playing of cat and mouse with the SWAT officer who thought he was man enough to deal with him. He wasn’t and unbeknownst to Hondo, he was boxing him in waiting for him to make a move that would have him trapped just where he wanted him.
Hondo was tired of the games and whoever this was, needed to be stopped. He’d bet his badge that this was the same man who’d hurt Nia. Herman Lauder had sent him no doubt and he wondered how the feds would explain this away? Hondo needed to get back on track, this little chase had taken him too far off course and if things went south, he would need back up.
Suddenly out of nowhere, a Ford F-250 cut Hondo off and forced him down a dead end street. The turn was a reflex and it was too late for Hondo to realize that he was boxed in. Maurice sped onto the street stopping just short of Hondo’s car. He needed to call for help, time was of the essence; the men who’d forced him into the trap were now headed his way guns drawn.
“Hondo, where are you?”
“Luca, listen to me…I…”
S.W.A.T. Headquarters –
“HONDO!” Luca yelled into the phone.
The team rushed toward Luca seeing the panic in his face. Hicks hearing the commotion from the hallway ran into the command center.
“What’s going on?”
“Hondo, he just called, I think he’s in trouble! He was trying to tell me something but the line went dead.”
“Trace his phone, now!”
Tan ran to the computer and began frantically typing’ the others waited holding their breaths for a location.
“He’s near Bates and Townsend downtown.” Tan began. “That’s a nearly deserted part of town.” He added.
“Central is closer, call them and have them send a unit and we’ll meet them there.”
Bates Street –
“Drop the phone!”
Hondo turned to see the nuzzle of a gun pressed against the window. Seconds later another man on the passenger side did the same.
“I’m not going to tell you again, Sgt. Harrelson! They’ll never make it in time…now drop the phone!”
(photo credit: amazon.com)