It was dead silence during the ride to Hondo’s last known location. Luca kept his eyes on the road while fighting an internal battle with his emotions. He should have made sure Hondo made it to work safely, he should have told Hondo days ago that he was worried about him…if anything happened to him…
“Stop it right now!” Deacon began. “I know what you all are thinking, and I need you to stay focused!”
“Deacon we’re still fifteen minutes from Hondo’s last known location; what if we’re too late?” Chris asked.
“We’ll find him; we won’t rest until we find him.” Deacon promised.
Unknown Location –
Hondo had weighed his options before agreeing to surrender to the two men. He was outnumbered and trapped at the foot of a dead-end street. He wouldn’t make it easy for them but for now he wanted to stay alive until his team found him.
“You won’t get away with this you know that right?”
Hondo recognized one of the men as Maurice Jamison, Herman Lauder’s right-hand stooge.
“Get away with what, sergeant?” Maurice smiled and nodded to the other man.
With guns still trained on him, Hondo’s hands were bound, and his mouth gagged and then he was forced into the trunk of the first car. Hondo made mental notes of every stop and every bump in the road. He counted the minutes until the car came to a final stop and the trunk of the car jerked open.
“Let’s get him inside before anyone sees us.”
The other man who was slightly smaller than Maurice pulled Hondo from the trunk. The man needed both hands to free him from the trunk which meant he did not have his gun readily available. It was now or never.
Bates Street –
Luca brought Black Betty to an abrupt halt behind the dark gray charger. The team rushed over to the car, but it was already obvious that Hondo was not there. Tan reached for Hondo’s cell phone that had been tossed on the passenger side floor.
“Damn it!” Luca yelled.
“Hicks! He’s not here; Hondo’s gone!” Deacon yelled into his com piece.
“I want you and your team to search every inch of that area within a ten-block radius. We need to find him before he runs out of time!”
Two patrol cars pulled in behind Black Betty and the team exchanged angry glances. Luca ran up to the first officer with Deacon hot on his heels.
“Where were you guys? You should have been here ten minutes ago! What the hell were you doing?”
“We just got the…”
“Luca, Luca, calm down; there’s nothing we can do about it now.”
Deacon pulled his friend away while the others shot death glares at the clueless officers.
“Look, we’re sorry but there must have been a mix-up; when we got the call, we were sent to a street three blocks over.”
“Unbelievable!” Chris began. “How do we find Hondo now?”
Unknown Location –
Maurice headed toward the abandoned building leaving his partner with the duty of getting Hondo out of the car. It was a rare mistake. Hondo placed one foot on the ground to steady himself and with the other foot he rammed it into the unsuspecting man’s mid-section sending him to his knees in pain.
Maurice jerked around to see his man on the ground writhing in pain. Hondo quickly surveyed the area for an exit before taking a step away from the car. He felt a bullet whiz past him nearly grazing the side of his face.
“The next time I won’t miss, sergeant! There’s no way out.”
Hondo stopped in his tracks; Maurice was close enough to shoot him dead and he wasn’t ready to die just yet.
“Smart, very smart.”
Maurice glanced at the man on the ground and shook his head in irritation.
“I’m…I’m sorry sir.” He moaned.
Hondo felt Maurice’s hot breath on his neck as he pressed the gun against his skull.
“It would save me a lot of trouble to just shoot you right here but for some reason my boss won’t allow me to kill you just yet.”
With his hands still tied behind his back and the gag firmly in place, Hondo was unable to reply so he waited. Then he felt the sharp pain against his head as Maurice sent his gun crashing against his skull. Hondo fell unconscious to the ground. Shooting another disgusted look at the other man, Maurice stepped over Hondo’s body and proceeded into the building.
“Bring him inside, NOW!”
S.W.A.T. Headquarters –
Hondo had been missing for five hours. Hicks had ordered the team back leaving the search for Hondo in the hands of the missing persons division. Deacon, Luca, Tan, Chris and Street were inconsolable. ‘Never leave a man behind’ had always been Hondo’s mantra. He would have never left any of them behind.
“Five hours! Why aren’t we out there looking for him?” Street yelled.
“Where do you suggest we look, officer?” Hicks questioned.
“Anywhere but here! Hondo would have never left us out there like that!”
“We need to work smart and smart is using our resources to find him not going off half-cocked and end up getting Hondo killed in the process!”
“This was a setup. Those patrol officers being sent to the wrong address; pretty convenient.” Deacon began.
“Yeah just like the feds showing up just as we started digging into Lauder’s business.” Tan added.
“Why would they do this? They have to know we’d suspect Lauder?” Chris asked.
“Why not, he’s already proven that it doesn’t matter if we suspect him, he’s got the clout to make it all go away!” Hicks answered.
“So now what do we do?” Street asked.
“We start using this high-tech equipment and start turning over rocks. I don’t give a damn what the feds say, I want to know everything about Herman Lauder, and I want to know now!”
Hicks stormed out of the command center. Halfway down the hallway he pulled his cell phone from his pocket and began dialing.
“Herman Lauder isn’t the only one who can make a phone call.”
Home of Herman Lauder – Evening –
Maurice walked into the den unannounced; he was anxious, and Herman knew why. His friend loved the messiness of their business; he loved causing pain and watching people beg for mercy. Herman admired that about him. He only wished that he himself could indulge in the acts of getting his hands dirty from time to time, but he couldn’t afford the distraction. Besides, Maurice was so good at it. Herman handed Maurice a drink and took a seat.
“So how is our guest?”
“He’s a tricky son-of-a-bitch…nearly killed Ricky.”
“I warned you about using that kid; he’s too green for our line of work.”
“Yeah I know but he’s got heart and I just might want to retire one day.”
“You, retire? Please you’ll probably go to the grave with blood on your hands.”
The two sipped and laughed heartily before speaking again.
“You’re probably right. Seriously, I think we need to kill the good sergeant.”
“Patience, patience my friend. That’s what’s wrong with the world today.”
“Yes, it’s important that Sgt. Harrelson knows that I’m a benevolent man.”
“We got the man hanging from the rafters; you, benevolent?”
“Well, maybe, benevolent is a hard sell, but still…”
A wide sick grin slowly spread across Herman’s face.
“I want to break him. I want him to know how it feels to be beaten…I want to break him into small tiny pieces!”
“You are a sick man, boss; I guess that’s why we make such a great team.”
“You know it brother.”
“So now what?”
“Go have some fun with our guest and then call Cmdr. Hicks and let him know he can come pick up his man.”
(photo credit: TV Insider)