Unknown Location –
He was too weak to answer but their desperate calls were enough to keep him struggling to stay conscious. His arms were numb while his body screamed in pain. Hondo plotted revenge even as the familiar voices got closer.
“Over here, hurry!”
Home of Maurice Jamison –
Maurice poured another drink then stepped out onto the balcony. The lights of the city seemed to calm his nerves. He’d so enjoyed inflicting pain on the helpless man. He found a high in watching the anger flicker in his eyes each time he hit him. It had been a master’s class for his young recruit who seemed to struggle with the brutality. Perhaps Herman was right, he wasn’t up for this line of work. If he wasn’t Maurice would have to kill him because he had seen too much.
Still, Maurice felt an emptiness; the job incomplete somehow. If anything, at least he could pride himself in being able to go so far and then pull back in time. So, Sgt. Harrelson was alive, swinging from the rafters and angry as hell. It was impressive that he had been able to stay relatively quiet refusing to show fear or pain even while he and his recruit beat the hell out of him. Feeling a bit more relaxed now, Maurice swallowed the last of his drink and headed back inside. Tonight, would not be the last time he and the good cop would see each other; on that he could get a good night’s sleep.
Unknown Location –
“Hang in there, Hondo, we got you! We got you!”
Luca carefully guided Hondo’s body as Deacon and Street lowered him from the rafters. Chris watched anxiously nearby trying to remain calm. The paramedics arrived just as Luca carefully placed him on the ground.
“Hondo, do you hear me?”
“Luca, let the paramedics do their job!” Deacon ordered.
Reluctantly, Luca moved away making space for the paramedics.
“I’m okay, I’m okay.” Hondo’s voice was barely above a whisper.
“We’ll let the professionals decide that.” Said Deacon.
Hondo closed his eyes against the pain while the others looked on. None of them had ever seen him beaten, not like this. The fact that he was still awake and fighting made them all breathe a sigh of relief. Still, they were worried; happy to have found him but worried, nonetheless.
S.W.A.T. Headquarters – Morning –
Yesterday was too close. One of their own had been targeted and in broad open daylight. Hicks had learned to survived on his instincts and it didn’t take a genius to figure out that the attack on Hondo was a retaliation for looking into Herman Lauder’s business. Even with Hondo identifying Maurice Jamison as his attacker, there wasn’t enough evidence to prove that he was acting on the orders of the well-connected businessman. Hicks was angry, angry not only at Lauder, but he was angry at himself for wanting Hondo to stop looking. Now he needed answers and he needed proof and he didn’t give a damn who ordered him to stand down, He was going to dig until he found out who hurt Hondo and who was behind Buck’s death.
One by one, Deacon, Luca, Street and Chris filed into the command center; their faces wore the look of shock and anguish. Evil had come too close and in fact, it had come to their front door and trespassed. Each of them, especially Hondo, had dedicated their lives to protecting the city but who protected him? He’d been left defenseless, punished for seeking justice for a man who believed he was above the law. It didn’t have to be spoken aloud, none of them would rest and none of them would take no for answer until Herman Lauder was brought down.
“Any word on Hondo this morning?” Deacon asked.
Hicks looked at each of them before answering.
“I stopped by on my way in. The doctors say that he should make a full recovery.”
“When will he be back?” Street asked.
“He’s being discharged tomorrow, but he won’t be back to work for a few weeks until his ribs heal.”
“He’s not going to like that.” Luca assured.
“Well he’s not going to have much choice in the matter. Rules are rules.”
The next several seconds was uncomfortably silent with each person waiting for the other to address the elephant in the room.
“We all know who did this!” Luca blurted out. “We need to go bring that son-of-a-bitch Lauder in!”
“Hold your horses, Luca. We’ve been ordered to stop any investigation into Herman Lauder.” Hicks reminded.
“With all due respect, commander, I don’t give a damn about…”
“Well you better give a damn, officer!”
Hicks and the others turned toward the three federal agents who’d paid them a visit two days ago.
“Agents, to what do we owe this displeasure?” Hicks greeted.
With flames in his eyes, Agent Walters stepped into the room and with brute force slammed a flash drive onto the table. Hicks shot a puzzled glare at the agent.
“Where’s Sgt. Harrelson?”
“He’s not in this morning.”
“This flash drive is blank! I don’t know what games you and your team are playing here commander, but this is a serious matter! Where. Is. Sgt. Harrelson?”
“You really want to know where Sgt. Harrelson is?”
“Yes, I do!”
“Sgt. Harrelson was kidnapped and brutally attacked yesterday and the man you insist on protecting is responsible!”
“Be careful commander, accusations like that have been known to destroy careers!”
“Is that a threat Agent Walters?”
Deacon grabbed the commander’s arm just as he took a step toward the agent.
“I’m sorry to hear about Sgt. Harrelson, but unless you can prove that…”
“He identified Lauder’s head man as his assailant, what else do you need?”
The agent took a step back and looked away for a brief moment. His fellow agents offered no assistance or assurance that they would step in if things escalated between him and the commander.
“I need that flash drive, commander. Let Sgt. Harrelson know that he has twenty-four hours to turn it over.”
Deacon renewed his grip on his boss’ arm as Hicks began pulling against him.
“We’ll pass along your message agent, now if you don’t mind…” Deacon answered.
Agent Walters nodded and turned and along with his fellow agents, quickly disappeared out of sight.
Community General Hospital –
Hondo took a deep breath and ignoring the pain in his upper body, threw the blanket back and tried slowly to sit up. It was crazy to think he could get out of bed; at least that was what his three broken ribs were telling him. Still, he managed to swing one leg then the other off the side of the bed. It would take a moment before he would be able to attempt standing.
“Mr. Harrelson, what on Earth do you think you’re doing?”
The woman, whom he assumed was his nurse rushed toward him.
“I’m going home, that’s what I’m doing!”
“Absolutely not! Now get back in bed before you injure yourself and you’ll be staying even longer!”
Hondo thought for a millisecond of ignoring the woman, but she reminded him too much of his mother and she looked more than capable of physically forcing him back to bed. So, reluctantly, he tried maneuvering himself around, but the pain stopped him cold.
“See, this is what happens when you don’t listen!”
Damn, was his mother in the room?
“Now, don’t move, let me call for some help.”
Hondo did as he was told, struggling to catch his breath and fighting the pain that had already doubled.
“Take it easy, slow breaths…that’s it…that’s it. As soon as we get you back in bed, I’ll give you something for pain.”
He saw the kindness in her eyes; she was worried, and he wondered whose mother she was because she had that way about her, that mother’s way of chastising and loving all at the same time. Hondo nodded yes as he breathed slowly in and out.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” He whispered.
She smiled, gently placing a hand on his back…just like his mother, he thought.
“You do want to get out of here don’t you?”
“Yeah I do.” He whispered.
“Then do as you’re told.”
Hondo would do as he was told, long enough to heal and long enough to plan his next steps against the men responsible for putting him here. Herman Lauder and Maurice Jamison had gotten away with too much. No matter how long it took, both men would pay for all of their crimes especially the murder of Buck Spivey.
“There are two things a person should never be angry at, what they can help, and what they cannot.” – Plato
(photo credit: TV Guide)