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"He'll live. If I can take him into the emergency room, I can remove his broken jaw and replace it with a fake one. Unfortunately, he'll be impaired in speech for the rest of his life." The doctor put away his medical bag and wrote a few notes down on a piece of paper. "His leg will heal with time."

"Thanks for coming out on such short notice, Doc. I'm glad to know he'll live. He's very important in this case."

The young handsome black man nodded as he pulled out his keys. "If anything else happens, or he reports of any other pains, call me immediately, and I'll come by."

"I'll keep that in mind. Drive carefully." Spekly walked him to the cell door that would lead him back to the offices of the station.

In the entire station, only a few people were working. Late night rookies trying to make it big, and night time security that kept an eye on the prisoners. Then there was a few assigned to the night shift, who stayed up in case of a late night emergency. Spekly was among them.

"Hey, Mr. FBI Agent, pullin' an all nighter?" Hughs, the guard assigned to watch the jail cells, was pouring himself a cup of coffee.

"You better believe it. This gang is getting ruthless. They attacked Lt. Blade, and then they attacked Mr. Cage's home." Spekly sighed as he leaned on the desk assigned to him temporarily. "Thank god he survived. He's out best connection to Balford."

"And then you have a new lead."

Spekly nodded thoughtfully. "I'm just wondering if he'll talk once we fix his jaw. Some of these bastards have really close ties to the group, and are rather faithful, especially when you consider the consequences."

"Do you think he'll talk?"

"Well, I guess we'll see after the surgery." Spekly smiled at Hughs. "Taking a coffee break?"

"Yep. It's really dull sitting there guarding the gate. Sometimes I wonder what I see in this job."

Speckly laughed. "You're a good man, Charlie Brown."

There was a loud ring down the hall. The fire alarm.

"A drill?" Spekly asked as he got to his feet.

"Everyone out! There's a fire raging in the east wing!" Smoke poured into the room as the commander in chief ordered the evacuation. Hughs began making his way back to the jail. The chief called him back

"Forget it, Hughs. It looks like the fire is going to spread and block the way to the jail. We've got the firesafe glass down. The suspect's safe in there," the chief barked as he ordered everyone out.

"Terrific," Spekly muttered to himself. He picked up his coat and checked his gun before following Hughs. Accidentally, he banged his shin into the corner of a nearby desk, and he knocked into Hughs. He balanced himself, smiled apologetically at Hughs, and continued out the door.



The key turned loudly in the empty building, and the gate slid open with a shuddering clang. Soft footsteps tapped down then tiled hall. They turned and stopped in front of the softly lit cell. More keys jingled, scraped inside the lock, and another clang as the metal door rolled across the floor.

Soft moans echoed from the bed. Hatchet stirred slightly. His eyes opened. A shadow hovered over his bed. A familiar shadow. 'No!' A gloved hand clamped down over his mouth before he could utter a word.

He struggled, and pressure was suddenly put on his injured leg, making him spasm with pain. Then his hands were cuffed to the metal post. A dirty rag was stuffed into his mouth. A knife glinted in the light.

"You know what we do to traitors, Hatchet. You should have thought about that before you helped Cage out of the house."

Hatchet's eyes widened in fear. The blade came closer, his heart raced, and he screamed into the gag as he felt the metal press against his eyelid.



CRASH!

Sonya rolled over in her bed and pressed her head deeper into the pillow.

"I'll kill you!" Sonya's eyes cracked open a bit against the harsh sunlight. Her eyes cleared and she read the alarm clock. Ten thirty. She groaned as she lifted herself up on her elbow. There was a loud bang from outside her room, and a wail of pain. Then her door burst open.

"Baka! Hentai! Chinko!" Johnny came tearing across the room and jumped on Sonya's bed.

"Stop her! She's gone berserk!" Sonya screamed as Johnny tried to hide himself behind Sonya and under the covers while little Kaoru jumped on the bed and began bonking him on the head with a frying pan.

"Hey, hey stop!" Sonya tried to yell over the din, but only resulted in getting herself tossed out of the bed. She pulled the covers with her, Johnny toppled out from underneath, and Kaoru fell on her back on the bed.

"Ouch! CAGE! GET YOUR HANDS OFF ME RIGHT NOW!" Kaoru looked over the edge to see Sonya pushing the bruised actor aside and standing up to get herself together. "Now what in God's name is going on here?" Kaoru was suddenly at her side with the frying pan in hand, looking ready to kill the man trapped under the sheets.

"He was watching me!" Kaoru screeched. She lifted the pan and brought it down on his head again. "Hentai!"

"OW! Will you stop that?!"

"No!"

Sonya rubbed her temples. This was not the way she wanted to start her morning. Then the man and child were arguing.

"You shouldn't be in my room!"

"You weren't in your bed, I got scared!"

"Why do you care?!"

"I don't! Sonya would kill me if you disappeared!"

"What are you doing in our house?"

"This is my place!"

"No, it's Sonya-san's!"

"No it's mine!"

"Is not!"

"Is too!"

"Not!"

"TOO!"

"ENOUGH!" Sonya pulled the pan from Kaoru's hands and pulled the sheets off of Johnny's head. Sonya forced herself not to smile. Johnny was really beat up. There was a nice swelling around his eye and under the small butterfly bandage near his temple. His lip was cracked, and his cheek was red and nearly throbbing. "Now, what happened?"

"He walked in on m-"

"You were sleepin-"

"He had no right to-"

"I didn't want to wake-"

"I thought he was bad-"

"She attacked me in the kitch-"

"It's his fault!"

"No it's yours for-"

"Is not!"

"Is too!"

Sonya smacked Johnny's head with the pan.

"Ouch!"

"Will you grow up?" she hissed. Kaoru smiled smugly. Johnny glared. "Ok, let's go into the kitchen and settle this. I need coffee."

"And I need a restraining order," Johnny muttered. Kaoru gripped Sonya's hand tightly. They walked into the kitchen, Kaoru eyeing Johnny carefully. Sonya groaned.

"Uh, I'll fix that." Johnny put back the toppled table and chairs, and moved to the cabinet to make some instant coffee.

"Who is he?"

"This is my friend Johnny Cage. He owns the place, and he's letting us stay here." Sonya tapped the little girl's nose. "So no more hitting him with frying pans."

Johnny grinned. Kaoru wasn't happy.

"I don't like him. He walked in on me."

Sonya's eyebrow arched. "What do you mean?"

"I was changing in the bathroom and I looked in the mirror and he was staring at me!"

Johnny nearly dropped the kettle. "I was not!" he cried out indignantly. "You weren't in your bedroom, and so I checked the bathroom. It's not like I was watching you! Ugh, that's disgusting!"

"You're disgusting! Hentai."

"What does that mean, anyway?"

"Johnny, why didn't you knock?"

"And let her hear a male voice who she doesn't recognize? Yeah, that would have gone over real well."

"About as well as this little episode, eh?" Sonya asked flatly.

Johnny shrugged and brought over a cup of coffee. "All right. It could have been handled better. I should have done something different."

"Like wake me up," Sonya added.

"And then get the shit beat out of me if I told you I couldn't find the girl."

Sonya slapped his arm. "Watch your mouth!"

"And I have a name!" Kaoru piped.

"I believe the term is Brat."

"You idiot!"

"Spoiled apple!"

"Rat!"

"Chicken!"

"All right!" Sonya held the bridge of her nose. "Kaoru, no more name calling."

"He started it!" She was silence by Sonya's not too happy glance.

"And you, Johnny, will maintain the maturity level of at least a 12 year old. I know that'll be hard for you, but you're an actor. You should be able to pull it off."

Johnny gave her a very annoyed look. She shot it right back.

"From now on, I don't want to hear a single insult while I'm here. If you fight again, I'll send both of you to your rooms without dinner. Understood?" Johnny and Kaoru sulked and mumbled their consent. 'Children.' She sighed.

"How did you sleep, Kaoru?" She took the little girl's hand in her own. "No, bad dreams?"

"Nope. I was fine until he showed up."

Sonya rolled her eyes. "And you Johnny? How's your leg?"

Johnny shifted a bit. "It's fine, really. The knife didn't do as much damage as I thought. It hurts when I walk, but I can walk, and that's most important." The phone rang.

"I'll get it." Sonya walked over to the phone.

Johnny turned and watched her when he felt something hit his cheek. He looked at Kaoru, who was staring out the window looking completely bored. Johnny turned back to Sonya to hear who was calling. Something hit him again. He swiveled in his chair. Kaoru hadn't moved. Then he noticed something between her fingers. Little rolled up pieces of paper.

"Quit it," he muttered.

"Bite me." Johnny was shocked at her tone, but he wasn't going to take that from a seven year old.

"Cow."

"Manure."

"Snail."

"Snow blower."

"What?!"

"I win." Kaoru snickered as she wiggled out of the chair and moved to the living room to watch TV.

Johnny couldn't believe it. He was outdone by a person who's feet didn't even touch the floor when she sat in a chair. He got up and walked into the living room. Peacefully quiet, Kaoru laid on her stomach in front of the TV, her feet swinging about in the air carelessly. Deciding it wasn't worth the effort, Johnny walked toward his room.

"Ape."

Johnny paused. "No fighting while Sonya's here."

"She's not, she's in the other room." Kaoru turned to face him. "Unless you just give up cause I'm gonna win again."

"Eat my shorts." Kaoru moved to the couch, picked up a small throw pillow, and chucked it at him. Johnny easily caught it and gently tossed it back at her. Kaoru ducked, scrambled to her feet, and charged him.

"Eep!" Johnny was suddenly knocked backwards, and Kaoru was sitting on his chest, tickling him. "Ah, no wait! Ha ha, stop!"

"Uncle!" Kaoru squealed, "Say uncle!"

"Never!" Johnny tickled her back, and they were both laughing on the floor until Johnny noticed Sonya standing in the doorway. She was smiling slightly, but her eyes were pissed. Johnny stopped and got to his knees.

"Who was on the phone?" Suddenly he was in a tiny headlock.

"Say Uncle!"

"Ack, Kid." He pulled at her arms and brought her around to face him. "Uncle, you win. Go back and watch TV."

She pouted. "You gave up too easily." Then she punched him in the stomach. "Next time, try harder, or I won't play anymore."

"Ok," Johnny coughed. Kaoru walked back and sat crossed legged in front of the wide TV. Johnny stood up and followed Sonya into the kitchen.

"What happened?"

"That was Jaxx. There was a fire at the station last night."

"Is anyone hurt?"

Sonya sighed. "No, but your gang member friend is dead. He was murdered this morning."

Johnny groaned and punched at the wall. "Shit. How? I thought that place was, like, guarded by cops?"

Sonya shrugged. "I'm about to find out. I'm going down to the station now." She stared at him, crossed her arms, and shifted her weight. "Can I trust you two to not destroy the place before I get back?"

Ten minutes later, and after a hell of a lot of promises to be good, Sonya left and Johnny sat down on the couch.

"Hey, girl."

Kaoru turned to him with a look of mock annoyance.

"You threw a nice punch at me. You know karate?"



The place was covered in yellow police tape and curious reporters. Sonya showed her badge and was let in to the cell area. The building smelled of burnt wood and cooked plaster. Jaxx was talking with Spekly and another officer she didn't recognize.

"And you didn't see anybody slip in or out of the building?"

Spekly shook his head. "Jaxx, I told you, there was too much smoke. The building was on fire, which we don't know how it started, and we had no idea that someone would slip into a burning building to kill someone behind bars."

"But it was the perfect distraction, wasn't it?" Sonya asked as she stepped up. "Morning everyone."

They nodded at her, and Jaxx pulled her aside. He began answering her questions before she even asked them. "The building caught fire about 3:30 this morning. Doctor Desko had come in about 2:10, maybe twenty minutes after I dropped off your suspect. Desko left around 3:15. Then the fire broke out in the east side of the building."

"Everyone evacuated?" Sonya looked down at the cell that was being photographed.

"Immediately. All were reported and accounted for outside."

"But someone was inside the building."

"They came in, killed the guy, and left. No fingerprints, no footprints, no witnesses."

"Where's the body?"

Jaxx pointed at the cell. "Still there." He held out his hand, gesturing for her to go first. She passed officers taking information and a doctor on the scene. Another gentleman was taking pictures. When Sonya turned into the cell, her stomach fell to her feet.

The walls were covered in blood. The putrid smell of blood and body fluids invaded her senses, leaving her ill. The sheets were torn, the bed snapped in half. Across the window, written sloppily in blood, was the word 'Traitor.' Along the floor, in puddles of spreading blood, were various appendages. Sonya counted seven fingers, three toes, and a crushed eyeball. Her stomach lurched. The room was the perfect display of a psychopath with a knife at his best.

Something was wrong though. Sonya noticed water dripping next to her. She looked at her feet. Droplets fell into a crimson pool. Her eyes drifted up the wall and across the ceiling.

"Dear God." Torn limb from limb and hanging by blood soaked sheets was the body of Hatchet. His arms and legs dangled like wind chimes. His torso spun slowly around in a half circle. His head was missing. Probably taken as a trophy, she surmised.

"Pretty gruesome. I feel for the poor bastard that found him," Jaxx muttered as he stepped into the cell.

"When was he found?"

"Right after the officers were allowed to enter the building. That was about five thirty, six o'clock this morning."

Sonya turned away and left the cell, needing to get out for some fresh air. "Why did it take so long to put out the fire?"

"Possibly a bomb."

"A bomb?" Sonya paused at the coffee machine and stared at him.

"Well, apparently, the fire was put out around four. Then, for some reason, it started back up again. So, when they got it out for the second time, firemen were sent in to search the place for anything that could further endanger the lives of the officers."

Sonya poured herself a cup of black coffee and sat down in a nearby chair. "All right. The suspect, who Johnny said was named Hatchet, gets here at, what, a little before two. The doctor comes in and leaves a little after three. The fire breaks out with unknown causes, correct?"

"We think it was started in a trashcan that spread up the wall of the documentation room and spread from there," Jaxx answered as he pulled up a chair.

"Everyone evacuated?"

"Evacuated and checked off outside," Spekly suddenly broke in as he strolled over to the two Special Forces members. "I was here, and I know what went on outside."

"And Hatchet? Was he evacuated also?" Sonya asked, looking up at the young agent.

"No. Here, they have a state of the art jail protection system. If there's an emergency, like a fire, the jail gets locked down in a special fireproof bulletproof glass padlock on all four sides. This way, there's no threat to those in jail, and no threat to the officers by having to get them out and take them into the streets, where they could make a break for it."

"There's supposed to be a guard there, also, in case of an emergency in the jail. He's also the person that lets visitors in and out of the prison cells," Jaxx added.

"He didn't see anything?" Sonya asked in disbelief. "He saw no one enter or exit that cell, yet he's the only one with the keys to get in and out?"

"Actually," Spekly said carefully as he rubbed his chin, "the guard, Hughs wasn't at the jail when the fire broke out. He was getting a cup of coffee and talking to me." Spekly grabbed a third chair, spun it backwards, and sat down. "He was about to head back when the alarm went off. As soon as that alarm goes off, the padlock glass doors shut and lock. No one can get in or out of there without a pass code and the guard's keys."

"Why didn't Hughs go back and get in? I'm assuming he has all of those things, right?" Sonya questioned.

"Of course. But the chief ordered him out. Said the prisoner would be fine, the fire would be out shortly, and considering he was injured, there was no way he could escape." Spekly stopped and looked between Jaxx and Sonya. The two of them were sharing a concentrated look, like they knew something he didn't. So he asked.

Neither answered.

After a few moments of silence, a realization dawned on Spekly's face.

"Oh, no. Oh, terrific." Both looked at him. "There's an inside connection. isn't there. Someone who knows the works of this place, and could move around without getting caught." He covered his mouth with his hand, and thought carefully. "Hughs."

"What?" Jaxx asked.

"Well, he's the only one with the keys, right?" Spekly looked at Sonya, who looked at Jaxx, who looked right back at her.

"True. He could have given them to someone," Sonya allowed.

Spekly snapped his fingers. "That's it. All right, listen to this. Hughs knows someone who's apart of the gang. He alerts him that Hatchet is in jail. So now this person wants to get inside and stop him from saying anything. He gets inside under the cover of a police uniform, and sets a fire in the documentation room. Then he goes and hides in the sign out room where Hughs keeps watch. Hughs gives him the keys, leaves the room for a cup of coffee, and then exits the building when the fire goes off. When he comes back in, he checks on Hatchet, sees the murder, and pleads innocence by acting horrified and shocked that someone got inside and did this. There!"

Jaxx stared at Spekly for a moment before looking at Sonya. "That's a plausible theory. Maybe this man was an inside rat for the gang."

Sonya shook her head. "We're pinning this too quickly on someone we just thought of."

"Do you have any other ideas, lieutenant?" Spekly asked. She didn't answer him.

"All right, Agent Spekly, get a background check on Hughs. See if he has any past dealings that we don't know about."

"Right." He rose and left.

Jaxx looked at Sonya. "Something on your mind?"

"That was too easy." She shook her head again. "He came up with that right off the top of his head, almost like it was rehearsed."

Jaxx suddenly laughed. "You can't be serious. You think it's Spekly? Sonya, he's one of the best agents the FBI has. He's been trained for years in this field. He is supposed to come up with possible solutions that quickly."

"But not that perfectly," she shot back defiantly.

Jaxx stopped laughing. His face went grim and his eyes became serious. "Lieutenant, he saved my life in boot camp, when I almost broke my neck after getting tangled in a rope that wasn't tied properly. He's solved at least a hundred cases where he's saved more lives than I can even count. The number of bad guys, conspiracies, government threats, and public threats he's stopped and brought an end to rivals our own number of accomplishments. He is a good man. And if I couldn't have you at my back, I wouldn't want anyone else but him."

Sonya shifted in her seat. She rubbed her eyes and sighed. "You're right. I know, everything you said is true. I checked it out myself. I guess, I guess I just still have this problem with trusting people."

Jaxx stood and patted her shoulder. "It happens to the best of us. Come on, I'll treat you to lunch. Then we can go over the loose ends of this case."

"Which are?" Sonya asked wearily as she rose to her feet.

"Well, for starters, why Balford's suddenly disappeared."

"Balford's missing? Since when?" Sonya replied, shocked.

"This morning some officers brought a few materials back from Johnny's house, which is now complete rubble, by the way. There was some evidence they found under the wreckage, and along the yard. Stuff leading back to Balford."

"Such as?"

"His name engraved gold wrist watch and electrical wiring that was apart of the explosives in the house. His fingerprints were all over it. We tried to get in touch with him, but he seems to have disappeared. No signs of him having been at his trailer or his house since at least yesterday morning."

"So, he bombed Johnny's house and fled."

"That's what we think. Now, changing topics, the most important thing we need to focus on is where Kaoru is. If we can just get her, then we'll have the upper hand.

Sonya smiled. "Ask and ye shall receive."