|The Seeds of Destiny
Author: blubs73 PM
Darien is injured while working a case for F&G. Another agency think this is one close call too many on one pointless assignment too many, and decide it's time to take the I-Man into their own 'protective custody'. COMPLETERated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Angst - Chapters: 12 - Words: 41,959 - Reviews: 35 - Favs: 17 - Follows: 3 - Updated: 05-07-05 - Published: 02-27-05 - Status: Complete - id: 2283532
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The Seeds of Destiny
A wise person who chose to remain unknown once wrote: "You often meet your destiny on the road you've taken to avoid it."
Well, it seems to me that my destiny was sealed one way or another the moment I got the gland put in my head. My fucked-up life as a career thief and soon-to-be life long resident of the Federal State Penitentiary ended on that August day, and a whole different one started which involved mad scientists, even madder terrorists, assassins, kidnappers, mermaids and, of course, an under-funded, under-staffed top secret government agency.
Do I miss my old life? Well, if I'm honest not that much any more, and this is mostly due to my friends - with special mention to the small, but beautifully formed Robert A. Hobbes, who I trust with my life, and to my Keeper, Claire, a fair English maiden who always comes through for me and who I love, just a little bit.
But just because I don't miss my old life that doesn't necessarily mean I always enjoy the new one.
See, one of the problems with working for the Agency is that every now and then our current sponsors – The Department of Fish and Game - expect a little something back for their money. This usually results in me and Hobbes going undercover to catch some monkey-nappers red handed, or tracking down stolen golden eagle eggs….that sort of stuff. So our latest case seemed pretty routine, an early morning stake-out near San Diego airport, and then bust a gang smuggling in a crate of exotic birds from South America. Who could've guessed that one of them, a little weasel of a guy, would pack a piece or that he would actually draw and fire it…at me!
It missed doing any serious damage by a couple of inches, thanks to Bobby Hobbes' incredible reflexes. Man, for a little guy he can move damn fast! Bobby tried to shove me out the way just as the mad, bad bird smuggler let loose a couple of rounds, but not before I caught a bullet in the left shoulder. According to Claire it passed all the way through. Jeez it hurt like hell!
You know when you watch a western on TV, and a dude - usually the shifty looking outlaw with the black Stetson - gets shot by one of the good guys, but somehow manages to stagger to his feet just in time for the final shootout? Well, forget it. If you ever get shot you'll know what I mean. When you go down, man you stay down. And it bleeds big time.
No ER for me cause as usual The Official wouldn't consider letting a lowly member of the medical profession tend to his I-Man, not without the proper security clearance anyway. So back at The Keep, Claire cleaned and stitched the wound and took good care of me as always. After bandaging my shoulder and prescribing some strong painkillers and a freakin' huge shot of antibiotic, she reluctantly agreed that Hobbes could take me home. It took a lot of persuading though as she really wanted me to spend the night in Lab 3. In the end I had to resort to a little whining and then the ole puppy dog look. I'm actually surprised it still works on her.
As it turned out, getting shot was the least of my problems and yet another crappy chapter in the life of yours truly was about to get a whole lot worse.
The Pentagon, Washington DC
The gray-haired, elegantly dressed man walked quickly down the long expanse of corridor breaking his stride only for another security check – a retinal scan this time - frustrating and time consuming but a necessary procedure in the current climate. His identity verified. the metal door ahead of him slid open almost soundlessly to reveal yet another stretch of identical corridor. He continued his pace until about halfway along when he stopped before one of the many light wooden doors that lined this wing of the Pentagon., distinguishable from its companions only by the number 277. Hand resting on the handle, he paused for a moment while he took a long measured breath to ward off an unaccustomed bout of nerves, or was it excitement? He wasn't sure.
A certain event earlier that morning in San Diego had been the catalyst for this clandestine and highly sensitive meeting behind these closed doors; a meeting he was determined would ensure that today was the day the Department of Defense finally took total control of the QS9300 Project.
Straightening his dark tie, Jonas Spelling, Director of the DoD, entered into a small ante-room locking gaze immediately with the tall, powerfully built black man who stood guard at the set of double doors directly opposite. On seeing and recognizing Spelling, the agent spoke quietly into a small headset, ran a key card through the outer lock and stepped aside motioning the older man into the room beyond.
It was obvious even to the casual observer that this room was generally unoccupied, given the sparse furnishings; used for meetings or as a temporary office for the legion of government personnel who passed through the Capital on a daily basis.
Two people were already seated and waiting within; a man and a woman. Everything about the man shouted military, from his buzz cut to the rigid way he held himself, not altogether at ease in his dark unexceptional civilian suit. The woman, who sat behind the desk, could have been anywhere from her mid 50s to early 60s, short red hair styled immaculately framing an attractive if world-weary face.
Spelling nodded acknowledgement to them both before taking a seat, opening his briefcase and handing a folder across the desk to the woman. They all knew why they were there, making preamble unnecessary.
After several minutes of perusing the contents, the woman closed the folder and turned her steady gaze back to Spelling.
"Director Spelling we have to ensure that there really is no other option at this time. Sanctioning your actions will cause one hell of a storm at the very highest level and the fallout from this could have serious repercussions for all of us."
"I don't see that we have a choice given the…uh… incident in San Diego." Spelling paused briefly then continued. "Only this morning Darien Fawkes was injured again in the line of duty, while out on yet another completely pointless assignment for Fish and Game. A prime example of how this valuable asset is being consistently abused and under-utilized.
"I truly believe that if we don't move quickly it's just a matter of time before Borden sends the I-Man to his death, and if that happens then the entire Project could potentially be set back by another 5 years. We need to bring young Mr. Fawkes in as a matter of urgency for his own protection if nothing else."
"Borden's not going to let this happen without a fight." A hint of strain in military man's husky Texas accent. "From the off QS9300 was always his Project and he's notoriously protective. Hell, I think the term 'need-to-know' was invented by Charlie.
He shifted uncomfortably in his chair. "We can't underestimate the Agency. Even if the Project hasn't always had the funding it deserves, Borden has always been able to count on support from the very highest level, and it's better that we don't name names…" Glancing around nervously as if the bare walls had suddenly sprouted ears. "We all know who Borden's No. 1 fan is!"
"All the more reason to move now while He and his advisors have their attention focused overseas and we have the element of surprise," countered Spelling.
"The CIA, NSA, FBI, and if the rumors are true the SWRB, all have plans for the I-Man Project, so we're on borrowed time here. The Chinese have already made one attempt, so what's to stop them or another foreign power from also trying to steal this technology."
Spelling leaned forward in his chair and stared fixedly at the man and the woman in turn. "What Borden and his team have accomplished is truly remarkable, and no-one can take that away from them. But in my opinion the Agency has had its day; it's now time to pass the baton. The DoD has without question the best resources and research facilities to accomplish so much more and to take this Project to the next level."
The woman tapped the folder, remembering something she had read previously in a report about Darien Fawkes, stating that his former life as a thief had left him with a healthy disregard and distrust for most figures of authority. "And you're confident that your team are ready and can handle Mr. Fawkes?"
Spelling smiled thinly and nodded. "He certainly lacks proper discipline at the moment, but he has enormous potential even without the gland. Our own Dr. Carter and his research team have been working for some considerable time on a suitable 'Control Factor, and subsequent animal testing has been most encouraging. However, as there is now an added element of urgency involved, efforts have been stepped up to get the prototype ready for implantation at the earliest opportunity. The interim period won't be wasted as far as young Darien is concerned, as he'll undoubtedly require a period of re-adjustment. My scientists can hardly wait to get him into the labs for some first hand research."
"When do you plan to move?" The military man asked rising from his set.
"Later tonight, before Borden and his Agency get wind of our plan. Word is that he already suspects something is coming, but He doesn't know from which direction – the NSA or us. Two of my best agents, Ella Craven and Bruno Sartori, are already in place with a sweeper team. They're just waiting for the green light."
The man and woman exchanged glances and then both turned their attention to Spelling, the woman nodding almost imperceptibly.
"You' have your sanction. Don't disappoint us Director Spelling, there's more at stake here than you can imagine.
Oh, I know exactly what's at stake, Spelling thought to himself, knowing full well that if anything went wrong these two wouldn't hesitate to hang him out for the wolves to protect their own backs. But as far as he was concerned the reward far outweighed the risk, and nothing would or could go wrong.
San Diego - Late night
Bobby Hobbes drove the old battered company van through the dark, rain drenched streets of downtown San Diego, mostly deserted at this hour, except for a few souls like himself forced to brave the torrential downpour. According to the weather report the whole area was being battered by the tail end of an un-seasonal tropical storm blown in from the pacific.
Heavy and relentless sheets of rain were reflected in the van's headlights, and Golda's windshield washers screeched alarmingly as they struggled to cope against the deluge. From the radio, the Ray Charles classic 'Georgia on my Mind' could just about be heard over the din and Bobby hummed along softly as he leaned forward squinting to check out the road ahead.
He was on his way home after dropping Fawkes back at his own apartment. The exhaustion and stress of a day which had seen his younger partner getting shot, had taken its toll and Bobby rubbed a hand across weary eyes while still trying to peer through the rain splattered windshield.
Claire had done her best to convince Fawkes that he should stay in Lab 3 so that he could be monitored overnight, but the kid was stubborn and had worked on her until she'd finally caved in and agreed that he could go home. There were conditions though; the first being that he agreed to a dose of antibiotic, even though Fawkes whined big time that they always made him nauseous, and the second that Bobby drove him, which Hobbes would have done anyway without making it a condition. As always he'd actually been more worried than he'd let on, and hovered around The Keep all the while Claire had tended to Fawkes, trying to keep his tone casual and professional when asking the lovely doctor for an update. However, she'd seen through this act immediately and commented that it was so sweet the way he watched over and protected his partner. Bobby blushed from head to toe like a bashful schoolboy at the praise, and even more at the soft peck on the cheek she gave him before turning back to administer Fawkes' antibiotic shot from the biggest syringe Bobby had ever seen. He actually thought he'd pass out as she jammed it quickly and expertly into his partner's partially exposed butt. Darien never even saw it coming, but his loud squeal afterwards reverberated around the entire building.
Later as they drove off in the van, Fawkes swallowed two of the painkillers his Keeper had prescribed washing them down with a half bottle of water, and they seemed to take affect almost immediately. By the time they'd covered the 20 minute journey from The Harding Building to Fawkes's neighborhood, he was out of it already. Bobby helped him upstairs to his apartment, where Darien collapsed face down onto his big over-stuffed sofa and was deeply asleep seconds later, snoring softly. Hobbes fussed around for a while to make sure everything was okay, then covered Darien with a comforter from the bed, turned off some of the lights and crept out quietly.
Now he was just a block or two from his own marina condo, and eagerly anticipating a long hot shower, stretching out on his bed with a cool corona and putting this lousy day well and truly behind him
The sudden high pitched beep of his cell phone jarred him back to reality and he grabbed for it quickly from the dashboard in front of him, immediately fearing the worst and that his wounded partner was calling him back for help. Fumbling and nearly dropping the phone in his haste, he cursed before bringing it to his ear nestled between cheek and collarbone so that he could keep both hands on the steering wheel to navigate the treacherous road conditions.
"Fawkesy, that you?"
"No Robert, it's Eberts," came the clipped response, and Hobbes raised an eyebrow in surprise knowing that a call from The Official's lackey this late at night usually spelled trouble with a capital T. "I'm with The Official and we were rather hoping that Agent Fawkes was still with you." That last sentence said a bit too casually for Booby's liking, and he twisted the wheel violently, swerving the van over to park up at the sidewalk, turning off the engine.
"Why what's wrong?" he asked quickly, pulling himself up in the seat and grasping the phone tightly in his hand with a growing sense of unease.
The other man at the end of the phone cleared his throat. "Um, well, nothing…we hope. But we do need to locate Agent Fawkes." Hobbes could detect an undertone of urgency in Eberts' usually measured manner.
"Well, when I dropped him off at his apartment a half hour ago the kid was out of it. Keepie gave him some heavy duty painkillers. What's goin' on Eberts?"
There was a scuffling noise at the other end and then the gruff voice of The Official as he grabbed the phone from his subordinate.
"Bobby, we have a…situation. I need you to bring Fawkes in right away." Some more shuffling and then, "We'll keep him here overnight and then move him to a safe house first thing. Back up is already on the way"
Hobbes fought to control his suddenly soaring panic. "Back up! Safe house! Chief what the hell is goin' on?" His last words shouted.
On the other end of the phone Borden paused, and when he spoke again his voice was uncharacteristically shaky. "We have intel from a very reliable source that another agency is out to snatch our boy. We can't let that happen, Bobby, that's why we need him in our protective custody."
Hobbes ran a hand over his face, trying to take in what he was hearing, and sighed wearily. "Protective custody Chief? He ain't never gonna agree to that!"
A scraping of wood was followed by a loud crash as Borden stood quickly, sending his chair hurtling into the wall behind him, and Bobby could visualize the scene at the other end as Eberts tried unsuccessfully to calm his agitated boss.
"I don't give a damn whether he agrees or not! Bring him in kicking and screaming if you have to Bobby, but bring him in… NOW!" The Fat Man shouted, his blood pressure going through the roof.
Hobbes turned the ignition key and to his relief Golda's engine spluttered to life first time, the old girl was notoriously temperamental these days even with the recent modifications. The phone still held to his ear he executed a perfect U turn on the empty stretch of road, and pointed the van back in the direction he had just come.
"Don't worry Chief, I'm on it."
With one hand on the steering wheel and one eye on the road, Hobbes ended the call with The Official and then pressed the speed dial button on his cell for his partner's home number, and waited for what seemed like an eternity while it connected.
"C'mon Fawkesy pick up," he urged, putting his foot down hard on the gas pedal oblivious now to the bad driving conditions. Golda's tires slid dangerously over the wet asphalt throwing up surface spray in their wake, but he had it under control.
If his partner was in trouble and needed him, nothing on this earth would stop Bobby Hobbes from getting there.
Darien's phone went unanswered.
A moment later just as Hobbes was about to disconnect the call with a curse, he heard a click a rustling sound and then a mumbled unintelligible something.
"Fawkes!" Bobby raised his eyes heavenward and offered a silent prayer of thanks.
"Hobbesy…wazzup?" came the groggy response
Not wanting to spook his partner unnecessarily Bobby decided there and then not to tell him the truth, knowing that Fawkes would most probably kick his ass later, or try to anyway. He also knew that any mention of those two little words, 'protective custody', and the ex-thief would go AWOL.
"Hey buddy," Hobbes struggled to keep his tone even. "There's some sort of emergency back at HQ, we've been ordered in. I'm on my way back for you now."
Okay, not exactly a lie either, and Bobby silently complimented himself for his quick thinking.
"Can't…need sleep…shoulder hurtin'." Darien's voice trailed away as if he'd dozed off again.
"FAWKES1" Bobby shouted his partner's name down the phone, quickly controlling his natural tendency to freak out when his friends were in danger. Taking a couple of deep breaths and making sure his words were calmer so that Darien wouldn't suspect something was up.
"C'mon hotshot, get that skinny ass offa that couch. Grab some coffee. I'll be there in 15/20 minutes!"
"'Kay". The reluctant voice on the other end of the phone sounded very young at that moment
As he ended the call, Bobby hoped to hell it was just another false alarm.
When his phone started ringing, it took Darien a long while to struggle up from the warm comfort of his mostly drug-induced sleep, and to actually work out where the freakin' noise was coming from. Still face down on his sofa, he raised his sleepy head out of the cushions and with dazed, half-opened eyes tried to focus on the world around him.
His apartment was in semi darkness, the only light coming from a small table lamp and the Zippy Cola refrigerator across in his kitchen area. Reaching one long arm out he managed to snag the receiver on the third try, and then listened as his partner told him that they had to go to work….again! What the hell time was it anyway?
He'd worked with Bobby Hobbes long enough now to recognize an edge of urgency in his voice, and knew that if Bobby thought it important enough to haul him out of his sick bed in the middle of the night from hell, then there had to be a good reason. Though if this turned out to be another false alarm, someone would pay.
Outside driving rain and strong winds still lashed the city, and the windows in his apartment shook eerily as they were buffeted by the extreme elements.
It took every ounce of willpower he had just to push himself up, and then slowly slide his legs around until his feet touched the floor, noting absently that he still wore most of the same clothes from earlier in the day, minus his ruined jacket and shirt. Maybe bullet holes would be the next big fashion trend? Luckily he kept a few items of clothing at The Keep, including the black long sleeve sweater he now wore with his brown blood-stained corduroy pants. Darien smiled when he realized that Bobby had obviously removed his tan boots for him after he'd collapsed onto the couch, as they now sat neatly on the floor.
Running a hand over his face and through his hair, Darien sighed as he pushed himself up from the sofa and stretched his long well-toned body, an act he immediately regretted as red hot pain exploded from his injured shoulder and he cursed bitterly clutching his arm until the burning ache subsided.
Through the haze of his conversation with Hobbes, he seemed to recall his partner saying something about being there in 20 minutes, and he wondered if he had enough time to shower and change. At the very least he definitely needed a strong coffee to lift the fog in his head.
The headlamps of a vehicle suddenly pierced the darkness outside, hitting his windows and sending sharp beams of light trailing across his apartment. From the kitchen where he'd just prepared a pot of fresh coffee, Darien listened distractedly as the engine was shut off. Grabbing a small bottle of water from the refrigerator and practically swallowing it down in one long thirsty gulp, he padded over to his apartment door flipping the lock and leaving the door slightly ajar for his partner, before heading for the bathroom.
Behind him came a cold draft from the hallway as the door was pushed all the way open, and then a soft footfall. Still walking and without turning he spoke over his shoulder to his partner.
"Coffee's on the stove Bobby, just give me a couple minutes."
"Darien Fawkes!" A female voice, definitely not Hobbes.
Darien froze dead in his tracks his heart rate suddenly soaring, and he forced himself to take several long deep breaths to control the familiar chilling tingle at the base of his neck caused by the unexpected adrenalin surge.
Closing his eyes momentarily he muttered a quick prayer to whoever was listening, before slowly turning to confront his visitor, or visitors as it turned out…four of them. A tall, drop-dead gorgeous babe, with short jet black hair, wearing dark pants and a black leather thigh-length jacket, beside her a bald, powerfully built man who looked as if he was made out of concrete. Coming through the door behind them were two dark suits, both carrying compact and very lethal looking semi automatic weapons pointing at him!
He took a few instinctive steps backwards, noting straight away that the two suits were already slowly panning out to either side.
Agent Ella Craven smiled reassuringly at Darien as she also moved slowly towards him, her constant companion and fellow DoD Agent Bruno Sartori a couple of paces behind her. In what she considered a reassuring gesture, Ella held out her left hand, palm upwards, while her other hand stayed down at her side failing to conceal something that looked to Darien suspiciously like a tranquilizer gun. He glanced around him nervously and then backed up some more until he collided with the wall, the cold bare brick digging into his back through his thin sweater.
"It's okay Darien, we're not going to hurt you". She spoke softly to calm his noticeably rising agitation.
Darien gestured at the tranq gun which she was doing a lousy job of hiding. "I'm guessing that thing doesn't squirt water!"
The woman smiled and shrugged, and it was when she raised the weapon and leveled it roughly at his chest that he decided it was definitely time to act while there was still a chance, however slight, of getting through the little net closing in around him. Though his reflexes were shot to hell because of the meds in his system, he knew he had to try to get outside the apartment and then just hold out until Hobbes rode to the rescue. Almost imperceptibly he took a deep breath and then quickened his heart rate, feeling the comforting chill as the quicksilver started to flow from his pores over his entire body. The suit to his left gasped in shock and stopped dead in his tracks.
Ella's smile broadened and she looked impressed. "Truly amazing, but I wouldn't do that if I were you."
Bruno Sartori barked orders at his two subordinates just as Darien's form disappeared completely under the protective icy coating, ducking an instant before a tranq dart hit the wall at the spot he'd just vacated. His instincts had him dodging low and to his left, using all the strength he could muster in his seriously weakened state and charging headlong into the suit who still gaped open-mouthed at his disappearing trick. The speed and momentum knocked the man off his feet, Darien going down heavily with him and his injured shoulder slamming onto the hard wooden floor. For a moment he thought he might actually pass out from the searing pain, suspecting that he'd opened the wound again and it was probably bleeding….a lot! Pausing a second to catch his breath, Darien eyed the open doorway just a few tantalizing feet away. It was now or never! Crouching, he steadied his breathing and tried his best to ignore the pain in his shoulder; Claire would fix that later on. For now it was all about escape.
Ella had second-guessed him, though as the only way out it hadn't taken huge powers of deduction on her part. "Cover the door dammit. Do I have to do everything myself?"she snarled at the two suits, snatching one of their weapons and wondering where to actually aim it just as Bobby Hobbes appeared in the open doorway of the apartment.
He had the drop on the woman and two of her companions before they even had time to react.
"Federal Agent! Put down your weapons!" Hobbes was in full 'hard-assed federal operative mode' at that moment, and Darien loved him for it..
It had taken the seasoned agent little more than a second to assess the scene and the threat before him. The two suits did as they were told backing up carefully. Ella muttered a curse and started to raise her hands, her eyes darting quickly to Hobbes' left, the hint of a smile touching her lips when she saw Sartori, obscured from Bobby's direct line of vision, edging along the wall towards the doorway.
"Fawkes, you okay buddy?" Bobby's eyes searched the area ahead of him for his friend, then turning back to Ella Craven he snarled, "Are you deaf lady? I said put down your freakin' weap…" He never got to finish the sentence.
"Bobby watch out!" Darien's shouted warning came a moment too late as Sartori brought the butt of his gun viciously down onto his friend's skull with a sickening crack. Hobbes went down as if he'd been pole axed.
Darien stared at his partner in shock, shedding the quicksilver cloak in a breathtaking cascade of metal flakes as he rushed to his friend's side. "Oh,God!"
With his heart racing he knelt down, gingerly reaching a hand inside the older mans collar to feel for a pulse - it was weak but it was there. A large, very nasty gash on the side of Bobby's skull was already oozing a lot of blood...and stuff. Still kneeling, Darien turned slightly and spoke over his shoulder to the man and woman standing just behind him now, his dark eyes full of concern and fear for his friend. "Please, he needs help."
With a snarl Sartori slipped the weapon around in his large hand, cocked it and then pointed it straight at Hobbes' head. "Well then, let me put him out of his misery."
"NO! You bastard!" Darien lunged at the stocky man, knocking his arm away and upwards just as his finger squeezed the trigger, the bullet impacting harmlessly into the wall above the doorway, the explosion resonating in the normally quiet apartment block.
Pivoting slightly on his heels Darien thrust his elbow as hard as it would go into Sartori's rib cage. The larger man grunted and then roared furiously, digging his fingers into Darien's injured left shoulder spitefully. As he cried out practically falling to his knees, Sartori backhanded him savagely with such force that he was propelled across the room. The air left his body in a great whoosh as he collided with the hard wall, slid to the floor in an untidy heap and lay there gasping and waiting for the flashing lights and stars to clear his vision. Intense pain, every part of him hurt now.
Through the haze he could hear the woman's voice raised in sharp warning to someone called Bruno, telling him to back off and that she would flay him alive if he did any serious damage. Darien suddenly realized they were arguing over him and groaned.
"Bruno! Back off " Ella moved to block Sartori's way as he stared thunderously down at Darien. The two suits hovered close by waiting for orders, not really sure what was going down. After a long tense moment Sartori nodded and seemed to relax, his body language changing completely. The heavy man was still a force to be reckoned with at any time, but for now the danger had passed.
Ella Craven touched the man on the arm and grinned.. "Good, now you can hold him for me."
"My pleasure." A cruel smile of anticipation twisted his heavy features.
Darien was struggling to pull himself upright using the wall as support, when he was grabbed again and a solid muscled arm looped around his neck securing him in a perfect and unbreakable headlock. His fingers clutched frantically at the powerful arm as the pressure of the hold constricted his wind pipe making him gag as all 6 foot plus of him was hoisted up, his feet barely touching the ground. He was dragged across the room and then dropped unceremoniously onto the solid wooden floorboards practically at the woman's feet. A heavy rubber-soled boot on the back of Darien's neck effectively held him in place while one of the suits pulled his arms roughly behind his back and snapped a pair of handcuffs tightly around both wrists, making him hiss in pain as his injured shoulder was wrenched.. He wondered if concrete man might actually let him take in some air soon otherwise he would probably drown in his own puke.
Ella knelt at Darien's side, and he watched through blurred vision as she quickly withdrew a small metallic silver case from the inside of her jacket and laid it open in front of her. Set within the padded interior Darien could just make out a small syringe, already containing a measured dose of a pale amber liquid, watching with rising panic as she bit off the rubber cap from the needle and then turned in his direction. Instinct made him put up one final desperate struggle and by arching his back he succeeded in throwing Sartori off balance momentarily.
"Hold him still Bruno," Ella hissed hovering over Darien as he attempted to roll away from her, and she caught the fear in his eyes as he stared at the syringe in her hand. Mystery substances injected into his body were always bad news.
"I'm trying! Come here you little punk." The heavy man was getting rattled again now as he hated to lose his cool in front of his colleagues, particularly the drones as he liked to call the lower ranking agents like the two suits who were watching with barely concealed amusement. Grabbing Darien by the neck of his sweater Sartori manhandled him back towards Ella and then knelt down gripping his shoulders, his knee grinding spitefully into the small of his back.
With Sartori now holding Darien completely immobile, Ella pushed up his sleeve, found a suitable vein on the inside of his right forearm and slid the needle expertly home. Darien hardly felt a thing as the powerful sedative was sent coursing into his bloodstream fighting its effects for as long as possible, but in the end it just felt so good to succumb and he slowly drifted away. His last waking memory was of Bobby lying helpless across the room and Ella's voice softly reassuring, her hand gently stroking his face and his hair, then peaceful, dreamless, oblivion.
Ella Craven left it to her team to transfer the deeply unconscious Darien Fawkes outside to their dark SUV. The Lear jet was fuelled and waiting for them at a government owned landing strip north of Los Angeles, an area which had so far avoided the worst of the tropical storm, and the sooner they left the better. It was a sure bet that Agency back up would be on site at any moment. Staring down at the inert form of Bobby Hobbes, she smiled dispassionately and then leaned down to place an official looking government envelope on his chest, patting it softly, before casually stepping over the unconscious and seriously injured man to exit the apartment.
Inside the envelope was a check for 17 million dollars made payable to Charles Borden.