Fateful Sunrise

By Hytac and Lisa Leonard

Part 1: The Scarred Angel

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This is the edited version of Fateful Sunrise. The beginning was done by Lisa and me. It's slightly different from the older version, because I might want to bring this to a conclusion quicker than I originally planned.

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Scott, wearing a black suit and holding a white rose in his hand, stood on the graveyard grounds. He still looked rather beaten up after his encounter with the V.E.N.O.M.. He had just been released from the hospital a few days ago, only suffering from minor lacerations and burns.

It had been almost a week since that tragic night, and Inaya's death was still fresh in his mind. He couldn't help but wonder if there could have been something he could have done differently to change the outcome of the whole episode. Scott had been against the idea of having a partner in the first place and he knew Inaya had felt the same way about him. But in just that short day by his partner's side, he had grown to trust her and enjoy her company. She was the one other person besides his father he'd really want to watch his back. Scott closed his eyes, overwhelmed by his emotions.

"She was one of the good guys. She didn't deserve this. Not after what she did. Why couldn't it have been me and not her?"

But no, it wasn't fair to think like that. Scott knew his father would have been crushed if he had been killed, and Inaya would probably be feeling the same way he was feeling right now. She hadn't been only protecting him, she'd been protecting Diane as well. She had just been doing her job.

Scott felt a hand on his shoulder. He opened his eyes and knew it was his father, trying to comfort him. Matt said nothing, but Scott knew he was regretting his earlier decision as well. He wanted to ask his father about the old feud between his father and Capt. Inaya Vendun, but now wasn't the time or place to do it. He couldn't look at anyone in the eye; he just felt ashamed of the fact that his partner had died for him. Scott looked around and shook off his own guilt, remembering he was attending his partner's funeral.

The morning was cool and damp. The sun wouldn't shine for such a depressing occasion at the PNA's memorial cemetery. The cemetery was filled with people dressed in black and formal military attire. Scott knew just about everybody who was attending the funeral. Every MASK agent, despite having known Inaya only briefly or not at all, was in attendance. The rest were military or PNA officials who had been close friends with Inaya. He had met most of those people prior to the occasion at one of his father's banquets.

President Kennedy had also showed up to pay his respects to the fallen hero, along with his niece who was standing right in front of him. The girl looked as though she was still recovering from her kidnapping, not to mention the shock of the first death in her young life.

In front of Inaya's coffin was a chair seating Inaya's only living relative. Scott still couldn't believe that her brother Jarrett was all she had left. The boy was scarcely a year older than Scott. He bore practically no resemblance to his sister, being sandy haired with brown eyes. He didn't talk much. At his side was a guide dog, for Jarrett was hearing impaired. Scott wasn't sure how he should address her brother. He felt partially responsible for her death. He had taken the only family Jarrett had left, plus he felt like he was a disgrace for letting his partner die. Scott looked around for Hal, as he was sure her ex-fiancŽ he would be attending her funeral. While Scott was looking around, he noticed a man in a long trench coat watching from a distance. "Funny" he thought, "I thought I knew everyone here."

Scott ran his eye around until he caught the sight of Hal's wheelchair at the back of the crowd. He though it was odd that he was hiding there, considering how much Inaya meant to him. Just then the priest finished his ceremony and motioned for Jarrett to pay his last respects. Jarrett stood up, walked over to Inaya coffin, and rested his hand against it. He leaned over and kissed his sister's coffin. He made no attempt to hide his tears. Scott then stepped forward and stood next to him. A tear trickled down his face as he rested the white rose in his hand, onto her coffin. "White Roses it isÉ He still remembered, and always would.

Jarrett and Scott exchanged a glance. Jarrett knew Scott was sorry for his sister's death, but he also knew that Inaya knew and accepted the risk of getting killed in her line of work. Suddenly he spoke softly to Scott. Despite the fact that his speech was slurred, and he spoke so softly, Scott caught the words: "I don't blame you." Scott could only nod his thanks.

All was silent as the three shots were fired into the air by the rifle men. Everyone saluted. With infinite care, the coffin of Captain Inaya Darkmoor Vendun was lowered, and finally laid into its eternal resting place.

Scott, Matt, and Jarrett were the last people to leave Inaya's funeral. Everyone else had already taken off towards the reception, which was going to be held at Matt Trakker's estate. It was the least, Matt thought, he could do for Inaya's brother.

Jarrett had a lot of things on his mind. His sister's death, his income, and several others problems dealing with funeral arrangements. There was also the problem of his studies, which he had to continue. The P.N.A. had assured him they would help, but still, Jarrett felt some sort of relief when Matt approached him asking if he could pitch in.

Scott ran his hands over his eyes clearing away the final traces of tears which had shed from his eyes. Jarret, who was tired of his stressful week, finally turned his back to his sister's grave. He walked over to Matt and Scott.

"Thank you, Mr. Trakker for helping with the funeral arrangements, during this difficult time." Jarrett spoke slowly so his words would sound clearer. Jarrett read Matt's lips as he answered him.

"No problem, if you need anything please let me know."

Jarrett nodded and turn to look at Scott. Scott was still speechless. Jarrett reached out his hand towards Scott as a friendly gesture. Scott took his hand gratefully and shook it. Jarrett tried to act more casual despite his grief. "Maybe you can come over for a drink sometime?"

Scott smiled, "Sure I'll do that."

Jarret smiled slightly and walked off towards this car. "Djinn, heel!" He commanded his guide dog, who followed him faithfully. Matt looked at his son, "You ready?" Scott took one last glance at her grave and nodded.

As the both of them walked away from Inaya's grave they noticed that Hal was still hanging around the cemetery. They both exchanged glances. Ironically Hal had been the first person to leave the funeral site, but it looked as though he had gotten left behind after the group dispersed. Hal was having difficulty moving his wheel chair through the cemetery. The ground was rough, muddy and the graves and tombstones were rather close together. Even from that distance, he looked rather frustrated.

Scott turned to his father. "I'll meet you back at the house."

Matt hesistated, then nodded, patted his son on the back and walked towards his car. Scott walked up to Hal, who was cursing to himself as he tried to get his wheelchair unjammed. "You need some help?"

Hal shook his head stubbornly, "No. That's the exact same thing I told everyone else. I can do this myself."

Scott shrugged as he looked at him, "Well then, it's your loss. I was only offering."

Hal sighed in surrender. Usually he'd keep on fighting, but he realized that against his handicap, even his iron will had let him down this time. "All right Scott." Hal finally conceded in a disappointed tone.

Scott grabbed a hold of his wheelchair and started to push him towards the parking lot. Hoping to break the stony silence, Scott spoke up. "Look, I know how much Inaya meant to you, but you really shouldn't keep it bottled up inside. I really wish I knew her better. She was the best partner I could have asked for."

Hal gazed up at him and seemed to assessing whether he meant it. He then looked straight out in front of him and said softly, "You really liked her, didn't you?"

Scott nodded. "Yeah I did. I just knew her for one day, but I'd trust her with my life. If there was something I could do to bring her back I would, but she's dead. Don't blame yourself for it."

Hal shook his head took a deep breath before speaking again. He leaned forward. A hush seemed to settle on the graveyard. "Scott, would you believe me if I told youÉ" he paused, as if trying to find the right word. "Éthis?"

Scott looked at him curiously, "What?"

"Promise me, if I tell you, you won't breathe a word of this to anyone." Hal persisted. "Not a single soul." A fanatical light glimmered in his eyes.

"UhÉ Ok." Scott was beginning to feel excited.

"It'sÉ" Just as Hal was going to speak, his cell phone rang shrilly. Simultaneously, the light in his eyes died. "Excuse me Scott." He pulled out his phone and answered it. "Yeah?É What?!É All rightÉ Be right there." he concluded about five minutes later. He turned to Scott. "That was Alan McHymnÉ Security Chief of the P.N.AÉ incidentally, my boss."

Scott shrugged unheedingly. "What were telling me?"

Hal avoided the subject, "Not now Scott, I need to go to PNA building for urgent business. Besides, maybe this isn't the best place to talk about this."

Scott looked at him, still wanting to know what he had been about to say earlier. But he knew that if he pushed too much, Hal might react otherwise. "Come on Hal, then you won't mind me tagging along to find out."

Hal tried to stop him. "Alan McHymn isn't going to let you into his office, Scott."

"Well then I'll wait outside his office. I'm not leaving until you tell me what it was you were going to say." Scott stopped Hal in front of the car. Hal grinned.

******Ê

Inside the Thunderhawk, Matt turned to Brad, who had ridden over with them to the funeral. He was occupying the passenger seat. "Brad, there's something I wasn't to talk to you about."

"Yeah well, Matt, I'm all ears."

"I want you to be Scott's next partner."

Silence. "You want me to what?!" Brad repeated in disbelief. He lowered his shades and looked at him with a skeptical eye.

"I need someone I can trust to keep an eye on him."

"MattÉ I hate to break this to you, but Scott's not a kid anymore. He can take care of himself."

"He almost got himself killed the last mission."

"His partner got herself killed last mission." Brad retorted. "Doesn't that tell you something?"

"I'm not asking you to be his bodyguard. I just want you to keep an eye on him. Make sure he doesn't get into trouble."

"Does this have anything to do with that Dobson character?"

"Grayson." Matt corrected. "I still don't trust him. And Scott seems to be befriending him."

"Matt... the man's been proven innocent and cleared... wait a minute, you still think he's guilty, don't you?"

Matt Trakker did not answer.

******

Flashback

"Due to the evidence recently uncovered, the court finds Lt. Hal Grayson of the P.N.A. innocent of all charges against him. Lt. Grayson, you are now free to go with the court's sincerest apologies." the judge's face betrayed no emotion.

A collective sigh filled the courtroom. Hal Grayson's face dropped into his hands, as if saying a prayer of gratitude. Hal's Grayson lawyer shook his fist in the air as a sign of victory. Tears ran down the cheeks of a woman who was sitting beside him.

Matt Trakker fought to keep his face neutral. But his hands, clenched tightly, betrayed him. Just then he felt a hand on his shoulder.

"Matt... let it go 'ol boy." Alex Sector, who was sitting behind him, cautioned. "Five years is a long time to spend in jail."

"Not long enough for what he did."

"What you have no proof he did. Admit you made a mistake, Matt. And move on." Alex pointed out.

The hands remained clenched, then abruptly relaxed. "You're right." Matt finally admitted. As court was adjourned, he followed the others outside.

He watched Hal wheel past him in the wheelchair. The woman who was following him stopped just in front of Matt, baleful green eyes directed full force into his. "You ruined my life, Matt Trakker." She whispered, her voice full of hate. "I loathe you." Matt noticed that a silver engagement ring that had been on her ring finger was now missing. Suddenly he felt a stab of pity and remorse. She turned haughtily and began to move.

"Ms. Vendun? Wait."

"What?" She demanded harshly.

"I'm sorry."

She looked at him in disbelief. Then she laughed harshly, almost maniacally. "Sorry?!" She gasped. "Sorry? I do hope you're sorry Matt Trakker! I hope you're sorry every day for the rest of your miserable life." She put her face right in front of his. "Because you deserve it."

Of all the responses Matt had expected, this wasn't it. But before he could say a word, she was gone.

On the other side of the street, a lone figure watched. His mouth curled up into a smile as the display windows beside him reflected the twin scars than ran down his face.

******

Back to the Present

Ê

"I thought you said..." Brad began.

"I know. I don't think he's guilty of the weapons and equipment heist anymore. But did you see how he was acting this morning."

"Uh... no." said the none too observant Brad.

"He didn't look remorseful. Actually, he looked worried. And he hung around at the back of the crowd, when it was his ex-fiance and best friend, who was being buried. You'd think he'd have joined Scott and Jarrett is showing their respects."

"You think he's up to something?"

"I don't know. I just don't trust him. That's why I need you to keep an eye on him."

"I don't know Matt. I don't like the idea of spying on Scott. It's just not right. I mean, he's your son, but he's also my friend, you know?"

"Brad, there's only one person capable of doing this, and it's you. I'm asking this as a favor."

Brad's resolve seemed to crumble. "I don't know, Matt. I just don't like this... but I do owe you a lot. I'll do it."

"Thanks Brad. I knew I could count on you."

"You might want to save that for later." Brad replied glumly.

******

Workmen still bustled around the P.N.A. Headquarters which after a hectic week of rebuilding, had recently returned to a state capable of housing it former function. Apparently, the Chief of Security wasn't taking any chances after what happened, because the entire place was swarming with armed guards overseeing the work. Any kidnappers who were thinking of breaking in once more would have had a nasty shock.

"Grayson." Captain Estefan Bailey gave a grim nod. "McHymn's been wanting to see you. Vice President Cathandra's in charge by the way, Mr. Kennedy went off on some meeting or other."

"I know." Hal replied. "Mr. McHymn's in his office?"

"Course." Hal nodded and wheeled on. Scott feeling rather out of place, followed. "Hey Grayson." Capt. Bailey called after him.

"Yeah?"

"Too bad about Inaya." Capt. Bailey's face looked uncharacteristically sympathetic. "She was my best student, you know."

Hal smiled slightly. "She was mine too." Then he turned his head away and rolled his wheelchair on.

"What was that all about?" Scott asked as they entered the building.

"Long story. Let's just say I lost most of my friends because of a crime I was accused of. Estefan- Capt. Bailey... was one of them."

"Inaya told me about the arms heist, in case you're wondering."

"She must have liked you more than she let on, then." Hal said soberly.

"Oh...Who's this Vice President Cathandra?"

Hal looked surprised he even asked. "You've never heard of Beth Cathandra? She's the vice president of the P.N.A., right under Duane Kennedy. Some say she's going to be the next president of the P.N.A."

They entered Alan McHymn's waiting room where a middle aged secretary was manning the counter. She looked up as they entered.

"Grayson's here." she spoke into the intercom. Almost immediately the door to Alan McHymn's office opened and the man himself emerged.

Of all the possibilities the Chief of P.N.A. Security could look like, Scott never expected Alan McHymn to look like what he did. He was surprisingly young, even younger than Scott's father. The blond man was exceptionally handsome and had piercing blue eyes that missed nothing. His smile alone was disarming. His mode of dress was simple and conservative, and he radiated an aura of friendliness.

"Hal." Alan said in a voice that matched his appearance. From his warm smile, Scott could even ventured to say that Alan wasn't one of the friends lost. "I really hate to disturb you on this day of all days, but this is urgent." He glanced at Scott and looked pleasantly surprised. "Mr. Trakker, good to see you. We haven't met but I've heard a lot about you."

"Uh... Thanx."

"You'll forgive me for occupying Mr. Grayson, but this is very important. We should be done shortly." With that, he and Hal disappeared into the office.

Scott took a seat under the watchful eyes of the secretary and leafed through a magazine. Inwardly he wondered what was so important that Alan McHymn had to call Hal over on the day of his ex-fiancee's funeral. He never had time to finish wondering.

Sshping! It was a sharp sound, barely discernable, but it was there. And the sound of it rang a bell in Scott's mind. It sounded very much like a silencer. He sat up, startled, just in time to hear the tinkle of broken glass hitting the floor.

"What the...?" he began as the secretary, too got up. There was a crash from the room, a cry, then two gunshots shattered the placidity of the office. The secretary's eyes widened in fear.

"Security!" she screeched into the intercom. Scott tried the door, and found it locked. "Hal!! Mr. Hymn!!" he hollered, banging on it. He turned to the petrified secretary. "Do you have a key?" She nodded dumbly and tossed a heavy bunch of keys to him. With trembling hands he tried them, one after another. On the fourth try, a chrome plated key unlocked the door. Scott wrenched it open before strafing to one side, just in case. When nothing happened, he cautiously looked in.

The office was a mess. A large window was shattered and shards of glass lay on the floor. And amongst them lay Hal Grayson, fallen from his wheelchair. Alan McHymn was standing by his desk, one hand leaning on it, whilst the other held a handgun. For a moment, Scott thought it was he who had shot Hal, but Alan was pointing it at the broken window, his hand trembling slightly. A deep gash on his right temple oozed blood.

"I tried to stop her, but she jumped out." he said hollowly yet angrily, motioning at broken window. "An assassin." Slowly he lowered the gun, then dropped it. "Gods... Hal!" He whispered.

Scott stooped and felt the carotid artery for a pulse. Nothing. His world whirled around him. No, not Hal, not Hal... Not without telling him what he wanted to-

"He's dead, isn't he?" Alan asked. A feeling of dŽjˆ vu washed over Scott. Those had been his exact words when he had been about to hear of the death of his partner Inaya Vendun. Scott nodded.

"Dammit!" Alan swore, almost screamed, and then looked ashamed at himself. "Sorry... I lost control there for a moment. But Hal..." He stopped and seemed unable to continue.

Scott felt shaken to the core of his being. Gingerly he touched the area where a bloodstain was quickly staining the dead man's clothes. Hal had been shot right through the heart. Whoever who did the ghastly deed knew what she was doing.

Suddenly, his hand touched something slightly smoother, and harder than cloth. A piece of paper stuck out of Hal's shirt pocket. Scott reached for it. Just then he heard the thuds of heavy footsteps behinds him. Rough hands grabbed him. The security personnel had arrived.

"Let him go! He's ok." Alan said in alarm. "You're too late, the assassin's gone. Sorry Scott." he apologized.

"Mr. McHymn... What happened?" Asked one security guard.

Scott gathered himself and returned to his former position beside Hal. "I was conferring with Hal Grayson when an assassin burst through the window." Alan pointed. "I think it was a she, she had the body for it. Swung in here with some kind of harness, shot Grayson, tried to shoot me..."

Scott snuck a look at the guards and Alan. No one was looking his way. Trying to be as inconspicuous as possible, he casually reached over and plucked the paper out of the dead man's pocket.

"... I grabbed my gun under the desk and fired two shots just as Grayson fell. She dodged and jumped out of the window. I couldn't stop her." Scott hid the paper in his sleeve. Not that he didn't trust Alan, but he had a feeling there were things he ought to keep secret, and the paper was one of them. And something told him there was something really funny going on in the P.N.A..

How the assassin could have gotten past the guards with so much security in the place, for one.

******

"Well, you're clear to leave, Mr. Trakker, now that we've searched the area." Capt. Bailey told him.

Scott was relieved. He's been stuck at the P.N.A. Headquarters for ages. A thorough search had been made of the premises, but nothing had been found. Scott hadn't been expecting it, anyway.

Scott nodded, noting that Capt. Bailey looked absolutely harassed. Considering the fact that he'd most probably be fired because of the assassination, Scott wasn't surprised. As if in a dream, he hailed a cab and headed for home. Then he remembered the pieces of paper he'd gotten from Hal's body.

The moment his feet made contact with the driveway of the Trakker mansion, he hurried towards the most secluded place he could think of, his room. Unfortunately, he was accosted halfway there by his father.

"Scott! Where have you been?" Matt demanded, looking worried and angry. "You've been gone for hours!"

"Didn't anyone from the P.N.A. tell you?"

"Tell me what?" Matt looked bewildered.

"About Hal Grayson... he's dead, Dad. Assassinated."

The colour of Matt's face turned a few shades paler. "How? When?" Scott told him.

"You could have been hurt!" Matt cried in alarm.

"But I'm not. I'm ok Dad. I just need some time alone." Assured Scott. Then he decided a change of tactics was in order. "I... I don't think I'll ever forget seeing Hal's body like that. One moment he was alive, another... dead." He sounded both shaken and sad, which he had been but was really not now. But he wanted some time alone.

"You need to rest Scott, You've been through a lot." Matt's expression softened. "Go up to your room and get some rest. I'll look into it."

Just as he hoped. Inwardly he felt guilty about manipulating his father like that, but he had been waiting too long to read those pieces of paper he'd found in Hal's pocket. He hurried upstairs to his roomn. After locking the door, he closed his windows, drew the blinds and drew the pieces of paper out of his pocket. No sense being careless.

The pieces of paper seemed well read. They'd been folded and refolded many times. One was newer, judging from its better condition. So Scott started on the older one. The message was simple:

"Southeast end of Lakeview Park. 8pm at cul-de-sac. Need to talk about the lady in the picture. Come alone. Let no one know you're coming.

Scar-Face"

It was dated yesterday. Scott flipped the paper, looking for a picture as indicated, but found none. He reached for the second paper. The message was shorter.

"Same place same time. Be very careful at all times. I think they are on to us.

Scar-Face"

A prickle of excitement crept up Scott's back. If Hal had met Scar-Face last night, then that meant... Scar-Face would be at the meeting place tonight. "Same place same time"

His mind was made up without thinking. He glanced at his watch. He had four hours to get to the park and meet Scar-Face. He'd tell his Dad he needed a ride to clear his thoughts. The Remora would get him there easily and he'd find out why Hal Grayson had been killed, and what was the information he had died for.

******

The park was deserted. Scott wasn't surprised. Considering the time of night and the circumstances, no one in his right mind would want to come to a place like this. This was mugger territory. Scott couldn't help but feel uncomfortable. Perhaps coming out alone wasn't such a good idea. He should have gotten Brad or Buddy to come along with him.

Owing to some reason, the nocturnal species of Homo sapiens seemed to be giving him a wide berth at the moment. For that he was grateful. Scott had no desire to tangle with them, even if he did have the advantage of the Remora. Inwardly he wished he had brought a firearm or something, but then, he doubted if he'd be able to use it.

The southeast end of the park consisted of a dilapidated iron wire fence, overgrown with creepers and a lot of plants that resembled willows. A small walkway, invaded by an army of weeds, separated the fence from the stone wall. By some mistake of the architect, the perfectly straight wall, or at least, the wall that should have been perfectly straight, curved inward, forming a shadowy cul-de-sac. Now Scott knew why Scar-face had chosen this place to meet Hal.

Scott couldn't help wondering what Scar-face's reaction to him would be as well.

He left the Remora next to the iron rail fence and made his way into the alcove. It was empty. Evidently, Scar-Face hadn't showed up yet. Scott pondered what he would say when the informant showed up.

"Are you Scar-face? Hal Grayson's dead so I thought I'd come in and met you in his place."

No. No. No. Definitely not. The whole sentence sounded stupid.

"You don't know me, but I'm an acquaintance of Hal Grayson's. He's not here because he's dead."

That was even worse.

Scott glanced at the luminous face of his watch and was unpleasantly surprised to see that it was almost twenty minutes past the meeting time. And Scar-Face hadn't showed up. Either he wasn't coming or he had found out that Hal was dead.

Scott left the alcove, with the intention of looking around for Scar-Face. But all thought of that left his mind when he reached the rail fence. The reason was simple.

The Remora wasn't there.

It was absurd! He'd been in the cul-de-sac all the time, just fifteen feet away. If anyone had tried to steal the Remora, he would have heard them.

Or could he? Suddenly his mouth went dry as re realized the foolishness of his assumption. An assumption that could very well be fatal for him.

Too late. As smoothly as a well-oiled latch sliding into place, a pair of arms closed around him from behind. One covered his mouth; the other pinned his arms to his sides. Scott struggled, but his assailant had the advantage of greater leverage. He clawed at the arms futilely, and tried to cry out, but to his horror, those immensely strong arms kept him from doing so.

A low hoarse voice filled his ear. "Not a sound, Boy." said the unknown man menacingly. "...Not if you value your life."

Realizing the futility of struggling, Scott ceased his resistance. Once his control was established, the man, who had surprising strength, dragged him away and forced him to move, silently and none too gently. They moved past the iron railings, along the wall and around the corner. Scott caught a glimpse of the Remora parked there, out of sight, but he never had the time to feel relief.

"Keep quiet!" hissed the man. Scott hadn't managed to get a good look at him, but he'd already guessed who it was. Suddenly, a chill descended upon him. Something prickled his nerves and he knew it wasn't because of the man who had him in his grasp. Something else was out there.

The man's grip on him, especially the hand over his mouth, tightened. Evidently he was aware of the presence as well. And judging by the tenseness of his body, he wasn't looking forward to meeting them either.

A shadowy figure loomed out of the darkness. Scott felt his sweat start to break out. Something about that silhouette inspired terror, terror which he now felt all too keenly. For one heart stopping moment, it seemed to look towards them, but the eyes that Scott couldn't see seemed to pass over them without taking them in. Any moment now, and it'd pick their forms out against the the mouldly brick wall and then....

Then, the figure seemed to sense something from another direction. The head jerked ninety degrees to its right. As abruptly as it had appeared, the figure glided noiselessly away. Scott had never seen anything move like that before. There was something about that movement which seemed unnatural. It was too smooth, too uniform.

The chill lifted. The man seemed to feel it too, and relaxed somewhat. Scott was relieved. He was beginning to worry that the man's vice-like grip might have somehow displaced his jaw. They waited for about almost fifteen minutes, before the man made another move.

"You won't make a sound if I let you go?" he suddenly whispered. Scott nodded. The man released him- And then shoved him against the wall. Swiftly, he was frisked for any firearms or weapons. Scott was glad he hadn't brought any.

He turned around. The man was holding his wallet and two crumpled pieces of paper in his hand. He was looking them over. In a split second decision, Scott made a dash for it. His would-be escape was foiled, however. With an economy of motion, the man hooked his leg and unceremoniously sent him biting concrete, all the while still looking at the contents of his wallet.

"Don't do that." He said mildly, in the manner of one addressing a dog. "Stay." And Scott had no choice but to. He pulled himself up into a sitting position and took a good look at the man.

He was a man slightly out of his prime, of medium height, but with a heavy build. His formerly black hair was now a dark gray flecked with white, especially above the ears. His skin was tanned and bronzed, showing he'd had his share of the rough outdoors. Wrinkles lined his face, and his jaw jutted out a bit, giving him a rather obstinate look. His nose was slightly crooked, showing it had been broken at least once. He looked to be in his late 40's or early 50's, but somehow, Scott had the impression he was older than he looked.

But the one feature that dominated his whole being was the two scars that covered half his face. The first one started at the forehead, cut through the left brow, spared the eye and continued right underneath, crossing the upper section of his left cheek and ending at this left cheekbone. The second one started above the right eye, passed into the nose bridge, cut diagonally through his left cheek and ended at the left side of his jaw. Scar-Face There was simply no doubt about his identity now.

Finally, Scar-Face finished his scrutiny and diverted his attention to Scott. "So... you are Scott Trakker." he extended his hand, as if to help him up. Scott hesitated, then took it. Scar-Face hauled him to his feet. Abruptly his eyes narrowed. "Now tell me how you got hold of this." He shoved the two notes into Scott's face. "What happened to Hal Grayson? The truth, boy. And woe betide you should you lie." His voice was edged with steel.

Seeing no reason to lie, Scott told the truth. "Hal's dead. He was killed just this afternoon. By an assassin." The effect his words had on the man was astonishing. Scar-Face flinched and recoiled as if Scott had struck him a physical blow. He recovered almost as quickly. "How?" He demanded. His face was now an impassive mask. Scott told him of the events that had transpired that morning. Scar-Face listened intently, but said nothing until he had finished.

"If only I had known, I would not have come here tonight." Scar-Face said. "It was very brave and foolish of you to do the same."

Scott suddenly felt annoyed. "Hey look!" He snapped. "The only reason I came here was because I wanted to know why Hal died. And I want to know what happened to the lady in the photo. And who she is."

"You already know." Those pair of murky green eyes fixed themselves on his face.

Scott felt his breath catch in his throat. "She's alive?!"

"Hal Grayson died for this information, young Trakker." Warned Scar-Face bitterly. "So would have you, had I not been there to pull you away before the Enforcers saw you. Are you sure you want to hear this?"

Scott recalled the shadowy figures they had seen earlier and shuddered. "Enforcers...That what they are called? What are they?" Then he added. "Yeah, I am."

"Enforcers are assassins of the deadliest caliber. Know this: few survive an encounter with them." Scar-Face told him grimly. "They were probably the ones who killed Hal. The one you saw was sent here tonight for me, I suspect. But they would have killed you on sight had they seen you."

"Why?" Scott was curious.

"Let us just say I represent a threat to their purpose." Scar-Face said vaguely. Scott suddenly felt a chill travel down his spine.

"Who are you? How do I know I can trust you, for that matter?" He was suddenly afraid again.

"They call me The Scarred Angel." Scar-Face, or rather, the Scarred Angel said calmly. "And no, I have no proof of trust. But if you are the friend of Hal Grayson as you say you are, then you will just have to trust me."

"You expect me to trust you when all you can give me in some codename?" Demanded Scott. "I don't think so."

He'd almost expected the Scarred Angel to be angry. but to his surprise, the man chuckled. "True enough. I usually do not share this to people I have only met, but I have a feeling I can trust you with it. The name is Engelmann. Engelmann Canmore."

Scott thought for a moment. "Angel-man?"

Engelmann cracked a smile. "You're a sharp one." He countenance grew serious again. "But we must not linger here much longer. The Enforcers have gone, but they might return."

"I just wanna know. Is Inaya Vendun alive?" Scott gazed pleadingly into Engelmann's face. "I need to know."

Engelmann shook his head. "I wish I could tell you that. But I cannot, because I do not know myself. I wouldn't be here if I did. But I can tell you this: She did not die in the hospital. It was an empty coffin they buried this morning. Whether she is alive or dead, or where she is now, remains a mystery to me. But I plan to find out." Again he flashed that obstinate look.

"Then what can I do?"

Engelmann shook his head again. "Nothing yet. You must leave this part of the search to me. But keep your eyes open. The V.E.N.O.M. may be down, but they are still very much alive. And beware. There's a power rising in the P.N.A. Heed my words: before long, things are going to change. For the worse I'm afraid." He sighed heavily. "I must go now, so should you. And I must warn you not to repeat anything I've told you to anyone. Not even your father. Doing so could endanger everyone you know." He jerked his thumb at the Remora. "Now go."

"How can I contact you?"

"You cannot. I will find you when the time comes. And a word of warning, Trakker. You saw how those Enforcers move?" Scott nodded. "Enforcers don't walk, they Glide. That's how they stalk. Should you ever see anyone move like that, Run. Run for your life."

With that, he disappeared into the shadows of the night, leaving one very confused M.A.S.K. agent staring after him.

To Be Continued...

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Next: Fateful Sunrise Part 2

Teaser:

"It can't be!" Scott cried out in horror.

"It's true." Engelmann told him quietly. "I've tried everything I could think of, but I still can't get hold of whoever's behind this. If you want to help me, you will to carry a message to your father from me. I need and alliance with the M.A.S.K.

"Why can't your people..." Scott began, but was abruptly cut off by Engelmann.

"Shh!" The scar faced man listen intently for a moment. "Hear that?"

"What?" Scott gazed in the direction Engelmann was looking. He never did hear whatever it was that Engelmann heard, but he saw the movement slink away for a split second. A cold chill ran up his spine. The movement had belonged to a human. And the movement had been a glide.

"They've found us. Run." Engelmann said softly, pulling out his gun. "Run now."

And Scott ran. He was conscious of several figures leaping out of the woods. He could hear the sound of a struggle behind him. He could hear soft footfalls in pursuit. But fear lent him a speed he never knew he possessed. His feet carried him away from the copse of trees, back into the graveyard where his father was waiting. Then he stopped short.

His father wasn't alone. Another figure was standing in front of Matt Trakker. Scott had never seen one in broad daylight, but he instantly knew it for what it was.Ê

It was an Enforcer.

ÊÊ

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Credits:

First of all, I'd like to thank The Hitman and Lisa for reading over the first version of the fanfic, pointing out the mistakes, and helping me to make this a better piece of fanfic and giving me the encouragement every fanfic writer needs. I'd also like to give my thanks to Megaman, the really cool guy who provides all those Realvideo episodes of M.A.S.K., which in turn keeps me interested.

Also to all those people who gave me feedback, you know who you are.

Thanx all! - Hytac

This fanfic is the work of Hytac Please do not use without written permission.

M.A.S.K. is the copyright of Kenner Parker toys... yada yada yada