>From: "Julia Webster"

Title -If Only Author - Jules Disclaimer - they STILL havn't used the Rachel Friedman doll.. so I claim her as mine :) Authors Note - okay.. I'm chatting with like 4 different people at the mo.. so if this ends up a little weird.. dont blame me! Blame them ::points to Cam, Liz and Frank:: BTW feedback would be nice.. considering I only got one bit last time.... If Only

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"And this is the lockerroom, you can stow your gear in the one at the end, I dont think anyone has claimed it" the female constable grinned as they followed the rows of lockers till they came to the rusty brown cabinet in the far corner. Rachel prized open the door and threw her bag inside, pausing to retrieve her badges before slamming the door closed again. Weaving her way out of the lockerroom she stopped by the Ladies' to pin her badge to her uniform and run a hand through her hair before reporting for duty. Glancing in the mirror she smiled, the new haircut was worth the $50 she paid for it, making her features appear sharp and keen, rather than the girly curly look her hair gave her previously. She had yet to show Jonathon, having had to take a week out from her secretarial duties to perform her Policing Placement. He seemed rather miffed that she had to take time from her work, but it wasn't as though she had a choice, if she wanted to graduate, she had to participate in these placements. Checking her reflection once more Rachel turned and left for the Inspector's office, ready to report for duty.

"Cadet Rachel Friedman reporting for duty Inspector" she saluted the greying old man behind the desk. He smiled at her formality, wishing all of his young staff were as eager to please.

" At ease Cadet" he said before standing and offering his hand. " Welcome to the station, I hope you learn plenty from your week here"

" Thank you Inspector. I've been looking forward to this" Rachel lied through her teeth, truth be told she would much rather be working for Jonathon at the moment, rather than sitting on her bum doing filing for some snooty Inspector.

Three hours later, that was exactly what she was doing, sitting on her bum doing filing. The young constable noticed her stifled yawn.

" Sick of filing already?" she asked, a warm smile lighting up her features. Rachel smiled back. " yeah, but I spose I'd better get used to it" The young constable rose from her desk, spoke breifly to the Seargant on duty, then returned to where Rachel was camped at the filing cabinet. " Come on.. lets do a few rounds, save your eyes from being overworked" she said, waving the keys to the squad car.

" So you from around here?" Constable Hawkins asked, trying to make conversation as they cruised the streets of Bathurst in the squad car.

" No actually, I'm from Bondi, in the city, I'm out here for the course, then hopefully back home again" Rachel gazed out the window, taking in the passing scenery she noticed something was not quite right.

" Hey wait, stop a bit will ya. I think I saw something back there" Rachel said, craning her neck to see if the man was still standing at the doorway of the house. The car skidded to a halt, then reversed down the street.

"What is it? What did you see?" the constable asked, looking herself at the scene.

" There's a man, and he's got a gun, and it looks like he's yelling at the woman at the door." Rachel stammered. Hell it was her first time out on the job and she was turning into a bumbling idiot. Events seemed to take on a life of their own, unfolding in front of them. The man pulled the woman out the door and fired two shots, killing her instantly. The body slumped to the ground as the gunman noticed the Police car. Constable Hawkins readed for the radio.

" VKG Bathurst Police, this is car 140, shots fired at Brownsmen Road, I repeat shots..." She fell silent as the gunman opened fire, bullets whizzing in around them, shattering glass and metal. Rachel screamed as she was covered in something warm and sticky, automatically she checked herself, looking and feeling for injury, then she realized the horrible truth. She glanced up and saw her horror confirmed, Constable Hawkins was slumped over the steering wheel, radio still in her hand, dead. The gunman seemed to have stop firing, realizing he had hit his target, not noticing Rachel now curled up on the footspace of the passenger seat. Not looking at Hawkin's face, she gingerly pulled the radio out of the dead woman's hands, making every effort not to actually touch the body.

" Umm car umm 140 to VKG Bathurst Police, help... Hawkins is dead, he shot her. What do I do?" her voice quivered and she focused on keeping herself together. She was Rachel Friedman, she could handle this.

" Car 140, this is VKG Bathurst Police, Cadet Friedman, dont do anything until we get there, I repeat DO NOT MOVE, assistance is on its way. VKG Bathurst Police clear." The disembodied voice echoed around the car, catching the gunmans' attention. Rachel stared at the seat in front of her, willing herself to calm down, blocking out her surrondings until help arrived. She jumped as another voice entered the car.

" I see I missed one" The gunman leered, eyeing her off as he opened the door. Rachel flinched away from him, curling up tighter.

" Come on, get out. I said MOVE!" he yelled, grabbed her arm and yanking her out of the car as the sound of approaching sirens filled the air. Rachel scrambled to her feet, shaking like a leaf. She was a hostage, something to be bargined for, something to trade with. She felt something cold and hard at her throat and knew instantly what is was. He was going to shoot her, he was going to kill her. Sirens blared as an army of Police cars filled the narrow street, lights flashing and engines roaring.

" This is the Police, put down your weapon, I repeat put DOWN your weapon!" the words filled Rachel's mind, milling around with the other terrifying thoughts. Part of her knew that help was here, that she was going to be rescued, but the other half, the little voice in the back of her mind, knew that something was wrong, something was going to go very wrong.

" Dont come near me.. I'll kill 'er.. I'll kill the bitch!" the man screamed, driving his point home by forcing the gun into Rachel's throat. She gasped, fighting for her breath, watching as the world started to spin lazily. The pressure was released and Rachel righted herself, knowing that she now had a means of diversion. He didn't want to kill her, not yet, not till he got what he wanted. Her own mind surprised her, clicking into Police mode and making sence of all the boring lectures she had sat through. Her mind also figured out that if she distracted him for long enough, the other police could overpower him. She moved away from him, as though trying to escape and he pulled her roughly back, once more forcing the gun into her throat.

*Time to act* her mind yelled, forcing her limbs to cooperate. She gasped and struggled to release the grip on the gun while her knees gave out.

" Can't.. can't.. breathe.... can't...." she spluttered, making her voice small and futile. She tugged again on the gun, tearing the man's attention from the incoming police, forcing him to struggle with her. He raised the gun, bringing it down on her head, then darkness at warp speed. As the world disolved Rachel heard the words she'd been waiting for. 'Police, you're under arrest'.

Consciousness came with an unwelcome sensation, pain. Groaning Rachel opened her eyes, wondering where she was and why the hell it was so bumpy. The sound of sirens filled her ears, echoing around the small space she was in. A face loomed into her view.

" Hi I'm Greg, I'm a paramedic. How are you feeling?" he asked, reaching for her wrist.

" Umm my head hurts, yeah, hurts alot, where am I?" her voice croaked, she wondered idley where her normal voice had buggered off too.

"You took a blow to the head in a seige, you were a hostage. But according to the Inspector, your quick thinking prevented a much worse situation from developing" he smiled, his hand now resting on her forehead. Rachel's face scrunched up again, pain once again rearing its ugly head. The paramedic reached for something behind him, then took her arm once more. Almost instantly releif washed over her, dulling her senses and relaxing her mind. Voices and images drifted together once more as her mind once more returned to black.

A week later Rachel returned to her duties with Jonathon. Climbing out of her car behind the courthouse, she quickly checked her reflection in the rearview mirror, noticing to her dismay that the ugly black bruise had yet to leave her forehead. Sighing she walked up the stone stairs to her office, anxious at what Jonathon was going to think. She knocked once before pushing open the solid wooden door, finding Jonathon browsing one of the many bookshelves located in his office. He looked up as she entered, a look of disgust shading his features.

" I was appalled to find out that one of my staff was involved in such a situation" he snarled, making it perfectly clear that he was not happy with her.

" But Sir, I, it wasn't, he just...." she stammered, this was NOT how she had expected things to go when she arrived back to work.

" No buts Rachel, you allowed yourself to be caught up in this mess, I'm ashamed to think that you would ALLOW yourself to end up dealing with the likes of that man. Now go and find this file and catch up with all the work you've missed, I dont want to see your face again for the rest of the day" he spat, turning back to his books, secretly smiling at her reaction.

Rachel's face paled as she slowly nodded her head and started towards her office. Maybe joining the Police wasn't such a great idea, if she'd only listened to him to start off with she never would have ended up in such a mess, if only, if only, if only.

to be continued in part.. gasp.. shock.. horror.. 4!