Classification: Pre X-Files, Mulder works for the BSU; MT

Rating: R (violence/language)

Spoilers: 'Grotesque', but just for the character of Patterson, not the story.

Disclaimer: All right, I don't own Mulder and Patterson. They belong to CC and 1013 Productions. So I just borrow and will put back later.

The rest of the characters belong to my vivid imagination.

Summary: Young Agent Mulder is called to a hostage situation at a hotel. He knows the hostage-takers so he is the chosen negotiator, but things get out of hand.

Feedback of any kind; - thoughtful insight, and remarks, yes, please, to Timmy2222web.de

Virginia State Prison, Visitor's Room

Well, my name's Mac - Mike McIntyre. It's an Irish name. My grandpa came here when he was young. Well, you might've heard my name if you're a policeman or with the FBI, maybe. Won't say I'm famous or anything, but I got a kind of reputation, y'know. My bro JD - that's for Joshua Daniel - and me have done, uh, some things, you might say, that are illegal. Yeh, right, not with the law, but against it. Bank robberies and, huh, kind of kidnapping to make our way out. Worked, I can tell ya. Worked pretty damn well. You wanna hear a story? That's why you came, right? Got something to smoke? Fine, thanks. Lemme tell ya a real good story. Not the usual soft stuff you're used to. Something that you won't forget by the next morning. A story 'bout some people in charge and some that are not. Wanna listen? Good cigarette, by the way. Hadn't had one for a while. - Yeah, the story. Promise to listen, 'kay?

It all starts on a Friday hassle. People running around trying to get everything fixed for the weekend. Nobody's really looking at each other, y'know. That's perfect. Well, for us. The hotel is one of the biggest in town, the 'Regency'. Expensive chairs and carpets right when you enter. Pretty weird. JD and me are in our glad rags. We don't wanna get too much attention. Not yet, anyway. We enter the lobby, stern-faced. A bell hop looks at us, but he isn't suspicious. He's just… curious, maybe. He doesn't ask a question when we enter the lift and tell him to drive upward. The best suite in the house, of course. I've taken off my beard to look so normal that nobody looks at me at all. That's funny, y'know. JD feels a little uneasy, fiddles around with his collar. I think he has never worn a tie till today. But it all adds up. We get on the top floor, and even the guards don't look suspicious. There's only two suites on the floor, so shouldn't they wonder what we're doing there? But it's Friday, and maybe they just think about their wives or girl-friends or whatever. And when I pull my gun to shoot the first man - silencer's a fine thing, I can tell ya - he just topples over. No sound. JD does the same with the second guard. Right on time. He's fine with the gun, and he grins and gives a thumbs-up. We've worked together since he has turned eighteen. Now he's twenty-three, and we both haven't been caught yet.

Hey, isn't that incredible? Got another smoke for me, Mr. Reporter? Thanks. And I'll need a cup of water or something. A beer would be better, but I don't have any left, ha. Yeah, fine, whatever.

Okay, guards down, we jump into the suite, bark something like "Down on the floor, now! Nobody's trying nothin' or I shoot!" Well, it always worked - works this time. The guard inside pulls his gun, but I'm much, much faster. He goes down like a sack of corn. Two ladies scream and drop their papers. But they all obey; no shooting necessary. See, we don't shoot for fun, y'know? Only when threatened. - Well, most of the time. The two women drop on the floor, a young man with a moustache, too, and the other man, that one we came for, looks at us, says, "How dare you to enter this room! Where are the guards?" and I scream, "Hey, man, you fall dawn on that damned floor, or I shoot you to drop, got it?" He gets on his knees, hands in the air, then lies down. He's frightened and will piss his pants any moment now. Fine. Absolutely fine. JD smiles from one ear to the other and whirls his gun around like a cowboy on TV. I shake my head: No. No time for games. He nods, puts the gun away and pulls the duct tape we brought from under his jacket, wraps our hostages' wrists for good and checks if the guards are dead. Well, yes they are. Dead as doornails. Yes, I do agree that it's not really necessary to kill, but the others, y'know, the others obey much faster when you do that. We pull the dead body outside and safe the guards' guns and handcuffs. The walkie-talkie crackles with a static sound, then a man asks to confirm everything's okay, but there won't be an answer. Sure as hell the police will be informed and all other stations which might get involved. I just smile.

A third man stands at the window. He's wearing a grey well-tailored suit and looks at us admiringly. Well, he's the third in our party this time. I haven't worked with him before, but his reputation, say, that is what I heard about him from others, told me everything I needed to know. His name's Gin - like Gin and Tonic - and he's quite somebody, I can tell ya. I didn't even want to know how he could get so close to the senator and his party. I really don't. Maybe he faked some ID or something like that. He's brilliant. Fucking brilliant. And he chose us, you see, not vice versa. He wanted to work with us. He knows we're professionals. And very, very good.

Now, JD's ready. He smiles at Senator Burne from Florida like he's a big trophy, but the senator doesn't smile back. He looks frightened, but angry, too. I know how he must feel. No, not that I had been in such a situation before, but it's easy to understand that he's really pissed off. He's the loser today. Until now he might have been a mighty man, a power man, but now he's running out of luck. You get it? He can't do anything. He must do what I say. We made a good plan -- you'll see. We did this like choreographing a dance. And this was just the opening.

I pick up the phone. I'm kind of surprised nobody has noticed yet that there's trouble up here. I dial the lobby and tell them that we have Senator Burne at our mercy. Deep voice and threat are all I can put into this sentence. I can almost hear the man on the other side swallow. Yeah, now we have some attention. I don't say my name or how many we are. Better they don't know. I just say that we kill everyone who gets close to the suite door. When JD and me first robbed a bank we were no-names. Nobody had ever seen our faces before. That was the real fun. Now - yeah, reputation, I know, I said that. But it takes the fun out of it, don't ya think? He'll call the police, then the FBI will show up. I know the procedure. They'll ask the bell hop what he saw, and he'll give them our description. Then they know it's Mac and JD, and they won't take that lightly, I know. But I have all our demands memorized. This will work smooth and easy.

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Closing the door of my service car I give a final, sighing look to the video tapes I rented for the weekend, and some magazines I haven't finished reading yet. Well, I won't till this 'situation', as Patterson has called it, is over. He sounded stressed on the phone, so I am all ears entering the lobby and being led to him. The hotel is silently evacuated. A lot of policemen with serious faces escort men and women out. Some hotel guests are protesting. They wanted to enjoy a nice weekend - just like me - and now they are confronted with a hostage situation at their hotel.

Patterson welcomes me with a handshake, saying,

"Nice of you to drop by. You profiled them, so I thought you might want to add some insight to the case." He hands me the few pages with the testimony of the bell hop and two other personnel. "We're quite sure it's the McIntyre brothers. They changed their looks a little, but by the way of working and the description, I'm quite convinced."

'The way of working?' I think. 'They've robbed banks up to now.' "Just the two?" I ask looking up. He nods. "Who was with the senator at that moment?" A second man steps forward - Dark blue business suit, black shining shoes, big hands, broad, shaved face and short cropped hair. I can almost smell his authority, punctuated by the gun under his left shoulder. Secret Service, Washington's own police for the political high society. I sigh inwardly. Many of them give themselves airs, but lack professionalism. I hope this guy doesn't add up to my prejudices.

"Hi, my name's Brendan Moore. I'm the senator's chief of security. I'll help you with the information you need about Senator Burne." We shake hands, and he adds, "The senator travels with his wife, Marybeth, eldest daughter, Janie, his secretary, Melinda Robertson, and a student of political science, his name's…" He fetches his note book from the inside of his jacket, and I keep another sigh in me. Just a show, I feel it. "Barney Holden." He flips a page. "Ah, yes, a week ago, the senator's wife introduced another man to the staff, Herbert Stanley."

"You got all these people checked out?" I ask and am rewarded with a look that could pin me to the wall with a bowie. I hold his stare unwaveringly.

"Of course, we check everyone, who gets near the senator or his family."

"Within a week?"

"We have known Mr. Stanley before. He has a reputation in political science and media research. No crimes, not even a ticket for wrong parking, if you know what I mean." He is so proud of his statement he doesn't notice Patterson rolling his eyes heavenward. I retain my smile.

"Fine. So we have six hostages and Mike and JD holding them in check. - Have there been any demands yet?" I ask Patterson.

"Not really. Only one call telling the front desk that they have the senator in the suite and will shoot everyone who gets close. Then a second one for ten big packages of cornflakes and a five gallon can of water. Nothing more." He shrugs. "We are waiting." I put down the papers on a small table in the conference room. Still looking down I begin to knead my lower lip. I know it's a habit I should quit, but can't. Every time I'm in thoughts I start it. "Okay, Mulder, what is it?"

"Just thinking - it's different from what they've done up to now."

"Well, cracking a mould, don't you think?" Mr. Moore says, shrugging.

"Until now they went into banks, made their demands, and got away with the money and one or two hostages who were released more dead than alive later on. This -- is different. They went in here knowing this would be a hostage situation from the beginning. Including negotiations with the police, FBI, etcetera. And they have to think of a way out. It's fifteenth floor, not the basement."

Patterson nods in agreement.

"Any ideas about the cornflakes?"

"A snack maybe?" Mr. Moore weighs his head and I see a smile hiding in the corner of his mouth. "It's late afternoon."

"Ten packages? Big ones?" I shake my head. "No, they're up to something." I knead my lip again. I know the brothers just by the way they worked in the banks. They are aggressive, ruthless, decisive and always ended the robberies successfully. No chance capturing them without risking the lives of the hostages. They know the police won't shoot till there's no chance of saving the people they had taken with them. They killed five guards in the banks, shot down two police officers, who survived, and injured several hostages severely, but all of them are still alive. What would they want with a senator and his party? "Did anyone check on the floor?"

"Yes, sure. Three dead guards in front of the door. My men didn't get any closer. No risks, you know."

"Right, no risks." It sounds strange to me. I know it's policy to avoid a forceful entrance, but wouldn't it be easier to make a run on that suite right now rather than wait until they have settled everything to their demands? After all, it's only two men. The FBI has specially trained personnel to shoot aggressors on sight. "What's the senator worth?" It's an unwanted question, and I expected the angry looks.

"He's a rich man, if you mean that", Mr. Moore says defensively.

"So a ransom would be higher than what they could get in a robbery?"

Mr. Moore swallows. Seems that he hadn't yet thought about this possibility of paying and letting the kidnappers get away with it. I know better.

"Yes, they could demand two million dollars, and it would be possible - within a certain amount of time."

"All right, that's what they know. Obviously. They could have accessed that information easily?"

"All politicians have to publish their financial situation before they can become a candidate for their party." It's a lesson in politics, and I take it with a simple nod. Yes, I should know that. But up to now I was up to my ears in profiling, and not in the rules of politics.

"Okay, they know about his wealth and think it's easier to get that money than robbing three or four more banks. Now they have to think of the details - firstly, where is an attack possible? Secondly, how can they get close? Thirdly, the moment they enter the suite, they cage themselves in. They have to know how to get out while all policemen in Washington want them dead. Fourthly, how much time do they plan? A day? A weekend? More? Lastly, they don't only take the senator, but have the luck to have his whole family under control. They could have already killed them all - if they didn't do what they demanded", I add in direction of Mr. Moore, who squirms with uneasiness. "Or they have to think of feeding them and keeping them under control all the time. That's a lot of stress - much more than they have taken up until now."

"They had twenty hostages in that bank in Norfolk", Patterson says, checking the file we have about the brothers. I agree with that, but object,

"For two hours, yes. Police knew that the McIntyre brothers wouldn't deal with them or negotiate in any way. They allowed them to leave with two hostages, so no one was shot in this case." My boss flips a page. I have worked on the profiles for quite a while so I think I can read the pages from where I stand. Mike had always kept the hostages in check while JD collected the money. Then Mike had made the phone call with the demands how to get away, and then they left. Their escape routes had been planned to the minute, so the police had had no chance to follow them even after they had dropped the hostages. I am convinced they will take the senator and his wife or daughter with them to make sure their escape works this time, too. But this situation won't be over in two hours.

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Gin leans against the wall near the window and gently pulls aside the closed drapery to check. From where I stand, with a cigarette in hand, I can see his profile. He looks a little bit like Jeremy Irons, y'know, the actor from 'Die Hard 3'. He's quite tall and well-muscled, but not as broad as I am, see? Yeah, I do a lot to keep me in shape. Lots of workout. Gin seems to have a kind of, say, natural strength. He's in his forties - I guess, 'cause he wouldn't say, and I didn't ask. He came to our hiding place half a year ago and showed us what he was thinking about. JD jumped on it firsthand, but I was skeptic. Didn't know him. Wanted to ask some friends, and when they said, he's okay, I agreed to work with him. He had already made plans, and we just had to add some details. Not that we were short of money or anything, but it sounded… well, a thrill, a kick. Not to mention kicking ass and getting away with a truckload of money. Gin said we'd get the time-table as soon as he has all the information about the senator. He didn't say what else he would do to run this operation, but we were satisfied with what he told us.

Now he glances back at the hostages. We've been here for an hour now, and I think the police are getting nervous. Yeah, I think they bite their nails to find out what we're up to. I heard something on the floor some minutes ago. Probably special squad people. Gin had heard them, too, and smiled. The suite has thick walls, so no one will drive a hole through one of them to peek on us. They won't know if the hostages are already dead. Well, no, don't think we like killing. Unless any one of them makes a false move, we'll let them live, promise. Got another cig for me? Thanks.

Yeh, I was talking about Gin. He is absolutely calm. Perfect. The senator had accused him of being a liar, but Gin had only smiled. He is way above all of us- so unlike JD, who can't hold his temper. I keep him away from the hostages - don't want him to freak out and hit someone. He keeps them in check. That's fine. Gin eyes him from time to time, and I think JD will get in trouble if he does anything that Gin doesn't want. We play to the rules. Everyone has his part to fulfill. That's what we're up to. Fulfill the parts, collect the money and leave. I stub my cigarette in the big glass ashtray that stands on the desk. Gin sees it. When he smokes, he collects the butts in his pocket ashtray to leave nothing behind. Well, he's a clever guy, maybe never got caught or was even noticed by the police. I don't need these precautions - the FBI knows who I am. So what the heck? Gin pours himself some water from the can. We delivered some water to the hostages, too. We're no monsters.

The senator uses the minute to talk to me, saying,

"You can still end this in peace. You can deliver yourself to the police, and I'll tell them you treated us fair. This would be the best solution, believe me. You can't escape. The police will catch you for sure."

I point my gun to his face.

"Shut up, old man! You pay, we leave - no one catches us. No one ever does."

He flinched, but obeyed. Good for him. His wife sits beside him, holding tight to his right arm. Their daughter sits on the other side, hardly looking at me. She's scared shitless, oh yeah. The elder woman is keeping her head up. I don't think she expects to be killed, but fears for her husband. That's okay, as long as she doesn't try any tricks on us. Women can be so tricky! One moment you think they're making eyes at you, the next moment they play tennis with your balls. I've been through this, I know the rules. So I stay away from them. When the secretary, a chestnut-haired woman with a breathtaking figure, stands up to be led to the ladies room, Gin accompanies her, not even smiling or giving a sign that he's impressed by what he sees. I could fall on her right on the spot, right in front of the others. That would be fun. But I know it's not in our rules, and we don't need no distraction from our plan. And this would be a distraction…

Gin comes back, the woman sits down again with the others on the empty space between the wall and the mighty desk that is enthroned in the middle of the big room. Gin glances at his watch, and softly says,

"It's time for the next call." He hands me the phone. I take it gladly.

"It's the senator's suite," I say to the man on the other side of the line. "Here's our list of demands."

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"This is Mulder with the FBI," I say, and know by the voice it's McIntyre Senior answering me.

"Welcome to the show, Mr. Mulder." I can hear his glee. He's in charge, and he's enjoying it. He's confident to get away as in all other cases. "I'll make this short, so you understand, young boy. You know we won't negotiate, and if you don't fulfill our demands within five hours, we'll start killing the hostages one by the hour, starting with the senator's daughter." There's a female scream, "No!" from the background. Thanks to that I know he's not lying - not at the moment. "You heard that her mother won't be pleased with that. We demand three million dollars in unmarked fifty dollar notes, in two black leather suitcases. Plus, six black raincoats with hoods, four black leather suitcases the same as the first one, and a helicopter to take us to the rooftop entrance exactly after the money is delivered. Some sandwiches would be nice, too." So damn secure! So damn, fucking self-confident! "You got that, Mr. Mulder?"

"I heard you, Mister. You know that it is impossible to get the money in this short time," I say according to the rules of negotiating, and, of course, Mike laughs.

"You'll be on the fucking button, or you collect some more dead bodies."

"Okay, I got that." And I gnaw on my lower lip, about to add that he should let a hostage go as a sign of good will, but I don't say it. He won't do it. "Are the hostages okay, or did you harm anyone? Is a doctor needed?"

"You think I'd tell? But, I can assure you, at the moment, they're all happy campers. Bring up the sandwiches first, okay?" He hangs up, and I slowly put back the receiver, and turn around to Patterson. "I need the recordings of the bank robberies. All of them. I don't know what, but something's wrong here." Mr. Moore gives me a puzzled look while my boss is on the phone already.

"Wrong?" Moore repeats. "Sure, we have a really wrong situation, and you think about listening to old tapes?"

"These tapes could hold the key to what's happening here. Look, I profiled them, and up to this very day, they haven't been in a kidnapping like this. So the question is, what has occurred to them to make Mike behave like he's holding all the cards?" I point to the phone, and I know I sound impatient. The McIntyres have been predictive to a certain point. That's why the bank robbery in Norfolk took place without anyone being killed.

"All mouth and no trousers?" Moore offers, taking a cup of coffee from his sidekick, looking the same stern face with nothing behind it. I wonder how these two men could get into this special service.Favouritism, this and that…

"No, I don't think so. McIntyre was almost steaming with glee. I heard confidence before, but this was more than that. And, by the way, the brothers have robbed banks for three years now, and the police have not been able to catch them. They are all mouth and trousers, Mr. Moore." I know I shouldn't add this, and he shoots me with his look again, but I can't help it. I would like to show him the door, but with a senator's life at stake, the secret service won't bail out.

"So they know more than we do," he nods after a sip of coffee. "My men have been up there again. Cornflakes've been used to cover the ground around the entrance door. No one gets near without being heard." 'Nice trick,' I think, but at the same time wonder again if this could have been his idea. Has he studied some old hostage situations? Met with someone, who was released a short while ago?

"Sir, could we check on all inmates related to cases of kidnapping in public places, who were set free within the last, say, ten months?" Patterson looks at me quizzically. There's almost a smile on his face. He appreciates my way of thinking, though he wouldn't say a word about it. It's like a strange game he plays with me all the time. He let me come to a conclusion, then tells me afterwards if I had been on the right or wrong track. And I always find out that he had been two steps ahead. At least. His books on criminal science are standard lecture in Quantico, and I can call myself lucky to be in his unit. But he demands much from a young agent like me. Now he nods and signals that this is already in process. I smirk. Sure. What could I have expected? I'm no match for him.

He's on the telephone again, asking the hotel kitchen to prepare sandwiches, and orders another agent to bring them up.

"We'll at least get a glimpse of what's happening," he says in his low voice.

Restlessly I reach for my own, now cold, coffee. The chief of the FBI special squad, Jack Hastings, is back again. "Got an idea to get in without being seen?" I ask, but don't hold my breath. He shakes his head, and uses his fingers to sum up.

"One: Walls are thick. We can't get anything in. Two: No house opposite, so no binoculars and no snipers can be used. What we got from the copter was nothing more than closed drapes." He sighs. "Three: Doors are solid, too. Not easy to break in. They'd have time to kill at least two people before we catch 'em. Four: The shafts of the air-conditioning have built-in detectors. I don't know who put them in, but they'll tell them in the suite that we're coming." He scratches his forehead under the helmet. "This is why suites are built like this - to avoid any threat. - I just wonder how they could kill the guards so easily." A quick glance to Mr. Moore, who takes the ball like a good quarterback.

"My men must have been deceived. They were on alert."

"'Kay," the squad chief answers, holding up his hand to stop further comments. "If they were on alert, as you say, they'd have raised their guns the moment the lift doors opened, right? But the two attackers shot them flat with one bullet each. No shots were fired by your men, Mister…"

"Moore."

"Fine. Mr. Moore. Your people died on the spot." Hastings glances at me again. "The third man also. He was the guard inside, right?"

"Right." Mr. Moore has his defensive 'I'm gonna shoot you' - look on again. "I'm sure he did what he could."

"Probably." The squad chief isn't convinced. "But someone opened the lock from the inside," he adds, and again, there is a look in his eyes that he doesn't believe the 'in alert' story. "As if they expected someone to come, I think." He turns to me again. "So, here's the situation as I see it. We can go in, blow the door, but risk at least two lives. Any threat of a bomb?" I shake my head no. "Good. Quite a relief. I'dhave thought we'd find the building under another address then." A small smirk, which I return. "Tell me what's happening next."

"They demand money in suitcases, raincoats with hoods, and a copter on the roof."

Hastings breathes deeply, and smacks his lips.

"A red herring or for real?"

"I asked myself the same question. The helicopter's real, I suppose. They need transportation from here to wherever. As far as I know the McIntyre brothers, they have planned their escape route meticulously." That makes me think of another lead to follow. I turn to Patterson, who just put down the receiver. "Sir, it's possible they parked a car or truck somewhere near a landing field or meadow near Washington." He nods and turns to the fax machine, where a sheet of paper comes through slowly.

"Yes, Agent Mulder, a place wide enough to serve as a landing spot to change means of transportation." He takes out the paper and hands it to me. "Your list of released prisoners and their whereabouts as far as it was possible to track."

"Thank you, sir. Considering their robberies, the escape always included two or more sedans or pick-up trucks, always stolen within seventy-two hours before the crime." I quickly check the list, but can't find a familiar name. I hadn't expected to anyway. I look up again. "We got a map here?" A young assistant reacts on my request and rolls out the map of Washington's adjoining states. "We have to check all possibilities where the copter can land and compare the cars parked at the sites to the list of registered stolen cars during the last week." The assistant takes down my request and quickly moves to a telephone. This will be a list even longer than that of the prisoners. I take more time for a second check. I have butterflies in my stomach. If the McIntyres gained information from a known kidnapper it could turn out far more dangerous for the hostages than I had thought.

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