Soul Diver

Part 2

Dreams and Reality

++++++++++++

Carrot sat back in his car, the yellow lights of the tunnel
flashing across his face as he drove along. His face was tired
looking, and a cigarette burned in his hand as he idly moved the
steering wheel.

"Yo," said a voice as a screen on the dash flickered to life. The
screen itself was rather dirty looking. It was poorly maintained, and
the image flickered slightly.

"What's up Jackson?"

"Lita is worried about you, just checking up. You didn't come in
yesterday," said the man calmly.

"You know we can take the day off after a jump. Is Richards going
to go busting my balls about this?" Carrot chuckled at the thought.

"Naw, the old slave driver knows the rules. I think he sleeps with
a copy of em under his pillow or something," said the man as he gave a
short laugh.

"Right, what's the big deal then?" said Carrot as he arched his
eyebrow.

"Lita says you were acting like more of an ass than usual," said
Jackson with a small shrug. "You know how she is."

"Bah, she's still green," snorted Carrot as the green light of the
moon suddenly shone down on him as he exited the tunnel. "Don't worry,
I'll be in tomorrow."

"Right, I'll tell her, maybe she'll calm down," said Jackson with
a slight sigh.

"Yeah, right," snorted Carrot in amusement. "You'd almost think
I'd married her."

"See ya around buddy," said Jackson with a small, playful salute.

"Yeah," muttered Carrot as he pressed a small button beside the
screen, shutting down the connection.

++++++++++++

"It's nice to sit like this," said Mia as she looked across at her
husband. She was an Asian woman in her early thirties, around the same
age as her husband. She had long black hair that was pulled up in a
tight bun, and dark eyes. "We don't get out much."

"I'm sorry," said Carrot as he hung his head. They were sitting in
a corner booth of a rather expensive looking restaurant. She was in a
business suit, and he was dressed much the same.

"Don't apologize for what you do Carrot. I know it's important to
you," she said to him quietly. She averted her eyes for a moment as
she spoke, but relaxed into a wistful smile.

"I know you don't understand, I wish I could help, but..." He
frowned, a familiar thing to her in recent times.

"I'm sorry Carrot, but..." she looked at him, her eyes pleading.

He put up his hand, silencing her. "Please, I need to say this."
He forced himself to look at her. "You think I don't see what you're
going through? You think I don't notice?"

"No, I don't think you do," she said quietly. "Sometimes, I know
you don't."

"I lost something in that damn dream. A part of my soul, a piece
of my mind, something inside me died," he said with his head hung low.
"It was you that brought me back. I knew someone was waiting for me."

"But you didn't know who," said the woman with a slight smile.

"I didn't even know who I was," said Carrot as he hung his head
lower. "I can only say I'm sorry. I..."

"Cheated on me, but I can't really say that can I?" said Mia
calmly.

Carrot merely nodded, unable to reply to that statement.

"You are my husband, it tore me apart when you said her name
instead of mine when we made love. Can you imagine what that must feel
like?"

"No," said the man as he turned away from her shamefully.

"I forgive you for that, I'm not sure why, but it doesn't seem
right to blame you," said the woman calmly.

Carrot grabbed her hands and stared into her eyes. "Mia, I came
back for you. If it wasn't for you, I might have killed the doc back
then, and simply died. I knew something was wrong, I didn't know what
it was, but I knew you were missing."

"And yet you still hold on to part of her," said the woman calmly.
She looked him dead in the eyes as she said this.

"I wish I could make it just go away, I really do," he said with a
heavy sigh as he looked away from her.

"Do you?" she asked, almost pleading with him.

"Yes," he said firmly, staring back at her again. He squeezed her
hand gently as he spoke.

"What are you looking for?" she said as she looked into his eyes
for a moment. She seemed to be searching for something. "That piece
you lost? A part of your soul? You won't find it again, I wish you'd
realize that."

"I realized that a long time ago, I'm looking for something more,"
he said firmly. "I'm looking for an answer, a reason."

"To what?" said Mia in confusion.

Carrot merely smiled and sat back in his seat, with her hand still
in his grasp.

Mia returned the gesture, with her own uncertain smile. He seemed
to loose all of his age in an instant as he smiled at her. Seeming to
become the man he was ten years before. She blushed at his amused
chuckle at her reaction and looked up to see a waiter waiting
patiently for them to order.

+++++++++++++

"We got a dreamer."

Carrot sat up and looked at the phone receiver in his hand for a
moment. "What?" He glanced at the sleeping form of his wife for a
moment; she was wrapped up in the sheets comfortably.

"You heard me, he's been out about two days," said Jackson in a
serious tone.

"No hurry then," said Carrot lazily as he lay back into the
pillow.

"I need you here, this isn't one for someone green," said Jackson
calmly on the other end of the line.

"Shit," grumbled Carrot irritably. "Hang on, gimme a minute and
I'll be down at the office in an hour."

"Make that forty five," said a gruff sounding voice that cut into
the conversation from another line.

"Yes sir," grumbled Carrot irritably.

+++++++++++++

"You're leaving?" Mia sat up groggily from the bed, the sheets
hanging from her body loosely.

"Yeah, I just got a call," said Carrot as he sat down beside her.
He was already dressed in his uniform. "I didn't want to wake you."

She smacked him lightly on the cheek. "I told you about that. I
want to know when you're leaving."

"Well, I'm leaving." He leaned in and kissed her for a moment as
he pulled on his jacket and grabbed the keys off of the small
nightstand beside their bed. "Don't wait up."

"Like I ever would," she said with a small snort of laughter as
she lay back down on the mattress again.

++++++++++++++

"Well?" said Carrot as he sat in a small briefing room with his
feet put up on the top of the chair in front of him. Lita was sitting
next to him, with her arms crossed and a sleepy looking frown. "Tell
us why you needed me here for this? Don't we employ other men? You
know, the guys who actually work this shift?"

"Don't get smart with me," snapped Richards. He was an older man,
partially bald with a few white strands of hair crossing over the bald
surface of the top of his head. He was also fairly large, and an ex
marine. He glared at the pair in front of him.

"Ah, the perils of working in the private sector," commented
Jackson as he noticed the enraged older man glaring down at the two
agents in irritation. "Hello."

"What have we got? This had better be good, Jackson," said Lita
irritably.

"You're only here because you're his partner, blame him, not me,"
said the man in retort as he sipped at a cup of coffee and placed a
folder on the podium that was centered on the rows of chairs.

Carrot found himself the recipient of a rather nasty glare. He
shrugged his shoulders and turned back towards Jackson. "Profile on
the victim?"

"His Name is Roy Daniels. A name I think you'll recognize," said
Jackson with a small frown. "Seventeen years old, psychologically
sound for the most part. Standard spoiled brat really."

"As in Robert Daniels?" said Lita in shock.

"The same," said Jackson with a tense looking nod.

"Shit," replied the woman quietly.

"His parents fund us, and this happened? Sounds like a willing
sleeper to me," said Carrot with a snort.

"The good Dr. West agrees with you Carrot. Possibly a cry for
attention, or a suicide attempt. Most likely the former," said Jackson
as he flipped through the pages for a moment.

"Mom and Dad might have to pull our funding to cover the therapy
bills," said Lita with a small smirk.

"Great, a funder," muttered Carrot irritably. "Anything else on
him?"

"It isn't what we've got that got this kicked at your feet, but
rather what we don't have," said Jackson with a small nod.

"So? What don't we have?" said Carrot calmly.

"All we've got is a partial sentence, a location," said Jackson
with a small nod.

"Shit," said Carrot with a rough snort.

"That's bad?" said Lita in confusion.

"We won't know who the dreamer is," said Carrot as he threw his
hands in the air in frustration. "We've got to find him."

"That's right," said Richards grumpily as he shoved Jackson aside
gently. "Lita is going to go in, and you're staying here as support
for her."

"What?" said Carrot in shock.

"Carrot, we don't have a team available with more dive time than
you two," said Jackson with a slightly irritated frown. He glanced at
Richards and stepped in front of the podium.

"So wait for someone," snapped Carrot. "He's only been down two
days. Nobody Soul Dives alone."

"He could get himself killed before then, and his parents are
influential. Sorry, we're being pressured to move ahead. It isn't our
call," said Jackson with a shrug.

"Maybe I should have a talk with these 'concerned parents'?"
growled Carrot. "We're doing an interview first, I'm not letting her
go in there without one."

"Out of the question," said Richards with a frown.

"The hell it is! Call the doc down here, he'll do it if you want,
but I'm not sending my partner in there without some background first.
Especially not without me!"

"What's the location we've got? Let's at least cover what we do
have," said Lita as she stood up between the arguing men.

"All we got from the PC was a setup location. 'Nerima, Tendo
Dojo'," Jackson hung his head and turned away. "Sorry Carrot, these
people are heavily funding us. If they pull their support we're sunk.
They asked for you by name."

"What the fuck am I doing here, Richards?" snarled Carrot angrily.
"You know better than this."

"I'm sorry son, they went over my head," said the man with a small
shrug.

"Call the doc, get him down here now. We're going to have a long
discussion about this. In your office, right now, sir," snapped Carrot
as he stood up and walked out of the room.

+++++++++++

Richards walked into his office and sat down behind his desk. It
was little more than a pile of paper.

"How do they know who I am?" said Carrot calmly. He had been
sitting in the chair on the other side of the desk silently up until
that point. "How much do these people know?"

"Our operations are not classified, only our methods," said the
old man with a heavy sigh. "Carrot."

"Shut up. What about -never- did you not understand?" said Carrot
coldly.

"You aren't going it, and your knowledge might be an asset on this
operation. You'll be given and audio link," said Richards calmly.

"No. She's not going in there alone," snapped Carrot harshly. "We
learned that the hard way."

"It was..."

"It was more than an isolated incident. Survivability has more
than tripled since we went to teams, Richards," said Carrot calmly.

"You're just thinking back to the times when we were still young,
our technology is better, we..."

"Don't tell me about technology. I'm one of the originals, the
only one left," snapped Carrot as he slammed his hands on the table
and pushed himself up into the old man's face.

"The infamous 'Dirty Dozen'? Carrot, our teams are young for the
most part, and we haven't had a death related to an extraction in two
years. You think I like this?"

"I'll shove it down those bastards throats if I have too! The
reason we're living so much longer is because of the mistakes my
friends made. I will not allow this to proceed."

"You think I don't know that? The higher ups are growing
comfortable; it's not good for a profession like ours. This is a
combat unit, no matter how nicely those fat assholes dress it up with
pretty words and publicity." Richards steepled his fingers and rubbed
at his temples.

"That's the beauty of this isn't it? We don't have to go, they
can't make us," said Carrot with a wicked looking grin. "I'm not going
to let someone die just to shake those idiots out of their perceived
comfort."

"Including that boy?" said Richards calmly.

Carrot growled at him. "That boy might well want to die Richards.
I know for a fact that Lita doesn't."

"And he might not. Damn it, don't put me in this position!" said
the old man as he stood up and turned his back on Carrot in
frustration. "You've got one option, talk her through it. I can't send
you in, I know that."

"The Daniels family knows who I am," said Carrot as he backed away
from the desk and leaned against the wall next to the door.

"Yeah, it's part of the deal. They pay us, and they get to keep up
with our mission files. Little Roy apparently enjoyed reading them
from what I hear."

"That's too important to have not told us right away," said Carrot
coolly. "Why ask for me?"

"They know you're our most experienced and most successful agent.
Getting requests for you isn't that unusual, you know that."

"Yeah, a request like that is usually followed by money exchanging
hands, and it also goes something like, "I want your best man." I'm
not that stupid Richards."

"Right," agreed Richards. "They keep more than a passing eye on
our operations all right?"

"So they knew to ask for me by name," said Carrot with a small
nod. He frowned and looked thoughtful for a moment.

"Something wrong?" asked Richards as he looked at him for a
moment.

"This one knows we're coming."

"Most likely."

"She's not going in alone," Carrot turned towards the door and
turned the knob. "I mean it Richards, this one is waiting for us. He
had to know mom and dad wouldn't just sit and watch him die. He knows
we're going in after him."

"Meaning?"

"Either he's waiting patiently in his little fantasy world,
waiting for us to take him back home to be paddled, or there is
something nasty waiting for us on the other side."

"So? What are we going to do?" said Richards calmly.

"Get me his parents. I don't care if you half too fly them from
the other side of the world," said Carrot as he walked out of the
room.

++++++++++

"Are you implying that my son would..." Robert Daniels stood up
from his seat and glared angrily at the leather-clad man sitting
across from him. He was dressed in a business suit and was clutching
his wife's hand. He was in his early forties, and had slicked back
black hair. The woman beside him was a rather attractive looking
blonde in her late thirties, or so it appeared. She was actively
crying into a white handkerchief, and was dressed in a light pink
skirt and blazer.

"No Mr. Daniels, I'm not implying that. I'm telling you it was
deliberate," said Carrot calmly. His voice was smooth and his gaze
steady and hard.

"How dare you, I'll have your job for this!" snapped the man as he
lifted up the phone.

"After you asked for me specifically, even knowing that there was
no way in hell I would make this Dive? Come on now, Bob." Carrot
leaned in and smiled at the man darkly. "You may fund this project,
but I'm an original team member. They aren't stupid enough to fire me
just because I pissed you off by telling you what you needed to hear
instead of what you wanted to hear. I might also remind you that,
while your contributions are appreciated, I do not work for you."

"What is it you want?" said Daniels coldly as he sat down.

"I want you to tell me why we need to go in now, exactly. Your son
is an intelligent boy, from what I gather reading his file. I want to
know what he's planning, and you're going to help me find out."

"What do you mean?" said Mrs. Daniels in shock.

"I am not willing to risk my partner's life by sending her diving
head first into your son's head without finding out a little about him
first, we'll dive in two days. You're going to give me a list of his
friends and people he speaks with regularly."

"What? Are you insane? You're acting like my son is some sort of
criminal!" snapped Mr. Daniels angrily as he jumped from his seat once
again.

"Mr. Daniels...Bob, apparently you don't understand what's going
on here. Your son knows we're coming for him. I'm not willing to risk
my partner's life, or my own, on your word that he's waiting patiently
for us to come pick him up. I'm conducting an investigation. We
already have practically nothing to go on as it is. So, if you want
your son's brain back inside his head, I suggest you sit down and
answer my questions."

+++++++++++

The doctor sat at his desk, reading the file lazily. "Well, how
interesting."

"Well?" said Carrot calmly.

"As per normal, he doesn't appear to be very sociable. Nothing out
of the ordinary, he is neither cruel, nor violent in nature. Seems
perfectly fine."

"So, he might just be sitting there waiting for pickup," said
Carrot with a small sigh.

"If he remembers who he is at all," agreed the old man with a
slight smirk.

"But he might not."

"Also a possibility, as always."

"Great," muttered Carrot as he stood up and walked out of the
room.

+++++++++

"Well?" said Lita as she strolled up to her partner and smiled.
They were standing in the middle of a long barren hallway.

"You're going in, Davis is going with you," said Carrot calmly as
he nodded at her. A young man walked into the room with a uniform on
and smiled at her.

"Hiya, Lita," said the young man calmly. "It's been a while." He was
around twenty years old, and had short black hair. He also had a black
headband tied around his forehead.

"Hey, how are you Davis," said Lita as she nodded at him in
recognition.

"Running an investigation was a smart idea, Carrot," commented
Jackson as he walked up to the group in the hallway.

"We should have done that from the start," he replied as he
started walking down the hall.

The group walked into a room through a sliding doorway. It was a
lab of some kind; various machines lined the walls with technicians
seated at various workstations. Inside another room, just on the other
side of a glass wall was two black chairs with equipment around them.
Another station was present in the corner of that room, with a small
video screen showing the victim.

Roy Daniels was seated at his computer at home; various black
suited men were setting up equipment around him as they prepared for
the transfer. Jackson entered the room and walked up to his
workstation, sitting down and booting up the equipment he worked with
as he did.

"Davis, you're running point on this one, Lita is your second,"
said Carrot calmly.

"What?" said the black woman in shock as she grabbed Carrot by his
shoulder and pulled him around. "I'm the more experienced here!"

"And I haven't forgotten how you almost got yourself killed last
time. You're too careless to run point, Lita."

The woman lowered her gaze and cursed under her breath.

Davis nodded, a confident smirk on his face. "What's the mission
boss?"

"This is a bit more than a standard retrieval, we don't know who
our dreamer is," continued Carrot calmly. "That means that you've got
to do a little detective work. You're going to come into contact with
the residents. Ranma Saotome is the most obvious target, he'll be your
number one suspect. This one knows we're coming, if he remembers at
all."

"So it should just be a pickup," said Davis with a rough snort.

"Don't count on that," said Carrot coldly. "Get yourselves
strapped in, I want you ready for a hostile Dreamer."

"Right," muttered Lita.

Richards entered the room and nodded at Carrot for a moment. The
man growled slightly and returned the gesture before turning to one of
the techs.

"Get me hooked up, I'm going to take the outside line with
Jackson."

++++++++++++

Lita frowned as Davis worked fingers on the side of the chair in
excitement. He turned to look at her and grinned. She was strapped in
beside him, with the neural connectors attached to her body and head.
"Ready for the rush?"

"I hate this part," she muttered.

"Aw, it's just like skydiving without a parachute," said the man
as he winked at her.

"Connecting," said Jackson. "See you kids when you get back."

"Yeeehaaaawww!" screamed Davis, he was abruptly cut off as his
body went limp.

Lita merely clutched the sides of her chair tensely and then
relaxed.

++++++++++++

"I take it Davis was your call," said Richards flatly. It wasn't
really a question.

"He's green, and he talks a lot, but he's also careful," said the
man in reply. "He's also the only local I could get on this much
notice. Stanton and Carlson are on dives right now. It'd take two days
to get them here after they've cleared."

"Carrot, we're hot," said Jackson calmly.

"Right, Lita, what have you got?" said Carrot as he moved over to
an empty workstation and flicked a switch.

+++++++++++++

"Tokyo, looks like eighties," said Lita as she glanced around at
her surroundings.

"We're in a residential area," agreed Davis. He was looking up at
the gates of the Tendo Dojo. "All the signs are in English though."

"That's normal," said Lita with a small shrug. "You should have
been there that time Carrot and I dove in and everything was in
Klingon."

"The Dojo?" asked Carrot.

"Right in front of us," said Lita.

"Check Ranma Saotome, he should be inside. He could be our man,
and for gods sake, don't go in shooting."

Lita frowned and put her blaster back in its holster.

"This is an investigation, not an invasion, Lita," said Carrot
calmly with a slight chuckle.

"Man, you know her too well," commented Daniels as he watched the
scene in wonder.

Lita walked up to the door and knocked, a sour frown on her face.
"Shut up."

"Hello?" said the young woman who opened the door. Her eyes went
wide as she saw the two uniformed youths at the door. "Oh my!"

"Hello, is there a Ranma Saotome here?" asked Lita calmly.

"May I ask why?" said the girl nervously. She backed away from
them slowly.

"We need to ask him a few questions regarding a missing person,"
said Lita with a small smile.

"Don't worry Ma'am, he's not in any trouble," said Davis with a
much more natural looking grin.

"He's in the Dojo, please come inside, I'll get him for you," said
the girl with a slightly reassured look on her face.

+++++++++++

"Nice place," commented Davis as he glanced around at the room for
a moment.

"Yup," agreed Lita with a small frown.

"Keep your weapon holstered Lita, we don't know if it's him or
not. He's just very likely," said Carrot from her wrist computer.

The woman growled under her breath and took her hand away from her
side.

Davis chuckled at this and shook his head.

A young girl walked down the stairs and frowned at the two people
sitting at the table. "Who are you?" She had short black hair, and
what appeared to be a permanent scowl on her face.

Both of the newcomers looked up at her. "We're here to see Ranma
Saotome," said Daniels cheerfully.

"Akane Tendo," said Carrot tensely. "North American dub voice."

"Who was that?" said the girl in confusion as she glanced around
for a moment.

"My partner," said Lita calmly. She stood up and approached the
girl, looking her up and down for a moment.

"Great, what did that baka do now?" snapped Akane as she glared at
the shields on their uniforms angrily.

"He's not in any trouble, we're looking for someone," said Lita
coolly.

"Hey, you wanted to see me?" said Ranma as he walked into the room
almost casually. "Cops?" He froze and blinked, "What did that old man
do now?"

"We don't care," said Lita as she turned to face him. "Does the
name Roy Daniels sound familiar to you?"

"No, should it?" muttered the boy in surprise. He reached up and
flicked his pigtail for a moment. Lita saw the motion and blinked in
surprise, Carrot often performed the same motion when he was tense.

"He may be using an alias, has anyone shown up recently? Possibly
a gajin, or a new martial artist in the area?" said Davis as he
watched the pair closely.

"Not that we know of," said Akane as she glanced at them and
folded her arms uncomfortably. "Does that name sound familiar to you
Carrot?"

Lita looked at the girl in shock. "It's her!" She snapped her arm
down and pulled the weapon from her side, blasting Akane Tendo dead in
her chest.

"Akane!" screamed the pigtailed boy. He rushed forward, pushing
Davis aside easily.

"Shit!" screamed the man as he pulled his blaster from his side.

The young girl was standing with a shocked look on her face, her
hands on her chest. "What? She missed?" She turned her head and looked
back at the stairwell. Embedded just behind her in the wall, was a
glowing green spike of some kind.

The enraged boy threw Lita to the ground, his arms slamming into
her chest hundreds of times. The blaster was sent skittering across
the ground as she was thrown onto her back roughly. Ranma screamed
with rage as he pummeled her.

"Don't move," said a voice from behind him. A low humming sounded
as something pressed behind the back of his head. "The dart gun might
not be able to hurt you, but the disrupter will blow your body into
electrons."

Ranma froze with his arm cocked back and tensed his body.

"Don't, you're fast, but not that fast," said Davis calmly. "If
you move an inch closer to me girl, I'll blast him."

Akane froze, she had been slowly moving closer to the scene.

"Now you're going to pay attention. My friend here didn't miss
you. That dart was designed for a certain kind of person. It passed
right through your body."

"What?" said Akane dumbly.

"Get off her, slowly and if you tense your body so much as a
little, I'll just blow you off of her."

Lita rolled away, clutching her chest painfully. She crawled over
and picked up the tagger from the ground. Slowly she staggered to her
feet and aimed it at the boy. "You then." She fired a single round
into his chest, and the television screen behind him shattered as the
green dart slammed into it, leaving the boy unharmed.

"Shit! Are you trying to tag me?" snapped Davis angrily as he
jumped aside.

Ranma spun around, grabbing the man by his arm and pushing his
hand against his throat at the same time.

"Carrot!" cried Akane in alarm.

Davis dropped his blaster to the ground and screamed painfully as
his arm was forcefully overextended.

"What the hell was that?" snapped Ranma angrily.

"It's a tagger," said Carrot's voice over the room. It was dead
calm, and had a slight wavering in it. "Oh god, this isn't possible."

"Who's there?" snapped Ranma, he glanced around searching for the
third opponent.

"Lita, drop your weapon and kick it over to him," said Carrot
calmly.

"What?" snapped the woman angrily as she backed away slowly.

"Do it," snapped Carrot. "They won't hurt you."

"How do you know?" snapped Lita in frustration.

"Trust me damn it!" snapped Carrot. "The Dreamer isn't in the
room."

The woman tossed the tagger onto the floor at Ranma's feet.
"There."

"Saotome, let him go, he won't attack," said Carrot calmly.

"That thing on your arm?" muttered Ranma in confusion as he
relaxed the pressure against Davis's arm.

"That's right, now sit down," said Carrot reassuringly. "We've got
a lot to talk about."

"Like what?" said Ranma angrily.

"Like why Akane just called you, Carrot?" said the voice calmly.

"I dunno, I just like the name I guess," said Ranma dumbly. "What
the heck has that got to do with anything?"

"Lita, prepare for retrieval," said Carrot over the intercom.

"What?" said the woman in shock.

The other end of the line was only silence.

+++++++++

"What the fuck are you doing?" said Richards as he walked over to
Carrot's side as he stood up from his station.

"I'm getting them the hell out of there," said Carrot calmly as he
walked over and leaned in over one of the technicians. "Pull them out,
now."

"What?" said Richards in shock.

"I want his parents here in ten minutes. Let's go people," he
called across the room as he ignored the old man.

"What the hell do you think you're doing?" snapped the old man as
he grabbed him by his shoulder.

"This was a trap, it was designed for me," said Carrot calmly.
"This dream is the one I had, I'm almost sure of it. The little
bastard tried to recreate my trip."

"What?" said Richards in shock as he released him.

"How long?" said Carrot as he walked up to the glass and peered at
the sleeping forms of his two friends.

The intercom suddenly flared with life. "Get us the fuck out of
here!" screamed Lita.

"What? What's going on?" said Richards in shock.

"Interference!" cried one of the techs. "Something's messing with
our signal!"

"That's not possible!" retorted another tech from nearby.

The sound of the blaster being fired was broken apart by static.
Carrot looked on in horror as the men worked desperately.

"We're losing the signal!"

"Come and get them, I'll make room," said a heavily distorted
voice on the other end of the line.

"No! Pull them out now!" said Carrot as he rushed over to one of
the consoles.

Daniels jumped upright on his seat, his eyes wide open as he
screamed in pain. Blood shot out from his chest in a geyser, soaking
the cowering Jackson across the room from him.

Carrot's face went hard, the other end of the line was now nothing
but static. "Take the parents into custody, forcefully if you have
too."

"What?" said Richards coldly, anger burned on his features as he
glared at Carrot.

"This is a trap, and something that couldn't have been done on the
inside alone. There's an outside problem as well. Someone had to take
control of our operations to cut us off like that. Find out who, and
where."

"For gods sake, somebody get Jackson out of there before he wets
the floor," snapped Richards as he turned his head towards the glass.
"What are you all looking at? Get to work!"

Carrot was already moving towards the glass doors. He grasped the
handle and clenched his fist, closing his eyes and steeling himself as
he opened the door and walked over to Lita, and the remains of
Daniels. There were already several paramedics rushing into the room
behind him. He ignored them and picked up Lita's hand gently, she
seemed so peaceful sleeping there. His back was deliberately turned on
Daniels body, he forced away the sounds of the men working hopelessly
to bring him back. He gently brushed his partner's face with his hand,
and turned away. His face became hard in an instant, and a cold fire
burned in his eyes as he left the room and started walking briskly
down the hallway.

There would be hell to pay, but first he had a job to do.

+++++++++++

TBC...