Author's Note: insert standard disclaimer, Thanks Maria, and sorry about the quotes from the tape. They worked very well in the text when I could simply tab them it, but fanfiction dot net will not let me do that. So I did my best. It is a little awkward, but hopefully it is clear. I centered that text, and delimited them. Best I could do. When I am done with this story I will send a Word file with everything, including nice smooth tabbed quotes to anyone who asks.
Scene 7 Old Busted, New Breaking.
Max unknowingly turned the corner around a cubical wall to deliver the flash drive, only to find Logan Cale.
"Logan!" Max blurted.
"Hey Max," Logan tried to smile for her, but it didn't reach his eyes.
Max wanted nothing more than to soothe the pain that seemed to have etched interminable lines in his forehead; or better still, kiss it and make it all better. If only he would allow her. "What are you doing out of bed?"
"Emergency. Someone tried to kill me. Actually someone hired someone to try and kill me; and a lot of people seem intent on helping cover it up." Logan glared at her almost accusingly.
Max presumed that no one had the heart to tell Logan what was going on. She shook her head slowly in denial. The hurt at the implication that she might work against him was evident on her face. She wished she could think of something smart-ass to say, but her cursed heat cycles always interfered with proper thinking. Probably by design, if I could think, I wouldn't … she broke off that painful line of thought, only to jump to one just as depressing. How could I have forgotten I was in heat? Must be just starting? Could it have been a false heat? I've heard of false pregnancies.
Logan held out his hand.
Max understood the unspoken command, and handed him the flash drive.
"Thank you," Logan said flatly. He turned and left Max standing there trying to think of any way to spare him more pain, but nothing came, not even to her genetically enhanced mind.
She tucked her ID badge inside of her shirt and her hat in her courier pouch. Matt Sung's desk was clearly labeled. She took a seat in the chair she concluded was for witnesses and waited for Logan. Everyone else assumes I'm Logan's …girlfriend? toy? pet? … or worse? Why does that even bother me? 'Cause you wish you were, but you aren't? No! That's just heat. It's not real. Are you sure? …. No.
Max let out a deep sigh and focused her concentration on making out the conversation in the Chief's office over all the rest of the background noise. She looked harmless and unhappy enough to be a victim, and nobody there really wanted to deal with her.
"Boss, this is Logan Cale. He is a … friend of mine," Matt Sung introduced Logan to his boss.
Pause then friend, that usually means source. Wonder what a rich boy like him could be into? Clemente was too experienced a detective to let any of his suspicions show, and Logan was too exhausted to infer them.
"Pleased to meet you," Clemente said as he held out his hand.
Logan took the offered hand.
"Logan, this is Detective Clemente. He's in charge of this sector and is going to be in charge of this investigation."
"Then why don't we watch this." Logan held up the small flash drive. "It was just delivered and I have every reason to believe it is very informative."
Detective Clemente smiled, nodded, and accepted the drive. He loved it when things fell neatly into place. Most crimes that were ever solved these days were solved within 24 hours. He only had a few detectives that actually could crack an older case and Matt Sung was one of them. This one was looking very good.
Max was so intent on listening, inadvertently appearing so distraught that no one wanted to deal with her, that she did not see the couple approach the chief's office. She was not aware of them at all, until they knocked on the door.
Max winced at the sound, loudly obscuring what she was straining to decipher. The wince convinced the sympathetic young intern that it would be better to wait until Detective Sung got out of his meeting with the chief before approaching the distressed young woman.
Clemente was almost ready to view the video file that Kyle had subtly named 'WatchMeFirst.mov' when there was a knock on the door. He gestured to Matt to open it. He did, and Logan got quite a surprise.
"Bennett?" he asked. He would later blame it on his exhaustion. He may not like his family, but he wasn't so estranged that he didn't even recognize them.
"Hello Logan. Are you alright?" Bennett asked.
"Yeah, I'm OK. Didn't get much sleep last night, but other than that, I'm fine." Last three nights actually but don't want to explain that.
"I just finished checking on the other local Cales. They are fine, but I alerted them to possible danger. Do we have any clues at all as to who may have been behind this? Do we know if they …" The woman beside Bennett was clearly upset. Talking rapidly until Clemente interrupted her.
"Music, have a seat," he told her.
It was Matt that took the initiative to introduce her. "Logan, this is Marianne Music. She is a detective here at the precinct, fourth generation in the force. Marianne, this is Logan Cale." Matt wisely decided not to tell either of the two newcomers anything more about Logan.
"Pleased to meet you." Logan nodded politely. It seemed like the least he could do, and the most he was up to right now. "Bennett, what are you doing here?"
"I think I'm in protective custody." He stammered. Marianne gently guided him to a chair and Logan noticed a very nice, very sparkly ring on the third finger of her left hand.
"You're not in protective custody … yet, but that's not a bad idea. At least until we find out who was behind the attempt." Marianne assured him in a soothing voice. She smiled tenderly at Bennett then straightened and got back to work. "Why aren't any of the suspects here? Have they been questioned? Why have" The fact that she was asking questions more rapidly than anyone could possibly have answered them clued even a weary Logan into the fact that she was emotionally and personally involved in this situation. Well, that and the ring.
"Music!" Clemente interrupted her tirade. "The suspects are at the hospital. One is going to be released today and escorted directly here. One is still in surgery and may not make it. The other two are going to be moved to the prison ward of Harbor Lights when they are stable."
That bit of information gave Marianne pause. "What happened?"
"Well, the story I have so far," Clemente picked up a paper from his desk and made a show of reading it for effect before he continued dryly, "is that the three suspects that entered the penthouse shortly after 3 am. They became disoriented during a brief brownout that affected no other apartments, tripped and suffered, respectively; a concussion, dislocated shoulder, and a broken nose; multiple compound fractures of the right arm, upper AND lower, and complete shattering of both knees which he may or may not ever be able to use again; and last, but still in surgery, seven fractured ribs and more ruptured internal organs than I can pronounce. I don't even want to know what an avulsion is." Clemente finished with a flourish. From the reaction of Bennett and Marianne, this was all news, and a shock, to both of them.
In the awkward silence that followed Logan lamely volunteered. "Well, I'm sure everyone else in the building just slept through the brown out. … it was under a minute. … I could get you the exact length of time from my Uninterruptible Power Supply system at home."
"How could they have suffered all that just from trip…" Bennett trailed off as he realized that everyone else was staring at him. It wasn't that Bennett was stupid, far from it actually, it is just that he was completely out of his depth.
"Maybe there'll be something on the tape," Logan suggested then looked at Clemente expectantly.
Clemente noted the Logan Cale was a man used to being in charge and then obligingly hit play. There was a brief introduction by Kyle, and then it cut directly to the surveillance video.
"Hey, Matt. Everything worked like a charm. This is pretty clear, horrible, but clear. If you have any ideas on how to keep Logan from finding out it was his own family that hired the hit, I'm open."
Bennett actually gasped. Marianne's jaw dropped a bit, but she made no sound.
Logan stiffened. I guess that explains why Kyle asked Eyes-Only to keep this information from me. I should have known. Ironic.
The detectives noted the shock, surprise and lack thereof respectively, and then proceeded to pay very close attention to find out who they needed to arrest.
Max cringed, completely helpless to protect the man she loved from the pain she knew he was about to suffer.
"Good morning, son. I'm glad you're well. I've received the most disturbing reports about your brothers."
"And I thought you might be upset."
"You are damn right I am upset! What the hell were you thinking?"
"That they are useless! Bennett was a damn bleeding heart and he's dating that …that…"
"Adam?" Bennett stammered in disbelief. Marianne took his hand, an obvious gesture of comfort.
Logan wondered where Max was. He'd probably been grumpy enough to drive her away for days. She was out running around when she wasn't feeling well, for him, and he was grumpy with her. Belatedly, he wondered if she was alright.
"Is. Bennett is fine."
"They are all fine. The security at Logan's apartment complex managed to capture your cheap thugs. Damn, Adam, how could you have been so stupid? I assumed that it was either you or Joseph that hired them. From your comments it was you. You think they won't tell the police that?"
"I didn't use my real name. I paid them the deposit in cash."
"Can they identify what you look like?"
"How did I sire such a fool? I'm tempted to order blood tests!"
Bennett looked completely heartbroken. "Dad? Adam hired someone to kill me and your first concern is he might get caught?" he whispered.
"Now, can I not like your family?" Marianne asked.
Bennett only nodded.
Logan couldn't bring himself to say anything at all.
"I thought the risk of them being able to identify me would be less than bringing in another person."
"Fool. You think I don't have people that I can trust?"
"I didn't think you would have wanted anything to do with this."
"You should have come to me. This was pointless and foolish. How dare you even consider harming your brothers? Have you no loyalty? No allegiance? No damn sense?"
"If Logan isn't dead before next year he is going to get half of everything! Just because he is the only surviving child of his father! He doesn't do anything for the company! He never has! He doesn't deserve anything! Not even what he is getting now!"
"Logan does deserve what he is getting now. He's a Cale."
Logan foolishly felt a glimmer of hope, for a second. It only made the next blow more crushing.
"The amount that he is getting is a pittance compared to what is at stake. Logan doesn't even know about the will, and he never had to. You said it yourself; he never has anything to do with the corporation or the trust fund. He trusts me to handle all of that, you fool. It is the investigation that your ridiculous attempted murder is going to trigger that might bring the will out into the open."
"The administrator of the estate would have informed him."
"No, actually, I wouldn't have." Jonas glared at Adam until it sunk in.
"Oh. So now what?"
"Go to jail, go directly to jail, do not collect squat!" Sung muttered angrily.
Bennett looked close to tears.
Logan's expression remained stoic and grim.
Clemente just took notes furiously. Paper for the notes about what was on the tape and mental notes about Logan Cale, the strength he displayed, the allegiance he inspired, the resources that were deployed for his benefit and the speed at which those resources were deployed. The subtleties here were far more intriguing than the now solved attempted homicide case.
"I'll see if I can shut down the investigation. If Logan finds out about the will then we will have to kill him or go broke just trying to cover up this little fiasco of yours. From now on - you come through me, and if you ever try to harm any of your brothers again I will punish you. Remember, I do have people I can trust. It's amazing what you can survive."
" … oh, god …," Bennett whispered. Marianne took him in her arms and held him.
Logan took very slow and deliberate breaths, reaching back to techniques Bling had shown him to deal with the pain right after his injury. They worked.
"That isn't enough to get a conviction against Jonas Cale with the kind of lawyer he could hire," Clemente informed his people.
"Logan, what is Kyle's number?" Matt asked him.
"2-0-6-5-5-5-0-1-3-5-7-6-3-3," Logan rattles off in a monotone.
Matt dials the number. Clemente hits the speaker-phone button. Matt greets Kyle appropriately, "Hey there, Kyle. It's Matt."
"Matt! Great! I have been trying to get hold of you. You get the flash drive?"
"Yeah, thanks," Matt answers.
"Jonas called some dude named Vincent Cassel in Precinct 13. He agreed to shut down the investigation for him. Normally, I could beam the file to Logan, but we're trying to keep him out of this one."
"Too late," Matt replied.
"Damn. Is he OK?" Kyle asked.
Matt watched Logan stoically take his laptop out of the bag hanging on the back of his wheelchair. "He will be. Send the file."
"Tell Logan I'm sorry and if there is anything I, or anyone, can do just let me know. He should have the file any second now."
"Thanks, Kyle. We'll keep in touch."
Logan is hitting keys and opening and closing programs faster than anyone can follow. He plays the file incriminating Vincent Cassel and Jonas Cale, and then puts it on a secure digital card and gives it to Matt.
"How are you getting these files?" Marianne asked. The fact that a detective was just now asking was more evidence of how distressed she was by this case; how too-close-to-home it really was.
"The first set was delivered by courier. Kyle e-mailed me the last one," Logan replied.
The other two detectives just stared at her. Marianne took the hint and dropped the subject, for now.
Logan made a valiant effort to change the subject. "So Bennett, I take it you know Marianne?"
Bennett smiled and looked up at her lovingly. "Yeah, very well."
"Actually according to the information we found in the perpetrators vehicle, I am the reason that there were four of them, instead of just two. They knew I was likely to be with Bennett." Marianne left the 'at 3 am' part unspoken.
Bennett beamed at her. "I've got a very formidable woman."
If Logan could have laughed at that point, he would have. Matt almost did.
Max wished Logan would have said he did too, then cursed herself for being so … unreasonable.
Bling returned from making a few phone calls that he did not want anyone to overhear. He noticed Max sitting at Matt's desk. She looked absolutely miserable, but he wasn't certain if it was genuine of for the benefit of those she did not want to approach her. He obtained two cups of coffee and joined her.
"Hey," he said. Bling held out one of the cups.
"Kyle tell you?" Max asked in a listless monotone that was very uncharacteristic for her.
"It was his family?" Bling guessed.
Max nodded miserably but made no motion towards the cup. Bling correctly concluded she genuinely was as upset as she appeared.
"Does Logan know yet?" Bling asked, even though he already knew the answer.
Max nodded. "His cousin Adam set up the hit. His uncle Jonas didn't know about it, but is going to try and cover it up and possibly finish the job."
Bling waved the cup of coffee under her nose until she took it.
"Damn." This was an entirely different kind of blow than those that he had been helping Logan overcome this past year, and Bling didn't know how to help him over this one. Bling knew Logan was strong, but still, every man had his limits and his weaknesses. They sat in silence for several minutes both trying unsuccessfully to think of some way to help Logan.
"I don't know how to help him. He's hurting, and I don't know how to help." Max was as upset as Bling had ever seen her. "I'd do anything for him, but there isn't a tactical solution for this."
Actually that's the best idea so far. If you can't distract Logan, nothing will. "Tell him that. Just exactly the way you told me. Nothing is going to eliminate the pain of knowing his blood relations would have him killed for money, but at least he will know that he has other people in the world that care about him. Adopted families are the only kind that a lot of people have and sometimes the only kind that are any good."
Max nodded, tried to smile and drank.
Clemente resisted the urge to let out a low whistle as he looked over the rest of the files on the flash drive. "Looks like we've got everything nicely gift wrapped. I'll call the DA and tell them to get to work. Music, get with Internal Affairs and set up on Cassel; I want the case against him air-tight. Sung, go see if you can find a judge that will quietly issue warrants for the arrest of Adam and Jonas. Bennett, I think you're safe now; you can go home. Logan, you may still have someone after you. Would you like us to place you in protective custody until we get this sorted out?"
"No," Logan replied flatly, his attention seemingly never leaving his computer. "I think my security is adequate. It's probably already been increased." He quickly routed an e-mail through his secure server to Judge Albert Hawthorn, who has been a member of the Informant Net since before it was known as the Informant Net, letting him know to expect a request for a warrant from Detective Matt Sung and that Matt can be trusted. Then he sent a quick text message to Matt's cell phone notifying him of which judge will be amiable to his unusual request.
"I'm sure it is." Clemente smiled, even he could recognize the understatement. "Okay, people, get to work! What are you waiting for?"
Marianne gave Bennett a quick hug and then dashed off to work.
Bennett told Logan, "I'm so sorry. I …" and leaves without looking back, thanking Logan for the fact that his security probably saved his life or even realizing that he owed his life to his cousin.
Sung hesitated, wanting to make sure Logan was all right. When he received his text message, he really hoped it meant that Logan would be. He immediately went to his desk, and was relieved to see Max and Bling waiting there. He trusted them to look after Logan.
Logan put away his laptop and left Clemente's office with a polite nod.
Clemente shut and locked his office door. It took him less than ten minutes to pull up the date that Logan Cale was injured and the fact that he was shot; and then correlate that to date of the ambush of the witness against Edgar Sonrisa in the Cortodiazapine mess. Everyone saw that dramatic footage with two men killed and one critically wounded. Everybody knew that it was Eyes-Only that had gone after Edgar Sonrisa in the first place. That would explain everything. Another mystery solved. This was his day. He knew which of his detectives could tap the power of Eyes-Only and his contact within the Informant Net, but he didn't know anything officially in the event some damn fool decided to go after Eyes Only. It was perfect; and definitely worth letting a few lame stories involving beaten down perpetrators slide. If he didn't know for certain that it was rigged, he'd have purchased a lottery ticket today.
Clemente wasn't surprised when Matt Sung miraculously managed to get the arrest warrants is just under an hour.
… to be continued.