Aboard the Chinese freighter, drugged and too well aware that Death waits patiently for him in a small vial while the stream of questions pulls at him, Colby Granger dreams of rescue.
It's Don who bursts into the cabin first, bellowing "FBI! Drop your weapons!" and within seconds everyone is in standard-issue handcuffs. They handcuff Colby, too, before they take him out of the chair. He's the focus of their angry eyes, not Carter, not the spy. Even Megan looks like she'd kind of like to shoot him. He's betrayed them, betrayed their trust, and it doesn't much matter that he was under orders. They won't forgive him.
David says it, says "You were never one of us, Granger, and you never will be."
He's okay with that, though, because he deserves it, and they came for him anyway, and he's not alone after all--
Colby blinks. Hallucinations, he remembers, not real. Of course not. He knows it won't happen.
Even with the drug burning in his blood, filling his mind with smoke, he can't shake the sharp awareness of how utterly alone he is. Might be his team would believe him, in the end--'his team,' the FBI team he'd grown to love being a part of, the team that felt like family, the team he's betrayed. Might be, even though Kirkland is dead, his only backup, his only proof.
But he'd done too well at escaping, they don't know where he is, and even if they did they would never catch up. He is alone with the drugs, alone with Carter, alone with his interrogator, alone with himself. He isn't sure which of the four is worse company.
When his mind drifts, though, he dreams of rescue.
It's Don who bursts into the cabin first, bellowing "FBI! Drop your weapons!" but the Chinese were waiting for them, and there are no accusatory looks in his direction because all is gunfire and blood, and his team will look at nothing ever again--
Colby blinks. It's not real. He's alone, which means, at least, that his team is safe. He'd almost forgotten to be grateful for that.
"Do they know my name?" his interrogator demands again.
Kirkland is standing just behind the tray of drugs, and he's smiling. Sympathy, encouragement. The agent knows perfectly well how Colby feels. Kirkland died without giving anything away--well, anything but his cell phone, which means Colby is dead, but he can't blame him for that, really. "Just wait," Kirkland tells him. Blood trickles out of his mouth as he talks, which is sort of distracting. "It won't be much longer." He looks at the last vial on the tray.
He doesn't think he could answer the questions now even if he'd wanted to. He is lost inside himself, but the questions stir no memory of their answers. Had he ever known the answers?
Does it matter?
A cabinet swings silently open behind the Chinese agent, and it's David, rolling out with his gun raised. He fires at the guards, at Carter, and they all go down before they notice the intruder. The man who's so fond of drugs goes down by his own needle, unwilling to face capture, which is fine by Colby. He's staring incredulously at David, who raises his eyebrows and answers the silent question, "Charlie, of course. How else?"
Of course--there's Charlie now, writing equations all over the wall in black marker.
Colby gasps, and blinks, and he can still see Charlie and his numbers--
"It's not real," Charlie assures him, with an absent glance over his shoulder as the marker squeaks. Smells like a permanent marker, a new one.
Carter's Chinese contact is saying something, which Colby doesn't pay much attention to. Behind the man, Kirkland shakes his head. "No one's coming to help you this time, Granger," he says wearily, and wipes the blood from his mouth. "Just me. I'm sorry I got you into this. But it won't be much longer."
Looking as defensive as though someone's just challenged his math, Charlie turns from the wall, pointing his marker at Kirkland as though it's some sort of weapon. "You can't help him. But Colby called me." The mathematician turns a worried look at Colby. "You know I can get you help," he adds. "Just hold on."
He called Charlie, and so, even though he knows it won't happen, he dreams of rescue.
They leave him alone for a minute, because what can he do, drugged and tied to a chair? Before the echo of the door fades, there's Megan, slipping in from the shadows who-knows-how, and she smiles at him, the smile she gives a friend, the one he doesn't deserve. "Charlie figured everything out," she tells him, "I'll have you out of here in a few minutes, Colby," and her hands on the restraints hurt, but that's okay, because it's worth it to be free--
Colby gasps, and it was his torturer tightening the restraints, but he can still see Megan's smile lingering.
Across the room, Charlie's still scratching away at his equations or formulas or whatever, and it's a good thing he's a hallucination because Colby doesn't think Dwayne's boss would like having his ship all marked up like that. "It's not real," Charlie admits, as Megan lifts her hands helplessly and fades away, "but it will be. Hold on, Colby."
Kirkland just coughs up more blood and looks at Colby, a world-weary, pitying look. He doesn't have to repeat himself. Colby already knows no one is coming.
He's known that before, though.
On the train, tension humming through him like the rhythm of the tracks, he knows how completely alone he is. The kidnapper spotted his backup one by one, cut off his communication, and he knows none of his team followed him onto the train; no one knows where he's going except the person who's probably going to kill him.
And okay, yeah, so he feels a little betrayed that they've left him to manage alone. They didn't have much choice, but it's not like Megan to leave him uncovered, not like David to accept it.
He doesn't have time for that, though. He has to figure out how to save an innocent boy from a kidnapper who wants revenge on the kid's dad.
The train squeals to a halt before he has a chance to catch his breath, much less come up with a workable plan, and he's running again, alone, carrying the ransom toward the position the kidnapper chose, the position none of his friends can possibly know.
But when he gets there his team is already waiting to get him safely out, because it's Charlie, and Charlie does things like that.
On the train, tension humming through him like the rhythm of the tracks, he knows how completely alone he is. Kirkland isn't answering, which means Kirkland is dead or otherwise unable to help him, and Kirkland was his only backup.
He wants nothing more than to be able to call on his team, tell them everything, but he's betrayed them, and they think he's betrayed everything they stand for; they won't help him.
There's no time to think of a plan, he only has a couple of minutes at most while Carter's not listening, and his fingers find Charlie's number all on their own. It's Don he needs to believe him, needs to tell all he knows so that even if he dies there's a chance of pulling something out of this op--he really does hate the thought that all he's been through might be for nothing. But it's Charlie he calls.
He can't possibly explain why.
"You called me," Charlie reminds again, not even looking at him now, writing so fast he might run out of space before much longer. "You trust Don to know what to do--trust me to find you, okay, Colby? Hold on."
It would have been a superstition, except that it had proven true so many times in the last two years. Whenever a case seemed completely hopeless, it was time to call Charlie, whose math would give them whatever they needed to catch the criminal, solve the puzzle, or otherwise save the day.
Had anyone called it 'miraculous,' Charlie would be the first to protest. It was just numbers, and logic, and his own unique brand of genius. To Colby, though, walking into a trap without backup of any sort, and finding instead that the whole team was there to get him out--that had sure felt like a miracle, however Charlie explained it.
There's a siren blaring from outside somewhere, loud and strident, and then a voice: "This is the FBI! Shut down your engines! Prepare to be boarded!" and everyone in the room jerks in reaction, sudden panic--
Colby knows it isn't real.
Colby blinks, and Charlie's gone, all his numbers with him. He wishes that hallucination had hung around a little longer, but now it's just Kirkland, who says, "It's almost over."
He's not sure what he's been telling them, except that it wasn't what they wanted to hear. If he were being perfectly honest, he'd tell them that he has no idea who this guy is, but that he's pretty sure Charlie's figured it out by now somehow, because Charlie does things like that.
No reason to give them the satisfaction, though. Not when he's been lying to his best friends for two years.
Kirkland holds the syringe of potassium chloride, and says, "Good job, Granger. You did your duty, and you can rest now."
It's tempting, an honorable end to the pain that's consumed his last hours. Kirkland knows that, understands how tired Colby is, because Kirkland died like this too.
The needle goes in like a knife to the heart--
Colby closes his eyes. It's not--
But the needle is real--
The darkness rolls over him, suffocating; he sees Kirkland's sorrowful smile, and he knows Kirkland was right, no one is coming to save him this time.
He's known that all along.