Numb3rs: Critical Identity
Disclaimer – I don't own them, I just borrowed them. Numb3rs and its characters are the property of those that created them. No copyright infringement intended. No financial reward gained. All real organisations are used in a fictional sense. Original characters and the storyline are mine however.
What if it was Don that lost his memory whilst on the job?
The noise was deafening, two loud gunshots just far enough apart in time to be discerned as two distinct shots. But only just. There was pain and then nothing.
The ground was cold and hard. That was the first thing he was aware of. Next it was that he was lying on his back and the ceiling was tastefully decorated with a recess containing neon lighting in a soothing blue colour. Finally it was the splitting headache that radiated from the left side of his head. He struggled up to a seated position as his left hand rose to his head. There was a scraping noise and he realised that he had something in his right hand.
He raised his right hand once he was sure of his balance and looked with a degree of shock at what he held. It was a small semi-automatic pistol. He carefully glanced at the barrel and saw that it had recently been fired. At this point a dark shadow on his periphery drew his attention. He turned and froze.
The shadow was a man lying sprawled on his back, head turned away. There was a pistol in the man's right hand, a similar style to the one he held with squared off edges and matte black colouring, but larger. The other man wasn't moving. He crawled over to check and the bullet hole in the middle of the man's forehead settled that question. The bright red blood that still ran from the wound was in stark contrast to the pale face and dark brown hair. He was very much dead.
And he was also FBI. The Kevlar vest the dead man wore had the letters 'FBI' stencilled in white on the front. A metal badge rested on the agent's belt.
The injured man sat back on his heels and had to quickly brace himself with his left hand as he experienced momentary dizziness. His hand started to slip and he managed to rebalance himself before he fell. The reason his hand slid became all too clear, his hand was slick with blood from his head. He carefully ducked his head raising his arm at the same time and wiped the side of his head with his shirt sleeve. The world spun but he had been prepared for that.
Okay, so something had happened to him causing him to have this headache and be bleeding. Had he been shot? He looked back over at the dead agent and the gun the man still held. It also had a slight grey discolouration around the muzzle indicating that it too had been recently fired.
So, two and two make four, right? By his addition the FBI agent had shot at him and he had shot the FBI agent. He had survived, the agent hadn't. This was not good. Shooting an FBI agent usually landed one in jail for life if lucky or death row if unlucky. The thing was he had no memory of actually shooting the man, nor did he have a clue as to why he would have done such a thing.
That wasn't the worst of it. His left hand came back up to protectively cup the side of his pounding head as his vision threatened to grey out. He realised that he had no idea who he was. He couldn't remember anything from before he woke up on the cold tiles.
Looking around for a clue as to where he was he recognised that it was a shopping mall. It also appeared as if it had been abandoned in a hurry, the stores were all open but there were no people around. The music piped through speakers in the ceiling was unnaturally loud without the crowd noise to dull it down. There were no signs that he could see to enlighten him as to where the mall was. He didn't even know what city or town he was in. That was something he would have to find out.
Maybe it would help him understand what had happened, how he came to be a cop killer. He just knew that he didn't feel like a cop killer, for some reason he couldn't see himself doing such a thing. His logic was flawed however and he knew that he had no basis on which to make that claim for he clearly had killed the agent. For all he knew he was a hard core offender that considered murdering a cop as no big deal.
He was getting constant dizzy spells and it was a struggle to stay upright but he could hardly stay here and wait for the agent's backup to arrive. That was a fast track to jail. He had to go. Forcing himself to his feet he looked down seeing that he was wearing dark jeans and a black t-shirt. Patting at his pockets he found them empty, no ID. He should have realised it wouldn't be that simple. What about the dead agent? Had he perhaps taken his ID before they'd reached their standoff? Bending he started to reach for the dead man's pockets when sudden calls alerted him that he was about to have company.
"Don!" A female voice called again from around a corner. She sounded close.
There were sounds of at least two people running towards his position. Time to move. Somehow he suspected hanging around and telling whoever approached that he didn't remember what happened wouldn't work well for him, especially not with a recently fired gun in his possession. And at this point in time he wasn't prepared to give it up and surrender his only protection either.
The surge of adrenalin gave him much needed strength, pity it didn't do too much for his balance. He headed away from the body and darted into the adjacent store which was located on the corner of another hall, it would have a second exit on the other side. Assured of an escape route he stopped, hiding himself behind a rack of clothing. Maybe he could learn something by watching what happened when the dead agent was found. He peered from concealment as a man and a woman ran up to the body.
They were both wearing black Kevlar vests with 'FBI' emblazoned across the front and were carrying handguns. They skidded to a halt staring at the body before the woman knelt and checked for a pulse. The fugitive thought that was a rather redundant thing to do, it should be obvious to her that she wouldn't find one, but figured that they probably had to make sure, especially as the dead man was one of their own. The man remained standing, scanning the surrounding area. The fugitive quashed the instinctive reaction to move; knowing that to have done so would have drawn attention to him. He remained frozen in place watching as the female agent shook her head at the lack of a pulse before taking the dead man's weapon.
"Don killed him?" The male agent asked.
"That's what it looks like."
"What's with the vest? And where is Don?"
The fugitive felt that they were talking about him, that he was this 'Don'. The name meant nothing. He also thought that their reaction to their dead comrade was a bit off, they didn't seem particularly upset. Perhaps the dead agent hadn't been liked much. In another move that confused him, they then put away their own guns. They knew he was in the wind, why holster their weapons?
"I don't know. Look." She pointed at some crimson blotches on the tiles a short distance away. She moved over to kneel beside them, comparing the position of the blood stains to the body.
"He's been hit. How many shots did you hear?"
"Two, I think." She frowned. "They were so close."
The male agent nodded his agreement and peered around. "I can't see a trail. You think he's gone looking for us?"
"I don't know. I would have thought he'd wait with the body. He knew we weren't far away." She sounded puzzled.
"We have to find him."
"Call Colby." The woman started snapping out orders. "Have him call the EMTs and guard the body. Alert everyone to keep an eye out for Don. Tell LAPD to keep the perimeter under surveillance and start a sweep through the mall. I'll go this way, you take that hall."
The fugitive couldn't help but shrink back slightly as she pointed in his direction. As she headed down the main hall past the store entrance he adjusted his position to keep the hanging clothing between them. He glanced back to see that the male agent had stood and was facing away, speaking rapidly into a cell phone, presumably to this 'Colby'. He waited a little longer, wanting a bit more time and space between him and the female agent before he attempted to make good his escape. Where he went after that was completely unknown but for now he was going to have to head down the hall that the male agent had been assigned. It was a matter of timing.
As he waited he heard the woman calling out, repeating the name 'Don' several times as she moved away. The male agent suddenly turned his head in reaction to a sound from back in the direction they had come from, presumably someone coming to guard the body. The agent would be starting his search soon. The fugitive started backing away, heading for the other exit from the store. Concentrating on watching the agent he didn't watch where he was heading and failed to see the rack of belts behind him. As he hit it the metal frame skittered across the floor, the belt buckles jangling noisily. The male agent reacted immediately, spinning and reaching for the weapon holstered at his waist. The fugitive didn't wait, sprinting out from cover, dodging past racks of clothes and out the far side of the store.
"Don!" The male agent yelled. "Don, stop!"
I don't think so, the fugitive thought as he pounded down the hall. He heard the footfalls of the other agent in pursuit. Increasing his speed, and trying desperately to maintain his footing as the world around him spun and tilted in varying and random directions, he continued running. He made it around another corner before stumbling and bouncing off the far wall. His flight halted for a moment and he found himself in another hall.
"Don!" The male agent called out, he was far too close.
"Don?" The female agent yelled in response.
From her call he could tell that she was fast approaching from another section of the mall, the branching halls making it possible for her to loop her way back from a different direction. They couldn't have boxed him in better if they had tried. The fugitive looked around him trying to find a way out, a fire exit, anything. No such luck. He took the only option open to him, a large sporting goods store. He hoped desperately that there was a back exit, the stores on either side made it clear there was no side exit.
He zig-zagged through the store crossing from aisle to aisle, trying to provide himself with as much cover as he could as he made his way to the rear. He reached the door to the store room but when he tried to turn the handle it refused to budge, it was locked. He was trapped.
He ducked down, scuttling sideways. The male agent was in the store and by the sounds of it he was in the next aisle.
"Don, come on man what are you doing?"
The agent moved closer, carefully but openly. The fugitive peered through a display stand watching as the man walked past. He started to make his way towards the front of the store when the agent abruptly turned and backtracked. The fugitive was still hidden for the moment but would soon be spotted. He raised his gun and sighted through the merchandise on the agent's head. Curling his finger onto the trigger he followed the agent's movement as the man approached. Another second or two and he would have a clear shot as the agent would be passing within a few feet.
At the last minute he lowered his aim, swapping the gun to his left hand. He just couldn't do it. Maybe he really was a hardened criminal but right at the moment he wasn't, he was confused and wanted out but didn't want to kill anyone if he could avoid it. If he had to then that was another story. But for now there was possibly an opportunity here that he could make use of. The agent cleared the end of the rack and came face to face with his quarry. The fugitive was ready, right fist cocked and already in motion. With a single blow he knocked the African-American agent sprawling, the man's gun clattering to the floor as he fell momentarily stunned.