"I need back-up! We are under fire. I repeat, we are under fire!" Horatio Caine shouted into the radio of his Hummer. He and Detective Ed O'Neil were pinned down by a gunman in a parking lot near the pier. Horatio looked down at the shards of glass on the floor of the truck. They had been sitting in the Hummer when a bullet shattered the windshield and barely missed them. Dozens of people were screaming and scrambling for cover. They would have made easy targets, but the shooter didn't seem interested in anyone but the two of them. Horatio and O'Neil were ducked down on the driver's side of the Hummer, flinching at every bullet that hit the truck and pavement around them. They were trying to peek over the hood of the vehicle to search for the location of the shooter.
Horatio thought he saw something move on the roof of a building nearby. He motioned to O'Neil to look up in that direction. After verifying that he also saw movement, O'Neil said, "Go. I'll stay here." Horatio nodded and took a deep breath. He dashed across the parking lot in a zigzag pattern as quickly as he could, trying to avoid the bullets that were whizzing by him.
As he reached the cover of a storage building, Horatio looked back towards his friend who was laying down cover fire for him. They had known each other for twenty years, having worked together on the force in New York. They made brief eye contact and O'Neil nodded to him. Suddenly, O'Neil's head snapped back as a bullet tore through his neck. He collapsed on the pavement, and Horatio could see him clutching his neck, trying to control the blood that was gushing from the wound. He wanted to run to his friend, but realized there was nothing he could do to save him. All he could do now was focus on getting to the shooter before he killed again.
Horatio sprinted toward the front doors of the building next to him. He flung the glass doors open and saw an older man huddled in a corner. "Please don't kill me," the gentleman begged. Horatio knew by his thick accent that he was Cuban.
"Estoy aquí para ayudar." Horatio replied. I'm here to help. The man relaxed somewhat, and Horatio asked, "¿Dónde están las escaleras?" Where are the stairs? The man motioned towards the hallway.
"On the left, Señor." Horatio nodded gratefully and moved quickly to the stairs. It was now quiet, and he realized the shooting had stopped. He looked out through the front glass doors and saw Ed's motionless body lying in a pool of blood on the other side of the Hummer. Damn it! He turned his attention fully to his old friend's murderer on the roof. He quietly opened the door of the stairwell and aimed his gun up the stairs. It was dark and the only light was coming from the window in the door he had entered. He headed up the stairs and noticed the higher he went the darker it became. By the time he reached the third floor, it was pitch black.
He heard the door to the roof open three floors above him, and the bright Miami sunlight briefly illuminated the stairwell. But quickly it was dark again. He heard nothing but an eerie silence. He waited and listened. He knew the gunman would have to pass him on his way down the stairs. Horatio reached up to take off his sunglasses to let his eyes adjust to the darkness, but realized he could use them to his advantage. Suddenly he heard footsteps coming down the stairs quickly. Horatio backed up against the wall and groped for the light switch with his hand. He found it and waited. The footsteps were coming closer and Horatio knew it was only a matter of seconds before the shooter would be right in front of him.
AsHoratio snapped the light switch on he shouted "Miami-Dade Police!" The man in front of him instinctively shielded his eyes from the sudden light and blindly squeezed the trigger of the semi-automatic pistol in his hand. The bullet tore through the top of Horatio's jacket, grazing his shoulder. An instant later the gunman staggered backwards against the wall after three rounds from Horatio's Glock ripped through his chest. Horatio took off his sunglasses and watched as the man slowly slumped to the floor and leaned against the rifle strapped to his back.
The shooter's eyes went wide with horror as he stared at the man now standing over him. He had come out of nowhere, he thought. The last thing he saw before the darkness overcame him were the steel blue eyes of his killer.
Horatio knelt beside the dead body of his friend. He tried to hide the sadness he was feeling, but his eyes betrayed him. Ed had been shot twice, and Horatio knew that the first bullet hadn't instantly killed him. He remembered seeing Ed struggle on the pavement after being hit in the neck. He suspected the shooter had seen the same thing, and, wanting to finish the job, fired again, this time hitting him in the chest. Still, Ed's death hadn't been immediate. He had bled out, and Horatio knew that it must have been agonizing.
He heard sirens getting close and stood as several cars came around the corner. But to Horatio's surprise, they weren't MDPD vehicles. There were three black cars and two SUVs, all unmarked. What are the Feds doing here? he thought to himself as he put on his sunglasses. Several agents exited the vehicles and began cordoning off the area. One particularly tall man stepped out of the first SUV and headed straight for Horatio.
Extending his hand he greeted Horatio soberly. "Lieutenant Caine."
Horatio returned the gesture. "Special Agent Webster." He had met Virgil Webster before on a few occasions when it had been necessary for the FBI and MDPD to join forces on a case. It hadn't taken Horatio long to recognize that he was a very complicated and extremely intelligent man. He had been in Miami for less than eighteen months, but as Special Agent in Charge he had turned the regional force around. Their previous collaborations had been successful, and over time Horatio had come to respect the job he had done, although he wasn't sure if he fully trusted his colleague. Web had never done anything directly to cause Horatio to mistrust him, but at times he was so enigmatic that it made Horatio uncomfortable, and that was not an easy thing to do.
"Where is he?" Web asked. Horatio knew he was speaking of the gunman.
"In the stairwell on the third floor landing." Horatio pointed in the direction of the building in which he had killed O'Neil's murderer.
Web called over a few of his agents and ordered them to retrieve the body. He looked down at the man at Horatio's feet. "Friend of yours?" he asked.
"Ed O'Neil. He was with Atlanta PD. We served on the force together for several years in New York before I transferred down here. The department was full of corrupt cops, but Ed was one of a handful of guys who was determined to stay clean. But the pressure eventually got to be too much for him and he transferred to APD." He paused as memories of his friend flooded his mind. "He was a good man."
"What was he doing in Miami?" Web asked.
"He called yesterday to tell me he was flying down this morning but he didn't say why. He didn't sound like himself, but he's been going through a rough divorce and I assumed he just wanted to get out of town for a few days." Horatio and Web heard a commotion behind them and turned to see Eric and Calleigh arguing with a group of FBI agents. As soon as they had arrived the two CSIs had been quickly detained by the Feds who were determined to protect their scene.
Web noticed the Crime Lab logo on the side of the Hummer and said, "I assume they're with you?"
"They are," Horatio said. Web nodded to the agents, who let Eric and Calleigh pass. Horatio watched as they came towards him. He was lucky to have them on his team and he knew it. Calleigh was without question the finest ballistics expert for hundreds of miles, and Eric's excellent instincts had served the team well on many occasions. More importantly, however, they were his family.
Calleigh recognized the man lying dead on the concrete. Horatio had brought him into the lab earlier that morning and introduced him to everyone. She looked at Horatio's face and realized that it was emotionless. His eyes, which always conveyed what words could not, were hidden behind his sunglasses. Still, she knew what he must have been feeling.
"H," Eric said noticing Horatio's injured shoulder. "You okay?"
"I'm fine, Eric. Thank-you." Horatio turned to the man next to him. "Agent Webster, this is Eric Delko and Calleigh Duquesne."
Web acknowledged them with a small nod of the head. A young, blonde female agent came towards them and stopped a few feet away. "Excuse me for a moment," Web said as he walked over to her. They spoke quietly for a moment, and Web returned to the CSIs. "Lieutenant, I'm afraid I can't allow your team to process this scene," he said. "The FBI has jurisdiction in this case." Eric and Calleigh looked at each other, and Horatio shared their confusion.
He furrowed his brow. "What interest does the FBI have in this?" Web didn't respond, and Horatio understood. "So, it's classified." Horatio's mind started running through the possible scenarios of why the Feds would be handling such a case.
"What do you want us to do, H?" Eric asked.
"There's nothing to do, Eric. You and Calleigh head back to the lab. I'll be there after Agent Webster is finished with me here." Calleigh started to protest, but a look from Horatio stopped her. The two CSIs walked away leaving Horatio and Web alone.
"I'm sorry to be so secretive, Lieutenant, but you know how this works."
"I do indeed." Horatio had had enough experience dealing with the FBI to understand how it would all play out. Sometimes the best course of action was to simply stay out of their way and let them handle it. And since the gunman was dead, he knew justice had been served. But something kept nagging at him. Why had the shooter gone directly after Ed? He turned his thoughts back to Web. "When would you like my statement?"
"I'll have one of my agents take it now if that's alright." Web called a younger man over. "Agent Matthews, this is Lieutenant Horatio Caine. He's the one responsible for that dead body upstairs." Something in Web's tone seemed odd to Horatio. "Would you please take his statement?" The younger man nodded and waited as Web surveyed the scene around him, noticing the damaged Hummer. He turned his attention once more to Horatio. "Thank-you for your co-operation, Lieutenant Caine. Since we'll be needing to keep your Hummer, I'll have one of my agents drop you off at your lab. If we need anything further we'll let you know."
Horatio looked in the direction Calleigh had gone and saw that she had not yet left. "Thank-you for the offer, Agent Webster, but I'll have one of my CSIs take me." He motioned to Calleigh to wait for him and followed Agent Matthews inside.
Calleigh waited by the Hummer for what seemed like an eternity. Eventually Horatio exited the building and came over to her. When he reached the vehicle he leaned a hand up against it and shifted his weight slightly. He winced as pain shot through his shoulder. He had nearly forgotten about his injury and he did his best to hide his discomfort. His best wasn't good enough for Calleigh, though. There were times when she could see right through him no matter how hard he tried. She moved over next to him pulled herself onto the side step of the Hummer so she could see his shoulder.
Realizing what she was doing Horatio took a small step back. "I'm fine, Calleigh."
"It doesn't look fine." She reached for the lapel of his coat and slid her hand underneath, lifting up on the shoulder. He inhaled sharply and instinctively pulled away as another stab of pain hit him.
"Calleigh…" But this time it was her turn to give him a look. He reluctantly gave in and stepped back towards her, removing his jacket. The wound wasn't deep, but based on the amount of blood on his shirt, he knew he would probably need stitches. His forehead started to pound, frustrating him. The last thing he needed now was another distraction. Trying to relax himself, he took off his sunglasses and massaged the bridge of his nose. Calleigh gently tugged at the hole in the shirt, trying to get a better look. She saw Horatio clench his jaw and she could tell he was in more pain than he let on. She knew how much he hated being coddled, but also knew if she didn't take care of the wound now, he would let it go untreated.
She opened the back door of the Hummer and pulled out her kit. She had some spare bandages and gauze for situations like this. "Unbutton your shirt a little," she said to him as she opened an antiseptic wipe.
Horatio undid the top three buttons of his shirt and pulled it down over his left shoulder. He squeezed his eyes shut as Calleigh started cleaning the wound. Normally she would have teased him about flinching, but not today. He was in pain but not just physically. She remained silent as she applied a bandage to his shoulder.
"Thank-you," Horatio said quietly. He buttoned up his shirt and started to put his coat back on, but the ache in his shoulder tried to persuade him otherwise. Calleigh placed the kit back in the truck and shut the door. Walking back to Horatio's side, she watched as he leaned against the truck and closed his eyes. He had been through so much in in the past few years, and Calleigh wondered how much more he could take. Horatio looked up and realized she was watching him. He turned his head towards her and their eyes met. She didn't think she had ever seen him look so tired. "Do you want me to drive?" she asked.
Horatio thought about saying no, but once again his shoulder protested. "Do I have a choice?" he asked.
"Not really." Calleigh flashed a slight grin, but it quickly faded. She climbed in the driver's side door and started the Hummer. Horatio pulled himself up into the truck next to her and shut the door. As they pulled away from the pier Horatio took one last look at the lifeless form of his old friend. Webster had told him to leave the case to the FBI. He had assumed that it was understood the CSIs would leave it alone. Obviously, Web doesn't know my team.