Mia was getting stiff and bored. She set the magazine aside and got up carefully stretching as much as her sore ribs would allow. She thought she'd go down for a coffee and a change of scene for a few minutes even if she didn't like Agent Franklin. There was something she didn't trust about him but she couldn't put her finger on it. She was at the top of the stairs when she heard him answer his phone, something in his tone made her stop and listen.
"It's done… are you sure?" he said "Taylor's been taken out… good" he laughed "I never liked that hyperactive rat bastard anyway" Mia's heart nearly stopped at his words. He paced nervously in the hall below the landing. She crouched down afraid he would see her. "Do you think they are on to us…" she heard him ask. "Malone won't give up trying to get to get the scoop on Malique you know that! …I don't care who told him what he won't stop until he gets what he's after… we got to move here now if Taylor really is down then we got no time to waste… I'll call the boys now." He hung up and dialed another number. "Calvin… get Jerome and get over here. It's time to shut this place down. Yeah no don't worry about that there have never been any other agents out in the street!" He laughed "I set this place up remember" Mia stayed low as he hung up and turned to walk back to the living room where Archie sat at his cameras unsuspecting of what would soon be happening.
Mia sat on the floor her hands over her mouth willing herself to be calm. She was struggling with her emotions, trying to figure out what to do. Danny was… she couldn't bear to think it. Was he hurt or was it worse, she couldn't even say the words to herself. She had to get to Martin, he would know. But how would she do that? Martin had taken her cell phone. She looked down the stairs towards the door. She could try to run for it. She really had no other choice. She listened closely and just as she had worked up her nerve to stand and creep down the stairs Franklin came hurrying out to open the door. She moved quickly out of sight, staying still as a mouse listening to a cat ready to pounce.
"You didn't waste any time getting here" he smiled as he let in a light skinned black man. She felt her stomach lurch as she recognized the man who had attacked her.
"I was just around the corner, Mr. Montoya he told us to keep an eye on his new pet J is on his way" he grinned. "Where is she?"
"Upstairs…" Franklin jerked his thumb at the stairs. "We got one issue… I got a member of the geek squad here… hate to do it he's not bad for a nerd." Franklin said taking out a handgun from his suit jacket and quietly screwing a silencer on to it. She knew know she had to get out but she couldn't go down stairs. Up was her only option. She waited until they stepped beyond the stairs before she bolted to the bedroom, trying to move as quickly and silently as she could.
In the bedroom she looked around trying to think of where to hide, looking for a way to escape. She remembered there was a loft panel in the bathroom. She locked the door behind her and went to the bathroom. No they would surely find her, she needed a diversion. She looked at the window. Cautiously she moved the blackout curtain. There were alarm contacts on the sash but the wires were cut. She unlocked it and heaved the heavy window up. A commotion and shouting downstairs startled her. Archie was fighting for his life and hers. She should go and help him. She took a step and stopped hearing a loud crash. She bolted into the bathroom and closed the door. Climbing onto the bathtub and then the sink she pushed the loft panel up and to the side before reaching up and hauling herself up. Her sore ribs screaming at the effort. Sitting on a rafter she slipped the panel back into place wiping the tears from her eyes and praying that Archie would forgive her cowardice.
She heard the door to the bedroom being kicked in and Franklin shouting "Out the window! The bitch has gone out the window!" She heard the two men as they ran out of the bedroom and down the stairs. She jumped as the house shook as the heavy front door slammed. Mia sat still for a few minutes still not sure if she'd gotten away with her ruse. She wiped her eyes again, they were nearly accustomed to the semi darkness. She surveyed her surroundings. There was a skylight, if she could get under it she might be able to get through it.
Carefully she crawled along the rafter until she was under the light. Luck was with her, the loft space was only five feet high. She opened the skylight and carefully climbed out onto the roof. Staying low she looked around and listened. The row of houses stretched on either side. She didn't recognize the area but she could see the Empire State building and the rest of the Manhattan skyline in the distance, that was the way she needed to go.
In what felt like an hour, she crawled to the edge of the rooftops and slowly raised her head surveying the street below. It was eerily quiet. There was no sign of anyone. Now how to get down. There was a drainpipe and an oak tree. "Great" she sighed. "I hate heights" She looked down and closed her eyes. It was a thirty foot drop to the pavement below. Stealing her nerves again she thought about a book she'd read about monkeys and apes and their amazing climbing abilities. She wished now for a fraction of their strength and agility, and especially for ribs that didn't hurt.
Taking a breath she eased herself over the edge and grasping the pipe she worked her way down the side of the building. The metal was jagged in places and cut into her fingers making them bleed. She lost her grip and slipped falling the last six feet. Winded she left bloody handprints on the side of the brick building. "Ow" she gasped as her long hair caught in the strapping holding the pipe in place she tugged it free sure she had nearly just scalped herself.
She drew a breath her legs were shaking as she stood upright. She didn't know which way to go she looked up and down the street trying to decide when a big black Toyota turned the corner. She recognized it and the driver. He'd spotted her and gunned the engine. She bolted running blindly into a narrow alley and clawing her way over a chain link fence at the end. She ran out of the alley in to the next block and straight across the street heedless of traffic, two cars narrowly missing her as she sprinted down the road.
She ducked into another alley. It was larger this time. She heard tires squealing sure that the Toyota was right behind her. She saw a delivery truck parked at the end of the alley. She ran for it. Shaped like an old UPS truck she was relieved to find the side door was open and the driver no where in sight. Quickly she climbed aboard hiding behind several large boxes. She held her ribs trying to catch her breath sure her heartbeat could be heard miles away.
The driver climbed into the front seat and started the engine. Mia braced herself as the truck lurched into gear. She had no idea where he was going or how she was going to get out of the truck but she was at least relieved to be getting away from Franklin, Calvin Davis and Jerome Thompson. Then she remembered Archie. She put her hand to her mouth to stifle a sob. Pull yourself together girl! She told herself severely. Find Martin, tell him what's happened. Tell him about Archie… and ask about Danny… oh Danny! She hid her face in her bloodied hands and cried as the truck rumbled through the streets.
Franklin, Calvin Davis and Jerome Thompson met on a street corner near the house. "Where the hell did she go?" Franklin demanded.
"I lost her down an alley" Jerome said. "She's fast for a white chick"
"Well you'd better do a better job of finding her then your useless chum of a hit man did in taking out Taylor!" Both Davis and Thompson looked at him questioningly. "Oh yes Taylor is still very much alive, his brother got into the way. Now we better find her before Montoya finds US!"
The three men got into the big black Toyota and drove off. Franklin wondering how long it would be before Jack Malone and his team figured out he was working for Montoya. Of course he wasn't the only one, there were a few who were in very high ranking positions who were in Montoya's pocket. Knowing who they were was his insurance policy. He smiled to himself at the thought.
"We need to get as many eyes on the street as we can." Franklin said.
"Already on it" Davis was dialing his phone.
"Tell them not to damage her! Montoya is already angry about the dents you've put into the merchandise!" Franklin barked as Davis spread the word to as many of their gang members as he could. Now there were almost a thousand pair of eyes searching for Mia.
Martin let Danny drive having already gotten a lift back to the ferry port on an NYPD marine patrol boat. He tightened his seatbelt and held on for dear life as Danny pushed the car and the boundaries of safe high speed driving to the limit. Martin killed the siren as Danny took the last corner sharply pulling up in front of the safe house. Jack was standing by his car. It was parked by several police cars and a large truck Danny recognized as a forensics unit. He stopped seeing the coroners black van.
Danny turned to walk directly into the house but Jack intercepted him "Danny… Danny… wait…" Jack caught his arm.
"No… Mia…" Danny tried to pull free.
"Danny it's not her…" Jack turned Danny to face him gripping him firmly by both arms "It's not her…" he shook Danny to get him to look at him.
Jack's words were starting to register and he looked at him "Who then… where is she?"
"It's Archie… he took on I don't know how many…" Jack said "It's still unclear but it looks like two possibly three people entered the house… we don't know if they took her or if she got away… we know Archie tried to stop them… and paid with his life." Jack said quietly and looked up everyone had fallen silent as a stretcher with a body bag on it was carried out of the house and quietly placed into the coroner van.
"They're moving fast aren't they?" Martin asked quietly once the van doors were shut and it had driven away.
"He's Jewish" Jack said quietly. "We have 24 hours before he has to be buried" Martin nodded.
"Where's Mia?" Danny asked again. "Jack what do you know so far?"
Jack still had Danny by the arms. He looked at his young agent. He was disheveled with Rafi's blood still on his shirt, his eyes alone told the story of how lost and vulnerable he really was. "Franklin is involved… he set up this house but never detailed anyone to cover the street… as near as we can figure now that Parker has been found he wanted to tie up loose ends… They came for Miss Parker… Archie bought her some time to escape…"
Danny could do little more then nod when one of the forensics techs came hurrying over. "Agent Malone, we've got some bloody hand prints on the side of the last house, it looks like we've got hair too, long and dark brown. We're in luck there are skin tags too it looks like the hairs were ripped out…"
"Thank you" Jack said sharply seeing the effect of his words on Danny. Sensing he's said something he shouldn't have the tech hurried back to the truck. "You need to go back to the office." Jack said to Danny. Danny shook his head. "Danny Montoya has a contract out on you, we need you off the street."
"I need to find Mia…" Danny shook his head again.
"At least go back and change your shirt, we need to regroup. All of NYPD is looking for her…" Jack said.
"And so are all of Montoya's little gangbangers." Danny said.
"Look…" Jack looked Danny in the eye "You need to trust me… I know you've got some issues with that… but Danny right now… I'm all you got. Franklin was getting info from someone inside the Bureau."
"Who" Danny and Martin demanded together.
"I don't know but when I find out I promise you there won't be enough of him left for OPR to blink at." Jack said savagely. He looked at Danny who he still had by the arms. "Danny please…" Danny looked at Jack startled by the softer tone. "Go back to the office we need to regroup… OK?" Jack asked.
Danny looked at him for a long moment and he nodded. He felt Jack squeeze his arms, an encouraging, comforting gesture before he gave martin the keys to the car and they drove away slowly scanning the streets on their way in hopes of catching a glimpse of Mia but knowing they wouldn't.