Disclaimer:

Here we go then. This story will move at a slightly more sedate pace for two reasons – one, I have a STUPID amount of work on at the moment which means I'm working more hours than actually exist in a day and therefore am single-handedly managing to prove that Einstein's General Theory of Relativity is a complete crock, and secondly because I want to make sure that what is actually turning into a right little bugger of a complicated story doesn't go wandering off on its own somewhere!

Usual disclaimers apply – I own NOTHING, nada, zip, zilch to do with Numb3rs or the main character, but the Brits and the story are MINE! Usual warning for strong language, no violence in this one, but man, you just WAIT until the next one! Wanna talk about dark? Oh, have I EVER got some sh!t planned for chapter 4!

Roll credits and wonky Numb3rs board…

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The lift doors pinged open - Don and Colby walked quickly into the Bullpen. A rapid scan of the organised chaos that met him told Eppes that everyone was on high alert – pulling out every stop to try and stop the carnage the bomber had promised. In the war room, Don could see his brother frantically scribbling formulas and equations on a clear board. Occasionally, Charlie's dark curls would dance wildly as he spun around to look at the plasma screen that showed the mocking, vindictive Minesweeper game. The countdown continued relentlessly. Don only had thirteen minutes left before he would be forced to play the next square…

The two men headed into the war room. Next to Charlie, David barked into his cell phone, giving whoever was on the other end of the call a really hard time. "I don't give a damn, okay? You just get me those files, and get me them now!" David snapped the phone shut and slammed it down on the table. He looked up as he heard the footsteps of his two friends and immediately rushed forward towards Don. "How's your Dad?"

Charlie spun around, his eyes wide. "Don!"

Don held a hand up, trying to reassure his brother and his second in command. "It's okay, guys. Dad's okay. Would you believe he wanted to tidy up the house? Tim practically had to throw him into the damn ambulance!"

"But he's okay, right? I mean, he's…not hurt or anything?" Charlie's voice was on the verge of panic. Until he heard it from his brother, no amount of reassurance from David would make that stomach-twisting knot go away. Don wrapped a protective arm around his younger sibling and smiled.

"He's fine, Chuck. Really. A little battered, but just a few scratches, is all."

Charlie let out a shaking sigh of relief. "Okay. I…um, Chuck? Hmm. Okay. So, listen." Charlie spun out of his brother's embrace and bounced energetically back to the board. Don smiled quietly to himself. Now that the fog of uncertainty over the well being of their father had been lifted, Charlie's usual boundless energy had taken back control. "I've taken a look at the grid and it seems to me that he's using a version of the game that incorporates a fairly predictable sequence of binary variables. If we can work out the initial part of the sequence, which is what this statement here…" Charlie waved wildly at a line of incomprehensible numbers and letters, "is, then I think we can reduce the number of unknown squares and possibly even start to predict where he might have planted the remaining nineteen bombs. If we can do that…"

Don held up his hand again. "I wish it was that simple. The guy isn't playing fair, Charlie."

Charlie stopped abruptly and stared at his brother. "What? I…what? What do you mean?"

"I mean from what Dad told me, he put the bomb in the mailbox after I'd played the square. So all that about the bombs being planted already is horse-shit."

"So, you're saying that…"

"I'm saying that this son of a bitch is driving around the city with a car full of bombs and a link up to the game. Every time I play a square…"

"…Which you've gotta do in eleven minutes, Don…" David interrupted and pointed at the countdown on the screen.

"Shit. Okay, Charlie, I don't have time to explain it all, but I think whoever is doing this is coming after me. Us. Well, me in particular, but us in general."

Charlie sat back on the corner of the table and stared at his brother. "You mean…this is personal?" Don nodded. Charlie frowned deeply. "But why? I mean, yeah, sure you've made your fair share of enemies over the years, Don, but this?"

Behind Don and still standing in the doorway, Colby silently indicated at David that he wanted to talk to him in private. David frowned. He could see a cold, hard look in his friend's eyes – a look he'd seen before. A look that spoke volumes… Without saying another word, he followed his friend out of the room and to a quiet corner of the connecting corridor.

"Col?"

"Okay, listen, David. What Don said in there? About it being personal?"

"Yeah. I've had that feeling from the get-go too."

"You and me both, man." Colby's voice was low and serious. "I need to know the names and addresses of everyone suspected with having connections to Uri Koverchenko. In particular, I wanna know if the son of a bitch has a brother, or brothers or any close relatives in the US. And I need to know right now, David."

"Koverchenko? Col, are you sure?"

"Honestly? Nope, not absolutely sure as in would stand up in court and swear on the bible sure. But something about this makes my nerves jangle, bud. I know how these bastards work, David, believe me. They can hold a grudge for generations, man, and if it is the damn Russians then we're all currently walking around with targets on our backs, okay?" Colby spoke rapidly, conveying a sense of urgency to his friend. "Look, they went after Alan. That's pretty typical of their MO. If it is Koverchenko, they'll come after Amita, Charlie, you, me, all of us. And they'll make damn sure that Don has to sit there and watch his friends and family hurt or even killed in the process, one by one. That's how they get their kicks, man. They don't just shoot you. They shoot your family, your friends, hell, they'll shoot your goddamn dog! So if that is what's happening, all bets are off." The last few words were practically a snarl. "So I need to know where Koverchenko's loved ones are. Because David? I know how to play this game, my friend."

David had a deeply uneasy feeling in the pit of his stomach. He knew his friend well enough to know when he was 'off the leash' as Don had put it. And he knew just how nasty Colby could get when he was like this. "Col, listen to me, man. You going all lone gunman in the belltower right now ain't gonna help Don. We need to think clearly, brother. For all we know we might be way off base with Koverchenko…"

"David, I don't have time to argue morals with you, okay? Please. Trust me on this. Tell me what argument to make, and I'll make it. Just…" Colby ran his hand through his short, messed up hair. "David, just trust me, man. My gut tells me I'm right with this. Get me those names and addresses. Leave the rest to me." Without another word, Colby turned abruptly and walked away. David watched his friend as he disappeared into a side room. He could see every muscle in the man was coiled like a steel spring. God help anyone who got in his way right now…

David glanced back into the war room. In his heart, he knew Colby was right. This was personal. Way too personal to be just another ordinary pissed ex-con trying to get some sense of revenge for getting caught. Granger's gut feeling was the same as his own. And he was already way ahead of his friend. Those files he'd been screaming at some poor filing clerk for were the names and addresses of everyone suspected of having a connection to Korverchenko. Time to do a bit more yelling…

Colby marched into the tech room. "Mick?"

Micky Cox spun around in a chair to face his boss, a serious look on his face. "Whoever's working this game Col, they've got some bloody good hardware, and a bleeding' degree level knowledge of coding. They've embedded the game into our intranet so it looks like it coming from one of our own damn servers."

"How in the hell could they do that?"

Amita turned and looked at the big man. "Theoretically, they shouldn't be able to at all. Intranets are supposed to be closed systems. They shouldn't be able to access them from outside the building."

"So what are you saying here? That someone inside the FBI is running that game?"

Micky frowned. "If you pushed me, I'd have to say yes, mate." He looked at Amita, who nodded in agreement.

"Micky's right. Unless we're dealing with some seriously high-tech criminals, there should be no way they could gain access to a closed system from the outside. I've checked the original email that was sent to Don's machine and that was pinged through dozens of servers all over the world. Mostly eastern Europe and Russia, but it did route through China, Norway, London, Washington, Baltimore, San Francisco and about three IP addresses in the LA area before it got to Don's account. But the game?" Amita shook her head. "It doesn't make any sense. I'm checking the embedded coding to see if there's any way they could have uploaded it from an external source, but so far, everything's pointing to it being internal. Nothing's been hacked in. There may be a back door I haven't found yet, though." Amita looked apologetically at Colby. "Colby? Is Alan okay?"

Colby gave her a reassuring smile. "He's just fine, honey. But I'm guessin' he could do with some help redecorating when all this is over! And the front yard's gonna need a whole heap of landscaping to put it right! Seriously, Amita, the only casualty was the mailbox."

Amita gave Colby a small smile, but the big man could see that the smile didn't go past her lips and her eyes were still filled with concern. He crouched by her chair and laid a hand on her shoulder. "Listen to me. I promise you sweetie, I swear on my life I'm gonna do whatever it damn well takes to find these bastards before anyone else gets hurt, okay? So don't worry. You're safe here." He stood up. "But I need you to focus on this, Amita. I need to know if this is coming from inside or if there's any way at all that they could be accessing our systems from the outside." Colby turned to Micky. "Dude, call Matt in. There's nobody in this entire office who knows the system better than he does. The guy's an ex hacker himself. If anyone's kicking at our virtual doors, he'll be able to spot the signs."

"We ain't gonna turn any extra help away, boss, that's for damn sure." Micky winked reassuringly at Amita. "And you're right, nobody knows this system better than him. I'll give him a bell and get him in right now."

David had joined Colby in the room and frowned deeply. "Col? A word?" He nodded and the two men moved back out of the room. David tried to think clearly, but the information he had just heard sent his mind spinning in different directions. "Col, if what Amita and Micky are saying is right, then someone inside the FBI is involved."

Colby's expression was unreadable. "I don't wanna think that just yet bud, but…" Colby sighed. "Yeah, it's possible. We need to check out if anyone has any flags up next to their names, David. Ya know. Anyone with debts, about to lose their house, can't afford to keep up with medical bills for a loved one, that kinda thing. And also… oh man, I don't believe I'm goin' down this fuckin' road again…" Colby stopped and covered his eyes with a shaking hand.

David frowned. "Col? You okay, brother?"

Colby looked up at his friend. "I hate that we're right back here again, man! I hate it!"

David could see the emotional conflict tearing his friend apart. Colby had never really talked about what had happened all those years ago, but David knew that his friend had never forgiven himself for lying to his friends for two years. Both Don and David knew that the man was one of the finest undercover agents the Bureau had, but the sheer complexity of Colby's past as a spy still remained shrouded in secrecy. Even David didn't know everything – but he did know how much it had hurt his friend and continued to do so even today. He squeezed his friend's shoulder reassuringly. "Col, I need you focused, man. I need you to tell me what to do next…"

Colby looked into his partner's gentle brown eyes – eyes that were full of forgiveness and friendship. He knew that David had forgiven him for what happened years ago. If only he could forgive himself…

He took a shaking breath and composed himself. "If anyone's had those kinda problems suddenly go away, then they could be beholding to some real nasty people. If they've gotten to someone in the FBI, they may be forcing them to do this, ya know? Remember how Koverchenkov operated last time?" David nodded. "Holding families hostage, that kinda thing. Trouble is, we're against the clock this time. And we get it wrong, a lotta people are gonna die."

"Col, we've been in tighter spots, bud."

"Yeah, I know, but this is different, man." Colby sighed and frowned deeply. "Anyone noticeably absent today?"

"What, from the office?"

"Yeah. If it is internal, then it's gotta be someone close. Someone who can keep an eye on how we're responding. Remember last time? He embedded that line of code saying 'We're waiting for you'. At the warehouse?"

David nodded and looked around the Bullpen. This whole thing twisted him up inside. He had another brief flashback to that dreadful day when he thought that the man standing next to him – his best friend and partner - was a traitor. To think that someone else in the department was acting against them, even if it was under duress, made his skin crawl. "Apart from Nikki and Matt, nope. Everyone else's in."

"Okay." Colby turned abruptly and walked back into the tech room. "Any luck with Matt, Mick?"

"Voicemail. I'll try again in a minute."

Colby frowned. "Voicemail? Really?"

"Yeah, but it is his day off, mate. I wouldn't read too much into that. Guy's probably just off doing whatever it is Matt does when he's not here."

A tiny alarm bell jangled in the back of Colby's mind… "Mick, I need you to do me a favour."

"Whatever you need, boss." Micky's usual jovial, frivolous nature was well and truly parked and his ice-blue eyes were deadly serious. Colby indicated to David and his friend softly closed the door. The four friends were cut off from prying ears and eyes – just in case. Before he started speaking, he glanced back over to David – a questioning look, asking for his friend's approval and validation for what he was about to do. David gave his friend a tiny nod, the approval Colby had to have… Colby swallowed, took a breath and turned back to the two seated technical experts. "What I'm gonna ask you guys to do isn't nice, probably isn't morally right and it sure as hell ain't usual protocol. Micky, Amita, I'm sorry about this, but I need you to do a scan of all the computers in the Bullpen. I also need you to access everyone's personal files and go through them with a fine toothed comb. Can you do that without being traced?"

Micky glanced at Amita and she nodded. "Do-able. What are we looking for?"

David stepped forward. "Anything that doesn't look right, Micky."

Amita frowned. "There is another possibility, David. It could be that if it is an internal hack, it's being uploaded from a dongle."

David frowned. "A what?"

Colby looked at his friend with a look of total exasperation on his face. "Man, you have gotta start reading the technology pages rather than just the damn style pages, dude, seriously! A dongle. Ya know, a flash drive? External hardware? Bolt ons?" Colby frowned. "Okay, I get that. But how the hell is whoever's planting the bombs getting the information on what squares Don plays?"

"He could be waiting for a message of some kind?" Amita stared at the screen. "Perhaps as soon as Don plays the square, then if there is someone on the inside, they send them a message?"

"You mean like playing chess with someone when they're on the other side of the world? Yeah, I see how that could work." Micky nodded. "Thing is though, everyone in here's vetted up to the eyeballs, Col. You know how the CI team works, mate, you're CI yourself!"

"Mick, I know how counter intelligence works, buddy. And I know all too well how it can fail to work as well. CI isn't infallible, no matter what Steve likes to think." Steve Parker was head of the FBI's Counter Intelligence unit and an old and trusted friend. The two men went all the way back to Ranger training, and if there was anyone who could 'think sideways' as the Brits liked to call it, then it was Steve Parker.

Colby looked thoughtful for a moment. "Actually, Micky, you could be on to something there, dude…I…yeah. I need to speak to Steve…and, to someone else…" Colby turned and without another word, started to walk out of the tech room. As he reached the doorway he stopped and turned, a serious look filling his green eyes. "In the meantime, start running your own checks, okay? And Mick? Keep 'em under the radar, copy?"

"Copy that, boss." Micky nodded curtly and turned back to his computer screen. As Colby and David left the room the Englishman glanced across at Amita. "You okay doing this, Amita?"

The dark-haired woman looked decidedly uneasy, but Micky knew through experience that underneath the gentle, sweet nature of the woman was a streak of pure steel that had got her through some very tight situations in the past. Amita Ramanujan was a tough little lady – a lot tougher than people gave her credit for. But she looked decidedly uncomfortable with Colby's request to start investigating into the backgrounds of what were supposed to be trusted FBI agents…"I…" She glanced at Micky. "It's not something I enjoy doing, no."

"But you understand why we're doing this, right?"

Amita nodded. "That doesn't make it okay, Micky."

"It makes it necessary, Amita."

"I know. It's just…"

"What?"

Amita turned and looked at Micky. "It's just bringing back some bad memories, that's all. Especially as it's Colby asking me to do it."

Micky frowned, but there was a look of sympathetic understanding in his eyes. "Then think how he's feelin' about having to ask, sweetie."

Amita slowly nodded. No matter how tough it was for them, it was even harder for Colby to have to ask them to do what he swore he'd never do again – spy on his friends and colleagues.

And it was especially hard for Don right now, as there were only four minutes to go before another square had to be played…

33333333

Don found that special, silent place he went to when all around him was a maelstrom of chaos, noise and violence. He closed his eyes and let the roar of activity around him flow away, like the tide drifting out on a silent shoreline. Everyone knew their jobs – they knew what they had to do. Right now, there was nothing he could add to the situation that would change anything. He simply had to wait.

He sat in the middle of a mental web, like a spider waiting for that vibration on a gossamer-thin thread to tell him that his prey had come within reach. He was blind, reliant on others to bring him the information he needed to make the next decision. It was the worst part of being the SAIC of this rapidly expanding Violent Crimes Unit, and the hardest part of his job. He sometimes missed the old days on fugitive recovery. Simpler times. When all you had to worry about was catching your man. There were no politics, no tactics, nobody trying to cover their own ass and dump you in the crap in the process. Just you, the daily Bolos, the open road and those few adrenaline-filled seconds when you caught up with your target. Now his life was complicated beyond belief in comparison. Complications that, right now, could get a lot of people hurt, unless he made exactly the right decisions.

Don's team had a reputation as the best in the FBI, and the Deputy Director had made no secret that he regarded Eppes as the very Special Agent In Charge of a modern-day 'Untouchables'. But sometimes, the alienation, the loneliness of command, the sense of detachment left him feeling adrift and almost helpless…

The gentle weight of a kind hand being placed upon his shoulder snapped him back to the here and now, reminding him that no matter how detached he felt, he was never alone...

He turned and looked into a pair of kindly brown eyes he knew and trusted implicitly. David gave him a little quizzical look. "You okay?"

"Yeah. Yeah, I'm good."

"Don, we've got three minutes…"

"I know."

"Colby's…"

"…Doing what Colby does best, David. Trust him."

"I do bud, but he's got that look in his eyes, man, ya know, that really scary look he gets sometimes…"

"Good." A granite-hard caste flashed into Don's normally placid eyes. "That means he's exactly in the headspace I want him to be, bud."

"Don?" Charlie's voice grabbed both the men's attention. Don could hear the alarm in his tone. "I'm trying to anticipate the bomber's next move, but we're running out of time! My algorithm's gonna take at least another hour, maybe two to run its course and even then I don't know if I've managed to attribute values to all the possible variables…"

"So we're back to guessing again for this one, huh? Charlie, that didn't go too well last time…" Don was already standing at the computer keyboard, frowning up at the giant Minesweeper game that dominated the plasma screen in the war room. They had fifty-eight seconds left…

"Don, there's nothing more I can do! I'm sorry, but you can't rush this! I wish I could make it go faster, I really do, but…" The rising panic gave Charlie's voice a sharpness to it that was out of character for the normally easy-going professor. Don laid a hand on his brother's shoulder in reassurance.

"C'mon Chuck, I'm not blaming you, buddy! Ease up, okay? We just…" Don sighed. "We just have to do the best we can." He turned back to the board. Thirty one seconds… "Okay then. Anyone got any suggestions that don't involve eeny meeny miney mo?"

Twenty seven…

"Any square, Don." Charlie ran a hand through his wild curls and gave the board a despairing look. "Seriously. It doesn't matter which square you choose…except those. Don't pick any of those." He pointed at a cluster of squares next to an exposed one that contained the number '4'. "There's four bombs around that square, that is, um, if he was playing fair there'd be four bombs there…"

Twenty one…

"Okay." Don focused his attention on the board once again, discounting the squares closest to the four. "What about this section here?" He pointed to a group of unexposed squares in the bottom left hand corner.

David's soft voice offered precious little reassurance. "Don, the guy isn't playing fair. It's like Charlie said. It doesn't really matter which square you play. We're blind, bud."

Twelve seconds…

Don could feel his guts twisting up inside once again. Son of a BITCH! He knew that, no matter which square he chose, the odds were stacked against them because whoever was behind this sick, twisted little game would make the decision as to whether there was a bomb there or not. They had no control over this process – the bomber did. And that made Don more angry than he could put into words. He wanted to slam both fists into the keyboard, shattering the brittle plastic. His nails dug into the palms of his hands as his fists tightened. The lines on his forehead deepened and the vein in the middle of his forehead started to throb…

Six seconds, five…four…three…

"DAMN IT!" Don moved the cursor randomly over the game and clicked the mouse…

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Colby ducked into the locker room and shut the door. The cool, dark silence was a welcome and peaceful oasis, and he needed privacy for this phone call. Don had let him off the leash, and it was time to use every weapon in his arsenal, no matter how…unorthodox

He flipped his phone open and dialled, waiting for that voice he knew so well…

"Colby John Granger, do you have ANY fuckin' idea what time it is over here?"

"Hey baby. Did I wake you?" A small smile flickered across his lips as he heard the annoyance in Diane Armstrong's voice. He missed her so damn much when she was away, and the sound of her voice was the reassurance he needed right now.

"You know full well you did, you bugger!" The sharp tone of her voice couldn't disguise completely the underlying message in her words – I miss you too… "Tell me you didn't phone me up at this ungodly bloody hour just to tell me that you've overwatered my Peace Lily again! So? What's up?"

He let out a little chuckle. "Your Peace Lily's fine, babe. But we have a problem…" Colby spent the next few minutes bringing Diane up to speed. "Listen, we know the Russians were operating out of Europe way before they moved their crew over here. And I know for a fact that both Six and British Military Intelligence have been keeping tabs on these sons of bitches for years. You guys have way more intel on them than we have. And I also know for sure you have some people on the inside of the Russian mob right now, don't you?"

"I can neither confirm nor deny any operational details or protocol that's in play at this time."

"So that's a yes, then."

"Wadda you think? But contact is limited, Col. I can't just go ringing them up and saying hey guys, fancy blowing your cover wide open by using an unsecured line or unscheduled dead drop to give me some intel? That could get them killed, babe. You know the game."

"Sweetheart, I get that. But we're potentially looking at a lot of bodies unless we stop these bastards. Bodies of people we know and care about, Dee."

"What do you need?"

"Everything, baby. Every damn thing I can get my hands on. I need a weak link, Dee. A name, anything I can use as leverage. I wanna know who I can get real nasty with to get some fuckin' answers. David's collating everything we have, but I'm guessing it's not the same as everything you have access to, ya know?"

"Okay. I'll start waking people up. How long do we have until Don has to play the next square?"

Colby glanced at his watch. "He's just played a square a coupla minutes ago. We got just under an hour."

"I'll call you in 30 minutes." There was a pause. "Colby?"

"Yeah?"

"Be careful."

"Don't worry, baby. I will be."

"No you won't. You'll go in all guns blazing like you always do!"

"What, you want maybe I should send them an RSVP?"

Colby heard that playful laugh he loved so much - a laugh that was hardened with a vicious snarl that spoke of a woman who understood that, in this case, all bets were off

"Ah, HELL no! Lock and load, baby. Lock and fuckin' load…"

A slow, dangerous smile spread over Colby's lips. It was times like this that reminded him of those heart-pounding, adrenaline-fuelled black ops he'd been a part of for so many years. Operations that had quickly opened his naïve eyes to the callousness and viciousness of his enemies. It was something he'd learned from working with the Brits for so long. While everyone was talking about the 'honour of battle' and conventions and the morality of war, there were those who knew that in the modern world, there was no morality, no conventions and sure as hell no damn honour in a battle like this.

They were fighting an enemy who wouldn't think twice about slaughtering entire families just because they 'got in the way'. He'd seen women beheaded for simply singing and dancing at a wedding. He'd seen the callousness and the resulting slaughter of innocents when two families went to war with one another over an imagined slight or insult that happened generations in the past. He would never forget the stench of rotting flesh when he walked into a bombed out house filled with four generations of a family massacred for simply having the wrong name. He remembered the taste of vomit in his mouth as he'd thrown his guts up outside, and watching a member of the SAS on his team sit down slowly in the dirt and blood, tears streaming down his face as the full horror of what they'd seen hit them…

Throw in drugs, guns and corruption and you had all the makings of a special circle of Hell that tainted everyone it touched.

Even the good guys.

His experiences had changed him. It had changed them all. After years of seeing the very worst that humanity could do to itself, he had emerged as a very different person from the young soldier who had graduated from Ranger training top of his class – a man the Army had marked as someone uniquely capable and talented in covert ops. His experiences had reinforced his already deeply moral outlook on life – and had also given him the unique understanding that to achieve your outcome sometimes, just sometimes, you had to think like your enemy. You had to understand that they didn't think like 'normal' people. That to them, life was cheap to the point of valueless. But he also learned one very important lesson – people like that placed a disproportionately high value on their own lives. And that made them vulnerable. Every man, no matter how amoral, how corrupted, how evil, had a weak spot. You just had to find it, push the knife in and twist

There was NO WAY Colby was going to let the kind of evil he'd seen in those lawless, violent distant lands happen on the streets of LA. He may not have been able to stop it from happening in Afghanistan and Kosovo, but he was damned if he was going to let it happen here! He knew that the enemy they were up against was contemptuous of the values of the society they had moved into. They didn't care that this was LA. They were still stuck in that violent, disgusting and lawless mindset that inevitably led to the deaths of innocents. That left children orphaned. That left friends maimed and killed, and passers by caught up in carnage that was not of their making.

There were no rules in this particularly vicious, amoral and dangerous game.

And 'no rules' is how Colby liked it…

333333333

The square came up blank.

As one, Don, David and Charlie let out a collective sigh of relief. Don sat down slowly on the edge of the table to try and disguise the fact that his legs were threatening to give way from underneath him. David ran a shaking hand over his face and puffed out his cheeks. Charlie stared blankly at the board as the countdown started once again and, curls bobbing wildly, suddenly spun back to his equations and started working furiously once again, focused on the math in front of him and nothing else.

A ping grabbed their attention once again as a message bubble popped up over the game grid. Don looked up and frowned. "What the…" He glanced over at David, who shook his head. "Get The tech boys on this NOW. I wanna know exactly where this is coming from!" David nodded and shot out of the war room, sprinting towards the tech room where Micky and Amita were working.

Don looked at his brother. Charlie's eyes were wide and he swallowed nervously. He glanced over to the doorway, which was filled with the powerful frame of Colby Granger. Colby's green eyes narrowed as he saw the message bubble on the board. "Don?"

Don turned to his friend. "This son of a bitch is playing with us, Col…"

"What's the message?"

Don turned back to the screen and clicked on the message bubble…

'Well played, Don, well played! I wonder, though, how long your luck will hold? By the way, how's your dad? Don't think that any of you are safe, my friend. Even hiding like frightened children in your oh-so-secure FBI offices, I can get to you whenever I want.

I'm waiting for you to make the next move, Don.

I'm waiting for YOU...'

TBC…