Prologue:

Another day another debt to pay, even after having found the greatest treasure of all about a year ago; of course nothing had really changed at all since then. Gene was still an irresponsible slacker, Mel was on kitchen and cleaning duty, Jim worked himself to the bone being the overly responsible one despite being the youngest, Aisha and Suzuka would still occasionally visit and Fred would still lend them money or offer jobs while hitting on the boys.

Jim started that particular morning by going over the inventory in their store and making notes of parts that needed to be restocked. They were getting low on several key parts but the cost should still be within their budget, especially since he had a nice repair job lined up for that night. It was a one-person job that either he or Gene could do but since most people seemed to think Gene was the swindler right off the bat he usually can get more for the same job.

He could smell Mel's cooking in the kitchen which indicated that the variant of eggs, toast, coffee and vitamin supplements was about done. Finishing his list he shoved a paper copy into his pocket and wandered into the kitchen, "Morning Mel, smells good as usual."

"Good morning Jim, Gene's still not up."

"Figures, he was out late drinking away money we don't have again."

Mel just smiled and joined him at the table, food having just been served. "Do you have any work lined up for today?"

"As it stands we just have a repair job tonight, it really only needs one person there but we're out of parts we'll need for it. I'll run up to Vaughn's and see if I can restock, hopefully for a discount."

"You go through parts quickly don't you?"

"A lot quicker than I'd like, that's for sure. Fortunately Vaughn doesn't mind throwing us discounts if I can do a couple random repair jobs he can't do himself."

"That's always good, isn't it?"

"Yes, the jobs are usually not even worth the discount we get but it helps a lot and I'm not one to look a gift-horse in the mouth. Especially when it comes to saving money!"

Jim finished his breakfast quickly and got up to go, "I shouldn't be gone too long but Aniki should get up for the rare chance that a job might actually come in while I'm out. He might respond if you remind him that his eggs are getting cold."

Mel gave a soft giggle, "Yes, he does hate cold eggs, it should do the trick."

With a small grin he got up to go, leaving Mel to clean up their dishes before trying to wake the slacker. He didn't know why but for some reason he stopped and let her know he was going to walk since it wasn't that far to the parts shop.

Stepping outside he blinked as his eyes adjusted to the bright morning light before looking around; he had been getting the feeling of being watched for the past couple days when outside and it was starting to get on his nerves. Gene had asked him about his furrowed brow during their last job and he just passed it off as stressing over finances as usual; after all, if the red-head's superior senses weren't picking up on anything it had to just be his imagination, right?

He stretched and started walking to Vaughn's shop, it was less than a mile walk and it felt good to be mobile as he had fallen asleep at the computer while trying to find work leads… again. The streets seemed more vacant than normal but he just figured it was due to the early hour, most people wouldn't be up at the ass crack of dawn unless they were opening a shop.

Behind him a vehicle was coming down the street at a lazy pace, music blaring and the bass up to just under the decibel the cops would pull it over. Such a thing wasn't uncommon so he paid it no mind; that is until it cut him off as he was able to cross the street. The van didn't even take the time to stop fully as the door was ripped open and he was hauled inside of it in a matter of seconds, the loud music drowning out any cries for help before his mouth was covered in duct tape and his eyes blindfolded.


A/N: Standard disclaimers apply.