By Lissa Grinstead
These are the journals of Darien Lambert, Caption, Fugitive Retrieval Section, AD 2193.
My Captain had been very busy over the last several weeks, and then suddenly, information concerning fugitive activity became unavailable.
Darien walked casually down the street. It was a gorgeous day; the wind was blowing. He stopped to sniff the air and detected a not unpleasant odor coming from the park.
"SELMA, what am I smelling?"
"I am detecting faint traces of hydrocarbons, pollen particles, garlic, and incinerated sheep."
"Incinerated sheep? SELMA, are you talking about Lamb, maybe gyros?"
"Gyros, a lamb meat product, basted with spices, served with cucumber and wrapped in a pita, a bread – Yes Captain, that could be a gyro."
"Good, I have been wanting to try one of those."
He continued walking toward the smell when he overheard the sound of fighting in an alley. Being a good cop meant watching out for citizens, no matter what century they lived in. Someone was in a fight, probably with someone who didn't want to be fighting.
As he turned into the alley, he saw a huge crowd of people, not bystanders, more like participants who were waiting their turn.
"SELMA, periscope and project mode." He held out a credit card, and an overhead view of the fight was projected in front of him.
"There are twenty people attacking that one woman. Wait a minute, she just used Maosh-Ti. That means, she is not from this time."
"Correct Captain. She looks like she is doing well now, but she is tiring. She will not be able to overcome all of her opponents."
"I am going to help her."
"Captain, she might be a fugitive. You are endangering your mission by assisting her."
"SELMA," he said exasperated. "Not everyone here from the 22nd century is a fugitive. And if she is, then she is going back to face justice. You have visual of her, is she a fugitive? Check your records."
"I have no record of her in my database, perhaps she is using a disguise."
"Must be some disguise."
She had rendered eight men unconscious, but they just kept coming. Her kicks were getting lower and her attacks were getting slower. Darien could see her now through the crowd. He had dealt with about four men now. Eight remained between them. He wrapped his arm under another man's arm and punched him in the face, twice. The man rolled his eyes up and fell down. Seven.
She grabbed one man and used him as a support to kick another. Then she wheeled back and kicked him. Five. Darien used a quick chop and another man fell. When he looked back, there was only two left. And they were both going after that woman. They both attacked at the same time. As Darien watched, she avoided one, but the other connected. She went down. Clearly annoyed with himself for not thinking about this earlier, Darien fired off two blue pellets from his MPPT. He then picked up the unknown woman.
He took her back to his apartment, no mean feat considering he didn't want to be seen.
"SELMA, Visual mode."
"Yes Captain" she said as she appeared suddenly in front of him.
"Perform a medical scan on her."
"She has suffered a mild concussion, but the injury is not severe. She will be fine, providing she gets some rest."
"Tell me everything you know about this woman."
"Her name is Sabrina Sanford. She was an Academy cadet on externship with the police department in Washington City in 2190." SELMA brightened. "Ah, she was the top cadet in her class. One night, when she was off duty, she reported spotting Patrick Henderson, a fugitive at large wanted for computer fraud, extortion, and larceny. She received orders to follow him discretely. He arrived at the Smithsonian and she called for backup. She was ordered to proceed with caution, but not to approach him until backup arrived. She did not report back after that. The building was thoroughly searched, but no sign of Ms. Sanford or Mr. Henderson was found. She was reported as missing. And the Academy externship program was suspended for review."
"I remember that case. From everything we knew, she followed procedure to the letter. The program was suspended because no rookie should ever be alone in this circumstance. Sometimes, you cannot follow the book. And a rookie doesn't have the experience to know those circumstances. She must have discovered TRAX, which would explain why she is here. Sahmbi couldn't let her leave. And Henderson by nature is not a killer. He knew she'd followed him, so he would feel guilty for her death. He probably persuaded Sahmbi to send her back rather than kill her."
"Captain, she is coming around"
"Voice mode." SELMA disappeared.
He went over to Sabrina. She opened her eyes, and was a bit startled by her surroundings.
"Lieutenant Lambert. I thought that it was you. I am Cadet Sabrina Sanford, or Sergeant Sabrina Sanders, as they know me here. Where am I?"
"Actually it is Captain now. I am glad to meet you, and you are at my apartment. What can you tell me about the men who attacked you? And why were there so many?"
"Oh that. Well, I have been working on a case recently, which involves someone I think is from our time. I knew I couldn't send them back, but I figured they were bad in 2190, they are probably going to be bad now. So I keep an eye on them. This one is making 22nd century drugs. Problem is, you can't detect them with today's technology, so no one in the department believes me when I tell them these deaths are due to drug overdoses. But you can tell they are because the irises turn that strange shade of banana yellow- you know what I mean, and there is a slight odor of anise on the corpse."
"Some one is making Rollers?" He practically yelped. "God, that must be John Stewart. He invented the damn drug."
"That is what I thought, too. But Stewart isn't the man. I have been tracking this, and I don't know who he is, but he is going by the name Edward Rickter. That isn't his real name, and I recognize him. He is the guy who sent me here."
"Mo Sahmbi, of course. He usually employs an army of goons. And of course he knows who you are, that's why he sent so many."
"Actually, he doesn't know who I am. Patrick was very helpful when I arrived. He created an identity for me. But I changed my appearance. I didn't need future criminals recognizing me as a cadet. Not many would, but I didn't know if, Sahmbi as you call him, had put the word out about me. I couldn't take that chance. I dye my hair; I keep my hair style different. I wear contacts which are not my eye color. I have not resorted to plastic surgery, but I would if I felt I needed to."
Under his breath, Darien muttered, "And that is why SELMA didn't recognize you."
"But that still doesn't explain why he sent so many."
"Oh, well, this isn't the first time I have been attacked. The first time, he only sent one. I introduced him to a new landlord, the State of Washington. Then he sent two; they were hospitalized and were being guarded for eventual release into police custody. Someone set them free. This is actually the fifth attack."
"Why were you out alone?"
"Captain, I assure you, I didn't leave my apartment alone. Well, that's not actually true. I didn't intend to leave, but when ten guys come at you, you tend to run. My problem was that I didn't realize they were trying to flush me out."
"Why don't you get some rest. I am sure you'll be fine in a few hours. You have a mild concussion."
"I am tired." With that she closed her eyes and fell asleep.
"Oh, Sabrina, do you need to call the station? Never mind."
Darien went back into the living area. He was pacing, and very irritated and disturbed by what he had just learned.
"SELMA, Visual Mode."
"What information do you have on an 'Edward Rickter'?"
"Scanning . . . Ah, here we are. I have a computer file for Edward Rickter. He has a Doctorate in Chemical Engineering from M.I.T. He is currently working on research under a grant from the Federal Government. He is supposed to be working on a cure for Diabetes. However, the information in the database is recently entered."
"Why didn't Sabrina know about the computer file?"
"Captain, you are forgetting that the computers in this century are not as efficient as I am. The date of the entry has been buried under several layers of programming."
"Okay, go on."
"That is all I have. There are no records of Dr. Rickter anywhere else."
"This must be a somewhat new persona then. He hasn't had the opportunity yet to flesh it out. Interesting. He is just getting settled."
"Captain. Ms. Sanders mentioned a 'Patrick' rather familiarly. She may know where he is now."
"Good point, SELMA. I don't know. We'll find out when she wakes up."
It was late at night when Sabrina finally woke up. Darien was asleep on the couch, and a strange light was emanating from the room. Almost as soon as she saw it, it was gone. She didn't want to wake him, but she really needed to leave. And she didn't want to leave without saying goodbye. He had, afterall, saved her life.
"Lie- Captain," she called out softly.
He didn't respond. Darn it, she thought. Well, surely, he keeps paper and pens around here somewhere; I'll just leave him a note pinned to his refrigerator.
Sabrina went into the kitchen, noticing along the way the unique décor. It was very thematic. Obviously, Darien really loved the past. He must love it here, she thought, And all I've thought about for the past seven years is going home. She looked on the counters. Nothing, no papers to speak of.
"Captain Lambert. Are you awake?" again, she got no response. Oh well, he has paper towels. I'll leave him my message on those. One last try. "Captain Lambert," she called out, slightly above a conversational tone.
"Wha-," he reached up and rubbed his eyes. "Oh, Sabrina, you're up."
"Yes, and I really need to leave. I just didn't want to go without telling you how much I appreciate your help."
"Have you called into the station?"
She practically froze. "Oh my God, I cannot believe I forgot to do that. God, its what, 3:30, Jeesh, they are probably really irritated that I haven't checked in." She started pacing up and down the kitchen, back and forth.
"Sabrina, calm down, you were attacked. You were injured."
"All the more reason I should have checked in!"
"No, all the more reason why you didn't. They are worried. Call them now, tell them the truth. Trust me, they will be more relieved than irritated that you didn't call. I'll be right back."
Sabrina picked up the phone and started to dial. Darien headed toward the living room.
"What is it, SELMA?"
"Captain, I believe Sabrina may have seen me. You left me on Visual Mode. I turned myself off when she awoke, but she was definitely looking in here when I did."
"We'll deal with that later. Right now, we need to find out whether or not she is still Academy."
"You know, Academy. She was the top cadet in her class, but she was also thrown into a situation she was in no way prepared to handle. I need to find out if she is a good cop."
"Captain, the fact that Mo Sahmbi is trying to kill her and he doesn't know who she is suggests that she is."
"I hope you are right, SELMA. I want to be certain though. And if you are, then I got myself a deputy. I am going to ask you to override your Third Person rule in a moment."
"Its necessary, you can always make her tell the truth, if you sense she is lying."
Sabrina had finished her call. "They want me to make a full report; they want me to go to the hospital to get checked out; they want to meet you; and they told me to take today off. I hate hospitals."
"We need to talk." He sounded very serious.
"You told me a little bit about yourself last night. I need to know about your relationship with Patrick Henderson."
"Patrick Henderson is a good friend of mine. He has been clean since his arrival; he even volunteers every Saturday at a nursing home. He has a 'Little Brother', it's a program to help give kids a grown up to look up to and have someone to spend time with. But I told him when we first arrived that one day Fugitive Retrieval would figure out where they were, and when I found out, I would turn him in. I have told him that several times. I have also told him I would put in a good word, whatever it was worth.
"Captain, he helped me create an identity. This allowed me to enter a police academy and actually graduate and do the job I have always wanted. He protected me from Sahmbi, and he has also told me whenever he found out about anyone else. I have kept my eye on a lot of them. I currently know of 15 fugitives living in our fair city. Most of them are honestly trying to start off good. Three of them are in prison because I was watching them, and caught them.
"I can't send them home, but I can protect the people of this century the only way I know how. By watching people I know to be dangerous. They don't know I am watching. Patrick won't tell them I am watching, because then they'd know about him. Does that answer the question you didn't want to ask?"
"Yes it does. And I can."
"Send them home."
"So you need to know who these people are, what aliases they are using, and the order in which to get them."
"Right. Brace yourself." She looked at him quizzically. "I am going to introduce you to my partner."
"SELMA, Visual Mode." SELMA appeared out of nowhere, which only slightly startled Sabrina.
"You are a memory archive, rather sophisticated I might add. Oh, I am sorry, I am Sabrina, although I know you already know that. It is nice to meet you SELMA."
SELMA smiled at her. "Correct, I am a Specified Encapsulated Limitless Memory Archive. And it is nice to meet you too, Sergeant Sanders."
"Call me Sabrina."
"Sabrina, can you give SELMA the names of these fugitives you have been watching. She can keep track of them, display their records, and you can verify. Okay?"
"Sure. SELMA, why don't you let me tell you all of the names at once? If you display all that data, I will forget half of it."
"Whichever way is best for you"
"Okay, there's …
After what seemed like hours, Darien finally finished reviewing all of the cases with Sabrina. He was rather relieved to find out that Patrick was a reliable informant. Each of the names she gave, and their aliases, were correct. He had made arrangements to meet Sabrina later this evening. She was off to the hospital, as per her Lieutenant's orders. He had some fugitives to "scope."
Of course, Sabrina also had some information on the one fugitive he wanted more than any other.
By now, Mo Sahmbi had figured out who helped Sergeant Sanders yesterday. One of his men reported "seeing a flash of blue and then waking up." He also said that both of them had the same strange fighting style. This wasn't good news. Lambert was here, Sanders wasn't who she seemed to be. Of course, they could have sent Lambert a partner, but everything he knew about Lambert indicated he worked best alone. He didn't tend to keep partners long. So Sanders was probably not a recent arrival.
He sat at his computer, brow furrowed, and very irritated he hadn't thought to check earlier. Sabrina Sanders, the name sounded familiar. The question was, Why. Who had he sent back that could be working against him? Then it hit him, Sabrina Sanford, that little twerp of an Academy cadet. The one who had seen too much. The one he wanted to kill, but Henderson had persuaded him to send back.
He picked up his telephone and punched the intercom button. "Get me Duffy."
"Yes, Dr. Rickter," his secretary, a very attractive red-head, answered.
Less than five minutes later, Duffy appeared in his office. "You wanted to see me, Dr. Rickter?"
"Yes, yes, yes. I need you to bring me Patrick Henderson. Do not kill him. Do not even threaten him. I want him to feel comfortable when he arrives. Do you understand?"
"Yes, play nice with the guy."
"Right, play nice." Sahmbi smiled, and it wasn't a pleasant sight.
Patrick Henderson was about to leave to meet his little brother when Duffy arrived.
"Mr. Henderson, if I might have a moment of your time. I have something urgent to discuss with you."
"I don't even know who you are. How can we possible have something urgent to discuss?"
"Mr. Henderson, it is about our mutual friend, the one who arranged this little vacation." Duffy smiles. Patrick Henderson does not. He knows what is coming now. Somehow, Sahmbi has decided he needs something. He has no idea what he can give him; he knows what has happened to those who do not meet Sahmbi's needs.
"What does 'our friend' want?"
"He needs to see you for a few minutes, if it isn't too inconvenient."
Oh yeah, he wants something bad, and he doesn't want to scare me because then I won't give it to him. Funny thing, this is much scarier. "Well, I have an important meeting right now, can I get back to you later this evening?"
"That really won't be possible, it is really very urgent. He needs to see you now."
I wonder what Sabrina's done. He doesn't say anything. He just nods his head. "I'll meet you there. Where are we going?"
"Mr. Henderson, our friend has already arranged for transportation."
Patrick knows he cannot avoid getting in the car with the envoy from 'our friend'. He's just thankful at this point that he really cannot remember much without his personal organizer. He is also, for the first time, thankful that he has lost it.
When Sabrina got home later that evening, she remembered one very important piece of information she had forgotten to tell SELMA. And since she knew what Darien was up to, she decided to use the emergency number he had given her before she left.
"Captain, you have a call coming through on my private line."
"Do you know who it is?"
"Put it through."
Darien Lambert placed his credit card up to his ear, as if it were a telephone. "Hello."
"Captain, its me, Sabrina. I just remembered something that I forgot to tell SELMA about the fugitives I've been watching."
"What is it?"
"There is one particularly nasty fellow I have been following around. He is into a lot of stuff, but I have not brought him in for two reasons. One: the charges tend to stick better if they are more serious. But the second reason is the real big one. He is my link to Sahmbi. He doesn't know I keep tabs on him. This is how I have been tracking Sahmbi. Captain, you must not send this guy back. If Sahmbi slips by us and he's not here, we won't find him for a very long time."
"Which one of these fugitives are you tailing?"
"Stephen Duffy. He goes by Duffy. He's a tall, very professional looking guy. If you didn't know better, you'd think he was some high rolling businessman."
"I haven't got to him yet."
"Good, I was really worried about that. I was going to wait and tell you tonight, but then I thought it might be too late. Sorry, I know this could have cost us big."
"Sabrina, relax. I am glad you told me. I'll see you later." He hung up. "She certainly was jittery."
"Captain, she has reasons to be nervous. She probably thinks that you think of her as a cadet instead of a police sergeant. And she forgot to tell you something important, she probably hated having to admit to you that she made a mistake."
"Why, oh, because she didn't graduate in 2190. Did you check her academy performance here? Top of the class right?"
"Actually, she finished in the top 5% of her class"
"Only the top 5% of the class? I figured she'd do better than that."
"Captain, the top 5% of the class is generally considered to be very good!"
"You like her, don't you SELMA?"
"I am not programmed to like or dislike anyone. She introduced herself to me like I was a person. She treats me like you do."
Darien smiled. He really wanted Sabrina to assist him. SELMA was great; she could do almost anything. But she couldn't actually be anywhere else. With Sabrina, he could effectively be two places at once. If Sabrina and SELMA got along, things would work well.
Darien had told Sabrina that they needed to meet at her place. He wanted to check out the apartment to find its weak spot. It obviously had one. He arrived about 15 minutes before he had told her he'd be there.
He knocked on the door, and he could see her look through the peephole. She opened the door and let him in.
"Hello Captain, Hello SELMA."
"Hello Sabrina. How did things go at the hospital?"
"Oh you know, they said I had a very mild concussion and were surprised I came in about it. I explained that it had happened the day before but my boss insisted I come in. Nothing major. How did you do?"
"I sent Michaelson, Randolf, and Andrews back. I was actually on my way to find Duffy when you called, so your timing was perfect."
They looked through the apartment, chatting about inconsequentials as they did, but they could not find how those guys had gotten in without her noticing.
"I'm sorry, Sabrina, but you are going to have to move. This apartment has been compromised. You are not safe here."
"I know. I think I've known it since I got home. Besides, I don't think I'd feel safe here anyway."
Sahmbi sat regally behind his desk. His elbows were balanced on the arms of this chair; his hands were entwined in front of his chin. "Patrick, I don't need you to tell me where Sergeant Sanders lives. I know. What I want is confirmation that Sabrina Sanders and Sabrina Sanford are the same person."
Henderson is startled. He expected an address request. He did not expect Sahmbi to know Sabrina's alias. And his surprised alarm is all the confirmation that Sahmbi needs.
"I am going to give you a choice. It is very simple really. You can eliminate Sabrina, by whatever name she goes, or I will eliminate you and then eliminate her. Either way, she dies. There really is no need for you to die alongside her, is there?"
"Dr., uh, Rickter, is that it?" Sahmbi had insisted on being called "Rickter", "Sabrina is my friend, I will admit that much. I will need a little bit of time to decide if I can eliminate her."
"You have five minutes. I will be in the next room." "Rickter" and Duffy left the room. They even closed the door. He had five minutes left to live, so he needed to use them wisely.
"DCPD, how may I direct your call?" the switchboard operator was very polite.
"I need to speak with Sergeant Sanders immediately."
"I am sorry, sir, she is not in today, may I direct your call to someone else?"
"Yes, her boss."
"Lieutenant Cavendish." It was a brusque voice, one that tolerated no nonsense.
"Hello Sir. My name is Patrick Henderson. I am one of Sergeant Sander's informants. I ordinarily would not come right out with this, but I'll be dead in four minutes, it doesn't matter. Dr. Rickter is planning on killing Sergeant Sanders, and I need to warn her. If I cannot, you must."
"Are you making a death threat?"
"No, I am issuing a warning. I want you to protect her. He told me to kill her, or I'd be killed. Actually, he said 'eliminated', but that is rather irrelevant. Point is, I cannot kill her, so I am as good as dead."
"Mr. Henderson, where are you? I'll send a car."
"I don't know where I am, I am frankly surprised they left me with a phone. Just protect her, don't worry about me. Tell you what, I'll leave the phone off the hook; you can trace it, right, if he doesn't hang it up?"
"Yes. Good. And good luck." He carefully put the receiver down so it looked disconnected but wasn't. At least until Sahmbi discovered the phone was off the hook, they could record and trace.
Three minutes left to live. So much time, and too little.
"Dotty, could you place a call to the Post? Have it read: DL Missed Your Chance MS".
He was feeling inclined to gloat. He had been in Washington for two months now, right under Lambert's nose, and he had not even known. He probably didn't know that the attack yesterday was related to him in anyway. Sanders would not know who he was.
"Dr. Rickter, I cannot get a dial tone."
"What!" he practically screamed. "Duffy, get back here." They both burst into the room. Henderson was hanging from the ceiling standing on a chair; he looked at them. "Hello gentlemen, here is your answer." He kicked the chair out from beneath him. He had managed to tie his hands behind his back.
"Duffy, I think its time to pack again."
They had forgotten about the phone.
"SELMA can forward all your calls so you won't have to worry about checking in anywhere. Is there anything else you need?"
"Let me do a quick check. I probably forgot something trivial." She walked off. She wandered in an out of rooms doing her final check. She came back waving a red shirt.
"I can't believe I almost forgot this."
"Oh," he looked rather perplexed at the shirt.
"It is the shirt I was wearing when I came back here. Everything else has worn out. It is my only link with home. My mother gave it to me."
"I am receiving a call on Sabrina's line. It is the police station."
"Thank you SELMA. Put it through." He handed Sabrina the credit card and mimed a telephone conversation.
She looked at him quizzically and then held SELMA to her ear.
"Sergeant, this is Lieutenant Cavendish. I think you need to come to the station right away. I need to talk to you about something and I don't want to do it over the phone."
"Right away Lieutenant."
"Is your friend from yesterday available?"
"Have him bring you. Get here as soon as you can." Cavendish hung up.
"That was a very strange call," Sabrina said as she handed SELMA back to Darien. "Lieutenant Cavendish wants me to get to the station right away, and he wants YOU to bring me."
Darien wrinkled his eyebrows in puzzlement. "Well, we have everything we need here, let's go and find out what he wants."
The station wasn't far from Sabrina's apartment. Cavendish greeted them at the door.
"Lieutenant Cavendish, I'd like to introduce you to Marshall Lambert, who happened to be in the right place yesterday when I needed him."
"I am glad to meet you, Marshall, I appreciate your bringing Sergeant Sanders to the station today."
"Why exactly did you want me to bring her in, Lieutenant?"
"That's what I need to talk to you both about, in my office. It's just down the hall."
They arrived at his office and he offered them both a seat. Then he took a deep breath.
"Sergeant, do you know anyone by the name of 'Patrick Henderson'?"
"Yes, he is a very good friend of mine. He also has a lot of connections and he gives me information."
The look on Cavendish's face grew more grave when Sabrina said he was her friend. Darien could tell the man had some bad news for Sabrina. Cavendish looked like officers do when they are about to confront a new widow.
"Sergeant, I am going to play a recording for you. It is not going to be pleasant."
Sabrina looked a little confused, but kept silent.
"Hello Sir. My name is Patrick Henderson. . . ." "Duffy, get back here." "Hello gentlemen, here is your answer." There was the sound of wood and metal crashing to the floor and a loud snap "Duffy, I think its time to pack again." "Get that body down, and undo his wrists." "Damn, they're bruised and swollen." "Rickter, the phone is off the hook!" "Quiet you fool." And a dial tone.
Sabrina was pale; her hand covered her mouth. She was doing her best to remain composed. Of course, she wasn't composed. Darien glared at the Lieutenant. His method had been cruel. He had bad news for her and it would have been better if he had just told her. He had made her listen to a good friend die.
"Sabrina, I am sorry."
She didn't say anything.
"Sergeant, do you know this Duffy and Dr. Rickter? What they look like?"
She didn't respond, she was looking at the ground. "It's my fault. They killed him because of me."
Lieutenant Cavendish looked over to Darien and motioned to leave the room. Darien nodded. They walked past Sabrina. She didn't notice.
"Marshall, I know it was cruel of me to do that. I couldn't tell her. But she also needs to understand the type of men she's dealing with. This guy, Rickter I guess, has been after her for about two months now, maybe more. She seems to think she's invulnerable. I wanted to shock her into understanding what these men are capable of; otherwise, she won't be around for long. She'll be dead."
"Look, I am not trying to tell you how to do your job, but now you have a sergeant in there who is in shock. That is not a condition conducive to self-preservation. Yes, she needed to hear that tape. But she should have been told what it was before you played it." He looked in Cavendish's office. Sabrina was still just sitting there. 'Damn,' he thought.
"Something you should know Lieutenant. She knows she's not invulnerable. She was attacked in her apartment yesterday, in case she didn't tell you where it started. We checked and could not find out how they got in. She has packed an overnight bag and will be staying with me until we get this 'Rickter' thing settled. I am not going to risk letting him find her again. She can be reached at this number. Now, I am going to try to shake her out of this." He walked briskly into Cavendish's office.
Darien helped Sabrina to her feet, she was still looking at the ground and muttering "its my fault." He got her to the car and back into his apartment.
"SELMA, Visual Mode," he practically barked.
"I heard Captain."
"Can you do anything to help snap her out of this?"
"Yes, but you can do more."
"Get her to talk about Patrick, and make sure she understands that it is Sahmbi's fault, not hers. If that fails, I can try hypnosis therapy, but that will only postpone the shock."
"Right," he said. He looked over to Sabrina; she was still sitting on the couch staring at the floor, he could hear a faint whisper of "its my fault" being repeated over and over again.
"Sabrina," he said, louder than normal. She stopped muttering and looked at him. There were unshed tears in her eyes. "It is NOT your fault. It is Sahmbi's fault. Henderson was a good man, wasn't he?"
"Yes," she whispered. "He was like a father to me. When I first got here, I was so scared. I didn't know what had happened, where I was, anything. He helped me to get started. But it was more. He came to my graduation, you know."
"No, I didn't know. I think he cared a great deal for you. He cared more for you than for himself. He would not want you to be hurt in any way by this. Do you understand?"
"I understand, but they killed him because of me." She was beginning to sound almost normal again. She would be all right; she just needed to talk now.
"Yes, they did. But that doesn't make it your fault. It is just one more reason why we need to deal with them quickly."
"Right. Okay, they know they've been traced and recorded, right? They have packed their things and they are going to lay low for a while, but they probably won't leave town just yet. Duffy has several 'hiding' places he thinks are secure. They're not. I know where they are. Let's go." She jumped up and started to head for the door.
Darien remained seated, although he wanted very badly to go get them right now. "We are not going anywhere tonight. You are going to stay here and deal with this."
"I want to get him." She insisted. She turned toward the door. "I can't send him back. You're the one with the car alarm. Come on." She was pacing wildly.
"No Sabrina. We'll get him tomorrow. Let him wonder what you are going to do for a while." She walked back over to the couch, obviously impatient.
"I'm better now."
"No Sabrina, you are not, you are just handling it different now."
"Whose side are you on?" she snapped.
"I am on no one's 'side' Sabrina, I am on the floor. Ah, with whom do I agree? I agree with my Captain. He is right, and if you stop to think about it, you will agree."
"Okay, fine. I'm outnumbered. We get him tomorrow. Fair?"
"Now, I am tired and I want to go to my hotel."
"You're staying here tonight; we leave first thing in the morning."
She glared at him for a moment and then lay down on the couch, and closed her eyes, as if to say, "discussion is over." He looked over at SELMA, who shrugged, and then he walked into the bedroom.
"Voice mode." SELMA disappeared and Darien turned out the lights.
He awoke to the smell of coffee, toast, and eggs. Sabrina was already dressed; she was wearing her red shirt. She was in the kitchen making omelets. "Good morning, Captain."
"Good morning, Sergeant. What is this?"
"That is an omelet. It is an egg dish. Basically its egg, cheese, and whatever leftovers you want to use in it. I just put in ham and bacon. Try it."
He looked at it skeptically and then took a bite. "Hey that's pretty good."
"Thanks. So what is the plan?"
"Sabrina, how are you doing this morning?"
"Truthfully, not good. I didn't sleep well last night; I just kept hearing the tape over and over again. When the sun came up I decided to fix breakfast. But I'll be fine eventually. Really. I miss him, but if I allow his death to break me or turn me into the train wreck I was last night, then he died for nothing. I cannot do that. He would not want that.
"I want to get Sahmbi because this is not the first death he caused; it won't be the last. Everyday that he is out there he causes more deaths. I have to stop him. We have to stop him.
"Would you tell SELMA I'm sorry that I snapped at her?"
Darien smiled, "She knows."
"Excuse me for a moment would you?" Sabrina left the room and headed into the bathroom. Darien sat there and finished his breakfast. When he was through, he called Cavendish.
"Lieutenant. Darien Lambert. Sabrina and I are going to go check out Dr. Rickter's office this morning. We need the address that of that trace."
"Right. 2400 Madison, Suite 200. How is she this morning?" Cavendish was really concerned.
"She is doing better. She'll be fine."
"There are a couple of things you should know Lambert. I didn't have a chance to mention it last night. First, we have already looked through the office. It was obviously a quick move, but we do have officers who are staking it out. Second, we didn't find a body."
Darien whispered, "no body. Any indication where Henderson is?"
"No, and I don't even know what he looks like."
"I can have that information sent to you in a few minutes. What's your fax number?"
"Got it. You'll have those descriptions shortly."
"Lambert, tell Sabrina that I am sorry about Henderson."
Darien hung up. "SELMA . . ."
"I have already sent the file image and description of Henderson, Duffy, and Sahmbi, alias Rickter, to Lieutenant Cavendish, Captain."
"Good work. Thanks."
Sabrina and Darien arrived at 2400 Madison, Suite 200. The officers at the scene were dead. They bodies were still warm. There was a delivery pizza box in the trashcan and a couple of empty drink cups.
Sabrina bent down. She knew both of the men. Harold Thompson was married and his wife had just had a baby. George "Dev" Devlin, she graduated with him. She opened one of Dev's eyes.
"Darien, look at this. See, he has those yellow eyes. They were murdered, and they probably didn't even realize it until it was too late."
Darien took SELMA out of his shirt pocket and placed her on one of the Dev's forehead.
"Analyze cause of death."
"Ingestion of Trichlorobromidic isoprophenol. Also known as trikes or rollers. Approximate time of death: 7:33 a.m." Darien looked at his watch: 8:08 a.m. "Captain, I am also detecting a faint dose of TXP."
"Is there anything that 20th century technology will be able to detect."
"Darien. This looks fishy. But the department will have no evidence to prove that they both did not just inexplicably die. What can we do?"
"We can't do anything about that. But, it doesn't look as if the office has been touched yet. SELMA, can you detect if anyone besides myself and Sabrina and these officers have been in the room."
"Scanning. Based on the ion distribution, no one else has been in the room in the past three hours."
"And before that. . ."
"I cannot detect past that time frame Captain."
"Okay, we're going to have to assume that they haven't been here. Harold and Dev died half an hour ago, and if they were alive when Sahmbi came, they would likely have tried to stop him. Therefore, they would have some bruises and minor contusions."
"Not necessarily, this variant of rollers acts like a sedative. I couldn't figure out why because it leaves the characteristic traces. They probably fell asleep within minutes of ingestion. I would guess by means of pizza delivery." She indicated the trashcan. "The office may look untouched, but my guess is, they had time to get what they wanted and plant false leads."
"SELMA. Scan the pizza."
"Trichlorobromidic isoprophenol is present in trace amounts, Captain."
"Well, lets see what they did leave. They could have left something important behind."
"You check that out, and I'll call Cavendish."
Darien walked over to the computer and slid SELMA into the a: drive. "Is there anything retrievable, SELMA?"
"No Captain, this computer has never been used."
Sabrina finished her call and went to the filing cabinet by Dotty's desk. She started quickly pulling out the folders and laying them on the floor. When the drawer was empty of files, she pulled out about thirty pages that had slipped between the folders and had been on the bottom of the drawer. She took them to the desk and started reading them. He just looked at her.
"Just what do you think you are going to find?"
"I don't know, but I'm sure Sahmbi didn't file these."
"Right, these aren't these files we need."
"Wrong. These are precisely the files we need because he doesn't think there is anything in them." She paused, smiled, and held up a sheet. "This is a delivery manifest to a warehouse. It was signed by . . . Stephen Duffy, just three weeks ago. I bet, though, if you run a check on the warehouse, you will find that it is not linked in any way to 'Rickter Research'."
"SELMA, run a check on this warehouse."
"Captain, the warehouse is owned by Carson Warehousing. It is leased to Simpson Wholesale, which is owned by Zander Marketing, which is owned by Washington Consignment Consolidated, which is . . ."
"Enough SELMA, I get the idea."
"And this is why they won't be moving out of the warehouse. You can't trace it on paper or computer to them. It is safe."
"Cavendish asked us to wait until he got here. Let's see if there's anything like that manifest in Sahmbi's special filing cabinet."
After Cavendish was finished with them, Darien and Sabrina headed to the address on the manifest. A car registered to Zander Marketing was parked out front.
"SELMA, scan the warehouse."
"Captain, I detect two energy readings present on the second floor of the warehouse."
"Okay, you go to the back, I'll come in the front. I'll give you five minutes."
Sabrina looked at her watch, nodded, and ran to the back of the warehouse. Exactly five minutes later she entered the warehouse. She saw Darien. He motioned to the stairs and she saw a second set; she indicated it to him. He nodded. They both silently climbed the stairs. She had her gun, he had his PPT.
They got to the second floor and approached the room Sahmbi and Duffy were in, each on opposite sides of the door. Darien counted three, she aimed her gun, he kicked in the door. Sahmbi and Duffy were startled, but not enough. Before Darien could react, Duffy fired at him, and hit him in the shoulder. Sabrina fired twice, also hitting Duffy in the shoulder. Sahmbi and Duffy ran out a door that was not accessible from the second floor. She didn't know where it went, but she was about to find out.
"I need your PPT, Captain, I'll be right back. SELMA, can you call for backup?"
"Sabrina, you must remove this bullet now."
"SELMA, I can't let them get away."
"If you do not, he will die. The bullet is made of Tricholorobromidic Isoprophenol."
"They made a bullet out of Rollers? Damn it." Sabrina bent down and looked at the shoulder.
"This is going to hurt, isn't it?"
"My guess would be yes. I am sorry, but it can't wait. And I don't know what I am doing."
"I can help Sabrina."
"Good. Because I am going to need it. Did you call for backup?"
"Yes, it is on the way."
Sabrina had already taken out her pocketknife, thankful for once she always carried it. She was cutting Darien's shirt out of the way.
"SELMA, is there any way you can sterilize my hands?"
"Yes, I will send a pulse of irradiation. "
"Okay, what do I do first."
"Inject him with a blue pellet.This will give you five minutes and he won't feel as much pain."
"NO. I want to know what is going on."
"Fine, but I don't have anything else to give you."
"I understand that, but Sahmbi is too close and I want to watch your back while you do this."
"I am sure SELMA can do that."
"I want to."
SELMA told Sabrina what to do. Darien was obviously in a lot of pain, but he was making an effort not to show it.
"Good, now you just need to reach in there and remove the bullet."
Sabrina did as she was instructed; she could feel Darien tense up. She started to pull the bullet, and he passed out.
"Got it. Now what?"
"You need to place something in and over the wound to keep him from losing any more blood."
She looked around. There was nothing clean in sight. She pulled the ends of her shirt out from her jeans and cut two strips. One she folded to act as a compress; the other she tied around Darien's arm to hold it in place.
"Did we get it in time SELMA?"
"Yes, the bullet did not have time to dissolve. He does not have any trace of the drug in his system."
"Thank God. Now, can you run a trace on that car that was parked out front? Do you know where it is?"
"It is still parked in the front of the warehouse."
"So they are either still here, or they have a different car. Do you have a record of any other cars being owned or leased by any of the companies associated with Zander Marketing?"
"Okay, we need to get those licenses so we can put out an APB."
Darien came around and looked at his arm. It was wrapped in red silk.
"Tell me that cloth started out red." He smiled.
"It did. SELMA says you don't have any of the rollers in your system. You'll be fine. I am going to go get the car and take you home. You need to rest. You've lost some blood, but not too much."
"Okay." He got up. They walked to the bottom of the stairs, where she told him in no uncertain terms that he was going to stay until she got back. SELMA raised the garage door to the warehouse, and Sabrina walked off to get the car. He looked around.
"SELMA, is anyone else in the building?"
"No, but there are three people outside."
Darien got up and started sprinting toward the open door. He got there in time to see Sabrina put the key in the car door. The car exploded and Sabrina was thrown back. Sahmbi and Duffy started to run toward her. Darien fired off two red pellets, hitting them both. But before he could say "transmission tone," they disappeared.
"SELMA, what happened?" he called as he ran toward Sabrina.
"I detected a delta wave transmission on Dr. Sahmbi just before their disappearance."
"So where did they go?"
"I do not know Captain."
He reached Sabrina. She was burned, and she had several scrapes and bruises. "SELMA, medical scan."
"Captain, she is very lucky. She has a broken arm and a concussion and first degree burns over most of her body. But she will recover with no permanent injuries."
He started breathing again. "Good, can we call for an ambulance for her?"
"Yes, her injuries can be treated by 20th century doctors with no side effects."
"Good, please call for an ambulance then."
"I already have."
Dr. Matthew Collins, a research associate for Rickter Research, was hovering over a microscope. He was assigned to the laboratory that actually did research diabetes. Out of nowhere, Dr. Rickter and a strange man appeared. They appeared to be sleeping. Dr. Collins called the police.
When the police arrived, he learned that Rickter and the stranger, a man named Duffy, were both wanted in Washington D.C. for the murder of two police officers and the attempted murder of two others.
Dr. Rickter and Duffy both came around shortly after the police arrived. They were arrested and carted off to jail.
Dr. Collins went back to his microscope.
Sabrina woke up in a strange room. Darien was beside her. "What happened?"
He smiled. "A lot actually. The car blew up. I hit Duffy and Sahmbi with TXP, they disappeared."
"So you sent them home?"
"No, they disappeared. Sahmbi had his own delta wave transmitter. But they turned up in front of one of his legitimate research associates, who was rather confused and called the police. They are in police custody. I visited them today."
"What are the charges?"
"Fraud, murder, attempted murder, assault, etc." He looked a little grave. "I have some news for you too. This is entirely your decision. If you want, I will send you home right now. But first I want to ask you something."
"Will you stay here and help me finish? I contacted the Chief. He arranged for your records to reflect graduation. You even have a promotion. Either way, if you stay or if you go back. You are a Lieutenant, Sabrina Sanford, in the fugitive retrieval section. "
She brightened. "I am a lieutenant and I never graduated from the academy?"
"You did, just 200 years more or less earlier. But you have been working for us since your arrival, without backup. There is more."
"Yes, the Chief sent you your own MPPT," Darien held up a car alarm. "And NILES, a Network Interface Limited Encapsulated Server, designed to work in tandem with SELMA. And your mother sent you this." It was a red silk shirt, just like the one she'd destroyed to bind Darien's arm. "She says she's proud of you."
"I am going to leave you to get acquainted with NILES and make your decision. I have a house call to make." Darien put the car alarm and a visa card on the table by the bed. "I'll be back in a few hours. Have NILES call SELMA if you need me before that."
Darien left the room.
"Greetings Lieutenant Sanford." A young man with dark hair in a tailored suit appeared. He had a nice smile.
"Hello NILES, it is nice to meet you. Call me Sabrina?"
Darien went to Cavendish's office. "I need to inspect the prison you will send Rickter to if he is convicted."
"Not a problem, Lambert." He gave him the address.
"SELMA, I need a cover as a prison inspector. I want to make sure Sahmbi cannot get out of this one."
"Why not just send him back?"
"Two reasons, he has already had two doses of TXP. He might get back, he might die. Personally I don't care which, but he might also pull a Sepp Dietrich and do neither. Also, he might still have that delta wave transmitter. He might disappear before I can send him back."
Darien went to the prison; it was the same one Charlie Burke was at. Those two together were lethal. Charlie was going to have to go back. First, though, he needed to speak to the prison warden.
He approached the secretary and held up his badge. "Hello, my name is Devon Larson; I am inspector with the Justice Department. I need to see Warden Jenkins."
She put a call through to the warden. He came out, "Hello, I am Warden Jenkins, how can I help you?"
"Devon Larson. I am here to do a routine inspection of your prison."
"My beeper. If you don't mind, I need to make a call."
"Sure, you can use the one in my office."
"I need a private phone."
"I'll wait out here." Jenkins offered.
Darien picked up line one. "Block this SELMA. Now what is it?"
"That man is a fugitive. His name is David Johnson. He is wanted for larceny and murder in the 22nd century."
"Well, I think it's time he got a transfer." Darien went to the door and opened it, "Warden Jenkins. Thank you for letting me use your phone. I need to talk to you for a while before I conduct the inspection."
"Certainly." Jenkins came into the office and Darien shut the door behind him.
"I am not really a prison inspector, Warden Jenkins. Or should I say, David Johnson?"
"Who are you?"
"Darien Lambert, Fugitive Retrieval. And I am sending you back."
Before Jenkins could respond, Darien fired a red pellet at him. "SELMA, transmission tone." Jenkins disappeared. "Now, could you make a call to his secretary out there. Tell her he is not to be disturbed for any reason and that I have unlimited access to the prison and do not need an escort."
SELMA did as he asked.
"Now lets go get Charlie Burke."
Darien returned to Sahmbi's jail cell. "Hello, Dr. 'Rickter'" he said with a smile.
"You're not going to send me back are you?"
"No, of course not. That would kill you. And I wouldn't want that. No, you are going to go to prison in the 20th century. The department has analyzed your bullet and now the medical examiner knows what to look for. They've got you for multiple accounts of murder. Open and shut. I'll see you in court." Darien smiled. It was cruel, but he'd had SELMA drain all of Sahmbi's accounts, all that he knew of at least. He'd donated the money to the families of the people Sahmbi had killed.
Sabrina had made her decision, and it was hard. All she'd thought about for the past seven years was going home. Darien had given her a ticket, and even a job on the other end. But she couldn't go. This job wasn't done.
When Darien came back, she said, "I'm staying."