Tuesday, April 5, 2016
BAU Headquarters – 2pm
Derek had eleven hours to find his team. Still shaken from the video of a hysterical bloody Garcia, he knew that he had to focus and call on all of his training and push aside his personal feelings for her and the others. Cruz had made good on his promise to begin his own official search and the bullpen was now filled with FBI agents from various other departments throughout the bureau.
Frustrated, he was still waiting on a technical analysis and although he was able to do simple searches his skill set was not adequate for what he needed. Just as he was about to go down to Technical Support and snatch his own tech he noticed an older woman enter the office. She reminded him of his grandmother; surely she was lost, he thought. He continued to watch her as she approached one of the agents and saw him look up and point in his direction. He watched as she proceeded slowly up the stairs toward the conference room.
“Can I help you?”
“I’m Mabel Henry from Tech Support.”
Morgan’s jaw dropped and it was no way he could hide his shock as he looked her up and down in silence. She was dressed in a bright orange skirt with red and white giant flowers; her blouse was white with black polka dots and a baby blue cardigan. Her used-to-be-a-dyed-blonde hair was graying and haphazardly pinned in a bun on top of her head.
“I get that a lot.” She chuckled as she returned his unbelieving stare, pushing up her neon green cat-eyed glasses.
“I-I…um I’m sorry…”
“No worries. Where do you want me?”
“Huh?” Derek shook his head trying to remember why she was there. “Oh…right here.” Pointing to the office next to the conference room.
Mable followed him to Garcia’s lair and opened the door.
“This is our tech’s lair. Please be careful she’s pretty particular about her things…her babies as she calls them.”
“Aren’t we all?” She quipped back.
The woman looked even older up close sitting her bag on the floor she took a seat in front of the bank of computer screens and made herself comfortable flipping switches and watching the screens spring to life.
For a minute it was as if Garcia’s future self had found a way to defy time’s continuum and stepped backwards into the present time.
“From what Unit Chief Cruz told me you’re in a bit of a time crunch.”
She saw the mix of anger, stress and sadness in his eyes even though he thought he had done a pretty good job of hiding it behind his tough guy exterior.
“My entire team has been kidnapped and I have less than eleven hours to find them or they die.”
“Okay. Let’s get to work. Give me the details.”
“We all left the office around noon for lunch. They went to Pelley’s about a mile and a half from here and I decided to work out instead of going with them.”
Mabel turned and looked him over with a discerning eye. She liked what she saw.
“An hour later I received a call from the son-of-a-bitch who took them.”
“So they’ve got to be close.”
“Yeah, right.” He responded surprised. “He’s close but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to find them in time.”
“Giving up already, Handsome?” She said looking over her shoulder at him as her fingers continued to type.
“No I’ll never give up.”
“Good then get out of here and let me get to work.”
“Yes, ma’am!” He responded in surprise.
He watched in awe he hadn’t seen anyone handle multiple computers and screens like that before except…he closed his eyes for a moment to block her out of his mind. He had to remain focused there was too much at stake.
Unknown Location -
The door creaked and opened with a rush; the limp body of Penelope Garcia fell with a thud to the floor. Before any of them could utter a word the door slammed shut. With their hands and feet still bound there was nothing they could do for her but watch and wait for some sign of movement from their friend. Blood smeared her neck and blouse and no one wanted to even guess what had happened while she was gone.
“Penelope!” JJ yelled at her friend frantically.
Hotch and Rossi looked on horrified knowing she was the least prepared for a situation like this and becoming a victim of such harshness and cruelty would scare her beyond the physical.
“Garcia!” Reid called out voice quivering.
She began to stir and move against the pain but she was alive and for that they all were grateful. Her hands and feet were not bound so that was also another thing to be grateful for.
“I’m okay…I’m okay…” She whispered to them.
Slowly she pulled herself to an upright position in the middle of the room then touching lightly the haphazard gauze that had been wrapped around her neck. It was painful to the touch but she knew it could have been a lot worse. It wasn’t meant to cause serious or life threatening harm. It was purely for affect, to get Morgan’s attention which no doubt had achieved its purpose. As much as it had scared her she got a small sense of satisfaction knowing that Derek would kill the evil bastard when he got his hands on him.
“Garcia! Untie us!” Hotch ordered taking charge and seeing an opportunity.
Garcia as quickly as she could, crawled over to the others and began untying them starting with Hotch who in turn untied Rossi. Garcia moved over to JJ while Rossi untied Alex and Hotch finally untied Reid. Once free they all rubbed their wrist and began plotting their next move.
“Now what?” Garcia seemed to speak out loud what the others were thinking.
“Good question, Garcia. We’ve got to figure a way out of here.” Hotch answered.
“What can you tell us? What happened?” Ross asked.
“He forced me to make a video for Derek. He wanted me to tell him that he was going to kill us if he didn’t find us in time. Then he cut my neck to show Derek he was serious.”
“Pen, are you okay?” JJ asked.
“It hurts like hell but I’ll be fine.”
“Derek’s gonna kill that son-of-a-bitch!” Reid mumbled.
Just then the door opened again and Kirkwood and his two armed goons stepped confidently through the door. He examined the group and smirked so sure he was going to get away with his plan. The two men behind him had a similar smirk of overconfidence.
“So I see you’ve all made yourselves comfortable. Well, it’s time for us to have some more fun!”
He motioned to the man on the left behind him and he obediently moved toward Reid and yanked him to his feet.
With the help of Mabel Derek had narrowed his search area to a five-mile radius. He and Cruz stood in front of a large map looking at all of the possible locations that would give Kirkwood the ability to hide six people without drawing attention. Even in the relatively small area there were too many places and too little time to check them all.
“I can start sending teams out to these locations…”
“No! If they stumble on the right location, you can guarantee he will be watching. If he sees anybody but me, he’s going to start killing them and I can’t risk that.”
“Come on, Morgan you can’t check all these by yourself!”
“Yeah, I know… we’ve got to narrow the list and we can’t afford to be wrong.”
Cruz ran his hand over his head and began pacing. Taking over Strauss’ old job didn’t look so attractive to him now. The BAU was indeed a rare special unit with nerves of steel and watching Morgan work to find his team he knew he was not capable of doing what they did.
“So what are you going to do?” Cruz asked in frustration.
Derek’s phone rang just before he could answer Cruz’s question. Another video had been sent to him by Kirkwood. He braced himself for the sight of another one of his team abused and bloody flaunted in his face by a man he wanted desperately to kill.
Reid, like Garcia had been forced to make a recording and to read a prepared script to further taunt Morgan. Unlike Garcia however, Reid paid close attention to everything around him as he was led to the room set up like a miniature studio equipped with expensive equipment that the average Joe would not have a clue even existed. He had to get a message of his own to Morgan and he hoped that his friend would understand and it would help him find them before it was too late.
Morgan sat on the edge of the conference table and pushed play. He watched as Reid was pushed down into a chair and handed a piece of lined notepaper. He squinted against the bright lights and began reading silently at first.
“Read, Genius!” barked Kirkwood’s voice out of view.
Reid turned to his left as if he were looking at someone and then turned back toward the camera.
“Okay! I don’t understand what shooting an expensive movie is going to accomplish; this isn’t Hollywood!”
Kirkwood’s fist suddenly appeared in view landing hard against the side of Reid’s head. Reid tried but couldn’t hold in the cry of pain.
“Read the damn script!”
Reid glanced up at the lights before taking a deep breath and beginning.
“Time is running out… eight and a half hours from now and we will be dead if you don’t find us. No police, no FBI…come alone… your life for ours…”
Kirkwood stepped into view placing a gun to Reid’s head. Reid flinched then stiffened as the barrel pressed roughly against his temple. He closed his eyes praying that he’d gotten his message across and that they would be found soon.
“Eight and half hours, agent! If you don’t make it in time just know that I’m going to have so much fun with your friends making them suffer! They’ll all be screaming and calling your name wondering where you are and asking why you didn’t save them!”
The screen went black as the video came to an end. Cruz watched the torment and pain cross Morgan’s face.
“What are you going to do?” He asked again.
Morgan slowly looked up at the Section Chief and in a steady confident voice he answered him.
“I’m going to call for back up.”
He was more confused than ever. Cruz had given up on understanding anything and so, he stood watching the wheels turning in the agent’s head and after several seconds he left the room.
Morgan got up and moved to close the door. He couldn’t risk being overheard. He dialed a number that he hadn’t dialed in quite a while; he only hoped he’d get a warm reception without a lecture of how terrible he was at keeping in contact with friends.
The phone was answered on the third ring and he sighed at hearing her voice on the other end. No one, not even Garcia had known that he had kept in contact and knew where she was. After her sudden departure her name was very rarely if ever brought up as if she had never been a part of the team. The two of them had become close and Morgan wasn’t one to forget about the few people whom he had let in. So, from time to time he would call to check on her and she him. It was their secret and he kept his word to keep her whereabouts to himself.
“It’s been a while, stranger.” She said cheerfully.
“Elle, I need you…”