At long last…

For my fellow GH fans and friends,

Here is the latest installment. It’s not action packed this time, but I hope you’ll find a few quality Robert and Anna moments, some of the relationship building stuff that we’ve been missing. Enjoy!

Previous chapters are available in the archives or at https://www.fanfiction.net/~catkthompson

Endgame Chapter 8  – WHAT DO WE DO NOW?

After wasting several rounds and most of their energy, Robert and Anna sat down, defeated. It was no use. No one was going to hear them scream. No one was going to release them even if they did.

“What the hell do we do now?” said Anna, her irritation readily apparent.

“I don’t know. Yet.” Robert made his way around the chamber opening and closing all of the cabinets.

“Well, we obviously can’t shoot our way out. How many bullets do you have left?”

“Four.” He eyed the supply of chemicals he’d found. “Can we blast our way out?”

“What?”

“I know you can diffuse a bomb, but how are you at building one?” he said.

She sank into the rolling chair near the work station and bent over to check the undersurface for bugs. “If I made a bomb strong enough to blow that door, the blast would kill us both.”

“So much for that.”

“Any other bright ideas?”

“Not at the moment.”

“You wasted half your ammunition firing at a steel door. What did you think—that you had some magic bullets? Good job we weren’t killed by the ricochet.”

“Anna, don’t do that,” he said as took off his sport coat and tossed it on top of a stack of boxes. He shoved a crate into the corner and stepped up on it to examine the mounted camera.

“Don’t do what?”

“The same thing you always do,” he said.

“And what is that, Robert?” she said, moving on to the drawers on either side of the desk.

“You take out your frustrations on the closest target. It’s not gonna do either of us any good to be down each other’s throats.”

“Eeerrrgghh! I know! I know you’re right! I’m just…” She pulled a small bound notebook out from under a pile of file folders and opened it to the first page. “Robert!” she said in a voice that sounded like a mixture of joy and panic.

He was at her side in an instant. “Did you find something?”

“Just this.” She held up the book. “Robin’s journal. She was here, Robert. All of this… this is her research. They kept her here all of this time against her will,” she said, her voice trembling. The thought sickened her, but proof that Robin was alive was almost enough to compensate for it.

He took the journal out of her hand and sat down on the cot on the far side of the room. “She was looking for a cure Polonium Poisoning?” he said, flipping through the pages.

“Apparently.”

“Under the command of Jerry Jacks and his band of merry men. Dammit!” He shook his head.

“Robert, what are we going to do? We can’t just sit here. Our daughter is out there somewhere.”

“We don’t seem to have a lot of options right now, do we? We’re gonna have to wait until someone opens that door and then… then we can make a move.”

“How long do you think until someone comes back?”

“I don’t know.”

“What if they don’t come back?”

“They will.”

“How can you be sure?”

“Because… Look, you said you saw Faison and Obrecht on the boat, right?”

“Yes.”

“So Faison knows you’re here.”

“Yes.”

“And what’s the one thing in this world that he wants more than anything else?”

“Me,” she said.

“Exactly.”

“So you think he’ll come back to claim me?”

“Or someone will. At the very least, they’ll bring you food and water. Keep you alive.”

She chose to ignore the fact that he didn’t include himself in that statement. “And then what?” she said. “We have four bullets. They have automatic weapons. The odds aren’t exactly working in our favor.”

He read the exasperation in her face. He reached out and pulled her rolling chair closer to him. He looked deep into her eyes. “Listen, this is us. You and me. We just need to put our heads together. We’ll come up with something.”

She leaned in and allowed her forehead to touch his. She smiled, thinking their heads were quite literally together.

He gave a slight chuckle, knowing that was exactly what she was thinking.

“Okay?” he said.

“Okay,” she answered. “I guess we have time, don’t we?” she said with a slight smile.

“So it would seem,” he said.

They began to run escape scenarios by one another, shooting down one plan after another for one reason or another. Robert could feel Anna’s frustration growing again. Truth be told, he was no less irked than she was, but one of them had to keep a cool head.

After about an hour of fruitless discussion, Anna decided to change the subject. “Robert?”

“What, love.”

“Luke ran off after Jerry because he was looking for a cure for Polonium Poisoning. Jerry held Robin hostage so she could develop the cure. I can make sense of that. But how do you think Faison and Obrecht fit in to this whole thing?”

“Obrecht ran the clinic where Robin was held to start with.”

“Yes, but is there more? How is she connected to Faison? What is his part in all of it?”

“I don’t know, but I intend to find out, one way or another. And when I do…”

There was no need to finish that statement. She knew exactly what he was thinking. She was thinking it too.

“There’s something that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about,” she continued.

“What’s that?”

“You said that you figured out that I was here because of a message from Britt Westborne.”

“Right. When she said that her mother might have brought her baby here, I figured it was—”

“How did you know that Obrecht was her mother?”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, how did you know that Obrecht was Britt’s mother? I only found out a few weeks ago, but you were…”

“In a coma. Yeah. Don’t remind me.”

“So? Did I tell you that at the clinic?”

“Maybe. I don’t know.”

“What do you know?” She stood and started to pace about.

“What?”

“Or more precisely, what else do you know?”

“Anna, you’re not making any sense here.”

“Robert, I don’t think I told you about their relationship, so if I didn’t tell you, you must have got the information somehow. The question is what other information do you have, how did you get it, and how do we retrieve it?”

“Three,” he said matter-of-factly.

“What?”

“That’s three questions,” he smirked.

“Oh, shut up,” she said. She rolled her eyes, but he saw the playful grin that snuck across her face.

“What are you thinking?” he asked, intrigued. He watched her pace a while longer, obviously deep in though. He was in awe of her mind at work. He always had been. And there was nothing sexier than the gleam that she got in her eye when she was in throws of concocting a plan or solving a mystery.

“What if…” she said, still moving from one side of the room to the other. Her fingers formed a steeple in front of her lips just under her nose. “That’s it!” She crossed the room and sat down in front of him again. Turned sideways in the chair she crossed her legs.

He did his best to ignore them.

“Robert,” she started in again, leaning in toward him, “you said you saw Obrecht and Robin at the clinic before you lost consciousness.”

“Yeah.” He cleared his throat and sat up straighter.

“What if you heard them talking and somehow retained the information?”

“Subconsciously?”

“Yes. What if you heard something about what they were planning that you just don’t remember?”

“So, what do you want to do now, hypnotize me?”

“It’s not a bad idea.”

“It’s a terrible idea! Since when do you possess the skills to—”

“I’ve learned a lot of things since the last time we were together.”

“I’ll just bet you have!”

She caught the wicked twinkle in his eye. “Ah, watch it, Robert.”

“Anna, this is…”

“Come on. It can’t hurt to try, can it?”

“No.”

“Why not?”

“Because…”

“Robert!”

“Anna, it doesn’t make any difference why I know what I know, all right?”

“But if you heard Obrecht say something, anything—”

“I was unconscious.”

“Yes, but if you—”

“Anna, drop it!” he said sternly.

“Couldn’t we just try it? Alex and I—”

“No.”

“Don’t you trust me?”

“Of course I trust you.”

“Come on, Robert,” she said with a curious smile, “what don’t you want me to find in that head of yours?”

“What? Nothing. Look, I’ve been reenacting Sleeping Beauty for the better part of a year, Anna. I’d rather not take any chances, all right?”

She considered his request and nodded, then stood and walked away again.

“I’m sorry,” he said, recognizing her disappointment.

“Don’t worry about it,” she said still facing away from him with her arms folded.

He stood and approached her. “Anna,” he whispered as he folded his arms around her from behind, “it’s gonna be all right. You’ll see.” He didn’t have to see her face to guess that tears were welling up in her big brown eyes.

She nodded again. “I know,” she said.

“We’ll figure it out, love.”

“I know,” she said again. She wiggled out of his grip and turn to face him. “I’m just so frustrated, you know?” Her lower lip quivered and the tears threatened to fall even as anger burned behind them. “Damn it, Robert!” She shoved at him.

She wasn’t angry at him. He knew that. She would much rather have been laying into Faison, but in his absence, Robert was the stand in.

“That man has destroyed every chance we’ve ever had at happiness and now he’s doing the same thing to Robin and her family!”

Her fists came at him, one after the other, pummeling him like a human punching bag. If he’d been stronger, he’d have let her have at it for a while longer, but currently that wasn’t an option. He rushed in to scoop her up into his embrace again before she could swing again. She didn’t fight him. Instead, she crumbled into him, sliding her arms under his and wrapping them up over his shoulders. She clung to him, soaking his shirt with salt water as he swayed slowly and shushed her softly.

“We were so close,” she murmured. “So close. She was here,” she cried. “I just want to hold my baby, Robert.”

“And you will. I promise. Come here.” He let go and took her hand, leading her over to the cot. They sat side by side, backs to the wall. He put an arm around her as she rested her head on his shoulder. “Now, look at it this way. A week ago you thought she was gone. Now you know they have her, but you know she’s alive, right?”

“Right,” she said, taking his free hand. She squeezed his fingers between hers. She sniffed. “She’s alive.” She wiped her eyes with the other hand as she sat up. “Do you think that we should—”

His face stopped her midsentence. His head rested on the cement block wall behind them. His eyes were closed. The dark bags around them spoke volumes. He lifted his head when she fell silent.

“Do I think we should what, love?”

“Ah… Do you think we should try to get some sleep? I mean, the circumstances aren’t ideal, but I am rather tired,” she said, knowing he wouldn’t admit that he was exhausted, but he would sleep if he thought she needed to.

“You are? How’s your head? You don’t think it’s a concussion, do you?”

“No. It’s fine. I’m fine. It’s just been a stressful day. Maybe if we get some rest we’ll be able to think more rationally about this whole thing.”

“You’re probably right about that.”

“Okay. So, you take the cot,” she said, getting to her feet.

“Where are you going sleep?”

“I can sleep in the chair.” She found an electrical pannel on the opposite wall and turned off the overhead lamps, leaving them in the soft glow of emergency lighting.

“Or we can both sleep here,” he suggested, patting the mattress next to him.

“Don’t be ridiculous, Robert.”

“What? We’ve occupied smaller spaces than this. Remember Beirut?” he said with a wry smile.

“I do,” she laughed. And I also remember that we damn near lost our mark because you couldn’t keep your hands off me.”

“Hmm. Well, I was younger then and much more flexible. And Lavery wasn’t part of the equation.”

She eyed him skeptically.

“Your virtue is safe tonight, my dear. Scout’s honor,” he said, raising his right hand.

She smiled at him. “Fine, but you take the wall,” she said, slipping off her heels and hanging her jacket on the back of the chair.

He removed his shoes too and lay down on top of the blanket, turning on to his side.

She positioned herself next to him facing away but was not surprised, nor bothered by his arms encircling her waist.

After a few minutes he heard her giggle. “What?” he said.

She covered her face with her hand, still laughing. “This just reminds me of that bloody train ride, that’s all.”

“The honeymoon train to hell?”

“Yes! Trying to fit into the upper berth. God, it was awful!”

He gave a small chuckle. “At least this time we don’t have to deal with motion sickness.”

“Thank God!” she said with a sigh. “Robert?”

“Hmm?”

“Do you ever wonder what might have happened with us? You know… if Faison hadn’t happened. Again. Do you think we could have made it work the second time?”

“I don’t know, Anna,” he said quietly. “I know that when we said our vows, I meant them.”

“Me too. Every word.”

“We had our share of trouble. God only knows. But we certainly had a lot of good times, didn’t we?”

“The best.”

“Those memories of you and me… Robin… they got me through some pretty dark moments.”

“Sometimes they’re the only thing that get me through the day—memories of Robin,” she quickly clarified.

“Name one,” he said.

“What?”

“A favorite memory.”

“Right now?”

“Why not?”

“All right…” She thought for a second. “The day I we told her we were her parents.”

“Good one.”

“Your turn.”

“Ah, the day I gave her the puppy.” He laughed. “You were fit to be tied. You and Duke.”

“No we weren’t!”

“Were too. You covered it well, though. Next.”

“Robin’s dance recital.”

“Ooh… and the delayed-gratification dress. That’s high on my list too. How about our second wedding? I think Robin was as happy as we were. Go again,” he prompted her.

She smiled. “Robin’s wedding. Having you there to walk her down the aisle.”

“And after the wedding,” he chided.

“Robert!”

“You were drunk on champagne and I was drunk on you. Intoxicated by the radiant beauty of the mother of the bride,” he went on.

“I thought we agreed never to talk about that,” she said in a hushed tone.

“Who’s going to hear it?”

They both had to laugh at that. Neither spoke again for quite some time, each lost in thought. Finally she broke the silence. “Thank you,” she said.

“For what?”

“For the trip down memory lane. It was nice.” She yawned and stretched. Her hand came to rest on his, their fingers intertwining.

“My pleasure,” he said. “Sleep now, love. Tomorrow we can get back to work. Find a way out of this mess.”

“And we find our daughter… and take her home… to Port Charles,” she said sleepily.

“Damn right.”

“To Patrick and Emma…”

“To Patrick and Emma,” he repeated. He felt her inhale deeply and let it out. Her body relaxed against his. He kissed the back of her head and whispered good night. He allowed himself to relax too, but before drifted off to sleep, he made a promise—a promise to himself, to Anna, and to Robin and Emma. This time, he would reunite mother and daughter. Faison would not win again. Robert would die before he would let him win again.

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Don’t Do This to Me – Endgame Ch 7

“I never thought I’d step foot on this bloody island again,” Robert mumbled to himself as he entered the Cassadine compound, closing the door quietly behind him. He moved stealthily through the maze of darkened hallways, listening carefully for any signs of life. He made his way to the top floor with the idea of checking rooms from top to bottom. Each time he came to a new room, he flung the door open, gun drawn, prepared for anything. He found nothing. Every room was tidy—empty.

He entered the deserted kitchen. After a quick sweep he paused to catch his breath. “Damn!” he grumbled, beginning to feel discouraged. But as he leaned on the counter near the stove, he found a glimmer of hope radiating off of the back burner on the electric stove. It was still slightly warm. Not hot, but definitely not cold. It had been used recently, probably within the last half hour. That gave him all of the encouragement he needed to keep moving. Even if Obrecht and company had already left, he might find a clue as to where they’d gone next. He briefly considered going back upstairs to check the rooms more thoroughly, then decided against it. He’d check downstairs first. With a cryogenic chamber, a lab and God knows what else, that area was a treasure trove of evil genius.

Cautiously Robert side-stepped his way down the stairs into the basement of the compound prepared to engage at any moment. All was relatively quiet except for two armed guards who sat playing cards outside of a large steel door in the antechamber of the lab. He wouldn’t be able to take on both of them at once. Robert needed a diversion. It would have to be simple. Time was of the essence and he had virtually nothing in the way of supplies. He moved quickly in the opposite direction toward the cryogenic chamber, plotting as he went.

* * *

“What’s that?” one guard said to the other, detecting a strange beeping sound.

“I don’t know. Sounds like it’s coming from Area C. I thought we were supposed to be here alone.”

“Yeah. Mr. Jacks said the others were all evacuating, but…”

“So, what do we do now?”

“What do you mean, ‘what do we do now’? We go check it out! He said there was a possibility that we’d have more visitors. That’s why we’re here, right?”

“I guess so.”

“So…”

“So… what?”

“Go check it out, little brother!”

“You go check it out.”

“I said it first.”

“Let’s both go.”

“No way. One of us has to stay here and guard the lab the make sure the woman doesn’t escape.”

Robert listened to the argument echoing through empty halls. He chuckled to himself. It was almost too easy. “Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumb,” he smiled.

“What’s the matter? You scared, Roy-boy? Geez, come on!”

“Fine!” Roy snapped. “You know what? You suck Dale!” He headed off in the direction of the beep, glancing back several times.

Dale just gave him a disgusted look and shooed him off with a few flicks of the wrist.

When Roy came around the corner, Robert was waiting for him. One quick chop and Roy was down without a sound. Robert pulled his phone out of his pocket and turned off the alarm. “That came in rather handy,” he said, rather pleased with himself.

Had he waited long enough, the other brother might have come looking and Robert could have taken him out the same way, but he was getting impatient. Not only that, if his intel was accurate, the lab would be thumbprint protected. Robert was banking on the fact that all of the guards had access, but he would need to take one out in close proximity to the entrance. He left Roy there in a heap and made his way back toward the lab.

Just outside the entrance to the antechamber, Robert paused again. Taking a chance that Dale was as dull as he appeared, he cleared his throat and spoke, “Dale, come quickly. Roy has been injured!”

“Mr. Jacks, Is that you?” came Dale’s response, followed by footsteps as he rushed across the floor.

Seconds later Dale was surprised by Robert and met with a fate not unlike that of his little brother. “Works every time,” Robert muttered. He dragged Dale’s limp form to the lab door and stopped for a breather, slightly distressed that he was so out of shape.  With no time to waste, he didn’t dwell on it. He took hold of Dale’s arm and with a yank, pressed his thumb to the keypad.

“Ha ha! Still got it,” he smirked as the keypad recognized the print.

Robert peaked in as the door  squeaked open and was horrified.  “Anna!”  He rushed to her side as she lay motionless on the floor. “Anna!”

There was no response.

He put a hand on her cheek. “Anna, come on baby, don’t do this to me.” He moved his hand to her neck and was relieved to find a pulse. He leaned closer and felt her breath on his cheek. “Thank God!” he whispered. She had no noticeable wounds at first glance. Robert put his arms around her and pulled her close, cradling her limp body.  “Anna! Anna, can you hear me? Anna, sweetheart, I need you to wake up now. We need to get you out of here before those goons come around.” He patted her face. “Anna, come on.”

She began to stir, slight moaning sounds coming from her throat.

“Anna,” Robert said, getting more excited.

“No,” she whispered.

“Yes. Come on, Anna. It’s me.”

“Robert?” she questioned before opening her eyes.

“Yeah baby. I’m here. But we need to go.”

“My head.”

“You’ve got a nasty bump,” he said, after further examination. “Do you know what happened?”

“Where are we?” she said. She glanced around, blinking to regain focus as she opened her eyes.

“Cassadine Island.”

“What? Oh. The boat,” Anna said, still trying to get her bearings. She struggled to sit up.

Robert let go, but stayed by her side, prepared to grab hold again if needed.

“Robert, what are you doing here? You’re supposed to be in hospital. God, are you all right?”

“I’m fine. I’m more worried about you.”

“You found me. How did you find me?”

“You left me you a clue, didn’t you?”

“I did?”

“Your phone. Outside Steinmauer.”

“Oh. Right. I kicked it under the bench. I didn’t know if anyone would find it.”

“How did they get you?”

“Chloroform , I think. From behind. I didn’t know who it was, but…

“Obrecht.”

“Yeah. I saw her on the boat. With Faison!” She gulped as she said his name. “She broke him out.”

“I know.”

“She drugged me and broke him out,” she continued, sounding aggravated.

“Any news on Robin?”

Anna shook her head. “I tried to make a break for it when we docked and something… someone… hit me. That’s all I remember. How did you even know to look for me?”

“That’s a long story. We can talk about that later. We need to get out of here first. Before Chip and Dale wake up.” He glanced quickly over his shoulder at the open door. The coast was still clear. “Listen, Anna, can you walk?”

“Of course I can. Help me up?”

He stood and took hold of her under the arms, hoisting her up. Once she was on her feet, he pulled her into his embrace.

She let him hold her for a minute, relishing the sense security before forcing the end of the moment. “Robert…”

“Hmm?”

“Let go, then.”

“Right,” he said. He backed away cautiously.

She took all of three steps before the room started to spin and she collapsed into his arms again.

“Whoa. Looks like we’d better take it slow,” he smiled. He managed to get her over to the small bed in the corner.

“I’m all right. I’m just a little dizzy. That’s all.”

“Okay. Give it a minute and we’ll try again,” he said, his arms still wound around her as they sat.

Anna nodded and rested her head on Robert’s shoulder. “I can’t believe you found me,” she said again.

“Of course I found you. Robert said. “You know I’d move Heaven and Earth before I’d let anything happen to you.” He felt her nod again. He held her bit longer, and then said, “Okay, love. We’ve got to try this again. Are you ready?”

“I think so.”

“Okay. Here we go.” He rose slowly, bringing her with him. “Hold on to Bobby now,” he said in a playful voice.

“Yes dear,” she said. Her tone was sarcastic, but her lips curled up with the tiniest smile.

Suddenly a voice boomed out, “Well, well, well… Look what we have here. Two super spies for the price of one! I hate to spoil your plans, but you two are not going anywhere!”

Jerry Jacks maniacal laughter reverberated through the halls as the lab door slid shut, leaving a startled Robert and Anna staring after him in disbelief.

 

** All previous chapters are available in the archives or at www.fanfiction.net/~catkthompson **

5 Reasons for Writing Fan Fiction

Fan fiction is a term for stories about characters or settings written by fans of the original work, rather than by the original creator. It can be based on a book, a video game, a soap opera, or other pop culture phenomenon. If you google your favorite show, you will no doubt find some stories written by other fans out there. Some of it is written by amateurs just looking to have a good time or voice their opinions about what should have been. Some comes from writers or aspiring writers. From time to time, the value of writing fanfic vs. original fiction can be called into question. Some members writing community don’t consider it to be “real” writing. While it can never be published in book form or sold for profit, I would venture to say that it is absolutely “real” writing and I can think of at least five good reasons to do it.

Reason #1

Character development and consistency is very important when writing original fiction. With fanfic, the characters are already developed, but consistency is still the key. Staying true to the characters that people know and love is tough and must be taken seriously. To really do it right, you’ll need to examine their vocabulary, imitate typical speech patterns, describe their mannerisms etc. Both the actions and the dialogue need to be spot on. If your portrayal of a legacy character is not up to snuff, you’ll anger the fans you’re supposed to be writing for and they can get rather rowdy. They will keep you on your toes, but it’s good practice.

Reason #2

If you’re a fluffy romance novelist considering trying your hand at murder mystery or vice versa, writing fanfic may be the perfect way to test out a new genre. It’s a great way to try out new techniques in smaller chunks of serial fiction. That way you can see what works best for you and what’s best received by readers as you go instead of experimenting with a novel sized piece. You can apply what you’ve learned to the novel later on.

Reason #3

Fanfic readers are avid fans who are constantly looking for more to read. They get excited when a new chapter comes out. Many will read it almost immediately and review or comment on your work. They will be brutally honest, but that’s a good thing. This feedback can be very valuable. Of course, you have to weigh the responses and see which pieces are valuable and which pieces you should just let go. That’s good practice for when the reviews of your novel start rolling in. With any luck, however, you’ll be able to take some of the critiques and use them in your original writing.

Reason #4

If you write good fanfic, chances are you will build a fan base that will want to check out your book once it’s published. Some serious writers may tell you that they don’t want to be known for this fanfic. If you’re looking to go down in history with Shakespeare or Tolstoy, you may not think this is for you. But most of the time the goal is to write and enjoyable piece of fiction that people will buy.  I once read that Fifty Shades of Grey was originally marketed to the Twilight fanfic audience.  You tell me. How did that work out for E.L. James?

Reason #5

It’s fun!  Most of us became writers because we love stories. We love creating. It’s fun. It’s an escape. Sometimes, when I’m in the middle of a writing project, I get so mired down in the technique and the structure that I lose sight of the reason that I started to begin with. So, if you find yourself stressed over the current project, take a break and write something a little more frivolous. Again, that is not to say that fanfic should not be taken seriously, but it’s not what’s paying the bills, so you can afford to relax just a little bit. Enjoy your favorite characters. Rewrite their stories to make them what you always hoped they would be. Throw them into a wild love triangle or a new super spy mystery.  Just have fun!

A Final Word of Advice:

If you are writing fanfic to hone your craft with hopes of publishing your own original work someday, have fun, but make it good. I know I just finished telling you that it is a non-threatening way to experiment. I stand by that, but make sure that even in those experimental phases you are putting out the best product you can. Don’t forget to focus on mechanics too. Just because people are pop-culture fans and not literary critics, it doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate a well-written story with good grammar. Too many errors will leave a lasting impression, and it won’t be a good one.  So spend some time editing.  Remember that once you put it out there, you can never really take it back. You don’t want to go down as the one who had a great story but mutilated the English language.

So there you have it. As far as I’m concerned, whether it’s original or not, it’s all good practice. You can’t publish your version of your favorite soap opera, but you can tap into the existing fan base for exposure and feedback. You can improve your technique by taking risks you wouldn’t take on your own.  Just remember, as in all writing, respect your characters. Respect their history, but don’t be afraid to take them somewhere they’ve never been. Go somewhere you’ve never gone.  Grow.  Get creative. Get busy. Get writing!

 

 

In Demand

Ask, and you shall receive… eventually! All chapters of this saga are also available on https://www.fanfiction.net/~catkthompson

ENDGAME

Chapter 5

NOT MY ANNA 

“Listen here, Frisco, I don’t care what you have to do. It’s been forty-eight hours and I haven’t heard a word from her since she arrived in Geneva. No. She should be back by now. She would have called. I need you to—What? I don’t care if— What do you mean you can’t? Aw, to hell with you and the WSB, then!” Robert hung up and tossed his phone down on the bed. Moments later, he consulted the phone again and shook his head in disgust. “Damn it! Don’t do this to me, Anna! Where the hell are you?”

As if it were an answer to his question, there was a knock at the door. Robert sat up, hopeful. The door opened and in walked a tall, well-dressed young man in an overcoat and sun glasses carrying an attaché case and a badge.

Robert rolled his eyes “Can I help you?”

“Robert Scorpio?” the man said, removing his glasses.

“That depends. Who wants to know?”

“Agent Tom Jacobs. Interpol,” the man said, extending his hand.

“Agent Jacobs,” Robert said as he shook it.

“It’s an honor, sir. I can’t tell you how many stories I’ve—”

“Cut the crap, Jacobs. What brings you here?”

“The organization heard that you were awake and they sent me to check on your condition.”

“My condition?”

“Yes, sir.”

“What condition were they hoping to find me in?”

“Sir?”

“Never mind. Don’t answer that. Believe it or not, I’m actually glad you’re here.”

“You are?”

“Yeah. Turns out, I’ve got a bit of a situation and I could use your help—Interpol’s that is. I’ve been in contact with Jones at the WSB and he says his hands are tied.”

“What is it that you need, sir?”

“I need you to locate Anna Devane.”

Jacobs frowned at him. “It’s funny you should ask that sir.”

“Why? And you can stop calling me sir.”

Because, sir… ah, because…  We were actually hoping you could help us find her.”

Robert lowered his eyes and stared at the young agent. “What do you mean? What’s going on?” He asked in a slow, deep voice.

“We have reason to believe that Ms. Devane aided one Cesar Faison in his escape from Steinmauer night before last.”

“What the hell are you talking about?”

“I take it you haven’t see the news reports?”

“No. They’ve been poking, prodding, and rehabbing me every five minutes. Come on. Out with it!” Robert bellowed.

The agent stalled as he pulled his laptop from his case. After a quick search, he turned the screen toward Robert without a word. Head shots of Anna  and Faison were plastered side by side on the screen while the newscaster spoke.

Tonight on WLPC News: The future of the PCPD is in question as whereabouts of Commissioner Anna Devane are unknown. Devane, last seen at Steinmauer Maximum Security Prison in Geneva, Switzerland, has been incommunicado for the past two days. She is currently believed to have assisted criminal mastermind Cesar Faison in his escape from said facility. At this point we can only speculate as to why Commissioner Devane might have been involved with the breakout, though sources remind us that the two were engaged briefly in the early 1990’s. According to Mayor Lomax, a decision has not yet been made as to whether or not an interim commissioner will be appointed. More on this story at the bottom of the hour.

“I don’t believe it!” Robert shouted.

“Sir, according to the reports—”

“To hell with the reports. It’s all rubbish.  They’re no better than a bloody tabloid. Anna would never help that bastard escape. Not even if he….” He trailed off and took a deep breath, trying to still the nagging feeling in his gut. God, he hoped Anna hadn’t been convinced to help Faison due to some promise of information about Robin. Or Heaven forbid, that Faison hadn’t managed to use some kind of mind control on her again.

“Sir, the evidence does seem to suggest that—”

“What other evidence do you have?”

“We have surveillance footage from the prison as well as an audio clip picked up by our receivers outside the prison.”

“Show me.”

Agent Jacobs clicked and clacked over the keyboard of his laptop and pulled up the video files. “As you can see, we have footage from the cameras near the entrance as well as in the hallway outside the visitation room inside the prison itself. Ms. Devane enters at nine thirty-two am. Here we have a shot of her at the front desk at nine forty-five. Then, at ten-oh-seven, she’s seen exiting down this hallway here with Faison.”

He’s still handcuffed,” Robert said, pointing vigorously at the screen. “How do you know she wasn’t taking him into custody in an official capacity?”

“First of all, that would be out of her jurisdiction. Second, she reportedly assaulted two of the guards in order to get him out. And third, they haven’t been seen since and no one has been able to reach her.”

“Other than the shot at the gate, you can’t even see her face. What happened to the rest of the security cameras?”

“The system was tampered with, sir. Hacked.”

“Aw, hell,” Robert said, rolling his eyes. He didn’t like the way things were stacking up, but he refused to let them incriminate Anna so quickly. “So this is your proof? A series of half-assed camera angles and the fact that she won’t return your calls? She ignores mine on a regular basis. She’s a busy woman.”

“Would you deny the fact that Ms. Devane is quite… skilled… in accessing world networks?”

Robert shook his head. He couldn’t deny that. Anna had never met a system she couldn’t access.

“In all fairness, sir, we’ve brought suspects in with less evidence.”

“So just exactly what is it you want from me?”

“Well, Ms. Devane is a very experienced agent. She has eluded some of the best spies in the world.”

“True.”

“And you… are one of the few agents who… You and Ms. Devane…”

“Spit it out, Jacobs!”

“You know Ms. Devane. Intimately. Sir.” Jacobs cleared his throat.

“What’s your point?”

“If anyone would know how she thinks, it’s you. We’re hoping you can help us determine where she might go so that we can bring the two of them in.”

“Let me see the footage again. Rewind it.” Robert watched the screen intently, studying every shot of Anna for some kind of indication of distress or any other emotion, but it was difficult to tell anything without even so much as a glimpse of her expressive face. He watched it a third time, looking for clues in her body language. Finally, he threw back the covers and announced, “Out of my way, Jacobs.”

“What are you doing, sir?” Jacobs asked as Robert struggled to pry himself out of bed.

Robert grabbed his cane off of the bedside table and headed toward the cabinet that housed his clothing and personal effects. “What does it look like I’m doing? I’m busting out of here.”

“Where are you headed?”

“To Geneva, my boy.”

“So you’ll help us find her?”

“Oh, I’m gonna find her all right. Whether or not that leads us to Faison is another story.”

“Why wouldn’t it? Do you think she might do something to him?”

“I’m more concerned about what he or that imposter might have done to her. Anna could be in grave danger.”

“What makes you think so? What imposter?”

“That’s not my Anna.”

“How can you tell?”

“Like you said, Jacobs, I know her. Intimately.” Robert smirked, eyebrows raised. “I don’t give a damn what your evidence indicates. The woman in that footage is not Anna Devane!”