"I want Matt Sheperd to suffer before he dies!" snarled Dennis Johnson.
"Don't worry Mr. Johnson I have the perfect associate to deal with Mr. Sheperd. My associate will make sure that Mr. Sheperd is quite mad before he dies screaming." replied Arnold Juno. "Thomas get Karen." he motioned to a tall muscular man.
Thomas left the room and returned moments later with a woman. She was about five foot five with chestnut hair and hazel eyes. Her well endowed figure would be the envy of any woman.
"This is your killer?!" Johnson exclaimed as he took in the woman's wide eyes, pug nose and full lips that gave her a delicate china doll look. "She's barely sixteen!" he complained loudly.
"Actually I'm thirty two." said a soft but deadly voice.
Johnson turned back to the woman and he realized that he'd missed the signs of someone who'd lived a hard life. No sixteen year old could have that look because it came from years of experience.
"Major Matthew Sheperd." said Juno as he handed the file to Karen. She flipped through it quickly and then handed the file back to Juno. "Karen not only has a kinetic memory she is also the fastest reader alive. Mr. Johnson wants Matt Sheperd to hurt bad before he dies." Juno said to Karen.
"Mind games my favorite thing." she answered with a malicious smile that chilled Johnson to the bone.
Juno dismissed her with a wave of his hand, "Don't worry Mr. Johnson, Karen Daniels is the best." Juno reassured his client.
Karen researched Matt Sheperd, she knew that Juno's information was the best but she liked to research for herself. It was a little personality quirk with her that she needed to get the information firsthand. She shifted the folders and something fluttered to the desk in front of her. She opened the packet to find photos, mostly of Sheperd but there were also some of his team. Sheperd seemed to cause some very weird feelings to rise inside her. She couldn't understand the feelings and had a strange premonition she didn't want to. Karen read about how Sheperd had had a kid sister who was born when Matt was nine years old. One day Matt had been at the local park with his mother and newborn sister. She had left Matt to tend to the baby while she ran to the corner store. Matt, being a normal nine year old, had been distracted from the baby. When Matt's attention returned to his baby sister the stroller was empty and the search for his sister began. A year later a small grave had been found in the woods and in the grave they find the body of a newborn female. From what was left they had been lucky to be able to tell that much so they had to id the infant on what was in the grave with her. The Sheperd family had weathered the grief but it had almost been their undoing. What surprised Karen though was a photo of Matt's mother because of the likeness between them. Matt's mother and Karen could have been twins in all but coloring. The reports from the grief counselor that the family had seen had said that Matt had an attachment to his mother. His guilt over his sister's disappearance and death had brought a close relationship even closer and no matter what Matt refused to stop blaming himself for the baby's death. That's where she'd start the destruction of Matt Sheperd.
Matt joked with his teammate Benny Ray Riddle as they entered the Silver Star bar. "Pretty busy tonight boss." said Benny Ray in a soft voice with a gentle southern accent.
"Yeah it's...." Matt trailed off as he spotted a blonde at the bar. Matt pushed past people while trying to keep his eye on the blonde woman in question. When he reached the bar where she'd been sitting the woman had vanished. "Debbie?!" he called the blonde woman who was tending bar.
"Yes Matt?" she asked.
"Did you see the woman who was just sitting here?" he asked.
"No." Debbie shook her head and then gasped as Matt grabbed her wrist in a crushing grip.
"Are you sure?!" he asked in an almost panicked tone.
"Easy Major." Benny Ray said quietly as he unclenched Matt's hand from around Debbie's wrist.
Matt jerked his arm violently away from Benny Ray and headed for the office.
Benny Ray followed only to have the door slammed shut in his face.
Matt leaned against the door and took a deep breath as he tried to calm himself. It was impossible but Matt could've sworn he'd seen his mother sitting at the bar. She had looked as she had thirty years ago. Matt felt all the pain and guilt that he thought he'd forgotten only to have it surge up with a vengeance. He swept his arm across the desk as he swept everything to the floor with a resounding crash. He turned when he heard clapping,
"Nice move Matt." said Nick Delvecchio. Nick was an ex DEA agent who had recently joined the team.
"Go away!" Matt snarled angrily.
"Wanna talk about it?" Nick asked him quietly.
"No Nick I don't want to talk about it!" he snapped. "I'm sorry." apologized Matt.
"Hey no big deal." answered Nick as he laid a gentle hand on the taller man's shoulder.
Matt suddenly straightened and grab his jacket heading out into the bar leaving behind a very worried Nick. He pushed past Margo Vincent as she entered the bar with Chance Walker and C.J. Yates.
"Matt?!" C.J. called and
his frown deepened when Matt seemingly ignored them.
They followed Benny Ray to the office where he introduced Chance and C.J. to Nick and then proceeded to fill them in on what had happened earlier.
Matt walked around the neighborhood searching for the pretty blonde with his mother's face. He spotted her a couple of times but everytime he reached where he'd seen her she either vanished or turned into someone else. Matt sat at a restaurant drinking a cup of coffee as he ran the day through his mind. After all these years and all the blood and death he'd seen, was it possible that his world was finally collapsing around him? What would happen if he was indeed losing his mind? Should he be locked up in case he hurt himself or god forbid, others. Someone had once told him that if you could question your sanity you were obviously sane but Matt wasn't so sure about that. All he knew was that something was driving him to find the truth to this matter or he really would go crazy.
Benny Ray looked up from where he sat with C.J. and Chance and frowned as Matt entered the bar. For the past week Matt had been searching for his mysterious blonde. Matt's work had been suffering because he couldn't seem to concentrate. If Matt was having so much trouble just running the bar what would he do if Trout gave them a mission? Matt wouldn't tell any of the team what was happening and as Matt headed towards the office, C.J. followed Chance in another attempt to head off Matt and find out what was wrong. Benny Ray sighed and lifted his glass to let Debbie know that he wanted another beer. He heard a rustle of clothing and looked up to see a young woman sitting down next to him. She was a well endowed redhead and as she took off her sun glasses he noticed startlingly green eyes. There was something about her unusual eyes but Benny Ray couldn't place it.
"Like what you see?" he
heard a low sultry voice ask and he tried to place the accent.
"What? Oh! Yes I was born and raised in Georgia." she replied.
"Benny Ray Riddle." he introduced himself and offered her his hand.
She shook his hand, "Alex Montrose." she said in a soft Georgian accent. "You know you look awfully sad for such a handsome gent." she practically purred at him as she laid her hand on his and squeezed it gently.
Benny Ray smiled, "I'm worried about a friend of mine. He's been having a few problems but he's refusing my offers of help." he replied.
"Well instead of sitting here brooding why don't we go someplace and have some fun?" Alex offered.
Benny Ray agreed because he knew
he wasn't doing Matt any good brooding and maybe by the time
he got back Matt would be in a talkative mood.
"Juno here." came a masculine voice.
"Is everything ready?" Karen asked.
"Everything is ready to go." answered Juno.
Karen hung up the cell phone and checked her appearance in the mirror. "Poor boy doesn't know what he's in for." she grinned. She straightened and headed back to Benny Ray, she held out her hand to him and he took it. As they exited the bar Karen threw one last look over at the office door behind which Matt Sheperd sat. She let Benny Ray lead her to his car and then gave him directions to a great restaurant that he in her opinion just had to try.
Benny Ray drove to the restaurant and then opened the door and helped the lady out of the car.
Karen felt a twinge at how she was going to be treating him but quickly squelched it. They were seated at a table and she noticed that Benny Ray was lost in thought. Karen took his hand in hers, "So tell me about what's bothering your friend Matt. Maybe if you talked about him it would help?" she offered.
Benny Ray flinched and looked into her eyes as if he were trying to memorize her face.
"Are you alright?" she asked.
Matt paced in his office trying to
figure out what to do next. He couldn't go to the police since
he wasn't sure that she even existed outside of his mind. He'd
been pacing and drinking for the last few hours and as it was
his mind wasn't too clear. He slapped at something that stung
his neck and a few minutes later began to feel extremely woozy.
Matt slumped into a chair and his glass slid from nerveless fingers
Karen entered the room, she had given Benny Ray the slip and headed back to the silver star. Of course she'd made one stop along the way and had fresh bruises that had plenty of color but no actual damage. She knelt down next to Matt and brushed the hair from his eyes. "It's a shame because you seem like a really nice guy Sheperd." Karen felt bad about what she was about to do but she had a contract to fulfill. She went over to the desk and dialed the police as she took one last glance at Matt as she waited for the 911 operator to pick up.
"911" said a female voice at the other end of the phone.
"Please help me!" Karen gasped in a breathless panicked voice.
"What is the problem?" the woman asked her.
"I'm at the Silver Star and
Matt has gone crazy. He's drunk and he's beating on me, he's
done it before but this time I think he means to kill me!"
she answered putting just the right amount of fear in her voice.
"He's coming!" she said in a panicked squeak and then
pulled the phone cord from the wall. Karen set about systematically
destroying the office. When she was finished she surveyed the
damage before taking a bottle out of her pocket. Karen made sure
to wrap Matt's hand around the bottle so that his print's were
on the bottle. Then she took the pill out and tossed the bottle
in the garbage and then took off her gloves so that the bottle
would only have Matt's prints on it. The set up would make it
look as if Matt Sheperd had been drinking and
By the time the police broke in they found a young blonde woman sprawled on the floor and Matt groggily trying to stand. One of the four officers went straight to Karen and checked her pulse. "No pulse!" he called out and another officer came over to join him in his CPR efforts. The third cop called for an ambulance as his partner swung Matt around and cuffed him while reading him his rights. They took Matt to the hospital as the other two officers saw Karen's body into the ambulance that had arrived. They filed a report after speaking to the doctor who had examined Matt. When he was returned to their custody he was booked on murder charges and possession of illegal narcotics before being flung into a cell.
The officers settled him into his seat and the trial began. They heard the tape and the testimony of the 911 operator.
Matt had to admit that it did make him sound violent enough to have done it.
Margo reached across the barrier
and placed a comforting hand on Matt's shoulder.
"Who are you? What do you want?" Matt demanded of her.
"Who I am doesn't matter but what I want is easy enough. I want to see you rot in hell." she grinned maliciously at him. She took off her sun glasses and he felt his heart stop as he recognized her face.
"Your?...." he trailed off as he tried to find an explanation of why a dead woman would be standing in front of him apparently alive and well.
"You should be more careful about who you piss off Major Sheperd."As she turned to leave Matt grabbed her arm tightly enough to make her gasp in pain as he slowly drew her towards him.
"Let go of me!" she demanded angrily.
"Or what you'll scream?" he asked sarcastically.
"No you will!" she snarled
angrily at him in one of the coldest voices he'd ever heard.
Karen felt a shiver as she saw the look in Matt's eyes. Something told her that Matt hadn't meant she was the woman he'd been accused of killing. "What do you want from me?" Karen cried out.
"I want my sister back!" Matt demanded angrily.
"Your sister is dead Major." she answered in a scared tone of voice.
"Is she really? I could swear that she's standing right in front of me."
Karen gasped in shock and tried to
pull away but Matt held her tightly.
Matt paced until they came to take him back to court for the verdict. His eyes searched for the woman he'd seen earlier but she was nowhere to be seen. He sat at the table looking frantically for the woman or the members of his team. The team filed in and settled in the seats behind Matt.
"Don't worry boss this court hops around with a pouch and we'll have ya home in no time." C.J. reassured him.
"What's up boss?" asked Benny Ray.
"I need you to do me a favor.
There's this woman...." Matt started to say.
"This woman may be the key to me keeping my sanity if nothing else." answered Matt. He described her to Benny Ray and told him that no matter what he had to talk to her before he went to prison.
"Hey amigo they'd be fools to convict you. I'll see if I can find her and don't worry boss I'll have her here in no time." Benny Ray headed out of the courtroom determined to find the woman. He checked with a few friends who owed him a few favors before going out to search for himself. He started at the Silver Star and worked his way out from there.
C.J., Chance and Nick checked with their own sources before taking opposite directions to search for the mystery woman.
Margo stayed to offer support to
Matt when they heard the verdict but she too checked with every
source she had.
"Matt Sheperd you've been found
guilty of murder by this court. Now before I pass sentence do
you have anything to say?" asked the judge.
"You've been found guilty of
murder and there is only one sentence I can give you for such
a horrible crime. That sentence is death." said the judge
and Matt heard Margo begin to cry quietly behind him as her hand
clenched his tightly.
"Listen friend this woman is
wanted in questioning about a murder." said Benny Ray.
"No but...." Benny Ray started to say. He was interrupted by Karen taking the cops gun and holding it on both of them.
"Sorry Riddle but I'm not answering any questions."
The cop started towards her, "Do
and die because your badge isn't going to stop me from air conditioning
you." Karen backed up slowly and disappeared into the crowd.
"So what do we do?" asked Nick,
"We kick ass is what we do." answered Margo as she tossed some rolled up plans on the table.
C.J. unrolled them and found the route that the truck carrying Matt to prison would take.
"We're going to break him out?" asked Nick with a grin. "Margo your my kind of woman.
Mayhem and madness all the way." said C.J. gleefully.
"Let's get planning boys since
Matt doesn't have much time." replied Margo.
Karen heard a crash outside in the
hallway and went to check on it. She saw a couple of Juno's men
dragging an unconscious Matt Sheperd down the hallway. After
they turned the corner Karen stepped out into the hallway and
crouched to check on something. She rubbed the wetness between
her fingers and knew that it was blood. Karen returned to her
room and tossed a few things into a bag. She threw in a first
aid kit before zipping it savagely closed. She checked her pistol
before putting it in her waistband and then picked up her cell
phone and dialed the number for the Silver Star. She left a message
with Debbie who was told to tell the team that if they wanted
to help Matt they should come to the address Karen had given
her immediately. She hung up and dropped the cell phone into
her jacket pocket before shouldering the bag and heading after
Matt. Karen waited while all but one of the men filed out of
the room and past her hiding spot. One remained behind to watch
over Sheperd and Karen silently cursed her bad luck. She slid
her knife out of it's sheath as she lowered the bag to the floor
soundlessly. She quietly moved up behind the guard and grabbed
his shoulder with one hand as she slit his throat with the other.
Karen headed over to Matt and began to slice through the ropes
that bound him. She didn't notice the guard who had returned,
he launched himself at her and sent her sprawling. The guard
grabbed her by the neck eager to choke the life out of her. She
wiggled, thrashing wildly and caused the guard to grunt as her
knee made contact with his groin. The guard doubled over in pain
but managed to keep his hold on her. Before it could go any further
the guard felt a sharp hit on the back of his head and slumped
forward on top of Karen. The wind was knocked out of her as his
heavy body landed on her smaller body. Matt dragged the guard
off of her and helped her sit up as she tried to get air into
"Yes we have to get your wounds
tended to and then we have to get out of here." She stood
with Matt's help and headed with wobbly steps towards her bag.
Karen quickly bandaged his wounds and then tossed the first aid
kit back into the bag as Matt
"How about letting me have a
gun?" Matt asked and Karen gave him a look of distrust before
taking the gun from her waistband and handing it to him. She
withdrew another gun from her bag before shouldering it again.
She reached an arm around Matt and helped him towards the door.
Karen leaned him up against the wall before checking the hallway.
She took a hold of Matt and helped him out of the room with the
intent on reaching the exit before anybody realized they were
gone. Karen could only hope that Matt's team believed the call
and came or if not came just to make sure that it wasn't for
real. She'd even settle for coming to find more clues of Matt's
"Hold it right there!" ordered Benny Ray.
"We don't have time for this!"
Karen replied angrily.
"Your hit!" exclaimed Matt
as he noticed the blood that dripped down her arm.
"What about you?" asked Benny Ray.
"Forget it because I'm not leaving
you behind." said Matt.
Benny Ray helped Matt towards the
car and the team slowly followed as they kept low for safety.
Matt sat at the bar and grimaced as he jostled his left arm on which he wore a sling. He sorted through the files in front of him that Margo had given him. The police had received a videotape anonymously that confessed that the murder was a hoax and that Matt Sheperd was completely innocent. All the charges had been dropped against Matt and an APB was sent out for Karen, Juno and his client Dennis Johnson since the police had received enough evidence to put them away for a very long time. The district attorney had said that he'd be willing to give Karen immunity if she was willing to testify against Juno and Johnson. They only had to find her and let her know about the offer. The files were a testament to her life and it only proved her true identity even more when Matt held up his mother's locket that his mother had given to her baby daughter to play with that day in the park. The locket was oval and gold in color and inside was a picture of his parents on one side and the Sheperd children on the other side. Matt remembered seeing the locket hanging around Karen's neck the day the team had come to rescue him. It gave him hope that she was still alive and out there somewhere. Matt could never give up trying to find her because she was his kid sister. He was unable to sit still from anxiety and having no way of working it off.
Matt headed out of the Silver Star hoping a walk would burn off the excess energy. He failed to notice a redhead who lowered her sunglasses and looked over the lenses as her eyes followed him down the street. She stood and flinched from pain and bit down on her lip to avoid crying out. She started rubbing her shoulder as she headed after Matt making sure to stay a few yards behind him. Karen wanted to apologize to Matt for involving him in the mess she had and to let him know that she was alright so he wouldn't worry. She looked up and realized she'd lost sight of Matt. Maybe it was a sign that she wasn't meant to have any further contact with Matt. Suddenly someone grabbed her from behind and she slammed her elbow back into her attacker's stomach. It cost her though because she reopened her wound and felt the blood as it started trickling down her arm. Karen worked through the pain as she swung around bringing up her leg to kick her attacker. She kicked Matt knocking him back against the wall. He slid down to the ground holding onto his ribs, "Matt!" she cried out in surprise and rushed over to him.
"Karen!" he drew her into
a hug that crushed the breath out of her.
"Your bleeding!" he exclaimed.
"My wound broke open but there's no need to worry I'll just restitch it." she responded in a matter of a fact tone.
"Hold it right there."
Matt turned to see a cop with his gun drawn and pointed at them.
"Leave her alone!" Matt
demanded as he wrenched Karen free from the cop's grasp.
"No Matt! Let it be!" Karen
cried out and Matt stopped struggling because of
The cop's read her her rights as
they handcuffed her and placed her in the patrol car.
"You can meet us down at Precinct
five." replied the cop before he drove away.
"Matt?!" Margo called worriedly after him.
"They took Karen!" responded Matt.
"Matt what are you talking about?!" asked Benny Ray. When he didn't respond Benny Ray put out a hand that stopped Matt in his tracks.
"I was taking a walk to clear my head and work off some nervous energy. Karen found me but before we could talk the police arrested her." Matt said.
Benny Ray picked up his jacket and then glanced over at Matt. "Well what are we waiting for?" he drawled and grinned mischievously at Matt.
"I'm coming too." said
"Easy Major." said Benny Ray as he tried to calm Matt and keep his own temper in check.
"I don't want to calm down Benny
Ray! I want my sister! The two cops who arrested
"Yes sir it is but as I've been
trying to tell you there hasn't been a woman fitting your description
that's come here in a week or more arrested or not." the
"Major Sheperd." Matt turned to see a man in a three piece suit who had government agent stamped all over him. `Oh great a walking ad for a government agent.' groaned Matt mentally. The man opened a door of an office and waited. Matt entered and the rest of the team started to follow but the man put out a hand to stop them.
Benny Ray looked down at the hand on his chest.
"Don't Benny Ray." said Matt. Despite the man's generic appearance Matt could sense there was something very dangerous about him.
Benny Ray backed up and stepped over to Margo and Nick as Matt entered the office followed by the unknown man.
As Matt entered the office his eyes
lit upon Karen who sat quietly with her hands handcuffed behind
her and then to the chair. As her eyes met his he saw nothing
there or in her face or body that betrayed the fact that they'd
ever met let alone were siblings.
"Mr. Sheperd I'm sure you understand
that I can't tell you that."
"Mr. Sheperd it might be better for all concerned if you sat down before you got yourself into any further trouble."
Matt noticed that he'd stressed the word further heavily. "Now you listen...." Matt started...
"I don't care who you think you are Mr. Sheperd or what contacts you and your Pentagon buddy Mr. Trent seem to think you have...."
Karen was suddenly standing next
to the man and had a gun pressed up against his temple. "Tell
your men to back off." Matt glanced over at the agent who'd
been guarding her to see him look down in surprise to find the
cuffs Karen had been wearing were now cuffing him to the chair.
It was that guard's gun that she somehow had managed to get out
of his shoulder holster so that she could hold on his boss.
"I'll go in but you have to leave Matt alone permanently in return. " said Karen.
"You have my word on it."
he responded as he stared straight at Matt apparently
The other men moved forward but the gray haired man waved them back. "I'm truly sorry for detaining you Mr. Sheperd." said the man.
"That's it?! Just sorry and get lost?!" exclaimed Matt.
"Matt please don't" Karen pleaded with him.
"Karen I can't leave you alone." Matt replied in a concerned voice.
"Big brother I'm more then capable of taking care of myself. You needn't worry about me I'll be fine."
The man who'd been guarding her came forward with a pair of cuffs. Karen stared at him in disbelief as if she couldn't believe he was serious.
"Those won't be necessary George
will they?" he looked directly at Karen as if to confirm
"Matt your sister is a savvy woman and she'll be able to handle herself just fine." consoled Benny Ray.
"Benny Ray's right. Your sister almost destroyed the team all by her lonesome. Your sister will be a great asset to the team when we find her." said Margo.
Matt smiled, "You said when not if. It makes me feel a whole lot better knowing you guys have that much faith in her." Benny Ray patted Matt on the shoulder.
Benny Ray looked up and saw Karen
as she entered the bar. She placed a finger to her lips and smiled
mischievously at him as she came to a stop right behind Matt.
"Yo Mr. how do I get to Sunset?" she asked in a Brooklyn
"Is it all finished?" he
Matt held a finger to her lips silencing her. "Hey, your family so it's alright." he replied.
"I'm family so it's expected
that I'll act like an idiot therefore since it's assumed I will
there isn't any insult and no need to forgive me is that it?"
she asked playfully.
"Well I do know that I owe you all an apology and all I can say in my defense is that I haven't exactly been myself recently." she joked.
"Well you're definitely going to have to stick around so we can trade stories and find out all about each other." Matt said.
Matt introduced the team members to Karen, "You'll get a chance to meet Chance and C.J. sometime soon too. They had to head back to Hawaii but I'm sure they'll be back or we can go there on vacation so you can recover." Matt offered.
"One step at a time big brother. Right now I'd like to have a word with Benny Ray privately." she got up and Benny Ray followed with a puzzled look on his face.
"I definitely hope you're a single man Mr. Riddle." said Karen.
"Why?" asked Benny Ray.
"Because I don't want to have to deal with a wife after I do this." She reached up and wrapped a hand around his neck drawing his face down to hers before giving him an extremely passionate kiss. Benny Ray smiled, "I definitely am going to enjoy getting to know Matt's little sister."