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The Return of The Gray-haired Avengers


"…It's hard to rely on my good intentions
When my head's full of things that I can't mention
Seems I usually get things right
But I can't understand what I did last night…

 …I can't be hard on you
'Cause you know I've been there too
Learned a lot of things from you

 But life gives little relief
Give us reprieve
And when everyone is cold as ice
I clench my fists and close my eyes
Imagining the world outside
But I can see that I'm not blind."

 "Good Intentions"
Music by Glen Phillips and Toad
Lyrics by Glen Phillips
Performed by Toad the Wet Sprocket


Chapter 1

The freeway between Colorado Springs and Denver had been bumper to bumper. Traffic had moved along at a snail's pace, the result of more cars attempting to enter the already congested roadway. The anticipated thinning of the traffic by taking the exit to the airport had been disappointing. He was certain everyone in the city was bound for the Denver International Airport.

Two more exits, leading to passenger and visitor parking, had at least offered a bit of respite from the crowded roadways. Finding a parking place was proving to be an exercise in frustration, however. Daniel sighed as he started a second circuit of the parking levels, glancing at his watch. They'd been running late all day, it seemed. Toss in the heavy traffic… "I'll drive back around and let you off at the main entrance."

Casey nodded. "You could just go up to the '45-Minute' lot. I'll call you when Grandma and I are ready."

"Looks like that's our only choice," the archaeologist grumbled. "What the hell is going on that everyone is flying in for? Or out," he said, conceding to the fact that those among the many obvious travelers could be leaving the area.

"I guess they're coming for the Fourth of July," Casey replied breezily. The truth was, neither she nor Daniel had watched anything other than the weather on TV in well over a week. She had no idea what special events were happening in the Mile-high City.

"Must be," Daniel muttered. He eased the Jeep to a halt in front of one of the wide, plate-glass doors to the terminal.

"Grandma's plane has already landed," Casey mused, glancing at her watch. "I'll find her, grab her luggage-"

"Call when you're at baggage claim," Daniel instructed. "By the time you have her bag, I should be here."

"Sounds like a plan, Stud Muffin." She reached for the door handle. Glanced at her Husband, and noted the weariness in his eyes. "I can call Dad, and cancel dinner," she said softly.

Daniel shook his head. "I think Grandma would enjoy going to O'Malley's. She's heard us talking about it."

Casey smiled. "And no doubt she and Aunt Janelle will enjoy chatting."

"No doubt."

"Should've invited Emma," Casey grinned.

"Hell no!" Daniel responded immediately. "When those three get together, they go crazy." He couldn't help but grin at the giggles that erupted from her slender throat. "Tell me I'm wrong."

"Not gonna even try. But you have to admit, they did have a good reason for what they did."

"They could have called General Hammond, which is what Emma was supposed to have done in the first place," he pointed out.

"I think the general has made that very clear," Casey giggled. "I'd better get in there before Grandma beats me to the 'gate, and she thinks we've forgotten her."

"Right." He gently squeezed her hand, smiling when she wiggled her fingers before she closed the passenger door. He eased the Jeep away from the curb, his spot promptly filled by an SUV.




Throngs of people formed lines in front of various ticket counters. The self-check-in kiosks were nearly swallowed in a sea of travelers. Casey wove in and out of the crowds, making her way to the security checkpoint, beyond which were the numerous gates at which travelers arrived. She…well, Daniel actually…had promised his grandmother that they would be waiting for her there, since they were unable to go past security without being ticketed passengers.

She found a place from which she could easily see each approach, and began to watch carefully. Just in case she'd arrived late, she scanned the people who milled near security as well.




Daniel heaved a sigh as he searched through the 'cell phone' parking lot, as it was called. There didn't seem to be any spaces here, either. "Thank you," he mumbled, when the backup lights of a blue mini-van began to glow. He stopped far enough behind the car that it would be able to pull out, and turned on his signal to indicate his intention to pull into the spot. He frowned at the sports car that was coming from the other direction. Going against marked traffic, he noted irritably. "Don't even think about it," he growled out loud. "That spot is mine."

The mini-van cleared the parking spot, then hesitated, inched forward a bit, and stopped again.

"What the hell are you doing?" Daniel asked. The driver of the van turned his head to look back at him, then nodded. The archaeologist grinned and nodded in return. Pulled forward slightly. As the mini-van inched closer to the other car, he began to swing the Jeep into the parking stall. By the time the van was fully out of the way, the other car would have no option but to go around. "Serves ya right for coming through the wrong direction, idiot," he muttered. Then chastised himself. No sense in building up bad Karma. He made a mental note that he needed to 'pass on' the kindness that the mini-van driver had shown. Casey would, no doubt, point out that it was their own good Karma that had seen that kindness directed toward him. His Wife had opened his eyes to more than just the beauty of true, pure love. Her compassion had made him more aware of how his actions affected those around him…whether he knew them or not.

"Whenever someone does a good deed, and you're the recipient, you have to pass in on," Casey had told him countless times. "You have to keep that good Karma flowing."

With nothing to do but wait, Daniel pulled his cell phone from his pocket, and checked his email. Just a note from Beth Meyers. Informing him that she wouldn't be able to attend the barbecue that the 'crew' from the archaeological level had been invited to, along with half a dozen SG teams and their significant others. She sent her thanks for the gracious invitation, hoped that everyone had a wonderful time, and promised to be in bright and early on Monday. While he was genuinely disappointed that the older woman wasn't going to be in attendance, he shrugged it off as just being a case of a conflict of events and timing.

Hmm…that's two people not coming, he noted silently. Casey had mentioned that General Hammond had begged off as well, thanking her for thinking of him, but that he had plans to spend the day with his daughter, granddaughter, and a friend. A friend? He glanced at the note from Beth again. Nothing there about going somewhere else, not that it was really any of his business… Cerulean blue eyes widened slightly. Nah, it's just a coincidence. The same blue eyes narrowed with suspicion. I told Casey to just stay out of it. Surely she hasn't said anything!

His memory poked at him…Casey confiding in him that she thought it was 'cute' that Beth Meyers 'admired' General Hammond. As far as he knew, his Wife had done nothing, nor said anything to either party regarding that 'admiration'. But…whenever there were reports that needed to find their way to the general's desk, more detailed than the daily emailed updates, it seemed that Beth was always the one willing…eager?…to make the trip to level twenty-seven. Was it possible that the general and the older archaeologist had managed to form a friendship? Was there more to those 'trips' than just delivering reports?

Daniel shook his head, firmly pushing the thoughts aside. It really wasn't any of his concern. He wasn't actually surprised that Hammond wasn't coming to the party; he did, after all, have his own family. Beth was older than the majority of those she worked with by at least twenty years, so perhaps she wanted to spend time with friends closer to her age… Does she have friends outside of the SGC - friends in Colorado Springs? She'd been in Colorado for about eight months. He could easily recall the long days Beth had put in after her arrival, eager to read everything that had been learned about ancient civilizations via the Stargate. The extra hours she'd worked to help organize the overwhelming number of artifacts that had been brought back by SG teams. Setting up a filing system for all of the information that was written on legal-pad sheets, scribbled out on hastily grabbed printer paper, or jotted on post-it notes. Information that he'd been collecting since he'd arrived at the SGC after Sha're's abduction. All typed, printed, sorted, and filed alphabetically. Realistically, when would she have had time to make friends, outside of the concrete walls of the SGC?

Another sigh. Working at the SGC was brutal on social lives. How often had he and Sam commiserated with one another over that fact? He'd suspected early on that Jack and Sam had been attracted to each other - although both had denied that attraction vehemently, he thought, shaking his head mentally at the memories. He'd known that Sam and Jack loved each other when each of them, separately of course, had confided their feelings to him. Both had needed to tell someone, lest the 'secret' eat them alive from the inside. And he'd always thought that the attempts to date, particularly for Sam, had been an attempt to deal with those feelings…to push them aside as if they didn't exist. Casey had been abhorred to learn that the two people she'd become friends with weren't allowed to be together because of military regulations. Particularly when it was 'obvious', according to her, that they were as destined to be together as she and he were. The smile that tugged at his lips was automatic. Thanks to his Wife, two of his dearest friends were finally together…married and blissfully happy.

Sam and Jack wouldn't have had a chance of being together if not for Casey. And…if not for that trip to an alternate reality, she'd never have known about the SGC. He'd still be alone, and lonely. There had been no time, and certainly no energy, to search for a woman who could love him. No woman had ever - could ever - love him as much, and as well, as his sweet, seductive Angel.

He pushed aside thoughts about romance, and Jack and Sam, and Beth Meyers and General Hammond, and checked his watch again. Casey should be calling any moment. Independence Day was on Sunday…thus the reason his grandmother was flying in today. Casey would spend tomorrow preparing for the barbecue they were having after the parade, before going to the carnival and the fireworks display. He took a moment to wonder if the all the activities planned might be too much for the elderly woman. Then grinned at the thought. His grandmother had proven to be a rather…well, Jack called her, Emma, and Janelle 'feisty old broads'. And they had certainly earned the 'title'. He was certain that Muriel would enjoy the day. No doubt he'd be worn out before she was.




Casey smiled when she saw the familiar face among those arriving from the nearest gate. She stepped forward, knowing by the smile in return that Daniel's grandmother had seen her. "Hello!"

Muriel pulled the young woman into a hug. "Hello!" She glanced around. "Daniel isn't here?"

"He's in the cell phone lot…we couldn't find a place to park. As soon as we get to baggage claim, I'll call him," Casey replied, holding up her phone.

"Oh, I see," Muriel nodded. "That's rather convenient, isn't it?"

"It can be," Casey agreed. "We're heading straight to O'Malley's. We're meeting my dad and Aunt Janelle for dinner. I don't know if Charley will be there or not, Dad didn't say."

"Charley…she's your father's girlfriend, right?"

"Right. I'm hoping they'll get married," Casey confided. "I think that's what Dad wants."

Muriel remembered the couple who had visited her home, bringing her the most joyful news she'd had since the births of her sons. She'd thought then that the two looked good together, and the casual glances exchanged bespoke of deep bonds between them. "That would be lovely," she said. 

"Yes, it would. Now, let's see about your bag," Casey smiled. Her arm around Muriel's waist, she guided the older woman toward baggage claim.

"I'm so excited to be here for your holiday celebration," Muriel said, as the two women made their way through the crowd of passengers.

"We're excited to have you here," Casey smiled. "Tomorrow, I have to get potato salad and cookies made for the barbecue. But Daniel and I thought a trip up to the top of Pike's Peak would be nice. We can picnic, or have a late lunch at the summit café, and then I can cook when we get back."

"That sounds lovely, dear," Muriel sighed. "I'll be happy to help you with your cooking."

"I was hoping you'd say that," Casey grinned. "I thought I'd talk you into baking the cookies."

"I'd be happy to. I have a recipe for wonderful oatmeal cookies. Have it memorized, I've made it so often."

"I have several recipes memorized, too. All of them are Daniel's favorites," Casey confessed.

"That's as it should be," Muriel said, patting Casey's arm. "That's one of the ways you show your love."

"I have to warn you, Daniel will be eating cookies almost off the baking sheet."

Muriel chuckled. "Melburn and Ralph were the same way. It was a wonder I ever had any left to cool!"

Casey giggled. "I have to hide cookies if I want to have any a day or so after I bake them." She frowned slightly when she was bumped…rather roughly, too…by a man hurrying past her. She watched as he and his two rather large companions raced toward the door to the sidewalk in front of the terminal. A tiny poke in the back of her mind had her frown deepening. She waited for signs that she was about to experience a download. Sighed mentally when nothing was forthcoming.

"Is something wrong?" Muriel asked, noting the frown on Casey's face. She glanced at the men her granddaughter-in-law seemed to be staring at. "Do you know them?"

Shaking herself mentally, Casey forced a smile to her lips. "Nope, never seen them before." When one of the men turned slightly, she tugged her lower lip between her teeth. He was tall, six foot four inches at least, his chestnut hair carefully combed. When he glanced over at her, there was hint of recognition in his close-set gray eyes. It was gone so quickly that she couldn't be certain she'd actually seen it. She could sense…something. When he abruptly turned away, any 'connection' between them was broken. There was no poking. No sense of urgency. There was something familiar about him… She pushed the discomforting thought away. "Let's go get your luggage."

The two continued toward baggage claim, Muriel telling Casey about the latest church bazaar, and how popular her embroidered tea-towels had been. Which, the young seer was assured, half a dozen had been brought for her.




He recognized her immediately. It was difficult to forget a woman that beautiful. Particularly when she'd been the reason for his failure in Las Vegas.

According to his sources, her gift of sight was preventing his employer from being able to fully implement several ambitious plans to seize control of a place called Stargate Command - some military base running bizarre experiments here in Colorado - and more importantly, access to something known as the Stargate. Any of the plans would see his employer successful. A combination would guarantee little if any interference from other sections of the Pentagon…even the White House would be helpless to stop the NID. The crucial element, however, was taking the seer out of the equation. His employer had learned that the five people known as SG-1 were going to be in the Nevada city, and he had been dispatched to kidnap her. A long shot at best, the order was actually an indication of the desperation that was being felt by a certain office in the Pentagon. The sting of his failure was lessened slightly when he'd learned the mission hadn't been expected to succeed. The seer was never alone…one of the other members of her team were always annoyingly nearby…which meant grabbing her would take careful planning, and permission to use lethal force. Not something his boss was eager to do…not until he was in complete control of the project, and all the departments therein. His gaze moved over the blonde's slender frame. He was certain that her talents would be put to good use. No doubt her gift of sight would be useful, too, he chuckled mentally.

When her green eyes met his, he immediately forced himself to look away. Couldn't have her recognizing him, nor getting any ideas about what he was doing. This mission was his chance to redeem himself in the eyes of his employer. Failure would see him brought before his boss, with what would certainly be painful results. The little bitch wasn't his target this time, thankfully. He wasn't certain what his orders would be, although he figured if he'd been called in, grabbing someone would be at least part of the task.

He could only hope that she wouldn't recall their brief encounter. That her 'sight' wouldn't reveal his presence, and ultimately his target. He glanced over his shoulder again, noted that the blonde was talking to an elderly woman. So far so good. As long as she remained oblivious to his presence, all would be well. He'd be heading back to DC in just a couple of days, successful, and ready for any bonus the boss might offer. One final glance, just to make certain she wasn't watching him, and he led his companions toward the door. He cursed silently when he realized that they would have to wait for an available cab, desperate to get away from the seer.




When the small, bright pink Samsonite suitcase appeared, Muriel sighed. "There it is. I was so afraid they'd lose it. You hear so many stories about lost luggage."

Maneuvering around one man who already had two large cases at his feet, past a young couple with a toddler in tow, Casey managed to get to the carousel in time to grab Muriel's bag. It was heavier than it looked, she thought, lowering it to the floor in order to get a better grasp on the handle. She pulled her cell phone from her pocket. Pressed the number '1'. A smile graced her lips when Daniel's voice answered. "Meet you at the door where you dropped me off."

"On my way," Daniel promised.

"It will take him a few minutes to get here," Casey said, leading Muriel down the wide corridor, toward a bank of automatic doors.

"At least we won't have to walk across the parking lot," the elderly woman said.

"So true."

"I think I walked a mile or so from that gate to the security desks," Muriel continued. "Are all airports this big?"

"The ones I've been in have been. Jack says the airport in St. Paul-Minneapolis is even bigger than this one, with an actual shopping mall in the center," Casey replied.

"Good heavens!"

"I suppose the buildings have to be big…and spread out…to allow those big jets to have room to get to the gates."

"I suppose so," Muriel nodded. "To be perfectly honest, I think traveling by train is less confusing."

"You’ve traveled by train?" Casey asked openly curious.

"Twice," Muriel confirmed. "It was years ago. Marvin went to teachers' conferences in Indianapolis, and he took me with him. I did nothing more than sit in the hotel room while he was busy, of course."

Of course, Casey thought drolly. Heaven forbid the poor woman have a chance to do anything enjoyable! "Too bad you weren't able to do a bit of sight-seeing," she said aloud.

"Well," Muriel chuckled, "I did have two days to read without interruption!"

Casey giggled at the light that twinkled in the older woman's blue eyes.

"And it was nice to have a break from cooking and cleaning."

"That's always a bonus," Casey agreed.

The bronze-colored Jeep stopped at the curb, and Daniel climbed out from behind the steering wheel. "Hey, Grandma!"

"Hello, honey." Muriel smiled when she found herself enveloped in her grandson's hug. "How are you?"

"Hungry," Daniel grinned. "Did Casey tell you about the dinner plans?"

"Yes, she did. I'm looking forward to seeing Gary and Janelle," Muriel replied. She accepted Daniel's arm as he helped her into the backseat.

Daniel winked at Casey as he watched her fasten her seatbelt into place before closing her door. He tossed the suitcase into the back of the vehicle, then hurried around to the driver's side. When he was once again buckled in, he glanced in the rearview mirror. Three men in dark suits were getting into a cab just behind the Jeep. He frowned slightly. One of the men…tall and lanky…seemed familiar. But he had no idea where or when he would have seen the man before. He pushed the thought away, checked for traffic, and eased the Jeep forward.




O'Malley's was crowded; at least two dozen people were waiting near the entrance for openings. "Daddy should already have a table," Casey said, noting the time on her watch.

"Go take a look," Daniel said. "We'll wait by the hostess desk, just in case."

Casey gave a nod, then slipped deeper into the dining area. She gave a wide smile when her father waved at her from a table near the back. Janelle and Charley looked up when he did so, then waved as well. She dashed back to where her husband and his grandmother waited patiently. "Toward the back," she said.

"Hi, Daniel!" Gina said brightly, appearing at his elbow.

"Hi, Gina."

"Need a table?"

"No, Casey's dad is already here," Daniel replied.

"Good…because the wait is about an hour, now." Gina grinned impishly at him. "For you, it might have taken longer."

Daniel grinned in response to the teasing. "There's always the bar," he said.

"Even the bar is full tonight," Gina told him. She glanced over her shoulder when someone called her name. "Have a good time…enjoy your meal!"


"You must come here often," Muriel mused, smiling as the young waitress disappeared into the kitchen.

"It's a regular hang-out for most of the people we work with," Daniel replied. "I've been coming here for about six years or so."

Casey felt the gentle pressure of his fingers against hers as he spoke. She knew that the first two years or so after his return to Earth from Abydos, Daniel hadn't often left the mountain. The pain of losing his wife, the loneliness of trying to live without her, had left the archaeologist with little interest in anything other than finding her. His search for Sha're had consumed him - until he'd passed the two year mark. It was then, he'd told her, that the nagging doubts that he'd never be able to find and rescue his Abydonian bride began to haunt him. She had ached for her Husband, cried for him as he told her about his first years at the SGC.

Gary was on his feet by the time the newcomers had reached the table. He hugged Casey tightly, shook Daniel's hand, then gave Muriel a one-armed hug. "It's nice to see you again, Muriel."

"It's nice to see you again, as well," Muriel responded. She nodded at Janelle. "Hello!"

"Hello, dear! Please, sit by me," Janelle said warmly, scooting her chair to the side just a bit.

Charley smiled as well. "Hello, Mrs. Jackson."

Muriel smiled, settled into the chair between Janelle and Charley, and reached over to pat the younger woman's hand. "Just call me 'Muriel', dear."

"Okay - Muriel," Charley replied. She looked up at Daniel and Casey. "Hey, you two! We were about to order without you!"

"Traffic is a nightmare," Daniel replied, reaching out to squeeze Charley's shoulder, while Casey leaned over to hug the woman her father loved. "I was barely able to find a place in the cell phone lot at the Denver airport."

Casey sat down, scooted forward slightly. Her father resumed his place on one side of her, Daniel sat down on the other. "We've been running late all day," she sighed.

Simpatico, Daniel thought amusedly, as his Wife's comment echoed his earlier thoughts. It had all started before they'd actually gotten out of bed. He'd awakened to find his Wife making love to him, his body far ahead of his brain. As a result of the incredible love they'd made, they'd been late for a meeting with the rest of the 'level 18 crew', as Casey called them. She'd been late to her meeting with General Hammond because of a download that had sent her running to level twenty-four to warn one of the SG team COs of possible danger on an upcoming mission. He'd managed…somehow…to be late to the meeting with Jack concerning equipment needed by the Archaeological department. Both Jacksons been late for the afternoon 'team break'. Yep, we've been running late all day. "Your fault," he teased.

Casey glanced at him, her cheeks reddening slightly. "Not completely." She might have awakened her Husband with her need, but he had responded enthusiastically, and had sent them spiraling into the stars together - twice.

Janelle chuckled. "Well, tomorrow's a new day. Maybe it won't be as hectic for you."

"I hope not," Casey sighed, then tossed her great-aunt a smile. "Not having to go to work is a good start!"

The waitress appeared at the table, took drink orders for the newly arrived guests, refill requests for the other three, as well as the order for appetizers; decided upon while Janelle, Gary, and Charley had waited.

Casey closed her menu without giving it more than a glance.

"Let me guess…chicken fettuccine," Daniel grinned.

She gave a slight shrug. "It's good."

"Grandma, the steaks here are great, if you want a steak," Daniel said, looking over his menu at his grandmother.

"That does sound good," Muriel agreed.

"I'm getting the T-bone. What?" he asked innocently when Casey looked over at him, surprise in her green eyes. As much as he liked to tease her about ordering the pasta dish, he was just as likely to do so. "I told you I was hungry."

She heaved a sigh. "I am, too." She reopened the menu. "Okay, so not the chicken fettuccine tonight."

"Well, I'm not that hungry," Charley declared, "so I'll order the chicken and pasta."

Casey grinned. "See, as long as someone orders it-"

"You can snitch a bite or two," Daniel finished for her.

"I wouldn't!"

Charley laughed. "Don't worry, Casey, I don't mind sharing a little bit."

With a smile, Casey shook her head. "If I order this steak, and get the baked potato, I won't have room for even a bite!"

The waitress returned with a tray of drinks. "It looks as if you're all ready to order!" she said cheerfully.

"Better do it fast, before Casey changes her mind," Daniel teased, making a show of ducking her half-hearted swing at his arm.

"I believe we're ready," Gary said, smiling up at the waitress.

A last minute change of heart by Charley, who declared that Gary could have whatever she couldn't eat, saw everyone at the table ordering a steak.

It only took a few minutes before the appetizers were delivered. While they were devoured, conversation focused on the approaching holiday, and the plans that had been made.




The man ran his finger over the long scar on his cheek; watching his tall, lanky associate settle into the chair beside the table in the hotel room. "The colonel wants this operation to be completed within seventy-two hours. Here's your target." He handed a grainy eight inch by ten photo to his companion.

"Who is he?"

"None of your business."

"Come on, Michelson, at least give me a name," the man insisted.

"You ask too many questions, Keller," Michelson warned. "That can get you killed."

With a sigh, Keller sat back. He debated on whether or not to let Michelson, who was apparently the field agent in charge of the operation, know about the blonde…Jackson was her name. Casey Jackson. He'd come so damned close to grabbing her in Vegas…he shook his head mentally. No need to remind anyone of that particular failure.

"Here's the address where the kid lives. Don't be stupid and try to pick him up near home. Wait until he's somewhere else."


"Out for the summer."


"He's a teenager. He'll be out and about. Just grab his ass. Do you have help?"

"Local talent. They claim they used to work for a Mafia don."

Michelson rolled his eyes. "In Colorado Springs? Bullshit."

He'd investigated the men he'd hired. Knew about Joey 'The Hammer' Ricardo, and his arrest in Denver, how he'd managed to make bail almost as soon as he'd been apprehended, and was then arrested as he tried to board a flight for Mexico City. He wasn't going to waste his time explaining all of that to Michelson. "They'll do the job, take their money, and keep their mouths shut," Keller replied.

"That's all we ask. It would be better if they can grab the kid, and you're not seen. Less chance of anyone tracing this back to the colonel." Michelson was far more concerned about his own ass remaining out of any legal slings than his boss being fingered for a kidnapping. But he would never let any of his associates know that. He had a talent for disappearing when a situation became too hot…and leaving the blame on someone else's head. That talent made any colleagues wary of him…and not in a useful way. The more invested in an operation he seemed, the less nervous those around him behaved.

Keller nodded. "Understood. I'll brief the locals, and turn them loose."

"Make damned sure they understand that this kid is to be delivered in prime condition. Boss doesn't even want him bruised."

"Got it."

"Then get going," Michelson said, nodding toward the door. "I don't want to hear from you until you have the kid."

"Right." And if anything went wrong, he'd be left swinging in the breeze, and Michelson would simply vanish into the night. Keller gave a silent grunt of disgust. Rumor had it that Michelson would disappear at even the slightest hint of trouble. The man was a coward. But he had connections, and was able to produce enough results to keep his name on the short list when someone in DC wanted to see that 'problems' simply 'disappeared'.

"Here. I've marked the warehouse we've rented. When you get the kid, take him there. I'll pick him up," Michelson said, handing a folded city map to Keller.

Keller took the map and the photo, and rose to his feet. "I'll be talking to you soon."

"You'd better be," Michelson growled. "Screw this up, and you're finished."

With a slight shudder, one that wasn't entirely visible, Keller stalked to the door.

"Keller! Let's keep this operation clean and simple. No complications."

"Right." He threw open the door and strode down the hallway. Aware that Michelson watched him get onto the elevator.

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