CHAPTER FORTY SIX

"You understand how important this is, Captain? I need that van found ASAP."

"It would help if we had a better idea of where it was heading, General. We're not miracle workers."

"I'm sure you'll do just fine. You do, after all, have air support?"

"Hell, General, I can't just pull them off their patrols for this..."

"I think you can, Captain. I think you will..."

Captain Yarbro shook his head as he hung up the phone. Damn that man! After all this time he still wouldn't back off. Here he was, a deputy chief of the LAPD and this guy talks to him like some damn errand boy. Use his helicopters, sure. Just call them all off their regular duties to hunt for a fucking van. For a moment, he thought about just forgetting the whole thing. But only for a moment. Stockwell knew too many things, too many people. His career would come to an abrupt end if he didn't give it his best shot. Damn.

He picked up the phone. "Get me dispatch," he growled.


*****

The two vans were headed down South Union. BA maintained his distance, once he and Hannibal had realized the other van was no longer trying to evade them. BA didn't understand why, but it was alright by him. His van had taken enough rough handling this trip.

Hannibal was surprised that he felt a bit of a let down. He chuckled to himself. Even from a distance, Face was forcing him to control the jazz.

Murdock was not happy. He wanted to pull ahead and stop them anyway. It was time. It was past time.

"Hannibal..."

"No, Murdock. They seem to have calmed down now and I don't want to rile them up again. Besides, I think I know where they're headed. Generally, anyway."

"Where's that, Hannibal?" Frankie sat up, having relaxed at the slower pace.

"Where Face always goes when he needs some grounding, Frankie. The ocean. Whether he's got a specific place in mind, I don't know. But that's where he's going."

"Yeah, if he's still in charge," Murdock grumbled.

"I get the feeling he at least let these guys know where he wanted to go. At any rate, I'm not willing to blow things now. If they get hinky again, we'll take them. In the meantime, we let them set the pace."

"Ok, Hannibal." Murdock still didn't like it, and slumped down in his seat to let everyone know it. He wouldn't say anything more, though. He wasn't that crazy.


*****

"Sam, you still awake?" Randy glanced at the back. Everyone had relaxed a bit now that the van wasn't speeding through the streets any more.

"Yeah, Randy." Sam's voice was still soft, but sounding stronger. Maggie kept him laying down, so he found himself talking to the ceiling, but that was okay. He mainly kept his eyes shut anyway, to keep from getting sick.

"We're almost there, Sam. Just a little bit longer. How about that, huh? We made it!"

Sam smiled. It almost sounded like the old Randy. Almost. "That's great, Randy. I knew we'd do it."

"Yeah. We're a good team, you and me."

Sam chuckled at that. Followed by a grimace. He still hurt, but thank God not as bad.

Kurt, Daryl and Maggie were watching the exchange. It was almost as if Sam and Randy were the only ones in the van. Well, as long as Randy was acting less wired...

As if reading their thoughts, Randy looked over at Kurt.

"Oh, hey, you guys, too. You got us out of a bunch of problems. Man, I can't wait for you to meet my other friends. You'll like them."

"Your other friends?" This was the first time Kurt had heard of them. "You're going to meet some people out here?" Something wasn't right here. Randy wasn't supposed to remember anything from his past. The reports said his memory had been suppressed almost totally.

"Yeah. They're out here. Well, someplace out here." For a moment, Randy felt some doubts. No, they were here. "That's why we're going to the ocean. They'll look for me at the beach. That's where we'll find them. And then I can explain everything to them. And then they'll stay. See?"

"Uh, yeah, sure, Randy." Kurt didn't see at all. He looked back at Sam, but couldn't see his expression. He looked at Daryl and Maggie, who looked as mystified as he did.

Randy ignored their puzzlement. As quickly as his zeal had appeared, it left. He concentrated hard on the street. Had to force himself to concentrate. Shook his head. What the hell was the matter with him? He was so happy a minute ago. Now he was filled with doubts. His head was pounding. Almost as bad as his heart. What was with that, anyway? God, it hadn't let up for only a few minutes here and there for the last, god, hours? It was starting to hurt now. Damn.

He was getting worried. He really wasn't feeling good. God, please, just a little while longer. Don't let me get sick again now...please...


*****

"412 to dispatch..."

"Go ahead, 412..."

"Yarbro vehicle located, south on South Vermont Avenue, just passing Exposition Park..."

"10-4, 412, keep us advised..."

Murdock watched the LAPD helicopter. A civilian would think it was searching for something, as it seemed to circle overhead, high enough to look more like a fly than a helicopter. Murdock knew differently. He knew it had found what it was looking for and was following it. And it was going the same direction they were. Murdock figured it was watching one of two vehicles. He knew it, when a second chopper appeared.

"We got company, Colonel. Sky high."

Hannibal leaned forward, looking up through the windshield. He watched for a few moments before settling back in his seat.

"Well, that makes things interesting, huh, guys?" He grinned and lit another cigar.


*****

Randy was starting to speed up again. He was perspiring freely now, would wipe his face off automatically. His head and heart were both pounding, both hurting. Sweating, yet he felt ice cold. He was having a very hard time concentrating on his driving. He knew where he needed to turn, didn't know how he knew, but he did. He started worrying that he would miss it.

"Watch for 190th. We have to go west on 190th." He didn't care who he told; one of these morons would hear him.

"Where exactly are we going, Randy?" Kurt was watching him. Randy didn't notice the concerned frown on Kurt's face, or the quick glances between the other occupants.

"To the beach. Damn it, to the ocean. How many times have we talked about it, Sam? 190th. We need 190th."

"Which beach, Randy?" Kurt was trying not to push things, but he didn't know if Randy even realized how many miles of beach California had. And he definitely didn't like that Randy had thought he was Sam.

"The beach, damn it! Don't you listen? My beach. Where my friends are. 190th! Tell me when you see it."

"Okay, okay, Randy. I'll watch for it." Kurt sat back in his seat. Randy was going downhill fast and Kurt wasn't sure what to do about it. He looked back at Daryl. Daryl turned to Maggie.

"What should we do, Dr.?"

Maggie was very worried. She couldn't believe the drug combinations that Randy had been taking for so long. She knew how close to total breakdown he was getting. It had been a slow descent at first, but was gaining in momentum. She wasn't sure how long he'd be capable of driving at all, knowing he was already probably past safe driving.

"Can one of you take over driving at least? Make it an offer, not a demand, but he shouldn't be driving. Until we can get him away from the wheel, we can't help him."

Daryl pointed to Randy, then Kurt. Kurt nodded reluctantly. Daryl was the persuader.

"Uh, Randy?"

"What? D'you see it? 190th? Where?" Randy eyes darted around the streets, the van starting to swerve with his eye movements.

"No, no, Randy, settle down. We're not there yet. Look, how about I drive for a while? You can watch for the turnoff, you and Daryl, and I'll drive. I mean, you must be tired, right?"

Randy actually thought about this for a while. It was true, he was tired. So tired...and he couldn't watch for the street and drive at the same time. He kept forgetting he was driving at all, and then he'd have to make himself watch the road instead of looking for the turn...okay. Okay. Let Kurt drive. He hit the brakes.

"Damn it, Randy! Pull over first! Pull over!"

Horns were blowing, tires screeching. Maggie leaned over Sam, trying to keep him from being shoved to the front of the van, praying they wouldn't get rear-ended. Daryl grabbed the back of the seat in front of him, while Kurt, despite his seat belt, found himself leaning over the dashboard.

Automatically obeying Kurt's command, Randy pulled the steering wheel to the right and gunned the motor. They charged across the street to the sounds of even more road chaos, running up on the curb before coming to a jarring stop.

"Okay." Randy jerked open his door and jumped out, running around to the passenger side. Pulling the door open, he shoved Kurt. "Get over. Drive. Drive. 190th. We need 190th!"

Kurt scrambled out of his seat belt and practically leaped to the driver's seat. He looked back at the rest of the passengers.

"Everyone okay?"

Shaken and pale, Daryl and Maggie nodded their heads. Sam had grimaced in pain at the rough ride, but he nodded at Maggie. He was okay.

Kurt took a deep breath, and drove carefully back down off the curb and melded into traffic. He thanked his lucky stars they had gotten off the freeway...