Fitz knew the exact layout of the mansion. He knew when the guards went by the outside of the building, which wing of the mansion the covered, and when they did it. Although Fitz was a very honorable fighter, it was this same honor that drove him him to seek out his prize. The sword of his teacher and mentor, Artos Pendragon. It was forged as a sword for battling all that was wrong in the world. In Fitz's mind, it should be used for that purpose.
Once Pendragon fell the sword passed through many hands before ending up the private, secluded, collection of Sir Arthur Nicklebee. A prize piece in a collection worth millions. But tonight Sir Nicklebee's collection would be missing one item.
Fitz secured his belt and made sure his pack was ready to go. He stopped just about a mile away from the mansion. He trekked across a field before coming upon the mansion. Getting past the outer guards was actually quite easy. Slipping up to the second floor and in a alarmed window would be a bit more difficult. But a piece of cake for one who learned from the best. He removed a small blinking box with two cables on it. He slipped them inside the edges of the window and when the green light came on he quickly, but gentle opened the window.
"Thank you, Amanda," Fitz whispered to himself credit his former cat burglar friend.
He carefully made his way in the window and looked around to survey his next objective. A long hallway stretched out to either side of him. Fitz broke his way into the middle. He eyed a large set of doors to his right. A carpet in front of the door was touch sensor wired. Fitz almost guaranteed that. He side-stepped the carpet and carefully picked the lock to find it untrapped. A few brief puffs of flour through a straw exposed three lasers which Fitz strategically navigated. And there he stood in front of Sir Nicklebee's desk. Artos' sword hung on wall in front a rich red plush framed covering. The ornate sword glowed from the over head display light. Two dragons, tails entwined, stuck out as the hilt. The blade had been so carefully polished and kept. His hands slowly reached for it. Wiping his mouth once with his wrist and hand before continuing he plucked it from its cradle.
An alarm sounded. Fitz swore to himself and tucked the sword in its sheathe. He should have know there would be a weight sensor. He ran for his escape window back in the hall. He quickly shimmied back down the building and raced off across the field. The sound of dogs could be heard in the distance once he reached his car.
He took a couple deep breathes before starting the car.
"Maybe I'm in the wrong line of work," Fitz said amused.
Conner fumbled around in the kitchen. Searching from drawer to drawer, cabinet to cabinet. A loaf in French bread in his left hand swung wildly as he grew more frustrated.
Finally he called... "Ange."
"What?!? I'm looking for a tablecloth." Angelic called from another room.
"I can't find anything to slice the bread. Aremis will be here soon, and I still need to warm it," Conner whined.
"Oh for the love of gods,"Angelic said stepping into the kitchen area. "Look in the top drawer on the right hand side." she pointed, while pushing her long black hair out of eyes.
"I looked there once," Conner said checking once again. "I don't see anything. I see forks. It's like ten thousand spoons, when all I need is a knife." Conner said shaking the bread in the air.
"And you own sword..." Angelic remarked with a sly grin, "isn't that ironic."
Conner shot her a odd glance as she straightened the table cloth out. "That's sick. I've killed people with that." Angelic only laughed.
"I can't believe I finally gonna meet Aremis," Angelic said. "You've wrote me about him, and talked about him a bit, but that's it."
"You make it sound like he's a recluse. You two have just never been in the same city simultaneously. Besides, he's not really staying for long. He was on his way back to Paris, and has a layover here at Heathrow. So I invited him to stop by...
"Well no matter why he is..." she stopped when Conner seemed to perk up.
The familiar rush of sensation came over him. "What?" she asked. "Aremis here already?"
"He is way early if he is." Conner said cautiously heading towards the door. He opened it with a quick swing, sword ready in hand. It wasn't Aremis who stood on the other side.
"Fitz?" Conner said with an aire of surprise.
Fitz looked from Conner to the sword in hand and then back again. "Is this anyway to greet a friend," He said with a smile.
"Angelic, meet Fitz. Fitz, Angelic Munroe." Conner gestured.
Fitz nodded, bowed, and kissed Angelic's hand.
"Oh," Angelic mused. "You should've invited him over sooner, Conn."
"What do you mean you can't find my luggage?" Aremis said slamming his hands down on the ticket counter.
"I'm sorry sir, but your luggage was put on another flight accidentally back in New Orleans," the flight agent explained.
"Wonderful," Aremis said, with a turn and rolling his eyes. "So where pray tell are the on their way to?"
The flight agent checked her computer screen one more time, looked up and said, "Istanbul, but they are apparently going to be on a plane to London."
"In a couple days," This was not what Aremis wanted to hear from her. "There seems to be some strict customs laws."
Aremis sighed and asked where to be directed to the nearest pay phone. He dialed the one person who he knew would be able to help him out in London.
"Conner? Hello my old friend. It looks like I am going to be in London longer than I thought. They've lost my luggage and I'm going to what till then send it to me here."
Aremis shook his head in as Conner spoke on the other end.
"Great. I'll be over once I'm finished here. See you soon Conner," And
with that he hung up and made his way back to the ticket counter.
Conner hung up the phone and turned to his guest and girlfriend. "That was Aremis. He luggage was lost and he will be over once everything is squared off there."
"Great!" Fitz said rising on his feet. "This will be the first time we have been back together since we were in Paris."
"So tell me Fitz, what are you doing in London?" I thought you were still out looking for Gabriel with Methos."
"Well I was. But I needed to retrieve something from here in England before I did."
Conner and Angelic both has interested looks. Fitz walked over to his bag and withdrew what appeared to be a very old Knights sword.
"Whoa." Angelic gasped.
"I'll take that as a compliment, my dear."
"Is that what I think it is?" Conner stepped closer for a better look.
"Yes it is. Artos Pendragon's sword."
"Where did you find it? I thought I was lost after his death." Conner asked.
"It was, but it found it way to a collector. A collector who was generous enough to let me have it back." Conner looked wryly at Fitz. "Nobody was hurt." Fitz then added after some accusatory looks from his friend.
"I know you were wanting to get it back after his death, but I didn't think you quite go about it so drastically."
"I have it back that is what counts," he picked up the sword and pointed it directly at Conner's chest. "Shall we?"
"What? Fight you?" Conner asked, taken back.
"Indulge me?" replied Fitz with a slight bow, his arms open.
"Okay. We can go to the roof." Conner picked up his sword and headed for the window. "We can take the fire escape up."
"Ange, honey. You gonna come watch us?"
"No, someone has to keep the food going and warm until Aremis gets here. You boys go on and play."
"My dear Miss Munroe, I am older than your great-grandparents. I hardly think I can be called a boy, let alone play," corrected Fitz.
"Let me understand this. You both are going to go up to the roof and beat the crap out of each other with swords? Just go on and enjoy yourself and tell me what you like to call it," Angelic said as she began to stir the pasta sauce."
Fitz protested... "Dueling is a very honora-"
"N-n-no.," Conner said waving his hand in front of himself. "Don't bother, Fitz. I've tried. She doesn't care what we call it. It's a silly game with high stakes to her."
Fitz persisted once again, but held his thought and continued up to the roof with Conner.
On the roof Fitz stood with his feet shoulder length apart with both hands on the hilt of the broad sword. Conner faced Fitz, both hands firmly on the hilt of his Crusader sword with the blade face down. They circled one another waiting and watching to see who would make the first move. With a step forward Fitz launched an attack, that Conner blocked high. Conner then swings his sword around for Fitz's vulnerable stomach.
Fitz seeing the approaching attack twirled and blocked the blade with a short upward swing. Changing the angle of his attack, he brought the broad sword down on top of Conner's sword with the force that almost knocked it out of his hand. Conner retaliated by punching Fitz clean in the kidneys knocking him back.
Fitz laughed, "You've been getting lessons from Aremis haven't you?" He twirled the sword around his hand and waits for Conner's move, "Your try old friend."
Conner launched a thrust, is blocked as he gets close. Conner hits Fitz's sword producing a shower of sparks the illuminate their faces. With an upward strike he brings the blade around and down, trapping Fitz in a prone, kneeling position. Finishing, he comes around and lays the blade on the back of Fitz's head.
"Nice move my friend, where'd you learn that one?" Fitz asked, slowly rising to his feet.
"My friend, Remy DeFoe, back in Seattle," Conner answered. "He used that move on me all the time. He be thrilled now to know that I figured out how to use it myself."
Conner began to explain more when...
"AAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaa..." a scream rose from below. "Conner!!!"
"Angie? ANGIE!!!!" Conner jumped back over the ledge and down the fire escape to his loft window. He found his girlfriend struggling with two masked men, one of whom held a gun.
"What the hell are you doing? Let her go!" demanded Conner.
The two Immortals stepped down from the window ledge and lunged for the attackers. The one gunman shot several times at Fitz. Taking a hit once in the leg another in the midsection, and once more grazing his arm. Conner dodged the first flurry of bullets, but was taken down by the next array. Three shots, each to the chest. He too went down.
On the street Aremis' cab was pulling up in front of Conner's building when a woman was being drug from the alley into a awaiting car.
"HEEEELLLLP!!" She called.
But before Aremis could try and stop them they were gone. He just barely managed to catch the license number before it sped off. He turned and raced up the stairs, where he found his two friends on the loft floor in terrible shape.
"Conner! Fitz!" he attended to them.
"How bad is it?" Conner asked?
"Fitz is already out. And you? Looks like a mortal wound my old friend," Aremis responded.
"Wonderful," gasped Conner. "Hold on. I'll be right back." And with that Conner passed out., his consciousness fading quickly.
It was first dark... then hazy... faint sounds heard from what seemed to be a great distance... The in one brief moment...
"Uhhhhhhhh...." Conner sat up and gasped for life.
Aremis rose from the kitchen chair and attended to his friend. "Nice to see you among the living again."
"Angelic!!!" Conner groaned, "Oh. I 've got a killer headache."
"Well that happens, you've been mostly dead all evening."
Conner sat up and noticed that his friend Aremis had moved both him and Fitz to a couch and chair respectively. Fitz sat motionless.
"Is he still..?" Conner asked hesitantly.
"Mmm... I don't think so. I believe he came too a while ago and has just been sleeping it off since.
"What about Angie? Did they get away with her?" Conner asked.
" 'Friad so. I didn't get a look at them, but managed to get a license number."
"Well that is better than nothing."
Fitz was beginning to come around. He leaned over and rested his head in his hands. "I hate when I die." Aremis looked to Fitz as he spoke and grinned.
"Fitz what are we gonna do? Angie's been taken, but Loc did manage to get a plate number." Conner said.
"Great! I can call up Warren and have him run it through the computer to see what he comes up with." Fitz stood up and headed to the phone. He didn't make it three steps when he grabbed his head and leaned on a nearby counter for support.
"Fitz!" Aremis and Conner both exclaimed.
"Take it easy duder. Don't strain yourself." Conner offered helping him back to the chair.
"No it wasn't from being shot this time. It was... was like a voice." Fitz only was awarded strange looks. "More like a pounding voice. It was such a wave that it almost knocked me down again. Filling my mind..."
"What did the voice say," Aremis asked.
"It didn't really 'say' anything, but I got the impression someone was in trouble."
"Do you think it could've been Angelic?"
"I don't think so, my friend. This was someone of great power. I think
I know who. And if it is that person must be in great danger. But first
we will rescue Angelic then help them." Fitz once again made his way to
the phone and called up his intelligence contact.
A bound and gagged figure sat on a chair. Although her face was a bit hidden by restrictive cloth she was still recognizable as Angelic Munroe. She sat alone in the room. Until...
The door opened and two figures stepped in.
"Good Evening Ms. Munroe. Sorry to spoil your dinner plans, but I had something better in mind." The tall brooding figure motioned to his accomplice. "Remove her gag."
Angelic stretched her mouth as the cloth strip was removed. She finally spoke, "Aren't you afraid I'll scream for help?"
"Oh go ahead and scream if you like. I won't do any good. Nobody would hear you clear down he-..." He stopped.
"I suppose you wouldn't be willing to tell me what you plan on doing with me either,"
"Oh don't be so pessimistic. Of course I would. I plan to use you as bait." Her kidnapper said pacing around her.
"Conner won't be captured that easily!" Angelic assured.
"I'm not just after him. His love for you will makes him weak. That
will be his downfall. He will come. And hopefully bring his friends." The
man laughed and he left the room leaving his accomplice to watch her.
"What do you mean there is no such plate. It was just seen tonight,"
"I'm sorry sir," Warren said from the other end of the line. "It isn't on our computers."
"I find that hard to believe. What do I pay you for?"
"The last time I checked it was to keep you informed." Warren said with a slight laugh.
"Well you could fool me sometimes." Fitz laughed back, "Just Do the best you can with those numbers. It is a matter of life and death."
"When isn't it sir." Warren laughed once more and hung up.
Fitz turned and faced his friends... "I can't believe that. Warren is the best I have working for me."
"Well I'm not just gonna wait around. I have an idea."
"What do you plan on doing?" Aremis asked.
Conner walked over to his desk and picked up Angelic's laptop. Switching it on he began typing in a series of commands.
Aremis looked over his shoulder, "Scotland Yard Crime Database!?" he said with a bit of a surprise. "How did you get into that?"
"You and Fitz may have you spy connections, but nothing beats my Angelic and her computer. It is just amazing that I ever figured out how to work it and figure out how to hack into their system like this."
Fitz jested, "Ever thought of becoming a spy."
"I'll keep it in mind," Conner replied. "Ah here we go!"
Aremis read over Conner shoulder. "Registered to Excalibur Intelligence." They both looked startled at Fitz. Aremis read on, "Jeremiah Fitz, CEO."
Fitz stepped closer. "My own intelligence firm. Kidnapping? What the hell?"
"I don't know Fitz but we are going to find out , I think its time to return to Paris and talk to Warren" Aremis says calmly. " Aye lets return to Excalibur, I knew I should have fired him when I had the chance, but first lets go to my apartment I have a few things that will help us."
Angelic looked about her 'prison' carefully, taking in every detail. She tried to figure out where she could possible be at. It was a bit damp and cold. Angelic assumed she was underground somewhere... but where.
"Could you possibly loosen these ropes," Angelic said gesturing to her hands tied behind her back. "I can't really feel my hands."
Her guard only looked at her with slight interest, giving no indications of obeying her.
"At least tell me your name. That way I know who to thank when you do decide to loosen my bonds."
He reluctantly spoke, "James, That's all you need to know about me."
"Well, James if you won't talk then I will. We might as well get to know each other. If your boss has his way I'm gonna be here a while."
"I don't work for him. I just take orders from him." James corrected.
"Very obedient you are too." Angelic remarked raising her brow. "So what should I tell you about first?
"We already know about you and your boyfriend."
"Friends of him are you? No of course not," she corrected "Conner wouldn't keep friends like you."
"Enough talking. Do you want that gag put back in?" James threatened.
Angelic was pushing him a bit too hard she feared.
Conner sat at his piano and tapped out a nameless tune. Fitz stared blankly out the window, lost in his own thoughts. Aremis paced back and forth listening to Conner's attempt at forming a song. He finally walked over and to the piano and placed his hand firmly on Conner's stopping the sound.
"I couldn't think," Aremis replied.
"Sorry, it helps me to think," he said getting up and nervously pacing about. He walked into the kitchen and poured himself a glass of water.
Aremis went to stand behind his other friend. "Fitz are you okay? You've been a bit distant."
"I've had a lot on my mind. What with retrieving Artos' sword, the strange telepathic message from who I believe is my good friend Laura, now this. Finding out my own intelligence firm responsible for a unwarranted kidnapping of a innocent. What am I to think? I don't know who I can trust at my work right now."
Aremis spoke up, "Then maybe we should find out who we can trust."
Conner joined the two in the living area and sat down. "What do you suggest we do?"
"We know that the car belonging to Fitz's firm took your Miss Angelic," Aremis stated letting his distant French accent slip through.
"But where could they have taken her?" Conner asked again.
"Well if they are using the company car... why not the company boarding?"
"Of course!" Fitz exclaimed. "One of our safe houses!" Aremis smiled and nodded in agreement.
"But which one?" Conner fretted. "You must have dozens. And if the didn't and took her to the airport she could be hundreds of miles before we ever catch up with them." He said turning to Fitz.
"I think I know a way we can find out," claimed Fitz. "Let's go to the source. Excalibur Intelligence."
With that the three gathered themselves up and took off in Fitz's vehicle.
James stood stoically by the door awaiting his superior to return. He perked up at the sound of steps coming down the hall. The same sound also caught the attention of Angelic Munroe. The door swung open and a new third person entered. A woman, small in size, but strong in presence. She spoke gruffly to James. Angelic only could make out a seldom word.
"...at Excalibur Intell-...should be safe...her alive and quiet..."
If nothing else she was relieved to know that they needed her alive
rather than dead
Fitz flipped on a light switch and the three walked into a room filled with a dozen computers. The sounds of humming hard drives, and the flashes of lights on screen could be enough to give anyone a headache who worked on them too long.
"If we are going to find her, and my company was responsible, then this is the place to find out for ourselves." Fitz had a seat in front of the nearest computer and entered a few commands. The swiftness of his strokes echoing that of his swordsmanship. He got once again and moved over one computer and did the same.
"There. That should do it. I've entered my codes for each of us. Now we can check the databases for possible connections linking someone in Excalibur Intelligence to Angelic's kidnapping."
Aremis and Conner each took a seat and began sorting through the files. It must have only been a few minutes when there was a noise outside the door. A figure stood in the doorway.
"Oh it's you, sir." the badge and uniformed identified him as a security guard.
"Hello Noel," Fitz answered looking up from his screen. "Just doing a bit of late night research."
"You couldn't find anyone else to do it for you, sir?" the guard asked.
"Not tonight," Fitz responded. "Just a case of my own personal curiosity."
"Okay then, have a good night." the guard nodded and left.
"You too, Noel."
"Fitz!" Conner chirped, "What's this?"
Fitz came to look over his friends shoulder. "Oh that is one of my own files that I've compiled. It has the names of all the Immortals that I've ever encountered over the years. It goes back through my history and some of my teachers' as well."
Fitz scrolled through the list and upon closer inspection he said, "That's strange."
Both Aremis and Conner listened in. "It appears that these files have been modified lately."
"I assume not by yourself?" Aremis asked.
"No I haven't added anything since coming back from Paris. This was done within the last couple of days. Only I have access to these files. But these definitely have been tampered with. Let me check the code clearance." Fitz was on a desperate mission now.
"The plot thickens," Conner quipped. Aremis grinned at his friend. He also took note of Conner's calmness, his focused intent on finding Angelic. Quite admirable, in a friend, significant other, and immortal.
"I can't believe it," said Fitz leaning back in his chair. "Plot thickens, indeed."
"What? Who is it? Who has been in your files," Conner dropping his composure.
"Warren. My executive assistant. There are records here of copies of certain files being transferred. He must have been able to hack his way into the system using his own code."
"Brave soul," Aremis added. "If only you had access to it."
Conner sat back down at the other available computer that Fitz was using.
"Until tonight I wouldn't have thought seriously of Warren going through just these files. Who knows what else he has been into without my knowledge."
"I've found something else," Conner chimed in. "It is a form showing where Warren has also reserved a safe house. He was just down yesterday."
Fitz rolled his chair over to Conner and agreed, "Yes that's a safe house in an abandoned Underground. We've only used it occasionally. Nothing to important other than it's seclusion."
"Perfect for protecting an informant... or hiding a hostage," Aremis remarked.
Fitz scribbled down the location and were off. " First we go to my place, we are gonna need some firepower"