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Chapter 5: New Victim

Ryan was still unsure of why Meranda had gone alone to the coroner’s office but decided that he wasn’t going to question it.
“We will listen to this tape and then head over to the hospital.”
“And if Meranda isn’t stable enough to talk then what?”
“We pray this tape will tell us what happened.” Ryan said as he pushed the play button. They both listened as Meranda described what she was checking on Lucas’s body, but then she said she was leaving the coroners office. Stan said his goodbyes to her and the door was heard closing. The next thing heard was Meranda stopping on the steps of the federal building and her mentioning a car parked in front of the building. The sound of a gunshot rang out and Meranda crying out in pain. Footsteps where heard next.
“Goodnight Agent.” Was heard next and then the sound of Meranda being moved.
“She’s going to live?”
“Who knows and who cares. Just get that fucking note and let’s get her loaded into the elevator.”
“What about her partners?”
“As long as we do this quickly no one will notice.”
“And the guard?”
“He’s out on a break. I know the rotation around here. Just get her moved.” An angry voice said. They could clearly hear Meranda being moved and then the sound of the elevator doors opening.
“They better get the hint or next time I will kill her and Commander Ryan won’t be the wiser.”
“I hope so, lets get out of here before the guard comes back.” Just as that was said the elevator doors closed, the next voice they heard was James’s as he caught Meranda just as she fell.
“What the fuck?” James said looking at Ryan.
“We’ve got a leak. Let’s get down to Meranda. I’ll call in a few agents to stay with her while she’s in the hospital, but for now nothing is said.”
“Yes sir.” James said as he followed Ryan from the office. He knew that Ryan would be the one driving to the hospital and would be the first to try and get answers out of Colette. The two nearly ran down the hallway as the hurried to find out if anything had been said. Ryan found Colette standing in the hallway outside the emergency room.
“What’s going on?”
“They are moving her up to ICU.”
“How bad is she?”
“Collapsed lung, her heart stopped twice, and the bullet never left her body. And she‘s lost a lot of blood, nearly half her bodies worth.”
“Is she stable?”
“No, she slipped into a coma. They have her on a ventilator to help her breath and have said until she’s stable they can not do any surgery to remove the bullet.”
“Damn it, I want to find the person that was on that tape.”
“Sir, there was a note attached to Meranda’s jacket. A warning telling us if we didn’t let this case go, she’d be the next to die.”
“We will bring in more security. No one will get to Meranda. We need to prove who is doing this.”
“That’s not the problem. I think Meranda saw her attacker.” Colette said looking at them both.
“You sure?”
“Very. I will be staying with her.” Colette replied as she headed toward the elevator. Ryan and James followed her silently as they waited, they took the elevator to the fifth floor and walked quietly down the hallway stopping for a moment.
“We are looking for Meranda Cross’s room.”
“Third door on the right.” The petite nurse said. Ryan nodded and lead the group down the hallway. The three stopped just outside Meranda’s room. There toward the far wall sat a large bed, Meranda lay in the center. A tube down her throat helping her breath, an IV running from her hand. They could clearly see the bandaging that took up most of her chest.
“Damn.” Ryan said as he slowly moved into the room. He could see that Meranda’s skin was pale compared to the color of the room. Her long dark hair was surrounding her face like a crown, there were a few bruises on her face, he suspected those came from her fall.
“We will need around the clock protection for her.”
“I’ve called the local police and have also called a few agents. We’ve got about twenty people that are willing to be here around the clock to make sure no one attempts to get anywhere near her.”
“They can slip in as nurses or even doctors.”
“Proper identification will be required even from agents.” Colette said.
“You’ve really thought this through.”
“Meranda is a good agent and a good friend. I will do everything within my power to make sure who ever did this to her will pay dearly for it.” She vowed. Ryan agreed that someone would pay for the injury of one of his best agents. He was just praying the voice he recognized on the tape wasn’t who he thought it was. Looking at the other two agents he knew that they’d be the first watch that night.
“I am going to go back to the agency and see what I can find out. Give the next team about four hours and they will be here to relieve the two of you. Then I want you both to return to your homes and get some rest. Neither of you will do Meranda any good if your not healthy yourselves”
“Yes sir.” They both answered. Ryan nodded and headed out of the room and back toward the elevators.
“ Commander.”
“Thank you.”
“She’s one of my best agents, and as you said a good friend. I knew her father. We will find out who did this.” He replied turning toward Colette. Colette nodded, but she already knew who had done this, she had seen the vision of the attack nearly ten minutes before Meranda’s appearance in the elevator.
“If you have any information Agent, please don’t hesitate to call me.”
“Yes sir. But I think you already know what I know.”
“I believe I do, and if we are both correct. He will be brought to justice for what he’s done.” Ryan replied as he left.

It seemed like hours before Colette even spoke. She looked around the small room, the only sound was that of the beeping machine that kept rhythm with Meranda’s heart beat, and the machine that helped her breath. James had since been sitting outside the room, thinking that Colette needed some time away from him. She was beginning to think he was blaming himself for what had happened.
“Yeah?” He said looking up at her as she exited the room.
“You do know this isn’t your fault?”
“Yes I do know that, but it doesn’t make things any better. I was assigned as her new partner and in a way I promised her nothing would happen. We would find out what was going on.”
“From what I’ve read on Meranda Cross, she’s a rather inventive agent and has always been one to do things on her own. When she gets something in her mind she always wants to follow through.”
“I know. I read her profile too, Meranda Cross has been an ace agent since joining the agency when she was almost eighteen. Being the daughter of an agent wasn’t a bad thing either.”
“But now we’ve got to sit here and watch one of the FBI’s best agents recover from something that should have never happened. I should have told her what I had seen.”
“You couldn’t have talked her out of it.”
“I could have warned her.”
“She has that same gift, I promise you she probably saw the same thing.”
“It doesn’t always work that way, we cant always see harm especially if it’s something that’s going to happen to ourselves. I saw that something was going to happen. I should have said something to her.” Colette stated.
“You still couldn’t have changed her mind. She wanted to go and find out the information on her own. I just wish she would have waited. Waited for one of us to go with her anything.”
“Well we can sit here and do would haves and should haves but it’s still not going to change the fact she’s in there in a coma. I hope Ryan finds out what is going on.” James stated. Colette had to agree as she turned her attention back to her friend, the young woman she had hoped to learn everything about being a top agent. Meranda was the best in her class, the best in the Boston area, everything. Colette had hoped someday she’d be as good.

In a dark room on the other side of town, he paced.
“It wasn’t supposed to go that way.”
“She’ll live.”
“She’s in a coma.”
“She’s nosey what did you expect me to do?”
“They will find out.”
“Not by her they wont. She’s quieted for now. Until she’s come out of that coma. They will never know what is going on.”
“They aren’t stupid. Meranda was just returning from the coroners office, that means she had her tape recorder with her.”
“And your point?”
“Pray she had shut it off. She tends to be a bit absent minded about things like that.”
“Then you should have done a better job. Remember Meranda was brought into the agency as a profiler then when she finished her training she became one of the best agents they’ve ever seen. That special talent of hers keeps her one step a head of many criminals.”
“Except you.”
“We will find a way to fix this. Meranda will be the next to die if they don’t let this investigation go.”
“Then I’d suggest you get to work.”
“Yes sir.” He replied before disappearing into the dark once again. They waited a moment before stepping into the light. The first a tall man with short dark hair, deep green eyes. The second a shorter male Hispanic man with dark hair and even darker eyes. Both watched as their partner disappeared around the corner before they too decided that they should leave before being discovered.