"How's Blair?" Amy looked up as he joined them.
"Asleep." Jim replied, accepting the cup of coffee Katie handed him. "Finally."
"The sun's coming up." Clive stepped away from the window and sat down next to his wife, pulling his ever present pipe from his sweater pocket. "That storm was pretty nasty. I wonder if they made it?"
Jim raised his eyebrows as he sipped the hot coffee. "I don't know. The boat had to have been pretty heavily loaded with the lead. Where would they go?"
"Well, the nearest island is around this side, straight north from here about twenty minutes by motor boat in calm water. If they made it there, they'd have to cross that island to reach a town, and then charter a boat or plane."
Jim nodded, picturing the island they were on and as much of the surrounding waters as he could recall. He had heard the sound of the outboard pulling away from the shore as he was making his way to the utility shed that night. Heard the four voices shouting at each other above the storm. There had been a large wooden crate beside the shed, and Jim recognized it as matching the ones he had seen still inside the wreck. The size and shape matched the marks he had seen on the sea floor. They must have pulled their loot out of the water, and around to the far side of the island, then tried to hide it in the coffin, until they were found out. He new then that the rest of them would be safe enough until the morning, when he could go after Kenny and the others with no fear of Blair, Amy, or the Hathaways being attacked back in the center. After finding the generator destroyed, he had entertained notions of circling around the island, following the voices as they came back around the rocks, and trying to catch them, but one look at the raging seas had changed his mind. He could barely make out the small craft as they rounded a corner and went out of sight, heading back towards the pier, then out across the channel. He couldn't stop them now, and he was needed back at the center. He wasn't going to leave Blair, not yet. But they would be caught. And they would pay, not only for the death of Emily, but for the attack on Blair.
Jim had heard the struggles downstairs, and had just realized what was happening when the thunder struck deafening inside his head. The pain had sent him reeling into the staircase and he had struggled to keep from falling while he forced himself to descend. The pain had just become bearable when he heard the door slam shut and another clap of thunder added to the pounding in his head. That's when he'd spotted Blair, on the ground, clutching his side. For one instant, Jim had thought his partner was dead. There was blood everywhere, and he wouldn't open his eyes. Then, to be unable to ease the pain due to the missing drugs in Katie's medical station, Jim had felt so helpless. He knew how badly such a wound hurt. There were a lot of things Jim knew, that he never wanted Blair to know. His heart hadn't stopped racing until...Until five minutes ago.
He heard the plane then. "I think the cavalry just arrived." When the others looked at him questioningly, Jim pointed up. "I hear a plane. Must be Inspector Phillips. You three stay here, I'll be right back." Jim left them wondering at his ability to hear a plane they still couldn't pick out and put on a coat, quickly closing the door behind him. By the time he was halfway down the steps to the pier he could see the float plane approaching. As he reached the end of the dock Tim was opening the door.
"Ellison, what the hell's going on out here?" He stepped out of the plane and shut the door, motioning for the pilot to shut off the engine. "I've been trying to phone out here all night."
"We had a little problem. I need to borrow your pilot."
"What? What's going on?"
Jim hurried to explain the past two days, including the escape the night before of the three students in a heavily loaded Zodiac. "If they made it anywhere, it would be the next island."
Tim was shaking his head. "I don't know, Jim, that's a long shot. Those seas were really swelling last night."
"I know, but they've killed one girl, and they tried to kill my partner. We have to take a look while they're still close enough."
"Listen, let me contact the locals and get them to search the island. It's a Canadian matter anyway Jim. No offense, but you've been through enough already, don't you think?"
Jim reluctantly agreed, and waited while his friend used the plane's radio to call the island's Constable. While he was on the radio, the pilot began to unload crates and boxes from the cargo hold. Jim recognized the station's logo on the boxes.
"Are these the station's supplies?"
"Yes," the pilot replied, taking out the last of the boxes. "Their regular pilot had a heart attack a few days ago, died in the hanger. No one found him until yesterday. I guess no one realized why they couldn't contact him. I've got deliveries here for all the private islands."
"Okay Jim, they've got patrols heading out. If those kids made it anywhere, they'll be found." Jim nodded, glancing out over the now calm seas. "Come on, give me a hand with these. Did he tell you about the supply pilot?"
"Yeah. You sure it was a heart attack?"
"Geez Ellison, is everything a mystery with you?"
Jim laughed as he lifted a box, stacking it on top of the one Tim was already holding. "You sound like my partner," he said, lifting two more of the crates. "Come on, there's something in here he needs."
with the supplies, and Jim let Clive fill Tim in on the happenings, giving him
a more colorful description than Jim had. He followed Katie in to where Blair
was still sleeping and helped her quietly administer enough morphine to keep him
that way for the rest of the morning. Once done, Katie returned to the kitchen
to sort through the rest of the supplies. Jim stayed behind, watching his partner
for several minutes, reassuring himself that Blair was breathing, alive. What
would have happened if he hadn't come out here with him? As soon as the thought
formed itself, Jim knew it was ridiculous. There was never a question as to whether
or not he would have come. Of course he would. Blair was counting on him, and
one of these days, he'd learn that he could. He always could. And, he was going
to get another back rub out of him soon.
Blair slowly made his way across the room, with Jim's help, and lowered himself into the couch facing the windows. Clive was there, standing beside the couch, pulling on his pipe, while Katie fussed and fidgeted almost as much as Jim had been doing for the past three days.
"Guys, guys, I'm okay. Relax." Blair tried to wave everyone off as he sat down, but neither would leave. Katie insisted he put a blanket over his legs, and Jim just stood there, keeping an eye on him.
"I wouldn't count on either of them relaxing for another week or so, Blair." Clive said, smiling at them all. "They've not only been fussing over you, but they spend their days up here, gossiping about you."
"What?! Jim, you said you were fishing."
"Did I?" Jim was smiling now, looking innocent as he glanced from Katie back to Blair. "Well, I suppose it was fishing of a sort." Blair rolled his eyes and Jim laughed. "Relax, Sandburg. We just traded a few stories, nothing more."
"Uh huh." Blair said, looking to Clive for confirmation. "That's just great." One of these days, Jim would know as much about him as he did about Jim. That must mean something. But what?
Katie and Jim exchanged looks and Blair tried to pretend he didn't notice the smiles they traded. He was about to say more when they heard the door slam downstairs and footsteps hurrying up the stairs.
"Guys, you won't believe this!" Amy was rushing forward, a tape in her hand. "I was just working on Igor, and I found them."
Blair's smile was replaced with a cold feeling in the pit of his stomach. "You found them?"
Amy just nodded, handing Jim the tape she was holding while she held her other hand over her stomach, looking a little pale. Blair could see her hands were shaking as she looked from Jim, to Clive, then to Blair. Jim crossed the room and put the tape in the machine Clive was setting up for him, then moved it closer so they could all see from the couch. Blair watched as Igor approached the wreck, vaguely noting the clear picture, now that he was working properly, and had no magnets to distort the film. As the camera approached the bow and moved up to clear the timbers, they could all see the spreading mound of glittering metal, newly piled across the decking. Igor approached, moving down towards the pile of lead coins, and focused his lens. Blair could see, as they all could, the hand poking out from underneath the pile. Igor moved farther on, and more hands could be seen, then a leg, and another. The cold feeling in Blair's stomach slowly changed to one of detached numbness. He glanced at Jim and could see the muscle in his jaw clenching as he watched the film.
"My God." Katie whispered.
Blair returned his gaze to the screen, and saw Kenny's face fill the video. Igor backed up, and they could all see the lead coins filling the man's pockets, weighing him down.
"I guess they didn't make it after all." Jim said, shutting off the tape. He stepped over to the couch as Katie stood and walked to her husband and shaking her head sadly. Amy was still standing there, behind them all, looking like she wanted to be sick. "Is it enough?" he asked, looking down at Blair.
He shook his head, looking at Jim for a minute before answering. "No. Not nearly enough."
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