Note: These characters do not belong to me. The story is written for entertainment only and not profit. No ownership is claimed, except to the original story. Comments on this story can be sent to the author at firstname.lastname@example.org
Summary: It's 1996. With his wife seriously ill, Captain David Michael Starsky is under pressure to join the wrong side of the law to secure a life saving organ. Will he betray Hutch and the brotherhood of cops to save her?
Hutch honked the horn of his brand new 1996 Nissan Maxima, for the fourth time. He would defy Starsky to call this one a lemon or to voice just one complaint. He'd finally found a car to shut Starsky's mouth for good. This one featured a V6 engine, 190-horse power, anti lock breaks, power steering, driver and passenger front airbags, stereo cassette player with AM/FM radio, cruise control, and even cup holders.
He honked again, but there was still no response. The lights were on, so he knew they were home. This could only mean one thing. Joan must be having another bad day. He grabbed the box of donuts he'd bought, jumped out of the car and quickly made his way to the front door.
Starsky yelled down the stairs at the sound of the doorbell. "Hey, Doc," Rachel, answer the door." The bell rang again. "Come on guys."
Hutch was just about to use his key when the door was opened by Starsky's eight-year-old daughter, Rachel. It never failed to amaze him just how much like Starsky the child looked. The blue eyes were bright and inquisitive, just like her fathers had always been. Unlike Starsky though, her brown curly hair draped down her back.
Rachel smiled, that Starsky smile. "Come on in Uncle Ken."
He patted her head and looked around for any sign of her parents. "Hi baby. Where are mommy and daddy?"
Rachel, who was always matter-of-fact, answered. "They're throwin up."
"That makes two days in a row." She sat on the stairs and put her head in her hands.
Hutch had to smirk. How many times had he seen Starsky pout the same way? He sat next to her and held her close. "Hey, why don't we do something constructive? Have you had your breakfast?"
"What do you think ma's been throwing up?"
"Oh…yeah." He looked around the living room and only now realized that the floor was decorated with toy cars, trains, army men and a menagerie of other toys. "How about we clean up for mommy and daddy?"
No sooner had he said this, than Starsky came barreling down the stairs. His wide grin couldn't hide the bags under his eyes or the fact that he had on the same clothes that Hutch had seen him in last night. Slept in them huh pal? Hutch returned the smile and put his hand on Starsky's shoulder. "Hey buddy."
Starsky noticed the box of donuts Hutch held. "If there's not an extra kidney in there, we don't want any."
Not wanting to turn this scene into a soap opera, Starsky switched gears. "Hey, I'll take my car in. Running a little late, ya know?"
Starsky's thirteen-year-old son, Michael came down the stairs. He favored his mother's dark complexion, but still had that curly hair, which was a lighter shade of brown. Everybody called him Doc because as early as three years old, that's all he's ever wanted to be. Now that his mother was sick, he spent a lot of his time by her side--almost too much, Starsky thought. Although he was very proud of his son for wanting to tend to his mother's needs, he was concerned that the boy's childhood was slipping through his fingers. He fought to make sure he gave Michael every opportunity to remain young for as long as he could.
"Hi Uncle Ken," Michael said.
Michael turned his attention to his father.
"Hey dad maybe I should stay with Ma today.
"That's okay. Aunt Joyce will be here soon.
"Hit the road kid," Starsky said, in his best Bogart voice."
Michael stood firm thinking for a minute and then headed for the door. "Okay, but I'll be home right after." With that said, he left for school.
Starsky sighed and stepped into the living room. After a few seconds, he noticed that he was knee deep in toys. "Rachel Miriam Starsky!"
Rachel peeked out from behind Hutch with a sheepish grin. "Yes, daddy."
"What did I tell you about these toys?"
"Put them back in your playroom?"
Hutch giggled. "Starsk, when are you going to get this child her own toys?"
"She's got perfectly nice toys." He playfully glared at Rachel. "In her own room."
"Daddy, they're not as good as yours."
"Yeah well, that's cause your mommy doesn't have as good a taste as I do."
With that, both Starsky and Rachel laughed. Starsky picked up his daughter and gave her a great bear hug.
"Daddy, can we go for a ride?"
"Not now sweetie. Daddy's late and Aunt Joyce is gonna come and pick you up soon." He looked at her sternly. "Now seriously, put these toys back, okay?"
He put her down and gave her a soft pat. "That a girl." She scurried off and he turned his attention to Hutch. "I'll be there in one hour?"
"Sounds good. Give Joan my love."
"Will do. Oh and Hutch? He waited until Hutch turned back around and he had his complete attention, then he smirked. "It's gray."
Hutch slumped his shoulders in mock defeat and walked towards the door mumbling to himself.
Starsky grinned. "Speak louder. Maybe you'll convince yourself."
Hutch put up the dreaded finger and pointed at Starsky. He started to berate him, but thought better of it. Starsk was smiling and that smile was worth taking a ribbing for. "Yeah, it's gray. What was I thinking?" He winked at Starsky and left the house.
Starsky looked over at his daughter, who now had an arm full of toys and was heading towards the playroom. He mused about being eight again, but was brought back to the present at Joan's call.
"Yeah baby, comin." He bounded up the stairs--back to reality.
Starsky arrived about an hour later than he'd told Hutch. The Chief would be looking for him again, he was sure. Hutch would be certain to run interference for him. He parked his car in the spot right next to Hutch's. He had to admit, Hutch had done good this time. The car he purchased was something to be proud of. Some of his taste must have finally rubbed of on Hutch. Of course, he would never admit that to him and the vehicle still didn't compare to his black beauty of a machine. He noticed a smudge on his mirror and bent to clean it. The bags under his eyes were the next things that caught his attention. He would have to start getting more sleep. He made sure the knot in his tie was straight and his suit jacket buttoned before he started for the elevator.
Starsky turned to see sergeant Biggs standing in front of him. He smiled to himself at the ridiculously casual way Biggs dressed. He and Hutch had nothing on this guy. They never looked this bad on their worst of days, when they were sergeants. Biggs wore sandals, a big sloppy button down Hawaiian shirt that looked more like a dress and shorts below the knees.
"Going trick or treating Biggs?"
"Here. Make yourself useful and take my briefcase to my office. I'll be in a meeting with Captain Hutchinson and the Chief."
"Hey and if you run into any bums on the way, see if you can trade em for their clothes."
Biggs chuckled. "Right cap." He slapped his captain on the back and jogged toward the west stairway.
Starsky shook his head and started for the east elevator banks.
In the narcotics division, Starsky was greeted by the unusual sight of Hutch removing handcuffs from his fifteen-year-old son, Luke.
Luke had been taking acting classes and was deeply engrossed in the part of a perp for the last few days. He was driving Hutch and everyone else at the station nuts with his search to perfect his portrayal. One of the officers decided to oblige him and cuffed him to the radiator. The men snickered as Hutch laid into his son. Starsky tried to hide the smirk on his face as he approached.
"Luke, I can appreciate you putting you're all into this acting thing, but enough is enough," Hutch said.
"The names Louie, cop. Louie Spinoza," Luke responded.
Hutch rolled his eyes and looked to Starsky to rescue him from his son, but Starsky didn't oblige.
"Haven't you learned anything by now blondie? Never break character."
"Okay, fine. He looked at his son. "Look Louie, whatever your name is…"
"Spinoza," Starsky interrupted.
"Fine. Spinoza." Hutch held the handcuffs up to Luke. "Show your face in this precinct again and you'll be doing hard time in your room. Now get to school."
"Okay, cop. I get the hint. Luke picked his books up from the desk and without looking back, headed out the door.
Hutch rubbed his face with his hand. "This kid's gonna drive me crazy with this acting thing. His mother's no help either. She's been encouraging him every step of the way.
"Well, maybe he'll grow out of it." Starsky had plastered that grin from this morning on his face.
"Yeah, maybe." Hutch studied Starsky. He could see the pain behind the smile. Starsky could fool the entire precinct with his crooked grin, but not him. Both Joan and Starsky were on pins and needles. They were waiting to find out if the tests on her family could provide them with a match and candidate for kidney donation. She was getting weaker with each passing day. Even Hutch had offered to be tested and found that he wasn't a match.
Starsky reciprocated Hutch's glance and without so much as a word, they drew strength from each other in those few seconds.
Hutch put his hand on Starsky's arm. "You ready?"
"Yeah. Let's go."
Narcotics was investigating a drug ring that allegedly used police officers to run drugs across the Mexican border and into the United States. The feds had asked local agencies for help as the ring covered several of the larger precincts in California. Two months had passed since Hutch sent various men undercover throughout the precincts, including his own. Each man had been connected to a different precinct, so as not to blow their covers. They had been close to identifying the officer's involved, but lost contact with some of their key undercover men on the inside. Jackson Hewitt was supposed to contact Hutch with the details of an upcoming run. Three days later, they found him in an abandoned warehouse. He had been killed in an execution type slaying. They found him with his throat slit. At the time, they thought he must have given himself away some how, until a second detective, Pete Juarez, had been found several weeks later, murdered in the same fashion. Now, they knew that someone on the force was leaking information that put the officers lives in danger. Hutchinson and Starsky were going to find out who.
The Narcotics division, lead by Hutch and Robbery-Homicide, lead by Starsky were conducting a joint investigation into the murders. They had sent in a detective to snoop around, but they had now lost contact with him as well. Bruce Robinson, a friend since the academy had been the last detective to disappear. They were afraid he would show up in the same condition as the other two. Starsky had taken it really hard, as he had hand picked Robinson for the job. Robinson had a wife and two kids, the same age as Starsky's. He didn't know what he was going to tell the man's wife, if he didn't show up soon.
Chief Kalowitz, sat across from his two captains and tried to formulate some plan of action. He had come to trust these two many years ago, when they had successfully caught the two detectives responsible for stealing one hundred thousand dollars in cocaine and cleared his uncle of any wrong doing. Since then, he grew to appreciate their integrity and understand why Captain Dobey had always claimed them to be his two finest detectives. These two would always be partners, Dobey told him--Captains or not. They were inseparable. He had also learned why Dobey called them his most stubborn, pig headed…
"Chief, we sent five men to five different precincts. They're all independent of the other and they're being sent back to us in body bags, faster then we can count. I don't like the idea of sending anyone else in just yet," Hutch insisted.
"I'm going to have to agree with Hutch on this Chief. We send anyone else in now, without a lot more information and we might as well buy the casket too."
They both started speaking at the same time, making it too difficult for the Chief to follow either one.
"Okay hold it, just hold it."
Both men stopped in mid sentence.
"There's a reason it says Chief on MY door."
Starsky & Hutch shared a glance, which the Chief didn't even pretend to decode.
"Now listen to me. Robinson is in right now, on his own. We haven't heard from him for a week. Unless you two want to wait for us to check every warehouse in Los Angeles, I'm going to assume he's still alive and in need of a contact."
"Okay chief," Hutch relented.
The chief waited for Starsky's response.
"Well, who? Who are we sending in?"
The chief called into his intercom. "Nancy, will you send him in please?"
Starsky's jaw dropped when he saw Biggs--Hawaiian shirt and all--step into the Chiefs office.
"Hi, cap." Biggs waved.
Starsky rolled his eyes. Well, the Chief was right. Nobody will ever suspect this guy of being a cop.
Starsky flipped burgers and held the phone between his right ear and shoulder. Hutch prepared the salad, while Joan, her best friend Joyce and Hutch's wife Linda were setting the table for dinner. Rachel played on the backyard swing set, Michael fussed over his mother and Luke sat in a lounge chair listening to his walkman.
Starsky was engrossed in a conversation with his mother. "Ma, your seventy five years old. Of course the nurse isn't gonna let you go hang gliding." He shook his head and Hutch laughed to himself. "Of course Ma. No you're not under house arrest, but you need to be…Yeah Ma, when I'm seventy five, I'm sure I'll understand."
Hutch wrestled the phone from Starsky.
"Hi Mom. Oh yes, ma'am, I understand. Yeah, he is a little stodgy for his age."
Starsky tried to take the phone back, but Hutch held him off.
"Now mom, when we take our next vacation, we're coming to get you. We'll go boogie boarding how's that? Okay, see you then. He handed the phone to Starsky.
"Hello Ma. Yes Ma, Okay. Okay. O-KAY. Love you ma. Bye, Bye." When he hung up the phone, he glared at Hutch. "Now why did you say that?" You got her all excited. I told you to stop encouraging her."
"Starsk, you know, she's right. You are getting cranky in your old age."
Starsky just stuck his tongue out.
Hutch rolled his eyes and turned his attention to Luke. "Hey, Leon, Lenny…what's you're name today kid?"
"Just Luke dad."
"Well Just Luke Dad, be of some use and get me the ranch dressing will you?"
The doorbell rang when Luke was in the kitchen. He answered the door to find sergeant Biggs standing there. This was one of his uncle's friends that Luke seemed to have something in common with. Sergeant Biggs understood him and often helped him with his acting assignments.
"Hi Sarge, how's it going?"
"Great kid. Great."
"Come on in. Everybody's in back."
"Great. Hey, kid, I have an assignment coming up and I wanted to ask you for some advice--one professional to another. It's not a bit part this time. I'm playing a major character."
"Well, you know my feelings Sarge. Just keep in character."
"Yeah, yeah, got it.
Outside, they heard the bell and assumed Luke had gone to get the door.
"That's probably Biggs," Starsky said.
Starsky really did like Biggs. He reminded him of himself when he was younger. He was idealistic, had lots of energy, was happy-go-lucky and quite the ladies man. He was a good cop too. He hated the fact that he had to send him into danger, but that was the life of a cop. Nothing could be done about it. He thought of him as his own son though and wondered if he could make that sacrifice, if something went wrong. He was broken out of his reverie by his daughter's voice.
"Can we go for a ride now?"
"Not now honey, daddy's cooking."
"Sorry honey. Daddy and Uncle Ken and Sarge have got to go out for a while after dinner. You'll be asleep by the time we get back."
"I don't mind staying up."
"I'm sure you don't, but you've got school tomorrow…I promise, soon okay?"
Joyce came up behind them and interrupted. "Rachel, I think mommy needs your help."
"Okie, Dokie," Rachel chirped. She ran to her mother's side.
Joyce put her arms around Starsky's waist and gave him a hug, resting her chin on the back of his neck. "So good looking, how are you holding up?"
"I'm okay, just a little tired."
"Hm mm. Tell me another one."
"Okay, exhausted. If it weren't for you, Hutch, the Dobey's and Huggy, I don't know what we'd do."
"God will see you through, just keep trusting."
"Yeah. I'm trying."
"She's been talking a lot today about going back to work Dave. Has she mentioned anything about it to you?"
"She keeps hoping, but the doctor's not gonna okay her, not even for desk duty. He's sayin the dialysis is not working as well as before. I'm really…" He couldn't finish his sentence. He tried to quell a shiver.
Joyce worked her way in front of him now to look into his eyes. "Everything's gonna be all right." She hugged him again.
Joan came up from behind them. "Okay, break it up you two, none of that. There are children present."
"Oh you," Joyce responded. She gave Starsky a kiss on the cheek and headed back to the table.
Joan put her arms around her husband's neck. "Can't I let you out of my sight for two seconds without you tryin to make a move on my best friend?
"Hey, some of us got it…"
"And if some of us want to keep it, he better watch out."
They broke into laughter. Starsky loved to see her face light up in a smile. He could still see the fire and passion in her eyes. He had seen it that first day, when they were partnered up at Metro, while Hutch recovered from a gun shot wound. It wasn't out of laughter then however, but her anger. Even then, something about it had attracted him. After their assignment together was over, they had kept the fires burning between them. One night here, a lunch date there and before they knew it, they were an item. Now, he couldn't imagine what he would do without her.
He kissed her passionately and lingered in the moment. If they could stay this way, just in this moment forever, he would give anything. He knew that this was just a pipe dream though. They separated and he wiped at a tear that made its way down her cheek.
She broke the silence first. "Hey. Better not let the steaks burn."
He gave her one more kiss and then returned dutifully to the grill. Joan stood by his side with her head on his shoulder.
Hutch didn't mean to spy, but he was so in-tune with his buddy that his distress meter had climbed to red alert without him knowing why. He looked for Starsky and saw the interaction between he and Joyce. Now Starsky was sharing a moment with Joan. Joyce had returned to the table and when she saw him looking in Starsky's direction, she put a hand on his shoulder. This was her signal that Starsky was in more distress than he was letting on. Of course, he didn't need any help in seeing that his friend was just this side of losing it. He knew him too well to be fooled by his bravado. He also knew that Starsky needed to keep up this brave front right now. The children and especially Joan needed for him to stay strong. As he continued to watch the two, he found it hard to keep the tears at bay, but if Starsky needed him to play it cool, then that's what he'd do.
Hutch's wife Linda could see the sudden tension in her husband's stance. She reached over and took his hand, letting him know she was there for him.
"Are you okay?"
"Yeah. Just thinking. We had a streak going for a while there. Five years without a major tragedy."
"I guess we should be thankful for that."
"Yeah. It doesn't make it any easier though."
Luke and Sergeant Biggs were in a deep conversation when they made their way to the backyard. They were so loud that they caught everyone's attention.
Starsky was the first to greet him. "Well it's about time Biggs."
"Sorry Cap, but better late then never."
"Oh, I don't know Biggs. Remember who's cooking. Maybe never would be better," Hutch teased.
"Look who's talking. The Tofu king of L.A.," Starsky volleyed back.
The banter went on for a while more and then everyone sat down to eat. They avoided the topics of Joan's illness or police business. The rest of the evening went along without incident and was quite enjoyable. At the end, the men said their goodbye's and left for their meeting.
The restaurant was very upscale, with crystal chandeliers, elegant table settings, and a live jazz band. The fare included everything from vegetarian specialties to lobster. The bar was crowded with overly dressed patrons, waiting to see if any reservations had been cancelled.
Starsky, Hutch and Sergeant Biggs entered in their casual dress and were offered dirty looks as they waltzed in past the crowd and headed for a table which was being cleared. The men didn't give the crowd a second glance. This place was like home to them and their friend Huggy Bear was the owner. He had made some bad business choices in his younger years, but finally made enough to invest in a restaurant of some class. He had made it into the goldmine it was today. Starsky and Hutch kind of missed the old days, when Huggy was connected to the streets, but they were glad that their friend had survived those days of hardship and could stand his ground with any other respectable member of society. They'd never in a lifetime thought he would make good to this extreme.
The crowd stopped murmuring and turned their attention to the musicians, when they saw the owner of the establishment greet the ragged bunch. Obviously, they were not interlopers, but welcomed guests.
Huggy grouched as he took a seat. "I was just about to give up on you."
"Hey Hug, Blame Biggs," Starsky said.
"Me? Why me?"
"Haven't you heard? Starsky and I are perfect. Who else are we gonna blame?" Hutch announced.
"Yeah, right," Biggs said in mock disgust.
"Yeah, well. I could be making money on this table instead of holding it for a bunch of guys who still have a tab running from 1975."
"Starsk, I thought you were supposed to pay the man," Hutch said.
"Mmm. Not with this wallet," Starsky returned.
The three men looked at each other and without missing a beat, all said at the same time. "Blame it on Biggs."
All four men laughed at their lunacy.
"You gents want some coffee or something to eat?"
"Just coffee Hug," Starsky said.
Hutch and Biggs asked for the same and Huggy motioned to one of his waiters and ordered for them all.
There was a strange silence as the men waited for the waiter to return. When coffee was served all around, they still hadn't said a word. They all had the same concern on their minds. Huggy was being asked to get back into the game-- even if it was just for contacting purposes--and take risks. There was no question that something could go wrong, and Huggy could be exposed to danger. He hadn't had his ear to the ground and didn't know what was going on in the streets any more. His business was totally legitimate and he didn't have the contacts he had years ago. When Starsky had asked him to be the contact person for Biggs, he couldn't turn him down though. He knew how Starsky felt about this man. Several police detectives had already been hurt. One of their fellow officers might be on the take and this is what could have gotten them killed. It was imperative to have someone on the outside who could be totally trusted.
"Hey Hug, in all seriousness. Thanks for this. We got no one else to go to," Starsky said.
"You got it my man."
Hutch turned to Sergeant Biggs. "Now you make contact with Huggy at least every other day. If you find out anything at all, you feed it to him and he'll get in contact with us."
"Yeah. We won't be able to meet again until this is over," Starsky said.
"Understood," Biggs replied.
"Then we'll leave you in good hands. Take care of yourself." Starsky eyes misted, but he would not give in to the urge to forget the whole thing.
They all shook hands and then Starsky and Hutch left Huggy and Biggs on their
Starsky paced the floors of the hospital waiting room. This had been the third day of Joan's bouts with nausea and vomiting. They had decided that something other than the normal effects of Kidney disease was wrong, and had brought her to the emergency room. The doctors had been with her for hours and there was no word on what was happening. He was just on the verge of strangling information out of one of the nurses when Doctor Barnes, her regular physician, came into the waiting room. Starsky had called him first and was referred to Emergency because he would not be able to get to the hospital for a few hours.
Starsky calmed just a bit when he saw the doctor. They shook hands and the doctor could feel Starsky's hands were a bit clammy.
"Dave, I'm sorry I couldn't be here when she was brought in."
"How is she Doc?"
"Come sit down Dave.
"Now, I'm going to tell you how she is, but you look awful. I want you to sit down and relax."
"Okay, okay. Just, tell me how she is."
"Dave, Joan has peritonitis--an infection."
"I knew it."
"This is what caused the fever and nausea. She was also complaining of stomach pain. Now we're giving her antibiotics and she should start to feel better in a few days."
Starsky rested his forehead in his hand and took a relieving breath.
"How? We were really careful."
"Now don't go blaming yourselves. Sometimes these things just happen. In this case, there were some tears in the catheter. It was probably caused by too much stress put on the catheter while the bag was being changed."
"So it is our fault?."
"Dave, don't panic. We're going to have a nurse go over the procedure to change the bags again. Everyone who helps out with this, should have a refresher course."
"Okay Doc. Can I take her home?"
"Well, I'd like to keep her for a day or two, just for observation."
"Now, I'm not even going to ask you because, I can see the answer by looking at you. You're not taking care of yourself. If you don't, you're going to wind up in a hospital bed right beside your wife. You won't be any good to her or your kids that way."
Starsky sighed, but he knew the doctor was right. He felt like crap. There were just too many things happening with Joan and with the investigation. He hardly had time to blink, let alone sleep. He heard the last of the doctors reprimand.
"…and that's only for starters. I want you to go home and get some rest."
"Doc, can I see Joan first? I promise to go home after."
"Okay. She's being moved up to room 617. You can see her for a little while. If you're still there in one hour, I'm going to have you physically removed, put in a straight jacket and moved into an isolation ward so you can get some rest.
Starsky had to smile. "Okay, Okay Doc. I get the point." He headed for the elevators.
Doctor Barnes headed to his office to make a phone call.
Starsky rested his head on Joan's chest and she stroked his dark curls. He thought, he should be the one comforting her, but she had pulled him into her, as soon as he was by her side and wouldn't let him go. It was nice to feel safe, if only for a moment. He knew, he would have to leave the comfort of her strength soon.
"Joan, if you remember, you're the one who's sick here."
"And you're not sick with worry. Please. Give me a break."
Starsky looked into those big brown eyes. He could see so much love there.
"Honey, do me a favor?" She asked.
He could see the anger in her eyes now. They both knew what was going on. She was going to ask him to go on without her if something happened. He was determined that nothing was going to happen. He decided to quiet the argument before it started.
"Nothing's gonna happen. I promise."
"So you're a doctor now, huh?" She smiled at him.
"We got a lot of people prayin for us. Mom, Hutch. And Joyce. I think she's got direct contact."
She kissed him. "Okay, I give in."
A knock turned their attention to the door. They were both surprised to see Hutch enter.
"Hey, what are you doin here?" Starsky asked.
"Nice to see you too." Hutch turned his attention to Joan. "Hi pretty lady."
"Hi yourself handsome."
Hutch walked over and gave her a kiss, then answered Starsky's question. "Doctor Barnes called. Threatened to send you to the Psych ward, if I didn't come and get you."
Starsky stood up at this point. "Is he serious?"
"I guess so. Come on."
Joan tapped him. "Hey, go on. Doctor's orders, ya know."
"Hmm. Why do I have the feeling, you're tryin to get rid of me?"
"Because I am. Now go. I need my rest too you know."
Joan pulled him into a kiss and they rubbed noses. Then Starsky gave her that crooked grin and headed for the door.
"Come on blondie. Put me to bed."
"I thought you'd never ask."
They both winked at Joan and left her to get some much needed rest.
They had talked for some length on the way home. Starsky was afraid, even though he couldn't let Joan and the kids see it. They'd also spoken of the debt that Starsky had incurred while trying to keep life as normal as possible for the kids. He was not only taking care of Joan's, but his mother's expenses. The bills were mounting and he was just keeping the family afloat. Joan's infection really scared him. What if they tore another catheter and she was infected again? Also, Joyce and all of his friends including Hutch had limited time to spare, so he was thinking of hiring a full time nurse for Joan and that would take up even more of his salary. He was considering taking out another mortgage on the house.
When they arrived at Starsky's, Hutch directed him to get right to bed. Starsky had sunken into slumber not ten seconds after hitting the pillow. Now, Hutch sat at the edge of the bed and watched Starsky's chest rise and fall. There was something comforting in just being there with him. He could feel Starsky's tension dwindle in his presence as well. Although he didn't voice it, he could sense that Starsky didn't want him to leave. He swung his legs over and laid next to his sleeping partner for a while, letting the steady breaths lull him into a blissful nod. Work could wait an hour or two.
Sergeant Biggs settled into his role as a dirty cop who had been transferred from Metro division as punishment for insubordination and alleged police brutality. There were rumors of some other shady goings-on in his past, which couldn't be proved. His file was full of petty infractions--nothing they would fire him for, but enough so that if anyone searched deep enough, he looked questionable. The fifteenth precinct was close to the Mexican border and full of what most cops laughingly called fringe police. Most of the guys here had some blot on their record at one time or another.
He stretched his feet out on the desk and read a playboy magazine. He laughed to himself and thought, he could get used to this kind of duty. His contact with Huggy wasn't for another day, and so far, he had nothing to report. There was no news on Robinson. It would be at least a week or two before anyone would trust him enough to confide any information in him. He would keep his eyes and ears open, but for now, there were plenty of playboy magazines to keep his attention.
Hutch waited for Chief Kalowitz in the secretary's office. He had been in Robbery-Homicide early to confirm that Starsky was in, but found that he had stepped out. He knew that the Chief was concerned with Starsky's absence.
"You can go in now Captain Hutchinson," the secretary said.
The Chief was just disconnecting from a call when Hutch popped his head in.
"You wanted to see me Chief?"
"Yes. Come in. Have you found Starsky?"
"No sir, but I wouldn't worry about it. He probably had to go home for a quick minute."
"I've been looking for him for two hours."
"Well, with Joan sick--It's probably just taken a little longer than he thought. I'm sure he'll call in if he's going to be any later.
"Hutch is everything okay? I know he's concerned about Joan, but he just hasn't been acting himself lately.
"He's just got a lot on his plate right now. He'll be okay."
"Well let's hope so. This investigation needs you both at the top of your game."
"Oh believe me Chief, we're on it."
"Okay. Good enough.
"What's the status on Biggs?"
"One week and no sign of Robinson. He's won the confidence of some of the men, but he hasn't been let in on anything big yet."
Well, you keep me informed.
"Yes sir," Hutch stood.
"Hutch. You'll let me know when Starsky arrives?"
"Will do Chief."
Joyce was just stepping out of Joan's room when Starsky came up the steps and startled her.
"Oh, don't do that to me. How long have you been home?"
"Just a few minutes," Starsky answered. "How's Joan?"
"She's sleeping honey. Why don't you come downstairs and I'll fix you a sandwich?"
"No thanks. Just stopped by for a minute. I thought the nurse was supposed to be here."
She just went out to fill a prescription. She called me over to see if I couldn't watch Joan for a minute."
"You off to work when she comes back?"
"Yep. Judge Beck is due back in this afternoon, so I have to be there."
"Thanks for comin over." He gave her a kiss. "If Joan wakes up while you're here, tell her I stopped in to check on her."
"Okay honey. Don't work too hard."
"Well, I'll see if crime will take a break for the rest of the day."
She swatted him on his backside. "Get out."
"See ya." He jogged down the stairs and was gone.
The Chief burst into Hutch's office. "Where have you been Hutchinson?"
"Nevermind. Huggy Bear is on the phone. Sergeant Biggs has some information for us. Where's Starsky?"
"He hasn't come back yet."
Hutch picked up the phone. The Chief stood over him with his hands folded, waiting for information.
"Hutch. I just got a call from Biggs. He couldn't talk for long, but he said, if you want your mole, you should be at the Mandalay Heights amusement park at twelve noon. There's going to be a meet at the Merry-Go-Round.
Hutch wrote the information as he spoke. "Amusement park. Noon. Merry-Go-Round. Got it Hug.
"Did he mention Robinson at all?"
"No, but he said to look for a familiar face."
"That's all he said."
"Okay Hug. Thanks. Hutch looked up at the Chief. "We got him."
"Let's go." The Chief started for the door.
"Wait. Let me call Starsky and tell him to meet us there" Hutch said.
"No time. We'll just have to fill him in when he returns. Come on."
Hutch scrambled to get his jacket and followed the Chief.
The amusement park at Mandalay Heights had been rebuilt years ago and was a thriving enterprise again. It was crowded and they weren't sure how they were going to make an identification, but they had arrived in record time. In a few minutes, they would have their man. Biggs had only said, they would know the mole when they saw him. They sat on the only unoccupied bench available. Hutch took notice of the people closest to them. There was a bum lying on the bench to their right. To the left was a women with three noisy children, who were jumping on and off of the bench.
Chief Kalowitz had not ordered any back up because unless there was a buy going down, there would be no evidence to bust the guy on. They would have his identity though and would be able to lay a trap for him and bust this ring wide open at the same time. He looked at his watch. "It's 12:05," he announced.
"Hmm. Some crooks have no sense of time," Hutch quipped.
Chief Kalowitz just frowned and examined his watch as if it were lying about the time.
Hutch wished Starsky was there. He would have had a smart remark to add to his own. He was just about to try again when the Chief's jaw dropped. Hutch followed his line of sight and followed suit. His eyes opened wide at the sight at the Merry-Go-Round.
Starsky stood looking at his watch. He seemed to be surveying the area as well to make sure he hadn't been followed. Hutch and the Chief hid themselves behind the tree next to the bench. Their mouths remained wide open in shock.
Hutch spoke first. "Huggy must have reached him."
The Chief hesitated, but finally spoke. "Yes…yes he must have…" Before he could finish, two men walked up to Starsky and greeted him with hand shakes.
"Who, who are they?" The Chief asked.
"I don't recognize them," Hutch answered.
They heard a voice come from the bench to their right.
"The tall one is Justin Carter, with the twelfth precinct... The Bald one is Manuel Ortega, with the fifteenth...
They both turned to see the bum, who still laid on the bench.
"Biggs?" Hutch asked.
"Biggs, what's going on?" the Chief demanded.
He didn't answer at first. When he did, he sounded subdued, as if he were in some kind of shock. "I didn't want to believe it at first. I was in the supply room and overheard Carter and Ortega talking. They wanted to know where all of the cop spies were coming from. They said, they were going to get answers from Captain Starsky.
"I don't believe this," Hutch commented. "This is not real."
Biggs' voice turned angry, but he kept his voice as low as he could, so as not to give himself away. "He's been in on it from the beginning.
"No. No. Not Starsky." Hutch spoke, stunned.
"Juarez and Jackson must have found out, so he had them killed. Or maybe someone else had them killed, I don't know. But he's involved--he's involved.
Hutch thought he saw Biggs' shoulders shaking. He definitely heard his voice crack and could imagine the tears. "I still haven't seen Robinson."
"This doesn't make sense," Hutch said. "If Starsky's involved, why don't they know about you? And what about Donaldson and Lopez. They're still operating."
"I don't know Captain. Maybe because we haven't stumbled across anything yet. Why don't you go over there and ask him?"
Hutch started toward Starsky and the Chief pulled him back.
"What do you think you're doing?"
"I'm gonna ask him. Chief there's got to be an explanation. Starsk is not a dirty cop. No way." He started to move again and the Chief shoved him into the tree.
"Take another step and your finished. Hear me? Fired.
"I quit." He moved again.
This time Chief Kalowitz pulled his gun. "You're not going anywhere.
Hutch matched the Chief's glare, then looked away in confusion. "He…he…he's not…not Starsky…not…no… Hutch closed his eyes against the pain. He shook his head then rubbed his eyes and opened them again. Starsky still stood by the Merry-Go-Round, talking to the two crooked cops.
"You're not thinking straight Hutch," the Chief stated. "Just calm down now. Just…calm down.
"I don't want to believe this either Hutch, but there he is. You tell me what he's doing here?" Biggs asked.
"He…It's got to be some sort of sting. He must be working for…for…" He looked hopefully at the Chief.
Disgust filled the Chiefs voice. "Not for me. And not for the Feds, they would have notified me."
"What makes you think that?" Hutch almost screamed, but caught himself. "You know as well as I, they've never cooperated with us on any case we've ever worked for them"
"Hutch. He is NOT working with the Feds. Believe me on this," the Chief said.
Hutch hugged his arms close to himself, trying to keep from falling apart.
All three men became silent. Hutch and the Chief ducked behind the tree so that they could no longer see Starsky or Biggs. To the Chief, it looked like Hutch was about to lose it. He shook him by the shoulders, but Hutch just stared. Then, without warning, Hutch was hunched beside the tree throwing up. The Chief was at his side in no time. He had seen Starsky comfort Hutch in various situations, but knew there would be no comfort for him this time. His best friend in the entire world had just betrayed his trust. He had not thought it possible. If he could have bet on anyone's integrity, it would have been Starsky's. One thing was for sure, Starsky wouldn't be the only detective lost to him today. He'd lose two men. He could see this in Hutch's eyes. He had to act quickly.
"Hutchinson, get up."
Hutch stayed on the ground.
"I said get up man. You're no rookie on his first assigment. You're the captain of my narcotics team and you will act accordingly. Now get up."
Hutch responded this time. He stood--albeit a little unsteadily. He wiped a tear from his eye and fought for composure.
"Now get a hold of yourself," Chief Kalowitz ordered.
Biggs hadn't moved in all that time. The chief and Hutch took their places beside the tree again.
Ortega took an envelope from his jacket and handed it to Starsky. Starsky shoved the envelope into his jacket. They shook hands and Ortega and Carter disappeared in separate directions. Starsky looked around before disappearing behind the Merry-Go-Round and out of sight.
Bigg's finally spoke again. "I've got to get back to the office or Ortega will miss me. I'll be in touch." He hesitated for just a moment. "I'm so sorry Hutch." He made like a wine-o and stood up trying to balance himself. He took a swig from a bottle and then hid it inside of his coat. When he walked passed the woman and her children, she pulled them out of his path. He walked away with a stagger, but his pace quickened as he passed the Merry-Go-Round.
Hutch's eyes were downcast now and the Chief could see unshed tears. "Let's go Hutch." Hutch let himself be pulled in the direction of their car. The chief planted him in the passengers seat and without another word, they were on their way back to the precinct. They had plans to make.
Starsky took in the sight of Michael plumping up the pillows under Joan's head. This boy was going to make some doctor, he thought. Starsky thought to himself, he cherished this family of his. They meant everything to him. He would do anything to make sure they were well taken care of. He smiled when he realized, Joan noticed him standing in the doorway.
"Couldn't stand another minute without me, huh?" she teased.
Michael turned around to see his father. "Hey dad."
"Doc." He regarded the gentle way his son rubbed his mother's stomach. "Did I ever tell you how proud I am of you?"
"Sure dad." Michael rose and stood by his father. "I better get out of here though. Sounds like you're going to get all mushy on me."
"Me mushy? Perish the thought."
"Mom, I'll get you some soup."
Starsky patted his son's shoulder as he was leaving.
"Lady, that's one terrific son you've got."
"Only because he takes after you."
He sat down next to her and gave her a kiss on the cheek. "So how are you feeling?"
"Oh, better. She let him rub her stomach and was closing her eyes when it hit her that it was only three in the afternoon. "Hey, what are you doing home?"
He stood and turned so she wouldn't see into his eyes. He walked over to the dresser and started emptying his pockets. "Had an early meeting. Thought I'd come home and surprise ya."
"Mission accomplished." She patted the bed, indicating that he should sit back down.
He sat, but looked everywhere but into her eyes.
"So, what's the matter?
"Nothin? He knew he hadn't convinced her, but hoped to spare her the truth. He couldn't hide his apprehension, but maybe he could spare her the substance of his worry.
"Did Hutch go home early too."
"Honey, why don't you just rest, huh?"
"You're worried about the case."
Now he looked at her. "Yeah. More than you'll ever know."
"Well come on and relax. Everything's going to be just fine. How could it not, with you and Hutch working together."
"Yeah." He laid down next to her. She kissed his brow and massaged his temples. He fell into a quiet slumber.
The Chief eyed Hutch, who sat in the his office still trying to compose himself. He watched as he lifted two aspirins to his mouth and followed that with a full bottle of water. They had stopped by Robbery-Homicide on the way back to his office and discovered that Starsky had called in. He wouldn't be back this afternoon at all, as he had gone home to check on Joan.
He listened to his secretary repeat the instructions he had just given her. The plan to catch Starsky would be in motion shortly. They would have to bide their time though. Starsky wasn't a stupid man and would be on to them if they moved too swiftly. Hutch had convinced him to keep Internal Affairs out of this as long as possible. After all, they still didn't know how far the leak went, Hutch had reasoned.
"You put that in the works right away." The Chief hung up the phone and sighed. He could see Hutch was still on edge, but didn't know quite what to say. Look, Hutch…"
"Chief, what am I going to do? Starsky knows me too well. He'll know something's wrong."
"You're a professional Hutch. Just do your job."
"I'm still not convince of this you know. There has got to be some logical explanation."
"You mean other than his wife is sick and in need of a lot of expensive care, that he's also taking care of the bills for his ailing mother, that he's got more bills than he can manage, that the bank is looking to foreclose on his house?" He noted the surprised look on Hutch's face. "Yeah, I know about that. The bank called to verify his salary, when Starsky applied for another mortgage. He's this close to losing the house.
Hutch remained silent.
"Look Hutch, I know it's hard to believe, but everyone has a breaking point. We've seen it happen to more than enough good cops who just couldn't see any other way out. It's never easy."
"But Starsky. I know him like I know myself."
"I know." He came from around his desk and put a hand on Hutch's shoulder. "If you can't do this, I'll have to get I.A. involved."
Hutch looked into the Chief's eyes. "I'll do it. But, not to prove he's guilty. I'm going to prove he's innocent."
"I hope so too you know."
"Yeah. I know Chief."
Mr. Morgan sat in his overstuffed leather chair, behind an ostentatiously decorated desk, smoking an overpriced Cuban cigar. He was definitely use to comfort and luxury. He was an influential man too, with ties leading to every major politician in California and New York. He had funded quite a few of the election campaigns and had more than a few judges in his pocket. He had police from every precinct in California eating out of his hands as well. The snoops in the FBI were watching him closely, but he also had men there too and had stopped several investigation in there tracks. It was those who he couldn't buy that he had to watch out for. There was always someone who thought he was immune to greed and power. He'd take care of them in his own good time. Right now, he was concerned with Captain David Michael Starsky. To reel him in would be a feather in his cap. This is one police officer who thought he was above such petty criminal minds--as Starsky had told his underlings. He might give Starsky the chance to meet with him one of these days, when he was sure he was so far in, that even his beloved partner Captain Kenneth Huctchinson couldn't save his sorry hide. Who knows, maybe with Starsky a part of their little endeavor, Hutchinson would join too. Anything to protect his precious Starsky.
He had sent Carter and Ortega to feel Starsky out when he'd found out about his wife being ill. It didn't seem that he could be bought--at first. But, as his wife's conditioned spiraled out of his control and Starsky's finances dwindled down to barely enough to scratch by, his attitude started to change. For a while there, he thought that Hutchinson would get in the way, but he didn't have the kind of money it would take to bail his friend out of debt. The only thing he could offer would be friendship and loyalty. Very overrated qualities if you asked him. No. Most people were driven by pain, suffering and greed. These were the people he could deal with and he was glad to see that Starsky was beginning to see the light. He had offered him the one thing he would have a hard time refusing. A kidney transplant for his wife. He had several members of the organ donor board in his pocket and was certain that he could manage to put Starsky's wife higher on the waiting list. Starsky had fallen then. Mr. High and Mighty did have a price after all.
Carter and Ortega sat in Mr. Morgan's office discussing Starsky's involvment in their Mexican drug exchange program, as they called it. Carter was young, but he could be trusted. He was a little overzealous, but he took orders well. Ortega was the mean one. He was quiet and only spoke when he found it necessary. Mr. Morgan liked him though. He too could be trusted, but there was something more. There were no pretenses with Ortega. He told you straight out what he meant. If he said he was going to do something, it was as good as done.
"So my friends, he's been cooperating so far?" Morgan questioned.
"He's turned his head the other way so many times, he may get whiplash," Carter volunteered.
"Good. Now, what about, these undercover cops?"
"Taken care of." He's assured us that the two we iced are the only one's that were sent in, " Carter said.
"What about Robinson?"
"He's on the mend," Carter answered.
"No idiot. Do you think he could be undercover?"
"If we thought that, we'd have slit his throat with the other two," Ortega said.
Mr. Morgan nodded. "Good enough. And keep an eye on Starsky. When he's hungry enough, we'll need him for our big shipment."
"Right Mr. Morgan. Um, is that all sir." Carter stood.
"That will be all."
Carter started for the door. Ortega followed behind without a word.
It had been one week since the Chief and Hutchinson had found out about Starsky's extra curricular activities. The Chief had put a tail on Starsky & Hutchinson under the guise of protecting the Captains from harm and so that no one would think Starsky was under any suspicion. So far it had worked. Hutchinson knew about his tail, but Starsky was in the dim. Hutchinson had said, that Starsky would have noticed it under normal circumstances. Since his attention has been so split in the last couple of months, he wouldn't notice, if someone had tailed him into the john. They had watched his every move when ever he left the building. So far, he hadn't had so much as another look at the two men he had met with before.
Everyone in the department could feel the change. There was something going on between Captains Hutchinson and Starsky. For all the world to see, the relationship was just the same as always, but there was an underlying current that could be felt. No one could put their finger on it. It was just there.
Several of the men watched as Stasky and Hutch walked out of Hutch's office. Both men were reserved. Maybe it was just this case. It was getting to everybody. Two well known detectives were dead and another was missing. It couldn't be good for morale.
In the Chief's office, Starsky briefed Hutch and his commanding officer on Bigg's report. The Chief and Hutch shared eye contact while Starsky flipped through his notes.
Starsky shook his head. "Nothing on Robinson so far. I can't understand it. He couldn't have just disappeared into thin air."
"If he's hurt, he could be laying low," Hutch interjected.
The Chief watched Starsky closely and wondered if he was so upset because Robinson could be dead or because he could be alive, hiding and waiting to contact them about Starsky's real involvement with the criminals who ran the operation. He let his gaze return to Hutch and motioned his head toward Starsky.
Hutch took the hint. "Starsk what to you think about shifting gears a little."
"I mean, it hasn't worked with us going to them." He looked at the Chief then back at Starsky. "So why don't we let them come to us."
"Good idea Ollie."
Chief Kalowitz glared at both men. "You want to tell me what you're talking about?"
"Sure Chief," Hutch volunteered. I'm gonna play bad cop."
"Hutchinson, that's the oldest game in the book."
"And they always fall for it. Ever notice that Chief?" Hutch asked.
"Yeah, but how do you wanna play it?" Starsky asked Hutch. "And no, you're not gonna punch me out in front of everybody."
Hutch smiled. "No. Only a no good, rotten scoundrel would take a shot like that at his partner."
"Well buddy, I know how you might react to this, but umm. I'm gonna play strung out."
"What!" Starsky jumped up.
Hutch winced. "Look buddy…"
"Out of the question."
"No way. End of discussion."
"How else do you think we're gonna get them to think the Captain of the narcotics division is on the take?"
Starsky really looked concerned. His eyes puddled up. "Chief, could you exuse us?"
"I don't think so Starsky. Look, if you're concerned with me finding out about Hutch's bout with cocaine, he's already told me."
Starsky looked at Hutch.
"Buddy, I know I should have told you, but when I applied for this position, Dobey thought that I should be totally honest with the Chief. I didn't tell you because I thought you would try to talk me out of it. Anyway, Dobey said I could trust Chief Kalowitz to be fair about it."
Starsky sat down now. He looked from Hutch to Kalowitz and back. "Wow. Were you ever gonna tell me?"
"I don't know. You were always so protective of the secret. You went through a lot for me. I just didn't think you would take it very well."
"You're probably right." He shook his head. "Okay, so it's out in the open, but I still don't think you should tempt fate, ya know?"
"Starsk, you don't think that's what I've been doing the whole time I've been working narcotics? If I were gonna get hooked, don't you think I'd have done it already. I mean with all the drugs that have come through my office…"
He still looked a little uncertain to Chief Kalowitz, but that was good. That's what they wanted. He and Hutch had discussed this. Hutch was banking on Starsky's feelings for him to come through.
For weeks Hutch and Chief Kalowitz went about reconstructing Hutch's files. Little infractions here and there appeared out of no where. They shifted numbers in the records to make it look like a little had been skimmed off the top of every other bust for the last ten years.
Hutch started to miss meetings and he let his appearance go, just the slightest bit. His mannerisms also changed. He pretended to be a little edgy lately, using the excuse that this case was getting to him.
For Starsky's part, he was supposed to snoop around the narcotics division, asking questions about Hutch. He had a worried look on his face anytime he entered the offices. They also had staged some heated arguments where they would slam out of each others offices. It was working too. There was a buzz going around the precinct that Hutch might be sampling some of the confiscated merchandise.
The final lid on the coffin was planted in Starsky's office. Everyone knew who was in there. They anticipated that this someone was a final ditch effort to talk some sense into Captain Hutchinson. When Starsky opened his door, the entire office looked up.
Harold Dobey exited and shook Starsky's hand. He still commanded respect even though he was using a cane to get himself around now. Even the younger officers, who hadn't been so close to him, still called him Captain. His reputation preceded him and the men in Starsky's unit where well aware of the attachment Captain Starsky had toward the older man. Dobey, Hutch and Starsky went back a long way and were considered legends in the minds of some of the younger officers.
"I'll see what I can do Starsky. You know Hutch has always been the stubborn one."
"Thanks Cap." He whispered just loud enough for the men to hear. "It's getting out of hand."
They shook hands again and Dobey headed out the door and towards the Narcotics Division. Starsky stared after him for a minute then noticed the men looking at him. "What's everybody staring at? Don't you have some work to do?"
The men scurried to get back to their work to avoid the wrath of the Captain.
Starsky watched for a second and then went back into the office and slammed the door.
Eureka. Contact had been made and wouldn't you know it, Carter and Ortega were the one's to contact him. Chief Kalowitz busted with pride when Hutchinson relayed the news.
"I'm meeting with them on Thursday," Hutch stated.
"That's good news," the Chief said.
Starsky agreed, but with much less enthusiasm. This time the unspoken words that shot between them were loud and clear to the Chief. When you were in, sometimes you'd have to try the product, whether it was prostitution, gambling, or drugs. They'd all be saying a silent prayer that Hutch wouldn't be put to the test.
Starsky was very quite at dinner that night, but Rachel was talking a mile a minute. Joan's attention was focused on her husband. He hadn't been acting himself for weeks now.
"Mommy, do you know what Jason did today."
"Be quiet Rachel," Michael said.
"Quiet yourself, M I C H A E L," stressing his real name and not his nick name.
Michael rolled his eyes. He was worried about his parents. They didn't need a bunch of kids nonsense to deal with, they had enough on their minds. He decided to let an otherwise amusing argument go down the tubes.
"Which one is Jason?" Joan asked, pulling her eyes from her husband.
"Mommy, I told you. The one who likes me."
"Oh. What did Jason do today?"
" He said, I looked like a frog. A frog!"
"Sweetie, he's just jealous of your good looks?"
"Well, he better not say it tomorrow, or I'll punch his lights out."
"That's nice sweetie," Joan said. She rose and followed her husband. He was totally oblivious to the conversation and walked away from the table without finishing his meal.
Rachel continued on in the background. "If anybody looks like a frog…."
Joan found Starksy in the Den.
"Honey, I know the home aids cooking isn't that bad."
"Huh. Oh, it was fine."
"So, what's the problem?"
"I'm worried about Hutch. I don't think he's gonna be able to handle it."
"Honey, you said it yourself. He's been around drugs for the last ten years…"
"Yeah, on the inside! He hasn't been under since we've been off the streets. He hasn't had people pushin it at him!"
"Well, what are you going to do? You can't go with him and hold his hand."
"No, I can't do that."
"I don't know." He took her hand. I'm sorry. I shouldn't be burdening you with this."
"I'm your wife Dave. Just because I'm sick, doesn't mean I'm not here for you."
"I know. I know.
She held him and they rocked back and forth trying to comfort each other.
Biggs hadn't been spotted as he followed Carter into the abandoned building. He walked just far enough behind to keep out of sight. He noted how clean the building looked for something that hadn't been used in years.
Carter opened a door and disappeared through it. There were guards standing on the outside. He didn't think he was going to get a look at what was in there. But, seconds later, he heard the guards summoned in. He took his chance and snuck closer to the room. There were four walls, but no ceiling. This was perfect, he would be able to hear every word they said--except it had now been five minutes and they weren't saying anything. Biggs decided that he would have to chance taking a peak over the wall.
He made his way quietly to the back of the room, but found there was no visible way to scale the wall. If there had just been a few boxes or something he could stand on. He looked around a few feet from the room and still found nothing, then he spotted a pipe in the corner. If he could wedge himself in between the pipe and the wall, he could shimee his way up to see over the wall. With a few false starts behind him, he quietly made his way up to the top.
The room was equipped with a hospital bed, chairs, a heart monitor, and I.V. poles with multiple bags hanging to each. A nurse was removing some bandages from the man who laid in the bed. Biggs couldn't get a good look because, the guards and Carter were in the way.
"How's he doing," Carter finally said, in whispered tones.
"He's getting there," the nurse replied.
"Mr. Morgan's getting impatient."
"Well maybe Mr Morgan would like to suggest a way to wake him up."
"Never mind. Just do your job." He turned to head for the door.
Biggs had to get down from there before he was caught. If he lingered any longer, he'd be trapped. He'd just have to try and come back to see who they were tending to. Or maybe he would overhear Carter talking about it with Ortega. He shimied his way down the drainpipe and just made it back to the other side of the room when the door opened. He let out a breath he didn't realize he was holding. Carter came out and gave the guards some direction.
Biggs made good his escape, while Carters' back was turned. He high taled it out of the buidling and headed back to the precinct. He would just have time to get back ahead of Carter.
Luke helped Hutch tie his tie, while Linda bustled around trying to get breakfast on the table.
"Dad, you're acting awful jumpy today. Since when can't you tie your own tie?"
"Since when can you? You haven't worn a suit without a clip-on tie for ages."
"Come on dad, be serious. What's going on. Does it have to do with Sarge? We haven't seen him around for a while. Come to think of it. Where's Uncle Dave been hiding himself?"
"Luke, will you stop bothering your father with the Twenty questions routine," Linda said.
"Geez, I'm just curious. I mean aren't you curious mom? Things have been like cloak and dagger around here lately."
"Come sit and eat your breakfast," she replied.
Luke pursed his lips and rolled his eyes, but did as he was told.
Hutch kissed her. "Thanks baby."
"Yeah. If the tap is found, it's all over.
She kissed him and pulled him towards the table. Hutch was sorry he couldn't tell her more. She was always so honest with him. He felt like a crumb, but it couldn't be helped.
Carter and Ortega were to meet with Hutchinson this afternoon. They were surprised to get a call from Starsky requesting a meet earlier the same day. Never-the-less, they were there at the appointed time.
Starsky entered the abandoned building precisely on time. Shortly after that Ortega and Carter slipped in. They moved away from the windows, but stayed relatively close to the front of the buidling.
"What's so urgent?" Carter asked.
"Yeah, well." Starsky hesitated for a minute.
"Well, spit it out," Carter said.
"I know about your meet with Hutch."
"What? How?" Carter asked.
"That doesn't matter."
Ortega calmly moved closer to Starsky and pinned him against the wall. "Maybe we got a snitch cop in our midst," he said.
Starsky squirmed. "I'm no snitch. Lookit, I just don't want Hutch to get hurt."
Ortega brought his hand up to Starsky's neck and started to squeeze.
"Wait." Starsky was gasping for breath.
Carter spoke. "When he lets go, you better have a good explanation."
Ortega held on for a few more seconds to make his point. When he let go, Starsky coughed and sputtered until he was able to breath more freely.
"Listen guys, I'm not a snitch. Honest, I came here because I can't let Hutch be involved with this. We always promised each other we'd never…we'd never sink this low."
"Oh, he thinks he's too good for us Ortega."
Ortega took a step closer to Starsky.
"Just wait a second. I'm all you need on the inside. I bugged his office. That's how I knew about the meet."
Ortega was looking more threatening.
"Listen, would I come here like this, if I were going to set you up? I could have just as well brought a couple of squads of back up, if that were my plan.
Ortega and Carter swapped glances now.
"Well you don't see anybody out there do you?"
Ortega backed off. "You don't get to say who we meet with cop."
"Listen to me," Starsky continued. "I think it's a set up. Some how I think he's gotten some information and I think it's a set up."
"So we take him out at the meet."
Ortega took another threatening move forward.
"I mean. I'll take care of him."
"How?" Carter asked.
"He trusts me. I can feed him some kind of story. He'll believe me. I'll throw him off your scent and send him in another direction."
"We'll discuss it with our associate," Carter said. Meanwhile, we haven't gotten any good information from you in a while."
"Yeah well I've been pretty busy."
"With the little woman? If you want, I can come over. I can make her feel real good."
Starsky plunged at Carter. He had him around the troat, but Ortega grabbed him and punched him in the stomach. Starsky went down.
"You punk," Carter said as he kicked Starsky in the stomach. "Who do you think you are?"
Starsky cringed in pain. He took a few deep breaths and then spoke. "Let's just leave my wife out of this."
Ortega picked Starsky up by the collar and stood him against the wall. He kept quiet, but put a little pressure on his throat.
"There's another plant you guys don't know about," Starsky offered.
"What's the guys name?" Carter asked.
"I don't know yet. I'm working on it."
"Well work fast. Meanwhile, we'll talk to our associate about Hutchinson," Carter said.
"Yeah, okay," Starsky replied.
Ortega let him go and he and Carter disappeared as quietly as they had entered.
Starsky rubbed his throat. When Carter and Ortega were out of sight, he exited the building the same way he had entered.
When Starsky returned to the office several hours later, Hutch and Chief Kalowitz were waiting for him.
"Where ya been?" Hutch asked.
Starsky was caught off guard. "Oh uh…with Joan. She um needed my help."
Hutch wasn't looking him in the eyes now.
"Hey Hutch anything wrong?"
"Yeah, Carter and Ortega called off the meet."
"Well ya know, you can't trust…hey, is something else going on? You okay?"
"Aww buddy." Hutch looked up at Starsky. He had tears in his eyes now.
Chief Kalowitz tried to keep his composure. "Starsky, you want to tell us where you really were for three hours this morning?"
"I told ya Chief."
"Oh come on Starsky!!! It's over!!!" Hutch yelled.
Starsky backed up a step or two. His breathing became labored. "Hutch, I…."
"We made a promise. Do you remember? We were just rookies." Hutch tried to keep his tears at bay, but it was no good. "You promised me."
Starsky made a step towards Hutch. "I remember. I'm sorry buddy. I couldn't see a way out."
"You talk to me! That's what we do!"
"And what were you gonna do, huh! Rob a bank? I needed the money Hutch. It's just as simple as that.
"And me and thee just goes out the window, right buddy? " Hutch asked sadly.
"No, she needed YOU! Your kids needed you! Your mom needed you! I…I needed you." Hutch wiped at the tears in his eyes.
" I would have bet my life it wasn't true." Hutch's eyes went lifeless as though he had lost everything he cared about.
Chief Kalowitz stepped up to Starsky and pulled his tie clip off. "A bug." He reached under Starsky's jacket and took the gun from his holster.
Starsky reached into his pants pocket and took his badge out. He laid it on his desk. "What now?" he asked the Chief..
"Now I.A. has some questions they'd like to ask you."
The Chief buzzed the intercom and Officers Jenkins and Billows walked in.
Starsky looked up at Hutch one more time. "I'm sorry Hutch."
Hutch looked at Starsky and the tears fell again. Starsky waited, but Hutch couldn't say anything else.
Jenkins and Billows lead Starsky out of the office past a crowd of officers who had gathered at the sound of the commotion. Each man turned his head as Starsky was lead down the hall toward I. A.
Chief Kalowitz watched the exchange between Starsky and Hutchinson. His heart broke for them. This was a sad day, but he would do his best to get Hutchinson through this.
Joan rushed as much as she possibly could, to get dressed. Joyce helped her and tried to calm her down.
"Honey, just wait a minute. I'll help you with your shoes."
"I don't understand. I don't understand any of this," Joan exclaimed.
"I don't either, but when you get to the station, I'm sure they'll explain.
"Joyce, I don't even think they were going to tell me. When I called, Rita told me that Dave wasn't in is office. It sounded like she'd been crying. I think the only reason they told me is because, I was threatening to come down there."
"Well they fixed that didn't they."
Joan smiled for the first time since the call. When she'd heard the news that her husband was being held for questioning in the deaths of the two detectives who had been found months ago, she had gone ballistic. If she could have reached through the phone and grabbed Chief Kalowitz by the collar, when he'd told her, she'd probably be up on charges now too. And where was Hutch. She was told he was nowhere to be found at that moment. She knew that if she could just talk to him, she would be able to get a grasp on what was happening. She looked at her best friend, who was struggling to help her with her shoes. She had been an angel, dropping everything and coming over at the last minute. And now here she was on her knees helping to put her shoes on. And with what thanks. "Joyce."
"Yeah." She looked up from her task.
"Thanks for coming over. I don't know what I'd do without you."
"Well you'll never have to worry about that. And don't worry, the kids will be fine." I'll stay with them as long as it takes.
"Thanks. Joyce, I'm not coming home without him."
Joyce put her hand on Joan's arm. "I know."
Joan was at the precinct in record time. Everyone within ear distance and a few who weren't heard her as she marched down the hall proclaiming her husbands innocence. Hutch rushed down the hall to her side.
"Joan, I thought the Chief told you to stay home."
"Are you serious now? Where is he Hutch. I want to see him now!"
"You know you can't do that. He's in with I.A. right now."
"Vultures. They've been after you two since you were rookies. When are they ever gonna let up?"
"Joan, come with me. Please. Just come with me."
She let herself be lead into Hutch's office, but she was not going to be quiet. She wouldn't be calmed until she could see her husband. The entire third floor could hear her tirade as Hutch tried to calm her.
"And don't tell me to calm down one more time…"
Joan was awakened by a soft touch on her face. She practically jumped onto her husband when she saw his face. She clung to him, as if for dear life and cried tears of joy and sadness. Starsky finally had to pry her off.
"Hi to you too," he joked.
"Dave, what in the world is going on?"
"We're going home. That's what's going on."
"Tell me first. Why are they accusing you?"
"Honey, I've done some things I'm not proud of, but we're not going to talk about it now. All I can tell you is that I've been suspended. I'll tell you the rest when we're home and away from here. I just want to go home."
"Okay baby, sure."
"What made you call the office today of all days."
"I don't know. I just had to talk to you. When Rita started going into hysterics after I asked for you…"
"Reminid me to thank Rita. Come on. Let's go."
He helped her up and they headed for home.
Huggy had finally reached Hutch who had told him the news about Starsky. Huggy was devastated. He'd offered to come stay with Hutch, but Hutch said he would be okay. Huggy knew that was a bold face lie.
"Your boy Biggs was in touch. He said, when you get time, you should check out an abandoned building on Henry Street."
"Yeah, what's there?"
"He said something about a anonymous patient who was all wrapped up like a mummy."
"Yeah. Said, he couldn't make out who it was but, some dudes named, uh, Carter was there too."
"Okay, Hug. Thanks."
"You sure you're gonna be okay man?"
"Yeah Hug. Thanks a bunch."
"You got it."
Huggy hung up. He had a tear forming in his eye. "Must be those allergies again."
Hutch had gotten a team out to the abandoned building that same night. There was nothing to report. No one was in the building, but it looked like someone had occupied one of the rooms and had just recently taken off. They would have to dust for prints etc., but they laid odds against them getting anything. Whoever had been there, it looked like they cleaned up after themselves real good.
Detective Arnold with I.A., sat in on a meeting with Chief Kalowitz, Captain Hutchinson, and his boss, Captain Lopez. They occupied the same interrogation room they used to question Captain Starsky. None of the men looked any too happy in his estimation, but especially not Captain Hutchinson. He sat there with his head hanging.
Arnold had heard about how close the two were. Everybody in the academy knew about them. When he came to work for I.A., he'd found they had a grudge against the two. He didn't put much stock into their creedo. All cops are considered guilty until proven innocent--especially Starsky & Hutchinson. He'd come to I.A., to make a difference, not to become involved in a crusade against those two. Besides, he thought they were pretty decent guys. They had always treated him okay--well, as okay as a cop could treat anyone in I.A. Afterall, they were the enemy to every right thinking cop in America.
He thought, it was a sad thing to see these two finally be split apart. In his estimation, a bad cop was a bad cop and deserved what he got, but there was no glory in that. Also, as long as he'd been in the department, he was secretly hoping that these two would beat the odds.
He listened to his Captain gloat. "So, what do you think of the mighty duo now Chief?"
"There's no reason to be smug about this Lopez. You know, being in I.A., is no vaccination against falling."
Hutch lifted his head and looked Lopez in the eyes. "If you don't want me to tear your head off Lopez, I'd advise you to stick to the facts."
Lopez smiled nervously and then rifled through his papers. "Okay, fine. This is Starsky's confession. We've made a deal. He's staying in to get us more information. As far as anyone else knows, we have suspicions about Captain Starsky, but don't have sufficient proof at this time, so he's on suspension. It will be considered an on-going investigation and he'll not be aloud back into this building. Now, everyone in the know will be ordered to keep his mouth shut about this deal. And since myself, Lopez and now you two are the only ones who know, I'm sure we can be reasonably sure that there will be no leaks, unlike in your department Captain Hutchinson.
Hutch started to get up, but the Chief put his hand on Hutch's shoulder as a restraining measure. "Okay, gentlemen. We'll keep you informed."
He hearded Hutch out into the hallway.
"Chief, I'm telling you, if I catch that creep alone.."
"I don't want to hear it. Go home and get some rest. We're going to have a busy week ahead of us.
Carter and Ortega had several pieces of news for Mr. Morgan. Robinson was awake. Also, the cop Starsky had been suspended for possible ties to murder and drug trafficking.
"I guess Starsky's no good to us anymore," Carter said.
"Nonsense," Mr. Morgan refuted. "He still has the same people in place. He's not going to give them up and consequently, he can still be of some use to us."
"If you say so Mr. Morgan."
"I say so."
"Yeah, sure. I didn't mean anything by that."
"Now, about Robinson."
"He woke up this morning."
"Good. Get his contacts name out of him. After, that we'll no longer have a use for him. Now, tell me something about Sergeant Biggs."
"He's an okay guy. Keeps his mouth shut. Does what he's told."
Ortega just nodded in the affirmative.
"Good. We're going to need someone to replace Robinson. Make it happen Carter"
"Yes, sir," Carter said.
"Fine. You're dismissed.
Both Carter and Ortega left Mr. Morgan to make his plans.
It was early in the moring and Starsky thought he was alone. When he heard a noise, he turned to see Rachel standing in the shadows.
"Honey, come here. What's wrong?"
Rachel scurried over and jumped in his lap. "You and ma were cryin last nigt. I heard you."
"I'm sorry honey."
"Is ma getting sicker?"
" Is she gonna be okay?"
"I hope so sweet heart."
"Aunt Joyce says, when you pray, everything looks brighter. You wanna pray with me daddy?"
Starsky couldn't say anything, he just nodded in agreement. He took his daughter in his arms and they hugged each other tight.
Robinson had been awake for several hours before Carter and Ortega arrived. He was alert and talking, but still very weak. He remembered blowing the whistle on Juarez. When they'd gone to take care of him, Juarez got off a round, shooting him in the head. He didn't remember anything after that. Carter told him that Jaurez was dead.
"Good. The little weasal deserved it."
"How's your memory man. Carter tapped his head. You all right up there?"
"Quit it. And yes, I'm fine. Well, as soon as I get enough strength to stand up I'll be fine."
"Good. You want to tell us who your man on the inside is?"
"Hey, that's priviledge information."
Ortega reached into his pocket, pulled a gun and put it to Robinson's head.
"We got no problem sending you right back where you just came from," he said.
"Okay, okay. Boy you guys are touchy."
"Just confirm or not. It's Starsky, right?" Carter asked.
"Starsky. What ever your on, give me some, so I can get rid of this sledgehammer inside my head."
"Quit fooling around Robinson. You're saying Starsky's not your man inside?" Robinson asked again.
"My guy's in the 8th Precinct and his name is Martinson. Starsky's squeaky clean. Everybody knows that. You couldn't turn him if you nabbed his Mother."
"We've been working with him. He's been giving us some good information."
"Well, if he's working with you, your dead, cause I'm telling you, Starsky's gold through and through. He's got to be setting you up.
"You're sure?" Ortega raised the gun to Robinson again.
"You're kidding me right?" Robinson asked.
All of the sudden, Carter wasn't feeling very well. He turned to Ortega. "What do you think?"
"I think we got a cover cop on our tails."
"Oh boy. Morgan's not going to like this."
Ortega returned the gun to his jacket and they got up to leave.
"Hey, what about me?" Robinson called out.
"Just sit tight," Carter yelled. We'll be back.
Robinson laid back and thought to himself. If Starsky was on to them, they'd better watch their backs.
Biggs finally made it. He was part of the inner circle. He knew dates, times and places. The only thing he didn't know was how he was going to get the information to Metro. Tight security was placed on all of the men who would be involved in the transfer. Four million dollars of cocaine was being transported through four different location. Four police vehicles on the Mexican side of the border would hand off to four police vehicles on the U.S. states side of the border at different intervals. Those teams would distribute the cocaine to various locations until each location was stocked. Other distributors would take it from there. A lot of time and effort went into scheduling and anyway you cut it, that was a lot of corruption. If Biggs even thought of going to the bathroom, there was somebody by his side. There was no way he could get the information to Huggy. This was going to be a real problem.
Starsky was in his car when his beeper went off. He recognized the number as Carter's. He would need to meet them at the usual spot. He headed towards the amusement park.
Carter and Ortega had been really quiet on the way to their destination. Starsky was getting a bad feeling. If they were on to him, he was dead. Hutch didn't know where he was. They had planned his infiltration into this ring even before Hewitt and Juarez had been killed, when he was approached by two men who had been transferred to narcotics about three months ago. They figured since these men knew nothing about Starsky's past, they could be fooled with his false records. They had decided early on, not to let anyone in on it, not even Chief Kalowitz. Everything had been going according to plan, down to making I.A. suspicious of him and giving him more clout with Carter and Ortega. The only other person who had been in on it at this point was Dobey. That was just an inspiration by Hutch. It did the trick.
He hoped that months of planning were not about to go down the drain. Maybe he was just being paranoid. Maybe they were taking him to introduce him to the top man. He stopped thinking positively when they reached their destination. Ortega searched him and took the gun, Hutch had slipped to him. They walked for a few seconds and then took the elevator down to a sub basement.
"Hey guys, were are we going?" Starsky asked. He didn't really expect an answer, but the quiet was getting to him.
Ortega and Carter stopped and Carter unlocked a door.
"Go on in. There's a friend waiting for you,"Carter said."
"A friend." Starsky moved forward. The room was stocked with hospital equipment. In the far corner there was a figure lying in bed. When he got close enough, he recognized the face. It was Robinson. Now he knew he was dead. Robinson was the missing undercover detective. If they were onto Robinson, they must be on to him too.
Starsky was about to say something when Robinson spoke.
"Starsky?" I told you that guy is squeaky clean. What did you bring him here for?"
"Wait a minute." Starsky said. "You mean to tell me we've been spending our time looking for you and you're dirty?"
"Ain't life full of surprises?" Robinson teased.
"They sure are Robinson," Ortega said, just before pulling the trigger.
Starsky was shocked. He thought they were going to kill him, not Robinson. "What the…"
"Robinson says your clean. We believe him. We're still going to do our deal," Ortega said. "And now you can go cop."
Starsky hesitate to move, so Ortega pointed the gun at him. He started slowly, keeping his eye on Ortega. He made it to the elevator and then Ortega spoke again. "Don't bother sending a team for the body. This will all be cleaned up before you get back. And Starsky, believe me, we'll be in touch."
Starsky and Hutch stood in front of Chief Kalowitz, hands behind there backs.
"I oughta have your badges for this. What were you thinking. No, don't answer that. On second thought go ahead answer.
"We'll…" Hutch started.
"Shut up. I'm talking." the Chief said. "Do you know what you put everybody through?"
"Chief…" Starsky started to explain.
"And what have you gotten out of this. Nothing, cause we're right back were we started from."
He paced back and forth. You want to be mavericks, you want to play it solo? Do it own your own time not mine." He thought for a moment. "And what was that soap opera you were performing in my office. Me and thee, what's that supposed to be about?"
"You know what. Get out of my office.
"Chief…" Hutch started.
"Yes, sir," they said in unison.
The Chief shut the door in their faces ones they were in the hallway.
"Well that went over big," Starsky commented. "Got any more bright ideas."
"Stark, this isn't my fault."
"Whose bright idea was it to go in without telling the Chief?" Who brought in Dobey?
Chief Kalowitz opened his door. He didn't look well.
"Chief are you okay?" Hutch asked.
"Chief?" Starsky said a second later.
"They've taken Joan to the hospital. She's in a coma."
Starsky couldn't breath. He looked to Hutch.
"She'll be alright," Hutch said. Let's just get down there. She'll be alright."
Starsky and Hutch took off down the hallway.
Starsky and Hutch raced into the emergeny room.
"Daddy" Rachel ran to her father and jumped into his arms. Joyce and Michael followed close behind.
Starsky directed his comment to Joyce. "What happened?"
One minute she was in the kitchen chopping carrots, the next thing I know, she was on the floor," Joyce answered.
"Is Doctor Barnes with her?" Starsky asked.
Hutch put his hand on Starsky's shoulder and kept it there, even when Starsky went to hug Mike.
"Are you okay, Doc?" Starsky asked.
"Yeah dad. It was scary."
"I know. Come on. Let's sit down. Starsky tried to regulate his breathing. Hutch stood behind him and massaged his shoulders. Rachel hung on to him for dear life. Joyce held his hand and Michael sat beside him trying not to look like a scared child.
After an hour, they were still in the same positions, except Rachel and Michael were asleep.
Finally, Doctor Barnes came into the waiting room. Starsky couldn't stand because the kids were all over him. He patiently waited for the doctor to speak.
"The dialysis has stopped being effective. She's going to need a transplant. Soon.
"Somebody, said coma," Starsky stated.
"That nurse is being dealt with. It's not a coma, she just fainted.
Starsky let out a breath. "What are our chances Doctor?"
"Dave, Joan has been moved up on the transplant list. She's number one?"
"What. I don't understand."
"Neither do I, but she's been placed at the top of the list. Unfortunately, right now, we don't have a kidney that matches. I'll let you know if that changes. In the meantime, why don't you go home and get some rest. You could all use it."
"I'm not going anywhere. Joyce, would you take the kids home for me?"
She and Starsky woke the children. There was some resistance as they wanted to stay near their mother, but Starsky was able to convince them that she would only worry if she knew they weren't getting their proper rest. Within five minutes they were heading out the door with Joyce.
Hutch was quite. He was there for support, but decided he'd let Starsky take the lead. If he wanted to talk, he'd be there for him. If not, he'd be there for that too. Starsky was silent for at least the next half an hour. Finally, he turned to Hutch.
Carter and Ortega had the chance to kill me, but they didn't. They said, they'd get in touch with me.
"When they first met me, they said something about getting Joan the help she needed.
" I think they had something to do with her being put on the top of that list."
"You could be right."
"Starsk, you don't know it was them."
"Yeah. I do. And they're going to expect something in return. If I leave her at the top of the list, she may get a kidney.
"But, you don't know if you could live with that?"
"No. I know I could. But, what kind of a person does that make me? Somebody, who was at the top of that list may not make it now."
"I don't know Starsk. But, I'd make the same decision."
They sat in silence for another hour before the doctor let Starsky visit. Starsky made Hutch go home, although he received some protest from his friend. Starsky used the excuse that one of them needed to be fresh in order to defend themselves from Kalowitz and deal with I.A., in the morning.
Morning had arrived and things weren't looking any better. Of course they weren't looking any grimmer, so they were at a standstill. Starsky kissed Joan on the forehead and to his amazement she woke up.
"There's my prince charming."
"At your service ma'am." He wiggled his eyebrows up and down.
"Don't start anything you can't finish mister."
Starsky smiled. "You had me worried."
"Well, I'm not done, yet."
"We're not done yet."
"The kids' with Joyce?"
"Yeah. She took em home last night."
"Will you do me a favor?"
"Go home and be with them."
"I mean it Dave. I don't want them to be without a mother and father. They need at least one of us home right now. I'd do it, but I'm a little under the weather right now."
"You just don't want to go home to the mess you left in the kitchen, right?"
"You found me out."
"Okay, you got it…but, I'll be back."
"Where have I heard that line before?
He nuzzled up against her, then gave her a kiss and left.
Biggs had been finishing up with the transport list when he was summoned by Carter.
"Sir, you wanted to see me?"
"Yeah Biggs, sit down."
"I have a special assignment for you."
He went into detail about the assignment and Biggs couldn't believe his ears.
Starsky had made good on his promise to Joan. He went home and spent as much time with the kids as he could. He was there for four hours when he received a call from Doctor Barnes telling him that a kidney had been found and would be at the hospital in less than an hour. Starsky nearly broke the doctors eardrums shouting into the phone. "Oh, sorry doc. I'll be there as soon as I can." Starsky hung up the phone and shouted again, alerting the entire household. Everyone came running downstairs.
"Daddy, what happened?" Rachel asked.
Starsky was so excited, he picked Rachel up and spun her around the room. When he was finshed with her it was Joyce's turn and finally Michael's.
"What happened?" Joyce asked
"Mommy's getting a new kidney."
"Get out." Joyce said.
"I kid you not. Last night, Doc Barnes told me she was moved up on the list. "She's gonna make it guys. Mommy's gonna be okay."
They laughed so hard, they were crying. All of them.
"Oh, oh, I gotta get to the hospital."
"Well, don't worry, I'll take care of the kids."
"Okay." He grabbed Joyce and kissed her, then spun her around again. He kissed both of the kids and was out of the house, faster than lightning. He could still hear the joy resounding in the house as he pulled off.
The first thing he did when was on the road was to call Hutch. He heard Hutch screaming into the phone. There was commotion in the background when he ran out of his office and made the announcement. Starsky heard a bunch of cat calls and yahoo's. Hutch promised to meet Starsky at the hospital.
Starsky arrived, just barely in time to send his wife off with a kiss. They were both crying as she was being wheeled into surgery.
Hutch spotted Starsky in the hallway and they ran to each other. Hutch spun Starsky around this time. They didn't care who saw. This had been the first good news, they'd shared since Joan had been diagnosed a little over a year ago and they were going to revel in it.
"Whadda we do now?" Hutch said, when he finally put Starsky down.
"Cigars are for baby's right?"
"What's for Kidneys?"
"Heck if I know the answer for that one Starsk."
They started to calm down and Hutch lead Starsky over to the waiting room chairs.
"Huh. I don't know what to do Hutch."
"I guess we can just wait."
"Yeah. Okay. We'll wait."
With all of their nervous energy spent, and an hour and a half gone by, they both fell asleep. Starsky was awakened by the nurse.
"Yeah, huh. Oh is it over?"
"No sir. You have a phone call."
Hutch woke up in time to see Starsky heading for the nurses station.
"Well Captain, your wife is going to make it. Congratulations," a voice said.
"Who is this?"
"Let's just say I'm a friend without whom your wife would not be alive for very much longer."
Starsky looked for Hutch. Hutch was by his side in a split second. They shared the phone, listening to the voice on the other end.
"I dare say, you owe me something for my benevolence.".
"What do you want?"
"Now let's see. How about four Million Dollars worth of Cocaine. I think that's a fair deal. Don't you."
"Listen whoever you are, you got no deal."
"And I thought you would be so grateful. No matter, we can still bargain."
"We're gonna close you down, buddy. Sooner or later…"
"That's too bad. I'll tell your daughter…what's your name dear? Say it for your daddy."
Starsky went pale and Hutch had to hold on to him.
"Rachel." his daughter said.
"Good girl, " the voice said.
"If you hurt her."
"I don't think that will be necessary. Keep your beeper on. We'll be in contact."
In an instant the voice was gone.
Starsky started to hyperventilate. "Not my baby. Hutch, no. Not my baby…not my baby.
Hutch tried to keep Starsky upright, but Starsky wasn't cooperating. He sunk down to his knees, then collapsed to the floor altogether.
"Somebody help me here. He's having trouble breathing."
"Hutch, please. Not my baby. Not my baby."
The tears were flowing freely.
"It's gonna be okay buddy. We'll get her. It's gonna be okay. I'm right here okay? Just breath for me. Breath."
"They took Rachel Hutch. They took my Rachel."
Hutch rocked him back and forth to try to calm him. "I'm right here. We'll get her back. We'll get her back."
One of the nurses knelt down next to them and the other called for the doctor.
"Okay, Mr. Starsky, just breath deeply. Were gonna get you fixed up," the nurse said.
"Starsk, you can't help her if you don't calm down. No come on," Hutch reasoned.
A young doctor knelt down next to them. "Is he on any medication that you know of?"
"He's not taking anything."
"Is he allergic to any medicines?"
"What happened?" the doctor asked.
"He got some bad news."
"Nurse. She was at his side with the needle, which the doctor took and injected into Starsky. " He should be breathing normal shortly," the doctor said.
"No. I can't go to sleep," Starsky said.
"No. You're not going to sleep. This will just relax you, okay?" the doctor said.
Starsky nodded. "Hutch?"
"I'm right here buddy."
"Michael. Please call the house. Joyce was watching them. Where's Michael?"
"Okay." Hutch picked up the phone and dialed the house. There was no answer. He called the police dispatcher. "Margaret, this is Hutch, send all black and whites in the vicinity to 102 Williams Road and call for an ambulance."
"Got it Hutch."
Hutch went back to Starsky's side. The doctor was trying to keep him down, but Starsky was getting up. "Got to get to Michael."
"Okay, buddy. Let's go."
"He really should rest for a little while," the doctor said.
"Sorry, this is a police emergency," Hutch yelled back. With that, they were out the door.
The black and whites were already there. An ambulance had been called and Michael and Joyce were both being treated for head wounds.
Starsky and Hutch ran into the house. They both knelt by Michael and Joyce.
Starsky grabbed Michael. "Are you okay?"
"I tried to stop them dad."
"I know buddy. I know."
He turned to Joyce. "Are you okay?"
"They hit me from behind. I never saw it coming."
"I'm so sorry Joyce," Starsky said.
"Dad, I think I saw one of them."
"You saw one?"
"It seems like a dream. I was out and then my eyes were open. One of em looked back…I think. Maybe I was dreaming it."
"Okay now listen. I want you both to go to the hospital. I'm going to send a black and white with you. Then you're goin down to the station to look at the mug books. You don't leave the hospital with out patrolman Johns and Farmer, got it?"
They both answered in the affirmative.
Hutch got up and joined the officers who were dusting for prints. "Anything?"
"Nothing out of the ordinary. There are prints all over. Most likely the families."
"Okay. You call us if you find anything different."
Starsky stood up. "Don't worry Doc. We're gonna get your sister."
Starsky spoke to the officers he'd just put in charge of Michael and Joyce. "You don't leave them for nothing. You got that."
Both Starsky and Hutch left for Metro.
Chief Kalowitz was waiting for them in his office. "Sorry about Rachel Starsky."
"Thanks Chief." He rubbed his temples. "Did I hear the guy right Hutch. Did he say four million dollars worth of cocaine?"
"Well, we're gonna get our chance to get Mr. Big. I got a feelin that was him on the phone," Starsky said. "No chance the guy was at his home and not on a pay phone or cell, is there?"
"I don't guess they'd be that careless. Even so, they're checking on it," the Chief said.
"Thanks. He paced back and forth. "What are we supposed to do, just wait here," Starsky said, exasperated.
"I guess we have no choice," Hutch answered.
"Carter and Ortega work at the fifteenth precinct. I say we head over there." Starsky started for the door, but Hutch stopped him.
"We don't know that they'll be there buddy. Our best bet is to stay right here."
"Starsky listen," the Chief said. "We have men staking out the amusement park, the fifteenth precinct and the abandoned building. I don't think our man is stupid enough to be at either place.
"Any word from Biggs or Huggy?" Hutch asked.
"Huggy hasn't called since yesterday and he hadn't heard from Biggs," the Chief answered.
"That's just great," Starsky grumbled. "Listen, I'm gonna go to my office and check on Joan."
"Okay, buddy. Hey, we'll get them," Hutch replied.
Starsky left the room, and tried to keep the tears from flowing.
The warehouse hadn't been used for anything, but smuggling drugs for years. The place reeked of sweaty men and alcohol. Two guards stood outside front and back and two on the inside front and back. Biggs was out numbered, should he try to escape with the little bundle inside. He would have to bide his time.
He and a guard named Rafael Martinez had been assigned to watch their little prisoner. When they entered the room where Rachel was being held, he saw her sitting in an uncomfortable plastic chair. His heart went out to her and it was all he could do to control himself and not rush to her aide. If she were going to get out of this alive, he would have to stay calm and think rationally.
He came around to her front and took a better look. Her hands were bound and her mouth and eyes were covered with tape. For this, he was glad. He couldn't let himself be seen by her or he would be given away for sure. But, even though he couldn't let her know he was there, he could watch and make sure no one hurt her. He signaled to the other man to stand guard at the door.
Rachel had obviously heard them come in. When he walked closer towards her, she started struggling against the ropes. He put a hand on her shoulder to calm her, but she struggled all the more. He didn't dare speak, so he just let her fight until the fight was gone. Finally, she relaxed and he sat across from her waiting for an opportunity to escape.
Starsky and Hutch had returned to the hospital when Starsky got the news that Joan was out of surgery. They stood and listened to the doctors assesment.
"She came through without any difficulty. We'll be giving her medicine to guard against rejection. If there are no complications, you should be able to take her home by Friday. Someone will be by to let you know when she's out of recovery.
"Thanks Doctor. Thanks so much."
Starsky turned to Hutch and they hugged each other. Starsky let out a a ragged breath and smiled. Then the worry lines reappeared. "What am I supposed to tell her about Rachel?"
"I don't know buddy, but we've got every man possible working this inside and out. Any property that comes up in Carter or Ortega's names is being searched. The same is happening for any of our known perps. Maybe we'll find something before it comes to that.
They sat and held a quite vigil, waiting for the nurse to come by and get them.
Twenty minutes went by and Starsky beeper went off. There was no phone number to call. It was an address. They hopped into Hutch's car and were off for the Carlyle Hotel. When they arrived, they asked the manager, if there were any messages for Starsky. The manager pulled out an envelope.
"Did you see the guy who delivered this?" Starsky asked.
"It was on the counter when I came back from the John."
Starsky and Hutch went to the far corner to read it. There was a phone number listed on a piece of paper. Starsky hurried to the pay phone on the wall and dialed the number.
"Starsky, I presume," the voice said.
It was Carter. Starsky deliberately held the phone to the ear furthest away from Hutch. "Yeah, I'm here."
"Good. Go to the corner of Broaday and Elm. If you're followed or there is anyone with you, the girl dies. No questions asked.
"I hear you."
"And Captain, you won't need a piece."
Starsky hung up the phone.
"Let me guess, " Hutch said. "Come alone or else?"
"You got it. Look, I don't think they want to hurt me. They've already had that chance. Let me find out what they want and we can work it together after, okay?"
"It's your show Starsk."
"Okay. I'll meet you back in the Chief's office." He handed Hutch is gun. He started to go and then turned back and gave Hutch a sheepish smile.
He didn't have to say it. Hutch knew exactly what he wanted. "Sure, I'll go back and check on Joan first."
"Thanks buddy." Starsky winked and then left, secure in the knowledge that Hutch would see to Joan.
Starsky arrived at his destination and was escorted to a limousine. He was searched by a goon in the back seat as soon as he got in. When it was determined, he was unarmed, the man directed him to sit next to the older gentleman on the adjacent seat.
The men took each other in. Starsky spoke first. "Isn't this a little James Bondish."
Mr. Morgan smiled. "Good. I thought all the heartache of the past couple of days would have broken your spirit. It's good to see you can bounce back?"
" How's Rachel?"
"Unharmed for now."
"What do you want?"
"I want you Captain Starsky. Just you."
"What do I have to do?"
"You were doing it. We just want you to keep playing along. Be on our side."
"And I get my daughter back."
"That and much more. As you can see, I'm a man of my word."
"You arranged for the list to be altered."
"And I'd think you'd be a little more grateful. I'm sorry I had to resort to such drastic methods."
"You got a name pal?"
"You may call me Mr. M. for now."
"Okay, Mr. M. Suppose I go along with you. When do I get my daughter back?"
"After the first deal goes down. We have a big shipment coming in tomorrow. All you have to do is point your people in another direction."
"I can't do anything about the Feds."
"I'm not naïve, my friend. They're relying on the local police to keep them informed of activity. So far, they've managed to stop several of my smaller shipments. So, let's be reasonable. I know I can't win them all, but this shipment must get through without a hitch. When it does, you your wife and kiddies go back to living in La La land.
"Until the next shipment."
"You catch on pretty fast."
"Please. Can I just talk to Rachel and let her know…"
"You are excused Captain. Here are the locations and times of the drops.
Great. He's not wearing gloves, Starsky thought. No finger prints.
"I trust you'll use this information wisely," Mr.Morgan continued. "Otherwise, well…you'll still have your son."
Mr. Morgan signaled the goon in the back seat and he opened the door for Starsky.
Starsky hesitated. He searched the mans eyes for any sign of compassion or feeling, but was only met with an icy stare. "We could end two lives right now. It's up to you."
The goon pulled out a gun and indicated that he should get moving or else.
He slid out of the limousine and stood on the corner as it pulled off. They were smart. No license plate.
He walked until he saw and cab then hailed it and started back for Metro.
Starsky found himself walking down the halls of Metro past his offices towards Hutch's. During the entire cab ride back downtown, he tried to forumlate some plan, but his mind kept returning to what Mr. M had said. If the shipments didn't go through, Rachel was dead.
He had everything he needed to bust the whole thing wide open and for the first time, he was really considering Mr. M's deal. Afterall, he couldn't let his little girl down. Hutch would understand, wouldn't he? He wandered from floor to floor, not quite making it to Hutch's office. Finally, he sat in an empty stairewell and hoped something would come to mind. He thought back to when Hutch had the plague. He had made a deal with Callendar back then. He dealt with a criminal, a murderer. Sure the guy only killed people who were also involved in criminal activities, but he still took lives. But it's not the same thing, he reasoned. He was not helping the guy to commit a crime. The crimes had already been committed, the guy was retired and he couldn't really say for sure what he was doing back in town.
Starsky's head swam back and forth with different scenarios. How could he explain to Joan, that he let their little girl die to stick to some principles. The drugs would get in some other way anyhow. If Mr. M. didn't bring them in, someone else would, and his little girl would still be dead. He could feel himself losing his breath again and tried to breath evenly.
When he arrived at Hutch's door, he was almost in a daze.
Hutch pulled him into the office and sat him down. "Hey buddy, what happened?" When Starsky didn't answer right away, he thought the worst. "What happened? She's not…"
"No." Starsky looked up at his friend.
Hutch let out a breath and waited for Starsky. He could see the wheels turning in his best friends head. Starsky had a big decision to make and he just waited, not wanting to force him to do anything he didn't want to do. He sat down at his desk quietly.
Finally, Starsky looked up. There was such fear in his eyes as he pulled out the paper, which Mr. M. had given him. He trembled as he turned the paper over to Hutch. Starsky put his hand over his mouth to stifle a gasp and a tear fell down his cheek.
Hutch's shoulders slumped and he closed his eyes not wanting to see the information on the sheet. He knew once he looked, he'd have to act on what he saw. He would have to put Starsky's little girl in danger. Starsky had made his decision. He was trusting him to do the right thing, because he couldn't do it himself.
Biggs finally got a break. He announced that he had to go to the bathroom. Since one of them had to watch the girl, he could leave and try to make some sort of move. Rachel was asleep. He was sure she'd be fine until he returned.
He walked down the hall trying all of the doors. Most of them were unlocked, but there was nothing but fallen rafters and unused furniture in them. When he came to the door marked private, he was surprised to see a furnished room with file cabinets and phones. He picked up one of the phones and there was no dial tone. He went to the second phone and silently thanked God that there was a tone. He dialed quickly, but had to drop the phone behind the desk when he heard footsteps. He had to think fast.
One of the guards walked into the room. Bigg's back was turned away from him.
"Hey, what are you doing in here?"
Biggs turned around embarrassed. He had a joint in his hand. "Uh, they don't like us to smoke the stuff ourselves."
The guard was not amused. "Aren't you supposed to be guarding the girl?"
"I just wanted a few hits man. I'm getting the jitters."
"Get back to your job man."
"Yeah, sure." Biggs made tracks for Rachel's room. He looked back to make sure the guard was moving on too. He saw him close the door and resume his rounds.
Huggy was just returning to his office when he heard the phone ringing. He had been in the main dining room giving the kitchen staff a lecture on cost saving procedures. He ran up the stairs and then down the long hallway, hoping that he would reach it, before whoever was calling hung up. It could be Biggs, whom he hadn't heard from in days.
He got to the phone and it was still ringing, so he thought he would find someone on the end of the line. Instead, he heard some shuffling of foot steps and what sounded like a door closing.
"Hello. Hello. Hey, is anybody there."
After no answer, he started to hang it up, but all of the sudden got a strange feeling. He left the phone off the hook and went to a payphone to call Metro.
Hutch looked up at Starsky, paper still in his hands. They smiled at each other and Starsky knew then, that Hutch couldn't do it either. Not until they had some more information. They just needed some sort of lead to find Rachel. They would still have plenty of time to bust the bad guys.
They both stood and headed to Robbery-Homicide where Michael was still looking at the mug books. On the way, the dispatcher stopped them.
It's a Mr. Bear. I put it through to your office, but nobody picked up.
"I'll take it hear thanks."
"Hug, whaddya got."
"You got me Starsky. Somebody called the restaurant and left the phone off the hook."
"You still got that line open?"
"Yeah. I'm callling you on a payphone."
"Okay look, where sending somebody right over. Okay?"
"I'll be here."
Starsky turned to Hutch. "Somebody called Hug and left the line open."
They continued to Robbery-Homicide. When they arrived, Michael was scrutinizing the photo's and Joyce was looking over his shoulder. The detective who was watching him, turned to Starsky and signaled, to let him know there was no progress yet.
Starsky put his hand on his son's shoulder and continued walking into his office, with Hutch following. Joyce came in behind them.
"Dave, if it's okay, I'd like to go sit with Joan. I'd be more help there I think.
Starsky smiled. "I'd love that. Thanks Joyce. There's already an officer guarding her door, but I'll have an officer run you down there. Remember, don't go anywhere without him. Got it?"
"Okay. Sergeant Corley?" Starsky yelled.
"Take Joyce down to Mercy General and stay with her until I tell you otherwise.
He came from around his desk and gave her a kiss. Hutch also kissed her and they watched as she left.
Starsky was about to close his door when his son shouted.
"Dad. It's him. It's him."
Starsky and Hutch ran to Michael.
"Are you sure Doc?" Starsky asked.
"Yeah." Michael pointed at the picture.
Hutch picked up the book. "Marty Fisher? He's a two pit hustler.
"What's he doing working with a high price trafficker?" Starsky asked.
"Don't know. Maybe we should ask him."
"Good thinking." He turned to his son. "Good job Doc."
"Goodings, will you take him down to the commissary and get him something to eat?"
Starsky gave Michael a big, long, drawn-out kiss on the cheek and Hutch ruffled his hair. Then they were off.
Hutch went high and Starsky went low. They burst into Marty Fisher's room and caught him shooting up. Hutch wrestled the needle out of of his hand and Starsky picked him up bodily and held him up against the wall.
"Where is she?" Starsky yelled.
"Where's who? Come on man. There's nobody here, but me."
Hutch shoved the needle in his face. "Where'd you pick up this dirty little habit?"
"A come on guys. It's just a taste. I'm not heavy into drugs, you know that?"
"Maybe this is a little payment Hutch," Starsky said.
"Yeah, but for what?" Hutch played along.
"Oh I don't know. Maybe for nabbing a little eight year old girl from her home!"
Marty looked scared now. "Hey, I don't know nothing…"
"You tell us where she is and you tell us now." Starsky squeezed the man's neck and Hutch didn't stop him."
"I don't know where she is man. They just told us to nab her."
Hutch took the man's face in his hand and squeezed. "Who's they?"
"Two cops. Names are Carter and Ortega."
"You took her to them?" Starsky asked.
Marty was scared of what they might do if he answered, but more fearful of what would happen if he didn't. "Yeah. I just took her there. I didn't hurt her or anything."
"Where was the meet?" Hutch asked.
"A warehouse on Channon and Fifth, but they're not there now. They said something about being near Baja and maybe vacationing after it was all over."
"Someplace near Baja," Hutch said. "Well that certainly narrows it down."
"If anything happens to her, I'm going to personally rip your heart out. You get that?" Starsky asked.
Together they pulled him from the room and headed back to Metro.
Hutch picked up his phone and took a call from Lieutenant Drake. They had the originating location of the phone call to Huggy Bears. It was a warehouse in El Centro, California. He gave Hutch the address and Hutch ran to Starsky's office.
Starsky was frantically searching through records for any real estate that Carter or Ortega might have access to.
Hutch burst into his office. "I think we may have something."
Starsky looked hopeful. "Whaddya got?"
"A warehouse in El Centro. That's where the call to Huggies originated from.
"Remember what Marty said?" Starsky asked. Someplace close to Baja."
Starsky called to his secretary. "Rita, I need four plane tickets to El Centro. I need em now.
They felt more confident now about finding Rachel. They were sure, this must be where she was being held. It was time to talk to Chief Kalowitz. They explained the situation and how it was, Starky had come across the location and times of each drop.
"Chief, we have to ask for a favor." Starsky said.
He looked at Hutch and they confirmed agreement in that second.
"We need some time to find Rachel," Hutch said.
"We're getting close," Starsky finished. "But if the Feds get this information before we have her, Carter and Ortega will kill her.
" Okay, the Chief said. "I'll wait until the last possible minute. The drops start at Midnight. That gives you about 5 hours before I contact the Feds.
"Thanks Chief," they said in unison.
They ran down the hall with a purpose. They were so close now.
Rachel was away now and making noises. Biggs willed her to be quiet as Rafael had already made it clear that he wasn't too thrilled to have pulled baby sitting duty. He didn't need the little brat crying and carrying on as well. Rafael stood over her and told her to be quiet.
Biggs couldn't speak or he'd give himself away. Rafael, took her face his his hand and shook her. She became quiet for just a second and then started her muffled screaming again. Rafael had had enough. He was about to put her out, but Biggs ran over to him and stopped the butt of the rifle from crashing into Rachel's skull.
He looked the man in the face and signaled for him to go guard the door. Rachel had stopped squirming now. She withdrew a bit, when he put his hand on her head and stroked her brown curls. He made a shushing sound and then gently pulled the tape from her mouth. To his surprise, she remained silent.
Biggs removed a candy bar from his jacket. Rafael rolled his eyes and sat down in front of the door. Biggs unwrapped the chocolate and ran a piece across Rachel's lips. She sniffed at it and then opened her mouth letting Biggs, put the candy in. He continued to feed her until the chocolate was gone.
When he was done feeding her, he didn't want to replace the tape. He held it to her mouth and shushed her again. She seemed to understand. She nodded her head and he dropped the tape to the floor.
He didn't know what else to do for now. He knew the drop schedules and figured they only had a few more hours before he would have to either fight for Rachel's life or die trying.
Starsky, Hutch, Officers Wilson and Drake were all dressed in plain clothing. They left the airport and hailed a cab. They would drive as close to the location as possible, then head out on foot, hoping not to draw any attention to themselves.
Hutch noticed Starsky trying to stop his hands from shaking as he made sure his gun was loaded. He decided to check his own gun as well. He caught Starsky's eye and gave him a reassuring smile, which was returned. Wilson rode in the back with Starsky and Hutch. Drake rode shotgun and gave the driver directions.
They were heading in an area that seemed to be sparsly populated. Mostly factories and warehouses where the workers had already gone home. There were a few stragglers in bars and such, but for the most part, it was a ghost town. They asked the driver to let them out a few blocks from their destination and paid him a moderate tip--they didn't want to draw attention to themselves.
Hutch had obtained a neighborhood map of the area. They were exactly two and a half blocks east of their destination. The plan was for he and Starsky to take out any guards they found at the front of the building and Wilson and Drake to concentrate on the sides and back. They split up and wished each other good luck.
Starsky took the lead and signaled Hutch to advance when he determined that it was safe. They could now see the warehouse. Starsky said, a little prayer for Rachel and was on the move again. He made it to a parked car which was just across the street. He figured that out of the two, he looked more like a Mexican emigrant, so he ambled up to the guard to distract him. Hutch would be appalled at his attempt to speak Spanish, so he tried broken English.
"Please to tell me this address," Starsky said.
The guard held his gun up to Starsky and tried to get rid of him, but Starsky was insistant. "Please. This address. You show me."
Just as the guard was about to ram is gun into Starsky's face, Hutch pounced taking the man out. He dragged the man across the street into some bushes and was back at Starsky's side.
Just when they thought everything was going smoothly, they heard shooting coming from the back of the building. Hutch motioned that he was going to check it out.
Starsky pulled the front door opened and just missed being spotted. He saw the guard running towards the back of the building. He stepped inside and ducked behind some machinery. There were several doors to his right and to his left. There were also room leading all the way to the back and up on the second floor. He had to take a stab in the dark. If he were going to hide someone, it would be in the back, on the same floor as the guards.
He bypassed the doors to the right and left and headed towards the back. He heard more gunshots. He didn't dare call out for Hutch or he'd be dead meat.
Rachel gasped when she heard the gunshots. Rafael grabbed the tape and covered her mouth again.
"What's going on out there?" Rafael asked.
Rafael stood in front of Rachel and pointed the rifle at her. "If they come in here, whoever they are, she gets it first. Biggs tried to keep his cool, but he heard more gunshots and he saw that Rafael was getting nervous. He had no choice, but to speak. He pulled his weapon.
"Police, buddy. Put the weapon down."
Starsky heard a shot and ducked. At the same time, he heard Rachel scream. He called out her name. "Rachel."
She called back. "Daddy."
He crawled on his belly and cracked open the door. He saw Biggs in the corner, with a bullet in his leg. A man stood over his daughter holding a rifle. Starsky stood up slowly. "Listen pal, you have a free pass. All I want is my daughter and Biggs."
Rafael smiled. He didn't point the rifle away.
Hutch came running from the opposite direction and Starsky put a hand up to stop him.
"Listen to me," Starsky tried to reason. There are four police officers here. You're pals are down. All you have to do is walk away. I'm telling you, we're going to let you walk away. Do you understand that?"
"Daddy," Rachel cried.
"It's okay honey. Daddy's not gonna let anybody hurt you." He turned his attention back to the man with the rifle. "Just walk away man."
Rafael raised the rifle to Rachel's head and Starsky took his shot. He went down, right in front of Rachel.
Starsky ran to his daughter and picked her up, carrying her away from the sight of the dead man.
Hutch ran to Biggs. He assessed the damage and started to work on slowing the bleeding. "It's okay Biggs. We're going home."
Biggs looked after Starsky.
Hutch remembered, the last time Biggs saw Starsky, he thought he was a dirty cop. "It's a long story Biggs," Hutch said.
Starsky set Rachel down and pulled the tape gently from her mouth and eyes. Then he untied her hands. She hugged her arms around him tightly and he did the same.
Hutch helped Biggs to sit down next to Starsky and Rachel. Rachel saw his wound. "Sarge, you're hurt."
"It's nothing honey."
She looked at him and swung her arms around his neck. "Thank you Sarge."
Starsky ruffled the mans hair. He knew that Biggs was responsible for the call and making sure his daughter was safe until help could arrive. He would hold a special place in his heart for this man, always.
The celebratory barbecue was under way. Rachel, Michael and Joyce were safe and sound. Joan was out of the hospital and making excellent progress and Biggs--even though he made the most of it--was healing nicely.
The Dobey's and Chief Kalowitz had come and although Huggy pretended to be miffed because of Starsky and Hutch's little stunt, he was there too
Luke congratulated everyone on their acting ability. They really had everyone fooled.
Starsky and Hutch were still in the dog house for keeping Chief Kalowitz and everyone out of the loop--Dobey had recommended a year on traffic duty, I.A. had terminated it's investigation of Starsky in regards to the murder of the undercover officers and the FBI had even recommended Starsky, Hutch and Biggs for medals for stopping, what they said was, one of the biggest trafficking rings in the country.
Joyce and Joan put the last of the food on the table and everyone dug in.
"Well, you think they'd never eaten before," Joyce commented before taking her seat.
Joan took her place by Starsky. "I love you," she said.
"Me too, good looking," He returned.
They looked at all the friends and family sitting around the picnic table and counted their blessings.
Starsky stood and held a glass in his hand. "To Family."
Everyone followed suit. "To Family."
He sat back down and took in the sight of all of his family-- blood related or not. They had all stuck with him, through thick or thin, rain or shine and he was proud of and loved each one of them.
Rachel jumped up on his lap and put her arms around his neck. "Daddy, remember you promised we could go for a ride.
"Oh the ride. Tonight honey?"
"Daddy you promised."
Hutch was in conversation when Starsky pulled him away. "She wants to go for a ride Blondie. You're coming too."
"Come on Uncle Ken."
The rest of the adults looked on as they walked to the garage.
"Kids. To me, they'll always be my boys, " Dobey said.
Starsky, Hutch and the kids started for Starsky's play room. Starsky looked back at Biggs. "Come on Sarge. You're in for a treat."
Starsky's garage resembled no other garage in the city. He had collected so may toys, there was no room for them in the house. He had shelf after shelf of railroad trains, race car sets, army men, G.I. Joe's, baseball equipment, fire engines, Bows and arrows, cowboy gear and more. He even had an authentic Indian head dress. In the middle of it all was his prize possession. Hutch sat in the passenger seat and Starsky sat in the driver's seat of the red Torino with the stripe down it's sides and across the roof. It sat on cinder blocks, but was in excellent condition. He'd retooled it, so it no longer used gas, but electricity. Rachel sat on Starsky's lap and Michael, Luke and Biggs sat in the back seat.
"Everybody ready," Starsky yelled.
They all yelled in unison. "Let's roll Zebra-3"
Starsky turned the ingnition and Hutch turned on the siren and through the mars light on top.
"Zebra-3 responding," Hutch screamed into the mike.
Rachel squealed with excitement and the whole group reveled in the ride of their lives.