3.The 16th Precinct, the following day.
Standing in the elevator, Faith checked that her beret was on straight and her uniform was neat and tidy. Today she’d be playing the ASID investigator, so, no Ranger tabs and a black beret instead of her brown Ranger one. Her hand rested on the flap of her pistol holster for a moment as she checked that it was snapped closed. Cool, she thought to herself as a slight smile played around her lips, she’d show these donut eating, coffee swilling NYPD cops up for the messy pigs they were. Just as she glanced down at her extra shiny boots the elevator doors slid open and she stepped out into the corridor and straight into a riot.
“HEY!” Faith cried out as she was pushed roughly aside by two uniformed cops who, after crashing into her, fell into an untidy heap on the floor. “What’s goin’ on!?”
Before anyone could answer her perfectly reasonable question, Faith found herself confronted by a mountain of a man who was at present hurling cops down the corridor as if they were rag dolls.
“Hold on Barbie!” cried the man as he fought off three uniformed cops, easily breaking their hold on him and throwing them to the floor. “I’m comin’ for ya Barbie!”
Just for a moment, Faith wondered who the hell ‘Barbie’ was, but soon put such thoughts aside as a big detective picked up a fire extinguisher and used it to hit Man-Mountain on the back of the head. The giant went down on one knee from the force of the blow and seemed to be about to fall the rest of the way to the floor. Unfortunately he rallied and started to rise to his feet like some ‘B’ movie monster, he turned to face the detective that’d hit him.
“HOW DARE YOU!?” Roared the giant, he then picked up the big guy and threw him at the wall.
It was about at this point, Faith decided that it was time for her to deal with this situation. Dodging her way between the cops, she came up behind Man-mountain as he stood over the downed detective preparing to stomp his brains out. Kicking with the side of her foot, Faith caused the giant to fall to one knee again as her foot caught his leg behind the knee. Grabbing a night-stick from a passing cop she used it to hit Man-mountain in the kidneys as hard as she could, which as she was who she was-was pretty hard.
With a loud grunt the giant fell forward and rested on his hands and knees groaning loudly. Feeling more than a little annoyed that the man wasn’t down and out, Faith wondered why the guy wasn’t lying on the floor in agony. Having hit him just about as hard as she could short of killing the bastard he still wasn’t out of the fight. Not wasting any more time on useless conjecture, Faith straddled the giant’s back and put the night stick under his chin and grabbed the free end with her other hand. Hauling back on the night stick, she dragged the giant upright until he was half standing, half crouching with her knee in the small of her back.
“Someone get the cuffs on him!” Faith called as calmly as she could.
Several uniforms and detectives pounced on the now helpless man and put him in restraints. Stepping away from the still struggling monster, Faith returned the night-stick to the cop she’d taken it from before bending to retrieve her beret. After brushing the dust from her headgear with her hand she replaced it to its correct position. Looking around, Faith found herself facing the big detective who’d hit the giant with the fire extinguisher.
“Hey!” The detective smiled as he looked down at her, “What do they feed you guys in the army these days, Chief?”
“Oh, the usual,” Faith replied non-committaly, she’d spent all of her army career deflecting attention away from her un-natural strength and other abilities.
“Detective Stabler,” the big detective introduced himself as he held out his hand, “thanks for the assistance, there.”
“Chief Lehane, Army Special Investigation Division,” Faith replied as she shook the detective’s massive paw.
The previous day, one of the ASID computers had given an alert that someone was trying to access information on the 613th. On investigation the enquires had been traced back to the NYPD’s 16th Precinct and the SVU Squad Room.
“How can we help you?” Stabler wanted to know as he led Faith towards his squad room.
“I’m looking for a Captain Cragen,” Faith replied, “do ya know where I can find him?”
“Um yeah,” Stabler grinned down at her as they walked into a large room full of desks and busy looking detectives, “he’s my boss, but he’s not here at the moment. Maybe I can help?”0=0=0=0
Olivia, Fin and Munch stood clustered around Olivia’s desk as they watched Elliot talk to the army cop.
“I did a little background check on Chief Lehane.” Munch sat down on the end of a desk.
“And?” Olivier prompted.
“Seems GI Jane is something of a poster girl for the army,” Munch announced conspiratorially. “The reports make her sound like a one woman army.”
Fin smiled at Munch’s statement, “How so?” he asked, he’d been a Ranger himself and was wondering if this Lehane woman had been any of the places he’d been.
“Won the Silver Star for fighting her way through an ambush and killing a whole bunch of insurgents single-headedly,” Munch almost whispered.
“So,” Fin shrugged, “she’s a good combat soldier and lucky, what’s so odd about that?”
“At the time she was suffering from burns to her hands and face plus she’d been shot in the leg and the arm.” Munch pointed out.
“What?” Olivia gasped in surprise.
“She got a Bronze Star for carrying a wounded, male
officer on her back for five miles across the desert,” Munch paused for dramatic effect, “before she turned around and killed the insurgents that were following her…that time she only got shot in the arm and a concussion.”
“So,” Fin tried to laugh Munch’s suspicions off; however, Lehane didn’t look big enough to carry Olivia for five miles let alone a man, “you trying to tell me she’s some sort of government super-soldier experiment?”
“Hey look,” Munch began, “there’s been persistent rumours…” he paused to eye his colleagues before dropping his next bomb shell, “Remember that business in Jeffersonville a couple of years ago?”
“Yeah,” Olivia nodded her head, “local PD lost control of the streets when a gang war broke out.”
“That’s what people would like you to believe,” Munch replied knowingly, “But do you remember about the Air Force transport that crashed on a school just before it all started?”
“What ya goin’ on about?” Fin demanded.
“Did you know that the 613th were deployed to the crash site?” Munch asked quietly.
“It was probably a…” Olivia began but was interrupted by Munch before she could finish.
“And guess who was there helping out the Rangers?” Munch turned his head to look to where Faith and Elliot where standing by the door to the interview room.
“Hey, shh!” Olivier silenced Munch, “she’s coming over.”
“Okay,” Elliot walked over to the little group of detectives, “this is Chief Lehane from the Army Special Investigation Division, apparently my trying to find out information about this 613th Rangers unit set off some alarm bells.”
Munch gave his colleagues an ‘I told you so’ look.
“This is Detectives Olivia Benson, Fin Tutuola and John Munch,” Elliot introduced his friends and colleagues.
“Hi nice to meet ya,” Faith smiled as she shook hands, “its Faith by the way.”
“Boston right?” Munch asked suspiciously.
“Yeah that’s right,” Faith turned towards the older detective, “I thought I’d been in the army so long I’d lost the accent,” she shrugged, “obviously not…”
“As I was explaining,” Elliot began, “I was looking for information because we found some evidence that suggested a connection with the 613th.”
“Okay, let’s see it,” Faith said helpfully, “ya never know I might be able to help.”
Olivia opened a desk drawer and took out the evidence bag containing the lighter and handed it to Faith.
“May I?” Faith indicated that she wanted to take the lighter out of the bag.
“Go ahead,” Olivia nodded, “it’s been processed.”
“Fingerprints?” Faith asked as she took the lighter out of the bag and studied it as she turned it over and over in her hand.
“Nothing useful,” Olivia replied.
“Looks like a perfectly normal novelty lighter,” Faith explained with a sigh, “I’ve got one just like it,” reaching into her pocket she produced her own lighter, a copy of the one the police had. “Load of the guys have them,” Faith explained as she returned her lighter to her pocket, “I can check if anyone’s lost one and I can also check if any of the guys were in New York…how many days ago?”
“Night of the 17th,” Elliot supplied.
“I doubt it was one of ours,” Faith smiled, “okay, they’re not angels but…what crime was this? By the fact I’m sitting in a SVU squad room I’d guess it was pretty serious.”
“Rape murder,” Stabler replied.
“Okay,” Faith looked serious and nodded her head, “I’ll get onto that as soon as I can and let you know,” her eyes drifted over to where some crime scene photos rested on Olivia’s desk. “Hey, are those photos of the crime scene?”
“Erm yes,” Olivia tried to hide the photos from Faith’s gaze, she was too late Faith had already picked one up and was studying it closely, odd, Olivia though, she’d not actually seen the army cop move until she already had the photo in her hand.
“God-damn-it!” Faith cursed quietly, “Thought I had something there but they just look like gang tags.”
“What’s that?” Stabler asked his interest piqued.
“These symbols sprayed on the wall,” Faith pointed to the symbols in the photograph, “they looked kinda occult.”
“Occult?” Munch asked.
“Yeah, one of the things ASID investigate is occult imagery being used to intimidate people and groups,” Faith replied using one of ASID’s many cover stories.
“The army believes in magic?” Olivia laughed.
“Of course not,” Faith chuckled thinking how the truth would scare the crap out of these guys, “but a lot of people in the Third World do, the army likes to keep ahead of the game is all.”
“So…?” Stabler hinted.
“Sorry,” Faith shrugged and gave the photo back to Olivia, “they’re probably gang tags, you’ve had them checked?”
“Yeah,” Olivia admitted, “nothing…”
“Crap,” Faith said quietly, “sorry guys I can’t help you,” she stood up from where she’d been leaning against a desk and prepared to go, “I’ll check on the where abouts of our guys for the night of the 17th and ask around if anyone’s lost a lighter and get back to ya as soon as I can.”
“Well, erm thanks,” Stabler was a little taken aback by Faith’s sudden decision to leave.
“If ya need any more info,” Faith fished in a pocket and produced a card with the ASID badge on it and a telephone number, “you can contact us on that number…” she grinned broadly, “…it’ll be safer and more informative than looking for us on the internet.”
Heading out of the Precinct House, Faith paused on the sidewalk. Turning towards the parking structure where her driver waited with the Hummer she thought about what the SVU Detective had told her. She doubted that anyone from the 613th was involved, they’d probably lost the lighter somewhere and it’d been picked up by one of the perps. But she’d check and get back to Stabler in a day or two.0=0=0=0John Munch’s Apartment, later that night.
It was late in the evening when John Munch got back to his apartment; the Kersey case wasn’t going well, while they had clues they had no leads. It was like the perps (there had to have been more than one) had just vanished into thin air. After making himself a cup of coffee he sat down at his computer and started a search for ‘Faith Lehane’. The instant he’d heard her Boston accent and learnt her first name, alarm bells had gone off in his head. There was something about Faith Lehane, something he’d read or seen from a few years back but he couldn’t put his finger on it.
His coffee had grown cold while he’d sat at his computer clicking on links; just as he was about to give up and go to bed he clicked on a link to the California Highway Patrol. Gasping slightly Munch sat back in his chair and stared at his computer screen. There she was, okay the photo was fuzzy but it clearly showed a younger Faith Lehane standing in a sports shop next to a blonde girl with a bow in her hand.
Obviously the photo was taken from a security camera in a shop; it looked like Lehane had broken into a sporting goods store with this other girl. Okay, Munch calmed down, this proved nothing other than Lehane had been a little wild in her youth. He knew that many a good soldier’s backgrounds weren’t exactly spotless.
Clicking on another link, Munch found out what CHiPs wanted to talk to Lehane about. Murder, they wanted to talk to her and another un-named girl, about the murder of the Deputy Mayor of Sunnydale (a town that featured heavily in Munch’s conspiracy theories). Switching on his printer, Munch was just about to print the page out when smoke started to billow out from the back of his CPU. The smoke was rapidly followed by sparks and flames until with a sharp *BANG!* Munch’s computer exploded leaving him rushing for a fire extinguisher as his ‘paranoia level’ jumped a dozen notches upward.0=0=0=0The Rosenberg Residence, Grandview, New York State.
Sitting in front of her computer, Willow yawned and stretched. It was time to go to bed; she was alone in her new little house tonight as Faith was away on a job for ASID and wouldn’t be back until tomorrow. Just as she was about to switch off her computer for the night she noticed the little alarm icon flashing in the corner of her screen.
“That better not be Buffy,” Willow muttered under her breath; ever since Buffy had fallen pregnant she’d taken to calling Willow every time something ‘weird’ happened (like heartburn) just in case some demon was trying to possess her unborn child. Frankly Willow was starting to get a little fed up with it.
However, thinking that it was wise to check just in case it was something important, Willow clicked on the icon and waited to see what Buffy’s problem was now. Sitting up straight, Willow stared at the screen before starting to type rapidly. Someone was trying to look into Faith’s past and that someone appeared to be a cop! Tracing the connection back to the computer from where the request had come from, Willow clicked on several more icons, muttered some words of power under her breath before sitting back with a relieved sigh.
“That should totally settle the nosey-parker’s hash!” Willow smiled as she imagined the ‘cop’, or whoever, running for something to put out the fire she’d just started in his computer. “Now let’s see what he was looking at…”
Finding herself on the CHiP’s website she looked at the grainy picture of a much younger Faith.
“Damn-it!” Willow snapped and just for a second her eyes glowed redly, “I thought I’d got everything.”
Over the last few months, Willow had slowly been expunging old-evil-Faith from the internet, she’d thought she’d got most of the law enforcement databases but she’d obviously missed this one. Clicking on another magical icon, Willow sent a magic ‘worm’ into the CHiP’s database. Within a couple minutes all traces of anyone called ‘Faith Lehane’ had been removed. Smiling, Willow congratulated herself on being such a clever (and cute) witch. Tomorrow when whoever logged on from another computer, he’d find no mention of a Faith Lehane and any suggestion that she was wanted for murder, or indeed anything else, would have vanished.
Switching off her computer, Willow yawned again and headed for her bed. The two most important people in her life were safe again. Because if Faith was arrested for murdering Finch, then Buffy would be too; Buffy had been there when Faith had accidentally killed Finch which made them both equally guilty. While Faith could claim she didn’t know what she’d done because of her amnesia, Buffy couldn’t make the same defence, she’d been covering it up (or denying that she’d done anything wrong) for a good ten years now.0=0=0=0