Part V - Chapter 19 - "Peace is War Held in Check"

Miami, OK

Brisco and Michael left an anxious Doc with Madeline to join Fiona and the prisoners. Since Brisco had a few questions for Michael, he suggested that they take the outside route instead of the direct passage from the house. As soon as the two friends were outside of earshot, Brisco finally had the opportunity to begin asking his questions.

"So, why Pete Hutter?"

Michael paused in his tracks and gave Brisco a confused glance. "What do you mean?"

"How did Pete get involved in your mission and how long have you been working with him?" questions now poured out of Brisco as he continued, "Did you know about the bracelet from Pete? Did he ever disappear-"

Michael raised a hand to pause all of the questions. "First of all, I did not know about Pete's ability to travel across geographic locations or time. Pete was usually wearing the bracelet but he said it was a fashion statement when Fiona teased him about it, so we had no reason to question it. Besides, it not like you can fit a tracking device or carbon microphone inside of a bracelet. There is no way that you could fit that kind of technology into something that small."

Brisco studied the horizon in an effort to process the information. "If Pete was only 'usually' wearing it, that must mean Pete knows how to remove the bracelet. How could Pete know that information while James was still tethered to his device?"

"Regarding why we were working with Pete, he came to us with a recommendation letter a year ago. It was a convincing argument and the letter referred to him as 'James Kendrick,' not Pete Hutter. After a short while, he became an asset in infiltrating the local Irish mob, he was actually the first one of us to meet O'Banion or to find out that O'Banion was reporting to someone else and not the individual calling all of the shots. We only found out that he was Pete Hutter a few weeks back but by that point he had made himself irreplaceable to the mission. Fiona and I decided to keep Kendrick's identity a secret from both Jesse and my mom, especially due to his past work with both you and Bowler. For all we knew, he was trying to turn over a new leaf. We didn't even tell him that we knew his real name.'"

"How did you find out it was Pete?" inquired Brisco.

Michael rolled his eyes before replying, "He accidentally left a telegram out which Fiona read. She said that it didn't say who sent the message but it was addressed to Pete Hutter. As Fiona and I thought back over the past year and his deep connections to the criminal world, it made significantly more sense than the original cover story in the letter."

Michael finished the walk to the storm shelter and opened up the double doors but before he began to descend into the storm shelter, one final question came from Brisco.

"Who gave you the recommendation a year ago?"

"You did."

"I never wrote or signed anything of the sort!" exclaimed Brisco.

Michael shrugged before replying, "With all of this time travel stuff, maybe you haven't... at least not yet. Besides, no matter the source, the information turned out to be good as evidenced by the success of the mission."

As if that explained everything, Michael began to descend into the storm shelter leaving Brisco outside to wonder what circumstances would have had to occur to motivate Brisco to write a recommendation for Pete.

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

Brisco and Michael found Fiona downstairs with the men. She had replaced the ribbon from O'Banion's hands with duct tape and had also duct taped Franz's hands.

"I've always said, 'better to fight your battles with duct tape than with a gun,'" grinned Michael.

"It's my version of a compromise," sighed Fiona. "If it were up to me, I would have already beat the truth out of them before executing them."

"That sounds harsh, even for you Fi!" replied a shocked Brisco.

Michael and Fiona exchanged grieved looks, before Michael quietly explained, "During our time in Miami, we have uncovered numerous bombings that have been staged throughout the country. Each bombing had a different group claiming responsibility and each group seemed unrelated. Some were anarchists protesting a capitalist government while others were labor unions protesting unfair working conditions. Unfortunately, each situation turned out to be instigated, funded, and armed by a small conspiracy of men."

"To make matters worse, most bombings were not of empty buildings but were filled with people," Fiona continued.

"Men, women, and children. All of those deaths and injuries are because of these two men right here," Michael stated quietly as the trio of friends stared at their two captives.

As if the wound were reopened, Fiona took a shot gun and smashed it across Franz's face. The German spat blood out on the floor before turning back and grinning at the group. "You von't be able to keep me here!"

"Well, I guess we'll have to make the most of our time here..." smiled Fiona as she pulled O'Banion's head up by his hair and punched him across the face.

The interrogation had begun.

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

It had been at most an hour later with very little useful information uncovered, when Madeline came through the passageway and informed the group that US Attorney Brigstone had arrived and that lunch was on the table. Brisco, Fiona, and Michael marched the prisoners through the passageway and into the cabin. Brigstone was there with a couple of agents standing on either side of him. Brisco glanced outside to see several more agents standing out front. "I thought you Federal boys weren't allowed to be armed," commented Fiona as she eyed the shotguns and pistols.

"Leave Washington D.C. without an armed escort?" asked the monotone Brigstone. "Please stop making me laugh."

"But you aren't laughing," observed Madeline.

"Trust me, I'm laughing on the inside," responded the always bland Brigstone. Madeline rolled her eyes as the attorney turned to Michael and inquired, "Were you able to get any information?"

Brisco handed over the notes that he had taken during the interrogation to the agent nearest him before responding, "Not a lot but I'm sure you will have more luck."

"I think I need a hospital," whined O'Banion.

"In a minute, I'm not done with my show and tell," replied Michael. He then turned and lifted the swollen face of the German before announcing, "May I present, Franz Von Papen, military attaché to the German ambassador."

The German gave an evil grin to all individuals in the room, something about that smile sent an uneasy feeling into Brisco's stomach. He looked across the room to see an actual facial expression on Brigstone's face, one of shock and helplessness.

"Right now the vords, 'Diplomatic Immunity' are vinging in yhor ears," Franz said as he straightened his back and widened his smile.

Brigstone regained his stoney exterior before extending a hand to Michael and the rest of his team, "Your country thanks you for your hard work in uncovering this conspiracy. We will take the prisoners from here." Before anyone could comment further, the prisoners were quickly rushed out of the cabin by the agents. Brisco watched outside to see both prisoners released from their bindings before being escorted into the cars as peers rather than traitors. In that moment, Brisco felt two things. The first was a glad feeling that Fiona had given them each black eyes and that duct tape had been used to bind the prisoner's hands. Brisco had momentarily pleasure in watching each man flinch with the duct tape ripping off arm hairs. The second was an old bitter feeling of disappointment; in the end, bureaucracy always trumps truth in the spy game.

As Brigstone's party drove away, Madeline moved towards Michael. She seemed to be absently carrying a pitcher of lemonade, as she marched towards him demanding, "Michael! What did he mean by that?"

"Ma, Franz Von Papen is a well-connected man," began Michael.

"So, what does that mean?" pressed Fiona. "No execution? No internment?"

"It means that we can't put them on trial like ordinary criminals," explained Brisco.

"More than likely, the most that we can do is give them the boot," added Michael reluctantly.

Madelyn gasped in response. The weight of all of their hard work and the shock that their captives were not going to be punished for the lives that they had taken caused the glass pitcher to slip through Madeline's fingers and onto the floor. Brisco studied Fiona and based on her fuming anger, this was clearly the first that either woman had heard about the possible lax treatment of their enemy.

Madeline studied Michael's calm demeanor before accusing, "You knew!" Madeline was almost in reach of Michael, with her hands clenched in anger. Brisco stepped in between the two, unsure how Madeline was going to respond. Brisco wrapped her in a bear hug to hold Madeline as he felt her sob against his shoulder.

"We're not technically at war," offered Michael. But neither woman were eased by the explanation. Brisco felt Madeline continue to breath heavily as her anger continued to rise. A moment later, he heard the sound of a door slamming and as Brisco looked over his shoulder, he watched Michael follow out the door in order to catch up to Fiona. After a few moments, Brisco braved talking to Madeline.

"Madey, you, Mike and Fiona have all been in the business way too long," Brisco stated in an effort to console her. Brisco heard a soft sound from the nearby floor and looked down to see Doc attempting to pick up the pieces of the pitcher and clean up the floor. Despite coming from a different point in time, it was clear that the scientist was also not happy about the serene future of their former prisoners.

All Brisco could do was say shrug and say, "This is why I hate spy games. There's rarely a clear ending to an operation and if there is, it may not look the way we want it to."

Madeline stepped back and eyed Brisco. It was not the answer that either she or Doc wanted but it did at least help provide a bit better understanding of the world. Brisco continued, "It's not a world like the Hollywood movies claim where the villain is easily identified by a long mustache and the pure hero foils his enemy's plans while continuing to stay clean in appearance and deed. Sometimes, we have to make a deal with the devil to protect peace."

Privately, Brisco had a feeling in his gut that he couldn't shake. There was something truly evil about that man. While Brisco normally believed in fair trials, there was a dark feeling inside of him that perhaps this is the one occasion where they should have taken justice into their own hands as the government was electing to free the man rather than punish or intern the man.

"Peace is war held in check," muttered Doc. The comment caused Brisco's mind to leave Franz and replace it with the rising international tensions and all of the trouble that Germany had gone through to undermine American industry. In that moment, Brisco wondered if Doc's muttering was more of a prophecy of things to come rather than an observation.

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