The Heros Attorney
By Robert Buchanan

Daniel Carter sat at an outdoor café called Donatellos in Central Park West drinking strong black coffee and reading the morning paper. Like most of the street level restaurants on Riverside, it had a commanding view of the park. He would come here and sip coffee and watch the girls rollerblade on the weekends and during the week he would watch the businessmen march by each trying to appear more important than the next as they strode to work in everything from Brooks Brothers to Armani. This was his morning ritual, something nearly sacred that he had been doing for as long as he had been an attorney in New York City. It was 9 am on Saturday, and the sun was shining. He thought about going to the office - God knew there was enough work to do, and no doubt the law clerks and junior partners would be in today, scurrying about trying to run the world, but he wasn’t sure he wanted to fight the good fight today. Besides, being the owner of one of the most successful firms in New York did have its privileges. He took another sip of his coffee and turned to the sports page.

He was dressed casually in Khaki trousers and a white button down shirt, the sleeves were crisp and creased to the shoulders, standard attire for an off duty attorney. He still bore some semblance of a tan from the summertime, although that was fading faster than he would have liked to admit. He was tall and good-looking, and at age 30 was probably the most eligible bachelor in Manhattan.

Daniel lived just up the street in a 5-bedroom condominium that monopolized the tenth floor of his building. It was large, even by non New York standards with 10-foot ceilings, rich mahogany woods and a rooftop garden. It had a breathtaking view of Riverside Park, the Hudson River, and the city skyline beyond. The west wall of the dwelling was dominated by floor to ceiling windows that took full advantage of the view. Excessive some might say, but to Daniel, it was simply home.

He’d been born the son of a now aging pair of hippies – a subculture he despised in its current incarnation, but the flower children of the 60’s were different. Mom and Dad were ok, if not slightly embarrassing. His father had eked out a living by any means necessary, and his mother had been a painter. Their bohemian lifestyle had taken him across Europe as a child, and he had called various places in India home at one time or another while following his parents on their quest for self-discovery. Travel broadened the mind and sharpened the intellect, and Daniel was exceptionally sharp. At eighteen, he was accepted into Stanford under a liberal arts program. He studied hard, and soon found Law to be more his calling. He graduated at the top of his class and at age twenty-three, he was the proud owner of a degree capable of opening some very big doors. Prior to graduation, Baker, Teague and Preston - the largest firm in New York City, had scooped him up; they had a reputation for chewing up new attorneys and spitting them out at an early age. He worked long hours six days a week, and within four years, he was the youngest partner in the history of the firm.

A year and a half ago, he had grown weary of working for someone else. The constant deluge of work coupled with the realization that he was being billed out at $600 an hour, but was being paid only $75 of that lead Daniel to strike out on his own. He called a law school buddy and together they opened Carter and Bing. Together, Daniel and David Bing were a force to be reckoned with. Their reputation as a discreet and effective firm quickly won them notice, and the cash started rolling in. The money was good, and the business in a corrupt city was even better. Before they knew it, they had a force of 87 legal professionals working from their offices and they represented clients on 4 continents in matters of law ranging from simple small claims, to international corporate disputes. But this was not where their real success lie.

* * * * * *

It was a hot day in July; the law office’s central air was kicking out cooled air slower than preferred. Daniel had his sleeves rolled to his elbows in an effort to expose as much skin as was professionally tasteful in an attempt to cool himself when a knock thumped at his office door. The wooden frame actually shook a little from the impact. Daniel frowned in annoyance. Carol - his receptionist was supposed to screen any walk-ins and politely turn them away explaining that Mr. Carter was available by appointment only, and Carol was usually very good at her job.

“Come in” he heard himself say.

The door swung open, pushed by a hand that could only be described as behemoth. The hand was attached to easily the largest man Daniel had ever seen. He actually had to turn sideways a little bit to fit his massive shoulders through the door. He ducked to avoid the top of the frame.

Daniels' eyes were huge as they scanned the man

"My name's Lou Foster" the man said "but most people just call me Tank." His voice was deep and slow, not the usual rushed staccato common among New Yorkers. He thrust out his hand and Daniel tentatively shook it. It dwarfed his in comparison.

"Don't worry, I wont hurt you." Tank said, sensing Daniels discomfort, "I need your help."

"Of course." Daniel answered, regaining his composure. "Please, have a seat."

He motioned toward one of the guest chairs at his desk and moved to his own opposite Tank. The furniture groaned under the weight of the man, and for a moment Daniel wondered if it would hold. To his relief, it did.

"What can I do for you?" Daniel asked.

"Have you heard of cold storage?"

"Sure," Daniel replied, "you mean cryogenic detention. What about it?"

CD was hotly debated among the legal community, but was widely accepted by the justice department as the safest way to handle dangerous metahumans. It was reserved for those who had broken the law and were deemed to be particularly dangerous. The meta in question, once detained and tried, was sent to a cryo facility where they were given an injection of sodium pentothal. Once unconscious, they were submerged in a liquid nitrogen bath which literally froze them into a state of suspended animation. Most attorneys frowned on the practice as it was argued that many of the metahumans who were detained in this manner were immune to the effects of sodium pentothal. It was rumored that those found immune were simply dropped directly into the Nitrogen bath, as such, this method was cruel and unusual.

In response, they had enacted the practice of "hot sleep", a procedure where the meta in question was fed a constant cocktail of drugs that kept them in a state of coma. The downside of this for the advocates of cold sleep was that the same metas who were immune to the sodium pentothal, were likely to be immune to any drug that might induce coma. It was "too unpredictable and unsafe" and besides, the cost of the constant drugs was staggering. It was all garbage in Daniels opinion.

"My sister's in the deep freeze."

Daniel shifted uncomfortably in his seat. He didn't know how much he wanted to get involved in a cryogenic detention case.

"She must have been convicted of something terrible then." He played it nonchalant, almost instantly regretting it. Tank's body visibly stiffened in his seat, and his grip tightened on the arms of the chair. He was clearly taken aback by Daniels callousness.

"She's twelve years old." Tank said in his heavy voice.

This time it was Daniel who was taken aback. "Twelve?" He answered. He sat back in his chair, and rubbed his face with both hands. "OK, tell me what happened."

* * * * * *

Samantha Foster pushed her tortoise shell rimmed glasses back up on her nose for the third time in the past half-hour. They were a constant nuisance, but a necessary evil. She was an honor roll student in the 6th grade, and fit the part to a stereotypical tee. Her mousey blonde pigtails bounced into her shoulders every time she turned her head, she was stick thin, and just a little taller than the other girls her age. She was entering the point in her life where things just didn't ever seem quite right. Too old to be looked at as a cute child anymore, and not quite old enough to be considered a young woman, Samantha was the epitome of 'the awkward age'.

She smiled to herself as she filled in the last bubble of the test.

"First one done." she said quietly. She was secretly proud to always be the first girl to hand in her tests, and she knew it would be another 'A' before she even gave it to the teacher. She stood from her small desk and strode to the front of the classroom. The teacher looked up from her book and gave Sam a false smile.

"Finished already?" Mrs. Carmen asked her, already knowing the answer.

"Yes ma'am." Samantha said as she started a stack of tests on the corner of the desk.

"Well, ok then, return to your seat and remain quiet until the others have finished."

"OK." Samantha turned to walk to her desk, momentarily glancing at the sea of heads before her. Most were bowed and studying their tests, some cocked to try to catch a glimpse of their neighbors answers, but one was looking right at her.

Jimmy Harmon's eyes stared right into hers, he was the school bully, and he scared her. Today however, he flashed her a warm smile, it was unnerving, but she smiled back at him and he looked back at his test with a sideways grin to his friend Steve.

The next few moments would change Samantha's life forever. She began walking back toward her seat, and it was as if time slowed down. She could hear her footfalls on the floor of the quiet room, could smell the scent of fresh pencil shavings and old crayons but for some reason, she didn't notice Jimmy Harmon's foot. He slid it out, under hers just as she walked by his desk. She was thrown off balance and fell to the floor, catching her chin on one of the neighboring desks as she fell. A bolt of pain shot through her face as her head was forced upward by the desktop. Her chin raked across the edge as she fell to the floor, and her knee struck the linoleum with an audible crack. Then came the tears, hot and unwelcome, they flowed from her eyes as her knee throbbed and the classroom burst into laughter. Time resumed its normal pace and she looked up at Jimmy Harmon in pain.

"Have a nice trip Four Eyes?" he sneered at her.

Sam could feel her lower lip begin to tremble, and she felt her anger welling up inside of her. Jimmy just looked at her and laughed. The room sounded distant now. She could hear Mrs. Carmen's voice scolding Jimmy, could hear her classmates laughing, but there was also a new sound. Something she'd not heard before, a kind of a rushing noise in her head like static between two radio stations. It started soft, and then grew louder and louder until it was all she could hear. She looked at Jimmy and a single thought filled her mind - revenge. Her eyebrows creased and then it happened.

She didn't know how it happened, she only knew that she was the cause, and Jimmy Harmon crashing into the wall on the other side of the room was the effect. His arm made a cracking sound as he hit the wall, and when his head struck the floor, he stopped moving.

The laughter stopped now. The students gaped open mouthed at Jimmy's non-moving body and Mrs. Carmen rushed to Jimmy's side. He had a knot already beginning to form on his head, and he moaned softly when Mrs. Carmen touched his arm.

"Jimmy!" She said urgently.

Sam watched from her position on the floor and sniffed hard, drawing Mrs. Carmen's attention.

"Samantha! Go to the Principals office this instant!" she yelled.

Sam sat unmoving on the floor, still not quite sure what had just happened.

"Go to the fucking principals office!" Mrs. Carmen swore. This snapped Sam out of her stupor, 'the teacher actually swore at me?!' she thought.

"But I didn't do anything!" she protested. The tears sprang from her eyes again now in desperation. She'd never been sent to the Principals office before.

"NOW!" Mrs. Carmen cut her off.

Sam rose to her feet, ignoring the pain in her knee as she limped out of the room and down the hall to the Principals office.

* * * * * *

"The kid was a god damned punk!" Tank swore.

"Sounds like it." Daniel said "But I don't see how this explains how she got sent to cryo."

"I aint done yet." Tank answered.

Daniel shrugged "Please continue."

* * * * * *

Samantha nervously picked at her fingernails while sitting in the waiting area of the office. The floor was covered in soft gray carpeting, and there was a poster on the wall spouting anti-drug messages. Mrs. Carmen had walked by quickly without so much as a hello, and had closed the door to the principals private office behind her. She had been speaking with the principal in a muffled voice for 10 minutes now, and Sam could see her gesture wildly from time to time. The principal, a man by the name of Gordon Haley stood calmly with his arms folded and nodded in understanding, glancing out his window at Sam from time to time.

Mrs. Carmen left his office now, she gave Samantha a nervous glance as she returned to her classroom. Mr Haley was on the telephone now, and Sam's heart sank, surely he was calling her mom. There would no doubt be a parent teacher conference, and she would be the subject. They would have to go light on her wouldn't they? I mean she'd never done anything bad before, and Jimmy was a known troublemaker.

"Sam?" Mr. Haleys voice spoke from the doorway of his office. He was a nice man, and had a soft southern accent. "Could you come in here for a moment?"

"Yes sir." she answered. She stood and entered his office. He immediately took a seat behind his desk, and gestured for her to do the same opposite him. There was a bowl of Reeces Pieces on his desk.

"Would you like some candy?" He asked.

"No thank you" She responded, her knee was throbbing still, and her chin felt like she'd lost a round with a pro fighter.

"How's your chin?" He asked "It looks pretty bad."

"It's ok" she answered "My knee hurts though."

"You gave your classmates quite a scare you know?"

"I didn't mean to. I don't know what happenned."

"Neither do we." said Mr Haley shifting in his chair. "In fact, this is the first time anything like this has happenned here. To be honest, we're not real sure how to deal with you."

It sounded ominous to Sam, despite the calm delivery Mr. Haley gave to it.

"I won't do it again!" She answered in a hurry.

"Well, we're not so sure about that Sam. You yourself just admitted you're not even sure how you did it. You pose a threat to the other children."

Sam could feel the tears well up in her eyes. A threat? she wasn't a threat. She was just a goofy kid in glasses. Bullies like Jimmy were the threat.

"We've called some people." he continued, pausing for a moment. "Some people - who can help you, they should know how to help you control your problem."

For the next 10 minutes they sat together in an awkward silence, broken occasionally by forced small talk.

* * * * * *

There were no sirens, no men in blue unifroms with shiny badges, no squad cars, or paddy wagons. Just two men dressed in dark suits, they drove a black sedan and they entered Mr. Haleys office without a word.

"They" were Timmons and Reed, special agents with the East Central Division of the meta task force. They immediately produced a pair of arm cuffs that they strapped across Sams chest that had the effect of cuffing not only her wrists, but also immobilizing her arms in front of her body. They pressed a few buttons on the body bar, and the shackles snapped into place with a hum and a slight glow of energy. Samantha tried to protest, but Timmons produced a needle with an unknown fluid inside of it and injected it into Sams neck. She momentarily began to scream, but her body went limp almost instantly and they attached a leg cuff to her ankles that prevented her legs from moving more than a few inches apart.

"Now see here!" Mr. Haley began to protest. "She's just a little girl!"

Reed spun around and faced Haley saying "Yes, a little Girl who hurled a boy across the room using only her mind. A little girl who has yet to be tested, a little girl whose power levels remain unknown. Mr. Haley, I'm not about to put this 'little girl' in the back of my car without protecting myself. Now, you may leave while we finish securing her." He turned back around, and began taking some readings from a display on the armcuffs. After a moment, he repeated himself "You can leave now."

Mr. Haley found himself speechless, he did the only thing he felt resonably comfortable doing, and he would later never forgive himself for it. He turned around and left the room.

"What's going on in there?" Cheryl the receptionist asked him.

"I think I made a mistake." he answered.

* * * * * *

Sam awoke to find herself lying on a steel slab in a sterile room. The walls were painted a soft blue color and she was wearing a hospital gown. The device that had been strapped to her arms was still in place and it made her arms feel weak, but at least her legs were free.

She managed to sit up and looked around the room. It appeared to be a lab of some sort, there were several computer monitors, and various smaller machines scattered about the room in addition to what appeared to be normal medical equipment.

"Hello?" she said aloud. There was no answer, but a camera mounted to the far wall tracked her as she slid off of the steel plate and examined the room. It was difficult to explore very much with her arms bound, and she was as frightened as she'd ever been in her life. She approached a steel tray with several needles on it, she tried to move one of them to see if there was any indication of what was in it but she only succeeded in knocking the tray to the floor with a loud crash.

"Please return to the exam table Ms. Foster."

She whipped her head around to try to find the source of the voice. She would make them let her go! Maybe she could hear the rushing again if she tired hard enough.

"Who are you?" she demanded in a frightened voice.

Again "Please return to the exam table." This time her eyes tracked to the far wall, where a speaker mounted next to a wall length mirror ordered her to return to the table for a third and final time.

"Go to hell!" she said, trying to sound brave. Then she noticed it, there was a hissing sound. At first she thought it might be the rushing again, but soon the world began to swim before her eyes and she fell to the floor in a heap. The last thing she remembered were two men dressed in labcoats standing above her. One took her by the legs, the other roughly by the arms, they carried her to the exam table and left her there.

* * * * * *

"Sir, we have the results of the tests on subject 213."

"Go on Lieutenant Grayson." General Gardner said. He was dressed in a sharply pressed uniform denoting his rank, and he smoked a cigar that he clutched in his right hand.

"She exhibits telekinetic ability of a rank unlike any we've ever seen. Which is to say she could probably rip this building out of the ground if she so desired, and she were more comfortable with her abilities. Also, we found she posessed a keen intelect and a very strong mental defense. Our psy-operatives had a hard time even locating her memories, let alone digging through her mind for any kind of idea of a power ranking."

"Anything else?" he said, taking a long drag off of the cigar.

"Nothing marked, standard medical tests, blood type, urinalysis, she's in great physical health."

"What about her psych evaluation?"

"Well, we've found her unwilling to cooperate with our shrinks. We tried the usual, promise of release, food, drink and the like, but she refuses to answer our questions. Personally, I don't think she's going to tell us anything we don't already know."

"And what, exactly, do we know about her?" Gardner asked, turning finally to look at the Lieutenant. His gaze was unnerving, and Grayson looked back at his clipboard.

"Well, not a lot. But she's just a kid -"

"- Just a kid." Gardner interrupted. "Tell me Lieutenant, do you think she's dangerous? Whether or not she truthfully doesn't know how to activate her abilities or not, would you want to spend time alone in a room with her? How about your children? Or your wife? Would you feel comfortable with that?"

"No sir, I wouldn't."

"Then I see no further need for testing, assign her to cryo, and let's move on."

"Um, Cryo sir?" Grayson was truly shocked. "Isn't that a bit extreme?"

"Are you questioning my orders Lieutenant?" Gardner asked.

Grayson bit his tongue, still in disbelief, but retreating from Gardners obvious challenge. "Of course not sir," he stuterred "I-I-I'll get the paperwork moving at once."

* * * * * *

Daniel sat in disbelief as Tank finished the story. "You can prove all of this?

"Most of it - The important parts anyway." Tank said, looking at his feet. The story was obviously painful for him to tell.

"There's something else." He added.

"What's that?"

Tank produced a nine by twelve manila envelope from his coat "I found this under my door about a month ago." He tossed the envelope on the desk.

Daniel looked at it for a moment before picking it up and removing it's contents. The envelope contained a single sheet of paper, and two photographs. The first photo was of a young girl, she looked to be around 12 years old, she was wearing a hospital gown and she looked frightened. There were electrodes attached to her temples, and he could vaguely make out a man in unifrom standing behind her, half out of frame. Daniel felt a stab of sadness as he looked into her face. He quickly flipped to the next photograph. This one was an image of another man in uniform, an officer of some sort. It was fuzzy, most likely a frame from a security camera. He stood in a hanger and had a folder crooked under one of his arms. Soft, but plainly visible on the front of the folder were the words "Project Sapphire and Project Darkmist". Daniel turned his attention to the sheet of paper, it read:

Mr. Foster,

I thought you might want the enclosed photo, I'm sad to say it may be the last one ever taken of your sister. Believe me when I say I am saddened beyond words for your loss, and I truly wish there was more I could do to help you, but by even getting this correspondence to you, I am risking my life. Your sister has been taken by the east central meta task force, and based on testing, she has been assigned to cryogenic sleep.

The man in the second photo is General Robert Garner. He is involved in some top level projects for the government, many of which are very noble in cause, but I cannot in good conscience sanction the cryogenic disposal of children. He is the man responsible for your sisters cold sleep, and is also the man with the authority to remove her from it.

I am aware of your abilities as a "meta" and I have a small hope that you may be able to use the enclosed information to save your sister. I am not sure where she is being held as the storage facility for cryogenics is on a need to know basis of which I am not included.

My Condolences.

There were no identifying marks on the envelope itself, no postmark, no signature, and Daniel doubted there would be fingerprints if they were looked for.

"As your attorney in this matter, I must advise you that you should in no way make an attempt to contact this General." Daniel offerred.

"Does this mean you'll accept the case?" Tank asked hopefully.

"Yeah, it looks that way." Daniel swore silently at himself for getting emotionally drawn into this, but he couldn't live with himself if he turned this man and his sister away. He considered giving Tank a moving speech on the ethicalities of Cryogenic sleep, or the illegal manuverings of the government and its officers, but in looking at Tank, he knew it would be preaching to the choir. Instead, he simply extended his hand in partnership and once again shook the big mans hand.

"We'll get her out of there."

* * * * * *

They completed the legal paperwork needed to retain Carter and Bing as legal representation for Tank and his family. Daniel called a cab to take Tank to his home, reassuring him that he would do everything he could in order to get his sister back. He had Carol place some calls, and within a few hours, he had his war plan in order.

The first thing he did was contact the Superior court of the State of New York and file a civil suit against the East Central Meta Task Force on behalf of the Foster family. It cited the organization for illegal arrest and prosecution, reckless endangerment of a minor, illegal detention and a whole host of other civil claims to which the family sought the release of Samantha Foster and a cash settlement totalling 10 million dollars in remuneration for pain and sufferring. Additionally, he filed a seperate suit specifically naming General Robert Garner as charged with the same claims.

He briefly considered a criminal prosecution, and didn't rule it out as of yet, but Daniel was smart. He knew that if this were tried criminally, it would go to the superior courts, and would most likely become a political battleground to determine the viability of crygenic detention as a legal means of punishment for metahumans. That would be a fight that could go on for years, and would have little hope of freeing Samantha. No, he wasn't interested in changing laws. This was about Samantha, let another attorney spend their time lobbying the politicians.

Daniel filed the suits with a judge he knew well, a judge he knew would be sympathetic to the case. By 2:00 he had the summons completed, and two of New Yorks finest were making their way to the offices of the East Central Meta Task Force. He asked the judge if he could present the second summons to General Garner personally. It was an odd request, but not out of the question.

"You sure you want to do that?" The honorable Travis Preston asked Daniel. They met in the judges private chambers, a large office adjacent to the courtroom. He was a grayish man of around 65, he had kind eyes, but a face that had seen many abominations in its lifetime.

"Yeah, I'm sure" replied Daniel.

"May I ask why?"

"I'd rather not say."

"Mhmm," The judge answered pulling a pair of reading glasses from his pocket and taking a look at the lengthy document of legalese Daniel had handed him. After a moment he added "You want to meet with this man don't you?" he gestured at the paperwork.

"I'd rather not say" Daniel said uncomfortably.

"Yeah, you want to meet with him, and you don't think he'll grant you an audience unless it's by these means" The judge said triumphantly, not hiding a sheepish grin. He didn't wait for Daniel to answer him again.

"I know, you'd rather not say. Well, I don't see any reason you cant play the role of delivery boy if you want to." With that, he signed the summons, and handed the paperwork to Daniel.

"Thanks Judge Preston."

"Mhmm, think nothing of it." The judge said "Just make damn sure you can back up these claims if it comes down to it. Otherwise, those could be career ending acusations you've made."

* * * * * *

The light in the western sky was soft, and the shadows were lengthening in the dusk as Daniel approached the private residence of General Robert Garner. It was a large home with a secluded drive. Evergreens seperated the Generals home from his neighbors, no-doubt providing cooling shade in the daytime, and a naturally thick border between the properties giving both homeowners a great deal of privacy. Daniel imagined a great number of things could go on here with no-one being the wiser.

He had been down the street for over an hour, waiting in his car for the general to arrive home so he could drop the second bomb the man would face today. He clutched the sumons in his left hand as he approached the huge oaken door that kept the uninvited out. Nervously, he knocked at the door. Minutes passed before a small girl around age 7 answered the door. She stood timidly in the yellow light from inside, gazing up at Daniel from behind large brown eyes.

"Hello." she said.

Daniel stooped down to the girls eye level. "Hi there" He spoke, flashing her a smile. "Is your daddy home?" Before the child could answer, a mans voice spoke behind her.

"Honey, who is it?"

"There he is" the little girl answered pointing over her shoulder. The door opened a little further, and Daniel could see an older man about 10 feet behind her. He held a glass with an amber liquor in it, and still wore a sharply pressed light brown shirt and khaki pants. The collar was open, and his sleeves were rolled to the elbow. Gray hair bit into his temples amidst a forest of salt and pepper black hair. His eyes were a steel blue, and met Daniels steadily.

"What can I do for you son?" The man said as he closed the distance to the door, placing his free hand on his daughters shoulder.

"I'd like to talk with you if you have a moment sir." Daniel told the man, intentionally letting the word 'summons' flash visibly from the paperwork so that the man could see it. "I presume that you are General Garner?"

The little girl looked up at the two men from face to face.

Anger crossed the generals face briefly before he caught himself. "Theresa, why don't you go and play, Daddy has some business to take care of."

"Okay daddy" she happily agreed, looking at Daniel she said "Bye." and skipped off into another room of the house.

The general stepped out onto the front porch, closing the door behind him. He produced a cigar and bit one end off, spitting the other into the surrounding dusk. "If that piece of paper is for me, then I don't believe we have anything to discuss." He put the cigar into his mouth and lit it, puffing on it a few times to get the tobacco burning.

"Well sir, I'm afraid to inform you that this is a personal summons I am to deliver to you by order of the state of New York." Daniel said officially.

"You don't have the look of a cop." The general said through clenched teeth. "You a cop?"

"No sir, I'm not" Daniel said handing the paperwork to the General. "I'm the prosecuting attorney."

Unphased, the general took the paperwork and said "You know what I like about this place?"

"No sir."

"The privacy. I mean, here we are, just the two of us, not a soul in sight." he blew a puff of smoke toward Daniel. "You know, I believe a lawyer was shot here once," he paused, glancing at Daniel, "back when duels were commonplace I mean."

"Are you threatening me?" Daniel said.

The general thought for a moment "No son, No, I believe it's you threatening me." He took a drink from his glass and added "But you know what?"

"What's that?"

"You can go to hell. If you think this will ever see the light of day, you're out of your mind." The general took a step toward the door.

"General, are you sure you want to walk away from this so flippantly?"

The General turned and locked his gaze with Daniel saying cooly "Positive. I don't think for a minute the courts will uphold a single claim you've made, but thanks," he said mockingly "for your concern." and turned to leave.

"Oh, I'm sure my claim against you could fall on deaf ears among the judicial system General, but you must remember, the motions I have filed against not only the East Central but also yourself are very public record. I'm sure the American public will be less than forgiving for one of their children being frozen alive."

The general paused in his exit. "Are you threatening me?" the general asked.

"Not at all sir. I'm just pointing out that something this public, let alone this controversial, tends to garner a lot of attention from members of the press. The press likes to stir things up. Pretty soon you'll have private citizens demonstrating. Members of the press will be demanding interviews with difficult questions to answer. Committees might begin to cut project funds. In short, life begins to get very difficult."

The general turned, and gruffly said "Make your point counselor."

Daniel feigned the look of a concerned man, raising his hands defensively, he responded "Look, I am well aware you're involved in some important projects. I'd just hate to see projects like Darkmist or Sapphire negatively impacted by this."

The general visibly stiffened at the mention of the two projects. "What do you know about these operations? Where did you hear about them."

For the first time in the conversation, the generals cool exterior faded. Daniel seized the opportunity, unwilling to reveal anything, he replied "That's not important. The matter at hand is Samantha Foster."

The general cut him off "The matter at hand, is those two projects." He stepped into Daniels personal space and grabbed him roughly by the shirt collar, dropping his cigar. "Those two projects must not be jeopardized!" The general was red faced and clearly flustered.

"Then you'd better do whatever is necessary to protect them." Daniel said cooly.

The general began to speak, but instead released Daniel, and took a step back with a smirk saying "Well played son." He turned around and walked to his door, without turning back, he said "Samantha Foster will be released tomorrow at 8 am. I expect the suits to be dropped by 8:30."

Daniel was briefly stunned, but recovered quickly. "Where should I have her family meet her?"

Without pausing, he answered "The child will be at their door by 8 am."

"And the money?" Daniel felt almost dirty for bringing it up.

"Drop those charges." and with that, General Robert Garner left Daniel standing on his doorstep.

* * * * * *

The next day, Samantha Foster was returned to her home. She had no recollection of Being frozen alive, or of her detention by the East Central Meta Task Force. An electronic transfer was made in the sum of 10 million dollars to the firm of Carter and Bing, of which Daniels firm kept 30%. He brought a check for the remaining seven million to Tanks home. The family was celebrating Samanthas return with a cookout, and the big man nearly crushed Daniel in his joy. Several hotdogs later, and Daniel was heading back to the city.

Life was good, and tomorrow was Saturday, Donatellos was calling.