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Gwyn, The Story Teller, Presents . . .

"Garibaldi"

*This story content is her sole property and is not for distribution*

*Some of the character names are the property of J. Michael Straczynski, Warner Brothers and TNT and we are using them only for entertainment purposes.*
 
    Garibaldi swore again and strained against the silk ties which bound his hands and feet.  He couldn't believe he had been caught.  It had been a dirty, filthy, Suits trap, and he had walked right into it.  So here he was, tied to his own explosive device while six Suits looked on maliciously.  The suits were arguing among themselves as to whether they should kill Garibaldi before they detonated the bomb, or let him be blown up alive, when a secretary entered the room with a coffee pot.
    "Coffee, gentlemen?" she asked brightly.  A few moments later the Suits lay scattered about the room.  The secretary retracted her fighting pike and untied Garibaldi.
    "Who the hell are you?"  Garibaldi asked, caught between admiration for her skill and irritation at the interference.  After all, he would have freed himself eventually.
    "Talia Malloy, Sterminex International, Inc., Tracking Division.  And you," she said, eyeing the explosive device, "must be Mr. Garibaldi.  I came to find you."Rainbow Bar
    "I appreciate your help back there," Garibaldi grudgingly acknowledged later, as they sat over coffee in a small cafe.
    "It was nothing.  Besides, you do impressive work.  34 suits a day is quite a record - a little high on the number of innocent bystanders for my taste, but still . . . we can't afford to lose you."
    "Who's we?"
    "Sterminex.  We're an international organization that works to control Suit activity and eliminate those Suits which don't do what we want.  I'm from the Tracking Division, and for the past three years, there's been a substantial increase in the number of Suits coming and going from the TNT headquarters.  Suits from companies such as Daewoo, McDonald's, AT&T, Nabisco, even Microsoft, and they don't consort with just anybody.  My point is this - the Suits we've been tracking don't have any ties to TNT or television, so what are they up to?  We know its some thing big, but we don't know how big.  And we need to find out."
    "And you are asking me to help?"
    "Yes.  I've been sent to find out what is up, but I never worked this area before.  I don't know the territory.  But you do.  You can get me where I need to be, and more importantly, you can get me back out.  You'll be compensated for your help, any weapons or components you need while working with me are provided by Sterminex, and if we don't like what we discover, you get to blow up a whole airplane of Suits.  Is it a deal?"
    Garibaldi thought it over, did the calculations in his head, and then nodded.
    "Ms. Malloy, I think we have a deal.  One question, though.  How did you know I was in trouble?"
    "I was in the lobby of the building when some British guy with a bucket on his head came running up and told me that the Suits were getting ready to kill someone.  He must have been a custodian or some thing, but I didn't stay to find out.  I didn't know who I was rescuing until I saw the bomb, and recognized it from some photos I'd scene in the Sterminex archives.  As I said before, you do nice work."
Rainbow Bar
    "Ow!  Geeze! Careful!" Talia hissed as Garibaldi boosted her up too quickly and rammed her stomach against the edge of the ventilation duct.  Garibaldi rolled his eyes and shoved harder.  She was going to owe him big time for this.  Talia's feet disappeared inside the duct and her face appeared over the edge.
    "I'm in.  Hand up the equipment, will you?"
    "I still don't see why we don't just kidnap a couple of the Suits and interrogate them.  Same information, less trouble!"
    "We can't take the risk!  It might alert the others.  Besides, you're getting paid to work my way, so stop fussing."
    What exactly is in those air ducts, anyway?"
    "The access wires to the TNT's central computer system.  They figured if they put them up here, people would be less likely to hack directly into the system."
    "Why don't you just get in through an office terminal?  It's a lot easier than directly linking into the system."
    "Because if we do it this way, we can rig it up so that the computer thinks it's dealing with an internal systems component.  We get free access to everything, and don't have to deal with passwords.  That the last of the equipment?  Good."
    Garibaldi kept watch in the hall as Talia worked inside the duct.
    "Garibaldi?  Do you know anything about computers?"
    "Some.  Why?"  Garibaldi replied, just as the sprinkler system inside the building whirred to life.
    "That's why."
Rainbow Bar
    "Talia, my fee is going up by the hour!  What have you done to this?"  The two of them were wedged in the air duct with an array of computer equipment.  Garibaldi looked in despair at the tangle of wires.
    "Garibaldi, I'm a tracker!  I hack airlines, travel agencies, cab companies.  Multi-systems like this are a little out of my league!"
    "Next time, tell me that before you set off the sprinklers!"
    "Look, I've already apologized!  Just tell me if you can fix it."
    "Yeah, probably, but it's going to take some time.  Hand me those pliers," he said.
Rainbow Bar
     Several hours later the two were sitting in Garibaldi's living room surrounded by Talia's computer equipment.
    "Now you're sure you can handle this?"  Garibaldi asked dryly.  Talia ignored the comment, and dropped the hard drive into place.  She flipped the power switch, and the computer began booting up.
    "We have contact!  Hand me that disk.  This is a Sterminex file list for TNT.  We simply ask the computer to search for any files in the downloaded hard drive that are not on the disk."  Talia typed in a few commands, and the computer began searching.
    "How long is this going to take?"  Garibaldi asked.
    "Can't say exactly, but at least an hour.  It's a big list.  In the mean time, I intend to take a nap."
    Garibaldi shook his head after he watched her go.  She was irritating in the extreme.  He now remembered why he didn't work with partners.  Well, she could sleep all she wanted.  He was going to get some breakfast.
Rainbow Bar
    "Talia!  Wake up!" he cried a few hours later.  Talia simultaneously jumped out bed and extended her pike.
    "Talia, put that thing away!"
    "Sorry!  Just instinct.  What time is it?" she yawned.
    "Just past noon.  Come here, you've got to see this!"
    Talia followed Garibaldi out to the living room, where print-outs were scattered about underneath doughnut crumbs.
    "I found out what the Suits are up to.  They're planning a global corporate take-over, and TNT is at the top of it.  They're planning to control every thing!  Food, currency, television, Internet!  Governments will remain, but only for show."
    "My God,"  Talia breathed as she examined the print-outs.  "They must have been planning this for years!"
    "At least eight, and the final take-over isn't going to happen for another five.  They've drawn up a five year plan of action, which they plan to implement this January."
    "Garibaldi, we have to stop them!"
    "Yes, we do."
Rainbow Bar
    "Are you sure you're okay with this, Talia?" Garibaldi asked the next morning as he carefully constructed the detonation mechanism.  They had come up with a plan the night before, and were setting it in motion.
    "Yes.  I've just never killed this many Suits before.  It's a bit unnerving."
    "First time always is."
    "You're sure the bomb won't explode until the plane is in the air?" she asked.
    "I'm sure!  Don't worry, I'm not going to blow up the airport!  The only damage will be from falling debris, and most of that should be small enough not to cause too much damage.  Trust me on this!  Now you're sure that we've got the right plane?"
    "Yes.  All the international Suits are taking this plane to New York.  They were going to catch connector flights from there."
    "Well, they don't have to worry about that now, do they?  You leave the plane to me.  I'm counting on you to take down the building."
    "I know.  As soon as you detonate the plane, I go into the main conference room and take out the TNT execs.  The rest of the Suits are to be detained for Sterminex."
    "I still think we should kill them all!"
    Talia began to protest, and Garibaldi halted her.
    "I know!  I know!  I agreed to the deal!  And I'll keep my word, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.  I can handle things from here.  You'd better get going.  It's a long trip across town."
    "Good luck, Garibaldi."
    "Don't need it, Talia.  Luck is chancy, and I don't like taking chances."
Rainbow Bar
    Garibaldi was worried, and he didn't like being worried.  His half of the plan had been executed flawlessly, but he hadn't heard from Talia yet.  And that worried him.  So he slipped carefully through the hallways of TNT's headquarters, which seemed strangely quiet.  In fact, the building seemed deserted.  This worried him even more.
    He found the conference room, and there he found Talia, tied and gagged and trying desperately to escape.  She wasn't succeeding, and blood stained her right sleeve.
    "Talia!  What happened?" he asked, hurrying to her.
    "They shot me right as I came in!  They knew who I was, and they knew I was coming!  They're planning to blow the building, Garibaldi!  We have to get out of here!"
    "Do you know where the bomb is?"
    "No!  And I don't know how much time is left either!"
    "Then lets not waste any more!  Tell me what happened on the way out!"  he said as the two began running through the halls.
    "They shot me down in the lobby, carried me up to the conference room, then escaped onto the roof.  They must have had helicopters waiting.  I can't believe I was such an idiot!"
    "Don't worry.  Happens to the best of us!"  They were out on the street by this time.  "Helicopters, huh?  Like those?"  he asked, pointing up.  Three commercial helicopters hovered above the building.  "I guess they wanted to watch the show.  Listen, Talia, evacuate the surrounding buildings.  I'll take care of the Suits.  Okay?  Go!"
    Garibaldi went to the trunk of his car and pulled out a very large shot gun.  An old fashioned, rather inelegant weapon, but a clear shot into the fuel tanks and those helicopters would be toast.  He raced up to the stairs of the building next to the TNT headquarters, trying to get to the roof.  Damn skyscrapers! he thought as he ran.  He hoped Talia was able to get the other buildings clear.
    Once on the roof, he took careful aim, and fired.  One helicopter went up in flames, and the other began pulling away.  He fired a second time, and the force of the blast knocked him over as both the helicopter and the TNT building exploded in a shower of debris.  The third helicopter was too far away to get a clear shot.  He let loose a string of angry curses.
    Back on the street, he met up with Talia.
    "Did you get them?"  she asked.
    "All but one."
    "Well that's something at least.  I can't believe this has happened.  What went wrong?"  she asked.
    "There must be a leak somewhere.  That's the only way they could have known you were coming.  But it doesn't matter.  We'll get them next time."
    "No.  There can't be a 'we'.  If there is a leak in Sterminex, we're going to need as many independents like yourself as we can get.  People outside the loop, whose plans Sterminex doesn't know.  You don't belong with Sterminex - I do.  But I appreciate the offer.  I was beginning to think I annoyed you."
    "Well, you do, but hey?  What can I say?  You definitely make life interesting."
    "Thanks, Garibaldi.  And thanks for saving my life."
    "I owed you one.  After all, you did save mine."
    "So we're even then?"
    "Not quite.  You still owe me a hefty fee, plus a replacement charge for the clothes you ruined by setting off the sprinkler system!"
    "Are you ever going to let me forget that?"
    "No."  Garibaldi laughed as Talia pulled a face.  "Come on, let's get your arm looked at.  I'll take you a hospital."
Rainbow Bar
Will the surviving suits take revenge on Garibaldi?  Is there a leak in Sterminex?  All remains to be seen . . .  on to the next part of the Booji Followers' story