Croonford Detectives Case 14: Hostage









Author's note: This story is inspired, not a copycat, of Sleepover Hostages by Moxx of Balhoon on the old Girl Detectives in Trouble site not the DeviantArt site.


Please comment on the story here.


Michelle Summers' fourteenth birthday was approaching and what should actually have been a joyful birthday was marred by the fact that it her father who was away in Russia. He did promise to return as soon as he could, but she wondered what exactly he was doing over there. As form of making up, her mum treated her and her younger sister Catherine or Kate to a meal at Croonford's top Spanish restaurant. Checking her texts and WhatsApp messages afterwards, she squealed. "Oh wow. Stacey's coming down to visit me this weekend. Excellent! I can't wait to introduce her to all my new friends here; she would definitely mix well with them. Mum, do you think I could have a small party on Friday night? Have a few of my school mates over from school?"


"I don't mind Stacey being here, she's a sensible girl but I'm not too sure about you having a party, especially not when I won't be around," Mrs Margaret Summers replied.


In Chelle's excitement, she'd forgotten that her mum had to go down to London Friday to sort out her previous job matters. She'd arranged to stay overnight with her dad’s sister and wouldn't coming back until late Saturday afternoon. After much convincing and promising that she'll look after Kate and not inviting any boys over, her mother finally agreed.


Stacey is Chelle's cousin, the same age as her from her father's side who moved to Telford, a town directly next to Croonford. Chelle hadn't seen her cousin since she'd moved to Croonford and her to Telford, though she had e-mailed and texted her often and tried to chat up with her via WhatsApp call or Skype at least once a week and keep in touch regularly via Facebook. Stacey's family lived in the same district as Chelle did when they were young and the two girls were totally inseparable. Stacey was also always an intellectual and also always been far more feminine than Chelle and was constantly experimenting with makeup and new hairstyles. Chelle checked her Facebook account to see what Stacey looked like yet she wondered idly what she'd look like in person on Friday in person.


Friday came and Chelle was extremely excited both about the mini-party and seeing Stacey. The guest list however was rather small besides Stacey. Chelle very much wished Mark Cadvish could come over but didn't want to disobey her mum again. Julia Humes was the first to give a negative reply but promised to make it up later. Bethan and Harriet or Hattie both said they would arrive later. This meant Jenn and Lin Ling, her fellow detectives would definitely be there.


Chelle was kept at school until late afternoon and only managed to leave late in the afternoon. There was a bus stop round the corner from the school, and she scrape together just enough change for a single child's fare to the local station; she decided to bring Stacey to her house via taxi. The train was just pulling away when she arrived there. Desperately, she searched through the crowds for the familiar face, but she couldn't spot Stacey anywhere. Where could she be?


A voice in her ears made her jump. "How ya, Chelle?" She swung round and Stacey stood behind me holding a big black rucksack, a stupid grin on her face. They hugged and kissed each other on both cheeks, and then they both took a step back and looked at each other closely.


"Chelle, you better change out of this bland uniform the instant we're at your house." Stacey exclaimed, jabbing her finger.


Chelle blushed as she was still in her school uniform – a black blazer, white blouse, and pleated dark black knee length skirt along with 40 denier black tights since it was getting cold and black loafers – certainly she didn't look anywhere near as cool or as beautiful as Stacey. She was wearing a stonewashed black denim jacket over a pink crew neck t-shirt with 'Telford' in white letters across the chest, a figure hugging dark blue lycra mini skirt, pattern translucent blue tights and red mid-calf boots. Her hair was a mass of golden blonde curls loose down to her shoulders and a floppy fringe hanging down over her eyes.


"You like?" she asked, twirling around. "I should hope so, this outfit cost me a small fortune. Feel my tights, go on, feel them."


She lifted one leg and Chelle stroked it, finding so incredibly soft.


"I was stuck in my Literature and Media Club meeting," Chelle explained. "Don't worry; I'll change into something pretty once we get to my home."


"I haven't got you a present," She informed Chelle as they lined up at the Taxi stand. " But I thought maybe tomorrow maybe we go on a little shopping spree and eating, my treat."


They continued the usual talk and naturally Stacey asked Chelle how the detective work was going. "Challenging," came the answer and Chelle described how Stacey might get along well with the others detectives, especially Lin. They finally entered a taxi and just two minutes later, Stacey suddenly asked, "Excuse me could you turn the radio up a moment please," and the driver complied. Chelle raised her eyes but listened carefully to the news."… The man who is believed to be armed and highly dangerous remains at large after robbing Croonford's Bank in the early hours of this morning, stealing a guard's firearm. He is described as Caucasian, over 1.8 metres tall with a sightly bald head and scarred left face to his left eye. He was last seen wearing blue jeans and a black t-shirt and has a tattoo of a heart across it on his lower right arm. Residents of Croonford are warned not to approach this man but to call the police immediately if they think they have spotted him. In other news…."


Stacey giggled nervously.


"Oh, great so there's an armed maniac on the loose in Croonford? And to think people say Telford is dangerous," She squealed. "A case for you and your detective gang Chelle," she added.


Chelle shrugged. "It might be but this is my birthday, time to relax. The police will catch him..." She knew capable people like Detective Inspector (DI) Nicola Heath would be right after him but sill she couldn't help wandering if he would be worth looking into.


Arriving home, she called out to Kate but she didn't reply as she would usually. That's strange, she wondered as she hung up her outer coat in the hallway coat rack while Stacey also hung up hers and her branded handbag and pulled off her pink boots. Kate would usually be watching the Telly or creating sounds from the kitchen. Maybe Kate finished preparing for the party. Kicking off her own school shoes, Chelle prepared to go upstairs and change until Stacey asked for where she could find water. Chelle naturally gave her cousin directions but halfway up the stairs, she heard Stace shout. "Err…Chelle, come here!"


"What's the problem, Stace?" Chelle asked. "Spider in the kitchen?"




Chelle gave an involuntary gasp as she raced back down and entered the kitchen. In the far corner of the kitchen, half hidden behind the table was Kate. She lay on her side her back to Chelle and Stacey, lying and not moving. Kate was dressed in her black T-Shirt and matching jeans, white ankle socks on her feet. Chelle noted her sister was not just unconscious but her wrists and ankles were bound with parcel tape. She immediately rushed up and knelt down and saw that more tape had been wrapped around her head, trapping her long hair and her cheeks were swollen under the tape, indicating some object had been stuffed into her mouth before the gag were applied. Kate laid so still and Chelle was definitely worried she might have choked on her gag but the twelve-year-old let out a low moan. Chelle immediately felt and found the edge of the gag and slowly removed the tape. Just before she could pry open Kate's mouth and pull out what was some serviette bought for the party, she heard a gruff voice behind her.


"Okay Miss student, that's enough. Stuff it back in, tape it right back."


Chelle turned and came face to face with a bald, bearded man wearing jeans and a black t-shirt. his left eye and cheek was scarred and his right arm locked around Stacey's neck, an arm that revealed a tattoo. A semi-automatic pistol was pressed against her head and he had a full backpack on his back.


"You!" Chelle cried recognizing him straight away from the description earlier on. "You're the man who robbed the local bank."


"Yah, that's me," he announced proudly.


"What the hell you doing in our house?" She raised her voice, though she could guess why.


"Don't sweat it kid, just found this place. I ain't looking to hurt no-one, yet. “His words made her flinch and she hated people using double negatives like that. "Now stuff the serviette back, gag your sis."


"She's nearly choking on it!" Chelle protested.


"Lower your bloody tone! Ok, just stick the tape it back, all around her hair." Chelle wanted to protest again but gave in. The tape didn't stick well but he tossed her a roll of parcel tape and soon Kate was gagged again with a fresh piece of tape. "Sorry," she mumbled to her sister who just nodded her head in return.


Releasing his hold on Stacey's neck, the robber literally her towards Chelle. "Catch your friend." Not my friend, Chelle wanted to shout but Stacey skidded across the kitchen, her branded tights slipping against the well-polished linoleum floor and tumbled into Chelle's arms, nearly toppling both of them both over. She held her cousin tightly, looked at her frightened and started slowly crying.


"Catch," the intruder repeated, and another roll of tape and an open pack of serviettes landed at her feet. "Tape and gag your friend like I did to the little one," he ordered. Chelle considered defying him again but knew she had no chance both of them would probably be shot. At least while they were alive, they would have some chance of escaping. Stacey had now calmed down and as if to read her cousin's mind, she whispered "Best do as he says Chelle." Turning so her back was towards Chelle, she crossed her hands behind her back and offered them up to her. Reluctantly, Chelle wrapped the tape around her slender wrists. "No, another round," he ordered, pushing the gun closer. Soon enough, Stacey's hands were bound extremely tightly as were her ankles. She turned and obediently opened her mouth to receive the serviette.


"All the way in," he ordered sharply. Chelle pasted a small piece of turned tape over Stacey's lipstick-covered lips when he objected.


"Na, right around her head, just like I did with your sister there," he indicated at Kate who was slowly sobbing through her gag. Chelle reluctantly wound the tape right round, trapping Stacey's hair in it, then up onto her cheek again and across the first layer so her lips were covered not once but twice.


"Okay, that should be enough." Chelle felt relieved when the intruder stopped her. "Now place her on the floor but not too near with your little sis."


"Don't call my sister little," she snapped, although that statement was so obviously full of fear. "Of course, sweetheart; but it's your turn, wait you're the Croonford girl detective trying to all crimes here and nearby. Chelle Summers right?"


"You can call me Michelle. Only my friends call me Chelle," she retorted. "How the hell do you...."


"I'll call you what I want; I'm the one in charge here. You think there's no news about you and your gang? Oh, throw your silly gadgets towards me. I know you have them on you, now!" Chelle still wondered who exactly he was but threw the fake makeup kit that held a pen knife, the laser pen, the pepper cum pin spray pen and the anti-rape device. "Mobile phone!" That too the thug caught and kept in his bag. "Hands behind your back." She sighed and did as told but before he could finish binding her wrists, the doorbell rang and they both literally jumped.


"Who the hell is at the door?" he barked.


Chelle had a fairly good idea it would be either Jenn or Lin or both but she wasn't going to tell him that. "I... I don't know."


"Bullshit!" The man grabbed her roughly by the arm and pressed the pistol against her back. "Don't try anything stupid, girls, " he called to Kate and Stacey. "Or Chelle gets a bullet."


The intruder marched the teen detective back out into the hall and up to the front door. Through the peep hole they both could make out two familiar girls on the far side of the door.


"Ah, the other two junior detectives," he declared. "What they here...oh for your birthday party?'


Chelle wanted to say 'of course, silly' but that would anger him so she nodded her head instead.


"Just these two plus that blonde and your sis?" Chelle nodded again, hoping Hattie and Bethan wouldn't arrive just after.


Before she could talk, he whispered. "Let them in. Careful lass, no tricks. Remember I've got this gun and I will start hurt youngsters if I have to." He removed the tape.


Forcing herself to smile, Chelle opened the door. "Hi babes, glad you could all make it."


Jenn was the first through the door. She was wearing a white denim jacket, orange T-shirt, cropped navy-blue jeans and white trainers with white ankle socks. Behind her was Lin who had tied her hair in a French plait and was wearing a black leather jacket, a low-cut maroon spaghetti top and a red tartan mini skirt. Her legs were sheathed in matching shiny red nylons and a pair of black open toed heels added a good 10-15cm to her 170cm height.


"Why have you still got your uniform on Chelle?" Lin wondered. "I thought you'd be dressed up to the nines and ready to party."


Chelle paused, wondering if she should give some danger signal. If her friends' parents discovered that their daughters didn't return home on time, they might worry and drive over. On the other hand, if she gave a signal, Lin or Jenn might give an excuse, turn back and alert the police. But...


"Chelle? Why are you stunned? Wait, why are there tape marks around your..."


A door slammed shut, cutting off Jenn's question and making them all jump. "Hello girls," he boomed. The girls spun around and Jenn screamed with fright as the man who stood behind them pointing his weapon at them. "Hello, Lin, right? Jenn? Good or rather bad notice, seeing the tape marks. Hand over your gadgets, girls." Chelle looked at her fellow detectives and mouthed a silent 'please, there's no other choice.' Soon enough, the same set of gadgets were kept in the intruder's bag.


"Okay ladies, let's move it, to the kitchen if you please and hands up." That is so cliche, all three girls thought. With Chelle leading the way, they walked through the hall to the kitchen where they found Kate and Stacey back-to-back, with Stacey trying to peel off Kate's gag.


"Thought you’ll be trying to do that. Bitch," he swore, using his leg to kick them away, slightly bruising both girls. He then opened up his back pack and motioned to Jenn and Lin. "Ok, shortie and you, on the floor, hands flat down on the floor where I can see them."


"I ask again, can I expect any more girlies this evening?" He snapped. Chelle shook her head, wondering if that was true. Would Hattie and Bethan suddenly arrive?


"Right… Michelle," he said. "You look the perfect catch for me."


"You mean hostage," she replied, trying not to quiver.


He didn't answer as her twisted her arms behind her again. Suddenly, he cried as Lin kicked his knees with both her legs. "Bloody C****," he swore, swung and pointed his weapon at her.


"Nooo!" Chelle cried. "Please don't shoot her!"


He tensed, then released the pressure on the trigger. "Right, both of you, bind her up. First, gag yourselves." Chelle and Jenn obeyed, a serviette both in their mouths then a strip of tape all around their jaw. Lin was soon trussed up with not tape but cable ties he stole from the Summers' back garden. "Sorry," Chelle told her classmate as she un-did her plait and administered the wrap-around tape gag. "Wrap tape all under and above her boobs," came the next order. "Nice," he noted Lin’s black bra and protruding breasts. "Your turn," Jenn's wrists were also bound, albeit with tape. "No, no no, I want them all separate. Get up and take her in there," he ordered. "The rest of you, any more tries to escape, someone will really be shot!"


Chelle reluctantly led Jenn into what was the washing area. "Perfect. Tape her ankles. Now, Jenn, crawl inside the that plastic tub." She did so and all the clothes were thrown over her. They left, not before he wedged a chair against the door.


The robber cut off Stacey's, then Lin's ankle bonds then along with Chelle, they were force-marched upstairs, directly to Chelle's parents’ room. Stacey was ordered to lie down again and not to move while Chelle and the captor pushed Lin into the bathroom and shower stall. Her ankles were re-bound but Chelle cried through her gag as she was told to switch on the shower.


"Enjoy it," he cackled as the shower door was shut with a chair. Stacey was roughly dragged up and brought directly to Kate's bedroom. The guy must have thoroughly examined my house, Chelle thought as she was ordered to open the wardrobe. Stacey's ankles were tightly bound and she was left mmmphing as the doors were closed and a chair jammed against it.


"Your sis will be fine on the kitchen floor," he muttered, pushing Chelle into her own room. "Change out of your uniform and put these on," he picked up black trousers and matching long-sleeved shirt.


"Mmm not takmming ofmm my clothes im front of u!" She replied through her gag.


"Do it!" Chelle did so, turning around to hide her underwear as best as she could but as she pulled on the shirt, she felt a massive strike on the back of her neck.


Sometime later....


"Mmmpph...." Chelle wailed, realising she was still tape gagged. She also discovered it was a different tape; not wrapped around her head, less adhesive and couldn't feel the stuffed serviette in her mouth. Her wrists were now bound in front of Sometime her, her ankles like wise. She was draped in the same coat she hung up which covered her bonds.


"Welcome back sweetheart," she heard the familiar voice, heard a familiar rumble and knew immediately she was in her mother's car. "Man, those coppers manning the cordon were damn blind." He explained how he convinced them he was taking his ill daughter to a doctor. Chelle immediately murmured through her gag how the police didn't recognise him, based on the description all over the news. "Oh, I'm a master of disguise," she then noticed the lipstick stain on his cheek.




"A tad too loud. I'll tighten that gag soon."


Summers' residence


Naturally, all the bound and gagged girls were struggling wildly despite the various confinements they were kept in. Jenn was twisting around on her bum, trying to get out of the washing tub and cut off the tape. Not far from her, Kate managed to crawl up to the kitchen drawer as she knew there were scissors but they were in the top drawer. She was trained in gymnastics but none of the moves involved her taped up. One, two, three she managed to stand up, but with bound ankles and arms behind her, she fell down within a few seconds. Upstairs, Stacey was in pitch darkness and constantly pushing against the wardrobe door with no success. She wailed through her gag, thinking how else to get free. Lin naturally was suffering the worst, with her clothes and tights fully soaked with the pouring water. She too managed to get up but constantly slipped down and failed to pry open the shower door. The only gadget she had left was the skeleton key hairpin and that couldn't pick cable ties.


Some run-down house


The stolen car slowed to a halt. "Think that garage door is locked, Chelle?" The now-kidnapper asked, then lowered his right hand and it rolled up and he drove in. "Now, no tricks while I exit." Chelle's mind was racing but just as she silently drew up a plan, the door on her side open. She expected him to cut away the tapes binding her ankles, instead she was ordered to hop inside.


Back at the Summers' residence, Jenn managed to get out of the tub after scratching her hands, elbows and bum. She too couldn't stand but managed to shift and crawl over. Expecting the door to be jammed, she pushed many times as best as she could and the door finally inched open. Kate spotted her and cried happily through her gag, indicating there were scissors in the drawer. Still bound, it took Jenn, with Kate's back holding her legs before she could successfully open the drawer, feel for the scissors, then drop back down on the floor. Soon enough, both girls were free and Kate yelled, "Got to pee!" Jenn instead ran around, calling for the others.


Simultaneously, Chelle was now bound to a chair, her ankles and legs secured to the chair's legs with loads of tape. Another round of tape secured her torso to the chair, her wrists now secured with cable ties but her arms were left dangling.


"Cheers," the captor toasted a warm can of Heineken at her. "Oh, my manners," he turned and yanked out a mineral water bottle. "You utter a scream, you don't get a drink but another strike on the head, got it?" Chelle nodded and only received a large sip before he stuffed a cloth in her mouth and wrapped tape around again. I'll get free, she thought.


Jenn found Stacey, whose dress was now out of place and tights laddered. Jenn shook away the hug as she was freed and shouted, "Where's Lin?"


"I... parent’s room...bathroom!" With Stacey leading, the raced there and pulled the heavy chair away. Entering the bathroom, they found Lin just managing to exit the shower stall. Before they could attempt to undo her gag, the doorbell rang and Jenn ran back down, telling Stacey to free Lin. Jenn encountered Bethan and Hattie but in response to their 'did we miss the party' she cried back, "Call the police!" But they heard Kate mention she already did. As if on time, sirens blared and the familiar face of DI Nikki Heath entered. "Looks like you girls will be here for a while. Start your work," she motioned to the SOCOs or Scene of Crime officers as she drew out her notepad.


"Mmmp! Mmy I usmm the luu?" Chelle called three times before the captor turned. "Toilet? K, don't you dare remove that nice gag. Two minutes." He freed her and she found herself in a smelly toilet. She spotted a closed window high up, and quickly flushed the bowl and ran the tap. She managed to climb up but as she touched the window's handle, the door burst open.


"I knew you would try that!" He held up a mobile phone with a blinking light. "Get down!" He pointed the gun at her.


The girls were let off after intensive questioning by DI Heath. Stacey was driven home in a police car but asked to be kept in touch. Mr and Mrs Summers were notified and the latter took the first train back while there was a police guard around their house, with Kate already falling asleep. Lin and Jenn's parents forbade them from meeting at their detective meeting place but that didn't stop the two from starting a WhatsApp group call, including Mark.


"Hey, sorry to hear what happened," the rugby player announced. "I did some research, that guy's not simply a bank robber but the security guard himself." Mark shared pictures from the local news report and an enlarged picture of the guard with the name tag reading 'Ken.' Lin immediately tried to contact DI Heath but her number was engaged. "My parents want me to sleep early," Jenn commented. "Convene tomorrow?" They agreed, with Mark naturally worried for his girlfriend.


Croonford Police CID Headquarters


"No, you silly, that was a stolen car with kidnapper with a kidnappee!" DI Heath shouted to the junior Police Constable (PC) who manned the cordon and let the vehicle pass. "Where's the India 99?" She referred to the police helicopter. "It's searching the area boss," DC Bluebell Ransom answered. The phone rang and Ransom passed it over to her superior. "Heath, I know you’re pulled virtually all units on this case," came the deep voice of Detective Chief Superintendent (DSU) Robert Gates, Nikki's superior. "The kidnapper has moved way the Croonford region which you don't cover. Call the helicopter back and let the other regions handle."


"Sir, it's a serious case and I've..."


"Do it Heath. Conduct your normal duties, Night."


Seething, she turned to her colleague, "Call your boyfriend Ransom, we're spending an all-nighter."


The run-down house


"Hey you're late," Chelle, now lying hogtied with cable ties and tightly taped gagged with cloth in her mouth heard. The new person, a dark brown curly-haired man, around more than 185 or 186cm, entered.


"Not too late...well you brought more than your stated share," Chelle heard the new voice.


"Couldn't be helped... and some collateral will help us cross," she heard the captor reply and looked up. He was now wearing a wig and a tight rubber face mask.


"Whatever, she's your care. Let’s go." Chelle, despite her struggles, was dragged and thrown into a van and cover on loads of blankets. She immediately smelt the foul stench of frozen fish, knowing what sort of vehicle she was in and kept in but continued to think how to escape.


Back at Croonford CID HQ, the two police detectives spent the night unofficially calling their colleagues across nearby Territorial Police Forces. "Hey Das, thanks, I'll buy you a meal sometime." DC Ransom terminated the call. "That was my old friend at the Midlands Force, Das Sharma. He got authorisation to get an India 99 up and this appeared," she opened up a new tab on her screen with a two-minute video showing the stolen car travelling past the cordon south-west to a deserted area with only one residence in view.


"Great, alert your friend's team to raid that residence, used armed officers; the guy has a firearm," Ransom replied it was happened and the pair finally called a night.


As coincidences go, the team that approached the run-down house approached just after the disguised van left. In typical fashion, they covered all possible exits and the Operational Firearms Commander (OFC) yelled the usual 'Armed police! Surrender!" An OFC has tactical command of the team of Authorised Firearms Officers (AFOs). He yelled those words three times before the team stormed in and then there was a loud explosion.


Detectives' meeting place
The next morning


"Wow, this guy is an expert in explosives," Lin commented as the teenagers read how the Midlands police officers were severely injured in the Improvised Explosive Device (IED) fitted to Mrs Summers' car, using the petrol as part of the detonator source. "Or maybe he's got an explosive-trained accomplice."


"Uhm, more importantly, Chelle was not in that house when it detonated," Jenn read the news report and Mark nodded, thankfully.


"Let's see, this Ken is petrol as a generic disgruntled employee. He took not massive amounts of money but some from the cashier and locked deposit boxes. Those can be traced. He's originally from, hey, Ireland. Maybe that's where's he’s headed." Jenn regretfully stated her parents didn't wish her to leave the town, leaving Lin and Mark to head down to that location.


Despite the bumpy ride and restraints she was kept in, Chelle managed to successfully shift and kick the nearest boxes. It took two tremendous kicks before the boxes pushed the back door open and fell out.


"What?!" the two goons in front brought the van to a halt and turned it to a side. "Shit," Ken swore. "I thought you secure them."


"Whatever, let's get them back in." Chelle waited until both men back were turn and slowly shifted herself on her bum out of the van. She thought she had managed to escape until two hands lifted her.


"Don't you dare try!' Ken shouted as she was literally thrown back inside.


"Told ya we need to dump her," she heard the other guy call.


"When we cross the border." The two men continue to argue with Ken made to sit and watch the bound and gagged captive.


Lin and Mark rented bicycles and cycled towards the bombed house. There was nothing unusual to spot until Mark spotting a shiny object.


"That's Chelle's watch!"


A police car coincidentally drove by and luckily the officer, a blonde female PC with the name tag S. Knowles stopped. "Charlie Four Six, update on the Summers abduction case, victim's watch found on middle of Southwood Road."


Inside the van, Ken and Chelle stared at each other before the former started boasting how easy it was to grab to money and safe deposit boxes and how he would escape any police. Chelle could only give now irate glares at him since the cloth stuffing soaked most of her saliva. Her hogtie had been removed but more tape was secured below and above her knees.


"Aw, don't worry..."


"Coppers cordon! Shut up back there!" The yell came from the front and Ken dragged her face down on the even smellier floor, pressing the grip of his weapon against her, warning her not to make the slightest sound. Chelle now decided not to aggravate him further and listened as the other criminal sweet-talked with the police. Suddenly there was silence then the back doors were unlocked. Finally, they'll check thoroughly, find me and I'll be home. All of a sudden, there was a loud thud on the doors and two shots. "Couldn't convince them, had to end it there," the other criminal called as he re-started the engine. "Looks like a collateral is a good idea." No, Chelle wailed.


"Status Zero..." PC Sarah Haynes heard on her radio as she drove Lin and Mark back to Croonford. "No!" She slammed the wheel. "That was my sister!" Status zero meant officer in life-threatening situation. She calmed down as she heard the radio say she was injured not killed. Lin immediately wanted her to turn around, however, the radio announcer mentioned cordons were tightened, with more air support searching for the vehicle since all police forces had a description of the van. "My people will handle, best for you two to stay home." Lin wanted to further argue


The van was jolting wildly now off-road now something it was never built for. Chelle, the only one gagged gave continuous muffled cries as the van sped and turn wildly through the plains and into a wildly wooden area. Chelle thought it would be long ride until the car jerked to a stop.


"Freaking set of rocks!" The criminal cum driver swore and just as he wanted to exit, a series sirens blared and there was a loud shout, "Armed Police! You are surrounded! Do not harm the minor and drop all your weapons!"


The van doors flung open but the area was filled with anti-infrared smoke cutting the vision off the AFOs.


The lead commander swore. "TFC to SFC, heavy smoke obscuring subjects and victim. Unable to execute critical shot." A critical shot in British policing ensured subjects were definitely incapacitated and prevented threat to civilian life. A SFC or Strategic Firearms Commander has overall strategic command of firearms operations, with responsibility and accountability for directions given. Lower down was a Tactical Firearms Commander who developed the strategy for AFOs to deploy.


The smoke actually dispersed faster than expected revealing Chelle held at gunpoint by the other captor, now really scared. She didn't want to end her fourteenth birthday this way.


"Armed Police! Drop your weapons!" The call came but this was opposed as Ken emerged, his weapon also trained on Chelle.


"All AFOs, SFC, critical shot rescinded!" the urgent call came.


"You drop your guns or the girl gets it!" The second yelled, unflinching. The situation was definitely beyond tense until a squirrel crawled on Ken's foot, causing him to cry out and discharge his weapon, the shot thankfully didn't strike anyone. Chelle risked it and used both of her bound legs to kick her captor and more shots rang out, knocking out both thugs.


The lead TFC ran over, shouting the required, 'shots fired' in his radio, finding Ken wounded while the other was succumbing to his wounds. "Subjects down, victim freed" he further radioed as he undid Chelle's gag and binding.




"There's the saying 'saved by the bell,' maybe now we should have 'saved by the squirrel," Lin laughed. The girls, along with Mark and Stacey had gathered at an eatery a week after whole events. The second criminal was revealed as Chris Longcross, a former member of an Organised Crime Group (OCG) who specialised with IEDs and weapons proliferations. Ken, full name Ken Danson, was remanded in custody but acquired a solicitor who put a remaindered fierce defence.


"Just risk and luck, part of all of our work," Chelle said, smearing moisturiser over her sore wrists and cheeks.


"You detective work is definitely risky but sounds fun," Stacey added, smearing lip balm on her cheeks. "Anyway, cut your cake, make a wish!" They were all carefully not to sing 'Happy Birthday' in public and violate copyright laws.


"Wish for safer cases!" Jenn added and Chelle did wishing her dad would be home more often.


"Anything can happen in the future. Thankfully, I've got you lot," she hugged them all, especially her boyfriend, not knowing they were being watched.


Michelle, Lin Ling, Jennifer and Mark will return in 'Gone West.'


The End








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