...Mightier Than the Sword
A Fan Fiction Archive
Silent Confusion

by Peggy
Rated PG.
Rollie disappears, leaving Angie, Francis and Mira to lead a desperate search for the missing FX man.
Disclaimer: FX: The Series and its characters are not mine. I'm just borrowing them for fun - no profit involved. They belong to Winterset Productions, Inc., Orion Pictures, Fireworks Entertainment Inc. Productions, Rysher Entertainment and Hallmark Entertainment. Based on characters created by Robert T. Magginson and Gary Fleeman.

Silent Confusion - Part One

The heavy mist filled the night air, glow eerily lighting it in spots from hidden street lamps, from its depths came an ominous groaning sound. A woman, beautiful with long black hair and blue eyes, looked over her shoulder, obviously terrified of what lurked behind her. She ran desperately into the nearby dark warehouse and looked around frantically, her eyes full of fear. Suddenly, a long tentacle covered with suckers wrapped itself around her leg! The woman fell screaming as she was hauled toward an open trap door.

"Cut! Print! That's a wrap, people!" Tim Hailer was a middle-aged man of average height and red hair. His face was plain, but full of character and energy. "Good work, guys! You were perfect Lucinda!" This last was directed at the actor of this scene, the woman who had so convincingly screamed in terror. "Rollie, Angie, you guys are the best!"

Rollie Tyler unfolded his six foot two length from the cramped crate where he had hidden, remotely controlling the "monster" that had attacked Lucinda, stretched stiff muscles and grinned tiredly at the director. It had been a long "day" for the movie crew, and an even longer week. Each night's shoot had developed problems, nothing major, just little things that had extended an already hectic schedule. Not a single night had been less than fourteen hours, and tonight had been no exception, having lasted a full sixteen. Dawn was beckoning and they still had to pack up the gear they didn't dare leave at the warehouse.

"Hey, Rollie, I've got some changes I'm thinking about for the scene next Wednesday. Could you look them over and let me know what you think tonight?" Hailer smiled at the lanky special effects man.

Rollie glanced at his assistant, Angie Ramirez, and gave a silent sigh. He turned to the director. "Sure, what ever you say, Tim." His smile was slightly strained, but Hailer didn't seem to notice.

"Great, if you think we can pull it off and stay in budget, it'll really help the story!" The director handed a sheath of papers to the tall Aussie and bustled away to talk to others in the crew.

Rollie sighed again and ran his hand over his face, feeling the roughness of the five o'clock shadow that had formed there. He pushed sweaty, brown hair from his eyes and turned toward Angie and the gear they had to pack up and load, before they could leave.

"Sure, what ever you say, Tim," Angie mocked, angry at her boss for agreeing to look at the changes. "Rollie, we don't need this. You know that!"

"Yeah, well, he's the director, now isn't he and it doesn't hurt to look. Maybe it won't be too bad." Rollie sounded faintly dubious, they both knew the type of ideas directors and producers got in the middle of shoots. "And if it is, we'll just tell him... it'll cost too much."

"Yeah, right. Boss, you need sleep, I need sleep. That's what I know." Angie picked up a stack of four heavy gear boxes and headed outside.

"Yeah, we all need some sleep. Not just you and me." Rollie muttered the words to himself and grabbed another stack of boxes, following Angie out to their van. The relative coolness of the early morning was a welcome change to the heat in the old building. Even working with the ease of long practice, it still took the pair over an hour to store the gear and leave the site of their latest shoot. Rollie stopped in front of Angie's apartment building. "Don't forget, we need to get there by four o'clock this afternoon to set up tonight's effects." Rollie reminded Angie as she started to head up to get some sleep.

"Don't you forget to get some sleep, boss," Angie fired back. "Caffeine will only keep you going for so long. We can't afford for you to crash and burn."

"Yeah, yeah. Right. Later, Ang."

With that, the pair parted. Angie heading up to her cat, Chiops, who'd demand to be fed before allowing the blonde effects expert, her much needed sleep. Rollie headed home to the converted brewery that served as special effects workshop and loft apartment. His bed would just have to wait, HE had to review the changes and check the gear for the night's shoot. This time, instead of the warehouse, they would be back to the brownstone that was home/laboratory to the scientist hero of the film. The electronic control panel mockup for the lab had given them fits the last time they filmed there and Rollie wanted to give it one more check to make sure all was perfect. They couldn't afford any more delays.

That afternoon, at half past three, the blonde effects expert was outside, waiting for her partner to arrive. It was a blazing, clear summer day, the type of day you just wanted to play hooky on and head for a beach or pool, but all Angie could think about was the work ahead. When Rollie still hadn't shown up ten minutes later, she headed upstairs to call and see what was taking so long. As she listened to the phone ring, she walked over to the window, and stroking Chiops, looked outside to see if their rolling workshop was coming. When she got the answering machine at the loft, she left a message and started dialing Rollie's cell phone. After listening to the phone ring for five minutes, she began to get worried. Finally, with a muttered "He's probably still asleep", Angie hung up the phone and grabbed her bicycle. If Rollie wasn't answering the phone, she would just go over there and see what was going on for herself. He was the one who was late and if they missed each other because of it, HE would just have to deal with the consequences. After all, it wasn't her fault, Rollie hadn't shown up on time.

As the slender blonde pumped away, riding swiftly toward Brewery Lane, she tried to convince herself that everything was okay and Rollie had just overslept, the long work hours finally using up even Rollie's boundless energy. Arriving at the familiar building, she let herself in and looked around. Well, it seemed she had missed her boss after all, even though she'd taken the route he normally took to her apartment. There was no sign of the large van in it's usual parking space inside. That was when something else nagged at her and taking another, longer look around the cluttered work area, Angie suddenly found herself very disturbed indeed. The panel they were suppose to be using during tonight's shoot was in the same place they had left it the day before. Untouched. Frantic now, Angie tore up the steps leading to the apartment loft, calling for Rollie. And found his bed still neatly made. Which meant, probably meant, Rollie had never made it home! Knowing that if something had changed the day's plans, Rollie would have called her, Angie rushed over to the upstairs phone. Her hands were shaking as she dialed another number from memory. She took a deep breath as a familiar voice answered. "Francis, this is Angie. I think... I think something's happened to Rollie."

"Angie, what's wrong? Why do you think something's happened to Rollie?" Detective Francis Gatti knew that if Angie thought something was wrong, then something probably was. The younger woman had a level head and wasn't prone to jumping to conclusions. And if something had happened to Rollie Tyler... That thought was painful indeed, rubbing as it did against the still raw loss of their friend, Leo McCarthy. Leo had died a couple of months ago, brutally murdered in an explosion, but all three friends still felt it. Especially Rollie, who had known the older detective longer than the other two had.

"He was suppose to pick me up over half an hour ago," Angie swallowed hard, "but he never showed up. I decided to bike over to the loft. I thought maybe he'd overslept, you know. We've been working so hard lately. He's not here and... I don't think he's been here. Frank, you know Rollie! If something had changed, he would have called me. He...." Angie choked on the painful words.

"Easy, Angie, easy. I'll come right over. It's probably nothing. Maybe he got tied up, taking care of some business. We'll find him." The short detective tried to reassure his friend, even as the knot of worry began to take form. He grabbed his jacket as he hung up the cell phone and headed out of the Mid-Town South precinct.

The woman finished rinsing the still form's blond hair and briskly rubbed a towel over it to remove the excess water. The tall, slender figure stirred briefly in the dank, stuffy air of the abandoned building, pain, aggravated by the brisk movements, and the uncomfortable feel of damp hair disturbing him. A pair of large men, both fair and so similar they could have been brothers, looked up from their nearby card game and smiled in cold satisfaction as the man lapsed back into unconsciousness. The handsome, blonde, middle-aged woman stepped back. She nodded to the pudgy, bald man hovering anxiously nearby. He moved closer and reached into a pouch to remove several filled syringes.

The man gestured to the large flunkies. "Hold him still. I don't want him moving while I do this." The two men jumped to obey. Knowing exactly what was needed, they held the blond man's head and shoulders so he couldn't move away if he woke. The bald man expertly injected him in both sides of his throat. "There, now he won't make a sound. No matter what happens."

"Is the room ready?" The middle aged woman asked.

"Yes." The larger of the two men turned toward the woman.

"Show me."

The man nodded, picked up a large flashlight from the card table and lead the way down the nearby rickety stairs, into a dark basement. Throwing open a large, obviously new bolt on a heavy metal door, he revealed a small room. A room that had once been a meat locker and walk-in freezer. It would now serve as a cell. A bare cell with metal walls and no windows, with a concrete floor, with no way out save the metal door. He flicked a switch outside the room. A prison with blinding light, thanks to the strong bank of lighting that glared down.

"Excellent. It's perfect." The woman practically purred the words. "Let's move our guest to his new quarters." The man grinned ruthlessly and led the way back up the stairs.

The pudgy man looked up from where he had just finished another injection, as the man and woman returned. "He has a concussion. All the better for us, the drugs will have him that much more confused and... controllable." He smiled cruelly. "Is it ready?"

"Oh yes! I suggest we move him to his new home immediately. No one will find him there and there is absolutely no way he can escape. Then we simply have to get to work. Mustn't be missed, you know." The woman answered brightly.

The two husky men easily lifted the unconscious man and carried him downstairs. The bald man bustled ahead, placed a plastic pitcher of water to one side of the door, then stepped aside. The husky men tossed their burden into the room, the blond man's body catching hard against the rear wall. They laughed forbiddingly as the door was shut on the glaring lights and still figure, the bolt sliding shut with a solid snick.

End Part One

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