This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any actual resemblance to persons or historical persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
The Greatest American Hero and Dukes of Hazzard characters, settings, ect. are owned by other entities who have not endorsed this fic nor have they given permission for their use. Author makes no claims to these characters and is not making any profit off their use.
© Copyright: 2009. Lisa Philbrick
The Greatest American Hero/The Dukes of Hazzard
Southern Cross Series:
By: Lisa Philbrick
Los Angeles, California
Tearing through the streets of Los Angeles, a cream colored Dodge Diplomat was in dogged pursuit of a dark red Mercury sedan.
Behind the wheel of the Diplomat, in a slightly disheveled brown three-piece suit and wearing aviator sunglasses, FBI Special Agent Bill Maxwell had one eye on the road and one eye to the sky. He was looking for his partner, Ralph Hinkley, who could have dropped out of the sky, literally, at any moment, which would’ve been just fine for Bill because maybe then this chase would be over.
Although he held the steering wheel with both hands, Bill had a small two way radio curled in his fingers. The device was no bigger than a cigarette lighter. He let go of one hand from the steering wheel to activate the radio. "Ralph! Where are ya, kid? Things are getting a little dicey here! I can bring this all to a nice clean stop if I could get a hand...."
"I'm coming, Bill! I can see you, I'm---AAAHH!"
Bill rolled his eyes. "Ralph! Keep it level huh?!"
Up in the sky, Ralph Hinkley wasn't flying an airplane. Or a helicopter. Or even an ultra light. He was flying himself and he wasn't doing a very good job at it. Despite the power vested in him by way of the bright red supersuit he wore complete with black cape Ralph, even after a couple of years doing this, still had not completely mastered the talent of flying.
After a few moments of panicked thrashing, Ralph got his arms and legs straightened out and he concentrated on his flight path, which improved. Ahead of him, probably about a quarter mile, he could see Bill's car and the dark red Mercury ahead of it.
Bill was getting antsy as he checked the sky again for Ralph and spoke to himself. "C'mon, where are ya...?"
In the Mercury, the two suspects were starting to sweat a little. The Fed's pursuit was relentless but they had to lose him or else they were looking at a long time in the slammer.
"C'mon, man," the passenger griped. "You said you could lose him! That was like five miles ago!"
"We're gonna lose 'em! And I know just the place to lose 'em. Watch..."
The Mercury barreled on down the road and turned at the next intersection.
Bill followed, taking the turn a little too fast. The resistance on his brake pedal was becoming less and less as the chase progressed. He knew his brakes were failing, but he prayed there was just enough left to finish this chase.
He clicked the communicator again. "Ralph, you still with me?"
"I'm right behind you, Bill."
"Good. Awright, c’mon, kid, help me put the net on these two creeps!" Bill didn't add that he figured once Ralph stopped the bad guy’s car, he'd have to stop Bill's too. The brakes were barely there but Bill couldn’t afford to have Ralph pull up short to help him out now though, because they had to catch these two guys.
The Mercury was heading straight for one of LA’s premier country clubs. The car screamed through the entrance, followed by Ralph and then Bill, the Dodge sliding through the turn on what little Bill had left for brakes. From there the Mercury jumped off the road and tore across the green.
Ralph looked ahead at the direction the Mercury was heading. It was bearing toward the country club's outdoor Olympic size swimming pool, where a small crowd of people was gathered for some kind of event. Someone was speaking at a podium and there were reporters and television cameras around.
Ralph cringed and dove down to the car, hitting the roof of it with a thud. He then swung around the passenger side of it, hanging on to the post between the open windows. The Mercury swerved away at the last minute from the crowd who were on their feet watching the melee. Suddenly they were scrambling out of the way of the manic Dodge that was careening toward them.
Bill stood on the brake pedal with both feet but there was nothing there. He gripped the steering wheel and could do nothing more than hang on for the ride. The Dodge launched upward on the knoll, ripped through the hedges, crashed through patio chairs, bombed the podium, which Bill noticed at the last second had the seal of the office of the mayor on it, and finally splashed down into the swimming pool.
The Dodge wasn't the only thing that had gone into the pool. A few people in the crowd had dove in as well, including the man who had been standing at the podium.
The Mayor of Los Angeles.
Ralph, meanwhile, was still hanging on for his ride. He pushed his feet down on the ground like he was water skiing and pulled hard to stop the car. Ralph's pull on the car forced it to turn and it finally came to a stop after going nose first into a sand trap.
Ralph yanked the passenger door open and ordered the men out. They just stared at him.
"Move!" he ordered and grabbed the passenger by the front of his shirt and pulled him out of the car. The man flew through the air and landed at the other side of the trap.
"I'm comin' out!" the driver exclaimed and scooted across the front seat. "D-D-Don't hurt me, man..."
"Just put your hands over the hood there," Ralph said, pointing to the front of the car. The driver immediately did so. Ralph then looked around for Bill but the Federal agent, nor his car, were anywhere to be found.
Ralph then noticed the commotion going on near the pool. "Oh no..." Fearing the worst, he turned and hurried over to collect the other suspect and hauled him back to the car, telling him to put his hands on the hood.
"You two just stand right there for a minute..." Since Ralph couldn't tell what exactly was going on at the pool from where he was standing, he focused his gaze on the back door of the Mercury and concentrated. Soon he saw an image of Bill's car submerged in the swimming pool. Bill was out of the car, thankfully, and Ralph saw him as he swam toward the edge of the pool.
Knowing Bill was okay for now, Ralph tended to the two suspects.
At the pool, Bill reached the edge where two members of the Mayor's security team were waiting to pull him out. The two dark suited men each grabbed Bill by an arm and hauled the Fed out of the pool.
"Okay buddy," the first one said, keeping the dripping Fed between himself and his partner and maintaining a firm grip on Bills left arm. "Kinda early in the day for drinking and driving don't you think?"
"Wha...?" It took a moment for Bill to get his bearings. "No, no...my brakes failed. I was in a pursuit. I'm a Federal agent..." He tried to reach into his sopping wet brown suit jacket for his ID but the grip on his right arm by the second security agent stopped him. The suit jacket was then flopped open revealing Bill's gun and holster. Both security men bristled and they removed the gun quickly.
"Woah, ok, ok," Bill said, keeping his arms out and hands open. "I know the drill. Just relax, boys. Really, I'm a Fed, my name's Bill Maxwell and I can explain this whole thing. The ID's in the jacket..."
The ID was retrieved and looked at. The two security men, however, weren't eased any. "We'll check it," the first guard said. He then motioned to another member of the detail who came over and took the ID, with instructions to check it out.
Bill, his arms still held in the firm grip of the two security men, looked quickly at the carnage he'd created. His Diplomat was completely submerged in the pool and there was debris from the podium and the patio furniture floating on top. The hedges were decimated where the car had torn through. People were milling around the ends of the pool, some of them also wet from having dived in to avoid the car and all had eyes on Bill. Bill then noticed the Mayor of Los Angeles himself, drenched, was being assisted by some of his team and led off, likely for drier clothes.
Bill cringed and wished the patio he was standing on would open up and swallow him. If that wasn't bad enough, there were television cameras and reporters at this event as well, and the whole thing had been caught on tape. He looked at a photographer just as the flash bulb went off.
Oh boy... Carlisle was going to have his head. Bronzed.
"So Agent Maxwell, who were you chasing? Bonnie and Clyde?"
Bill cleared his throat, conjuring up as much of his professional pride as he could muster under the circumstances. He then began to explain who had been pursuit of and why.
Ralph, meanwhile, was going through the trunk of the Mercury and came up with some nylon rope. He looped it through the post of the car between the two open windows and then tied the two suspect’s hands together. Looking up he saw what looked to be security for the country club heading his way across the green.
"I'm going to give you two a good piece of advice," he said to his captives. "You didn't see me okay? Trust me, you'll be better off if you pretend you didn't see me."
The two suspects were still speechless. Ralph then stepped back and closed his eyes, making himself invisible before the security men got to the car. He then stepped away from the scene and headed toward the pool.
As soon as Ralph disappeared, the two suspects looked around and then slowly looked at each other. They would’ve been wiling to believe it hadn’t been real, if it wasn’t for the nylon ropes that bound their hands.
"Okay," one of the club security men said, "what's going on here...?" He paused, seeing the two men tied to their car. "How the heck...?"
Remaining invisible, Ralph made his way to the pool and he saw the swath of destruction Bill's car had caused. He walked up the knoll and through the broken hedges. He paused and looked around.
In the pool, the seal of the office of the Mayor of Los Angeles was floating near Bill's car along with pieces of the podium. The Mayor? Oh man...
Ralph then looked around for Bill. He spotted the veteran agent sitting on one of the undamaged patio chairs, his hand over his face, with a towel wrapped around him. His suit jacket hung over the back of the chair. On either side of him two men in dark suits looked to be standing guard.
Ralph figured going up to Bill at that moment wasn’t a good idea, but he had to let him know somehow that the scenario had been successful and the two guys were caught. Bill certainly looked like he could use some good news.
Ralph made his way over and stepped around behind one of the security guards and the chair that Bill sat in.
The hair on the back of Bill's neck stood up as he thought he felt some kind of presence behind him. He turned his head to glance back but didn't see anything. Figuring maybe it was because he was starting to get cold from being wet, he pulled the towel tighter.
Then he felt a hand on his shoulder and he flinched slightly. Seeing nothing was there, he realized it had to be Ralph. He glanced quickly at his two "guards" who looked at him.
"Uh, I'm cold," he complained.
Neither of them said anything and resumed their sentry duty.
"Thanks for the sympathy," Bill muttered. Neither Bill nor Ralph could necessarily speak to one another, even if they whispered, as the two guards were standing close enough that they would hear.
Turns out, Ralph didn't have to say a word. The man in charge of the Mayor's security detail, the one that had asked Bill about chasing Bonnie and Clyde, walked up and handed Bill his federal badge with a frown. "Okay, Maxwell, you check out. And the club security guys just told me the dudes you were chasing ended up in a sand trap and they're bringing them in. Guess you had a good Samaritan golfer out there. They were tied to their car."
Bill smiled. "Well. Another scenario successful."
The head of the detail wasn't smiling. "Maybe so. And maybe it'll be enough in brownie points with your superiors because you can be sure, they'll be hearing about this. The Mayor is livid."
Bill wiped the smile off his face. "I'm sure he is. I'm really sorry."
The head of the detail looked at the two sentries. "Get him out of here."
Ralph's hand left Bill's shoulder and the veteran agent stood up.
"Oh and you can tell your superiors that the FBI will be getting the bill for all this, including the Mayor's dry cleaning bill. I hope they take it out of your pay."
No, Bill thought. Carlisle will just take it out of my hide.
Bill was escorted from the pool area and through the country club's upscale clubhouse, then directed toward the driveway that exited the property. The two security men left him in the middle of the drive and returned to the clubhouse. Bill stood, his suit half drip dried by this point, holding his suit jacket in one hand, the white towel draped over his shoulders. At least he was being allowed to keep that apparently.
Bill turned and started down the drive. Behind him came a female voice. "Sir? Agent Maxwell! Just a minute..."
Bill stopped and turned. It was one of the country club employees, a dark haired girl dressed in a polo shirt and khakis. "I'm sorry, Agent Maxwell, I have to take this..." The girl pulled the towel from around his shoulders.
"Oh..." He let it go.
"You better get out of that wet suit before you catch a cold," she offered for kindly advice.
The girl headed back to the clubhouse and Bill continued down the drive, grumbling to himself.
"The least she could’ve done was let you keep the towel," Ralph said.
Bill flinched and looked in the direction of the voice on his right but Ralph wasn't there. At least, not visibly. "Geez, Ralph, I wish you wouldn't do that! You're freaking me out."
"Sorry about that."
"You better stay cloaked, kid, there's enough flash bulbs around here to start a disco. Bad enough my picture's gonna end up in the paper, we don't need yours too."
"Well then you better not be seen talking to yourself. Look, I'll go home, change my clothes and come back and pick you up, ok?"
"Yeah. Go on."
The faint woosh sound let Bill know that Ralph had taken flight.
About thirty minutes later, Ralph returned in regular clothes and his car. The green station wagon pulled to the curb near where Bill was sitting on a low stone wall that ran along the border of the country club.
"What took you so long?" Bill asked as he stepped toward the car.
"I stopped at your place and raided your closet," Ralph replied and held up some dry clothes for Bill. "Sorry I don't have a phone booth for you to change in tho'."
"Back seat seems to work for you, I think I can manage." Bill opened the back door of the station wagon, tossed his suit jacket in ahead of him and got into the car. Ralph pulled back out on to the road.
"Thanks, Ralph, I appreciate this," Bill said as he reached into the front seat to grab dry socks and undergarments along with his khaki pants and a dark green shirt. "You also did good catching those two. At least we got something right today."
Ralph smiled at the praise. Bill didn't dispense it often but when he did, it was genuine and Ralph certainly appreciated it. "Thanks, Bill."
"Yeah. Of course, leave it to good ol' Maxwell to ruin a perfectly good scenario." Bill stripped off his suit vest and dress shirt, tossing them across the seat with displeasure. "I gotta go and dive bomb the Mayor of Los Angeles. On television, no less! Hoho boy...Carlisle's gonna have a field day with me."
"What happened anyway? How'd you end up in the pool?"
"Aw the brakes quit."
"Suddenly?" Ralph said. "You mean, just like that?" He snapped his fingers.
"No, not quite. About half way through the pursuit, they were starting to get a little thin on me. I know better, Ralph, I know I should have stopped but...I didn't. And I'm gonna pay for it now." Bill changed into the dry undergarments and put on his khakis. "Carlisle will rub it in and probably bounce me down to working the motor pool. Or the typing pool."
"Well, the good thing is nobody got hurt,” Ralph said. “And nobody apparently saw me."
"Even if they did, Ralph, you were probably forgotten after I did my Swan Lake dance with the Mayor. That's actually more newsworthy in this town than a guy in funny red tights flying through the air."
Ralph grinned. “Well, I'm sure the whole thing will blow over and all will be forgiven, especially since those two guys were caught. You said they work for somebody named Paco Castillo?"
"Yeah. Paco Castillo, one of the biggest drug importers in southern California. Has connections in Mexico, possibly even connections down to the Columbian cartel. I figure by busting these two, it might help get our foot into the door of Castillo's operations, blow it wide open."
"Our? You mean, our foot or the FBI?"
"Well, umm...both. I still need your help, kid. Those two will be on ice for a bit and aren't gonna answer any questions I ask them, obviously. But their car will be impounded, at the least you can get some vibes off that, find out where it's been, where they've been. It's piecemeal but it's better than nothing. All I need is to find Castillo's distribution outlets, even just one and the dominoes will fall.”
Bill buttoned up his shirt. “Unfortunately, Ralph, we won't be able to do any of that until tomorrow morning at the earliest. The time it takes for them to get that car into the impound...and get my car out of the pool...and get those two processed and all, you'd be waiting around for nothing. So why don't you just drop me off at the bureau and I'll call ya in the morning."
Bill grinned to himself. "Yeah, once I start steamrolling on Castillo everybody will forget about what happened today."
*** *** ***
"Incredible!" FBI Regional Director Lester Carlisle was saying the next morning after calling Bill into his office. The fifty-two year old Carlisle, seated at his desk, looked up at Bill with intense bright blue eyes. "You nearly killed the Mayor of Los Angeles yesterday, Bill!" He held up the morning newspaper. "And got your picture in the paper. Not only did you get your picture in the paper, it was on the news last night. It's been on the news this morning. You're getting more press than the President!" Carlisle threw the newspaper down on the desk.
The photograph was of Bill, standing between two of the Mayor's security men with both of his arms being held, as he was relieved of his gun. The headline read "Mayor Takes Swim on Wayward Fed Chase." Another photo showed the waterlogged Dodge.
Bill caught his name in print and cringed. He looked away from the paper and cleared his throat. "I'm sorry, sir. I explained to the Mayor's security team that the brakes failed on my car."
"Yes, the brakes failed on your car. And about the only thing preventing you from being permanently suspended and fully investigated is that when the boys down in the garage went over your car yesterday afternoon, they found where your master cylinder had indeed failed. Meaning you probably should have cease and desisted on that pursuit when you began to realize your brakes were failing! That's negligence, Agent Maxwell! And it should have been grounds for dismissal, outright."
"Should have been?"
"Oh yes. I even suggested it. But Deputy Chief Caine came up with something else." Carlisle stood up from his desk and stepped around it. "Seems that Chief Caine is something of a sentimentalist. He put your twenty plus years against this one incident and decided canning you would be too severe."
Bill held back a smile. "I appreciate that."
Carlisle was holding back his own smile. "He thought you would. In fact, he thinks so highly of you, and is so willing to forgive your little incident of yesterday that he's decided to give you a brand new assignment."
"Uhh...a new assignment? But, I'm working the Castillo case..."
"The Castillo case is going to be assigned to David Turco." Carlisle picked up a file folder from his desk. "The Deputy Chief thinks perhaps it's time you had a change of pace...and place, Bill. A scenario he felt your talents would be most useful." Carlisle looked at Bill and smiled now. "You're being reassigned. To Atlanta."
Bill blinked and his jaw dropped. "What?"
"Since you single handedly made yourself the laughing stock of the LA bureau of the FBI, Deputy Chief Caine thought maybe you'd fit right in at the laughing stock of the entire FBI. The Atlanta bureau."
"I've been looking at their stats. You know, they wreck cars down there about as much as you do, Bill? You oughta fit right in." Carlisle handed Bill the file folder.
"Atlanta?" Bill repeated as he took the folder. "You mean like backwoods stuff? Hee Haw? Moonshiners and rednecks and lead foots and and…and...."
"Gun toting hillbillies and grannies and girls named Dixie Lee?" Carlisle added. "Yeah, Bill. Atlanta, Georgia."
Bill let out a mild whimper and looked at the folder in hand. He stood for a stunned moment, the urge to plead and beg to stay in LA bubbling up. It was one thing to fumble the ball a couple of times and be benched that had happened to him before. But now...he was outright being traded to another team!
He looked at Carlisle. The Regional Director’s expression was not sympathetic. Carlisle looked ready to offer to drive Bill straight to Atlanta himself. As such, there would be no use in asking, or begging, for anything. The damage was done and Bill had to face it. The order was coming from the Deputy Chief and Bill could only speculate that a lot of pressure was coming from the Mayor's office. Having little choice but to resign himself to the fate, Bill held his head up and drew a breath, accepting the assignment like a good Fed. He had his new orders. And like a good Fed, he'd carry them out. Even if he wasn't too crazy about it.
Carlisle smiled. "I've already spoken to the regional director there and he's looking forward to meeting you." He pointed to the folder. "That's some overviews of cases they have going. I'm sure they'll have more details for you when you get there, and they give you an assignment, but it'll make for some nice, light reading on your flight."
"Uh, my flight?"
Carlisle reached for another item on his desk. A plane ticket, which he handed to Bill. "You fly out a week from Friday."
Bill looked at the plane ticket. It was for a one-way trip. "Next...Friday?"
Carlisle didn't give Bill much chance for protest and continued on. "Any weapons you have that were issued by this bureau you'll have to turn back in. I know you prefer your own personal guns, which if you plan to take any with you, I remind you that you should register them with the Atlanta bureau. You'll, of course, be issued a car when you get there..." Carlisle chuckled, "...and you'll be given an allowance for living and moving expenses to cover you during the transfer."
Bill looked up from the folder at the word moving. "Is this assignment...permanent?" Visions of being trapped in hillbilly hell for the rest of his career filled his head.
"That's going to be up to you," Carlisle said. "It certainly has the potential to be." He turned Bill toward the door and walked him to it. "Who knows, you may find you like it in Atlanta."
Bill looked at Carlisle as the regional director held the office door open for him. He gave a half smile. He then stepped out of the office and the door closed behind him. Bill stopped in the hallway and looked down at the plane ticket and Atlanta folder he held.
This was going to stink. He hated it already.