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PAVED WITH GOOD INTENTIONS

posted in 24_fanfic

Title: Paved With Good Intentions
Characters: Audrey/Cheng/Heller/Chloe
Rating: R for violence
Summary: Set between Day 5 and Day 6. Audrey negotiates. A companion piece to Back Channels.
Disclaimer: 24 is the Property of the Fox Production Company.
A/N: Written for two armbell challenges. The prompst were “Trapped” and “Good Intentions.” Thanks to my beta, cybertoothtiger

“We have many Americans in our custody. Why your interest in this person?”

“He’s important.”

“If he is important, then why hasn’t his own government negotiated his release?”

“It’s complicated. I think you know that.”

Cheng Zhi spread his hands incredulously. “I do not know anything, Miss Raines. Either do you. How do you even know this person is being detained?”

“I know. It doesn’t matter how.”

••••

At first, she hadn’t recognized him. Audrey had thought that the informants had brought her the wrong interrogation tape. The lighting had been dim. The handsome face was buried under greasy hair and an unkempt beard. The body had once been strong and beautiful, and could be again, but now it was emaciated and covered in wounds.

It’s not him. It’s the wrong tape. Audrey had tried to tell herself.

Then he screamed. And Audrey knew. Even with the bad sound quality, the now-ragged voice couldn’t belong to anyone else.

Any doubt about whether or not she was doing the right thing had vanished with that scream.

Then she recognized the tattoo. The virgin who couldn’t protect him.

I won’t leave you here, Jack. I can’t.

••••

“I am still unclear about why you want this person back, Miss Raines. This man must mean a great deal to you. You have feelings for him, yes?”

“That isn’t relevant.”

“All right, then, Miss Raines. Let us suppose, for the sake of argument, that we do have Mr. Bauer. You can’t expect us to just give him to you.”

“Of course not. I am willing to give you something in return. Something you want.”

“Is that so? What do you have that I could possible want?”

Behind her, Zhang folded his arms across his huge chest. Zhang was Audrey’s translator and security guard. He was her muscle.

••••

“I can’t talk you out of this, can I, Audie?” Her father had asked.

“No.”

“Don’t do this. Let me try to work the diplomatic angle. Let me try to pull a few strings.”

“You’ve been trying for months. He’s running out of time. I have to go over there.”

“Audie, please. Don’t do this. I’m begging you.”

“I’m going. You can’t stop me.”

“Then don’t go by yourself. I know some people over there. Bodyguards. Muscle. People I can trust. Let me assign one to you.”

Audrey knew her father was right. She was a thin, blond, white woman. It may have been sexist, but she couldn’t travel through China by herself.

••••

So Zhang stood behind her now. Cheng’s own muscle, a man a little shorter but equally bulky, stood behind Cheng Zhi.

“I have information. Classified information. Something you can’t get through normal channels.”

“Continue.”

“The sub-circuit board for a series of Russian suitcase nukes. With this piece of equipment, you can control all of Russia’s nuclear arsenal.”

“Impressive, Miss Raines. Does your father know about this?”

“Of course not. This trade will be between you and me. Nobody needs to know.”

“So you have this sub-circuit board?”

“I have the blueprints.”

••••

They weren’t the real blueprints. They were fakes. Very, very good fakes. Chloe had outdone herself.

I hope these are okay. The serial numbers are identical. I guess if these are fakes then we aren’t guilty of treason. Technically, anyway. Good luck. Chloe had written in her encrypted e-mail.

Eventually, Cheng would know. By then, Jack would be back on American soil. In hiding, if necessary, but safe. That was the plan.

••••

“Where are these blueprints?”

“In a secure location. You’ll have them as soon as I have Bauer.”

“I am impressed by your loyalty. You are here, by yourself, willing to pay such a high price for one prisoner. A man your own government has made little effort to obtain.”

“Then it’s an excellent exchange for you. The blueprints for a prisoner nobody wants.”

“What am I to tell my superiors when and if he goes missing?”

“Tell them whatever you want. Do we have a deal?”

“Not quite, Miss Raines.”

It only took a moment for Cheng’s man to draw his gun and shoot. One bullet, directly to Zhang’s skull. Audrey’s bodyguard made no sound until his huge body fell in front of her. His eyes stayed open in an expression of surprise.

It happened so fast Audrey didn’t have time to react.

Cheng’s man replaced his weapon with the long silencer in its holster. He folded his arms in front of him.

Cheng steepled his fingers. “Now that I have eliminated your companion we can talk freely. You have made a serious miscalculation, Miss Raines. Your government may not want Mr. Bauer, but I do. True, he has not been cooperating. But I believe he can still have value. Especially now, that I have you.”

Audrey didn’t answer. She had to get out of there. Fast.

“However, I am still very interested in your blueprints.”

Audrey reached into her pocket. Her backup bodyguard was outside of Cheng's compound. She just needed to press speed dial.

“Your cell phone won’t function here. The signal is jammed. Now, why don’t you tell me more about this sub-circuit board?”

Audrey could hear the door being bolted shut behind her.

END

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
agentrez
Feb. 17th, 2009 11:24 pm (UTC)
Wow, I just found this story and I really enjoyed it. I have been racking my brain working on my own story trying to figure out why Audrey would have gone to China, and this is the best explanation I have seen so far...can I steal part of it? ;)

Seriously, this explanation makes a ton of sense and I really like the way you had it play out. I found myself gasping with shock when Cheng killed Audrey's bodyguard the way I often do when watching the real show. Really great job with this!
marinw
Feb. 17th, 2009 11:32 pm (UTC)
* wibbles at your icon *

I think Audrey realized that Cheng wouldn't just hand over Jack, she would need something for leverage.

poor Audrey. Welcome to 24land, where no good deed goes unpunished.

Thanks for reading.

can I steal part of it?

I would be honored.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )