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Title: Corruption Author: Sara (aka Storm) Rating: PG. Keywords: John/Claire, Beech, Corruption. Summary: My ideas on how the episode of Find the Lady and the surrounding episodes of Beech’s corruption and Boulton’s murder should have gone. May contain spoilers for non-UK viewers.. Series: Part 1 of the Trouble With Beech Series. Archive: Anywhere else that wants it, just let me know first. Spoilers: My other story Corruption, and episodes surrounding Beech’s Corruption, i.e Find the Lady. Disclaimer: The Bill, and its characters don’t belong to me. They never have and never will. I’m just playing with them for a bit. Can I please have John and Claire? They’re not in the show anymore after all. Information: I started writing this story years ago after the episodes were first aired here in the UK and well before I’d even heard of fan fiction. I’ve since rewritten it about 5 times (probably more) and I recently found out had added a category for The Bill so I decided to type this up. So I hope you enjoy it. Please read and review. Also I’ve read most of the other stories currently posted in this category and think they’re really good so keep up the good work everybody. I would review them all separately but that would take forever and I don’t know what to say so anyway on to the story. The Bill: Corruption. Chapter 1: The Attack. It was 12 midnight. DS John Boulton had gone to meet his friend and colleague DS Don Beech in building site just up the road from his apartment. Not long before, Don had called John on his mobile phone and had said that an informant that both of them had a joint link with was going to give them the location of Ray Basenie, a suspect in a recent murder case. John arrived at the building site and studied the scene. He saw Don sitting on some steps at the other side of the grounds, but there was no sign of the informant. John walked up to Don and stopped a few feet in front of him. “Where’s Steadman?” John questioned. “He’s not coming,” Don replied bluntly. “What do you mean he’s not coming?” “He’s not coming,” Don repeated dumbly. “Is this some kind of a wind up wind up Don; because if it is I can think of many places I would much rather be tonight?” demanded John getting fed up now. “I called you because I need to speak to you” answered Don sounding worried now. “But Don we work together, you can always talk to me at work you know,” said John. “John,” tried Don in a very worried tone, “I’m in a great deal of trouble.” “Oh, what kind of trouble?” John asked trying to sound sympathetic.

“Well,” said Don still in the worried tone, “I’ve been running Howard Fallon (also a murder suspect in the case) as an informant. All unofficial,” he blurted out before he could think to stop himself. “Carry on,” John urged. “Well he’s got me banged to rights for fixing the evidence on that Askew creep; John you’ve got to help me.” Don begged. “So,” John said, “what you want me to do is hand Lynnette over to Fallon and Bazinni so they can do what? Kill her? No way Don, you’re on your own this time.” “Oh come on John please?” Don begged, “No one will get hurt I promise.” “No way Don; I’m leaving.” Said John turning and walking away. Don tried calling him back to stop him, but it didn’t work. In one last desperate attempt to stop him Don thumped John in the face. The two started fighting and rolling around in the wet cement. John held Don around the throat throttling him and Don banged John’s head off the hard concrete floor several times to get him to release his grip. After another harsh knock of his head, John’s arms fell to his side and his eyes closed. Don desperately tried to wake him but couldn’t, “John, John, I’m sorry, come on please open your eyes, John;” Don said to him. A light shone in their direction and Don fled over the fence at the back afraid they he had killed John. The security guard saw John’s body lying on the floor and called the police. The Bill: Corruption. Chapter 2: The Next Morning. PC's Quinnan and Carver were soon on the scene. The security guard showed them to where John's body was lying and explained that a man in a grey suit had fled off over the fence as he arrived. PC's Quinnan and Carver were shown the body and immediately PC Quinnan felt for a pulse. "He's got a pulse," he called out. PC Carver radioed in and said they needed an ambulance. The ambulance soon arrived and John was rushed off to a nearby hospital. PC's Quinnan and Carver taped up the crime scene and waited for their superior, Inspector Munroe to arrive. Chief Superintendent Brownlow and DCI Meadows were notified and they phoned everyone in CID, explained the situation, and asked everyone to come in early. An AMIT team was bought in to investigate the assault and they questioned them all individually before asking some of them to help out in routine jobs. DS Claire Stanton, an undercover CIB officer working at Sun Hill, phoned her governor, Detective Superintendent Stephen Hodges and explained what had happened and what her theories were. He decided the only way to find out what had actually happened before anyone else was to find out which hospital John had been taken to and be the first to speak to him when he wakes up; so Stephen Hodges set straight to work on finding him. The AMIT team asked Claire to help them search the place John was found. She automatically agreed and so they set off on their way. Back at CIB headquarters Stephen Hodges had just located the hospital that John had been taken to so he made his way there as quickly as possible to ensure he was the first to know when John regained consciousness.

At the building site, Claire found what looked to be John's mobile phone. She played about with it for a few seconds to see if she was right. She still wasn't sure if it was his or not so, she played the voicemail message. The message just happened to be the one she sent to him the several hours ago. She deleted the message and showed AMIT the phone. At the hospital, John was just waking up. He rubbed his eyes then blinked them when the light got in. When his eye's had got used to the light he looked around the room. He saw a man he had never seen before with brown, spiky hair sitting on a chair next to the bed he was lying in. "Where am I?" John asks still feeling weak. "You're in the hospital," the strange man answered. "What am I doing in the hospital and who the hell are you?" asked John confused as to what was happening. "I am Detective Superintendent Hodges, CIB 3;" the man answered, "and you're in the hospital because you got into a fight and come off worse." A doctor walked into the room then and said, "Ah Mr Boulton, you are awake I see. I'm Doctor Kingsford, St Victors A&E; shall we check you over now." The doctor looked over John's injuries, said that he had a slight concussion and a few cuts and bruises but it was nothing to worry about, and would be fine with plenty of rest and a bit of time. Back at Sun Hill the AMIT team were reviewing their findings but had found nothing conclusive. "To find out more we really need to speak to DS Boulton, but without knowing which hospital he's been taken to that's an impossibility at the moment," stated Marion Raye, the AMIT leader. (A MIX UP WITH COMMUNICATION WHEN BOULTON WAS TAKEN TO THE HOSPITAL IS WHY THEY DON'T KNOW WHERE HE IS.) "I could ring round the hospitals to see if I could find him ma'am," suggested one of her officers. "Try it," she ordered, "and everyone else I think you should pack up and go home. We will resume work at 6am tomorrow." The officers all slowly left the building and headed home. Claire went straight to CIB headquarters to see if her governor had found anything yet. The Bill: Corruption. Chapter 3: A Night in CIB HQ. When she arrived, Claire walked straight into the building saying “Hi,” to Tracy on the front desk as she passed and carried straight on up towards the governors office. She knocked on the door but there was no reply. She tried the handle and found the door was locked. She looked around her and saw Chris on the other side the room. “Chris, you haven’t seen the governor by any chance have you?” Claire asked. “Yes Serge, he’s in the residential suite,” answered Chris. “What’s he doing up there?” “I don’t know Serge.” “Thanks Chris, I’ll go find out,” replies Claire as she rushes up the stairs to find him. She turns left at the top of the stairs and heads towards the residential suite. She knocks on the door and walks in. “Ahh Claire,” begins Hodges, “glad you found us. I believe someone is in need of someone familiar to talk to.”

“What do you mean s…” Claire begins but is cut off by Hodges as he directs her towards Johns resting form on the sofa behind him. John smiles slightly at seeing someone familiar after spending the whole day surrounded by complete strangers in an unfamiliar place. “Are you alright,” Claire asked John as she sat down beside him on the sofa. Stephen Hodges left the room to get them all a cup of coffee. While he was gone, John explained how he woke up in the hospital with Hodges staring down at him and how he had bought him here and looked after him for the day. Stephen came back with the coffees just as John was describing his conversation with Don Beech the night before and how they had fought over him refusing to help. By the end of his explanation John was really upset. “It’s ok, it’s ok,” Claire tried to reassure him; “he can’t hurt you here.” Claire looked to her governor for reassurance and he promised John that they’d get Don for what he had done; “With your help,” he added. “What have I got to do?” he asked. “Just make a statement,” he was told, “Just repeat what you’ve just said for a tape.” A silence ensues as everyone thinks what to say next. Eventually John breaks the silence by saying “If Don finds me, he’ll kill me, what am I gonna do?” “You can stay here for tonight. No one will be able to get at you.” Stephen states, “Claire can you stay here with him tonight. I would stay here myself but I’ve got things to do and besides it’ll be better if he’s with someone he knows.” “Yes sir,” Claire replies The night soon draws in and Stephen Hodges and most of the other staff head home. Claire rearranges the cushions in the residential suite to make it more comfortable to sleep. John had already fallen asleep on the other sofa. Once settled Claire also drifted off into a peaceful sleep until about 1am when John woke her up with his crying. He was having a nightmare. Claire ran to his side and put her arms around him to calm him down. “What happened?” she asked. “I…I…had a nightmare,” john stuttered, “Don came here looking for me and he…he tried to k…k…kill me.” “Shh, it’s ok, it’s all over now, it’s not real,” soothed Claire. John pulled her closer to him and sobbed. They fell back to sleep in one another’s arms. The Bill: Corruption. Chapter 4: Wake Up Call and Consorting With the Enemy. At about 6:30am Stephen Hodges into the building and straight up towards the residential suite. He opened the door and walked in to find John and Claire fast asleep cuddled up together. He stood just watching them sleep for a few minutes not wanting to break the peace. After a moment or two he realized they needed to wake up and so quietly walked up beside Claire and whispered in her ear, “what time was you supposed to be at Sun Hill today?” “6am,” she replied half asleep. “Well in that case, you’re late.”

At that Claire leaped up in a rush not to be too late. It was only then that she realized why Hodges was staring at her with an unreadable expression on his face. “It’s not what it looks like Guv,” she quickly tried to explain, “He had a nightmare.” “Did I say anything?” Hodges asked, “Did I say anything?” he repeated when she tried to explain a second time. “No sir,” “Then what are you worrying about?” he asked bursting into a fit of giggles. “Sir?” “You better get going;” he said forcing the giggles to cease. “Yes sir,” Claire replied, “I’ll be back soon,” she promised John who had woken wondering what all the commotion was about. She then rushed out of the door towards Sun Hill. “Sorry I’m late ma’am,” she apologized to Marion Raye, the AMIT team leader. “Well at least you’re here now,” she replied, “we have, as of yet, had no look in finding DS Boulton so I’ve got some people working on that; in the meantime I would like you and DS Beech to start piecing together the best you can, the events of the night of the attack.” “Yes ma’am” Claire said before wandering over to DS Beech. “Don,” she called to him. DS Don Beech looked around himself to the direction of the voice which he quickly recognized as Claire’s. He started walking over to where she was now sitting at her desk with a pen and paper in front of her. Claire started writing times in hourly intervals on the paper, from 5pm, the time they knocked off work to 5am, the time they was called into work the next morning. She then wrote down what had happened at each of the times, leaving blank the ones she wasn’t supposed to know so as not to arose any suspicions. About 5 or so hours later, Claire finished her shift at Sun Hill and headed back to CIB headquarters. Author’s note: Sorry for not updating in like forever. I’ve been trying to figure out where this stories going. I’ve finally decided what to do with it. Thanks to everyone who has read this story and a special thanks to Gem6 who is my only reviewer so far. Hope you like it. I’ll shut up now and let you read the next chapter. The Bill: Corruption. Chapter 5: Questions and Answers. Claire walked straight up to the residential suite where she found John and her governor talking over a cup of coffee. They both looked up at her entrance and she sat down beside them while they finished their coffees. When both cups were empty Stephen left the room to get them all a refill. Whilst he was gone, John started asking questions as to how she knows Hodges and how come she is the only person who has been to visit him. Claire had no idea how to answer the questions without telling him about the secret undercover investigation she was hosting and worrying him even more. Eventually Stephen Hodges comes back in and answers the questions for her. “No one has been to see you because no one knows how to find you and even if they did, this place is so heavily guarded that they wouldn’t be able to get in even with an army truck.”

“Ok, but that still doesn’t explain how you two know each other or how you found me,” said John pushing for more information. “Alright,” said Stephen Hodges letting out a huge sigh, “I found you by phoning round all the hospitals. They were reluctant to tell me anything but I used my rank and said it was vital to an operation; as for how I know Claire, that’s pretty simple, we used to work together a couple of years ago. Any more questions?” “No,” said John struggling to digest all he’d been told. “Talking about phoning around hospitals,” Claire interrupted, “that’s what AMIT are trying at the moment; and Beech is making out that he hasn’t got the foggiest about what happened that night. He even made out that he didn’t know about that phone call.” “What phone call?” Hodges questioned. “Didn’t you know; John got a phone call at about half past eleven that night on his mobile, it was Beech,” explained Claire, “AMIT found John’s phone the next day and traced all calls. There was a call received at that time but the number was withheld and they’ve had no look tracing it.” “How can you be sure it was Beech that called if AMIT hasn’t been able to trace the number?” asked Stephen totally confused. There was a deafening silence in the room as Claire debated how to answer that question. <I could either tell him the truth and risk getting into trouble or I can make something up but if I do that he’ll know I’m hiding something, he always seems to know when you don’t tell him everything. I’ve got no choice, I’ve got to tell him,> thinks Claire. She looks to John to see if he has any ideas on what to do but from his expression he had hadn’t. “Well?” questions Hodges beginning to get impatient. “I was there,” Claire finally answered, “I went over to his house to sort out a bit of a disagreement about work.” It wasn’t the full story and they all knew it, but it was enough to prove that Beech made the call and so it was left at that. “If you were there Claire, then how come you didn’t try to stop him or at least go with him?” asked Hodges. “I did but he wouldn’t let me,” Claire answered. “I kinda wish I had now,” added John rejoining the conversation. A few hours later and nightfall drew in. Hodges and most of the other staff had gone home. Almost everyone had left the building except for John and Claire in the residential suite which again they were to spend the night in. They were soon both sound asleep. The Bill: Corruption. Chapter 6: Nightmares and Lazy Mornings. “No, no, don’t hurt me,” cried John who was having the same nightmare that he had the previous night. Claire jumped up startled by the sound and ran to his side. “Are you ok?” she said trying to comfort him. John who was shaking with fear pulled her towards him and grabbed a hold on her top. “He’s after me, he’s gonna kill me,” he cried out panic clear in his voice.

Claire tried her best to calm him down and after about 15 minutes of endless crying John begins to relax. “I dunno what I’d do without you,” he whispers crawling closer. He gives her a small kiss on the cheek before settling into a peaceful sleep in her arms. Soon they are both fast asleep. Morning comes quickly and Stephen Hodges and the rest of the staff members arrive at the office ready to start their day. After getting himself a steaming hot cup of coffee and a biscuit he heads upstairs to the residential suite to check on John and Claire. They were fast asleep, cuddled together in a pile of blankets. He hadn’t the heart to wake them so he sat silently in the corner sipping his coffee and pondering over what work he had to get done today. About an hour or so later Claire started to wake up. “What time is it?” she asked groggily whilst blinking her eyes to get them used to the light. “10 o clock!” he answered her looking at his watch. “How long have you been here?” she asked a little concerned about the time. “Not long,” he assured her before getting up and towards the door to go to the coffee machine. “D’ya want one?” “Yes please!” He exits the room to get the coffees. Meanwhile John wakes up and brushes the sleep out of his eyes. “Morning,” Claire greets him. “Morning,” he replies giving her a small kiss. At that very moment Hodges walks back in with the coffees. “Interrupting something am I?” he asks starting to turn around. Both John and Claire gulp in shock not knowing what to say or do. < Oh God, now we’re in for it > thinks Claire. The room turns silent as nobody knows what to say next. Just then there is a knock on the door. “Come in,” someone from the inside calls. “Sorry to bother you Guv, but I thought you might want to see this,” the person at the door says handing a report file to Hodges who then reads it. The other man strolls off down the corridor and Hodges sits back down in his place staring at John and Claire who had both turned as red as beetroots. “Time to get to work,” Hodges says, “right Claire, can you stay here today I’ll need your help and don’t worry about Sun Hill, I’ve already sorted it. So if you two can get tided up in here and get downstairs to my office in 15 minutes I will explain what’s going to happen.” He said walking out the door towards his office. Claire begins to pick up the cushions and fold up the blankets < Thank God he didn’t throw a fit just then. That was to close. He’ll probably bring it up later though. I hope not; > thinks Claire. As soon as everything is tided up, they head downstairs and knock on the office door. “Come in,” Hodges calls them. “Ok,” starts Hodges when they are all seated comfortably around his desk, “we’ve got a lot to do and not much time to do it in. To start with we need an official statement, then we need to figure out how we’re gonna trap Beech, then there’s all the other paperwork,” he concludes breaking off. Just then the telephone started to ring. *ring ring, ring ring, ring ring.* “Give me a minute,” says Hodges before picking up the phone. “Hello, Detective Superintendent Hodges, CIB3, how may I help you?”

“Sorry to bother you,” came a voice from the other end of the line, “but I was hoping you could help me out with a small problem.” “Well I’ll see what I can do but I’ve got a lot on at the moment, what was it you wanted help with exactly?” “Well I’d rather not talk about it over the phone if you don’t mind; it’s kind of delicate.” The two arranged to meet by the old bridge over the river in about an hour’s time to discuss it. “So, as I was saying,” said Stephen, readdressing John and Claire, “there is a lot to and I’ve gotta nip out. Claire can you run things while I’m gone? I’ll be back as soon as I can and I believe we’ve got something to discuss,” he added hinting to the incident in the residential suite. With that he left the building and headed towards the meeting place. “So,” said John, breaking the silence that had descended on the office, “what are we gonna do about that little problem.” < Can he read my mind? > thought Claire, all she said aloud was, “I wish I knew.” The Bill: Corruption. Chapter 7: Riverside Talks. Stephen Hodges had just reached the meeting place. “Stephen,” came the voice that was on the phone earlier, “how nice to see you again. Long time no see huh?” “Yeah, I suppose. So what’s all this about Marion? I’m supposed to be working.” “Well I need your help in tracking somebody down. They were taken to the hospital a few days ago after being the victim of a serious assault. The problem is we have no idea which hospital he’s been taken to and we haven’t had much look in tracing it. … I was kinda hoping … with your expertise, you might be able to help me out here.” “Who exactly do you want me to find? I can’t find them without a name you know?” “Yeah, I know. His name is DS John Boulton, Sun Hill CID.” At that Hodges had to fight himself to not break out in a fit of laughter, at which he failed, miserably. “What’s so funny Ste?” questioned Marion, not understanding what was so funny. He bit his lip to try and calm himself down. “Hmm, how can I search for someone when I already know where they are huh?” he explained. “You’ve found him? Where. Where is he?” she asked in an excited rush. “Back at base, so what’s your angle in all of this?” “I was called in to investigate the assault.” “I thought AMIT was only called in to investigate a murder, and to my knowledge he’s still alive.”

“Yeah, to tell you the truth I’ve got no idea why we’ve been called in on this; so what’s your connection?” “Well I’ve been running an undercover operation in Sun Hill for almost a year now, but this wasn’t quite the outcome I had in mind.” “What outcome did you have in mind?” “I wish I knew.” The two continued to talk for quite some time. Back at CIB HQ John and Claire were discussing how they were going to get out of there predicament trying to make sure the other staff didn’t hear the conversation. At Sun Hill the AMIT team was still trying to figure out what had happened and where John was, since there was no trace of him at the hospitals some of the officers were getting a little worried. “Do any of you guys want ta goo fer a drink tonight” asked Duncan Lennox in his Scottish accent, trying to lighten the mood a bit. “Yeah ok,” some of them answered. Most were to busy to even hear the question. Back by the river Stephen Hodges and Marion Raye were still discussing the assault on John Boulton. “You’ve got to let me speak to him Ste;” said Marion, “it ain’t gonna do my reputation any good, me not being able to talk to the victim.” Hodges let out a huge sigh. “Mar, Ok, Ok, I’ll let you speak to him if you promise no one will find out about it ok. I’ve been working hard on this case for over a year now and I don’t want it ruined now I’ve got this far.” “Ok, but can I help, I want to be involved in this one too. Please Ste.” “Are you sure that’s such a good idea Mar? I mean you remember what happened the last time we worked together right?” “It wasn’t that bad. It could have been a lot worse.” “That’s what I’m worried about but ok, you can help.” The two headed back to CIB headquarters in silence. Back at Sun Hill DS Gary Whitehouse (from AMIT) was trying to contact his governor to see if she had come up with any new information, she had been out most of the afternoon and her mobile was switched off. < Damn it, > he thought as he tried her phone again, < Still no answer; Where is she? > The Bill: Corruption. Chapter 8: Explanations. At CIB headquarters Detective Superintendent Stephen Hodges and DCI Marion Raye were just heading up to the residential suite to talk to John. “Ok, lets get one thing straight ok, this conversation is not to leave these four walls and I‘m only letting you do this because we‘ve been friends for so long; so don‘t, and I mean don‘t get telling anybody about this or sending anyone here; he‘s terrified and I‘m not letting anyone I don‘t know and trust near him. Is that clear?” threatened Hodges.

“Crystal, but I may have to tell them I’ve found him; but I’ll just say he’s in a safe house and only I know where he is,” “Ok but just be careful nobody tries to follow you.” They walked into the residential suite but no one was there. “Must have gone for a walk around the building or something. Don’t worry they’ll be back soon,” reassured Hodges. “They?” “Yeah, you didn’t think I was going to leave him unguarded did you?” “No, I suppose not, so who is it you got guarding him then huh?” “Someone you might know actually?” “Huh, like who?” “Someone from Sun Hill, I thought he might feel safer with someone he actually knows rather than a complete stranger if you know what I mean!” Just then John and Claire walk into the room. “Ah, there you are,” said Hodges, “I was beginning to think you got kidnapped or something.” John cringed slightly inside. “That’s not funny Guv,” said Claire. “Sorry, as you may already know this is DCI Marion Raye from AMIT. She would like to speak to you about what happened if you don’t mind?” said Hodges to John, “Remember this is my case Mar so no taken over,” he whispered in her ear. They discussed what hat happened for well over an hour and darkness was drawing in. “I don’t know why you’re keeping him cooped up like this Ste, it doesn’t seem fair.” “I know it doesn’t seem fair but what am I supposed to do? I can hardly let him go home, he’d be killed. He’s got the free run of the station, I can’t do much more,” he replied. “I suppose your right. At least he’s safe here.” “Yeah, so how ya gonna use this information? Is it any help to ya?” “Yeah it is actually, in fact it pretty much concludes the whole case but we just need to get the evidence to make it stand up in court otherwise Beech is gonna get away spot free.” “We?” “Yeah; We; you said this is your case and you didn’t think I was gonna let you do this all on your own did you? “Well it’s getting late and some of us have got homes to get to. Can we carry on with this bright and early tomorrow morning?” “Yeah, sure Ste.” “I’ll just tell Claire and John We’re leaving” “Ok.” With that Hodges walked back into the residential suite. “I’m heading off home. Will you guys be ok? And remember if there’s any trouble, call me.” “Yeah ok, we’re fine. See you tomorrow Guv!”

“Oh and in case you think I’ve forgotten, we will have that little chat tomorrow.” Hodges added, hinting to that morning, before he then walked off out of the room and down the stairs. “You still here Mar? You didn’t have to wait for me you know?” “I wanted to and besides I was kinda hoping for a lift. If you don’t mind that is?” “Of course I don’t mind, you should know me better than that Mar,” said Hodges. Just then a faint rumbling sound was heard.. “My stomach,” he said pointing towards his stomach, “I haven’t had anything too eat all day. I completely forgot until now.” “I better let you go home then, can’t have you going hungry now can we?” “I’ll be ok. I’ll just nip in the café on the way home, and besides that means I don’t have to cook; or should I say burn a meal?” “Still not mastered the skill of cooking then Ste?” “That’s not funny Mar. Come on if you want a lift.” With that they headed out to the car park in silence. The Bill: Corruption. Chapter 9: Stranded. On the ride home they both thought about what they needed to do to get the evidence needed to lock up Beech. “The others aren’t gonna be too pleased about you disappearing off all day Mar.” “They’ll survive. Besides I was working so they can hardly say I was skiving off; not that any of them would dare to say that to my face though.” Just then the car stopped. “What ya do that for?” “Do what Mar?” “Stop the car so suddenly like that?” “I didn’t, the damn thing’s playin’ up again. Stupid car, looks like we’re stuck!” “Typical. So what do we do now?” “Well I’ll call the AA and get it fixed. In the meantime, we’re stranded. Hope you weren’t in a rush to get home?” “What, to flick through boring TV channels all night? I don’t think so. At least I’m not stuck on my own.” “You can say that again.” With that, Stephen Hodges called the AA and gave them the details. They said they would be there as soon as they could but it that it might be some time because they are dealing with an accident on the other side of town. Stephen relayed the message to Marion. “So what are we gonna do Ste?” asked Marion. “You tell me Mar; I haven’t got a clue and it’s freezing out here.”

They looked around themselves and out of the corner of her eye, Marion spotted a café. “Hey I know Ste, lets go wait in that café over there, it will be warm and we can get something to eat and we can see when the AA come if we sit by the window.” “That’s a good idea Mar, lets go then.” They walked into the café and up to the counter to order something to eat. They then sat down at a table near the window with a clear view of the street outside. “So how are you going to explain about you disappearing all day to Sun Hill without telling them we’ve found John?” “I’ve got no idea. As soon as they know I’ve found out where he is they’re gonna keep pestering me until I tell em.” “You can’t tell em Mar, it could be life threatening.” “You think I don’t know that? What can I do?” They ponder over this for a while. “I know, don’t show up at Sun Hill tomorrow. They can’t pester you if they don’t see you right?” “You know what Ste … that sounds like a good idea; of course I’d have to call Whitehouse, Say I got a lead and am checking it out so won’t be in or something.” “Who’s Whitehouse?” “The other member of AMIT assigned to the case, he’s a bit of a loose cannon but he isn’t that bad.” Several hours passed before the AA finally arrived at 1am. “Oh finally,” said Hodges, “You know I was planning on getting in early this morning but I’ve got no chance now. I need more than four hours sleep.” “You’re not the only one Ste. Come on, let’s hope it’s easy to fix yes?” “Yes.” They left the café and went outside to speak to the AA men. “What’s the damage?” asked Hodges after the car had been inspected. “Burst pipe,” the man answered, “this vehicle’s going nowhere. In fact I suggest it be taken to a garage.” “Great we really are stranded. No buses till morning either.” “There’s a hotel round the corner isn’t there? We could stay there until morning then get the bus to work. Neither of us has got much chance in getting home tonight.” “That looks like the best option at the moment Mar,” he says before thanking the AA men and asking them to tow the car to the garage. They then empty the car and head towards the hotel. Back at CIB HQ John and Claire, were sitting in the residential suite with a plate of biscuits and a steaming cup of coffee each discussing what they were going to say to Hodges in the morning? “He is so going to throw a fit.” “Not if he does not know Claire, we could just make something up.”

“Like what? He was suspicious the other morning so this morning was just the icing on the cake and he is in CIB remember he will see right through it.” “I suppose so what are we gonna do then and who was that he was speaking with today. I know it was said that she’s with AMIT but those two defiantly know each other what’s the connection.” “I haven’t got a clue what to do and as for the connection your guess is as good as mine. The first time I saw her was the day you was in hospital and if we don’t get some sleep we’ll never be up tomorrow.” With that, the two settled off to sleep in each other’s arms. The Bill: Corruption Chapter 10: At the Hotel At the hotel reception desk Marion Raye and Stephen Hodges were desperately hoping for some vacancies. The hotel had one room left and so without anywhere else to go the two settled into the room for the night (Or what was left of it.) "Remember last time we were stuck in a hotel together Ste?" "Don't remind me. That was embarrassing; especially with what's his name walking in." "Yeah at least it wasn't the gov. Can you imagine?" "Yeah, we really would've been dead then. Do you ever miss the ole' days Mar?" "Sometimes. In fact change that to most of the time. You?" "Yeah. It was a lot easier then; and more fun." "I know what ya mean. So what am ya gonna talk to what’s the names about when ya get in?" "Who? Claire and John you mean? Nothing much; just about the sticky situation I found them in this morning. I was just trying to put the frighteners on them really." "Oh come on, do tell. What sticky situation?" "You really want to know?" "Yes, come on Ste, Spill it" "Ok I walked in to find them cuddled up together; then I went to fetch some coffee and when I came back they was awake and turned as red as a beetroot an jumped away from each other like there was a bomb there. You draw your own conclusions from that?" "Ah, I see; but if I remember right we've been in more embarrassing situations than that Ste." "Yeah I know. Now that I think about it, it was all pretty innocent; especially considering some of the things we've done. To tell you the truth Mar, I think it was shock more than anything. I was expecting them to still be asleep." "Yeah, well talking about sleep if we don't stop chatting all night, neither of us will be up for work in the morning." "That wouldn't be so bad would it Mar?" "Well in normal circumstances I’d say no, lets stay up all night, but considering the fact if we're not up for the bus in the

morning we'll be stranded for even longer, I don't think that’s such a good idea do you Ste?" "Suppose not, night then Mar!" "Night." With that they both fell asleep. Several hours later at CIB HQ most of the staff was coming into work. In the residential suite Claire and John were just waking up. "Arrgg," yawned Claire, < I knew we shouldn't have stayed up all night. >”John, John, wake up, it's morning." "Arrgg, what do you mean its morning? I only just got to sleep." "It's 10am and Hodges is gonna kill us. He said to meet him in his office at 9." "Oh, just give me 10 more minutes; I can't keep me eyes open." "Come on lazy bones, get up." Claire said whilst rolling him over and shaking his shoulders to wake him up. "Ok, Ok, I’m up. Give it a rest already." With that the two tidied up and headed down the stairs to the office. When they got there no one was in. "That's strange," states Claire, "The Gov should have been in hours ago. This door's locked and if he's actually been in this door would be open. It looks like he hasn't been in all morning." "So what do we do now?" "Well I’ve got a spare key so we'll go in and I’ll call him. Hopefully he'll have written down what he had planned for today. So we'll start on that. If not we'll just sit around till he gets here." replied Claire fishing the spare key out of her pocket and attempting to unlock the door. Once inside the office Claire flicked on the light and searched the office for the plans for the day. "Arr, here they are, now let’s see, gather all evidence and decide next step in Beech case. We can do that." She then picked up the phone receiver and dialed Hodges mobile number. #Ring ring, ring ring, ring ring.# In the hotel the sound of a mobile phone ringing woke up Stephen and Marion. "Who's phone is that?" whispered Marion realizing she was not at home and alone. "Mine I think," answered Stephen waking up and reaching for the phone. "Hello!" he said into the phone drowsily. "Gov, where are you? You were supposed to be in hour’s ago." said the voice on the other end of the line. At that he sat bolt upright. "What time is it?" "It's now just turned 11am. Where are you? What are you doing?" "11? You have got to be joking?" "No." "Ok, I’ll be in as soon as I can. See you in a bit." With that he hung up. "Who was that? What did they want?" “It was Claire. They’re wondering where I am considering its 11am and I should have been in work at 8 this morning.” “11? Oh my god, I had no idea it was that late.” “Neither did I. Come on before they send out a search party.” “Now that would be a tragedy.”

“You’ve been watching too much TV Mar.” “I know. Nothings been going on lately I was bored so I sat flicking TV channels You should have come round.” “Yeah well I didn’t wanna disturb you. So are we moving or staying here all day.” “Don’t give me the idea” They both packed up there stuff and checked out of the hotel then walked down the road to the bus stop. The bus came shortly after they got there. Once on the bus they sat down near the front. “Let’s head to sun hill first I left my car just round the corner from the station” “Ok then, it’s just as easy Mar, let’s do that.” They got off the bus at the stop closest to sun hill police station and then walked down the road to Marion’s car she opened up the boot and they put their stuff inside they shut the boot then jumped inside and drove off in the direction of CIB headquarters. The Bill: Corruption Chapter 11: I’m Not Late. At CIB headquarters John and Claire were sat in the office making notes on the case. “You know, when I called the Gov, he sounded like he’d just woke up.” Claire commented. “He probably had. He probably sat up all night or forgot to set his alarm clock or something. I’ve done that millions of times.” “Yeah I know. It’s just odd that’s all. I’ve never known him late before.” “Who’s late Claire?” said Hodges walking into the room. “Gov? Didn’t know you were here yet.” “Of course I’m not late Claire,” said Hodges, “I just didn’t unlock the office and went out early.” < hope she falls for that. > < He doesn’t honestly expect me to fall for that does he? > Thinks Claire; “Well how come you sounded half asleep on the phone?” “I was tired. Didn’t sleep very well last night that’s all.” < Sure it is. > thinks Claire; aloud she says nothing and they all settle down to work They decide the best way to catch Beech is to do a raid and so they start putting together a plot “About that little discussion we were going to have,” starts Stephen, “Let’s just forget about it OK. I think I just got the wrong end of the stick.” *Cough,* *Cough,* chokes Claire. < Has he lost his mind or something? I wonder what happened to make him change his mind like that? > Just then Marion Raye walked into the room with a doughnut in her hand. “I’ve cracked it. I know how to catch Beech.”

“How,” asked the others in unison. “Well, I overheard him talking on his mobile a couple of days ago. He was arranging some sort of meeting for the day after tomorrow.” “You sure about that Mar?” interrupted Stephen. “Yes. I thought nothing of it at first; Beech wasn’t even a prime suspect till I spoke to you the other day, but now that I think about it … You know what I mean?” “Yes so what exactly did you have in mind?” “Well I thought we could follow him to this meeting, see what it’s all about, then if there is anything the slightest bit suspicious about it, we raid the place and arrest him,” explained Marion. “And if there isn’t anything suspicious about it?” “Well I hadn’t thought about that bit yet but from what I heard that won’t be a concern.” “On speculation, that’s not a bad idea. Let’s try it then.” After all agreeing to give the plan a shot, they set about planning everything and gathering all of the resources. “You know John,” started Stephen, “You’ve been cooped up in here for over a week now. I think it should be safe to let you out for a bit. As long as one of us stay with you at all times you should be safe. What do you think?” “It isn’t such a bad idea actually but I wouldn’t go home yet. That would be the first place Beech would look;” said Marion. “I agree,” added Claire. “I tell you what then, let’s all have a night out, somewhere off the patch where we’re less likely to be recognized. If we all go it should be quite safe. What do you think?” suggested Stephen. “That’s a new one. What’s got into you today hey Gov?” said Claire. “I … I … just need a night out that’s all. I am capable of having fun you know.” “Ok then but where?” asked John joining in the conversation, “and where am I gonna stay?” “Hmmm,” pondered Stephen, “Good questions but I ain’t got no answers. I’m open to suggestions.” “How about that little wine bar down by the river?” suggested Marion. “Is that place still open Mar?” “I think so. It was last time I checked and there’s a B & B just up the road from there. It kills both birds with one stone.” “Lacey’s you mean?” asked John. “Yeah, I think so; Why? You know it?” “Yeah, a nice little place.” “Well if no ones got any objections then it’s settled,” said Stephen, “Better be more careful this time hey Mar? don’t wanna end up in the same mess as last time.” “Umm.” “What mess?” Questions Claire totally confused.

*Gulp* < She’s got better hearing than I thought. > thinks Stephen, “It’s a long story that you don’t want to hear about.” < Forget it, please just drop it. I’m not telling that one. > “Oh come on, tell.” “NO.” “Spoilsport.” The Bill: Corruption Chapter 12: The Secret’s Out. They finish off there work in silence and all meet in the car park when ready to go. They decide to all take Marion's car and so jump in ready to go. Stephen does a quick check before setting off. < Don't wanna end up stranded again. > he thinks as they set off. Less than 15 minutes later they arrive at the club. "It might be best to check into the hotel first to make sure they've got some rooms," suggests Marion. "Umm, good idea Mar," replies Stephen. They check with the B&B to see if there are any vacancies before going next door to the wine bar. "What was you looking for with the car?" asked John. "Any faults or broken pipes or anything. Didn't wanna get stranded. One nights enough thanks," answers Stephen. "Tell me about it," adds Marion. "So that's why you was late this morning hey Gov?" questions Claire. "Yes and now you understand why i was half asleep on the phone. The AA didn't come out till 1am. They said they couldn't fix it so I stayed the night in a hotel over the road, luckily I knew the owner so he let me stay for free. I would've got a taxi but i didn't have enough cash on me. buses only run during the day so I caught the bus of the morning when you woke me up." "You should have told me i would have come and picked you up." < That's exactly why i didn't tell you. > "i didn't want to bother you." < More like i didn't want you to know i wasn't alone. > the four kept talking into the early hours of the morning when the wine bar closed. They then when into the B&B to get some sleep. "So how are we going to divide this up then? Who's with me?" asked Stephen. After a long debate they all decided that Claire and John should share a room, and

Stephen and Marion should share a room. They all settled in and soon drifted off to sleep. The Bill: Corruption Chapter 13: Operation Beat Beech. The next day they didn’t wake up till 11am. They rushed to get ready and made their way back to CIB HQ. They arrived shortly after 1pm and quickly set to work on organizing the operation to catch Beech. “You know Mar,” started Stephen, “You ought to think about paying Sun Hill another visit; you haven’t been there in over 3 days now and it’s gonna start to look a bit suspicious you know.” “What do you mean, haven’t been to Sun Hill for 3 days?” asks Claire, “I mean you was there yesterday morning wasn’t you?” < Whoops. > think Stephen and Marion, < This one’s not going to be easy to explain! Why did I just mention that? > Claire looked from one to the other and back again. “Well?” she asks, not letting them off the hook. “Erm ..., it’s a long story,” insisted Stephen, “and you definitely don’t wanna here it.” “This is beginning to sound interesting,” stated John, “so come on; this I’ve gotta see.” < I can’t wait to see how he gets out of this one, > thinks Claire. “Ok, you know last night I told you that story about me getting stranded?” “Yes, go on,” prompted John and Claire. “Well there was a bit more to the story than I let on; you see ... I wasn’t stranded alone. You get the picture?” “Yes, no I see why you didn’t want me to pick you up. It could’ve been a bit embarrassing, right?” “You don’t know the half of it.” < Damn. What did I have to say that for? I could’ve got away without saying anymore. > “Oh yeah? Like what? I think you’ve got a bit more explaining to do, don’t you?” < Me and my big mouth. > thinks Stephen. Luckily he is saved when the telephone rings. “Hello!” he says into the receiver, “NO I’m sorry, I can’t help you I’m afraid,” he says a few seconds later, “Yes, of course, ok, bye bye.” “What was all that about?” asked Marion when he put down the receiver. “It was Sun Hill. They wanted to know if I’d seen you.” He said referring to Marion; “I said no of course, but I’d like to know how they got this number, or even thought to call here.” “Opps,” said Marion, “I accidentally left the number on the desk from when I called the other day. I forgot all about it.” “Careless.”

“You think I don’t know that Ste?” < John was right! > thinks Claire, < There’s definitely something going on between them two. I’ve never seen the Gov go all ... soft like that before. Weird. > At Sun Hill DS Gary Whitehouse was getting slightly worried about his missing DCI. < She hasn’t been here for over 3 days and nobody has had any contact with her. I hope she’s all right; and who the hell was that on the phone? CIB? What would she want with CIB? > “Y’know Mar, you ought to call Sun Hill, that guy on the phone sounded kinda worried about you.” “Who? DS Gary Whitehouse? He worries about everything, and besides even if I did call I wouldn’t know what to say.” “Hmm ... (LONG PAUSE) ... say you found John and put him in a safe house, saying you’re the only person he’ll let near or something. Of course on the other hand you could always just tell the truth ... hmm. As long as you don’t say where we are then it should be pretty safe.” “Ok, that sounds like the best option. I’ll say that I got in touch with an old friend who has some contacts in high places and I’ve found John, and he’s in a safe house where nobody can get to him. Sound ok Ste?” “Yeah sounds fine. Just make sure you use your mobile to make the call. It will be harder for anyone to trace then.” Marion called DS Whitehouse and explained what was going on. DS Whitehouse then told her how much they had found and they discussed what he should do next. Sometime later the four sitting in the CIB office devised a detailed plan on how to catch Beech, now codenamed ‘Beat Beech’. They worked on getting together all the resources they needed for the operation and finalized the details on what was to be done, how and when? At 8pm that evening the operation ‘Beat Beech’ was well under way. They had followed their target to an old abandoned factory building in a disused area of town. All exits were covered once the target was in the building and there was no way for him to get out unnoticed. At the appropriate moment Stephen yelled “GO, GO, GO,” into the radio and everyone rushed into the building to catch Beech. After a lot of shouting and running about, all targets were apprehended and locked into the vans to be taken away. John and Claire stayed at CIB HQ during the raid for safety reasons. “Hello Don,” said Marion when she caught him, “Long time, and no see I believe.” Don gulped and was led away. “Well I think that’s just about everyone,” stated Stephen heading back to the car. (HIS IS STILL IN THE GARAGE SO HE IS USING AN OFFICE ONE.) The Bill: Corruption Chapter 14: Another Night Out. Several hours later in HQ after Beech and the others had been interviewed and put in cells for the night; the staff was just heading home. “Is it such a good idea for John to be left in the same building as Beech?” asked Marion.

“Um ... you’ve got a point there but there may also be some of Beech’s mates on the outside that could be just as big a threat, if not bigger,” stated Stephen. “So what’re we gonna do then?” “He could stay with me,” suggested Claire joining in the conversation. “Or,” suggested Marion, “We could all go out for the night and celebrate Beech’s capture. Last night was kinda fun don’t ya think?” “You just answered my next question Mar, or should I say asked it?” “What do ya mean?” asked John walking up behind the group. “Well I like both ideas, so we can all have a night out again tonight and then can you look after him till this whole operations cleared up Claire?” said Stephen, “that’s if no ones got any objections.” “Sure no problem,” answered Claire and so they all finished off what they was doing and headed out for a night out. “Let’s go to the other end of town this time. I haven’t been down there in years,” suggested Marion. “I agree Mar,” added Stephen after thinking about it for a while; “Y’know Mar, this is beginning to sound more like the old days every minute.” “That’s the whole idea,” whispered Marion conspiritually. They decided to just take the one car and stay the night in a hotel. This time they booked in advance to make sure there were vacancies. < Now we’ve just got to hope we don’t get stranded, not that it would be such a bad thing, I need a day off but I doubt the others would like it much. > thinks Stephen as they set off. “So gov,” starts Claire, “Tell us what you mean when you say the good old days. It sounds like there could be some interesting stories there.” Stephen gulps before saying, “It’s just a saying and you don’t wanna hear about all that. It’s pretty boring actually.” < Sure it is. > thinks Claire, < He’s just trying to put me off the trail cause he doesn’t want anyone to know about it; and I wander what Marion has to do with it? The way he puts it, she is a part of it, and what’s with the nicknames? Maybe John has a point. Maybe there is something going on between them. > “I’ve just noticed something,” started John, intrigued by the conversation, “You two act like you’ve known each other for years, what’s the story there?” Stephen and Marion looked at each other, gulped and shrugged. < You’ve got em there, > thought Claire. “Just old friends,” they answered eventually. < I hope they just drop this now, > they both thought, < They’re getting to close to the truth. It was hard enough then, without someone bringing it all up again. > “Oh come on,” pushed John, “There’s gotta be more to it than that. I’m not blind you know.” < Yeah, there’s a lot more to it, but I’d rather not say anything about it. > “We’re here,” said Marion trying to divert away from Stephen. It worked. “Thanks Mar,” he whispered when the others weren’t listening, or at least he thought they weren’t.

“No problem Ste,” Marion replied. They all got out of the car and headed inside the bar. They found a seat in a corner after ordering there drinks they sat down and chatted away. “Y’know,” said Marion about an hour later, “I just noticed that none of us has had anything to eat all day.” “You’re right Mar, I’m starving.” “Me too,” said the others. They all ordered something to eat from the restaurant section of the pub. “Well this definitely beats cooking,” stated John. “I agree,” added Claire. “Particularly my cooking,” commented Stephen. “I’ll agree with that,” stated Marion. “Hey I thought you was on my side Mar.” “I am but what you call cooked food the rest of us call burnt food and you know it Ste.” “I suppose them sausages I cooked that time were pretty black.” “Black? I’d call em charcoal. They basically fell apart, Ste.” Giggled Marion. “I always said men aren’t much good at cooking,” joked Claire. The girls laughed while John and Stephen just looked at them like wounded puppies. Time fled by and it was approaching 3am. “We’ll have to do this more often.” One of them commented. They all agreed and headed off to the hotel. The Bill: Corruption Chapter 15: Weird Ideas. In the hotel Stephen and Marion were discussing the conversation they all had in the car. “Y’know Ste, those two were asking a lot of questions earlier. You don’t think they know anything do ya?” “I noticed too, but I don’t think they know about the past. They’re just clutching at straws.” “Remember that weekend we skived off and went down Devon?” “How could I forget Mar? We ran into that DS Burnsley or Whatever his name is and nearly got into trouble with the gov.” “We would have if it wasn’t for your quick thinking. I still can’t believe he fell for that undercover operation story; can you?” “Now that I think about it Mar, it was pretty pathetic. Ironic too.” “Yeah, it was still fun though.” “We’ll have to try it again sometime.” “What about this weekend Ste. We both need some time off.”

“What about Beech. I need to get the paperwork done.” “Let someone else do it, and besides I thought you hate doin paperwork Ste.” “I do. Alright then, I’m in. We’ll start off tomorrow after work, but what about John and Claire? Do we tell them?” “Could do. We could all go, but we better not go to Devon this time. Don’t wanna get in trouble again.” “We’ll go talk to them then ok Mar? But we won’t say where we’re going so if they don’t come then they won’t know where we are to get us in trouble.” “Lets go now then Ste.” “Ok, I’m coming. Hold your horses.” They head towards John and Claire’s room. Inside the two were talking. “I’m almost certain there is something going on between them two,” said John. “I have to say I’m beginning to agree, especially the way they skirted round them questions tonight, and the Gov’s changed big-time now that Marion’s around,” said Claire. “So you see it too?” “Yeah, I mean that first day you saw her, Hodge’s was just about to throw a fit and she just made him drop it,” “Yeah and that stranded story. There is a lot more to it. It wouldn’t surprise me if they planned that, or come in here now saying that now we’ve got Beech let’s have some time off or something.” “We’ll have to find out what it is John. It could be fun and the stranded story. Remember how he lied about it at first? Then he said he didn’t call for a lift because Marion was with him. I mean if it was legit he would’ve asked for a lift.” “Yes, I agree.” Stated John. *Knock, Knock* Stephen knocked on the door. “Come in,” called Claire. “Sorry to wake you,” said Stephen, “But we’ve just had an idea. Now that Beech is locked up why don’t we all go away for the weekend?” “See what I mean Claire,” said John. “Yeah I do. Are you physic or something?” “What are you on about?” asked Marion. “Sorry,” apologized Claire in between giggles, “it’s just we were saying you’d give us the weekend off or something.” “We’re not having the weekend off. Not officially anyway.” Stated Stephen. “What? Skiving? You? I seriously can’t picture that,” said Claire. “Yes, well it’s not something I’d normally do. So are you in or not?” “What you got in mind?” questioned John. “A few day’s by the seaside.” Answered Marion. “Where about?”

“I don’t know. I was kinda hoping you guys might have some ideas actually Claire.” “Well ... Ok. I’m in, but we’ll have to decide on the details.” “John? What about you?” asked Stephen. “Well I don’t see why not. I’m not letting you guys have all the fun. I’m in.” “Ok, well we better all get some sleep. We’ll start this little trip tomorrow after work, ok. Night,” said Stephen. “Night,” said everybody before settling down to sleep. “They seemed to like the idea Ste.” “I knew they would. Stay with me tonight Mar?” “Ok, move over then.” Stephen shuffled over and the two fell asleep side by side. “That was definitely weird John,” “Look on the bright side. We get a free holiday and we get to spy on them at the same time. So are you gonna keep talking all night or are you gonna get some sleep?” said John. With that they both settled down and fell asleep. The Bill: Corruption. Chapter 16: Late Again. The next morning they all woke up at approximately 2pm. “Oh my life,” said Claire, when she woke up. “Its 2pm. John wake up its 2pm. I know we’re all on afternoon shift but we should be in by now.” John woke up and looked at the clock. “Come on. Lets get ready and wake up the others up.” The two showered and dressed and after collecting there things and tidying the room they made there way down the hall to wake up Stephen and Marion. They knocked on the door but got no answer. So Claire gently pushed the door and found it wasn’t locked. They tiptoed inside and saw that Stephen and Marion were fast asleep. “Ahh, look at that. They look so comfortable,” commented Claire. “Yeah, it almost seems a shame to wake them.” At the whispered voices Stephen wakes up. “You could have knocked,” he said to John and Claire when he saw them staring at him. “We did,” said Claire, “but you didn’t answer so I pushed the door and found it wasn’t locked. I was just about to get you up and tell you its half past two.” “WHAT?” Stephen yelled. “Arrgg, Stop shouting Ste, I’m trying to sleep;” murmured Marion. “Sorry,” Stephen apologized. “Now that’s something you don’t see everyday;” whispers John. “Alright, I get your point. Go have breakfast or something and we’ll be up in a bit,” said Stephen.

John and Claire walked out of the room closing the door behind them and heading down to the ground floor café to get something to eat. “Mar, I’m sorry for yelling but come on, you’ve got to get up. It’s half past two. We should’ve been at work hours ago. Come on, wake up,” coaxed Stephen. Marion slowly woke up rubbing the sleep from her eyes. “Where am I?” she asks, “oh, I remember. Mornin Ste.” “Mornin; actually that should be good afternoon shouldn’t it? Come on, we better get up, and I’m pretty sure we’ve got some questions to answer; especially if Claire and John have anything to do with it.” “What they were in here?” “Yep.” “Opps, I see what you mean. We forgot to lock the door.” They scrambled out of bed and showered and changed. Then they all met down stairs. “What took you so long Gov? Did you get lost or something?” “Something like that Claire. So come on, let’s get going. We’re already an hour late.” The four rushed to CIB HQ and quickly hurried inside to get on with their work. “We’ll discuss that little trip at the end of the shift in my office, ok?” said Stephen. “Sure,” said the others racing off to work. 10pm (THE END OF THE SHIFT) quickly rolled round and they all met in the office. “Ok,” said Stephen, “we can say that this trip is work if anyone asks and we’re following up some leads to ... well whatever and wherever it is we go. Has any one had any ideas on where to go?” “How about Great Yarmouth?” suggested John. “Sounds nice. It’s only about a couple of hours drive away. It should be fine.” “We start off at 7am tomorrow from here, so please don’t be late,” stated Stephen, “Any Questions?” “I don’t think so,” said John. “Ok then it’s settled. Claire can John stay with you tonight?” “Sure Gov, no problem. I have got one question though, but I’ll save it for tomorrow.” “It wouldn’t have anything to do with this morning, with it?” “Exactly Gov.” “I thought so. I’ll answer that tomorrow, ok. Let’s all go home.” With that they all headed home. The Bill: Corruption. Chapter 17: Bosses House. Outside the building John and Claire had just drove off. “Couldn’t give me a lift could you Ste?” asked Marion. “Of course, come on;” said Stephen before the two rode home together.

“Wanna stay at my house tonight Mar? We can get out earlier then.” “Well ok, but we’ll have to get my stuff first.” They drove to Marion’s house and she packed her stuff in the car. Just has they were about to leave, the phone rang. “Hello!” said Marion into the receiver. “Sorry, for calling so late Gov, but I just wondered if you was coming into work tomorrow.” “Well don’t worry about the time, I’ve only just got in, and as for me coming into work tomorrow; I’ll be off the patch for a few days. You think you can handle things whilst I’m gone?” “Sure, no problem Gov. See you soon,” said the voice on the other end of the line. “Bye,” said Marion before putting down the receiver. “Ok, let’s go;” she said to Stephen grabbing her things and heading out of the door to the car. Stephen grabbed the rest of her stuff and followed her out to the car making sure to lock the door on the way out. They put the stuff in the boot, jumped into the car and drove off to Stephen’s house. “Who was that on the phone Mar?” asked Stephen breaking the silence that had descended on the car. “DS Whitehouse, he wondered what was going on with me disappearing off all week; although how he got my home number I’ll never know; Unless I left my address book in Sun Hill.” “Knowing you and losing things Mar, you probably did. I keep wondering why you lose everything but your keys and phone, hmm.” “I lost them the once too. You’ll never guess where they were? “Go on, Where?” “The tumble dryer. I have absolutely no idea how they got there.” “You idiot, know wonder your phone keeps playing up. Probably went in the washing machine too.” “Probably.” They pulled round the corner and onto the drive. They got out the car and went out of the car so they would have less to do in the morning. Inside Stephen put the kettle on before going upstairs to sort through his stuff and pack for the trip. “Make yourself at home Mar,” he called down to her. She sat on the sofa and put the telly on, then realizing she was peckish, she got back up and went into the kitchen calling up to Stephen to see if he was hungry too. She grabbed a couple of packets of crisps, a big bar of chocolate and a packet of biscuits and put them on the coffee table before going back into the kitchen to make them both a cup of tea, which she also placed on the coffee table before sitting back down on the sofa. After she was settled she watched the telly nibbling on the snacks. A few minutes later Stephen came down and joined her. They watched telly in relative silence for an hour, nibbling on the snacks and drinking the tea. “It’s getting late. We better get some sleep if we’re going to the seaside tomorrow don’t you think Mar?” commented Stephen.

“Yeah, your probably right Ste,” said Marion getting up, switching the telly off and putting the cups back in the kitchen before following Stephen up the stairs to bed. The Bill: Corruption. Chapter 18: Road Trip. The following morning the two woke up to the sound of Stephen’s alarm clock. They got up and got ready, dumping there cases and things into the boot of the car, they set off towards CIB headquarters where John and Claire were already waiting for them. “I was beginning to think you changed your mind,” joked Claire. “Now why on earth would I give up a few days by the seaside to do a load of paperwork huh?” “Good point. We all know you hate doing paperwork.” They all got into the cars (THEY DECIDED TO TAKE TWO IN CASE THE ONE BROKE DOWN) and set off towards the coast. “So,” started Marion, “What are we gonna say to the others about the other day? I don’t think they’ve forgotten about it yet.” “I think your right Mar, but I’ve got no idea how we’re gonna get out of this one. It’s kind of ironic really, especially considering I was gonna be asking them a similar question the day before.” “Hey that’s it. Maybe we can twist it round so we’re the ones doing the interrogating.” “Maybe Mar, Maybe.” In the other car John and Claire were discussing the same thing. “You know they’re gonna be thinking up ways of getting out of answering them questions don’t c’ya?” commented John. “Yeah, I know, but it won’t work. I’m like a dog with a bone when I get started.” “I know, hey you don’t think they’ll twist it round to the other day do ya; when they was asking all the questions.” “That’s probably what they’re planning on doing actually, but we’ll be prepared.” They saw Stephen pulling into a services car park in front of them and so followed them to the car park. They found a parking space in the car park and got out of the car to stretch there legs. They all went inside the café to have a cup of coffee and something to eat. “So, that question I was talking about last night,” started Claire, “Would you kindly like to explain what was going on, because it looked like you was breaking the rules.” (INTER-OFFICE RELATIONSHIPS ARE AGAINST THE RULES IN THIS STORY) “It was no worse than the situations I’ve found you two in the last few nights in the residential suite, won’t you agree?” stated Stephen. “Maybe, but don’t think I’m letting you off the hook that easily; I want answers.” “Ok, ok, I get your point; but only if you promise to explain the reasons behind that situation I found you in not so long ago; agreed?” “Ok, agreed; but you tell first.”

“Fine. I guess it must have looked ... how can I put it ... odd, ... but it’s not what you think;” started Stephen. “Really? Carry on then,” said Claire listening intently. “Well ... how can I put this? ... It could have been a lot worse.” “That’s intelligent,” muttered John. “Hey I’m trying here ok ... it’s hard. I can’t really explain without telling my whole life story almost and that will take ages so can we discuss this later?” “Trying to get out of it are you?” “No!” “Ok, ok, I’ll leave it till tonight, but don’t think I’ll forget about it because I won’t” said Claire. With that they got back into the cars and set off towards there destination. The Bill: Corruption. Chapter 19: Truth or Dare. About an hour later, they arrived at a hotel on the coast where they decided to stay. Several hours later after they had unpacked all of their stuff and settled into the hotel, they were all sitting in the middle of one room playing an old fashioned game of truth or dare. "Ok Gov, truth or dare?" "Umm ... Dare" "Ok then finish what we were all discussing earlier in the cafe." "Damn, I should have known you'd ask that," commented Stephen, "Ok, as I was saying it started a long time ago. When I first started in CIB years ago, Marion here had been assigned to the same station. She was new too. Anyway on my first big case we were partnered together. We became close friends, almost like brother and sister. Anyway to cut a long story short, Marion transferred over to MIT a few years later and we haven't really seen each other since." "That still doesn't answer the question!" stated Claire. "And it doesn't make sense either, considering the 'good ole days' quotes." commented John. "They don't miss much do they?" commented Marion. "You think." Stephen replied, "Ok so that's only part of the story but come on, be reasonable." "Ok, ok, your turn," said Claire giving in. "Ok truth or dare?" "Truth," answered Claire instantly. "I was hoping you'd say that," commented Stephen, "Ok, you remember that incident in the residential suite the other day. I was kinda hoping you'd explain to me why you went beet red when I walked in cause I still don't get it." "Erm," mumbled Claire looking around for a way out of the question, "Are you sure you want to know that?" "Yes now go on," urged Marion, "Otherwise I’m never gonna hear the end of this."

"Ok well I guess it was just embarrassment." "Embarrassment over what?" asked Stephen. "Do you really have to ask? You were the one that said 'am I interrupting something?' after all." "So I was right in assuming ... well you know?" "Yes, now my turn, Marion, truth or dare?" "Um, Truth." Claire crawled closer to her ear and whispered "Is it true you fancy Stephen?" "WHAT?" Marion yelled. "Well is it true?" Claire said so the whole group could hear this time. "Yes," replied Marion before hiding her head in hands. "Do I even want to know what she asked?" said Stephen. "No," replied Marion, "My turn ok, John, Truth or Dare?" “Oh I don’t know truth.” “Ok you’re probably gonna kill me for this but, do you fancy Claire?” “WH ... Where did that come from?” < So much for keeping things quiet. > “Yes.” He finally answered barely above a whisper. “Ok truth or dare Stephen?” “Well considering the way these truths are going, I’m picking dare.” “Ooh, brave,” commented Claire. “Ok then lets see, I dare you to ... sit in your underwear to your next turn.” “WHAT, no way. I think it’s about time we was all getting to sleep anyway.” “You’re just trying to get out of it. Of course, if you prefer I’m sure I can think of something equally embarrassing.” “Ok, I’ll do it; but you lot am gonna pay big time for this one.” After he’d got undressed Stephen was about to dare the next person when Claire interrupted. “You know, I think your right. It is time we were getting to sleep.” < This should be good. > “What are you up to?” whispered John. “Well think about the dare? If we end the game now, his next turn won’t be until tomorrow at best;” explained Claire. “Good idea,” he whispered to Claire before saying, “I think she’s got a point there,” to the others. “This sudden urge to get some sleep wouldn’t have anything to do with my current clothes less state would it?” asked Stephen guessing what they were up to. “Now why would we do a thing like that?” said John and Claire feigning innocence. “You tell me. After all it was perfectly suitable to carry on with the game when I said its time to get some rest, but now I’ve been reduced to wearing only my underwear, you agree that it’s time to get some sleep.” “We just couldn’t let you get out of doing a dare. I was gonna agree with you straight away,” said Claire. < Yeah right, he wishes. >

“Ok, ok, we’ll all get some sleep and because the games over I assume my dare’s over too,” stated Stephen. “Erm, no. You stay in your underwear till 9am tomorrow morning,” said John. “No way, that’s not fair.” “You sound like a little kid. That’s the rules, now you stick to em or I’ll think up something worse for tomorrow.” “Please, please, this is bad enough.” “Good.” They all tidy up then go to bed. Chapter 20: Next Day & More Games. The next morning they all wake up at about 9am. They get dressed and headed out to explore the town. They do a bit of shopping and then spend the afternoon relaxing on the beach and swimming in the sea. Several hours later, when the sun had gone in, they headed back to the hotel to get warm. They decide to stay in to eat and so grab a yellow pages book to look for the nearest pizza delivery place. After finding one, Stephen dials the number and orders a large pepperoni pizza. They decide to watch TV whilst waiting for the pizza to arrive. A few minutes later the pizza arrives and after paying the deliveryman, they all sat around the table to eat it. Several hours later, after the pizza had been eaten and they had all become very drunk, they decided to play another game of truth or dare. “I better not be reduced to wearing underwear this time or else you lot are gonna pay, big time,” argued Stephen. “Of course not Gov,” said Claire, < I’ll just try something worse, > she thinks. “Ok, so I start for being last to play last time,” said Stephen, “and I’ll go for ... Marion. Truth or dare?” < They’ll pay for that underwear one, > he thinks. “Um ... truth,” says Marion, < I don’t wanna be the target for his revenge. > “Ok, your probably gonna kill me for this, but tell me one embarrassing thing I don’t know about you?” “Apart from losing my phone in the tumble dryer you mean? I can’t really think of anything.” “Oh, come on, there’s got to be something,” said one of the others. “Oh, I’ve got one; once I killed off my entire fish tank by cleaning it with bleach. The bottle wasn’t labeled and I didn’t realize at first. (1)” “I don’t know weather to laugh or cry,” said Claire. “Anyway, my turn. Claire as revenge for that question you asked yesterday, do you want truth or dare?” “Well I know this is probably signing my death warrant, but I choose ... dare!” “Ohh, goodie, just what I was hoping for. Now let’s see, I dare you to...... Phone up CIB HQ and tell them we’re skiving off in Devon.” “One Question, Why Devon?” asked Claire.

“Two reasons. 1) I don’t wanna get into trouble, and 2) Let’s just say I’ve got some history with Devon,” answered Marion glancing over at Stephen. “OK,” said Claire picking up the phone to complete the dare. “I honestly can’t believe she’s doing that and I can’t believe you even asked that,” stated Stephen. “Let’s just say I was covering tracks. Don’t worry Ste; they ain’t gonna figure out where we are.” “That’s what I’m worried about.” “Ok,” broke in Claire, “My turn. Now because I can’t ask you what you meant Marion, I think I’m going for Stephen.” “I pick truth. These dares are just getting worse and worse.” “Ok, but I want a full answer. You seem to know something about this Devon link, so my question is what is this link to Devon and how come you seem to know so much about it?” “Well technically that’s two questions but ok, I’ll tell. First I know about it because I’m apart of that big mess; and as for why Devon; well a few of us skived off down there quite a while ago and we ran into the boss’s best friend, DS Burnsley, or whatever his name is. Well anyway, he told the boss and the only way we escaped getting into trouble was by saying we was working on an undercover investigation and forgot to mention it” explained Stephen. “Interesting story,” commented John, “that wouldn’t have anything to do with the ‘good old days’ quotes now would it?” “Yeah actually,” stated Marion, “that’s one of em.” “Don’t get putting idea’s in there heads Mar; they’ve already got enough of them as it is,” complained Stephen. “Why?” questioned Claire, “you worried we might uncover some embarrassing little secret?” “Yeah,” answered Stephen. *Ring, Ring, Ring, Ring, Ring, Ring* “Is that someone’s mobile?” pointed out John. “Yeah, it’s mine,” said Marion fishing it out of her pocket. “Hello,” The room turned to silence as she waited for the reply. “Gov, it’s DS Whitehouse,” said the voice on the other end of the line; “I was just phoning to see if you was alright since you haven’t been in touch with anyone in a while.” “I’m perfectly fine. I don’t need you or anyone else checking up on me. Do you understand Gary?” “Yes Gov.” “Good, now if you don’t mind, I’d like to get back to sleep.” “Yes Gov, Goodnight,” he said, before hanging up. “Get back to sleep Mar, you’ve yet to go to sleep.” “I know, but he doesn’t,” Marion replied.

“Besides,” continued Stephen, “it’s kinda weird him calling to check up on you, don’t you think? Is there something going on between you guys that I don’t know about?” “No, of course not. I ain’t done anything like that in a long time. You know how awkward sleeping with co-workers is. Why? You jealous or something?” “No, just curious that’s all. It just seemed strange that’s all, and that’s the best explanation I could come up with.” “Nah, he might have a crush on me, but he ain’t my type if you know what I mean.” “I hate to interrupt, but I’m going to bed; I’m exhausted,” stated Claire. “I think I will too,” added John. “Ok,” replied Stephen and Marion not really listening. “There is definitely something going on between them two,” whispered John to Claire, just to see how they would react. “I heard that,” said Stephen and Marion at the same time. “I see what you mean,” joked Claire also leaving the room. “They’re up to something,” said Marion when she was certain the others had left the room. “How do you work that one out Mar?” “Well that’s about the twentieth time that they’ve insinuated something like that and it’s makin me suspicious. Don’t you agree Ste?” “I guess you’ve got a point there but what can we do about it?” “I don’t know,” admitted Marion, “but I’m too tired to think about it now so I’m off to bed, you cumin Ste?” “That would really give them something to talk about,” joked Stephen. “Not funny Ste, now are ya cumin or not?” “Yeah, I’m coming; it’s kinda pathetic playing truth or dare on your own.” “Hey, you’ve just given me an idea. If they want something to talk about then let’s give them something to talk about. See how they react when we’re the one’s making accusations.” “Nice idea Mar, but you seem to be forgetting that they practically admitted they’re together earlier anyway, with the dares and all so how would it work?” “I forgot about that, but there’s gotta be something we can do to embarrass them Ste.” “Maybe there is; they keep on about they think we’re together, so lets pretend they’re right. See what they think when they realize we’ve been messing them around.” “I suppose it could work, but I don’t see how it’ll embarrass them.” “Erm anyway let’s get to sleep, if we’re heading back tomorrow afternoon, we’re gonna need it.” After picking up all the mess, the two clambered into bed. Soon all four police officers are fast asleep. Author’s notes.

1) This really happened to me once. It killed all the fish. Thank you to everyone who has reviewed. You are the best. Not much more to go now. Chapter 21: Escape and Interruptions. During the night at CIB HQ, Don Beech had managed to escape his cell. Giving no thought to anyone else at all, he carefully escaped the building and took to hiding out at one of his bent friends houses. The next morning one of the first officers to the station found the open cell door. He searched the whole station but found no sign of Beech. < The boss is gonna kill me > he thought. With no look at finding Beech and no other options, the officer phoned the boss debating how to tell him the bad news. At the hotel the four officers were staying at, the sound of a phone, ringing woke everybody up. “Arrgg, switch it off somebody switch it off,” moaned Claire. “It’s the Gov’s phone I think,” replied John. “Well tell him to switch the damn thing off,” shouted Claire. “I got it,” called Stephen to the others. “Gov,” greeted the voice on the other end of the line, “I’ve got some bad news, and I think you should come to the station as soon as you can.” “Jed, it’s 6 a bloody clock in the morning; what’s so important that you had to wake me up at this time?” “Its Beech sir, he ... he ... escaped.” “You WHAT?” yelled Stephen down the phone, “HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?” “I ... I ... don’t know sir. I ... I ... just got into work and found the cell door swinging open. I searched the station but can’t find a trace of him.” “Ok,” said Hodges calming down a bit, even though he had no reason to; “check the CCTV footage and recheck the station, I’ll be in as soon as I can.” “Yes sir,” said the officer before putting the phone down. “I don’t believe this, I honestly don’t,” moaned Stephen, “Those half wits can’t even cope for one bloody weekend without me.” “What’s happened this time Ste?” asked Marion sitting up. “Beech has escaped, that’s what,” snapped Stephen. “Well no need to bite my head off.” “Sorry Mar, come on, we better get back and sort this bloody mess out.” “Ok, so much for sleeping in. Shall I wake the others and tell em what’s happened?” “Yeah ok; I guess they need to know what’s going on. I swear we must be cursed Mar, every time we go away something like this happens.” “I know what you mean.” With that, they woke up the others and got ready to head back to London. Chapter 22: Sort Out The Mess.

They were silent the whole way back and arrived at CIB HQ at about 10am. When they entered the building, it was clear that the whole station was in chaos. The team wondered what would be best to do next. After they had all had a big discussion about it, Stephen Hodges set up a team to suspend the whole of Sun Hill CID, to see if they could get any information on Beech’s current whereabouts. It was the only way to ensure that he did not slip away considering he has so many mates there. The team arrived at Sun Hill and proceeded to tell them all that they are suspended until further notice. The CID staff was both shocked and surprised by this and was not at all happy about it. They had an even bigger shock, later on, that day when John and Claire walked freely into the pub that they were drowning there sorrows in. “John, Claire, where have you been for the past few weeks? We’ve been looking everywhere for you,” said DI Deakin. “Busy,” answered Claire. “A proper answer would be nice Claire.” “Well if you really must know, I’ve been chasing the guy who beat up John last week and before you ask, I can’t say who that is so don’t bother to ask.” “Why can’t you tell us Serge?” asked Duncan. “Because it’s classified information,” said Marion walking up behind them all, “Should you two be out here on your own?” she asked turning to John and Claire. “Probably not,” said Claire, “I was just picking up the informant’s register and I popped in to see how everyone’s doing. Well I suppose we’d better get back, are you coming?” “Yeah.” The three left the pub and headed back to CIB HQ to discuss what had been found. After the meeting, Stephen Hodges sent everyone out to talk to Beech’s informants, to see if any of them had heard from him in the past few months. All but one had not heard from him in months and Stephen and Marion are busy interviewing him now. “Where is he?” demanded Stephen. “I don’t know,” said the informant. “That’s not good enough, now where is he?” Stephen tried again. “All I’ve heard is that he’s planning to go to Australia. He might already be there for all I know.” “Is that all?” “Yes; I swear, if I knew anymore I’d tell you,” whimpered the informant. “Now that wasn’t too hard was it?” asked Marion before they headed out the door into the corridor leading back to the main office area. “Ok,” said Stephen to the officers gathered in front of him for the progress meeting. “We’ve discovered Beech is planning to go to Australia. We don’t know when or where exactly so, Jed and Chris, you get onto the airports and get details of all flights to Australia within the last few days; John and Claire, similar thing, check for flights going out today or in the next few days; I’ll interview the rest of Sun Hill and

the rest of you carry on with what you’ve been doing. Ok folk’s that’s it. Get on with it.” Everyone got to work on his or her tasks. Claire got in contact with the airport to check for flights to Australia. There was one due to depart Heathrow airport in 7 hours time, and so she informed Hodges of what she had found. Even though it was a long shot with no evidence of Beech even attempting to flee the country, they set up an ambush. They were lucky and Beech was at the airport attempting to board an airplane but, unfortunately he was wearing a disguise, so the CIB officers didn’t realize it was him until after the plane had left for takeoff. Out of luck and tired, the CIB officers returned to headquarters to work on a new plan. It would not be easy with Beech in another country; they would have to go over there after him. The End. Author’s Notes. That’s it; all complete; but don’t worry, there will be a sequel called Beech in Australia, so look out for it. I aim to have the first chapter up within the next few weeks but I can’t guarantee it. Thanks ever so much for all your reviews. I couldn’t have done it without all of your encouragement. Also for anyone who is interested, I got the idea for the character Marion, from fan fiction wrote about the new characters of the x-files (i.e. Monica Reyes). It seemed to work perfect at the time.