Title: Songbird
Author: Jackie
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: Don't own 'em, would like to. Danny Cunningham is my 
character. Please don't use her unless you ask me first, then I'll 
consider it.

Lone Gunmen Headquarters

Takoma Park, Maryland

It was a quiet night in Takoma Park, Maryland. At this late hour, most people would be asleep. However, at the LGM Headquarters, the three conspiracy theorists were awake. They had just received word that Jared Cunningham had been in a fatal accident a few days ago. Cunningham had been a chemical engineer with BioTech, a company based in Baltimore. In addition to being a chemical genius, he was the Deep Throat of Bio-Tech, secretly providing information to the Lone Gunmen for their stories whenever could under the code name of Faylor. Upon hearing about his death, the three had gone to his home just outside Baltimore. After some digging around, they were now deciding on their next move.

"We should run with the story," Langly said as he paced back and forth. "I mean, we know why he was killed."

"Actually, we don't," Byers replied calmly from his chair. "All we have are speculations. Unless we can find a way to prove them, we don't have anything."

"Byers is right," Frohike spoke up from his workbench. "He was a good informant, and I want to see those goons who killed him behind bars, but we have no proof."

"Then let's get some," Langly said.

"How?" Byers asked. "We searched his house and came up with nothing. His computer was erased, along with all his hard files, and someone at his office erased or destroyed all his records. We've exhausted all our resources."

"So, what are we going to do?" Frohike asked.

Before Byers could reply, there was a pounding on the front door. The three looked at each other curiously. Jimmy was out for a couple of days, but he wasn't planning on being back until tomorrow, and they weren't expecting anyone else. They went over to the front door and looked at the front door camera. There was a young woman in her mid to late twenties with long dark hair standing on the other side, but it wasn't Yves Adele Harlow. She was carrying a purse over her shoulder and kept looking behind her as pounding on the door. "Hello?" she called out. "Is anyone there? I need help. My name is Danielle Cunningham. My father was Jared Cunningham. I have reason to believe his death was not accidental."

"I didn't know Cunningham had a kid," Frohike replied.

"Langly, check her out," Byers said.

Langly quickly went over to his terminal and started typing. "Danielle Cunningham," he said after a few moments. "Born August 5, 1972, to Jared and Marie Cunningham in Baltimore, Maryland. Currently lives in Mount Savage and works for High -Tech Unlimited."

"High-Tech?" Frohike asked. "Isn't that a company that does computer programming for some governmental programs?"

"If rumors can be trusted," Byers replied. "Let her in, Frohike."

"Byers, she works for the government," Langly said.

"She's Cunningham's daughter," Byers replied.

"Then why didn't we know about her?" Frohike folded his arms. "Why didn't he ever mention a daughter?"

"Why would he risk exposing her?" Byers asked. "He provided us with crucial governmental information at the risk of exposing himself. He probably figured that the less people outside his normal life knew he had a daughter, the less chance of them using her to get to him. Now, let her in."

Frohike sighed before he unlocked and opened the door. "Miss Cunningham." He let her in and locked up behind her as Langly came over.

"Sorry for the delay," Byers replied.

"Don't worry about," the woman said. "And, uh, just call me Danny."

"So, you're Faylor's daughter, huh?" Langly asked, folding his arms. "It's kind of funny he never mentioned one."

"Why would he choose to expose his daughter to a dangerous lifestyle?" Danny asked.

"You knew about him?" Frohike asked.

"Dad wasn't the only computer hacker in the family."

Byers glanced at his two friends and cleared his throat. "You said you believed that your father's death was not accidental?" he asked quickly.

"I know it wasn't," Danny answered.

"Why do you say that?" Frohike asked.

"Because the same people who killed him are trying to kill me," Danny replied.

The trio looked at each other. "Perhaps you better start at the beginning," Byers said. The four walked over to a couch, where Danny sat down. Though slightly less suspicious of her, Frohike minded his manners and went to the kitchen while Byers and Langly pulled up chairs and sat down. Frohike returned a few moments later with a steaming cup of tea and handed it to her.

"Thank you," Danny replied. She sipped the hot liquid then took a deep breath. "Well, I guess it all started about a week ago. Dad came over to my apartment around one-thirty in the morning last Tuesday. He sounded . . . distracted and looked a little scared, I guess. He kept pacing around, looking out the windows, like he was being followed."

"Did he say anything?" Byers asked.

"Not much," Danny replied. "He handed me a small package, told me to keep it in a safe place and not to open it unless something happened to him, then left. I wasn't sure what to think about that, but later that morning I went to my bank and put the package in a safety deposit box.

"Two days passed, I hadn't heard anything from him, so I went over to his house to check on him. The front door was opened slightly, but his car was in the drive, so I went inside." Her eyes filled with tears, but she managed to maintain her composure. "He was laying on the floor in the living room, bullet holes in his head and stomach. The place was a mess, like he had been fighting with someone.

"Before I could do anything, someone grabbed me from behind and held a hand over my mouth. I couldn't see who it was or recognize his voice, but it was definitely a man. He asked me where 'It' was. I realized that he was talking about what I put in my safety deposit box, but I told him I didn't know what he was talking about. He didn't believe me, and he started dragging me to the kitchen. I knew he was planning on killing me like he had my father, so I fought with him and managed to knock him out. I left, stopping only at my bank to get the package along with some cash from my account. I went to the bus depot, where I bought a ticket to here."

"Why didn't you go to the police?" Frohike asked.

"Because I had to know what it was that my father gave me that caused him to lose his life and mine to be in danger," Danny replied. "So, on the bus, I opened up the package. There was an envelope in there, along with your newspaper and a note in my father's handwriting. He said that if something were to happen to him, to take the envelope and its contents to the publishers of the newspaper - The Lone Gunman; they'll be able to help. So, once I got to Baltimore, I caught another bus to Silver Spring and came here."

"That was three days ago," Langly said. "What took you so long? It's not that far from here to Mount Savage."

"Because I didn't know if I was being followed. I went from Mount Savage to Baltimore to Reston then back to Baltimore before stopping in Silver Spring. I took a taxi to about five-hundred yards from here, and I walked the rest of the way."

"So, how did you know where to find us?" Langly asked. "Even your dad didn't know that."

"No, he didn't," Danny answered. "However, it wasn't that hard. I was able to get into what was left on his personal computer from hacking into while I was in Reston. I retrieved data from his emails to someone called Lord Manhammer, apparently a contact for your paper. Deciphering the codes, I was able to hack into Dad's system, retrieve and trace the signature and cookies, hack into Lord Manhammer's personal system, read the files, and get your address."

"That's quite a talent," Byers replied.

"You violated my system?" Langly frowned.

"You're Lord Manhammer?" Danny asked.

"Langly, calm down," Byers said.

"I was violated, Byers," Langly glared at his friend. "I don't care why she hacked into my system, she still hacked into my system."

"Get over it," Frohike replied. Langly shut up and crossed his arms, but he continued to glare at Danny.

Byers turned to Danny. "Danny, where is the envelope now?"

"I left it at the bus depot in Silver Springs," Danny answered. "Just in case I was caught, I didn't want the killers to get it."

"We need to get that as soon as possible."

Danny nodded in agreement and rummaged around in her purse. She pulled out a locker key. "Here it is. Dad said I could trust you, and that you three would be able to help me to expose the truth if anything happened to him. That's why I came here." She handed the key to Byers.

"Langly, you stay here with Danny," Byers said. "Frohike and I will go get the envelope."

"Hey, why do I have to stay with her?" Langly asked.

Frohike frowned and pulled Langly aside. Byers joined them. "Look, get over it. So she managed to get into your system. Big deal."

"How do we know that she didn't tell anyone about us?" Langly asked.

"Why would she?" Byers asked. "She came to us for help, Langly; she's in trouble. It would be wrong to turn our backs on her. We're going to help her."

"Meaning you will keep an eye on her," Frohike added, poking a gloved finger in Langly's chest.

Langly sighed and rolled his eyes. "Fine." Satisfied that Langly wouldn't kill Danny while they were gone, Byers and Frohike left. Langly turned around and saw Danny standing behind him. "What?"

"It was nothing personal," Danny replied. "I was just trying to find you guys."

"But you still broke into my computer," Langly said. "I spent so much time and effort trying to keep people out, and you still broke into it."

"Trust me, if there were other ways to find out where you guys lived, I would have chosen them. I hate breaking into fellow hackers' systems - unless they tick me off." She sighed. "So, Lord Manhammer, huh?"

Langly nodded. "Langly, actually." He suddenly felt a twinge of guilt. "Look, uh, sorry about yelling at you like that."

"Forget it, okay?" She sat on the arm of the couch. "So, what do you know three know about my father's death?"

"Just what the news said," Langly replied as he locked the door. "Their story was that he surprised a burglar. There was struggling, and he was shot. We didn't believe it, so we investigated ourselves, but we didn't find anything. I guess the killers got to it first."

"He tried to keep me out of this conspiracy stuff," Danny said, "but I found out about it . . . when I was about ten, if I'm remembering correctly. I even found out about you three, but not until I was twenty."

"Your father was a great help in a lot of our stories." Langly cleared his throat. "You know, it is possible that whoever killed him found out he was exposing the lies of where he worked. Like the fact that the nerve gas that killed those people in the subway in Tokyo in 1995 was engineered in the BioTech laboratories and sold it to that Aum Shinrikyo. Public thought he was part of that millenarian cult."

"But that was a cover-up," Danny replied. "The American government hired him to kill an undercover intelligence officer whom they found out was going to expose some of their dirty work to the America public."

Langly raised an eyebrow. "Wow. For someone who kept it a secret, you know a lot about conspiracies. You subscribe to our newspaper?"

Danny smiled. "I read Dad's copies whenever I could."

"So, what do you plan on doing when you find out what's in that envelope?" he asked.

"I don't know yet," Danny replied. "But trust me. The people responsible will pay."


Greyhound Bus Depot

Silver Spring, Maryland

Frohike and Byers walked into the Silver Spring bus terminal and looked around. Byers spotted the section where the lockers were. "Over there," he nodded slightly. The two walked over. Byers pulled the locker key Danny had given him and looked at its number, 65F. He showed it to Frohike, and the two spilt up. A few moments later Frohike found the locker. "Byers." Byers walked over. "65F."

Byers put the key in the lock and opened the locker. Inside were the envelope, the newsletter, and the handwritten note that Danny had describe. Byers took the three items out, and the two carefully made their way out of the way terminal, glancing around occasionally to make sure they weren't being followed.


"You know," Danny said from behind a pair of VR goggles, "you might be good at role-playing, Langly, but VR happens to be my specialty." Her hands had special gloves on them with wires attached.

Langly was at his terminal, typing on his keyboard. He was hooked up to the computer by a headset and microphone. "Don't count on it," he replied. "Everyone knows my kungfu's the best, and that extends to VR." He typed a few more lines on the open program. "Ready?"

Danny nodded. "Ready."

Langly pressed enter, and his screen changed to a red world. On the screen facing him was a computer version of Danny, only now her hair was pulled back, she wore an outfit similar to Xena, and she wielded a sword. "Okay, Warrior Princess, bring it on."

The real Danny smiled from behind her goggles and moved her hand. On the screen, the computer image followed, twirling the sword once. Behind her goggles, Danny saw the character Langly had created for this program - his version of Lord Manhammer, which didn't look too much different that him already. "Ready when you are."

Langly started typing, but he was interrupted by the sound of the front door buzzer. He quickly removed his earpiece before getting up to answer it. He saw Byers and Frohike on the monitor, so he opened the door and let them in.

"So, did you get it?" Langly asked.

"Right here." Frohike held up the envelope then opened it. Inside was a blank floppy disk. "Let's get to work, gentlemen." They started over to Langly's terminal, and Byers and Frohike stopped when they saw Danny standing with the goggles on.

"Langly, what did you do to her?" Byers asked.

"Oh, she challenged me to a VR fight," Langly replied. "She thinks her kungfu's better than mine."

"So, you plan on leaving her like that forever?" Frohike asked. Langly quickly disabled the program.

Danny took off the helmet, frowning. "Hey, what was that for?" she asked. She noticed Byers and Frohike. "Oh, you're back. Did you get it?"

Frohike showed her the disk. "We were just about ready to look at it." Danny quickly took off her equipment and joined the trio at Langly's terminal. Frohike handed the disk to Langly, who put it in his drive. He pulled up the drive then started typing. Eight file names appeared.


"Eight files," Langly said. He clicked on AIDS-11.TXT, and was met with a dialogue box: ACCESS DENIED. He pulled up another window and started typing. After a few moments he gained access, and the file pulled up. Everyone skimmed the lines. "Here's all the stuff that he helped gave us on the military AIDS virus campaign we ran in 1992." He closed the file.

"AIDS, Anthrax, Ebola," Frohike said. "These are all the files he sent us."

"I remember those articles," Danny peered at the screen. "The last one - about the nerve gas - was written over a year ago." She frowned. "That doesn't make sense. Why would they kill him over stories that were run over a year ago?"

"Maybe they just found out he was leaking that information," Byers suggested. "However, there is one file on here that your father didn't give us." He pointed to PLAGUE-2.TXT. "Langly, see when that file was created."

"Aye aye," Langly replied. He typed a few keys and a detailed list of PLAGUE-2.TXT was brought up. "First created three weeks ago." He paused and frowned slightly. "Last modified a week ago."

"The last day I saw him alive," Danielle murmured. The four glanced at each other. "Can you bring it up?"

"Sure thing." Langly started typing again, but another dialogue box appeared: VOICE CONFIRMATION REQUIRED. "Great."

"What's the problem?" Frohike asked.

"The file can only be opened with a voice-activated trigger," Langly replied.

"Can't you bypass it at all?" Byers asked.

"Negatory," Langly answered. "Whoever's voice Cunningham programmed in, that's the only way to get in. There's no overriding this baby, 'cause I don't even know the software."

"It's new," Danny replied. "And there is a way to bypass it. This was designed by High-Tech. I actually helped with it. It is state-of-the-art."

"So, what's the bypass?" Langly asked.

"I don't know," Danny replied. "I wasn't part of the overriding programming."

"Great," Frohike said, rolling his eyes.

"However, I know where the schematics are kept," Danny added. "Everything is stored in the Data Room in Mount Savage. If we can get into it and get a copy of the overring schematics for the program, I just might be able to find out what's in that file."

Langly yawned loudly. "Sounds like a plan, but can we call it a night?" he asked. "No offense, but I'm wiped."

Byers looked at his watch. It was after two. "It is rather late. We'll pick this up after we get a good night's sleep." He turned to Danny. "Danny, in light of the situation, I think it would be best if you stayed here."

"Okay," Danny nodded. "It's not like I have anywhere else to be, anyway."

"You can take my room," Byers said. "I'll sleep on the couch."

"I don't want to kick you out of your bed," Danny said. "I'll take the couch."

"You sure?" Frohike asked. "That couch isn't the most comfortable thing in the world."

"I don't mind," Danny replied. Byers looked less than convinced, but he retrieved a blanket off one of the shelves. He handed it to her. "Thanks. For everything."

"Don't mention it," Frohike replied. "You're father helped us out, so consider this paying back a favor. Not that we wouldn't help you out if you weren't his daughter." Danny smiled gratefully. "So, try to get some rest, okay?"

Danielle nodded and went over to the couch. The trio went into their rooms and closed their doors. Danny sighed as she spread the blanket out and took her shoes off. She sat down on the couch and grabbed her purse. Rummaging around, she pulled out her wallet and took out a picture. Even though it was dark, there was still enough for her to see the picture. It was a picture of her and her father, taken a few months ago. Danny lay back against a cushion and stared at the picture. After a few moments, tears fell down her cheeks, and she started crying softly.


Danny could smell the aroma of eggs even before she opened her eyes. She slowly stretched and rubbed her eyes as she sat up. Looking around the room, Danny almost forgot where she was, but the computers and electronics reminded her of her location. There were voices coming from the kitchen, so she figured at least two of the three guys were already up. Ignoring the fact that her jeans and shirt were rumpled and she knew without even looking that her hair was a mess, she put on her shoes before going to the kitchen. Langly was sitting at the small table while Byers was pouring some coffee into mugs. Frohike was at the stove, cooking eggs in a skillet.

"Morning," she said as she stifled a yawn. Everyone looked over.

"She's up," Langly said.

"Did you sleep well?" Byers asked.

"I slept," Danny replied as she took the empty chair next to Langly. "Let's just leave it at that."

"Well, no offense," Frohike said, "but you look like crap. I told you that couch was not comfortable."

"It wasn't the couch," Danny replied. "I just tend to get a little restless, you know with my father killed and me being hunted like prey." Byers handed her a mug and Danny slowly sipped it. She winced slightly.

"Too hot?" Byers asked.

"No, it's just I'm used to cream and sugar." Byers retrieved both and Danny went to work doctoring her coffee. She sipped it again and smiled. "Now that's coffee." She put the mug aside to let it cool as Byers sat next to Langly.

Frohike transferred the contents of the skillet to four plates. He brought them over two at a time, along with silverware. "Huevos rancheros."

Danny breathed in the aroma. "Muchas gracias, Frohike."

"You speak Spanish?" Langly asked.

"Yeah. High-Tech sent me to Mexico for a year to work on some designs for one of our branches. By the time I left, I could - and still can - speak Spanish fluently. I also went to France and Italy and can speak both of those languages as well." She took a bite of the eggs. "Oh, muy bueno. Muy bueno."

"Gracias," Frohike replied with a hint of a smile.

"So, what's the plan for today?" Danny asked.

"We were actually talking about that before you came in," Byers replied. "Langly, Frohike, and I will go to Bio-Tech to get the schematics."

"I want to help," Danny said.

"No way," Frohike replied. "It's way too dangerous."

"Yeah, what if someone there recognizes you?" Langly asked. "Like the guys who killed your father. They could be staking out the place, waiting for you to show up"

Byers noticed her slightly disappointed look. "We know you want to help out, Danny, but it's just a precaution. We wouldn't want you to end up dead like your father."

Danny sighed. "I understand." She went back to eating her eggs. "VACO-238-25B."

"What?" Frohike asked.

"That's the schematic you'll be looking for," Danny explained. "It's the serial number for the override schematic. And the Data Room is in Room 167."

"If you didn't design it, then how did you know the serial number?" Langly asked.

"Company policy dictates that we memorize all the schematics for a design we work on or keep records of them in our files."

"What about the schematics for the actual program itself?" Byers asked.

"Those I already know," Danny answered. "I'll just need the override to figure out what to do." The rest of breakfast was spent in silence. Afterwards, the trio got their necessary gear together while Danny watched from the couch.

"If anyone comes to the door, don't let them in," Byers instructed as the four walked to the front door.

"Don't worry, I won't," Danny replied, hiding a smile.

"Don't forget to lock up," Frohike said as they left.

Danny shook her head, the smile showing as she closed the door behind them and locked it. They sound more like overprotective fathers than conspiracy theorists, she thought as she walked over to the couch and sat down.


High -Tech, Inc.

Mount Savage, Maryland

Frohike opened up the service door of High-Tech and looked around. The hallway was empty, save for a few people. He opened the door wider and pushed his makeshift cleaning cart - with what little cleaning supplies from the van - into the hallway. He completed his outfit of 'janitor' with a brownish-blue jumpsuit. He whistled as he strolled down the hall, no one taking notice of him as they went about their business. He glanced into a few as he passed them, noticing some of the high technological devices people were designing and looking at. "So far, so good," he said softly, speaking into the mini microphone attached to his collar. "Now, where's the room?"

From their spot in the van outside in the building's parking lot, Byers and Langly heard through their headsets what Frohike asked. Langly went to typing on a laptop. Within a few moments, he brought up the layout designs for High-Tech.

"Down at the end of the hall," Langly spoke into his mouthpiece.

Frohike walked until he came to the end of the hall. In front of him was the door that lead to Room 167. "Found it," he said. He noticed the keycard slot. "Uh oh. Keycard entry."

Langly typed a few more keystrokes, bringing up another window and a password box. He types a password in, and the box turns from red to green. "B-I-N-G-O," he grinned.

Frohike glanced around quickly before turning the knob and opening the door. He quickly pushed his cart in and shut the door behind him. The data room was fairly large, lined with rows of filing cabinets. Frohike whistled softly as he started searching the files. "This is going to take a while."

"Frohike, we don't have a while," Byers said. "You need to get that schematic as quickly as possible."

"Well, if I knew where to look, Byers, you think I'd be standing here?"

"Don't get your shorts in a wad," Langly replied, typing. "According to the files I'm looking at, the program we're working with is the VACO-238, so the schematic's probably in the file cabinet marked V."

Frohike walked down the rows until he came to the V cabinet. He opened it up and started rummaging through the files until he came to a fairly thick one label 'VACO-238.' He pulled out the file and flipped through the papers until he found VACO-238-25B. "Got it," he smiled.

"Thank you so much," a familiar voice replied. Frohike turned around and saw Yves Adele Harlow standing right behind him.

"You!" Frohike frowned. "How the hell did you get in here?"

"Frohike, what's going on?" Byers asked.

"It's Yves," Frohike replied.

"It was quite simple," Yves said, her voice thick with that British accent. "Still, we really do have to stop meeting this way."

"What are you doing here?" Frohike asked.

"Same as you, I suppose." She snatched the schematic from him and folded it up, stuffing it in her shirt.

"Yves, give it back."

Yves folded her arms. "You going to take it from me?"

Frohike glared at her, but he made no attempt to get the schematic back. "So who hired you? And don't play games, Yves. Who's paying you to do what?"

Yves sighed. "Someone named Malachite," Yves replied. "He called me and asked me what I knew about Jared Cunningham's death. He said he had an interest in seeing the killer or killers punished, and he was willing to pay quite handsomely for it, but I had to do one thing."

"What?" Frohike crossed his arms.

"To locate Cunningham's daughter, Danielle."

"How do you know this Malachite isn't the killer himself?"

"Because after we met, and he told me what he wanted, I checked him out. His real name is Bryan Patterson. He worked alongside Cunningham for nearly fifteen years at Bio-Tech. Interestingly enough, I also found out that Cunningham has the alias of Faylor. I traced that name as being a contact to Lord Manhammer, your friend Langly, which why I assumed you three would have an interest in this. However, the only reason I could see you being here is because you have the second part of the file, which means you either have Songbird and Miss Cunningham at your place or you know where they."

Frohike sighed. "Yves, her father was killed for that file, and we're trying - what do you mean the second part of the file?"

"Patterson told me that three days before Cunningham was murdered, he gave him a disk. On it was a file called PLAGUE-1.TXT. It was protected by a voice activation confirmation program that High-Tech designed, the same design that Cunningham's daughter worked on. Patterson was able to open it because Cunningham told him it was his voice that he programmed into the file. Inside was a letter from Cunningham, stating that he had split the file into two parts, so the people after him couldn't get it all from one person. One part was for his daughter, and the other for his partner. Together, they could expose the truth in case something happened."

"So, then why do you need that schematic if Patterson has already opened his part of the file? And what's Songbird?"

"Like I said earlier, I knew you three would have an interest in this. As for Songbird, all Patterson said about it was that it was the key to opening her part of the file. Also, when you find Danielle, you'll find Songbird, so I'm assuming she possess it."

Frohike sighed, trying to keep his anger under control. "Yves, look, I know you probably couldn't care less about this, except for the money you're getting, but I'm asking you to leave this alone. We need to see what's on that file; it was modified the last day Danny saw her father alive. It might help us find out who killed him."

"Danny?" Yves raised an eyebrow. "I thought you might be sheltering her at your place."

"You know, I don't even know why I bother trying to explain anything to you." He turned around and started the leave.

Yves sighed and pulled out the schematic. "Take the bloody thing," she said. Frohike turned around. He saw the schematic that Yves was holding out. He reached for it, but she pulled away. "Only on the condition that once you figure out what's on the file, you'll let me take Danielle to Patterson."

"No way," Frohike replied. "We figure out what's on the file, it's Danny's decision on what to do; it was her father that was killed, after all."

Yves paused, then she nodded. "Very well," she said. She handed the schematic to Frohike. "I'll talk to Patterson, see what he wants to do, then I'll drop by later on to see what Miss Cunningham's decision is."

"As long as you come alone." Frohike turned around, stuffing the schematic in his pocket. He opened the door and pushed his cart out, going the way he came. After abandoning it in the service room, he exited the building and hurried over to the van.

"So, we got it?" Langly asked as Byers went to the front seat and started the car.

Frohike pulled out the schematic. "Right here." He chuckled. "I still can't believe she gave it to me."

"What about her story?" Byers asked as he put the car into drive and drove off.

"That's the problem," Frohike answered. "I don't think she'd lie to us about something like that, but there was still something fishy about that Patterson guy."

"I can run a check on him," Langly suggested. "See if he checks out."

"Let's talk to Danny, first," Byers replied. "If he was really Cunningham's partner, she'll know him." He pulled the van onto the road back to Takoma Park.


Byers pulled the van into its usual spot near the warehouse. The three got out and walked down the steps to the front door. Byers rang the buzzer. "Danny, it's us," he said. A few moments passed before they heard the locks being unlocked. Danny opened the door.

"You guys are never going to believe what happened," she said as the three went inside. She locked the door.

"What?" Frohike asked. Danny walked over to the couch and pointed. The trio stopped short when they saw Jimmy tied up on the couch, blindfolded with a gag in his mouth.

"Jimmy?" Byers asked. Jimmy muttered something intelligible. Byers walked over and took the gag out of his mouth. He removed the blindfold and started untying him.

"Oh, come on, do you have to untie him?" Langly asked.

"Yeah, really," Frohike added. Byers shot both of them a look as he untied Jimmy.

"You mean you three know him?" Danny asked.

"Unfortunately," Frohike muttered.

"Danny, why did you tie him up?" Byers asked.

"Because he was snooping around here and tried repeatedly to get in here," Danny replied. "And since you guys told me not to open the door for anyone, I sneaked out, tackled him, tied him up, and dragged him back here. I thought maybe he was one of the killers." Langly and Frohike tried to cover up laughs by coughing.

"He's a friend of ours," Byers explained. "He provides us the money for our publication."

"Oh," Danny said. "Sorry."

"Well, no harm done," Byers replied.

"So, what's going on?" Jimmy asked as he rubbed his wrists, looking at Danny. Finally able to get a good look at her, his eyes nearly popped out of his head. Standing in front of him was a five foot seve, long brown-haired, green-eyed woman. He couldn't believe that someone her size was able to drag him down to the warehouse after tackling him. And she was really pretty too, he thought.

"Danny, this is Jimmy Bond," Byers explained. "Jimmy, this is Danielle Cunningham. Her father was killed a few days ago by some people."

"That sucks," Jimmy frowned. "But, uh, why is she here?"

"Because her father worked for a company that engineered biological weapons," Langly replied. "Anthrax, Agent Orange, and other nasty stuff. He communicated to us this information for our publication. We believe that someone found this out and killed him."

"And now they're after me because I have a file they want," Danny added.

"Actually, it's only part of a file," Frohike said.

"What do you mean?" Danny asked.

"We ran into Yves Adele Harlow at Bio-Tech," Frohike answered. "She's a hacker for hire."

"Danny, do you know a Bryan Patterson?" Byers asked.

"Yeah, he was my father's partner at Bio-Tech. Why?"

"According to Yves, your father split PLAGUE into two parts," Langly replied. "Patterson got the first part, and you got the second. He was also able to open his part."

"So, what was on it?"

"Yves didn't say," Frohike replied. "However, she did mention something that was crucial to opening your half of the file. What does Songbird mean to you?"

Danny frowned. "Songbird?" She sighed. "Songbird was the nickname my father gave me when I was a child. I learned how to play the guitar and piano, plus I was in my school choir. Haven't done much of anything since high school, but Dad still kept calling me that."

"So, how could a nickname be important to opening up a file?" Jimmy asked.

Byers furrowed his eyebrows. "Frohike, Yves said that Patterson was able to open his half of the file because his voice was programmed into it, right?"


"If that's the case, then wouldn't it be possible that Danny's voice could open up her half?"

"Yeah, and Songbird is the word that he programmed," Langly added.

"Could be worth a shot," Frohike shrugged. He looked at Langly. "Can you set that up?"

"Well, Danny said it was a new program," Langly replied. "I don't know how I'd be able to."

"Actually, there is a way," Danny spoke up. "I'm just going to need a computer with a lot of memory." She looked at Langly. "May I borrow yours, Langly?"

"Sure." The five walked over to Langly's computer, where Danny sat down. Her fingers started flying across the keys. "I can hack into High-Tech's system," she explained. "Since a copy of the program is actually installed onto all the computers at work to test, I can piggyback onto one of them and download the program. The great thing about this is that if anyone tries to trace this, the signals will be traced back to my terminal at the office, so there's no chance of us being detected."

"Wow, that's pretty good," Jimmy said, a grin spreading across his face.

"Thanks," Danny replied without looking up. She kept typing until a dialogue box came up: USER LOGIN REQUIRED. She typed some more and smiled when another box came up: ACCESS GRANTED - WELCOME TO HIGH-TECH, D. CUNNINGHAM. "Okay, so far so good." She continued typing, brining up different screens until she came to a long list of files. She scrolled down until she came to VCA.EXE. She clicked on the file, and it started downloading.

"So, uh, Songbird?" Jimmy asked. "That's a cool name."

"Thanks," Danny replied.

"So, you really good with computers?"

"Well, she was able to hack into Langly's computer and found our address," Byers replied.

"Pure luck," Langly muttered.

Danny smiled, knowing that Langly wasn't upset with her.

"You hacked into his computer?" Jimmy asked. "Wow, that's cool." He propped his elbow on the table as he smiled at Danny. His elbow missed the table, and he fell to the floor. Everyone looked over as he quickly got to his feet.

"You okay?" Danny asked.

Jimmy shrugged, smiling. "I'm fine." Danny focused her attention back to Langly. Byers and Frohike looked at Jimmy oddly, then turned back to watch Langly.

Langly's computer started beeping. "Okay," Danny said, "we have the program on the computer. Now, all we'll need is a voice hookup, like a microphone or something."

"Have plenty of those," Frohike said as he walked over to one of the many shelves. He returned with an audio and microphone headset. He handed it to Danny. She reached around the monitor and hooked the headset up. "Okay, let's see if this works."

"And if it doesn't, we got the schematic for the override." Frohike held up the paper. He noticed that Jimmy was giving Danny a dopey grin. He shook his head and sighed. It was bad enough that Jimmy was a moron already, but the last thing he needed was Jimmy going gaga over a woman during their investigation.

Danny slipped on the headset. She took the disk from Langly after he grabbed it from its spot near his terminal and put it back into the drive. She clicked on PLAGUE-2.TXT, bringing up the voice confirmation box. "Let's hope it works. Songbird." Everyone watched as the file opened, revealing the contents of PLAGUE-2.TXT. She leaned over and started skimming the file. "'Project BUBO Implementation'."

"What is a BUBO?" Jimmy asked. "Some kind of bird?"

"Yeah, Jimmy," Frohike said. "We're looking at a governmental conspiracy in a file called PLAGUE where millions of birds will be released into the public and kill everyone." He rolled his eyes.

"Like in 'The Birds'," Jimmy nodded, smiling. "I see. So, the Bubo is a kind of new, exoctic bird, right?" The Lone Gunmen just rolled their eyes and sighed.

Danny frowned at Jimmy. He's not being serious, I hope, she thought as she rolled her eyes. I mean, why would they hire him if he's such a moron?

"Jimmy, there is no such thing as a Bubo bird," Langly said.

"There is, however, such thing as a boob," Frohike added, "and you're it." He, along with everyone else, turned back to the computer screen. Jimmy looked confused for a moment, then leaned over.

"Well, considering that the file name is PLAGUE," Byers replied, "it looks as though the contents of this file could have something to do with the bubonic plague." He skimmed the first few lines. "CIA . . . military contract . . . it looks as though Bio-Tech was given a project that had something to do with manufacturing the bubonic plague virus."

"It goes on to say that my father and Patterson were the supervisors for this project," Danny added. "He thought that the project was geared toward finding a vaccine for the virus. However, the military personnel failed to tell them that they were planning on studying this by releasing it into the public via people's pets through local veterinarians when yearly vaccines are administered." Everyone looked up as the front buzzer sounded. Byers left and returned a few moments later with Yves.

"You came alone?" Frohike asked.

"Of course," Yves replied. She looked at Danny. "Danielle Cunningham."

"And you are?" Danny asked.

"Yves Adele Harlow," Yves replied. She turned to the trio. "I've talked with Patterson. He is concerned for Danielle and wants to see her. He said if Danny was up to it, they could meet in the parking lot of Bio-Tech in less than hour." She noticed the computer screen. "I see you've managed to open the file. So, she had Songbird then, huh?"

"Songbird is a nickname my father gave me," Danielle replied.

"Danny, could you do us a favor?" Byers asked suddenly.

"Sure. What?"

"You see those file cabinets back there?" Byers nodded.

Danny looked back and saw where Byers was looking. "Yeah."

"Could you find anything you possibly can on the Plague and military involvement?"

"Sure." Danny walked back to the filing cabinets.

"What was that all about, Byers?" Frohike asked.

"Yves, did Patterson mention anything about people following him?" Byers asked. "Did he act like he was in any danger?"

"No, why?" Yves looked puzzled.

"Cunningham wrote that he and Patterson were partners in this project. Why would they only target Cunningham and his daughter?"

"Maybe they didn't know that Patterson had part of the file," Jimmy suggested.

"Maybe," Byers nodded. "However, before we let his guy anywhere near Danny, we should check him out."

"You three really are paranoid, aren't you?" Yves asked. She sighed. "Very well. I'll go meet with Patterson and talk with him."

"We'll go," Frohike said.

"There's nothing on the Plague anywhere!" Danny shouted.

"Did you try under T for 'The Plague'?" Frohike shouted, shooting a look at Jimmy.

There was rummaging around. "Found it!"

"Also looked under Military Laboratories and Disease," Langly added. "Anything on Biological Warfare might help."

"Okay, let's get going before Danny comes back," Frohike said. "Yves, can you stay here and keep an eye on her?"

"Why can't Jimmy?"

"Because she's already overpowered him once," Byers replied. Everyone looked at Jimmy, who grinned and shrugged. "If she learns that we've left without her, she'll try to follow."

Yves sighed. "Very well." She watched the trio gather up a few things then leave as quietly as possible.

Danny came back with an armload of files. The top one fell off, scattering its papers. "Oh." She set the files on the table then bent over to pick up the dropped file.

"Here let me," Jimmy quickly bent over and the two collided. "Ow!" He pulled back and held his head.

"Ooh," Danny winced and pulled away, patting her head gingerly. She frowned at Jimmy. Yves sighed loudly and retrieved the file. She set it with the others.

"Sorry," Jimmy looked sheepishly.

"You know, for three people who are supposed to be very smart," Danny said, "their filing skills are atrocious."

"Actually, I filed everything," Jimmy said proudly.

"Why did you put 'The Plague' under T?"

"Because The starts with T," Jimmy said matter-of-factly. Danny and Yves shared an exasperated look.

"Okay," Danny said slowly. She looked around. "Where are the guys?"

"They went to meet Patterson," Yves replied.

"Without me?" Danny frowned. "Why?"

"They wanted to be sure they could trust him," Yves said.

"Trust him? He and my father worked together for fifteen years. He's like an uncle to me."

"They just thought it was rather odd that no one is after him," Yves replied. "He didn't seem to act like he was in danger." She shrugged slightly. "To be quite honest, I don't blame them."

"Maybe they don't know he was part of this," Danny retorted.

"Perhaps, but regardless of how you might feel about this arrangement, I'm here to make sure you don't go after them."

"Oh, really?" Danny folded her arms.

Yves nodded. "Look, since we're going to be here a while, why don't we work on finding out what's on this disk?"

"What's your involvement in this?" Danny asked.

"Patterson hired me to find you," Yves answered as she walked over to Langly's terminal and started typing. She scrolled through the document, noting key points. "Bubonic plague . . . CIA . . . military contracts." She frowned as she saw the last paragraph of the document was gibberish. "Wonder what that is?"

"It's a code," Danny replied as she walked over and read the gibberish. "My dad and I made it up when I was younger; it was our way of communicating with each other." She smiled. "Last time we used it was when I was twelve."

"Do you think you could decipher this?" Yves asked.

"I can try." Yves got up and let Danny sit down. She started typing on the keyboard while Jimmy and Yves watched.



Baltimore, Maryland

Night had fallen by the time the Lone Gunmen parked their van near a grove of trees in the back part of the parking lot of Bio-Tech. There were no light posts in the immediate vicinity, causing the place to be filled with shadows. It was deserted, Bio-Tech having closed two hours ago. The side door opened and Byers and Langly hopped out.

Frohike got out of the driver's and walked over. "So, what's the plan?" he asked.

No one got to answer as a black town car pulled up next to the van and an older gentleman in a suit got out. He hurried over with a smile on his face, but it disappeared quickly. "Where's Danny?" he asked.

"Bryan Patterson?" Byers asked.

"Yes, who are you?" Patterson frowned.

"We're friends of Danny's," Frohike said.

"She didn't want to meet?"

"Actually, we didn't want her coming along until we had a chance to talk with you ourselves," Byers replied. "Considering how the people who killed Cunningham are also trying to kill her, we thought it best." Patterson sighed, clearly annoyed. "Have you noticed anyone following you or felt like something was wrong?"

"No, why?" Patterson asked.

"Danny and her father are being chased," Langly replied. "And considering how you were Cunningham's partner in that project he was working on, we just find it odd that no one would be coming after you."

"If you're implying that I helped kill my partner, then you're mistaken. He was my best friend, and I care about Danny. She's like a daughter to me. I want Jared's killers exposed. That's why I need to talk to Danny; her half has the names of the people responsible for her father's death. Let me help."

The Lone Gunmen looked at each other. "Can we talk about this?" Byers asked. Patterson nodded, and three huddled.


Danny typed one last line of the program she and her father had designed for their code. She pressed enter and the code started deciphering. She smiled. "Bingo." Yves and Jimmy leaned over, and they all started reading the message. Danny's smile quickly faded. "Oh no," she whispered.

"What is it?" Yves asked.

Danny pointed to the third line. "Dad wrote this before he came to me with the disk. He says that he realized too late that the person who's after him is Malachite." She looked up. "We have to go to Bio-Tech. The guy's are in trouble."

"Who's Malachite?" Jimmy asked.

"Malachite is the codename of Patterson," Yves replied. The three looked at each other before running toward the front door.


"So, now what?" Langly whispered in the huddle. "His story sounds legit."

"I don't know," Frohike replied. "I still think there's something fishy about him." They all paused as they heard a clicking sound. They looked up and saw Patterson pointing a gun at them. "And now I know what it is." They raised their hands.

"You should have brought Danielle," Patterson said.

"Why, so you could kill her like you did her father?" Langly asked. Patterson shrugged.

"Why did you do this?" Byers asked.

"I couldn't let him expose what we were working on," Patterson answered. "Once we found he was smuggling information about Project BUBO, we were able to trace information smuggling to other projects we had worked on to him. Once I get that information from Danielle, our problem will be eliminated."

"You plan on killing her," Frohike replied.

"Well, the police won't see it that way," Patterson said. "There will be enough evidence at the scene of the murder-suicide to finger her as the prime suspect in her father's murder. And yours." He held up the gun. "Especially since the murder weapon will be found in her hand."

"And how will explain her being dead?" Langly asked. "And us."

"I'll be able to tell them from a first-hand account that she seemed distraught and irratic," Patterson explained. "They won't have any reason to doubt me, considering Danielle's been missing for almost four days after her father's death." He took a cell phone out of his pocket and tossed it to Byers. "Now call her."


Yves sped down the street toward Bio-Tech. Danny was in the passenger's seat, while Jimmy was in the back.

"So, what's our plan?" Jimmy asked.

"I don't know yet," Yves replied. She turned down the street Bio-Tech was on. She stopped by the curb and everyone got out. Yves took a pair of miniature night vision goggles from her pocket and scanned the parking lot. "There they are. And they're not alone." He handed the goggles to Danny.

"We have to do something," Danny replied. She hurried over through the trees toward Patterson and the Lone Gunmen.

Yves sighed. She went into her car and pulled out a cell phone and a gun. She handed the phone to Jimmy. "Call the police," she said as she went the opposite way Danny did. Jimmy frowned slightly, but he followed her, dialing.


Byers looked at the cell phone then threw it back to Patterson. "No," he said. "If you're going to kill us, then go ahead and kill us, but you won't be finding out where Danny is."

Patterson sighed. "Very well." He aimed the gun right at Byers.

"Bryan!" Everyone looked toward the trees and saw Danny emerge. "Wait."

"Danny, get out of here," Frohike said.

"Sorry, but I can't." She looked at Patterson. "Why did you do it?"

"Money talks," Patterson replied. He aimed the gun at her. "Now, where's the disk?"

"In here," Danny held up her purse. "I'll exchange it for their lives."

"Danny, no," Byers said.

"You don't seem to grasp the situation," Patterson said. "I have a gun pointed at your head. I wasn't afraid to shoot your father, and I'm not afraid to shoot you. I want that information, and I will get it - before or after you're dead, I don't care."

"I don't think so," Yves replied as she stepped out from behind the Lone Gunmen's van. She aimed her gun at Patterson. "The police have been called. They'll be here in a few minutes. Now, I suggest you put your gun down."

Patterson sighed, looking at Danny. He lowered his weapon. "You think this will stop with me? You're wrong."

"Maybe not," Danny replied as she walked over and took it from him. "However, there will be a finality to this." She aimed the gun at Patterson. "Right now."

"Danny, put the gun down," Byers replied as he edged over toward her.

"Back off, Byers," Danny said. Byers stopped. "He murdered my father, so I think payback's only fair."

"This isn't the way to go about it," Frohike said. "You kill him, and it's all over. That's the same gun he used to kill your father with. You shoot him, they'll think you killed your father."

"I don't care," Danny replied.

"Yes, you do," Yves said. "You won't kill him."

"How do you know that?" Danny asked. "We just met."

"Yes, but I've seen killers before," Yves replied. "Looked them straight in the eyes, seen so much hatred but no conscience. But I saw conscience in your eyes. You might pull that trigger, and you have every reason to kill him. And to be quite honest, he does deserve it."

"You're not helping the matter, Yves," Langly said.

"But it wouldn't fix anything," Yves continued. "Danny, you're father's dead; nothing will change that. However, if he were alive, do you think he would want to see you throw all of this away?"

"Throw what away?" Danny asked.

"Your father worked very hard to expose the people responsible," Yves answered. "He did it for you."

"She's right, Danny," Byers said. "He knew by exposing this your life would be safer. But if you kill him, you'll be living the rest of your life in jail. Your father wouldn't want that. And neither do we."

Danny blinked as tears rolled down her cheeks. She lowered her gun as Byers approached her and held out his hand. She handed it over to him. Byers quickly handed the gun to Yves.

"This doesn't change anything," Patterson replied. "You think that just because you have me, this project or others like it will stop? Well, you're idiots if you think that."

Danny narrowed her eyes at her father's onetime partner. She balled up her fist and swung it at Patterson, connecting with his nose. He stumbled back and fell to the ground, unconscious. "That was for you, Dad," she whispered. She turned around, smiling slightly at her new friends, as police cars sped into the parking lot.


While Danny gave her statement to the police, the group watched from their vehicles as Patterson was being loaded into a squad car. They watched the car pull away and disappear into the night.

"So, what's going to happen to her now?" Jimmy asked as he watched Danny.

"Well, she's free to go about her business, of course" Yves replied. "There are no longer people after her."

"And the government is going down big time," Langly added.

"Not really," Danny said as she walked over to the group.

"What are you talking about?" Frohike asked.

"You guys have been in this business long enough," Danny answered. "How long do you think it's going to take the people behind this to destroy everything and everyone connected to this? How long do you think Patterson has to live?"

"She has a point," Byers said. "The only proof we have is what's on Danny's disk." He eyed her. "Did you really bring it?"

"I'm not that stupid, Byers," Danny smiled. "It's still in Langly's computer." She sighed. "However, I do have an apology to make. My initial intentions in this matter were not what you thought they were."

"How so?" Langly asked.

"I was using you to get information on my father's killer. I wasn't planning on letting you keep anything you might have found to expose the story. However, you guys did put your lives on the line to help me, and my father trusted you. It's only fair that you keep the information and let the public know everything. I just hope that you can forgive me."

"There's nothing to forgive," Frohike said.

"Yeah, it was your old man," Langly added. "We would have probably done the same thing."

Danny smiled gratefully. "Thanks."

"So, what are you going to do now?" Byers asked.

Danny frowned slightly. "I don't know. I don't think I can go back to my normal life after this."

Yves smiled. "I know what she could do. Danny, would you mind coming with me?" Danny shrugged and the two women walked to Yves' car. "We'll see you boys back at your place in a few hours." They got in and Yves drove off.

"So, what do we do?" Jimmy asked.

"We have a story to write," Byers said. The four men loaded into the VW van and drove off back to their home.


The Lone Gunmen has just finished putting the last touches on their story when the front buzzer rang. Jimmy went to answer it. Yves was standing on the other side, holding a few shopping bags. When she walked in, Jimmy saw Danny standing behind her, and he went bug-eyed again. "Uh," he said, trying to speak.

"Oh, please," Yves rolled her eyes. "Gentlemen, there's something you should see. And hopefully you'll be a little more vocal than Jimmy was." The trio walked over just as Danny came in. Like Jimmy, they were all very surprised by her appearance.

Danny had changed into a pair of tight blue jeans, and a white shirt tucked in. A brown Bomber jacket was over that, and she was wearing new tennis shoes on her feet. A pair of sunglasses covered her eyes. The most startling thing, however, was her hair. It was no longer long and dark brown. It had been cut to just below her ears and dyed red. Smiling, she took off her sunglasses.

"Well?" she asked. "What do you think?"

"Man, she looks like Scully," Langly said.

"Who's Scully?" Danny asked.

"A friend of ours in the FBI," Byer's replied. He looked confused. "Why the change in appearance?"

"I thought it would be best for her to make a fresh start," Yves replied. "New clothes, new hairstyle, and plenty of money to start a new life elsewhere."

"She even thought of a cool name," Danny added. "Sandy N. Bridogn (she pronounced it like Bree-dawn; it's French). She says it's an anagram of Danny Songbird."

"You're leaving?" Jimmy asked. "Why?"

"Why would I stay?"

"Actually, we were hoping you would," Frohike said.

Danny frowned. "I don't understand."

"Danny, you helped us out," Byers replied. "Just like your father helped us out so many times. We discussed it amongst ourselves, and we would like for you to continue helping us."

"By doing what?"

"All kinds of cool stuff," Langly answered. "Hacking, surveilling, undercover ops and such. Exposing the government."

"And where would I stay?"

"Here, of course," Frohike replied.

"Here?" Yves asked. "Where?"

"There's a empty room toward the back where we keep a few things," Byers explained. "Along with a separate bathroom. We can move everything, that's not a problem."

"Living under the same roof with you four men day in and day out?" Yves asked. She rolled her eyes. "She'll go crazy. She can stay with me."

"And get corrupted by you, Yves?" Frohike asked. "She'd stand a better chance of remaining normal here."

Danny smiled. "Well, given the circumstances, I don't think there's really much of a decision to be made. I mean, Dad worked with you, and I know he would still be fighting for what's right if he were alive today." She turned to Yves. "Yves, I can't turn my back on my father. I know he would have wanted me to do this."

Yves tried not smiling, but she did anyway. "Do you honestly know what you'll be getting into by living here with them?"

"Probably not, but I can't say no. I'm sorry."

"Don't be." She glanced at the four men. "And they could definitely use some normality around here. Just don't hesitate to contact me if you've changed your mind."

"I won't," Danny smiled.

"So, you're staying?" Jimmy asked.


"Cool!" Jimmy grabbed her in a big bear hug.

"Hey!" Danny shouted as Jimmy hugged her. "Knock it off!" She pulled free of Jimmy's grasp. "Sheesh." She straightened her jacket.

"So, Danny, you have any other qualifications other than your computer and language skills?" Frohike asked.

"I can cook. Plus, I'm pretty good in hand-to-hand combat." She yawned. "Hoh. I'm exhausted."

"Well, it's been a long day," Frohike replied. "Let's get some rest."

"I'll show you out, Yves," Danny said. The two women walked to the front door.

"The offer still stands you know," Yves replied as she opened the door.

"I'll keep that in mind," Danny smiled.

Yves glanced back at the four men as they walked upstairs to the upper level. "Good luck." She walked up the stairs to her car. Danny shut the door and locked it. She sighed as she leaned against the door and looked around her new home. That's going to take some getting used to, she thought.


It was almost eight in the morning when the Lone Gunmen ventured into the kitchen. They were dressed, rested, and ready to begin another day of governmental watchdogging. Langly went to one of the cabinets and pulled out a bowl of cereal while Byers went to start the coffee maker. Frohike went to the refrigerator to look for something to eat. Byers sat down at the table and noticed the piece of paper on it. He picked it up and read it.

"Hey, Byers, what's that?" Langly asked as he rummaged around for a bowl.

"It's from Danny," Byers replied. "She's left."

"What?" Frohike asked. He and Langly came over. Frohike grabbed the paper and read it. "Okay, what is that supposed to mean?"

"She probably went to father's grave," Byers replied.

"Should we go after her?" Langly asked.

"Well, if Jimmy's with her, we'd better," Frohike replied. "Problem is which cemetary her father was buried at."

"That won't be a problem," Langly said. The three left the kitchen and went over to Langly's terminal.


Red Haven Cemetary Mausoleum

Baltimore, Maryland

Frohike spotted Jimmy's car at a spot near the tree, Jimmy leaning against it. He pulled up beside it, and all three of them got out. Jimmy glanced up from where he was staring as the trio walked over. "Hey, guys," he said. The four looked to where Jimmy had been looking earlier and saw Danny kneeling in front of two graves, her back towards them.

"Why didn't you tell us you were coming here?" Frohike asked.

"Well, you were asleep, and Danny didn't want to wake you," Jimmy replied.

"So, how come she woke you up?" Langly asked.

"She was writing the letter when I went into the kitchen. She asked if I could take her, and I said sure."

"How long have you been here?" Byers asked.

Jimmy looked at his watch. "Almost thirty minutes. Did I do something wrong?"

"No," Byers replied. The four just stood and watched Danny.

" . . . and they're really nice," Danny said to her father's tombstone. She was crying softly. "I think I can do so much more with them than staying at High-Tech, and I know you understand that." She wiped her cheeks. "Well, I'd better get going. I have a lot of work to do. I'll come back and see you and Mom whenever I can." She removed two single roses from her jacket and placed one in front of her father's tomb. She placed the other one at the other tomb before standing up. She just stared at the two tomstones, reading their engravings:

Mary Rachel Cunningham
Born July 3, 1949
Died September 7, 1977
Jared Davis Cunningham
Born December 21, 1947
Died June 7, 2001

"I love both of you," Danny whispered. She turned and saw the Lone Gunmen standing with Jimmy. Smiling slightly and taking a deep breath, she walked toward them.