Michelle was frisked as the Cray pinned her to the wall. She was detached and led by gunpoint into the building.
Carli rose from her chair. "Oh, look who's here. What do you want now, Hogan? Sources say Whiplash quit."
"Yeah, and I need a job." Michelle said, spitting.
"Oh, really? Why?" Carli asked.
"For one thing, I need to get back at Whiplash." Michelle said.
"Get back at her? Hah." Carli offered her a drink. "Beer?"
"Aren't you too young?"
"Hey, no one cares."
Michelle shrugged and took the bottle. "So, am I back in?" she asked.
"Hmm." Carli took a sip.
"Well, you ARE aware that we have Sarah and Alice-"
"They're not important. I want revenge."
"For what? Whiplash quit."
"She insulted me. Need I more reason?" Michelle narrowed her eyes. "Or is rage just not your thing?"
Carli laughed. "I'm starting to see the old you. Cheers." Carli chugged her beer.
Michelle finished hers easily. "What do you want me to do first? Kill Whiplash?"
"No, not yet. Too soon." Carli said. "Perhaps you would like to see Sarah?"
"She's not important-"
"I insist." Carli brought Michelle to a back room.
Sarah lay unconscious on a steel bed frame, blood and sweat glistening on her forehead.
Michelle turned away with disinterest. "As I've said, unimportant."
"Hmm. Perhaps. Oh. I need you to take care o8f someone for me."
"Dale Smith. You remember him, right?"
Carli nodded. "Kill him. You're on your own."
Michelle hurried from the room. The perfect murder. Done.
There were no traces, no connections. And, hey, she didn't really exist.
Michelle hurried to Carli's building.
"I'm done. Now what?" Michelle asked.
"Huh. I don't know . That's new." Carli picked up her soda. "Look, I know what you're doing. It's just...my dad..."
Michelle frowned. "What do you mean? I'm working for you, of course you know what I'm doing."
Carli laughed. "Sarah's scheduled to be moved to Arizona tomorrow, Alice to Canada. You're not getting them both back anytime soon."
"How about one of them?" Michelle asked.
Carli kicked her feet up. "I'll bite. Which?"
Michelle bit her lip. "I don't know."
"Sarah has a higher chance of dying if we move her.' Carli said. "Alice probably won't be seen or heard from again. Not by you, at least."
Michelle sighed. "Look, Sarah's the one you want. Trust me." Carli said. "I'll even give one to you, but you can't go after the other one. Ever. Either way, you lose at least one of them."
"I've already lost Alice." Michelle said quietly.
Carli tossed a key to Michelle. "All right, your choice."
Michelle pulled open the door to Sarah's cell and eased her way inside.
She knelt down next to her and felt her pulse. It was faint, but unmistakably there.
"Sarah?" Michelle whispered.
Sarah opened her eyes slowly. As her eyes adjusted to the darkness, she managed a weak smile.
"Hhh." Sarah coughed. "Hhhe."
"Hey." Michelle replied, taking Sarah's hand.
"No...probs." she gasped.
"I'm taking you home, okay?"
Sarah nodded weakly.
Michelle took Sarah's arm and helped her to a sitting position.
Sarah put an arm around Michelle's neck.
Michelle lifted Sarah up.
"You know, I think Carli's still your friend."
"What?" Sarah frowned.
"She's only letting me take you because you might die if they move you."
Sarah grimaced. "I miss her."
The coast was clear as they made their way down the street.
Lauren met them at the door. "How...?"
"Ellen." Michelle sat Sarah down. "Ellen...convinced Carli to give Sarah back if she left Athens. Poor girl needs a break."
Lauren's lips formed a tight line. "Well, I'd say the Whiplash's done its final blow.