Chapter Six

Agent Wilson risked getting spotted again by driving back to the Boar's Nest. He parked the car behind some bushes, far across the field across the street from the bar. He was pretty sure he would be spotted, but he made no plans to stay any longer than he had to.

Watching through binoculors, he watched the deputy and mechanic leave the Boar's Nest in one of the white county patrol cars. Several minutes later, the two country boys with the bright orange car left and the Sheriff followed soon after. Making a hit on the young woman was out of the question at this point. The Boar's Nest was too crowded and too busy, and he wasn't to
fond of hanging around until her shift ended, which could have been anytime.

He had two options. He could watch the courthouse, or the Coltrane house. But after what happened to Nellis and Murphy...he decided the homestead of the Sheriff and his cousin was not the best option. And the courthouse wasn't really any better.

So Wilson returned to town and parked on the opposite side of the square, watching the courthouse building through the wrought iron fence.

*****                          *****                          *****                          *****

Rosco was sitting at the booking desk trying to sort through paperwork that should have been done in the morning. He looked up when Flash made a brief whine in the process of yawning. The basset then settled her head back down on her front paws and looked up Rosco sadly.

Rosco looked at her sympathetically. He figured she missed Bandit, who usually stayed at the courthouse when MaryAnne was working at the Boar's Nest. But Rosco suggested that she take the German Shepherd with her...just in case.

"I know, honey, maybe MaryAnne oughta git another big dog huh?"


Rosco chuckled. "Don't worry, I'll protect ya." He turned the papers in his hands up on the desk and then placed them aside.

The ring of the telephone pierced the quiet booking room. Rosco jumped a little and then shook his head at his somewhat silly reaction. He picked up the reciever beside him. "Hazzard County Sheriff's Office. Sheriff Roscoooo P. Coltrane speakin'."

"This is Darrel Crane, Atlanta District Attorney. I'm sure you remember me."

Rosco stopped short of snorting. How could I forget? "Yes," he said simply.

"I've just received a call from the Bureau. They tell me that a stolen State Police patrol car was sighted leaving Hazzard County."

"That's right," Rosco said evenly. "A stolen State Police vee-hicle with your witness in it. Whatchya gonna do about that, Councilor?"

There was a silent, uncomfortable pause before the D.A. answered. "Sheriff...the Bureau is suggesting that former associates of Brian Coltrane may have orchastrated this. A rather clever escape, the Commander called it."

"Oh? Commander Turner called it clever? Well...he'd know now wouldn't he." Rosco smirked as he spoke. But he knew MaryAnne would be telling him to be cautious, so he refrained from letting loose on the D.A.

The D.A. continued. "It has also been suggested, that you and your Deputy may have been in on the plan."

"Suggested by who, Councilor?" Rosco asked. He gritted his teeth.

"A high-level official in the Bureau. I think you know to whom I refer." The D.A. took an audible breath and went on. "Sheriff, your cousin MaryAnne had been strongly opposed to Brian's transfer to Atlanta. Yet she decided to cooperate at the last minute. Under the circumstances, I have little choice..."

"Councilor," Rosco said sharply. "Are you so blind as to not see what's really goin' on here? You wanna come down here and see it from this angle?! MaryAnne and I had nothin', I repeat, nothing to do with Brian bein' picked up by some co-horts of somebody in a stolen state police car! We've got nothin' to gain from that! We were ALL shucked and jive, Councilor, includin' YOU. MaryAnne protested about Brian goin' to Atlanta because she figured he wouldn't make it! But you persisted, damn it, you even THREATENED us, to have him return to Atlanta or else." Rosco took a breath. "So where is he now, Councilor? He ain't in Atlanta is he?!" Rosco realized his voice had risen and he paused to stay in control. "As far as I'm concerned, Councilor, it's up to you, the Bureau and the State Police to get him back. And I'll be damned if you're gonna accuse me and MaryAnne of more of this crap."

"You're relieved of duty," the D.A. said crisply. "And so is MaryAnne." He paused to let the words sink in. "State and Federal agencies will handle things from here. Your full cooperation is expected."

Rosco's jaw dropped but held his sharp retort in check and paused a moment before replying. "Oh we'll cooperate," he said, calmly. "You may not like the answers we give...considerin' you ain't taken any of it seriously before now. Good day, Councilor." Rosco hung up the phone.


Rosco looked at Flash. "Exactly!" The Sheriff glared at the phone. "Yer rel-eeeved of dooty. Bah! Dipstick!"

MaryAnne was behind the bar at the Boar's Nest when Rosco's voice came over the airwaves. "Uh...Songbird, you got your ears on?"

MaryAnne stopped and put her tray down. She picked up the mike. "Go ahead."

"Bad news, bad news. You and I have been rel-eeved of duty by the D.A."

MaryAnne hesitated. "Oh well now, isn't that just fine? Just WONDERFUL. What did we do that was so awful now?"

"He thinks you and I had something to do with BlackBird gettin' nabbed."

"WHAT?!?! Does this guy have cow dung for brains or something? Who's he got backin' him up on this...suspension?"

"I think, that he thinks that the State Police and the FBI would carry the authority."

"You know, Rosco, this guy's starting to tick me off. First he threatens us with our badges to let Brian go back to Atlanta. We let him go, Brian gets kidnapped and now the D.A. thinks we had something do with it? And in the end, he's got our badges. Atleast he thinks."

"I figure to just let him think he's got 'em. I mean, if he can't go through the proper channels to get our badges revoked, I'm not gonna take him by the hand and lead him through it. The only thing is, we're gonna have worse trouble now. If certain people find out that we, supposedly, ain't got our badges..."

MaryAnne took a breath. "Yeah, I know. Um....listen, you think you can get here a little early tonight? I gotta close by myself...and I'm not really looking forward to it."

"I'll be there for the last round. Khee!"

MaryAnne grinned. "Ten-four."

"I'm gone."

*****                          *****                          *****                          *****

Lt. Ferren arrived at the Hazzard County Sheriff's Department shortly after Rosco's departure. She walked purposefully into the booking room and barked at the Deputy on duty. "Lt. Anna Ferren of the State Police. Can you tell me where I'll find Sheriff Coltrane?"

Enos was sitting at the booking desking and bolted to his feet, sending his report and pen falling to the floor. "Uhh...hello, Lt." He quickly gathered up the documents and placed them on the booking desk. "Sheriff Coltrane's not here at the moment. He just went out to pick up his cousin, MaryAnne."

"Where? It's urgent that I speak with him immediately."

"He's out at--" Enos stopped suddenly. Wasn't it two men in State Police uniforms that had shucked and jived everyone and took Brian? "Uh...Ma'am, I need to verify who you are first. I hope you understand."

Lt. Ferren straighted her back, her blue eyes impatient. "Make it quick."

Enos nodded and quickly grabbed the phone. He dialed to the State Police Headquarters in Atlanta and asked for Captain Richardson.

"Richardson here."

"Captain, this is Deputy Strate in Hazzard. I have a Lt. Anna Ferren'm just callin' to verify that, well...that she's legit."

Richardson took the request seriously. "I commend you on your dilligence, Deputy Strate." The captian went on to describe Lt. Ferren's appearance and badge number, to Eno's statisfaction.

"Thank you, Captain. I appreciate it." Enos hung up the phone and looked at the Lt. with apology. "I'm sorry," he said. "But I had to make sure. Too much has happened lately...."

"I understand," Anna said polietly. "Now tell me where I can find Sheriff Coltrane."

"He's on his way to the Boar's Nest." Enos grabbed his hat. "I'll come with you so he knows this isn't another...trap," he finished softly.

The Lieutenant let the comment pass and nodded her assent.

Enos gave a nod and led the Lieutenant out of the booking room.

Rosco, meanwhile, watched MaryAnne as she gathered the last two popcorn bowls from a table and brought them over behind the bar.

"It's just stupid," she was saying. "The whole damn thing is stupid. I mean, his star witness is missing for crying out loud, and he thinks everything's gonna be made better by taking our badges away?"

Rosco shook his head. "I dunno, MaryAnne. In thirty some odd years of law enforcin' I ain't never seen, nor been a part of anything like this."

"That's the other thing," she said and shook a finger at her cousin. "He's treatin' you and me like a couple of rookie cops. Like we're idiots! Like we don't know what's goin' on." She shook her head. "I think you and I have more police smarts in our pinky fingers than he does in his entire existance!"


*****                          *****                          *****                          *****

Outside the Boar's Nest, Wilson couldn't believe what he saw. Only one car in the parking lot of the restaraunt, and it was the Sheriff's patrol car. Not another soul in sight. Capre Diem. He quickly pulled his car off the road and drove behind the Boar's Nest. He quickly grabbed his weapon, with silencer, and jumped out of the car, quickly making a beeline for the side of the building.

"I hope Brian's okay," MaryAnne said. She wiped down the last table before Rosco grabbed the chair and put it up.

"I know," he said. "I'm scared for him, actually."

"I am too." She chuckled softly. "You know what he'd say to that, don't you?"

"'Don't worry about me, I'm the bad guy, I can take care of myself,'" the Sheriff deadpanned.


"Well, it don't matter. I'm still scared for him."

Wilson slithered along the side of the wall and came around the corner, walking towards the front entrance while looking around intensely. His weapon was drawn and ready, his plan was to take them by surprise so that they'd never know what hit them. When he reached the double doors, he paused to peer inside throught the glass.

At Lt. Ferren's insistance, she and Enos drove to the Boar's Nest in their respective vehicles. It wasn't that Anna Ferren objected to riding shotgun with another officer. It was just that she preferred to gather information and make observations on her own, without distraction. As they traveled single-file down the dirt road, the trooper's CB crackled. "Captian Richardson to Lt. Ferren, come in."

"Ferren here."

"Lieutenant, I've been advised by the Bureau that the two Coltrane officers in Hazzard are under suspension. This means your in charge."

Suspended? "Acknowledged," Ferren replied.

"I've also received information from the District Attorney's office. The missing witness is also a suspect in regards to a recent homicide. This case is extremely sensitive and high-profile, Leiutenant. The Bureau's watching this one closely. Proceed with caution and stick to the book on this one."

Anna snorted at her captain's last comment. I always stick to the book and you know it, Captain, she thought to herself. But she responded with a simple, "Roger that, Captain. Ferren out." No sooner had the last transmission ended when the CB crackled with another broadcast, this one loud and sharp. "Deputy Enos Strate to Lieutenant Ferren, pardon me ma'am, but we'll be at the Boar's Nest in a couple minutes. Just take a right at the next fork in the road."

"Ten-four, Deputy."

*****                          *****                          *****                          *****

Wilson watched only for a moment. He saw the Sheriff step over to the bar as the young woman pulled what looked like her purse out from behind it. They were talking, the young woman nodding and then speaking. Wilson raised his weapon and turned the door handle.


Locked!! Dammit!!

Both Rosco and MaryAnne turned at the sound. Eyes met briefly and the two cousins realized they were in trouble. Glass broke as Wilson smashed out the pane and then reached inside and pulled on the door handle. He pushed the door open as Rosco and MaryAnne were making a beeline for Boss's office door.

The Fed followed. He stopped short when he saw the other door in the office led outside. He quickly doubled back and went out the front door and ran to the corner of the building. MaryAnne whizzed past him, but the Sheriff was within arms length. Wilson reached out and tackled Rosco to the ground.

MaryAnne stopped when she heard Rosco yelp. She swung around and saw her cousin on the ground and in trouble. The gun was still in Wilson's hand and he was desperately trying to get it turned in Rosco's direction, but the Sheriff wasn't letting him. Rosco fought with everything he had to keep the gun pointed outward.

MaryAnne ran the few feet between her and the fight to give Rosco some help. Bandit now got involved too, once he figured out that something was wrong. The dog had trotted out of Boss's office like nothing was wrong, then broke into a sprint when he saw the Federal Agent and Rosco struggling.

The German Shepherd's bark distracted the Fed. He stopped his push against the Sheriff's grip to look at the big dog heading toward him.

"AAAHH!" He was damn scared of dogs and he managed to break free from Rosco's grip, leaving the Sheriff on the ground. Bandit was circling around, like a sheep dog barking orders at the herd.

MaryAnne tried to subdue Wilson, but he managed to knock her off him with an elbow to the stomach. Bandit and Wilson eyed each other, the Fed suddenly remembering the gun in his hand...

*****                          *****                          *****                          *****

"I dunno, Bo, when Daisy told us MaryAnne was closing by herself this evening, I just got a bad feelin'," Luke said as Bo swung the General through the turn. 

"I hear ya," Bo said. "And so's the General." Bo thought the heck with the rest of the road and cut onto a field. The General leap-frogged over a mound of earth and came back out onto another road, which brought the boys on the road directly across from the bar.

"Bo!!" Luke exclaimed. Rosco and MaryAnne were both on the ground and Bandit looked like he was ready to pounce on whoever was still standing.

Bo saw the weapon and thought he felt ice go through his veins. "Oh my God...Luke..."

"Step on it, Bo."

The General whistled "Dixie" in warning as the Dodge screamed closer.

Wilson turned his head slightly to see the car coming. He knew he had to get the hell out of there, his chance to get Rosco and MaryAnne was now officially blown. He aimed his gun at Bandit, figuring to put the dog down and run for his car before the hayseeds in the orange stock car caught him. Bandit suddenly leapt into the air and Wilson had dog paws on his chest and a snarling German shepherd in his face.  He swung his arms wildly, the gun going off with nothing more than a "thump", all in an effort to keep the dog from bringing him to the ground. He wrestled with the animal, hitting it with the gun and finally knocking the ex-police dog off him. The General was coming to a screeching stop and Wilson ran to the backside of the Boar's Nest.

Bo and Luke quickly climbed out of the General as the Federal Agent's car tore away out from behind the Boar's Nest and down the road. The boys watched it, then quickly decided against a chase. They had to make sure Rosco and MaryAnne were okay first.

The Sheriff was sitting up now, his hand lightly rubbing his lower back. He looked at Bandit and MaryAnne, who was on her knees, crawling over to her dog, who was lying on his side.

"Ya alright, Rosco?" Luke asked as he kneeled down beside the Sheriff.

Rosco nodded absently, still watching MaryAnne as she patted Bandit who whimpered in pain. Bo was rubbing the German shepherd's stomach, telling him everything would be okay.

"MaryAnne...?" Rosco asked. Not the dog...Good Lord don't let it be the dog...

"I think he broke his leg," she said. She blinked her eyes and Rosco saw the tears. Fear, frustration and a little bit of relief all in one.

Rosco sighed. "That's twice now..." he said.

"Yeah," Luke said, not realizing Rosco was referring to Bandit having foiled yet another attempt on his or MaryAnne's life.

"Look," Bo said, "Maybe you two should hide out somewhere for awhile. At least until we can catch this guy."

Both Coltranes were quiet. It was a decision they didn't want to make right now.

*****                          *****                          *****                          *****

The Federal-issue grey sedan tore past the county squad and the state patrol without slowing down. The blue and red lights of the Hazzard County patrol car lit up as Enos spun around to pursue. "'Scuze me Lt. Ferren ma'am, but that's the car Sheriff Rosco told me to watch for!" came the excited broadcast. "I'm going to pursue!"

Enos was already heading down another road by the time Anna had picked up her mike. Talking the Deputy out of the chase turned out to be impossible, and Anna was strongly tempted herself to join it. But she had other orders. Minutes later, she pulled into the Boar's Nest and walked inside, unprepared for the chaos she stepped into.

On the floor was a German shepherd dog with a crudely made brace around it's front right leg, made out of towels and pieces from a cardboard box. A young woman and blonde haired man were tending to the dog while the Sheriff was being counseled by a dark haired young man. Everything stopped and all four people looked at who had entered the room. And four spines suddenly straightened.

Anna saw the Sheriff and headed right for him, keeping her demeanor calm and professional even though her blood pressure was going through the roof. Now's not the time, she told herself. The young woman standing next to the Sheriff seemed a little familiar too, but Anna kept herself from speculating. There’d be time enough to sort out the family tree later.

"Sheriff Coltrane," Anna greeted formally, offering her hand.

Rosco hesitated, looking at Anna suspiciously. He shook her hand, so as not to be rude.

"Is there something we can help you with?" MaryAnne asked crisply. The State Police uniform meant nothing to her now.

Anna drew herself up, her posture showing the tension that she kept from her voice. "I'm here to advise you that you're relieved of duty for an indefinite period of time. During your suspension, I'll be in charge of all investigations."

Rosco and MaryAnne looked at each other and rolled their eyes. "Oh," Rosco said his look turning even more sour. "Well, have fun...uh, I'm sorry didn't catch yer name...?"

The blue eyes of the trooper locked onto Rosco's. "Lieutenant Anna Ferren. Sheriff, this decision came from a high level. The State Police are involved only because of the stolen patrol car, which I intend to recover, along with the suspect."

As she spoke, Rosco couldn't shake the odd look of familiarity about her. Even though he was fairly certain he had never seen her before in his life. His expression, however, remained stern. "I know where the decision came from Lt. And bein' a proper gentlemen, I'm not going to repeat just EXACTLY where it came from."

Luke and Bo were looking back and forth between the Lt. and Rosco. "Wait a minute," Luke said, looking at Rosco now. "What's she talkin' about, y'all bein' suspended?"

"Exactly that," MaryAnne said. "The District Attorney in Atlanta decided to relieve us of duty." She looked at the boys. "Wasn't that just so nice of him?"

"What for?!?" Bo exclaimed.

MaryAnne shrugged. "Probably just because we're Coltranes, I dunno..."

"The decision came from the Bureau, though the D.A may have given you advance notice," Anna said with control. It was obvious that she didn't enjoy being the bearer of bad news. "My orders are to find that patrol car and the suspect that was in your custody. Once found, he'll be turned over to Bureau authority, and you'll likely be reinstated."

"Hmm...didja hear that Rosco?" MaryAnne said. "It came from the Bureau. Surprise, surprise.  Commander Turner gets our badges and has some damn flunky running around here trying to blow our heads off!"  MaryAnne looked at Anna seriously. "We won't be reinstated, Lt. We'll all be dead."

Anna had her orders, but the expression on MaryAnne's face gave her pause. "Dead?"

"That's right. Just before you got here, Rosco and I and Bandit here," she pointed to Bandit who was lying comfortably on the floor, "were fighting off another freakin' rogue Federal agent who was trying to kill us. I don't figure you to believe us, seeing as nobody else does, but if the FBI gets their hands on Brian, he's history. And so are we."

Anna digested this information and didn't like the early conclusion. "The suggestion you're making is.... disturbing to say the least. But the implications that the Bureau has made against you have been disturbing as well." Anna took another breath. "Is it true that you're related to the suspect?"

"I thought everybody knew already," Rosco grumbled.

"So what if we are?" MaryAnne asked. "The only reason the Bureau is making these stupid allegations against me and Rosco is because somebody...somebody verrrry high up, is mad that we started the ball rolling on the Atlanta Syndicate being busted. Apparently we ruined somebody's take."

"I see," Anna said quietly, considering the information. She was silent a moment, weighing her heart against her badge, her duty versus family loyalty. Though she didn't know it, she was reaching a crossroads that MaryAnne and Rosco had already faced. "I can't reinstate you," she said finally, "But I'm not going to turn down your help. Problem is, if Federal agents see you two carrying guns after you've been "suspended", it might give them the excuse they need to be less...selective in their methods."

"Yeah, we thought of that," MaryAnne said. She looked at Rosco who had his hand on his gun belt.  After a moment of quiet, he slipped the belt off and then took his badge off and handed them to Anna. But he didn't look at her as he did. He couldn't help but feel like he'd been whupped by the whole thing.

Anna's eyes held unspoken apology as she accepted the items. She looked at MaryAnne.

MaryAnne held her arms up. All she had on was just her waitress outfit. "You'll have to come with me to the house to get my stuff."

"Which I ain't too sure is the place Rosco and MaryAnne here should be stayin'," Luke spoke up looking at Anna.  His look was apologetic, but he had to speak his mind. "Lt. Ferren, I think you should be considerin' finding a safe place for them to be."

"I agree," Anna said without hesitation. "Know of one?"

"What about our farm?" Bo suggested.

"Uh-uh," MaryAnne said shaking her head. "That'd be puttin' you Dukes in danger. We ain't gonna do that."

"MaryAnne..." Bo said. "We said we were gonna watch out for you two and I can't think of any better place for y'all to be."

"No way," Rosco said. "Yer Uncle Jesse there would have the fits.  With all that’s happened, the last thing he'd want is two Coltranes stayin' in his house."

Luke chuckled. "I think you're wrong there, Rosco. But if you want, we'll ask him to be sure."

"To which he's gonna say no," MaryAnne said. She then looked at Anna. "Look, I know where Rosco and I can go that's safe."

"Where would that be?"

"Finchburg County. My father's old house."

Anna thought about it. "Getting out of Hazzard could be the best thing for your health right now."  She turned to the Dukes. "Can you get them there?"

Bo and Luke nodded. Neither of the boys had thought of Finchburg County, but they both felt that would work just as well. "Yes, Ma'am," Bo answered for the both of them.

"Then you'd better get started." Anna straightened her shoulders. "Good luck," she said to the two Coltranes, her voice sincere.

"That goes for you too," MaryAnne said kindly. Why was it this state trooper seemed to be more on their side? she wondered. And why does she look so familiar?

Anna nodded and gave the Hazzard officers a smile. "Thanks." With the word, she turned and left the Boar's Nest. The sound of her patrol car spitting gravel followed a moment later.

MaryAnne looked at Rosco and the boys. "Well, let's not waste anytime."

"Yeah," Rosco agreed and the boys nodded.  Luke and Rosco carefully carried Bandit out to Rosco's patrol car. A trip to the vet was first on the list.  "We'll leave Bandit with Doc Stevens. It'd be too much for the ol' boy to truck him to Finchburg with us," MaryAnne said.

"Yeah," Rosco agreed. "But...can we bring Flash?"

MaryAnne smiled. "Of course."


"Okay...we gotta go turn in my badge and gun belt to the Lt...and then we gotta pack...and then we gotta pray your car will start." She eyed Rosco. The beat up brown Pontiac sedan was on it's last leg by now, but with Maverick still at Cooter's for cosmetic surgery, it was the only vehicle available.

"Eeeps, yeah," Rosco said.

"Well, look, we'll give ya a hand," Bo offered. "If it doesn't start, me and Luke can probably have it fixed for ya in no time."

"Thanks fellas," MaryAnne said.

Luke smiled. "Come on, we'll follow ya to town."

*****                          *****                          *****                          *****

Enos slowed his patrol car and hit the steering wheel in frustration. "Lost 'em, ding dang it!" He cut back towards town, and headed for the courthouse. To his surprise, Lt. Ferren's patrol car was already there. He walked into the booking room to find her with Rosco's gun belt and badge, which she set down on the booking desk with a sober expression. She turned to the Deputy and greeted him with a question. "Status?"

Enos looked confused for a second, so Anna added, "About your pursuit. Did you apprehend the suspect?"

"No ma'am," Enos said with apology. He walked up to the booking desk, looked at the articles of Rosco's authority lying there, then shot a glance at Anna. She met his eyes coolly and kept to business. "Rosco and MaryAnne will be taking refuge in Finchburg County," she explained. "During that time, I'm in command, per State Police headquarters."

"Yes ma'am," Enos said quietly, his expression showing that he didn't like the news. Anna continued. "I want you to continue your search for that suspect in the grey sedan. I also want you to search the outlying counties and run A.P.B.'s for that stolen patrol car. If you find it, you radio me or Captain Richardson only. No one else. Understand?"

"Yes ma'am," Enos answered, backing out of the booking room. He wanted to ask questions, but by the look on Lt. Ferrens' face, it would get him nowhere. He left the courthouse and squealed away in his patrol car, the only display of his aggravation that he allowed himself.

*****                          *****                          *****                          *****

Once Bandit was left in the capable hands of Dr. Stevens, Rosco and the boys waited in General Lee as MaryAnne went in to drop off her badge and gun belt, along with the keys to Rosco's patrol car, which was now parked in the impound out back.  The boys and Rosco were quiet for a few moments while MaryAnne was gone. Bo then looked at Rosco in the rearview mirror and saw the now former Sheriff was staring out the window towards the courthouse.

"You okay, Rosco?" Bo asked, prompting Luke to turn his head towards the conversation.

Rosco met Bo's eyes in the rearview mirror. "Yeah...I suppose..."

"It's not fair they're railroadin' y'all, Rosco," Luke said.

"It's not fair that they're railroadin' her!" Rosco said sternly. "Best damn deputy in the state...."

The boys nodded in agreement. "You're gonna get your badges back, Rosco," Bo said. "If there's anything we can do about, you know we'll do it."

"I dunno fellas...the FBI, the State Police and the District Attorney in's more than you boys could go against. Bows and arrows or not."

The boys were silent. Rosco was right. It was a bigger, more sophisticated enemy they would be going against. And considering the boys record with the law in Hazzard alone...well, a dynamite arrow wouldn't do them any good.

MaryAnne walked into the booking room and walked up beside the booking desk. She gave a tired smile to Anna and held up the gun belt, badge and keys.  "Here ya go. Got the keys to Rosco's patrol car too."

"Thank you," Anna said with courtesy. She looked down at the booking desk, absently putting MaryAnne's badge next to Rosco's. "Deputy, I'm sorry about this. I know what this badge must mean to you."

"It's not your fault, Lt.," MaryAnne said. She looked at the two badges lying on the desk top. It was the worst feeling and seeing the two badges next to each other just drove everything home. But MaryAnne hid it from Anna and looked at the trooper. "Do you want me and Rosco to check in with you regularly? It may take a couple of days before we have a working phone out at the farm in Finchburg."

Anna shook her head. "Any call or CB broadcast you make could be intercepted by the wrong ears. Silence may be the safest bet."

MaryAnne nodded. "Alright." She glanced at the badges one last time and then looked at Anna. "Take care, Lt." MaryAnne turned and stepped down off the stairs.

"You'll get your badge back," Anna promised as MaryAnne walked away. "I'll see to it."

MaryAnne stopped and glanced at Anna. She didn't say anything, only gave the trooper a look of both despair and hopefulness and then turned and left the booking room.

Chapter Seven