Freedom

my second attempt at a script

Ext.Night. Streets of Miami

A ten year old girl is sold to two men, by her father. Her mother tells her to obey the men and she will not disgrace her family or herself. The mother tries to hide her tears. The men lead the girl away, and she goes obediently. She is very frightened, but she will obey no matter what, because she doesn't know how to do otherwise.

int. quantico headquarters. day

J.J. walks into the Bullpen and gathers the team with a look and a sad smile.

(J.J.)Prepare yourselves guys, meet up in the conference room.

The team exchange looks of concern as they make their way towards the room. J.J. continues on to Hotch's office, where she knocks on the open door and peeks in.

(J.J.)Hotch, we have a case in Miami, young girls and teens disappearing. Three bodies have been found so far. We are being asked to help them because if they aren't dealing with serial killers then they feel strongly that they must be dealing with human traffickers.

As Hotch leaves his desk and moves towards the doors, he begins issuing orders.

(Hotch) Have Garcia run everything she can on the three victims. If they have any relatives in Miami, I want to know about it, if not, we need to track them down and get in touch with them. Let MDPD know we will be there as soon as possible.

(J.J.) Yes Sir.

As soon as they enter the conference room, J.J. moves to each member of the team, handing them a copy of the case file. She then moves to the bulletin board and pins up three pictures, then next to each of the three pictures, several more pictures, each one a different angle of the picture it is pinned next to. The team can see clearly that all three victims have been severely beaten and are badly undernourished. The case reports say that they had been raped repeatedly, by different men. The three victims ranged in age from ten, fifteen and seventeen. their bodies were found in dumpsters, thrown away like so much trash.

(Reid)Well, it is obvious that we're dealing with more than one UnSub. The fact that semen from several different men were found on the bodies proves that. If this were the work of a serial killer or a team of serial killers working together, there would be matching DNA from the semen samples. But of all the DNA traces discovered, not one matches. This leads me to believe we might be dealing with traffickers rather than serial killers.

(Rossi)I'm inclined to agree with you Reid. Also, the fact that so many young girls have gone missing. J.J. Why have they taken so long to ask for our help? How long has this been going on? Surely they didn't just notice this overnight!

(J.J.)Well, in a way, I suppose they did. The "missing" reports have been trickling in over a long period of time, because the girls who have gone missing aren't normally the ones people notice are missing or even care if they are. They are street girls and runaways it seems. It is only due to the courage of their friends who face being taken by the law themselves, but go to the law anyway, because their friends are missing. It doesn't happen often, but at least it does happen. The Captain who contacted me finally began seeing a pattern, but only because there were finally enough missing reports to make up a pattern.

(Hotch)If this is a case of human trafficking, then there will be a lot more slaves under the surface then the missing girl reports are showing. Get your overnights and lets get going, we're late enough as it is.


"You can protect your liberties in this world only by protecting the other man's freedom. You can only be free if I am free." Clarence S. Darrow

ext. afternoon. fbi jet. day

There is a call from Garcia. Morgan puts the call on the Speaker.

(Morgan)Hey Baby Doll, tell me you singlehandedly cracked this case wide open, and we can turn this jet around right now and come back home.

(Garcia)Darling, you don't know how bad I wish it could be so, but not this time. These guys are harder to find than chiggers in waist high grass.

(Morgan)I hear you Sweetheart, so just give us what you have for now, and keep working your magic. I promise you, you are the best chigger finder there is. If anyone can find them, it will be you.

(Garcia)Aww, you really know how to pick a girl up, sugar, thank you. Ok, so, I put our missing girls through the Miami missing files systems and that drew a complete blank. According to Miami, they aren't missing.

(Hotch)Go Nationwide...

(Garcia)One step ahead of you Chief. Still, I was only able to find one of the girls. The seventeen year old. Her name is Sarah Masters. She ran away from her home in Red Oak, Iowa six months ago.

(Prentiss)These girls just disappear, and nobody knows about it? How is this even possible? I mean, even runaways are reported, aren't they?

(Reid)Yes and no. Technically they get reported, but there are so many runaways, that there simply aren't enough resources to spend looking for them. So if the runaway isn't found after a certain amount of time, their case gets put on a back burner, so to speak, not exactly a closed case, but not exactly an active case either.

(Prentiss)And that makes them easy prey for human traffickers. So many runaways...do they all end up as slaves?

(Reid)Not all, but enough. There are a guestimated twenty seven thousand slaves here in the United States alone. Part of those slaves are from runaways, part are bought, part are kidnapped, and part are lured from their homes. There are organizations and individuals who are working to make people aware of what is going on to hopefully put an end to it, but so many drug dealers have found human trafficking to be very profitable and there is such a small chance of getting caught compared to drug trafficking, they are turning to that instead.

(Garcia)Wait a minute. How come there is less chance of getting caught at human trafficking than there is at drug trafficking?

(Rossi)That is because Law Enforcement agencies have over the years built up special units designed to deal with the growing problem of drug dealers. It has taken years to get where they are today. It is taking these drug dealers almost overnight to switch careers. The Law Enforcement agencies are not equipped to deal with this sudden change.

(J.J.)You mean they have to create a special force to deal with human traffickers specifically?

(Rossi)Something like that. Until then, it will have to be dealt with as they come across it, rather than actively hunting it down, as they do drug dealers now. And it will have to be dealt with by joint operations, like now, involving local Law Enforcement and the FBI, and like the two recent sting operations in Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon.

(Hotch)Garcia, keep digging, I want whatever you can find, no matter how small. Morgan, I want you and Prentiss to start by walking the streets near where the bodies were dumped. Ask the street people if they have been asked to sell their children, or if anyone has attempted to kidnap their children, or if any of their children have run away recently. Also, of course, find out if anyone has witnessed the dumping of our three victims. J.J. You and Reid go to the MDPD and let them know we have arrived and get us a space set up. Reid, I want you to try and locate where those three girls were being held, and if they were killed there. Rossi and I will go over the dump sites, see if the local CSI's might have missed anything, get our own perspective on things. We will meet everyone back at the MDPD and see what we can come up with.

int.mid-late afternoon.mdpd

J.J. and Reid walk towards the Captains office. They stop and knock on the open door. He looks up expectantly...

(J.J.)Hello, Captain Jorson?

(Cptn Jorson)Yes?

(J.J.)Hi, I am Jennifer Jereau, With the FBI, we spoke on the phone? and this is SSA, Reid.

(Cptn Jorson)Oh! Yes, please, come in, I am so glad you made it...uh...you all did make it ok, didn't you?

(J.J.)Yes, we all made it just fine, thank you. SSA's Hotch, Rossi, Morgan and Prentiss will be here shortly. Meanwhile, would you like to show us where we can set up?

(Cptn Jorson)Yes, of course. Please, follow me. I hope this room will be big enough for you. I made sure it had the things you said you would need in it. But if you find you need anything else, don't hesitate to ask. My men are ready whenever you are ready to go after these guys.

(J.J.)Thank you, Captain. The room looks great. We will let you know if we need anything more. I am sure we will be asking the investigating officers some questions. We aren't here to take over your investigation, but to help you get these guys. You will be making the arrests. SO until we have our profile ready we will try to keep out of your way.

(Cptn Jorson)Thank you. I'll be around if you need anything.

ext. mid-late afternoon. streets of miami

Morgan and Prentiss are walking amongst the homeless of Miami, asking questions and encouraging the people to come to them if they hear anything or remember anything.

Morgan and Prentiss approach a woman who has a young boy standing close by her side.

(Prentiss)Hello Ma'am, My name is Emily Prentiss, and this is Derek Morgan. We are with the FBI. We would like to ask you a couple of questions, if that is ok with you.

(Woman)I don't know. I guess so.

(Morgan)It's ok Momma, we aren't here to hurt you or your boy. we just wanna help some missing girls. Do you have any daughters, Momma?

The woman looks at them, then looks down at her son. She pulls him to her in a protective embrace, as tears begin to spill out of her eyes.

(Morgan)what is it Momma, what is wrong? Has someone taken your daughter?

(Woman)He made me do it. I never would have sold her. I never would have made her go with them. He said we didn't have any choice.

Now the woman is sobbing hard, and the son is clinging to her, trying to give comfort, trying to get it in return.

(Prentiss)Who made you sell your daughter, Ma'am?

(Woman)My husband. He is dead now.

Morgan and Prentiss share a look between them.

(Prentiss)How did he die?

(Woman)He was trying to protect us from robbers and one of them stabbed him with a knife.

(Morgan)Was this reported?

(Woman)The cops came. They took it all down. My husband went to a hospital. that was the last I ever saw of him.

(Morgan)Momma, can you remember what these men looked like?

(Woman)No, I am sorry. I only remember the look on my daughters face and the fear in her eyes as they took her from me. I am sorry I can't help you bring her back to me. I am so sorry.

Morgan feel his pants being tugged on. He looks down to see they young boy, upon noticing Morgan looking at him, quickly jerks his hand back to his side.

(Morgan)What about you my man? what can you tell me that can help bring your sister home?

(Boy)One man had a scar, from here to here.

The words spoken just louder than a whisper, the boy then demonstrates by pointing with his right finger at his right ear lobe and tracing downward towards the middle of his chin.

(Morgan)Thank you. That will be a big help. You are a very brave young man. If you think of anything else, you try and find a police officer and tell him you need to speak to me, ok?

With that, Morgan hands the boy and the mother each one of his cards. They move on. They get nothing more until a couple blocks later they come upon a family who said they were offered two hundred dollars for their nine year old daughter. They were incensed that anyone would even think they would sell their daughter and told them as much, pretty much sent them packing. Later that same day, their daughter was walking their dog when the same two men attempted to kidnap her, but the dog attacked the man who had grabbed her, biting him deeply on the wrist. The man was forced to let her go. As she ran away she heard the man yell something to his partner about seeing his bones. The girl tells Morgan they were driving a blue van, blue like the color of the sky. She remembers seeing a spot of rust near the back bumper. She thinks the only reason she can remember it is because it looks like mickey mouses head. Morgan and Prentiss thank the family and head for the MDPD to let the rest of the team know what they have found.

int. Late Afternoon. mdpd

J.J., Reid, Morgan And Prentiss are discussing what Morgan and Prentiss have thus far discovered when Hotch and Rossi enter.

(Morgan)Hey, Hotch. Find anything new out there?

(Hotch)No. These guys are pretty thorough. How about you, Did you get anything we can use?

(Morgan)Looks like maybe we did. We know that one man has a scar on the right side of his face, running from his ear lobe to his chin, and we know that another man was bitten by a dog on his wrist while trying to abduct his owner. The bite was bad enough to expose bone.

(Rossi)Good, maybe he went to get stitches, and maybe Garcia will be able to find him.

Even as he speaks, Rossi reaches over and presses the button that will call up Garcia and puts her on the speaker.

(Garcia)Please tell me you have something I can go on because as of right now I have absolutely nothing I am drawing absofreakinglutely blanks and its driving me crazy!

(Morgan)Hey, easy there Baby Doll, We got something for you to check on. It isn't much, but it is something.

(Garcia)I'm going crazy here getting nothing. Right now I'll take a drop in a bucket.

(Rossi)Ok, well, here is your drop then. We need you to check local Miami ER's and clinics and see if anyone has been treated for a bad animal bite.

(Garcia)Checking...Can you narrow it down some? There has been twenty five in the last three days alone.

(Prentiss)It would have to be in the slums that he received the bite, I don't know though if he would go to one of the indigent hospitals or clinics or a more well off one.

(Reid)Probably he would stick to the indigent ones, less chance of getting noticed.

.

(Garcia)Gotcha...Ok, I got two, one two weeks ago and one three days ago. the one two weeks back was a gator bite and the one three days ago was a dog bite to the left wrist.

(Hotch)That's our guy. Whats the address?

(Garcia)................

(Hotch)Thank you Garcia. And Garcia...

(Garcia)Yes sir?

(Hotch)Never doubt yourself or your abilities. You're the best there is. It isn't your fault if the information is not there to be had.

(Garcia)Thank you Sir, I'll remember that. Now go get those jailbirds, Sir.

(Hotch)yes Ma'am.

int. late afternoon. very run down apartment building

Hotch, Morgan, Rossi, Prentiss and several MDPD officers are approaching an apartment door. Hotch gives every one the signal to get into position.

(Hotch)Open the door! This is the FBI!

There is no response so Hotch has the MDPD officer with the ram punch the door open. Morgan is first to enter, followed alternatingly by MDPD officers and FBI team members. Morgan is the first to see the dead man and to call the all clear.

(Morgan)All clear in here. Looks like someone wasn't to happy with him getting treated for the bite.

(Rossi)Or maybe they weren't to pleased he let himself get bit in the first place. Figured he was a liability.

(Hotch)Well, if he wasn't a liabilty to them before, he is now. He may be dead, but he can still talk. Let's get him to the lab and see who he is.

(The man had been taken to the hospital by ambulance because he had been unable to stop the bleeding, so his address had been verified, but he had given them a false name).

int. early evening. MDPD

Reid is hard at work examining reports of missing girls and women, trying to see if there are any possible connections to this case. J.J. is busy contacting local hospital ER's on a hunch, asking if they have had any Jane Doe's admitted recently. She finds one. She is about to go check her out when the rest of the team return from their call.

(Hotch)J.J. where are you going?

(J.J.)Just over to Jackson Hospital. There was a Jane Doe admitted there a couple of days ago, I thought it might be related to this case.

(Hotch)That's fine, but I don't want you to go alone. Morgan, go with her.

(Morgan)Sure, Let's go. Hope you got a map, though.

(Hotch)How's it going, Reid? Finding any more missing girls that can be connected to this case?

(Reid)At least twenty that COULD be connected, but not solid enough proof that they ARE connected. Just hunches on my part more than anything else.

(Prentiss)Reid, I have come to trust your hunches more than I trust most peoples facts. Lets pin up those twenty girls and see what we have.

(Rossi)I agree with Prentiss, lets see what you have.

(Hotch)We all agree, so lets see what you have.

Reid pins up the pictures and information on the twenty missing girls. The others feel as he does that there does seem to be a connection, but there is nothing definite to pin it down with.

(Hotch)Let's call it an evening. There is nothing more we can do until we get the autopsy reports back. Everyone be back here 7:Am Sharp.

Hotch calls J.J. and tells her that he has let the rest of the team off for the rest of the evening, and that includes her and Morgan, as soon as they are finished at the hospital. Everyone is to meet back at MDPD at 7:AM Sharp. J.J. agrees and thanks him and wishes him a safe goodnight.

int.early morning.mdpd

The team has reassembled together with Captain Jorson and are going over the autopsy report. The lab techs traced his DNA results and found him in their database. He had a long criminal record. He went from robbery to assault to rape to murder. His name was Dan Hault. He was known to hang with another bad guy by the name of Bobby Weston. Hotch gets Garcia on the phone.

(Garcia)There you are! I thought you lost me! what can I do for you?

(Hotch)Garcia, I need you to find out anything you can on a Dan Hault and a Bobby Weston. Dan was 34 and Bobby is 30. Dan was hispanic and so is Bobby. I am especially interested in their financial history. And I would be very upset should you ever get lost.

(Garcia)Checking Sir. Oh! Right Sir, I'll do my best to never get lost then. Here we are...Dan and Bobby run a business together. An import export business called Chix-R-Us, according to their checking account, which they own jointly. Apparently they are in the business of shipping baby chickens. But by the amount of money they are making...well, maybe I am in the wrong business...maybe I should be in the poultry business too.

(Hotch)Send it...

(Garcia)Already done Sir.

(Hotch)Now you know why we can never afford to lose you. Now go try to stay out of trouble til we need you again.

(Garcia)I'll do my best sir. And thank you, Sir.

From the information that Garcia sent, the Team is able to trace the money back to a Gabriel Gonzales, a known drug lord who had disappeared from the scene three years ago. The MDPD had an address on Bobby Weston, so they had him picked up and interrogated. He asks for a coke as his mouth is to dry to talk. A guard is sent to get one. He finally confessed that Gabriel had a hideout in the everglades, between Miami and Everglade City. He and Dan would pick up the girls and transport them to the hideout. Gabriel would find the buyers, then he and Dan would transport the girls to the buyers. Sometimes some of the girls were used for demonstration purposes, so the other girls wouldn't get any ideas about trying to run away. Then Gabriel would let all the gaurds have free reign. Sometimes Gabriel would use some of the girls for promotional purposes. These girls never lived through this. Bobby confessed that he and Dan would take the girls that were killed and dump them in places as far away as Allapattah and Overtown, as they were poor districts and known for their crime rate, no one would connect them as coming from the Everglades. The interrogating officer couldn't help himself, and told Bobby that no one would have guessed either but for him spilling the beans. Bobby realized his mistake and clammed up. Then the officer asked Bobby why he killed Danny. Bobby is sweating profusely, but the officers chalk it up to fear and nervousness. When Dan's death is mentioned, he is genuinely shocked. Then he begins to accuse the officer of killing Dan. The officer notes that Bobby is becoming hyper and beginning to slur his words. He motions to the guard to be ready. Bobby continues to rant then he lunges upwards, sending the table over onto the officer. The guard grabs him as two more enter the room and guards latch onto him. The officer tells them to take him away until he can calm down. The guards barely get him twelve or so steps down the hallway before he collapses into convulsions and dies. In the commotion that follows this, no one sees the guard that slips into the interrogation room and removes the coke can.

int.morning.mdpd

Hotch, Prentiss, Rossi, J.J., Reid, and Morgan are gathered together in the room set aside for their use. With them is Captain Jorson.

(Hotch)Captain Jorson, please have your men assemble a team together. Normally we would give a profile, but since this turned out to be a trafficking case and not a serial killer, and we now know the name and probable location, we just need to go in and get him. So we need some men who know their way around the everglades for starters. We will need a helicopter, preferably with silent capabilities.

(Cptn Jorson)Will do. I can have at least twenty good men and women ready to go in as little as half an hour. All of them have had experience doing SAR in the Everglades. We have a helicopter, but it doesn't have silencing technology on it.

(Hotch)It will have to do.

(Cptn Jorson)I will see that everyone has a supply of drinking water. Walking around without it out there is like signing your death warrant. One wouldn't think so, with the humidity, but it can fool you into not drinking, then you get dehydrated.

(Hotch)Glad you told us that. Guys make sure you remember to drink your water. I want each of you to work with an experienced Officer. We can't afford to be getting lost out there. As soon as anyone spots anything, radio the rest and we will come together at that point. We are ready to go whenever you are Captain.

(Cptn Jorson)I'll call you in about half an hour Sir.

ext. everglades natl park. late morning.

The team plus twenty or so MDPD officers have gathered near the entrance of the Everglades Natl. Park. They have a good idea where they should begin, and so they take airboats five miles in to a dry island. At this point, they team up and organize who is to go where. They have already began drinking from their water, as the heat in the evergaldes is already around ninety degrees. However, by the time everyone is ready to move out, they discover, much to their shock, they are missing quite a few of their search party, including Hotch, Reid and Prentiss.

(what no one notices is that Gabriel has sent girls out to lure those who had gotten the water that the guard had been able to drug with Rohypnol. The girls are instructed to look for people who begin to act somewhat dazed, then show themselves briefly to them and them alone, luring them from the gathering, deep into the everglades, where he has set big cat traps for them.)

Rossi calls Hotch on his radio. Hotch takes a long time in answering, but at last he does answer.

(Hotch) Hotch here.

(Rossi)Hotch, where are you? Is Reid and Prentiss with you?

Hotch takes a minute to answer, and when he does is voice is thick and his words are slurry, as though he had been drinking.

(Hotch)I don't know where I am...I don't know where Reid or Prentiss is.

Rossi, J.J., Morgan and Captain Jorson share a concerned look. Captain Jorson asks Rossi to ask Hotch if he has seen any of his men.

(Rossi)Hotch, Have you seen any of Captain Jorsons' men out there?

(Hotch)No. Just a young girl, but she is gone now.

(Rossi)What young girl? We never saw anyone.

(Hotch)I saw her in the shrubs. She ran away. She was so close I didn't think there was a need for my team mate. next thing I am ....AAGHH!

At the same time as Hotch cries out a very loud CRACK can be heard over the radio. If Rossi and the others were concerned before, they are afraid now.

(Rossi)Hotch!...Hotch! What happened? Say something!

(Hotch)I stepped in some kind of animal trap.

(Morgan)Can you pry it open?

(Hotch)Give me a moment, I'll try.

Hotch attempts to use pieces of wood to help pry the trap open, but they are to brittle. Each failure makes each new attempt more painful, and the drug is making him weaker and weaker. Also, between the high heat and humidity and the actions of the drug, it is getting harder for Hotch to breath. His thinking is none to clear anymore either. While he is working on the trap he hears a small noise. It takes a moment to register on his brain, but then he looks up and he looks into the eyes of a florida panther. It vaguely crosses his mind that this cat is rare, the odds of one showing up here had to be small, indeed. But it was here, and there was a certain amount of irony involved in a human caught in a panther trap and the panther checking up on him. So when Morgan calls him back again on the radio, they don't get the response they are hoping for...

(Morgan)Hotch...Can you get it?

(Hotch)

(Rossi)Hotch...Hotch! Are you still there?

(Hotch)(Softly chuckles)...yes, but not for long.

Rossi, J.J., and Morgan have known Hotch for a long time and have never heard that resigned tone in his voice before. Not even when Haley was killed. They couldn't stop the icy thrill of fear that went through them at that sound.

(Rossi)Aaron? What is happening? What is wrong?

(Hotch)

(Morgan)Hotch! Fight it man!Whatever it is! I know you! Your not a quitter! Fight it!

(Hotch)I'm sorry. I can't breathe. I don't have any strength. At least it will be quick.

At these words, J.J. can't stop tears from falling. Still no one can believe this is the end for Hotch. They are angry and frustrated that he is out there lost and they can't go to his aid.

(Hotch)Rossi...Make sure Jack...

Just then a shot rings out over the radio. A tiny scream escapes J.J. Morgan and Rossi both shout Hotch's name.

(Rossi)Hotch!

(Morgan)Hotch!

(Reid)Hotch is in bad shape. I am not doing to good either, but Hotch is a lot worse. Plus he is in a trap. I think I can get the trap off, but if I can't get him back to base, he may not make it.

(Morgan)What was the shot for?

(Reid)Believe it or not, there was a Florida panther. I am inclined to believe Gabriel released it, as the odds of a wild one showing up are pretty slim, they are so rare. Anyway, I scared it off with a shot.

(Reid)Reid! Thank God your ok. Is Prentiss with you?

(Reid)No. Is she lost to?

(Rossi)It would seem so, as she is not here. So are about half of Captain Jorsons' men. Reid, Do you think you can get Hotch back here?

(Reid)I don't know, all I can do is try.

(Rossi)You do that, Reid, Meanwhile, we will do our best to find you. How is your breathing?

(Reid)It's getting kind of congested, but at least I can still breathe. Reid out.

Reid bends over Hotch's leg and concentrates on pressing the lever, trying to free the trapped foot, but to his great frustration, he finds he is too weak to put the needed amount of pressure on the lever. It takes him a few minutes to register that there is another hand on his, bearing down. Then the trap springs free and Hotchs' foot is free. Reid looks up into the brown eyes of a young girl. As his eyes travel down her body, he notices she is badly bruised and very undernourished. It isn't to hard for even his fuzzy brain to figure out she is a slave.

(Slave girl)Please, if I take you back to your people, will you protect me?

Reid knows this could be a trap, after all, they were lured out by just such a girl as this. But Hotch is nearly dead and he is not in much better shape. There is no choice.

(Reid)Yes. Lead us back, and we will keep you safe.

(Slave girl) OK, come with me then.

The slave girl takes the weight of Hotch on one side while Reid takes his weight on the other side. It takes only ten minutes, even with three stops for rest, because the girl knew exactly where they were and how to go straight back to the base of operations. Rossi, J.J., Morgan, Captain Jorson, and the rest are amazed to see them come out of the bushes. The slave girl tells Rossi that the water has been spiked with Rohypnol. Oxygen is put on Hotch and Reid until medicine can be brought out to counteract the respiratory depression. The Medicine comes with a medic team. They wrap Hotchs' foot and ankle. Morgan learns the girls name is Lupita. He asks her if she would help find the rest of the missing people. She is afraid that Gabriel will kill her for what she has done already. The way he kills his slaves is unbearable. Morgan assures her that no one will force her to do anything she does not wish to do. Teams that have gone out searching begin to drift back in. Prentiss is one of the first to return. She is given the medicine and recovers in due time. Eventually, by late afternoon, all but three men have been recovered alive. The three who were found dead, were brought back as well.

(Hotch)Well, looks like I am out of the game. Morgan, It will be up to you to get everyone in and out safely. Coordinate with Captain Jorson and his crew. I'll keep up with whats going on through the radio. Good luck everyone.

At this point Morgan looks up to see Lupita standing near him.

(Lupita)I want to go to.

(Morgan)I thought you wanted to stay here where you were safe.

(Lupita)Those girls...they are my friends, my sisters. If you really are going to free them and take Gabriel away, then I will still be safe, but you need someone to guide you to his hideout, yes?

(Morgan)True. But only if you are sure.

(Lupita)I have never been more sure of anything in my whole life.

Morgan reaches out and lays a hand on her shoulder, lending her courage, for he can see her tremble, in spite of her words. He speaks to her words that are meant for her ears alone.

(Morgan)No matter what, you stay near me and do just what I tell you. I won't let you get hurt. Not as long as I am alive, you hear me, little one?

(Lupita)I hear you.

ext. late afternoon. deep in the everglades.

Lupita tells them there are only five guards and Gabriel at the hideout. They are holding fifteen girls. The girls are kept in the basement, and they are kept drugged. Morgan takes Rossi, Prentiss and Reid with him. J.J. stays with Hotch. Five MDPD men also stay behind. Lupita guides them to the hideout. She will go no closer though, when she tells them the place is just through the opening ahead. Morgan tells an officer to stay behind with her and protect her. The rest move slowly foward, but one of the officers trips a very thin string, that sets off a silent alarm (just flashing red lights) inside the hideout. The men inside jump to the windows and see the approaching police. They intend to wait til they get close enough to take them out with accuracy, however, one of the officers gets the unpleasant surprise of a snake falling on him from above. Because he is so keyed up his automatic response is to fire his weapon thinking he just got fired upon. This ends up saving everyone lives as it causes the men in the hideout to begin firing their weapons in return, and everyone scatters for cover. Had they been closer they would have been killed. Morgan tells Rossi to go around back and look for the basement window, focus on getting the girls out, take a couple of men with him. He tells Captain Jorson he will try to get inside, to be ready to come on his signal. He then works his way around to the side under cover of the bushes and shrubs. At the side of the building there is a door, bolted from the inside. But someone had the lack of forethought to put the hinges on the outside. Morgan went to work on unhinging the door. Meanwhile, at the back of the building, Rossi lets Morgan know he has found the basement window. It is barred, but should be no problem because the casing around the bars is rotten wood. Morgan encourages him to continue. Tells him he is nearly done with the hinges. Tells Captain Jorson to be ready. Finally the door can be opened backwards just barely wide enough for Morgan to squeeze through. Morgan tells the others he is in. He makes his way towards the room where the guards are. At the back of the building, Rossi has Got the last of the bars off and is attempting to work the glass out, unfortunately it comes out the wrong way and crashes and shatters loudly on the basement floor. In the room where the men are, the men spin around at the crash, but before they can move towards the door, it crashes open and Morgan shouts for them to drop their weapons. The men merely exchange glances before opening fire on Morgan, who throws himself to the ground, using the wall for protection. He yells into the radio for the rest to come ahead. The men in the room run out just as Morgan begins shooting. The first one goes down, and stays down, but the other four keep going. Morgan tells the others that there are four and they are moving towards them. By the time he gets to the door he came in at the rest have entered and they all head down the stairs after the men. They are sure the men are after the slaves, either to kill them or use them for hostages. Morgan asks Rossi how many girls he has out. Rossi answer that he has thirteen. Morgan tells him to hurry and get the last two out. The man with the key drops it and when he tries to pick it up Morgan shoots the key. He then repeats the order to drop the weapons. Again the men exchange looks. They know they are out numbered and outgunned. The lead man takes out a hand grenade and pulled the pin. Morgan shouts at the others to run and everyone runs up the stairs. They only just make it up the stairs, but not out of the building before the building shakes with the explosion. Rossi and the two men with him spend the next twenty minutes unburying Morgan, Reid, Prentiss and the rest of the men. Thanks to the fact that the building was made up mostly of wooden stakes and thatch roofing, only three men have died, and that is because they did not make it up the steps in time. As soon as they have everyone gathered, Morgan calls Hotch up on the radio.

(Morgan)Hey Hotch, you there?

(Hotch)Yeah, I'm here. How is it going? We heard that Explosion all the way over here. Is everyone ok?

(Morgan)We got all the girls out, but we lost three Miami Dade men. They pulled a hand grenade on us.

(Hotch)So they committed suicide? All six of them?

(Morgan)Six? no there were only five of them. That means Gabriel must still be running around.

(Hotch)Be careful, no more radio contact then unless it is an emergency. I don't want you to give your position away by talking. I'll see you when you get back.

(Morgan) All right. Keep your eyes peeled there to, he may try something on you. Good luck. Morgan out.

(Hotch)We will. Good luck to you as well. Hotch out.

Morgan and his group head back to where he had left Lupita and the officer to guard her. They get nearly there when they hear a scream. Morgan shouts Lupitas name and charges off through the brush to her rescue, never hearing Rossi call after him that it may be a trap. Rossi suggests Captain Jorson leave half his men with the girls and bring the other half and hurry after Morgan. This they do. Morgan, meanwhile enters the tiny clearing where Lupita is, taking the scene in at a glance. The officer is dead, and Lupita is on the ground with Gabriel straddling her, his arm raised with a knife in it, preparing to stab her. Morgan uses the momentum of his charge to his advantage and bowls Gabriel off Lupita. Morgan and Gabriel roll a couple of times, and when they gain their feet, only Gabriel still has his knife, the gun that Morgan had in his hand is nowhere to be seen. Gabriel laughs and feints a few times at Morgan. If there is one thing Morgan understands about this man, it is that he is a bully, and bullies are cowards at heart. So he taunts him, hoping to make him mad enough to make a fatal mistake.

(Morgan)C'mon man, come and get me. Or are you afraid to fight a man? Is the only thing you can fight a little girl?

His only answer is a roar of rage as Gabriel lunges at him, slashing blindly with the knife. Morgan easily avoids this, but in keeping his eyes on the knife, he fails to see the branch under his feet, which rolls out from under him, sending him crashing to the ground. Gabriel lets out a yelp of joy and pounces on Morgan, and only Morgans quick reflexes and strength stop the knife from entering his chest.

(Gabriel)I'm gonna kill you real slow man, and before you die, you will watch what happens to my slave, before she dies. Believe me, my slaves never die easy.

Gabriel raises up for a harder thrust when a gunshot rings out, and Morgan sees a stunned expression cross his face before it goes slack and he slumps over Morgan in death. Morgan pushes the dead body off of him and rolls up to a sitting position to take stock of the situation. What he s

sees breaks his heart. Standing a few feet away from him, her arms hanging limply by her side, tears coursing down freely, the gun on the ground at her feet, is Lupita.

(Lupita)I'm sorry. I couldn't let him kill you to.

With that, she sinks to the ground, quietly sobbing. Morgan gets up and goes to her. He kneels down, holstering his gun, and wraps her in his arms.

(Morgan)Don't cry, Little Sister. It is ok now. He is dead. I said I would protect you, but it is you that has saved my life. As far as anyone is concerned, I killed him, you understand me?

(Lupita)But why? he was a bad man, he deserved to die.

(Morgan)You are right, but some won't see it that way, and they will punish you for it. But I am the law, so it is my duty to kill the bad guys when they are trying to kill me or someone else. So let me take the blame for this. Ok?

Before anymore can be said, Rossi and the rest pour into the clearing. Seeing that Gabriel is already dead, they stand down. No one asks Morgan what happened. Morgan contacts Hotch and tells him all is well while Captain Jorson contacts his men and tells them to bring the girls forward. Once the groups is again together, they return to the base camp without getting lost thanks to Lupitas guidance.

INT. EARLY EVENING. MDPD

Hotch and the team are getting their stuff together and preparing to leave when Captain Jorson enters.

(Cptn Jorson)Hey. I just wanted to say thank you for coming and helping us with this case. And I am sorry about your foot.

(Hotch)It has been a pleasure working with you and your people. As for my foot, well, these things happen.

(Prentiss)Captain, do you know what will happen to those girls?

(Cptn Jorson)It depends on their age, where they come from, and if they have families. First of course, they will receive medical treatment and therapy. Then those who have families will be returned to those families. Those who are under seventeen, and do not have families will go to foster families. Those over will most likely be dealt with on individual basis, trying to find something that will best suit their situations. Anyone not from this country will most likely be sent back to their own country. If this is the case, every effort will be made to first contact a relative for them.

(Morgan)And Lupita?

(Cptn Jorson)She surprised me. She asked if there weren't any programs that she could enter that would enable her to fight against human slavery. She is a brave woman. I think I will personally sponsor her training into law enforcement. I am not sure just what branch she will end up in, but that will be her choice.

(Morgan)You're a good man, Captain. You're a good man.

ext.night.fbi jet

Everyone is sleeping except Hotch, and Reid. Reid is reading an article on the flora and fauna of the Everglades. Hotch hops over to sit across from him.

(Hotch)Didn't get enough of the Everglades while we were there, huh?

(Reid)Not really, we were busy, so I didn't really get to do...

(Hotch)That's ok, Reid. I wasn't serious.

(Reid)Oh. How is your foot feeling?

(Hotch)Better, thanks. Listen, I never got a chance to thank you, back there.

(Reid)Thank me? For what?

(Hotch)For saving my life.

(Reid)You don't need to thank me Hotch. It goes without saying that we would be there for each other. That at some point we will save one another's life.

(Hotch)This is true, but I still want to say thank you.

(Reid)In that case...Anytime.

"Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves." Abraham Lincoln

i was thrilled when shortly after i wrote this the FBI actually raided and shut down 2 large human trafficking situations, right here in the USA.

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