"You can't do this to me," Sonny argued as Ned handily readied a syringe filled with sodium pentothal. "It's illegal."

"Well, damn," Ned grinned as he quickly injected Sonny. "You don't say."

"This won't be admissible in court. Anything I say here is worthless to you."

"What makes you think that you're going to court?" Ned popped the top off a cold drink, and took a deep swallow. "Sonny, my boy, by the time the evening is over, you'll be thought dead, and by the time you're finished spilling your guts, you might prefer to be."

"You'll never get away with this, Ashton."

"Of course I will," Ned assured him. "I'm a Quartermaine, and I have connections you can't even dream of."

Sonny squirmed, testing the ropes that held him tightly. "You don't understand. Anything happens to me and...."

"And what?" came a voice that gave Sonny pause. The man's voice sounded a little like Mac Scorpio, but not exactly. He turned around to face...

"Robert Scorpio at your service," the man smiled, blue eyes twinkling. "Ashton-thanks for saving my daughter this evening. I won't forget."

"My pleasure," Ned smiled. "Always glad to be of assistance."

"But you're dead," Sonny began, his thoughts a trifle clouded by now.

"I told you he was stupid," Ned explained. "How this guy got to be head of the mob escapes me."

"Attrition," Robert quipped. "No, Rivera maneuvered you." Robert laughed softly. "Sonny, didn't it ever seem strange to you that a small time hood who got busted for using underage girls in a cheesy strip club would manage to make it to the big time so quickly? Did you really think that Rivera's thugs would just let you stroll in and do Rivera? Or, that you could make him sufficiently ashamed of himself that he'd do himself? Just how naïve are you?" Robert shook his head in disgust. "And that $30 million dollars-did you think that was all his money? A drop in the bucket, but enough to make you believe that he was dead, in case you actually thought to check."

"I donated that money to a worthy cause," Sonny began, but Robert cut him off.

"The cause being to make yourself look worthy," Robert observed. "If you were really interested in doing Port Charles a service, you'd have gone straight and gotten the mob out of Port Charles."

"What good would it have done? Somebody else would have moved in and it would have been worse."

"So that's your argument? You were the lesser of the evils? If you didn't do it, somebody else would have, and that makes it all right? Using your logic, I could say that somebody is going to kill you, so I might as well-as long as I do it quickly and relatively painlessly. Who knows?? I might well be saving the city the big bucks that it would take to bring you to trial and support your worthless carcass for the next fifty or sixty years. You could just disappear and that would be the end of it."

"You wouldn't do that."

"I wouldn't?? Wasn't that what you were about to do with my daughter and Jason Quartermaine? I distinctly recall mention of her impending death. And, I saw the bruises on her face, you miserable $%^&*," Robert said, suddenly punching Sonny. "Be glad that her mother isn't here. She's a bit more blood thirsty than I am. Now, are you going to cooperate with us, or do we just end it now? I'm somewhat impatient, Corinthos. That's what happens when you've been dead for a while."

The truth serum had done its work, and Sonny knew that his chances were slim, no matter which course he took. He also reasoned that Scorpio might well be less inclined than the criminal element to kill him. "Okay, I'll talk, but..."

"No stipulations, Corinthos. Your options are simple. Either you talk, or you die. I'm not working for PCPD anymore and my boss made certain that I had a hunting license before I came after you." He smiled and took out his gun, checking the clip. "Now, Corinthos. You have 10 seconds."

"What do you want to know?"

The night was ablaze from the fire that was burning the warehouse in Beecher's Corners, and Carlos stood in the distance, readying his story. The wails of the police sirens grew closer, and when they approached, he scrambled out of the bushes. His face was scratched and bleeding, his hair wildly disarranged, as he ran to the police cars.

"Help!" he began. "Somebody killed Sonny Corinthos!!" He gestured to the limousine which Jason had artistically riddled with bullet holes, and added, "I barely escaped with my life."

As the fire trucks pulled in, the police officers drew Carlos aside. "We'll need a statement from you."

"Tom," Chrissie began, as Suzi reacted to the news of Jared's death at the hands of Frank White. She hated to watch her mother in pain, but the regret on Suzi's face was clearly evident. Chrissie wanted to tell her mother the truth, that Jared wasn't dead, but knew that doing so would endanger Jared, and she'd decided that she wanted to get to know her natural father a little better.

Before she could say more, the newscaster went on to announce that there had been a tentative identification on the remains of two men found in a bombed shack out in the countryside. "The men are reported to have been Jake Lowell, and Jack Johnson, both of San Francisco. Both men had worked for Matthews' Medical Research, until recently."

Chrissie's eyes widened, and shock registered on her face as she recalled Jared's careful instructions. "Jack? Oh, no!! Mom!!"

"It's taken some doing, but we have it," Marty told Jared who sat with Gil in a secluded site in San Diego. "It appears that Faison has been doing business as D. B. Saxon, and Dr. Cesar. How many other identities he's working with, we don't know, but your brother made the final link for us."

"So what is this all about? I mean, I know the power angle, but what's his plan?"

"That remains to be seen," Marty told him. "So far we have computer equipment, biological weapons, Luke has mentioned something about a computer virus, and mob control as being important to the plan. We have Cassadines against Cassadines, Hernando Rivera back from the dead, and whatever is going down appears to be going down on the East Coast."

Gil sat back and found himself more than a little intrigued by what he was hearing. For years, he'd known that his brother was involved in some sort of covert activities, and, if the truth be known, he'd loosely modeled Travis Hope after Jared, but with a healthy dose of himself thrown in. He looked at Marty and Jared, wondering at their relationship, having just learned of a niece and nephew he'd never known about before. He wondered how Marty had known that he was the author of the Travis Hope books, but hadn't asked her, figuring that there was probably a lot more that she knew about him that nobody else knew. For some reason, that didn't bother him.

"So when do we leave for New York?"

"We've got to be reasonably sure that Faison is after you," Jared began, brushing aside that question as he talked to his brother. "He knows that you can connect him with Victoria and Angela, but and maybe that you know that he's Faison. What he doesn't know is whether or not that name means anything to you, whether or not I might have said something to you before I was 'killed.' I'd guess that the cabin burning was meant to destroy any evidence that you might have left behind, and I'd also figure that you were supposed to have died that night."

"That's comforting."

"But," Marty injected. "Faison knows that you didn't die and so the odds are that he's waiting for you to resurface. If you don't, he'll grab someone close to you to use as bait. Which is why we had Justin take Rosemary and hide out. Andrews Vineyard will be taken care of, for the time being-Justin took care of that before they left. What we're trying to do is to persuade Faison that there's nobody to take-nobody you care about left to hold as hostage."

"Except for your son and daughter, that's it for our family." Gil reflected at that thought, and for a moment, felt a pang of sadness. The Andrews family name would end with them.

"And hopefully, Faison doesn't know about Jack and Chrissie. Jack is in deep cover at present, and Chrissie...she doesn't know much at all, except that Jack and I are alive. She also knows that this is privileged information."

"So what do we do next?" Gil asked. "What are these people planning to do and when are they planning to do it?"

"That's the big question," Marty answered. "And at the moment, unless Scorpio manages to drag something out of Corinthos, we keep digging. Unfortunately, my best guess is that Corinthos is a very small fish in this-that he was used as a cover for Rivera whom we think has moved into Port Charles. Where Sonny was hesitant to get involved in drugs, and weapons smuggling, Rivera has no scruples. None. He's the perfect associate for Faison and Helena-who are equally ruthless. Either of them would sacrifice anybody and anything to their goals. Faison was formerly obsessed with Anna Scorpio, but now-we think that he believes that she's dead. He's done everything he could to force her to surface, and since she hasn't, he assumes she died in the boat explosion. Now, his total focus is on his goal, power. Helena has contacts all over Europe, many countries that were in the former Soviet Union, and South America, thanks to a couple of errant Cassadines. Faison has contacts all over Africa, the Caribbean, Europe and the Far East. Rivera has mob connections from all over the world. He's also got considerable muscle and he can wield control over a lot of third world countries thanks to his drug trade."

"This is an unholy alliance," Gil murmured.

"Yes," Marty nodded. "And I fear that all hell is about to break loose if we don't stop them."

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