Someone, or something, smacked Darth on the back of his head. 

Wincing, Darth cradled his head as he forced his eyes open.

Bright florescent light immediately flooded his eyes, blinding him temporarily. 

"Carbonite, I can't tell if you're just as bad as, or worse than Norman."

Ah, Liutenant Blake. What a voice to wake up to. 

Fighting back a yawn, Darth stood up and stretched out a bit. 

"I'm still a bit jet-lagged, I guess. It won't interfere with my work though."

"It better not! This case is important and your laziness better not screw up my investigation! Get your crap together, we're going to do some good old-fashion police work. Think you can handle that, Mr. Hotshot agent?"

Before Darth could mutter one word, Blake was striding out of the room, slamming the door. 

I've only been here for two days, but somehow I know this is going to be a very pleasant case.

Sighing, Darth chugged the remainder of his cold coffee. Grabbing his jacket, he strode out the door after Blake. 



Blake suddenly grinned at Darth.

It was an interesting reaction, especially considering how the suspect's shrink wasn't sharing anything with them. And they'd been there for an hour. 

"Watch and learn pal, this is how we're going to get something out of him."

Before Darth could react, Blake jumped over to the shrink, and began pummeling him. 

"You're gonna tell us everything you know about Ethan or so help me, you'll be nothing but a pulp!"

Darth threw himself between the two of them.

"Knock it off right now Blake! This isn't right, and you know it!"

Blake immediately got right in Darth's face, snarling. 

"What's *right* is me finding out the information that this doc is withholding. If he would cooperate, I wouldn't have to beat him. But if a few smacks help me solve this case, then I'm gonna use them!"

Darth pushed right back at him. 

"Not on my watch you're not! Now stand down Blake, he's going to pass out if not!"

Blake still was practically foaming at the mouth, but at least he was standing his ground. And the shrink's desk was between them again. For now. 

That was as good as it was going to get for Darth. 

"Doc, we need to know about Ethan. We don't have time for games, and neither do you, judging from that bloody nose." 

The doc sat down wearily, dabbing at his nose.

"When Ethan's first son died, he felt very guilty. Developed a sort of morbid neurosis, causing him to be haunted by visions of drowning bodies. A few weeks ago, after the last session that Ethan visited me, I found this on the floor. He must have dropped it."

The doc stumbled over to Darth to give it to him.

It was an origami dog. 




Back in the car, Darth tried to persuade Blake to calm down.

"Listen, Blake, the shrink said Ethan was feeling guilty. Guilt really messes with a person's mind. Causes them to see things, believe things that aren't true. You can't just order a manhunt, and pin this on Mars over some hunch! You're crazy!"

"Shut the hell up Carbonite! All I've heard you do is complain about everything. You're not an agent, you're a wimp. You can't man up and do what needs to be done. Oh, but he may be innocent you say?! Fat chance, you moron. Good thing I'm the one in charge!"

Smiling at Darth, he grabbed the radio to make an alert. "I want every agent on Ethan Mars! Day and night, at his home, at the train station, bus depot, anyplace he could use to escape. The Origami Killer is Ethan Mars!"

"Blake, you're making a huge mistake!"

Blake jerked the wheel, speeding the car across the opposite lane, practically parking it on the sidewalk.

Darth smacked into the window.

Wincing, he checked the lump already forming on his head.

"You're freaking insane Blake, I'm going to report you for this!"


Darth slowly turned and found himself face-to-face with Blake's gun.

"How about you get the hell out of the car, and go take a walk. Enjoy the rain, it should help clear that thick, idiotic head of yours."

He's lost his mind. He's lost his freaking mind.

Still, he knew not to try to wrestle Blake with a gun in his face. If he got shot, he knew Blake would cover it up.

He slowly exited the car.

"See ya back at the station, buddy."

Darth slammed the door as Blake began speeding away, sirens flashing. 

The trickle of rain turned into a downpour. 





Darth never went back to the station. 

He decided to tail Ethan for himself. Which is why he had been waiting outside of an abandoned warehouse for an hour.

Whoa, wait a second, was that a scream?

Darth didn't hesitate. 

Brandishing his gun, he raced through the entrance, looking for Ethan. 

"What the hell? Mars, what happened to you?!"

It went against everything he was taught, but he couldn't help himself. Running over to Ethan, he pocketed his gun and started looking at Ethan's bloodstained hand. 

It was missing a finger.

He was going to throw up.

"Ethan, the police are going to be here any minute. Blake is going to come busting down that door, and drag you off to prison. Do you really want that? You've gotta give me something, anything to help you out. You and I both know how much Blake is looking to pin this all on you."

Ethan paled even more.

Darth grabbed Ethan's arm, practically dragging him over to sit on a nearby crate. 

They both sat quietly as Ethan tried composing himself after choking on whatever words he just tried to say. 

"I can't tell you everything. I'm not asking you to believe me, but I need this chance. He's my son, and he's all I have left. All of this, everything I've done these past few days, has been to save him. I'm his only shot at surviving this."

Ethan turned to him, eyes glistening, but determined.

"I took my eyes off of him and then he was gone. I wish I could go back and prevent all of this. Don't you have someone you love? How far would you go to save them?"

A lump formed in Darth's throat.

My sister. I would do anything for her. 

Darth's phone rang abruptly, breaking their silence. 

Darth didn't even need to bring the phone up to his ear to know who it was. Blake's voice was yelling through the line as soon as he picked up. 

"Where are you? We're this close to Ethan and we-"

Darth calmly took his phone, dropped it, and crushed it with his foot. 

Hunching down to Ethan's level, Darth put Ethan's arm around him and helped him up. 

The two of them hobbled out of there into Darth's car, and pulled away just as Blake's men arrived.

 Looking over at Ethan's now unconscious body, Darth couldn't believe what he had just done. 

I know this man is innocent. I just need to figure out how to prove it.