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Wade was awoke by a loud clanging outside her cell door. She sat up and rubbed her eyes. A guard stood outside her cell, banging on the bars with a nightstick.

"Rise and shine," the guard told her. "You've got a court date don't wanna be late for that."

Wade stood up, trying to keep from yawning. "And why is that?" she asked.

"Your arraignment," the guard replied. "Although I don't know why we give traitors like you equal rights."

"Glad to see you believe in 'innocent until proven guilty' ", Wade muttered as the guard led her out of her cell and toward the showers.

A few hours later, Wade was being led by the same guard into the courthouse. She tried to keep her wits about her, trying to catch any sign that Rembrandt and Quinn had a plan to get her out. She knew they were supposed to slide in less than an hour. If they were going to get her, it was going to be now.

The courtroom was crowded--the judge seemed to have a full docket of cases that afternoon and her arraignment was running late. The guard stood with Wade at the back of the courtroom, awaiting for her case to be called. Wade wondered what lawyer would be representing her. Probably the public defender, although no one had come by to discuss her case with her after she was booked.

The door at the back of the courtroom opened, and Jane, dressed in a policewoman's uniform, slipped in. All she could do was wait and hope for some sort of break to grab Wade and get her away. It couldn't have gone any better than if she had scripted it out.

Jane looked up to find Wade's guard signaling her over. She walked over the two women, hoping the guard didn't ask her for any identification.

"Can you help me out here?" the guard asked. "My pager just went off with a 911 code. I need to find out what it's about. Could you stand with this prisoner until I get back? I should only be gone a minute."

"Sure," Jane replied, relieved the guard didn't question her presence. She took Wade's arm, as the guard told her to take Wade to the judge if they were called before she returned. Jane nodded, and watched as the guard walked out through the door Jane had just entered.

"OK," she hissed, once the guard had left. "Follow me, act like nothing is going on, and stay calm."

"What?" Wade asked.

"Quinn sent me," Jane whispered. "Come on--we don't have much time!"

She led Wade out through the door, turning down and empty hallway. She stopped at a utility closet door, opening it and pushing Wade inside.

"Here," Jane said, picking up a police uniform, which had been hidden behind a stack of boxes. "Change into this."

"How?" Wade asked, indicating her hands, which were cuffed behind her.

Jane looked at the cuffs. "I don't know how to get those off," she said looking quickly around for anything that could help her. She found a small toolbox on a shelf. "We are in luck," she said, producing a small pair of wirecutters. "At least I hope so," she said.

Jane tried to cut the handcuffs, but to no avail. "OK, OK," she said. "Think. How do we get out of here?"

She grabbed Wade's elbow, and opened the closet door. "It's risky, but we've got to do it. We have to just walk out of here as if you've already been arraigned."

The two women walked quickly thorough the halls, which were near empty. "Everyone must be inside, waiting to see what happens to me," Wade said.

"Looks like our luck will hold out," Jane said, as she found an outside door. "My car is right around the corner."

The two women stepped out into the sunlight, and headed for Jane's car, which was parked about half a block away. They reached it quickly, and Jane opened the passenger door and shoved Wade in. As she got in behind the wheel, she heard shouting and saw officers heading their way.

"Looks like we're found out," Wade said nervously. "I hope this car is fast!" she exclaimed as Jane tore out of the parking space and headed for her home.

"You and me both," Jane said, doing her best to elude the police and keep themselves from getting killed.

Wade looked at her savior, and for the first time realized who she was. "'re the woman in the picture. The one in Quinn's wallet!" She wanted to ask the woman how she knew Quinn, but now didn't seem to be the time.

Jane sped though the city streets. She glanced at her dashboard clock. "5 minutes until you slide, Hold on," she said, whipping the car onto her street, knocking over several of her neighbor's trash cans in the process.

She pulled the car off the road, parking haphazardly in her yard. "Come on," she cried, grabbing Wade by the collar and hauling her out through the drivers side door.

The two women sprinted across the large yard as the police pulled in behind them, Wade doing her best to keep from falling. Quinn appeared on the front porch, Megan in his arms, and Rembrandt beside him. "Do it," he yelled to Rembrandt as they ran off the porch.

Rembrandt activated the swirling vortex, waving his arms to Wade and Jane. "Let's go, let's go!" he shouted.

"Here," Quinn yelled, handing a crying Megan to Rembrandt. "Take her and go! We're right behind you!"

Wade managed to sprint ahead of Jane, and ran past Quinn into the vortex. Quinn turned to reach for Jane. He saw her stumble and fall. He raced to her and hauled her to her feet. As he did so, he could see she hadn't just fallen. She'd been shot by one of the officers, who were coming toward them, only momentarily put off by both the sight of the vortex and the two men.

Quinn dragged Jane to the vortex and threw her inside. He didn't know if she was dead or alive, but he wasn't leaving her here either way. He leaped into the vortex just as it began shrinking, hoping against hope that Jane would be all right.

read part 16