Title: Seeing The Invisible
Fandom: Sylum Universe: Kung Fu: The Legend Continues; CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
Characters/Pairings: Peter Caine/Kermit Griffin, Original Characters
Word Count: 1,102
Summary: It had been a perfect weekend getaway, but what they find when they stop on the way home, was eye-opening even for the most hardened law enforcement officer. Written for Human Trafficking Awareness Day.
Pulling up to the gas pumps of the 49er Travel Plaza in Sacramento, Peter realized that despite having come back into urban sprawl after a relaxing four day weekend spent in Lake Tahoe with his Mate, he was still feeling relaxed and recharged.
As the resident computer expert, Kermit Griffin, with his partner, Peter Caine had been assigned a case dealing with a series of burglaries where the only thing stolen had been high-end computers. After six frustrating weeks, they’d finally got a break in the case when one of the thieves found out the ringleader’s endgame and had walked up to Peter on the street and asked to be arrested. They’d taken a team to make arrests but had found the other six thieves had taken their own lives thinking their consciousnesses were going to merge with the ‘super’ computer they had built from the stolen equipment. Paul had given everyone involved in the case a four day weekend, and appointments with one of the psychologists that worked with the department.
Now, they were headed back to San Francisco after he spent the weekend communing with nature outside their lakeside condo, while Kermit relaxed by fattening his wallet at the casinos’ poker tables. Peter was pulled from thoughts of his relaxed Mate in the middle of the condo’s king-sized bed when a sense of ‘wrong’ pinged off his Shaolin senses. After getting back behind the wheel, he simply sat and stared out the windshield instead of starting their rental Jeep to continue their journey.
“Peter?” Kermit’s expression became concerned when Peter continued to stare at the parking lot.
“Just a feeling of something not quite right.”
He looked around the large parking lot of the truck stop. There were several RV’s of all sizes scattered across the lot that was beginning to fill with vehicles of people stopping for their after church lunch.
“Let’s go across the way to one of my favorite places to eat.” He started the Jeep and headed for the exit. He answered the silent question Kermit asked with an arch of his eyebrows. “The Black Bear Diner. I’ll even pay. Good food, huge portions.”
His Mate had been right about the restaurant. “I have no idea where you put all that food. I’ve got to take half of mine home for lunch tomorrow.” Kermit sat back against the booth with a groan.
“High metabolism.” Peter smirked at the older man. His face turned serious. “I want to go back over to the truck stop. There’s something going on. I feel like I need to figure it out before we head home.”
“I could do with some time to digest lunch before we get beat up by the road between here and home.” Kermit gave his Mate a cheeky grin. “We can’t run home to our big comfortable bed if your spidey sense is tingling.”
“It’s not … Never mind.” He shook his head at his Mate’s teasing as he paid their bill and headed back across the four-lane.
They parked in a spot farthest from the building housing the restaurant and travel store where they could watch the entire parking lot. An older couple stepped out of a bus size RV with two small dogs and head for the grassy area next to the road. Tractor-trailers moved through the fuel island and security gate into the parking lot. Peter and Kermit took a stroll across the lot into the travel store making note of all the vehicles and what was happening around them. Two cups of coffee and a bag of snacks later, they made the same slow walk back to their Jeep.
“Kermit.” Peter drew his partner’s attention to a mid-sized RV off to their left. They watched as a young woman left the RV as a man not old enough to be her father watched her walk toward the building. A few minutes later, a young man, who barely looked old enough to drive, followed her. A half-hour later the pair returned, their body language tight and closed off. Ten minutes later, another pair did the same routine.
Kermit picked up his phone to call the local police when the parking lot suddenly filled with flashing lights surrounding the RV. Slipping unnoticed around the edge of the gathering crowd, the Vampires approached the building where several drivers watched what was happening. He noticed one of the women wearing a t-shirt with an emblem that looked like a steering wheel with the letters TAT.
“Know what’s happening?” Peter asked.
“Someone said there’s a pimp running lot lizards out of an RV in the parking lot.”
“Lot lizards?” Not familiar with truckers’ jargon, Peter had to ask.
“Prostitutes that prowl truck stop and rest area parking lots knocking on truck doors looking for a trick.” She looked at her watch. “I’ve got to deliver Bakersfield in the morning, so I better be putting it down the road.” She drawled.
“Have a safe trip.” Peter turned away to look for Kermit.
He turned back when he felt a tug on his sleeve. The female driver handed him a business card. “In case you want to find out more about what’s going on over there.”
Looking down at the card, he looked up to see the woman disappearing through the door to the restaurant. He looked back at the writing on the card. Truckers Against Trafficking. He smiled. She must have been the one to call the police. He went to collect his Mate. It was time they headed home.
“I bet people approach truckers all the time. They carry cash, are never in one place long enough to know what’s considered normal in the neighborhood. I can see them noticing things most people wouldn’t pay attention to.”
Three hours later, they were home in their Chinatown loft. Once they were settled and showered, Peter sat down at Kermit’s computer and pulled the card out of his wallet. After combing through the TAT website, he sent them a donation along with a note thanking them for the work they do.
~ Finis ~
Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) is a 501(c)3 that exists to educate, equip, empower and mobilize members of the trucking, bus and energy industries to combat human trafficking. Truckers Against Trafficking recognizes that members of the trucking, bus, and energy industries are invaluable in the fight against this heinous crime. As the eyes and ears of our nation’s highways. you are in a unique position to make a difference and close loopholes to traffickers who seek to exploit our transportation system for their personal gain.