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Monday, 13 May 2013, 11:00 A.M.

Conference Room,

Homicide Squad,

4th Floor, 12th Precinct

New York City Councilwoman Regina Taylor was still locked in her verbal sparring match with New York Ledger journalist Larry Brown.

And while Captain Victoria Gates along with her officers had left the room to attend to their actual jobs, the whole bullpen could hear the bellow of Taylor's voice.

Larry's calm and flippant ripostes infuriated Taylor and drove the usually skilled politician into making a bigger and bigger jackass out of herself.

"Never hate your enemies. It affects your judgment," Brown quotes, "Michael Corleone in Godfather Part III."

"This is about principle, not hatred," Taylor fumes, "I will not allow the Office of NYPD Commissioner to become a hereditary monarchy!"

"Doesn't your name, come from the Latin for Queen?" Brown teases.

"I was named for St. Regina, and you know it," Taylor glowers, "The patron of impoverished and torture victims, like too many of my constituents."

"Oh, that's neat. I like that," Brown rolls his eyes, "You should use that in your upcoming unsuccessful mayoral campaign.

"It'll certainly work better than trying to use Rick to go after Bob Weldon and Frank Reagan. That will end in disaster for you."

"Thank you for your concern, Larry," Taylor replies sarcastically, "But I'll take this to the City Council and the public and win."

"Every battle is won or lost before the first blow is struck," Brown shakes his head.

"What are you talking about?" Taylor sneers.

"Sun Tzu," Brown explains, "Rick's been quoting that line since he was a kid."

"And pray tell me how he's already beaten me?"

"The Northwind and Sun make a bet," Larry recounts, "Who can make a man they see walking along take off his coat.

"The Northwind blew and blew. But the man held the coat tighter. Then the sun just came out and smiled. It became warmer and the man took off his coat."

Taylor looks at Larry like he's crazy.

"It's one of Aesop's fables," Brown explains, "The Northwind lets its pride and an overestimation of its own power exhaust itself.

"It humiliated itself trying to take on an adversary it didn't need to and who just had to be itself to win, without much effort."

"And I'm the Northwind?" Taylor sneers.

"A politician a spewing a lot of wind is pretty basic A to B metaphor," Brown quips.

"And how does Rick Castle plan come out and smile?" Taylor mocks.

"That's the thing about the sun," Brown notes, "It's always shining. What we see depends on the rotation of the Earth…sort of like news cycles."

"Can you drop the metaphor, for God's sake!" Taylor barks.

"Okay," Brown responds, "You're going to demand the City Council stop Rick's appointment, arguing he's benefiting from favoritism.

"But as I recall, in that body, you're only one among equals. You don't wield statutory leadership authority but depend on having others willing to go along."

"I know how the City Council works!"

"Then you'd understand the consequences if your key allies choose not to support you," Brown teases.

"And why would they do that?" Taylor glares.

"I know you hate the metaphor," Brown grins, "But unlike you, they're appreciative of what sunlight can do for them besides just provide warmth."

"Like what?"

"Take out viruses and bacteria," Brown explains, "In Rick's case human ones like the people who ran the JTD group."

"The JTD Group?"

"You remember," Brown smirks, "After Hurricane Sandy last year, they tried to scoop up hard hit properties, mostly lower income, for redevelopment."

"Redevelopment my ass," Taylor seethes, "Mob takeovers were more civilized. Those bastards used bribery, violence, and identity theft to get what they wanted."

"It was surprising," Brown chuckles, "I thought you and your pals found it easier to attack the cops whose budgets you control.

"But it was liked times when all of you actually cared about fighting greedy corporate bastards in some futile crusade."

"Futile! We stopped JTD," Taylor declares smugly, "And without the NYPD or Rick Castle."

"Oh, yeah, it was all you and your friends," Brown mocks, "The champions of the downtrodden who scored that brilliant and epic victory."

"At least, that's the impression the entire city seemed to hold once your public relations people finished spinning the story."

"We fought damn hard to stop those slimeballs!" Taylor snaps furiously.

"You fought hard, alright," Brown keeps taunting, "To get your names in papers and faces on TV, making accusations you couldn't prove."

"We stopped them!" Taylor seethes out of control, unable to process reason.

"I assure you, their fall had nothing to do with all your impotent noise," Brown scoffs.

"That Impotent noise!" Taylor fumes, "Got the attention of the FBI's White-Collar division who brought down JTD, not the NYPD or your precious Rick Castle."

And there it is Brown thinks to himself, Kid was right again. Her need to be the hero of the masses is her weakness.

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Monday, 13 May 2013, 11:00 A.M.

Lincoln MKT Town Car,

Hutchinson River Pkwy South,

Pelham, NY

"Hold on," Rick Castle laughs uncontrollably, "You actually compared me to Grand Admiral Thrawn? I love it."

"I thought you would," Alexis rolls her eyes, "But I'm trying to talk about something serious Uncle Frank said, so could you try to focus.

Alexis Castle was going over the conversation she had with her Godfather earlier in the day when she brought up the Star Wars reference.

"Alright, I'm sorry," Rick gets himself under control, "And what would that be?"

"He said," Alexis recounts, "In bad situations, you can think through the OODA loop so fast that it only looks like your being reckless. Is that true, be honest?"

"That's quite the compliment," Rick nods, "But honestly, it all depends on the resources and time I have, and sometimes options are limited.

"To quote Hannibal Smith in the movie, give me a minute, I'm good. Give me an hour, I'm great. Give me six months, I'm unbeatable."

"At least your cockiness wasn't faked," Alexis narrows her eyes, "Still a commercial flight from New York to Paris takes, over seven hours.

"So, Hannibal Thrawn, how was Jacque Henri able to play you so that your long-lost father had to swoop in to save you, unless you omitted more facts."

"Hannibal Thrawn, I like it, and yes I did," Rick replies, then quotes, "Misdirection is the key to survival. Never attack what your enemy defends.

"Never behave as your enemy expects. And never reveal your true strength. If knowledge is power, then to be unknown is to be unconquerable."

"Please tell me you did not just recite the Romulan Creed," Alexis mocks.

"Okay, how about some classical Chinese military wisdom," Rick shrugs, "Jacque Henri was my waying of deceiving the heavens to cross the sea."

"What is that? Sun Tzu?" Alexis scrunches her nose.

"Wáng Jìngzé, actually," Rick smiles, "He advised masking your goals from the opposition by not letting them see your real movements or plans."

"The security apps on your phone," Alexis realizes, "You realized they had you under surveillance."

"I just didn't know how much or much about them," Rick sighs, "And knowledge precedes victory, ignorance precedes defeat, that's Sun Tzu.

"In order to follow the advice of both men, I needed scouts and skirmishers which is where Jacque Henri and his men were useful."

"I think I'm going to miss it," Alexis shakes her head sadly, "When you used comic books and cartoons to illustrate your points.

"So am I," Rick sighs equally sadly, "I guess Frank was right about Prince Hal."

"He had to grow up to become Henry V," Alexis nods, "What were you saying about scouts and skirmishers?

"From ancient times," Rick explains, "Advancing armies would deploy light units of cavalry or infantry, skirmishers, out in front.

"They'd be in thin a spread-out line, a screen. They would scout ahead, prevent enemy scouting, and delay any attack by the enemy's main force.

"This let their commanders keep details on their main force concealed while keeping it concentrated to deliver a solid punch wherever the skirmishers made contact.

"I needed the kidnappers to focus on Henri so they might make a mistake and tip their hand and also not notice my main force."

"Your father?" Alexis says confused, "I thought you didn't know he was going to be there."

"Oh, I didn't," Rick shakes, "That was definitely an unexpected twist. If it hadn't actually happened to me, I would've said it was the work of a television writer.

"Before I met with Gaston about hiring Henri, I made sure to make an arrangement with some guys I knew I could trust."

"Remember when I was little," Alexis recalls, "And we used to watch reruns from the Plastic Man cartoon from the 80's."

"Yeah, I loved that show when I was kid," Rick responds, "My favorite was his sidekick, Hula-Hula, everywhere we go in the world, he knew a guy."

"Yeah, I know," Alexis rolls her eyes, "We're going to have to examine your choice of fictional role models."

"You too?"

"What is that supposed to mean?"

"Well according to another guy that I know," Rick explains, "I'm some combination of Captain America, Batman, and Doctor Doom."

"And that doesn't disturb you?" Alexis gives a look.

"Deeply," Rick makes a sour face, "Victor Von Doom is an insufferable egomaniac who thinks the world would run better under his benevolent rule.

"I'd prefer Ra's Al Gul, someone who tries to keep the world in balance by making adjustments from the shadows without the need for public displays."

"Don't those adjustments usually involve killing 75% of all humans?" Alexis gives him a mocking look.

"Hey, if someone compares me to any supervillain," Ricks smirks, "It's not going to be flattering."

"Seriously dad?" Alexis raises her voice, "Isn't actually quibbling over which fictional homicidal, power-mad despot someone should call you, a little crazy?"

"If you're saying I need my head examined," Rick responds, "I have, by more than twenty specialists since I was child."

"This I believe," Alexis says mockingly.

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Author's Notes:

This chapter was going to be longer, but the second half was dragging out too much.

Deceive the heavens to cross the sea (瞞天過海, Mán tiān guò hǎi) is the first stratagem listed in the Thirty-Six Stratagems by Wáng Jìngzé

Mask one's real goals from those in authority who lack vision by not alerting them to one's movements or any part of one's plan.

The "Romulan Creed" I quoted is from "Star Trek: Birth of the Federation", a turn-based strategy game published in 1999 for Mac and PC.

The player could play any of five major star nations: The Federation, the Klingon Empire, the Cardassian Union, the Ferengi Alliance, and the Romulan Star Empire.

Depending on which one you picked, animated start screen would appear with it's particular creed.

The Polynesian character of Hula-Hula would be considered racist, unacceptable, etc. today, but he was quite hilarious in 1979-80.

The character was parody of the character Kazuo "Kim" Quisado (played by Poncie Ponce) on the TV Show "Hawaiian Eye" (1959-63).

This was a private detective series on ABC set in Hawaii starring Robert Conrad, Anthony Eisley, Connie Stevens, Grant Williams, and Troy Donahue.

Kim was a Hawaiian taxi driver who provided invaluable comic relief with a wardrobe consisting of a straw hat and crazy Hawaiian shirts. He had numerous relatives living all over the Hawaiian Islands, willing to help the heroes when they needed it.

Ra's al Ghul (Arabic for "Head of the Ghoul" or "Head of the Demon) is a supervillain and an adversary of Batman who's lived for centuries through a alchemy involving what he calls The Lazarus Pits.

His long life has allowed him to hone his combat, strategic, and scientific skills to deadly levels.

His daughter, Talia la Ghul, is after Catwoman, Batman's most on again off again romantic interest and the mother of his son Damien Wayne.

Despite wanting to rid the world of 75% of humans to restore the balance of nature, he is the classiest of Batman's enemies known for never lying or breaking his word.

He even figured out figured out Batman's true identity but never reveals it out of respect for him.

I like him because unlike Doctor Doom, Lex Luthor, or real-life tyrants, he has no interest in being seen as being the supreme ruler with displays of power and having crows cheer his name and clap for him at rallies to boost his ego.