Steele Not Licensed to Steele 1/4
Date: Monday, July 03, 2000
Wolfgang Walter <>

Steele not Licensed To Steele 1/4
Adapted by Wolfgang Walter

Someone who's related to a part of the Mediterranean area (you know who you are) put a little flea in my ear. This little flea tortured me for a while until I decided to write this one. It's a what if story, what if Wilson hadn't left Laura after her infamous fan-dance. I worked this story around Nancy's transcript and her addition, and some
other ideas she used in her various pieces - thank you for allowing me to do it, Nancy - so you won't find much new scenes. I hope you canenjoy it nonetheless.
Also many thanks to Michael for beta-reading - and hopefully making it a better story.

Disclaimer: I don't own the characters of Remington Steele and Laura Holt. I just borrowed them for entertainment.

Laura Holt, head of the Remington Steele Investigations' agency - a fact only a few people knew - sat in the agency's limousine and observed how a helicopter landed. With satisfaction she noticed the security guards taking care of a metal box concentrating the attention of any possible observer on them. With even more pleasure she realized
that her client, Gordon Hunter, who had asked her agency to guard some precious stones, seemed to be anything but enthused by this spectacle, and that made her smile.

She ordered Fred to move after the armored car had driven away. From the corner of her eye she caught glimpse of a linen truck that was driven by her associate, Murphy Michaels. Almost unnoticed by anyone, he took care of a metal box very much like the one the security guards
had dealt with.

The man who called himself Michael O'Leary, for the time being, pretended to take photographs of a family. In reality he snapped shots of the limousine and the armored car. To get a better angle he asked 'his' family with his British accented voice, "Just in a little bit - that's it. Fine." After taking aim, he thanked them. "Wonderful. Look at your mother. That's fine. That's it. Okay, okay."

The arrival of the linen truck got his attention. Knowing that even obviously insignificant events may prove very important he also took pictures of it and its unloading.

After that he gave the woman some money. "Thank you. You have an enchanting family."

"For another fifty, you can keep the kids," she joked.

He forced a smile on his face addressing the little girl, "I'm afraid my suitcase isn't big enough."

After bidding their farewells the mother, with her two children, went her own way while he returned to his rented blue Mercedes, unaware that he had been watched by two men from an upstairs window of the hotel where the security guards had brought in the metal box.

A rough looking man with a mustache, told his partner, "didn't take him long to pick up the scent, did it?"

His companion, a rat faced man with a Cockney accent, opened a switchblade. "Only this time, we saw 'im, before 'e saw us." After this statement he closed the knife smugly.

Laura and Hunter watched together in the security office as the metal box was unsealed and opened to reveal a load of bricks. Hunter finally aired his frustration about this whole operation. "I must say, Miss Holt, that I am LESS than impressed. This is NOT why I retained the Remington Steele Detective Agency."

She turned to the guards not revealing her thoughts about this remark, "Thank you, gentlemen."

After the men had left them alone Hunter continued, "I could have arranged this method of transportation myself. It does not take a security genius to hire an armored car service."

Laura tried to interject, "Mr. Hunter, this is only a divers-" but Hunter wasn't in the mood to listen.

"I've got 2.6 million dollars worth of gems arrivin' tomorrow. If anyone wants to take a shot at 'em, all they gotta do is blow that tin can apart and run like hell!"

Laura remained calm being sure if Hunter knew everything he would calm down. "If they do, they'll come up empty," she replied. "The art of security is a lot like a magic act, Mr. Hunter. It's built on deception. While everybody 's looking here -" she indicated the box, "- the gems, will be over here. So if anybody wants that box, they're welcome to it."

She went to the safe and pulled out another box. "Because THIS is the one that counts." She opened the box to reveal a silver lining as Murphy enters. "Murphy will go through the service entrance with the gems neatly tucked away in a linen cart."

Hunter started to laugh. "NOW, I'm impressed."

"Mr. Steele will be pleased to hear that," she answered politely.

"I'll tell him myself tomorrow."

Murphy returned the box to the safe as Laura answered, "I'm afraid that won't be possible. He isn't in Los Angeles at the moment."

"You mean he's not going to supervise this operation personally?" Hunter asked incredulously.

"We explained that Mr. Steele never involves himself directly in a case. He functions best in an advisory capacity."

Hunter seemed to be very worried. "The insurance only covers HALF the value of those gems. If your little magic act turns sour, I'm on the hook for a million three. You wanna hear a little secret? I don't GOT a million three. So I want Steele in the trenches." He went to the door threatening, "or I'm goin' somewhere else."

Murphy nodded and offered, "We're sorry you feel that way. We'll submit a bill for services to date."

Laura stepped forward, ignoring Murphy's worried look. "Uh, Mr. Steele will be calling in around five. I'll discuss the situation with him and see how he wants to proceed."

"I'll expect an answer by six," Hunter ordered.

After her return to the agency Laura asked Bernice Foxe, her trustworthy secretary, "is he in?" pointing at Murphy's door.

"Waiting for you," Bernice answered.

"Good. Let's get started." Laura entered her office - the middle one - and knocked on the connecting door to Murphy's. She removed her hat as Murphy opened the door. "It's five after five. Have you heard from Mr. Steele yet?" he inquired rhetorically.

Laura smiled, removing her jacket. "We all know the problem. Let's talk solution."

They went into the main office, where Laura sat at the desk and put her feet on after entangling them from her shoes.

"Simple. Say goodbye to Mr. Hunter," Murphy offered.

While Bernice entered with some tea and coffee, Laura looked at Murphy. "Isn't that a little precipitous?"

"We made a rule. If a client insists on dealing DIRECTLY with Remington Steele, we pass."

"Gordon Hunter is creating a media event. Television, newspapers, 'People Magazine' for god's sake. Whoever provides security for the gems gets kissed by the same spotlight. The publicity is worth its weight in clients."

Bernice frowned worriedly. "And you want Remington Steele to personally oversee security."

"That's right," Laura nodded confirmatively.

"Can I ask a dumb question? How is Remington Steele going to do that if he doesn't exist?" Bernice insisted.

Laura started to pace. "We don't have to produce a real, live, Remington Steele. Hunter just wants to know he's there." She moved to her office, closing the main door to it. "The trick is to keep our non-existent Mr. Steele involved, yet inaccessible. Wherever Hunter is, he'll be somewhere else." She closed the door to Murphy's office.
"By the time Hunter realizes that he hadn't met or even seen
Remington Steele, we'll have done our job."

She closed the door to her office when Murphy was shaking his head disagreeing. "I think we're courting disaster."

Laura addressed Bernice as she returned to her seat behind the desk. "Touch on the overheard."

"It's killing us. These offices, the rental on the furniture, the apartment, not to mention the limousine -"

Laura gazed at Murphy. "The reason I invented Remington Steele to begin with was to attract clients like Hunter. I'm telling you, all we have to do is manufacture his presence for a few hours - and we can permanently dispense with the red ink -"

A voice coming from the outer office interrupted her. "Hello?"

After his departure from the hotel Michael had concentrated on his inquiries concerning the agency of Remington Steele Investigations. It hadn't been too hard to get a list of employees, Laura Holt, Murphy Michaels, Bernice Foxe and the chauffeur Fred. The bio of Laura Holt proved quite interesting: Graduated from Stanford University summa cum
laude in mathematics, became an apprentice at the Havenhurst
Detective Agency, rising to the rank of full operative in an unprecedented three years, left to form Laura Holt Investigations which closed six months later. From there she had been employed for the last year with Remington Steele Investigations. Was it coincidence that both agencies
were located in the same rooms? Together with a banker for five years, Wilson Jeffries, not married yet, no known engagement.

Murphy Michaels' bio wasn't by far this spectacular, he left Havenhurst about the time Remington Steele opened, perhaps Laura Holt had recommended him to Mr. Steele...

Bernice Foxe wasn't that surprising either, and about Fred, well, he seemed to be born to drive.

What was surprising that there was almost no information available about Remington Steele himself besides an official bio.

He went through the paper clippings he had been able to gather. It seemed that Mr. Steele was never involved directly, there were statements that he functioned in an advisory capacity. He scribbled down the clients of the agency to call them one by one, but they only confirmed that they actually never had seen Mr. Steele. It had always been Laura Holt who had dealt with them. Knowing that Laura Holt was good explained that there was no need for Mr. Steele to involve himself actively, so he could always function as reinforcement. Could it be that Fred was the mysterious Mr. Steele?

Perhaps it was time to make himself known. It was always good to know his opponents on the field. Why did LHI close? Ah, lack of clients. Obviously they hadn't accepted her as a private investigator.

He wondered shortly how to approach the agency. A change of identity was in order. Ben Pearson would be fine, he wasn't due to until the next day. How would he address the agency? How much was he allowed to know? Perhaps he should play the chauvinist. He grinned evilly. After all, this was his parade role.

After his call he tapped on the door and opened it. "Anyone about?" With amusement he watched Laura putting on her shoes hastily as he entered, her eyes wide. He approached Murphy, stretching out his hand. "Mr. Steele -"

He wasn't in the least surprised that Laura took the lead. "I'm sorry. Mr. Steele's out of town."

He saw the perfunctory smile on Murphy's face, who was obviously suspicious of him. "I'm his associate. Murphy Michaels."

Michael looked at Murphy, trying to place where he had seen the face before. The pictures from the papers hadn't been very clear, then his gaze moved from Murphy to Laura and back again. "Have we met before?"

"I don't think so."

"Odd. You look vaguely familiar."

"I've got that kind of face," Murphy told him evasively.

Michael focused his concentration on Laura as he answered. "So you do."

She put out her hand. "Laura Holt -" and was interrupted by Bernice.
"Bernice Foxe."

He couldn't hide a smile as he remarked, "Quite a busy office with so many secretaries," and was rewarded with a sharp answer from Laura.
"I'm a licensed private investigator, Mr. -"

"Pearson. Ben Pearson." He pulled out his faked ID.

Laura looked at it frowning. "Special agent."

"For want of a better title. I represent the South African
government. Sorry to barge in unannounced, but I thought it best not to make a formal appointment." Much to his contentment he noticed that his charm was working on Bernice who sidled up to him, the coffee pot in her hand. "Would you like some coffee? I'll make a fresh pot." She started
to turn, then stopped and purred, "or, tea, perhaps? I'll make some fresh water." He watched her appreciatively slinking out the door, then realizing that it probably wasn't the best time to get distracted he continued, "I'm on a rather delicate mission and I need your assistance. Those gems you're guarding -"

He turned towards Murphy who slowly recovered from Bernice' seductive behavior and asked, "What about them?"

"They're stolen. They were smuggled out of South Africa, quite illegally, and eventually sold to a private museum in Rome. From there, they were lent to museums in Paris and London, and now they're here on some sort of promotional tour of the states. Naturally, my government wants them returned."

Laura joined Murphy. "That's a legal matter. Why come to us?"

"Ownership is currently tied up in litigation. But if the gems should be stolen now it wouldn't matter who they really belong to."

"Do you think there will be an attempt?"

"They are the rarest gems in the world. Royal Lavulite. More precious than diamonds because there are so few of them. The only known deposits reside in my country. Yes, Miss Holt, I think there WILL be an attempt. That's why I'll need to be fully apprised of your security measures."

Murphy asked, "You don't mind if we check you out first."

"Not at all," Michael replied, his gaze mostly on Laura. "Quite frankly, I would be rather disappointed if you didn't. It would indicate a certain laxity on your behalf that would not be very reassuring to my government." Of course he couldn't tell he rather wouldn't, but he hoped that he could pull this theft soon enough by making use of the confusion two Ben Pearsons would create. After all, besides his identity he had been truthful.

"Then we'll see you again, Mr. Pearson?" Laura asked.

So his charm seemed to have a positive effect on her also. As long as Mr. Steele was out of town and Laura kept Murphy in check, he would work on that avenue. "Count on it, Miss Holt." He shook Murphy's hand and went to the door as Bernice returned with the tea. "Delightful aroma," he couldn't help commenting, then he left, not able to observe
Laura and Bernice exchanging smiling glances as Murphy picked up the telephone. "Does anyone know what time it is in South Africa?"

'Ben' returned in his hotel. He waited for his keys; he then went up to his room. He found it very unnerving that every now and then the image of Laura Holt popped in his head and distracted him, even the simple task of unlocking and opening the door was disturbed this way, but he forgot his worries immediately as a blade suddenly appeared in the wood of his door. He paused long enough to see the knife being
removed, then he pushed the door open, throwing his would be attacker back into the room, where he got him in a head lock. Too late he realized that there were two intruders for he was attacked from behind, nearly choked by his tie and finally he fell to the floor. He immediately recognized the two burglars, for he had had to deal with them previously in Paris and in London. Both times because of the gems. Silently he cursed his bad luck.

The American, Kessler, asked, "who are you?"

Loosening his tie with a slight grin, "Just a happy go lucky tourist, out to see a bit of the world." he answered, trying to play the innocent victim.

Neff, the knife man, dropped some passports on him. "That why you got five different passports from five different countries with five different names?"

"I keep trying for a good picture," he responded.

Kessler stated, "Those gems belong to us."

"I was under the impression that they belong to the South African government."

"We have a proprietary claim. After all, the courier who smuggled them out of the country initially worked for us."

"Only he got greedy and sold them on his own."

"He's been properly chastised for his indiscretion," Kessler informed him.

"May I get up now, or do you prefer me in the groveling position?" he couldn't help making fun of them.

Kessler extended a hand to help him, which 'Pearson' released as soon as possible, obviously not trusting the man. "Each time we try to reclaim those stones you get in our way. First in Paris, then London. Here you are again."

Flashing a smile on his face he replied, "we must have the same travel agent."

Neff, standing behind him, said, "I'm 'ungry. Let's kill 'im and get somethin' t'eat."

"That won't satisfy anything but your appetite," Pearson warned him. Neff rewarded him by jabbing him in the back with the closed knife held at ready. "I admit that we may have been at cross purposes up to now. Perhaps it's time we joined forces."


"It certainly beats the alternative."

With relief he watched Kessler, apparently satisfied, turning to leave. Neff followed, opening and closing the knife as he told 'Pearson', "keep in touch."

Laura finally arrived at the hotel and approached Hunter who was signing some papers in the banquet room. "Mr. Hunter."

"You're late."

"You can afford to be when you bring good news," she told him with far more confidence than she really felt.

Hunter rewarded her with a broad smile. "He'll be here."

"Mr. Steele feels your situation warrants his closest attention. He'll be arriving late tonight."

After Hunter's partner left them he indicated the covered car. "Well, what do you think?"

"It seems very adventurous, building an automobile, the way the industry is these days."

"You ever have a dream, Miss Holt? A desire to see your talents recognized, your efforts applauded?"

Laura started to smile, dreamy eyed as she answered, "yes."

"Ever since I started welding door panels on the assembly line, I dreamed of having my name on the finest automobile ever built. I went to engineering school at night, I even took speech lessons so that people would listen to WHAT I said instead of HOW I said it. I averaged 3 hours of sleep a night for 6 years until I was running a division of my own. I've mortgaged everything but my vital parts to get this beauty launched. This maybe just another job to you, but
it's my life."

Laura met his eyes. "I assure you, Mr. Hunter, in my own way, I am also risking everything I have."

Hunter smiled, satisfied. "Good. I never like doing business with someone who doesn't have as much to lose as I do."

In a makeshift darkroom, 'Pearson' was developing his photographs. Suddenly something caught his attention and he got his magnifying glass, identifying Murphy in a linen company uniform. "Dr. Livingstone, I presume." He began to see the way the whole operation would run.

Laura was sitting in the hotel dining room thinking over the events of the day when the waiter disturbed her bringing over a magnum of champagne and setting it beside the table. "I didn't order this," she protested.

The waiter explained her, "the gentleman wishes to buy you a drink."

She looked past him to see 'Ben Pearson' sitting at a table. As soon as he noticed that she was watching him he lifted his glass to her in silent salute. "Tell the gentleman that I appreciate the gesture, but I'm waiting for someone -" She jumped in surprise as the cork released, and watched as the waiter poured a glass of the wine before leaving. She could see Pearson standing up and approaching her. "A magnum of champagne?" she asked nonchalantly.

"You looked thirsty."

"Do you always do things on such a grand scale, Mr. Pearson?"

"Only when I'm aroused - with curiosity. May I?"

Suddenly feeling very nervous she indicated the other chair and took a drink, almost choking on it as he asked, "tell me, Miss Holt, how did you become a dick?"

"I beg your pardon?" she returned, confused.

"Isn't that what you Americans call a private detective?"

Losing some of her nervousness Laura granted him a smile. Now this was an area she could talk of without hesitation. "Only in the movies. I always loved excitement. So I studied and apprenticed, and eventually joined a large detective agency."

"And did it fulfill your fantasies?"

"The work was rewarding, the recognition was nil. It seemed that no matter how successful my efforts were, the lions' share of the credit always went to my male counterparts - regardless of their contribution."

"Tawdry thing, this male chauvinism."

"You exhibited it a bit of yourself," she replied, her tone

"How so?"

"When you instantly assumed I was a secretary."

"You must admit, your occupation is highly unusual for a woman. Especially one of such obvious breeding and intelligence."

"You carry the same prejudice most people do," Laura accused him becoming a bit passionate. "Because of my sex, I'm not BUILT for the job."

"It IS a rather rough and tumble trade. At least the way it's portrayed in your cinema. All those blazing guns and smashing fists -"

Laura shook her head in disbelief. "Believe me, it requires more brain than brawn."

"I take it sex isn't a problem for Remington Steele. Yours, that is."

Laura relaxed. "On the contrary. He's the most generous,
understanding, supportive man I could imagine," she stated and drank a toast to her imaginary boss.

"He seems to have rather large shoes to fill," Pearson commented, his eyes on hers trying to gain some more information.

"Few would be foolish enough to try," she replied cautiously not liking the way their conversation turned to.

"Unless, of course, one enjoyed impossible challenges."

Suddenly becoming nervous again she observed him as he took a drink. She started to wonder if he had begun to see through the disguise she carefully had built up the last half year with the help of Bernice and Murphy.

"Will he be involved tomorrow?"

Laura forced a smile on her face. "Mr. Steele's presence will be felt rather than seen."

"And his associate -"

"Murphy Michaels," she supplied readily relieved by the change of topic.

"I certainly hope he's involved. He seems an awfully competent chap."

"Oh, he'll play a vital role."

'Pearson' lifted his glass. "Tomorrow, then. May everything go as smoothly as I hope."

Laura drank to the toast, then her eyes widened as she saw Murphy. "Excuse me," she began, rising, and noticed that he also had risen, "Thanks for the champagne - and the curiosity."

Grateful for any interruption to this inquisition she fairly ran to Murphy who stood with a cart of luggage. "Murphy. I've reserved the penthouse suite in Remington Steele's name. Take the bags up, arrange the clothes and hang out the Do Not Disturb sign."

"I hate this, Laura. I really hate this," Murphy told her, smiling worriedly all the while.

"Don't fight it," she begged. "Don't fight it." She didn't notice Murphy's frustration as she headed down the hall.
End Part 1
To Part 2