Steele not licensed to Steele 2/4
Date: Monday, July 03, 2000
Wolfgang Walter <>

Steele not Licensed To Steele 2/4

'Pearson' found himself in the company of Kessler and Neff as the two drank champagne. Kessler was displaying his pleasure. "Very clever, getting on team with Steele's associate."

"Just sowing seeds, gentlemen, just sowing seeds."

"And when can we expect the harvest?" Kessler asked.

"Tonight. She's going to show me the route the gems will take."

"Nat'r'ly, you're gonna share that little tidbit with your new associates."

"I want you to follow us." He rose, as did they. "Of course, if you're not interested, gentlemen - I'll make the trip alone. Excuse me." He started down the corridor after Laura. Kessler and Neff caught up with him, and he held out some car keys. "Take my car. Blue Mercedes." He started to give them to Kessler, but he pointed them toward Neff. "And for god's sake, don't lose us," he said, leaving them to follow as he approached Laura.

She is about to get into the limo when he calls her. "Miss Holt! I wonder if I might impose on you for a lift?"

Laura hesitates, but only for a moment, then smiles. "Certainly."

'Pearson' got into the limo, as Kessler and Neff ran to his car.

He examined the interior of the car. "Plush," he only commented.

"Mr. Steele graciously allows me to use it whenever he's away."

He glanced behind them. "Your Mr. Steele sounds too good to be true."

"Where can I drop you?" she tried to avoid this tender topic.

"Wherever there's an abundance of police cars."

"Are you in some kind of trouble?" Laura asked surprised.

"Depends on how quickly we can locate one."

Laura leaned forward to tell Fred, "Cut across to Sunset."

"Do you pack a rod, Miss Holt?"

Laura fought in vain her amusement, her smile changed into laughter. "You've seen too many movies, Mr. Pearson. No, I don't 'pack a rod'. I've never found the need for one."



"The courier who smuggled those gems out of South Africa -"

"What about him?"

"He was brutally murdered by the two gentlemen behind us in that blue Mercedes." Laura turned to look as 'Ben' picked up the telephone. "May I use your phone? It's a local call -" Laura turned back, concerned. "Mobile operator? This is T-7328. I'd like the police." Laura slid down in the seat as he looked at her. "Yes, it's an emergency."

She leaned closer, asking softly. "Why are they following US?"

"Police? I'd like to report a stolen vehicle. Blue Mercedes 380SL. License number -" Wracking his mind for some moments in without any positive result he turned to read it from the pursuing car as Laura covered her face. "1DRO373. The last time I saw it, it was traveling -"

"East on Sunset," Laura whispered, sensing his insecurity, "just past Dougheny."

"East on Sunset, just past Dougheny," 'Pearson' told them. "Please hurry. I had some medicine in the back seat for my grandmother -" Laura turned to stare at him. "If she doesn't receive it -" He smiled reassuringly. "Bless you." He hung up, noted Laura's expression and shrugged. "Everyone needs a little added incentive now and then." He paused to reconsider his options. "In the light of this disturbing development, I suggest we change our strategy."

"In what way?" Laura asked, still shaken from the recent events and unsure how to go on.

"Use a decoy, then slip the gems in when no one's looking."

She's surprised. "You're very good at this sort of thing, Mr. Pearson."

"Have I read your mind, Miss Holt?" knowing quite well that she probably had planned it that way.

"Let's just say it's been considered."

"So are you," he told her as the sound of a police siren was heard.


"Good at this sort of thing." He looked back and smiled to see the car pulled over by the police. Laura sat up and looked too, curiosity overcoming her. "Rather reaffirms one's faith in the local constabulary."

Laura was on her way home driving her Rabbit while thinking over the events of the day. After they had gotten rid of their followers they had chatted amiably about this and that, and she had been impressed of the knowledge Ben had about jewelry and other objets d'art. Far too soon they had had to drop him at his destination, and she had returned to the agency fetching her car.

She grinned as it occurred to her that she probably would have likewise been impressed if he had talked about the weather. It wasn't what he was talking about but the way he was talking about it, and, of course, his accent. Of course he didn't look too bad either. She allowed herself to whistle, but it only brought another problem to the surface. One she had been avoiding for some time.

She sighed. She was returning to Wilson and their shared apartment. Laura reflected about their relationship. If he were home he would greet her with a kiss that she would return perfunctorily. She had to admit, they had emotionally drifted apart during the last years but whether Wilson saw it the same way she wasn't sure. He was still living after a timetable, but he had adjusted to her far more than she had thought he ever would - or could. She was grateful for his patience he had shown during the last years, putting up with her 'terminal flights of frivolity', but if it had needed one last prove that she and Wilson didn't fit together her encounter with Ben had delivered it. She expected far more from life than to be the banker's wife, she wanted to live without the tight restrictions she had come to accept living together with Wilson. Wilson was nice, yes, but he would never allow her to be completely herself. She couldn't even relax totally when she was home worried she might do something that would embarrass him totally. More than once it had happened that some of his colleagues had tapped on the door unexpectedly because of an urgent business Incident - one time she had started to seduce him, taking him completely by surprise. She gritted her teeth at the thought how Wilson had ushered her to wear something 'more appropriate'.

She felt slightly guilty because of her thoughts. She remembered that it had been her who had begged him to stay. After her 'big' fan dance in Acapulco and their return to LA she had spent a short hour shopping, and upon returning she had found Wilson packing his suitcases. They had argued for over an hour, and she had finally promised to keep herself in check. She now knew that she had promised too much, that she didn't fit to the life-style Wilson expected from her. She knew that it was neither his nor her fault, they simply were too different. He had allowed her to become a detective although he hadn't been enthusiastic about it. He had allowed her to open her own agency. But he had hurt her with his I-told-you-so attitude after she had been forced to close her agency because of a terminal lack of clients. It had seemed that he was telling her that women couldn't be PIs. Only much later had she realized that he hadn't been talking about sexism but the prejudice she would encounter as female detective. But by then she had already started a new agency with the cover name Remington Steele.

At first Wilson hadn't been bothered, it simply seemed to be the name of the agency, but he had been quite unhappy to learn that there was a 'fictional' Mr. Steele. Although the whole scheme wasn't illegal it had a shady character, and Wilson was very worried that if this became public knowledge it would tarnish his career. During their argument he had made a slip that had confirmed her suspicion that he didn't approve of her occupation, but a compromise had been found. Now, after meeting Ben, she started to question this compromise. She hadn't felt so relaxed for a very long time. He didn't mind her being a 'dick'. She told herself that she had no illusions about him staying in LA or staying with her - although dreaming was allowed - but if he accepted her for that there would be others who also could. There were of course other sides of her character he didn't know - yet, he probably would never know; but it was interesting to think about his possible reactions concerning them. Would he like her fan dance? She smiled evilly at this thought.

When Laura entered the office, a little late for her standards, the next morning she was greeted by Bernice with, "cutting it a little close, aren't you?"
She couldn't help but smiling and confided, "I had the most INCREDIBLE evening."

"With who?" Bernice asked curiously as she followed Laura to the main office.


"I want to hear all the gory details," Bernice jumped, now getting really interested.

"First, he bought me a bottle of champagne," Laura told her.

Murphy, frowning, appeared from the bathroom, wearing the linen company uniform. "Who bought you champagne?"

"Actually, it was a magnum," Bernice provided helpfully.

"I thought you didn't like champagne?" Murphy asked, visibly confused.

"What happened after the champagne?" Bernice pumped.

"We went for a drive," Laura told her as she retrieved a step stool to bring it to a high storage area. "And that's when things really got hairy."

Murphy, tired of being ignored, interrupted, "WHO went for a drive?"

"Laura and special agent Ben Pearson," Bernice told him as Laura pulled a box from the storage space.

"You went joyriding with a man who could be an international jewel thief? Or for all we know a mass murderer? That's not like you, Laura." Murphy aired his exasperation.

Laura looked at him thinking 'if only you knew' asking aloud, "Didn't he check out?"

Murphy felt very uncomfortable now because he had to admit that there's no evidence. "Yeah, he checked out. I talked to his supervisor this morning. The only bump is that Pearson wasn't supposed to arrive until today. So just to be sure I requested a wire photo."

In the meantime Laura took a gun from the box, then she looked at Bernice. "Where are the bullets?"

Murphy was totally perplexed and asked while Bernice left the office in search of ammunition, "what are you doing?"

"This isn't going to be the piece of cake we thought it would be. The men who originally stole those gems are brutal murderers." Bernice who brought the bullets interrupts her. After taking them she started loading the weapon continuing her narration, "they followed us last night. Even though Ben took care of them brilliantly -"

Murphy couldn't believe his ears. "BEN?"

Laura ignored the implied question and gave the gun to Murphy. "I'd feel better if you packed a rod."

"A rod?"

Laura didn't bother to explain, picked up her purse and started for the door, telling Bernice, "Page Remington Steele in exactly -" she checked her watch, "27 minutes just to keep his presence alive. I'll tell Hunter that Mr. Steele has already left for the airport." Not waiting for the answer she already had closed the door when Bernice was finally able to answer, "good luck!"

"Sounds like he got a lot for his lousy bottle of champagne!" Murphy grumbled jealously.

Bernice smiled sweetly. "It was a MAGNUM," she reminded him.

'Ben' exited the elevator and started to cross the lobby when he found his path blocked by an angry Neff. Unfortunately Kessler blocked his only possible exit so he gave in the inevitable and greeted them there. "What a relief, gentlemen. I thought you'd never get here in time."

"Wonderful thing about Los Angeles," Kessler told him. "It has twenty-four hour bail bond service."

Neff was standing now right behind 'Pearson'. "I told you. We should 'ave killed 'im straightaway."

'Pearson', who desperately tried to solve this problem only commented, "it's very difficult to maintain a relationship built solely on mistrust, gentlemen." As a page began calling, "Remington Steele, telephone call for Remington Steele," a faint idea ran through his head.

Kessler ordered him, "to the elevator - dear boy."

They all turned toward the elevator, just as a page came from that direction.

"Remington Steele, telephone call for Remington Steele -" His faint idea snapped into perfect clarity and he turned to the uniformed page.


"Mr. Steele?" she inquired.

"You've found me," he confirmed as he approached her.

"This way, Mr. Steele." She led him to a phone. "There you are, sir."

"Thank you." As he picked up the phone, Neff jabbed the closed switchblade into his back, causing him to grunt. "Steele here."

On the other end Bernice is shocked. "Who? Where?!" she stammered into the phone.

"Can't talk now Miss - Wolfe?"

"Foxe!" she retorted indignantly.

"I knew it was some sort of primitive creature," he said racking his brain in vain for a way out of this. "Sorry to be abrupt, but I've got to run -" He hung up and started to make a getaway as Gordon Hunter appeared with several security guards.

As soon as Hunter saw 'Steele' he immediately went to him. "Mr. Steele. I certainly feel safer with you here."

After they had shaken hands 'Ben' replied, "my sentiments precisely." He smiled nervously at Kessler and Neff.

Hunter put an arm around his shoulders to steer him. "Come with me. There's someone I want you to meet in the security office."

Moving away, 'Ben' couldn't help but smile at the visible frustration of Kessler and Neff. "Security office? Sounds very - secure."

Hunter returned the smile. "You know, somehow I thought you'd be older."

"Oh, I can age on demand," he assured Hunter. A backward glance showed his angry would be kidnappers were seething.

Laura arrived at the hotel and waved off the limo. She entered the hotel as Hunter escorted the man he thought was Steele into the security office where another man was waiting.

Hunter introduced them, "Remington Steele, may I present Special Agent Ben Pearson of South Africa."

After the men shook hands Ben Pearson said, "Mr. Steele. A pleasure, sir. I've heard a great deal about you."

"And your name has preceded you, Mr. Pearson," 'Steele' assured him, smiling.

"Mr. Pearson's here to assist you in protecting the gems," Hunter told him.

"Ah. That's a piece of good fortune I hadn't anticipated."

"I assume you're aware of Raymond Kessler and Leo Neff?" Pearson asked.

'Steele' looked thoughtful. "The gentlemen who murdered the courier. Yes. They've left an indelible impression."

"Well at least they're a known quantity. But I am afraid there's a bit of a hiccup in all this."


"Yes. It seems as though someone's been impersonating me."

"Cheeky blighter."

"He did it in Paris and then again in London."

'Steele' started to pace. "You wouldn't by chance have a description of this- impostor?"

Pearson shrugged. "My build, general coloring."

Steele smiled, still nervous. "Could be anyone. Even me -" he laughed, trying to ease the tension he felt.

Pearson, obviously quite humorless, didn't return the laugh, but instead he assumed a businesslike manner. "Mr. Steele, how may I be of service?"

"You could detain Messieurs Kessler and Neff - I believe they're in the hotel now."

"Would that help you accomplish your objective?"

"It WOULD go a long way," Steele nodded.


Hunter became impatient over this. "Now, could we get on with it?"

Laura was pacing the hallway, waiting for someone, when Hunter approached her, smiling widely. "Miss Holt."

"I just spoke with Mr. Steele -" she started.

"So did I," Hunter told her.

"He just left -" Again she couldn't finish her sentence.

"He just arrived," Hunter corrected her.

After Laura realized what he had said she went pale. "Mr. Steele just -arrived?"

"Yes," he told her, pointing to Pearson and 'Steele' as they left the security office. "There he is with Special Agent Ben Pearson."

Seeing Hunter talking to a stunned Laura, 'Steele' moaned softly.

Pearson glanced up at him. "Something wrong, old chap?"

"Stomach's a bit queasy."

"I wouldn't doubt it. Be a little gaseous myself protecting over two million in rare gems. But not to worry. Just remember, I'll be watching you every step of the way." After that he left 'Steele' alone.

Laura and Hunter went to 'Steele', Laura still shocked by Hunter's announcement and watching the man's departure closely. They stood for a moment in uncomfortable silence until Hunter spoke up, "you have less than 20 minutes to get to the airport."

Laura looked at 'Steele', asking, "Shall we?"

"Why not?" he answered.

Hunter went ahead, and Laura stopped 'Steele', whispering, "That man that was with you -"


"He ISN'T Remington Steele."

"He isn't?"

"He's an impostor."

"He is?"

"But don't say anything," she pleaded.

"Oh, you can count on me," he assured her, feeling very relieved for the moment.

As they approached the limo, 'Steele' said, "Why don't you pop on ahead, Miss Holt, and I'll stay behind - to reconnoiter the area, as it were -"

Hunter didn't like this idea. "Nonsense. I want you BOTH at the airport." They got inside the limo and followed the armored car away from the hotel.

"What did he say?" Laura wanted to know.

"He wants us both at the airport."

"No, I mean that phony Steele."

"Oh, not much, actually. We were merely introduced."

"He's obviously after those gems."

"Why didn't Gordon Hunter blow the whistle on him?"

"Well, he's never actually MET Mr. Steele. You see, Mr. Steele was out of town when he accepted this assignment."

"But surely our charlatan realizes he'll be exposed once the real Steele comes upon the scene." He paused for a moment. "When do you expect him?"

"That's difficult to pinpoint."

"But you did say he'd be involved in this operation -"

"Yes. EXTREMELY involved," Laura confirmed fervently.

"But unseen."

"This is awfully tricky, Mr. Pearson," Laura told him tiredly.

"So it appears. No pun intended."

"You mustn't tell Mr. Hunter," she pleaded. "It would only undermine his confidence in the entire operation."

"How long do you think we can keep this charade going?"

"Just until the gems are delivered safely."

"And then you'll nail this ersatz Remington Steele?"

"To the wall, Mr. Pearson. To the VERY wall!"

"Graphically put."

"Can I count on your cooperation?"

"Believe me, mum's the operative word here."

Laura was very relieved and put a hand on his shoulder. "Thank you. Thank you so much. You're the only one I can turn to."

'Steele' smiled, putting an arm around her. "There, there, Miss Holt. As long as you trust me, you have nothing left to worry about."

After the gems had arrived at the airport and been taken care by the security guards they returned to the hotel, and as she watched the security guards, she smiled at Murphy, who was unloading his linen cart. When she turned to go inside, 'Steele' remained where he was, watching Murphy as well. Realizing that he's not with her, Laura turned around. "Mr. Pearson?"

"Yes. Of course." He shot another glance at Murphy, then followed her, but stopped to let her continue to the security office alone with the guards. She knocked on the door and gave him the "okay" sign as it opened.

He waved at her as Hunter called, "Mr. Steele." He's obviously delighted. "Everything went without a hitch."

"Yes. Cracking good job, wasn't it?"

"You know, Steele," he said, turning them toward the elevators, "I must admit I was somewhat - skeptical. Your Miss Holt certainly protects you."

"That's part of her function," 'Steele' replied as they waited for the elevator.

"Yes, but this was bordering on the ridiculous. I couldn't see you - talk to you. Not even on the phone. You were always unavailable or out of town - I was beginning to think you didn't exist."

They got on the elevator, as 'Steele' laughed, starting to put one and one together. He hesitated over the button, letting Hunter push the penthouse one.

"What is this fetish you have for secrecy?" Hunter wondered.

"Anonymity is an asset in my profession," Steele pointed out - truthfully.

"Yes, but - no photographs, no interviews, never involving yourself directly in a case. And it wasn't only mine. I spoke with several people who dealt with your agency and it was the same story. Plenty of Miss Holt, none of you."

"Well, now you have a great deal of me. Who knows? Before this is over, you may rue the day you ever met me," he returned not knowing how astute this remark would later prove to be.

The elevator doors opened, and 'Steele' let Hunter go first, following him to the Penthouse. He patted his pockets and then looked embarrassed. "Hmm. I seem to have left my key at the desk -"

Hunter turned to the maid who was passing. "Would you let Mr. Steele into his room? He seems to have forgotten his key." She nodded, unlocking the door as Hunter told Steele, "So, I'll look for you tonight."

'Steele' peeked into the room. "Tonight?"

"Yes. The formal unveiling of the Hunter JetStar 6000 - and of course the gems."

"Of course. Wouldn't miss it for the world," 'Steele' assured him, waiting until Hunter is around the corner, then he smiled at the maid before he cautiously entered the room. After putting out the Do Not Disturb sign he closed the door behind him and started to inspect the briefcase on the desk. It's empty.

He went to the bedroom and found a $200 suit laid out on the bed, complete with price tag. In the dresser, he found all brand new, unopened shirts. He moved to the closet, where he found more new clothes, and shoes that had no marks on them at all. Moving into the bath, he picked up the hairbrush and examined it, then put on some cologne, smiling at his reflection in the mirror. "Pleasure to meet you, Mr. Steele."
End Part 2
To Part 3