Steele not licensed to Steele 3/4
Date: Monday, July 03, 2000
Wolfgang Walter <>

Steele not Licensed To Steele 3/4

At the reception later, Laura asks him, "No sign of him?"


"Where do you suppose our impostor is?"

"I keep asking myself that same question," 'Steele' told her. They sat down as Hunter began to speak.

"Ladies and gentlemen, could we take our seats, please? We've got an awful lot to accomplish, not the least of which is the unveiling of the finest automobile ever engineered by man." 'Steele' scanned the room, looking for trouble. "But before we knock your socks off with the Hunter JetStar 6000, I'd like to take a moment to thank the Remington Steele Agency -"

Laura smiled, leaning closer to him. "Great endorsement." He gave her an uncertain look.

"Transporting and protecting the most precious gems in the world requires brilliant planning, daring execution, and plain, old, street savvy. So, without further ado, I would like to introduce to you to the person responsible for the safety of the Royal Lavulite."

Laura blushed, keeping her head down, and 'Steele' felt decidedly more and more uncomfortable. "This is so embarrassing," Laura muttered. "I wish he'd stop."

"Wait," he told her.

"An absolutely astounding human being," Hunter finished, "Ladies and gentlemen -" Laura started to rise, only to freeze as Hunter continued, "Remington Steele." Her eyes moved to her companion in shock.

"Years from now, when you talk of this - and you will - please, be kind. Deborah Kerr to John Kerr, *Tea and Sympathy*, MGM, 1956," he pleaded, then went to the podium, smiling nervously at Laura, who visibly fumed. "Thank you, thank you. You're most generous with your applause. But it would be unworthy of Remington Steele if he didn't single out his most able and most valued associate. Truly, the woman behind the man, Miss Laura Holt." He applauded. "Please, Miss Holt, stand up and take a well deserved bow." She rose stiffly, her eyes on him the entire time, then slowly sat back down, folding her hands before her. "And now, you have far more interesting things to look at than me. So, please, Mr. Hunter. Show us your creation." He remained near the podium wondering how to escape this disaster unharmed.

Hunter returned. "Thank you very much. Without any further pause, I'd like to introduce to you the Hunter JetStar 6000." The cover was lifted from the car, a band started playing music, and Steele decided he couldn't put off going back to the table any longer. He sat down, smiling at the room.

Still furious, Laura is almost unable to think straight ahead. "YOU -" she fumed.

"I didn't know he was going to do that. My sincere apologies."

"What are you going to do when Mr. Steele arrives?" Laura asked hitting his arm.

Steele smiled for a camera, straightening his tie. Knowing for sure that Mr. Steele didn't exist left him in a position to stand his ground. "I'd like to meet the man whose shoes I'm attempting to fill. How am I doing so far?"

"Atrociously. You're NOTHING like Mr. Steele. He's honest," she stood now, "dedicated -"

Steele pulled her back to her seat so not to create a scene, smiling at passersby.

"- better looking. You're nothing but a treacherous liar," she hit him again with her hand, "a cheap crook, a cut-rate con man!" She used her purse to hit him anew. She rose again and started toward the dance floor away from him.

Steele quickly followed her and pulled her into his arms, ignoring her attempt to get free, smiling.

"What are you doing? Let go of me!" she protested vehemently but sotto voce.

He smiled at the other dancers.

"Whatever possessed you to think you could get away with this?!" she asked then she ceased her struggles as he led her into dancing. Still furious, her breath came in short gasps.

"Impeccable man, your Mr. Steele. You know there's not a piece of lint, a speck of dandruff, a hank of hair on any of his suits? And he obviously wears a shirt once and then discards it, since there's no laundry marks to be found. The same with the shoes. The soles seem never to have touched the ground. Not one single, solitary scuff mark," he tantalized.

Laura met his look although she realized with horror that he had guessed the truth. "The man's fastidious. Almost to a fault."

"Bald too?"

"Of COURSE not!"

"Then he's blessed. I'm forever plucking stray hairs out of my comb and brush. Positively demoralizing, but an inescapable part of the human condition." He paused. "Does any of this say anything to you, Miss Holt? It does to me..." They stopped dancing as he said, "it fairly shouts: Remington Steele is an elaborate ruse. He does not exist. You invented him."

"What are you going to do with this ABSURD supposition?" she asked.

He started dancing again. "Nothing. Believe me, Laura. I didn't plan on assuming Remington Steele's identity. I'm after something entirely different."

"The gems."

He shook his head. "Uh-Uh. The courier - the one who was murdered? He was my younger brother. I'm here to see that Kessler and Neff pay for his death." For a short time he wished he wasn't lying, but the flicker of his conscience didn't last for long.

"I don't know whether to believe you or not." She hoped for the first but expected the worst.

"That's understandable. The moment they're apprehended, I'll be gone, and your secret shall leave with me."

Laura saw Murphy and Bernice enter the room, waving her to them, both with angry expressions. "Excuse me," she said.

Murphy told Laura, "That guy's a fake. I told you, Laura. I warned you about him -"

"I know. I KNOW," she answered tiredly.

He showed her a photo. "That's the special agent from South Africa." They watched as Steele talked to someone, laughing.

"What do we know about the courier who was murdered?" Laura asked Bernice.

"Let's see. His name was Otto Detmueller, he was born in Johannesburg -"

"How OLD is he?"

"Sixty-three or four, I think."

Laura frowned, silently sighing as her hope faded in thin air. "Keep an eye on him," she ordered Bernice. She tapped Murphy on the arm. "Come on."

'Steele', still talking to someone, watched them go, and his smile faded a bit.

In Steele's original room, Laura found the passports. "He certainly gets around. Douglas Quintain, England."

Murphy meanwhile, had found a book on Steele's bed and was leafing through it.

"Michael O'Leary, Ireland; Paul Fabrini, Italy; John Morrell, France; Richard Blaine, Australia," Laura listed.

Murphy, who had only listened with half an ear, asked her, "Wait a minute. Run through those names again."

"Blaine, Morrell, Fabrini, O'Leary, Quintain."

Murphy shook his head in disbelief and started to laugh. "I don't believe it."

"I know. He doesn't look like a Fabrini."

"No. Each of those names is from a character Humphrey Bogart played in the movies."

Laura put the passports down with a sour expression. "Well, we know one thing."


"He likes Humphrey Bogart." She went to the bath and looked inside, then she opened the closet door, only to scream and run back toward Murphy upon finding Ben Pearson's body hanging from a coat hook on the door.

"Well, now we know something else," he said.

"What?" Laura asked, still in shock.

"He's a murderer." He went to the phone.

"What are you doing?" Laura asked.

"Calling the police."

"No -"

"Laura, the guy's dangerous! Just ask special Agent Pearson just HOW dangerous."

"I want the agency to bring him in. It's the only way we can come out even on this fiasco. Besides, he's made the whole thing very personal."

Murphy hung up the phone. "He's not gonna stick around after this."

"He wants those gems. He won't leave until he's taken a shot at them." She turned toward the door, but stopped as Murphy called her.

"Laura! I hope it's only the agency that you're trying to protect."

"It's the only thing I'm interested in, Murphy," she assured him.

He finally smiled. "Okay."

Laura returned into the empty Hall and found Mr. Hunter drinking some of the champagne he had offered his guests. She went to him, demanding his attention, "Mr. Hunter."

"Welcome to the party. Pull up an empty promise and sit down," he replied sarcastically.

"There may be an attempt to steal the gems," she told hoping to get through him, "possibly tonight."

"The way my luck is running, it'll succeed." He showed no sign of any agitation, preoccupied with his own desperation.

"We know who the potential thief is - we're doing everything we can to locate him."

"They ate my food, they drank my booze, but they didn't buy my car," Hunter mused, not caring at all about the possible theft.

Laura took place beside him. "I'm sorry," she tried to offer some sympathy.

"I completely retooled an abandoned tire factory in Toledo, Ohio and hired 800 people to turn out a car nobody wants. Let me tell you, Miss Holt, dreams aren't all they're cracked up to be," he told her sadly, not knowing that he was describing exactly Laura's position.

Laura took his glass. "No, Mr. Hunter. Sometimes they AREN'T."

In the penthouse, 'Steele' was going over hotel blueprints, planning the robbery. When he heard a key in the lock he quickly stuffed the plans under the bed in the other room before he went to the door to spat Laura's hand from the chain so he could let her in.

Putting on his best charming manner he asked, "Miss Holt. What a welcome surprise. How did you know where to find me?"

"Since you seem to have acquired a taste for masquerading as Remington Steele, it was a logical place to look," she returned coldly. Steele moved into the bedroom to kick the edge of the paper further underneath the bed, he then closed the door behind him as Laura said, "Your brother the courier -"

"Devastating loss," he quipped, trying to keep the lie alive.

"He was sixty-three years old," she stated.

"My elder brother," he covered not very convincingly.

Murphy, growing tired of the whole lies, spoke from the door. "Laura, get it over with and turn him in."

'Steele' looked back to Laura. With a rush of intuition he realized she was on the edge, ready to risk her own agency by exposing him, and he felt sorry for her. He mused that the only way to save both of them from disgrace was telling the truth, and he hoped it wasn't too late. "No need for that. I'll confess. I'll admit your intuition was correct. I AM here for the gems. But not for myself. For a modest commission I intend to return them to their rightful owner the South African government."

"By stealing them?" Laura questioned emotionless.

"From the people who stole them," he explained.

"That's just a technicality. You're a thief," she dismissed his hair-splitting unmoved.

"Kessler and Neff are thieves. I'm an artist," he told her, trying to make her see his point of view.

Murphy dropped a hand on his shoulder. "You're a MURDERER. Ben Pearson. The REAL Ben Pearson, is hanging from a coat hook in your room."

'Steele' was stunned at this bad news. He started to pace across the room. "Oh, those filthy -"

"Who?" Laura asked still hoping against hope.

"Kessler and his ape Neff." He looked at Murphy. "He was killed with a knife, wasn't he? Blade about six inches long, and incision and upper thrust just below the third vertebrae?"

"Hell of an accurate description for an innocent man," Murphy pointed out, not buying 'Steele's attempt of an explanation at all.

"I've been chasing those two animals halfway across Europe. Believe me, I'm familiar with their work. If you want them, you'll have to move fast. They'll go for the gems tonight," 'Steele' confronted him.

Laura's curiosity rose, so she wondered aloud, "what makes you so certain?"

"I would."

Murphy turned away, shaking his head as Steele faced Laura who inquired, "do you still intend to?"

"The thought has crossed my mind," he told her truthfully.

Putting every ounce of conviction in her voice she challenged him, "Then I'd have to stop you."

"If you could."

"Easy. I'd call the police."

"Why haven't you already? Why aren't they here now? Because you don't believe I killed Ben Pearson."

Murphy, not believing that Laura even considered the weak possibility that HE might be telling her the truth and certainly not wanting HIM to slip off the hook, jumped in, "I do."

"You don't count," 'Steele' dismissed him. "This is between Miss Holt and myself. Do you, Laura?"

"I don't know," she replied, tired of this whole affair.

"Don't waste time agonizing. Tell me, what would Remington Steele do in this situation?"

Murphy answered instead of her. "He'd call the police."

"Then call them," 'Steele' ordered.

Murphy picked up the phone as 'Steele' put on his jacket. "Where are you going?" he asked not wanting him to escape.

"I've been avoiding those two gentlemen all evening. I think it's time they found me. I hope you're not squeamish, Murphy."

"Not around you."

"Good. Then you won't mind bringing Pearson's body up here." He turned and left a flabbergasted Murphy behind him.

After he recovered from his shock Murphy dialed the police and glanced at Laura who showed no reaction to all the events.

In the lobby, 'Steele' went to telephone, delivering himself on a silver platter, "I've tried his room, there's no answer. Perhaps you can page him in the lobby. Thank you." He put the receiver on the table and moved away to wait.

"Remington Steele, telephone call for Remington Steele. Remington Steele -" a page announced.

"Here -" he made his presence known and went to the page.

"This way, sir." Kessler and Neff were already near as she showed him the telephone. "Here you are, Mr. Steele."

Gathering all his strength he picked up the phone. "Steele here -" He stopped when he felt the knife in his back again, cornered by Kessler and Neff.

"We've been looking for you, Mr. Steele," Kessler said through gritted teeth.

"There's no avoiding good friends, is there?" 'Steele' hung up the phone trying to keep his flippant exterior.

Not at all impressed Kessler told him, "This"this time, we brought our own transportation."

"I'd wager you'd have an easier time cracking that safe if you had the specifications," 'Steele' offered nonchalantly.

"And where would we get them?" Kessler asked, curious.

"Remington Steele. After all, he's the one who's providing security for the gems. Shall we?" 'Steele' asked, giving them no time to recover.

Up they went to the penthouse.

After entering the suite, Kessler asked, "Where are they?"

'Steele' used his key to point to the closet, hoping that Murphy had done what he had asked him to do.

The two men opened the door, and Neff jumped back at the sight of Pearson's body he was rewarded with. "Blimey! We left 'im in 'is room!" he blurted out.

"So you did, gentlemen," 'Steele' confirmed as the bedroom doors opened and several policemen, Murphy, and Laura appeared with a gurney for the body. He took Neff's knife. "I think your laboratory will find this to be the murder instrument."

Kessler looked at him hatefully as he was handcuffed. "Who ARE you?"

One policeman said, "Are you kidding? He's Remington Steele." He shook 'Steele's' hand. "You're as good as they say you are."

'Steele' smiled crookedly. "The Remington Steele Agency is far more than one man, officer. On their behalf, I thank you." He glanced at Laura and was rewarded with a smile.

After everyone else was gone, Murphy closed one of the doors of the suite, and then looked at Laura. "Will you be all right?" he asked, still not trusting the man beside her. He was afraid that he would exploit Laura, but he also knew that she wouldn't welcome his 'protection'; she would insist that she was a 'big girl'.

'Steele' turned to look at her as well, his eyes asking the same question.

She nodded, and Murphy left them alone.

"Well," 'Steele' started, not really knowing what to say.

"Well," she repeated, begging him to go on.

"I'm afraid it's time to leave your lovely city."

"Where will you go?"

"Wherever the gems travel next. San Francisco, I believe. I give you my word. I won't try and liberate the gems until they're safely out of your jurisdiction," he told her, astonished that he meant what he had said.

Laura smiled. "All things considered, you made a delightful Remington Steele."

"If the press of other commitments wasn't so severe, I might relish the role on a permanent basis," he joked, but somehow this idea didn't seem so bad. He kissed her hand. "After all, I'm a man who enjoys impossible challenges." He returned the room key and left.

On her way home Laura felt totally exhausted. After all the ups and downs of the day this was no wonder, she mused. And it wasn't over yet. She would have to confess to Wilson that there had been someone who had claimed to be Remington Steele. He certainly would be livid, after all she had promised to be careful, but it was better he heard it from her than to read it in the papers - there would probably be no way of mistaking the fact that Remington Steele had 'personally' delivered two wanted murderers and thieves. The thought crossed her mind that this whole affair probably was one more nail for the coffin of their relationship. They both would have to move on, and they would make it on different roads. With some regret she realized that she would miss Wilson, and she hoped that they could stay friends. She noticed that in her tired state of mind she probably would mess this up terribly, so they wouldn't talk about separation tonight she decided. She would also have to find a new home afterwards, because it was Wilson who had rented the apartment and now paid most of their bills.

She bit her lower lip. Now that the agency would become profitable it would seem that she only had endured Wilson as long as she needed his monetary support. That was the last thing she wanted to happen, not only because it was untrue, for she had loved Wilson, they weren't meant to be together. Neither of then were willing to compromise their jobs for their personal lives, and both their jobs were simply too different to find a compromise on that field. One of them would have to cut back. She couldn't expect Wilson to do that, and she didn't want to sacrifice her livelihood. It wouldn't be fair to either of them.

With a wry smile she tried to imagine the reaction of her mother; she would probably be shocked, accusing her of letting go a big fish. And yet her mother wasn't even aware that she was running, pardon, employed by a Private Investigation agency. With an evil grin Laura tried to picture it when her mother would get the news. She'd be thunderstruck that she, Laura, hadn't felt the need to inform her about it. Then Laura sobered. There would be a thunderstorm following this, and that was the main reason she hadn't said anything about it, she and her mother disagreed in far too many things. After all, they were living in the eighties and not in the fifties.

Back to the living problem. Perhaps it wouldn't be so bad using the condo the agency paid for. It would also seem that someone was living there after all.

She shook her head. There was no point in making that decision tonight. She would need a couple of days to think things over.

The next morning Laura was waiting in the limousine to take the gems back to the airport. She wasn't in her best mood, the 'discussion' she had had with Wilson last night had left them both exhausted and on the edge. After a fruitless to and fro they had decided to postpone it to a time when they both would have slept things over and been able to argue in a more reasonable way. This morning they had treated each other with sterile politeness not wanting to provoke another outburst. The knowledge that she would finally leave Wilson, or that they would part, as friends, she hoped, didn't ease her conscience at least. It rather had the opposite effect knowing that the whole quarrel was pointless with their parting.

Then she saw him, the stumbling block of her predicament, leaving the hotel. When he looked her direction and recognized the car he greeted her with a smile that made her sigh. She observed how he climbed into a cab. She thought of the irony that he was leaving now that they were to transport the gems safely to the airport, HIS probable destination, when Murphy, who was holding his head, rudely interrupted her.

"Laura! Somebody blindsided me!" he told her while he climbed into the limo.

Laura's bitter frustration with recent events broke, leaving her furious. "He LIED to me! That treacherous thief LIED to me! Fred, follow the cab!" Seething she imagined what would be left of HIM after she was finished with HIM!

Soon her suspicion was confirmed. They were heading for the airport which made the pursuit much easier. She thought it strange that HE obviously wasn't aware that He was being followed. Did HE think that Murphy's head was this thin?

With Laura brooding over it they finally arrived, and they saw HIM hurrying inside. She and Murphy ran after him. When they saw him stopping Laura yelled, "Stop that man! He's a thief!"

A sudden movement of a familiar man - Hunter, distracted Murphy! Obviously he had given an interview and was startled by Laura's outburst. To Murphy's intense amazement Hunter started to run, and suddenly he saw everything clearly. He immediately started after him while Laura grabbed Steele's arm, then she stopped. "You mean you didn't steal the gems?"

"Laura, I gave you my word. But they're fair game now!" Saying this, 'Steele' took off after Hunter and Murphy.

"Oh, no they're not!" Laura called, entering the chase.

Murphy pursued Hunter to a storage area, where Hunter grabbed a courtesy cart and took off. Murphy managed to jump on the cart, but after some turns Hunter threw him off into a pile of boxes, where Murphy remained stunned.

'Steele' commandeered a cart, and Laura jumped on the back. She reached around him for the steering wheel. "Ho- hold it steady!" she told him, more hindering than supporting his efforts to follow the cart. He got her hands from the steering wheel, but Laura, searching to for some hold, found it by grabbing his neck.

"You're choking me!" he told her.

Releasing him Laura reached around him to try and get the wheel again. "Give me that!"

They managed to corner Hunter who crashed his cart into a dumpster and was thrown into a pile of trash.

'Steele' looked at Laura. "I take it you wanted to drive?"
End Part 3
To Part 4