by James Lee Morgan
…..in the beginning, she was known to all who came before her, as the Witchwind.
This is the story of a small group of strangers who end up tragically united through the perils brought upon them by a dream, a majestic sailboat on the maiden voyage of her new owners, and their interaction with a small group of truly ruthless, greedy, and insane killers.
They find themselves so enter-twined with the upper levels of the United States Government that they are only able to survive by the actions and leadership of one man. Understanding their predicament is not even remotely possible.
This is the account of one particular hero, and the boat which somehow becomes the glue that holds his life in the balance. It tells the story of two very short periods in his life that are separated by a span of just over two years, yet the fate of all are intricately tied together as if it were only a moment in time.
The predicaments that he finds himself in are fictional, yet based on true events that happen around our world each and every day. Believe me…..I know.
As a patriotic citizen of the United States of America, a former United States Army Paratrooper and former member of a (SERT) Special Emergency Response Team, I am proud and thankful to know that our way of life is protected by these types of men and women. They are the ones who go way beyond the call of duty. Many times further than we would like, yet it is a true necessity. Without them we are doomed.
They continually lay their lives down for us without hesitation. They give their lives for all Americans, for those who serve and for those who do not, and maintain our freedom without reservation.
Sometimes they step way outside the normal parameters that regular citizens would set for them. We should be grateful for that as well. The price for their actions is always paid for in blood. But it is their blood. Knowing the level of cruelty our world is capable of makes me thank God for these kinds of men and women. They are our Hero’s. They are my Hero’s.
The fucking heat. It was something almost unbearable to mortal men. To the American soldiers anyway. And the fucking flies. He hated the flies. He hardly minded that he had twice pissed his own pants as he lay in silence, unmoving.
His spotter Scout Neely was laying next to him, both as quiet as a mouse and as coiled as a cat ready to pounce. Scout was his eyes, his coach, his precious counsel on windage and elevation. He was the shooter, but Scout was the one who called the shot. That was how it worked. And yes it worked very well.
They had been here now since before daylight. They waited patiently for what seemed an eternity. They waited because that was what they did. They waited. Then they waited some more.
A twinkle of light in the scope and Boomer felt the tension in Scout’s body. No word was passed, but the transfer of information was complete.
‘”Second story window, three O’clock, right above the meat vendor, four hundred twenty yards out,” whispered Scout as he continued looking through his spotter’s scope.
“Got him,” said Boomer.
“Straight shot, no wind, no elevation, rise in the bullet at this range less than two inches,” said Scout without hesitation.
As Boomer settled in for the shot his breathing subsided to a scant in and out rhythm as he said, “On your Go.”
Less than two minutes passed and both men could see as their target eased his weapon out of the window he was hiding behind. As his face entered the picture less than two seconds passed and Scout said quietly, “Go.”
The shot rang out and was down range at a speed of 2,571 feet per second. The shooter was right handed and the bullet entered his head just above his left eye just forward of his temple. The resulting impact of the 7.62 mm weapon tore the top of his head off, and the man fell backwards out of sight.
“Let’s move,” said Scout and both men were up and running toward their covering team based in the alley behind where they were shooting from.
As they approached the team Boomer gave them a smile and a thumbs up. “Got the bastard that time.”
Down in the streets the patrol that had been moving through the area was jumping and diving for cover. They didn’t have a clue who had shot at who, and didn’t give a shit as long as none of their guys were hit. Boomer and his team would never know the extent of the plan that day, but as they evac’d the area and turned the corner the whole world lit up in one huge explosion. Boomer never heard anything that he would ever remember. His body was propelled over thirty feet through the air by the force of the blast. He would never know that either.
Forty-one feet of pure unadulterated pleasure.
The massive boat was a ketch rigged, Island Trader, with a single eighty horsepower diesel engine. She was bred, built, and designed for sailing the islands. Truly, she was an object of sheer beauty. As they approached her for the first time, they quickly looked at each other with a silent smile. They both knew in their hearts, she was “the one”. As Lee Landon looked quickly back at his wife Shay, he could see it in her eyes too.
“I like her,” Lee said quietly, with a wink and a subtle smile. As he looked towards Shay, he could see her lips instantly form a pouty, but stern looking pose that sent the message “don’t show it now”. She quickly took the lead, and stepped aboard with a helping hand from their broker, Bob Allen.
“What do you think Lee, is she a beauty or what”, asked Bob.
“She looks nice,” Lee said, “But we better let Shay do her thing, and then we’ll talk.” Lee knew his wife well, not to mention the fact that the two of them had already hashed out their plan on how this was going to go down.
As Lee began meandering about, he closely examined the topsides hardware, of which he knew at least something about. Shay was already ducking in through the companionway and headed for the forward berth and the anchor rode locker. From there she would proceed to fully inspect the entire boat from stem to stern. She was a ruthless inspector for sure. Shay had spent her entire thirty two years aboard all types of boats, but especially sailboats. This was a result of both her parents and grandparents being passionate lifetime boaters. This happens a lot when you grow up on the water in the Carolinas.
They could easily pay the six to eight hundred dollars for a professional survey of the boat, but Lee knew in his heart that Shay’s expertise and attention to detail would always rival the best of the best, when it came to inspecting a booat of any type.
After about three hours of work, Shay called it done and declared matter-of-factly that the boat was sound. It was decided right then that they would sea trial the boat as soon as possible. From there they would make an offer, and see where the negotiations landed. As it turned out, three days later they were seventy-six thousand dollars poorer, but the proud owners of their dream to be.
Later that evening, totally exhausted, Shay and Lee ran over the events of the last few days. Mind you, they were never really able to afford or own a boat of this size or price, but then Shay’s older cousin Randy had changed all that. He was a delightfully serious young fellow, and he and Shay had grown up very close. They had spent many a summer together sailing and sharing their love for the water, and the sea in particular. Between the two of them they had sailed almost every nook and cranny of the North Carolina coast, and had logged hundreds of hours offshore in their grandfathers old Bristol.
Both Shay and Lee had grown up in the Wilmington area. They met while both were attending college at the Universityof North Carolina at Wilmington, and had fallen madly in love with each other from the very moment they met. That was the way Lee remembered it anyway.
Shay thought he was nice, and funny, but she really never figured they would end up married. As most of us can attest, life can be funny, and they ended up marrying the day after they graduated college. Both secured jobs right out of school and had been teaching locally for the last ten years at Southport High School. She was teaching history, and he was intensely enjoying a life in mathematics. Like most people in their profession they were quite comfortable, but by no means overly wealthy.
Like most couples they occasionally had conversations about their future, and about their future retirement. They both had so many dreams, but they also knew they had years of work left in front of them. In a moment that all changed for them both when her cousin Randy came to visit just a week ago.
They were all just sitting around enjoying some of Shay’s killer, marinated steaks, when he all of a sudden asked, “What would you do, if you could do anything you wanted, regardless of price.” They both blushed a bit as Randy rarely spoke of his wealth, and although their family was fairly well off, they were a humble lot, and rarely spoke of things like this.
Everyone laughed out loud, then looked at each other and Shay blurted out, “Sail the High Seas till me dying days,” which made them all laugh even harder.
Randy said, “Then just consider it a done deal.” His statement had the effect of momentarily stunning his audience, and their smiles seemed to wane.
He then looked at both Shay and Lee with a very serious eye, and said, “Every person should have a chance to live out their dreams, and I’m going to help you make yours happen.”
“Shay,” he continued, “I have watched you grow from a high spirited, adventurous little girl, to this wonderful person you have become. Both of you are just great, hard working honest people.” He paused briefly as he looked them both directly into their eyes and then continued. “Look, you both know I couldn’t begin to spend all of this money anyway. I truly want to do this for you.”
Shay and Lee were both stunned into silence. “Well say something,” Randy said.
Lee looked over at Shay, and tears were starting to roll down her cheeks.
“Wow,” was all Lee could say.
The next day they all went down to the lawyer’s office, and Randy set up a trust fund that must have been formulated in Heaven. It would allow Shay and Lee a never ending budget of ten thousand dollars a month for the remainder of their lives. It was as simple as that, and their lives would change forever.
It was really a special gift for Randy to give, and he loved sharing his wealth with his family, especially the deserving ones, and he always said he got more from it than they ever could. His claim to fame as he called it was that he had made an early, yet large investment in Google stock. He had bought in early on when Google first emerged, when the company was in its infancy. It was the first investment he had ever made and likely would be his last. He had literally made millions of dollars from just the one move.
It was now the second week of June and school was out for the summer. Both Shay and Lee had resigned their posts with the school effective at the end of the school term. They had spent every spare minute over the last three months doing a moderate refit, and getting the boat ready for the venture ahead. They left Southport on the thirteenth at just past 6:00 AM, heading toward a scheduled stop in Charleston. They made the southerly route via the Inter-Coastal Waterway, or the ICW, until they reached the Little River Inlet, just across the border into South Carolina.
They went through the beautiful rock-jettied inlet, and went to sea for the first leg of the trip south, at just after 1:00 PM in the afternoon. The weather was wonderful, with no rain or storms on the horizon. Because of this, they both decided to spend their first night at sea aboard the Witchwind, and under sail. They both looked forward to just gazing at the stars and getting used to keeping their watches. The remainder of the day was spent napping and relaxing, their bodies getting used to the slightly intoxicating roll of the sea. The night proved to be eerily quiet and uneventful, yet beautiful, and peaceful. They alternated watches every two hours, as is the norm at sea with a crew of two.
As the sun rose on the water the next morning, they watched the dolphins playing in water as calm as a bathtub, at times seemingly close enough to touch. As they approached Charleston, Lee found himself thinking out loud, “What the hell, the weathers good, and it’s so peaceful out here,” so he turned to Shay and said, “Let’s just keep on going till we reach St. Augustine.”
She just smiled and said exactly what Lee wanted to hear, “As long as we stop for a couple of days at the Conch House Marina.”
They both truly loved it there, and they have great food and really great music right on the dock. For a place to just chill out for a few days, it’s truly hard to beat. Having spent their week long honeymoon there, they had passionately returned each year since. Of course this time they would not be driving, and so the trip took on a significance all of its own.
“Sounds like a great plan to me,” Lee said. He smiled inwardly. There were a lot of great memories coming out of that place, he thought.
Just then one of Lee’s fishing poles started screaming off line. He had set out two King Mackerel rigs earlier that morning, and the first one had just hit. The salt water mist was flying out of the reel even while it sat in the rod holder attached to the stern rail. He eased down on the drag just slightly to put a little more pressure on the fish.
When the fish seemed to tire ever so slightly, Lee pulled the rod from its holder and engaged him in stand-up fashion.
“Wow, I think I got me a really nice one. Feels like at least a twenty pounder or better,” Lee enthusiastically yelled back over his shoulder at Shay.
She was content to stand and watch as Lee pulled and reeled, pulled and reeled. The fish was definitely bending the rod and giving Lee a good fight. That went on for a good ten minutes, while Shay clapped and laughed out loud whenever Lee seemed to almost fall of the boat. Then without any notice whatsoever, the line went slack.
“Dang it, I must have lost him,” Lee said just shaking his head. As he reeled up the rest of his line it didn’t take him long to realize he still had something on the line. When it broke the surface about twenty yards behind the slow moving boat he could easily see he was reeling in all that was left of his big King.
“It must have been a big Cuda. Bit him off right behind the head, like they always do,” Lee proclaimed sadly. “I sure hate losing a good supper.”
“Oh well, bait her up and get her back out there and try again, we got lot’s of time,” said Shay as she shook her head laughingly.
Shay went below and in a few minutes the sounds of Jimmy Buffet’s “Pirate Looks at Forty” was coming out of every crevice on the boat, and when she emerged she was wearing nothing but a really nice bikini bottom, and a really nice smile. “Might as well work on the tan,” she said looking very coy, then handed her man an ice cold Land Shark and said, “You work on this, and keep us on the right track.”
Lee accepted the ice cold bottle of beer, and just kind of stared in amazement. What a beauty. Tall and lean, nicely tanned, with beautiful long brown hair, Shay was a stunning looking woman with a flair for the athletic things in life. Both an accomplished swimmer and rock wall climber, she still possessed the body of an eighteen year old. Lee wasn’t in bad shape himself, but Shay looked like an athlete in training, and she always had.
“Yeah, wouldn’t want to get lost out here, would we,” Lee said, and then took off after her. She squealed with delight as she ran for the bow of the boat. As he reached her, he reached his arms around her and gently, but passionately hugged her from behind. They stood silently, taking in the moment, listening to the water lapping off the bow, and with the wind gently ruffling the sails, they made their way south.
“Hey mister, who’s driving this thing,” she cried out, as she spun around in his arms.
“Why no one my dear, she’s driving herself”, Lee said, and they snuggled up even closer. Both just stood there and took in the serenity of the sea. Nope, there’s nothing much that can compare to this, they each thought.
As Lee held her he gently spun her around, and began caressing her back and shoulders. He knew she loved a good massage, and he bent slightly and kissed her just between her shoulder blades and began kissing her up her spine to the nape of her neck. As he began kissing her neck, she suddenly spun back around and looked into his handsome eyes.
“Well, I was gonna save some energy for later tonight. But there doesn’t seem to be anyone around, and actually I’ve never done it on the bow of a boat,” she said with a wink and a smile.
Lee didn’t have to be coached or asked twice, and as they locked lips, he quickly shed both his trunks and then bent to take hers. They made mad love while standing on the five foot long bowsprit, the salt spray occasionally soaking them to their core, and causing them to both laugh out loud each and every time the spray would envelope them……….
Three days later they entered the St. Augustine Inlet at St. Augustine,Florida. They made the quick turn to port, and motored up the last few hundred yards to the Conch House Marina. Shay had called Captain Jack the day before and reserved a slip, and they were both looking forward to a few nights of relaxing. Not to mention listening to LoriAnn and the other bands, singing and playing on the dock.
They quickly got the boat secured in the slip, and immediately headed to the pool for a quick dip. After a short but refreshing swim, they headed back to the dock for a couple of toddies and a little open air music. A band called “Eights and Aces” was pounding out some serious acoustic rock, so they decided to hang out for a while. They ordered some of the Conch House’s world famous conch fritters, and ordered a couple of rounds of beer. The place was getting crowded early, and there were few if any seats available and it was only three o’clock in the afternoon.
Shay heard someone say “Excuse me”, and turned around to see a nice looking younger couple, and an older, say forty-ish looking guy standing behind them. “Do you mind if we join you,” she said, “There aren’t any tables left, so we were just wondering?”
Shay smiled and said, “No, pull up a couple of chairs, no problem.” The band was just now taking a break, and it left them all kind of just looking at each other, so Shay spoke up. “Hi, I’m Shay Landon and this is my husband Lee,” she said, offering her hand.
The young lady shook her hand, smiled and said, “I’m Gina Moran, and this is my boyfriend Trey Mills, and my older brother Walter. His friends all call him Boomer though. It’s nice to meet you guys.”
They were a nice looking young couple, but the one named Boomer seemed a little odd. He appeared to have some recent looking scars on his arms, face, and neck and didn’t seem to say much over the next twenty minutes or so.
Gina said they were taking her brother on a tour of Florida, and though she never said so, something certainly wasn’t quite right with Boomer. Oh, he looked all right physically. In fact he was something of an athletic specimen, which was easily seen, and you could see his muscles rippling every time he moved. But something was up with him, and Shay thought that Gina could tell she was studying him a bit close.
“Boomer just came home from Iraq. He was wounded you know, one of those IOD’s or whatever. It blew up right beside him and well, it did kind of hurt him a little. They said it will be, you know, probably ok in the future,” she said. Even as she spoke you could see a worried look in her eye, but she continued. “So, we just thought we would take some time off, and do what Boomer always wanted to do, and that’s to see Florida,” she stated brightly.
Wow, what a kid sister, Lee thought. Lee had served four years in the Marine Corp, and had even gone to Sniper School, but had never served in combat. He had gotten out and was already enrolled at UNCW, well before the war started in Iraq. You had to admire her for what she was doing though.
Boomer didn’t look like as if he cared where they were; let alone what they were doing. He just sat rather quietly the whole time. As Shay contemplated further, she realized that Boomer was in fact much younger than she originally thought. The war must really be tough on our guys, she realized quietly.
The band came back on after a short break, and played another set of truly excellent music. The newly acquainted group talked lightly between songs, and after another hour or so, the band finished up with a bang. They were really good.
“Hey, if you guys are still here at five, LoriAnn is gonna play and she’s really good too. We’ve got to get over to the boat, and grab a shower and get cleaned up,” Shay said.
“But we’ll be back,” Lee followed in his best “Arnold” voice, as they rose to leave. Everyone laughed except Boomer.
Within a half hour they were scrubbed clean, and headed back to the open air bar. They could see Gina and her group were still there, so Shay playfully snuck up behind her and said, “Excuse me, may we join you guys again.”
Everyone laughed, and Shay and Lee took their old seats back just in time to see LoriAnn stepping up to the microphone. For the next two hours they listened and enjoyed her music, drank a few more rounds, and ordered up some of the best appetizers this side of anywhere.
As they listened to the music, everyone at the table seemed to get more and more silent. This girl was good, and it didn’t take long for everyone to figure that out, and just kick back and listen.
After the last song, everyone in their little group talked about how much they enjoyed LoriAnn’s music. About that time, Boomer looked at Shay and with some difficulty said, “I like her music,” and then added somewhat slowly, “A lot.”
Shay knew that LoriAnn always had copies of her cd’s for sale, as she owned them all. So a little light bulb went off in her head and she scurried quickly over to the table where the display was set up, just as LoriAnn was sitting down to sign a few autographs.
Just as Shay arrived, LoriAnn looked up and said, “Hey, girl. Long time no see.”
Shay smiled and greeted her old friend, “Yeah, it’s been another year, hasn’t it,” she said. Shay picked up a couple of LoriAnn’s newest, had them both signed, and told her friend they would be around a few days. “Plus I have to show you my new boat anyway,” Shay beamed. They agreed to meet for lunch at the restaurant the next afternoon at noon, and Shay quickly headed back to her group.
When she sat back down she looked at Boomer and said, “Here you go buddy, you like her music, and so do I. Here’s her latest, one for you and one for me.”
Boomer smiled briefly, and said, “Thanks,” then after a short pause added, “I like boats too.”
Shay looked briefly at Lee and stated “Well Boomer, if you like boats, why don’t you guys come on over to our boat and have a look.”
“OK,” the young soldier said, and he stood up without any hesitation whatsoever.
“Are you sure,” said Gina, “We don’t want to be a bother.” She suddenly felt a little embarrassed, and you could see her cheeks were blushing.
“Nonsense,” Shay said, “Let’s go Boomer,” and all five of them headed for the Witchwind. Both Lee and Shay were very proud of their new boat anyway, and would love the chance to show it off a little.
The foursome sat on the deck house drinking cold beer, and watched for almost an hour as Boomer poured over the entire boat. His enthusiasm seemed no less complete than Shay’s was the day she saw her for the first time.
On June 17th, at a few minutes past 9:00 am, a lone figure walked out of the Tallahassee Federal-Medium Security Work Facility, and into the parking lot. He sees the man waiting for him leaning against a large black SUV, and heads toward him. After serving six years of an eight year sentence on a trumped up bullshit charge, Miguel “Dog” Maldonado was a free man. Had the authorities been able to secure a conviction on all of the charges brought against him, he would have been locked up for at least fifty more years. But then the art of the negotiated plea comes into play, and another piece of shit gets flushed back into society far sooner than we would like.
He is a dark skinned man, with pocked facial skin, and a look on his face that tells a story of many years of living hard, and living on the edge. He is small in stature but heavily built, somewhat akin to a bulldog, hence his nick the “Dog”. He is a cunning, yet ruthless man who would kill his own brother if he got in his way. The man waiting for him is a small time crook by the name of Edward William Winston. “Fast Eddy” to his friends who liked fucking with him, as the name came about as a joke due to his unfortunate ability to get caught three times out of three trying to steal late model Corvettes and Mustangs out of Miami. Obviously he wasn’t that fast, but the nick stuck just the same.
“Sup Dog,” said Eddy as the man approached.
“Nothing man, let’s just get the fuck outa here. I don’t want to see this shithole again as long as I live,” snapped the Dog. “I mean seriously, I ain’t never going back to no place like that. Fucker’s can just kill me first, you got it.”
“Yeah man I got it,” said Eddy wearily, “Just chill dude, and wait till you see what we got worked up,” he said with some enthusiasm, “You gonna like this shit, man.”
A little over an hour later they merged onto I-75 South towards Tampa, and Dog suddenly says, “All right bitch where we headed, I can’t stand the suspense any longer.”
They had agreed months earlier when first Eddy, and then Sammy were released, that they would never communicate again concerning any plans they may have made. Nothing. Zero communication, got it. “Yeah Dog we got it,” he had made each of the others say to his face.
“All right, all right,” said Eddy a little impatiently, “We gotta get down to Lauderdale to meet up with Sammy and Will. They’re already set up in a nice condo on the beach, and we’re ready to get this thing up and running. Just lay back and relax dude, it’s gonna be another four hours or so anyway.”
“Yeah, well fuck you very much,” replied Dog as he settled in for the ride.
As he drove, Eddy thought about the plans they had made while incarcerated together over the last few years. Sammy Johnson had been at the Work Facility with the others for just the last year, and his brother Will had been a frequent visitor as he lived in nearby Destin. Both were childhood friends of Eddy’s, and both were small time drug dealers, with a penchant for fast cars, fast boats, and even faster women. After all it was “the” way of life if you were a spoiled ass rich kid.
Their parents had shoveled out the massive amounts of money required to keep the two boys out of trouble. They had hoped the boys would have learned their lessons early, and then would go on to do something productive with their lives. As it was, it didn’t work out that way, and now they were the proud parents of two of Florida’s finest.
The problem now, was the three of them were ready to move up to the big time. No more bullshit. They were gonna break out and away from this small time trivial shit, and do something big. That’s why they had befriended the Dog. Dog was not like them. Dog was a leader, and he was going to take them places. Money, drugs, women, the Islands, what ever it was, it was going to be a party for sure, thought Eddy, it was going to be big, and he was ready to do it.
Back at the condo Sammy opened his eyes and quickly looked at his watch. “Shit, it’s already after noon,” he thought. The woman stirring beside him lay naked on top of the sheets, and even though he couldn’t remember her name right now, he certainly remembered that Eddy had said he and Dog would be at the condo before four o’clock this afternoon. “Get up sweetheart and get a move on, we gotta go,” Eddie lied. “Will, you and yours get your asses up, we got shit to do,” he hollered out to his brother as he entered the living room.
“Yeah, yeah, whatever,” Will said rubbing his head. It was a long night with very little sleep, but what the hell; it was fun, thought Will as he trotted off to the shower.
In less than thirty minutes the girls were in a cab heading somewhere/anywhere. The boys could care less anyway. It was time to get serious. Real serious.
Will and Sammy were off to the Waffle House around the corner for some breakfast or lunch, which ever you wanted to call it.
At exactly 4:08 PM, the door opened and Eddy and Dog came bouncing in. There were shouts of glee, and high fives and hugs all around as the four men celebrated their new found freedom, and the newly formed partnership that had manifested itself over the last few years. They went downstairs and climbed into Eddy’s Escalade, and headed off for the historic Lauderdale Marina.
The marina was founded in 1948, and is considered by many to be the very finest boating facility in Florida. They went immediately over to the 15th Street Fisheries Restaurant, and grabbed an outside table right off of the docks, so they could talk openly without worry. Each of them ordered heartily off of the menu, and prepared themselves for the fine sea food dishes the restaurant was so famous for. As soon as the Margarita’s and the fried calamari hit the table, Dog was ready to begin.
“OK ladies,” Dog started off with his favorite bite, “Where do we stand on the Initiate Action Process.”
They all new exactly what he meant. They had spent months under Dog’s watchful eye. Every aspect of every plan must have the proper component structure, and they all knew them by heart. Planning, Action, Evaluation, Adjusting, and then back to Action. The circle never stops. The components work independently of, but in harmony with each other at all times. He looked directly at Will, and the young man delivered his report.
“Slip D as in Delta-32, Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty-Six Resort and Marina, a 46 foot Hunter sail boat with crew of four aboard. All women, ages twenty-six to thirty-seven, the boat is owned by the husband of one of the crew, a twenty-nine year old by the name of Dawn Winters,” replied Will with an air of military professionalism that he had never possessed prior to meeting Dog.
Will then looked over to his brother Sammy, who continued, “Two days from now, on the nineteenth, the “Summer Dawn” will set sail for Freeport, Bahamas,” said Sammy, “And as of yesterday they will be taking on a couple of blond haired, bronze bodied hitchhikers,” he added, with just a little too much melodrama.
“Cut the shit Sammy and give the report,” cried Will as he looked over at Dog.
They all knew that Dog only wanted the meat of the report. No filler. And he would not stand for less, for very long. But he did like the boys and he knew that the way they looked was the key to getting inside of their targets natural defensive instincts. Especially with the girls. They were both still under thirty and very lean, tanned, good looking lads with long blond hair and six-pack abs. Pure Florida old school surfer dudes, and brothers to boot. It was the perfect covert entry tactic and cover.
“As I was saying,” Sammy went on, “We will be on the boat with them, and we have a scheduled departure time of 6:30 AM. At approximately 8:30 AM, or roughly two hours after departure, we will take control of the ship. We will make contact with you and Eddy via satellite telephone, coordinate GPS positions, and rendezvous as soon as possible. We will scuttle your watercraft and then turn over command of Summer Dawn to Dog for further instructions,” he concluded. He looked around the table for objections and or additions, and there were none.
The waitress was just rounding the corner with their main course, and so Dog took over. “Great job guys, now let’s shut the fuck up and eat,” he stated with a smile.
The plan was coming together fine. Their training had paid dividends, and Dog was pleased. And if Dog was pleased, then everyone was pleased. None of the other three had ever really known what Dog was planning. They really didn’t know anything about him at all. They were sure that he must have been in the Military, or either he was a mercenary or something spooky. One thing was sure for sure….he didn’t tell and they didn’t ask. You were either in, or you were out, and by the looks of the first few operational details, it was apparent they were all in.
The six man team was hunkered down in the trees overlooking the pick up zone some forty meters away when the sound of the exfiltration chopper’s specially designed; sound reduction rotors finally broke through the silence of the jungle itself.
The pilot held the chopper at exactly three feet off the deck as the men from Echo 1-6 scrambled from their hiding places, and climbed aboard for the quick twenty minute ride back to the next transfer point.
Before, after, and during each mission, all Echo Teams were required to be transported via an operational security measure known affectionately as the “Washing Machine”.
By utilizing multiple transportation sources during a mission, you could wash the actual details of the mission’s transportation services completely away. By taking the mission essentials down to the fewest possible persons, you thereby effect the greatest opportunity for Operational Security.
There were now ten active Echo Teams, and not even the team members themselves knew anything of the other teams. Under no circumstances would they ever come together.
If a mission was deemed questionable due to a manpower or unit size and capability issue, then another type team would be deployed ie. Seal Team, Ranger Team, and/or Special Forces Teams etc.
All Echo Team Members were Active Duty Military however, and made up from groups of men from all branches of the Armed Forces.
They were all the same in many other aspects as well. Loners in some senses, pack instinctive in others, they were career soldiers to the man. They were all unmarried, unattached, with nowhere to be in a hurry. They were not stationed at any one Military Installation, again for Operational Security Measures. They were simply directed as to where they were supposed to be, and they went.
These were some of the best fighting men America had to offer, and these were the men previously commanded by Sergeant Major Walter “Boomer” Moran. They were also his brethren in blood. From whence he had come, and to those men of Echo 1-6, to where he would once again belong. This, they believed to a man.
Six months earlier, Echo Team 1-6 had been in Baghdad performing a daring, if impractical counter-sniper mission that effectively eliminated one of the U.S. Military’s single greatest psychological threats in Iraq to date.
He was coined the “Juba Sniper”. The media’s coverage was greatly subdued on this subject due to a high level request by the U.S. Government. He was however, a very real threat to those he hunted. The fact that the Juba sniper digitally filmed each shot he took caused the anxiety of the troops to go off the hook.
The film clips then somehow ended up being posted on You Tube, and several other heavily biased foreign web sites such as Aljazeera, and the like. The families back home were more terrified than ever, and the troops wanted his ass bad.
Utilizing an Israeli made Sniper rifle, equipped with digital camera recording capability, the Juba Sniper had already wounded or killed 143 U.S.combat soldiers. He was deadly effective. Always the same, he never deviated from shooting the invisible single shot. He effectively hit seams in the soldier’s armor or otherwise unprotected areas of the human body, and then disappeared as if a ghost into the surrounding area.
The American President was furious at the cost of American lives, let alone the fear the sniper induced into the American combat patrols, and ordered the ultimate destruction of the Baghdad Sniper at any and all costs. “Just put somebody in there and kill that son of a bitch and I mean do it now”, were the words that were used, one senior Military Advisor would later reveal describing the moment.
The men they sent were from Echo Team 1-6. The man that made the shot that took out the dreaded sniper, was none other than Boomer Moran. Five minutes later an IED, or improvised exploding device, went off thirty feet from where he was standing, nearly killing him instantly.
A miracle he was even alive today, his men knew the only thing they could and would do is to hope and pray for a full recovery. For Boomer, his only thoughts were on returning to the team he longed to fight beside again……….
Two thousand miles away, at exactly 6:42 in the morning, the Summer Dawn shed her lines and made her way out to sea. With a crew of four women and two men, they set out on a wonderfully beautiful morning, with wind and wave forecasts that were just perfect for the approximately seventy mile trip.
Making between six and seven knots per hour they should be at the Freeport Harbor Customs Station in about ten hours or so, depending on drift and current conditions as they crossed the Gulf Stream. Although all the girls were adequate and experienced sailors, Dawn was certainly glad to have Will and Sammy along. Not only were they knowledgeable and helpful as well, but they were also eye candy for her friends Beth and Suzanne, both whom were single and presently unattached.
Within the hour they were in blue water making way for the Bahamas. Spirits were on high, with Beth and Will on the wheel, and Dawn handling the navigation chores, while the rest of the crew were content in enjoying the ride.
“Hey, does anyone want some breakfast,” asked Carol, the older of the girls. Like Dawn, she was married to a boat loving man. He was a senior associate of Dawn’s husband Joey at their Miami accounting office, and a seasoned sailor himself.
“I picked up some breakfast burritos at Mickey-dees this morning,” she added.
“Oh man,” Will said, “Sure was hoping for a champagne breakfast,” he laughed.
“Not this time big boy, but maybe next time,” laughed Carol.
As she passed out the food to all aboard, Suzanne and Sammy went forward to the bow of the boat. She was thinking, what a nice looking guy, I hope we can maybe spend some time together once we get into Freeport.
Unfortunately Sammy’s thoughts were nowhere along those lines, and actually the thoughts running through his head at this time did not include her ever getting back to shore at all. Sammy actually was not the least bit uncomfortable about the prospective events of the near future.
He and Will had made the commitment to follow Dog’s orders exactly as they had been laid out. The excitement of it all made him tingle in anticipation. In fact he was somewhat aroused by the whole situation, but the plan did not call for that right now, and he was not about to deviate from Dog’s orders. Not now or not ever.
Three hundred miles to the north, the Witchwind was making her way south, straight into the mouth of hell.
It was just after 8:00 AM on the morning of the nineteenth, and Federal Parole Officer Ray Simmons was running through his list of current parolees that had missed their respective reporting dates. At the top of his hit list was Miguel Maldonado. Released on 17 June, he was supposed to report yesterday before the close of business at 5:00 PM. Of worse concern was the triple asterisk placed beside his name that signified a “Special Handling” situation.
He fired up his computer and logged on to the case file for further information. What he saw made him immediately have cause for concern, and he yelled over to his on-duty supervisor, Jim Watts. “Hey Jim, come look at this one, will ya,” he said, “We got us some trouble here, I think.”
Together they quickly perused the information in the special information section. Maldonado, Miguel Antonio, alias “The Dog”, age 37, former Special Forces U.S. Army, Top Secret Security Risk, and then the following: ***This individual is considered a High Security Risk, and should be considered a potential flight risk. Should he fail to report at any time, please call Agent Michael Barrow of the Miami FBI Office as soon as possible.
“Oh shit, we better give them a call right away,”Watts said. “Why do they even let these guys out, if they think they aren’t going to show up? I just don’t get it,” he added.
“I don’t know either, but let me make the call right now and get the monkey off of our back. Seems like one we don’t want to mess with anyway,” concluded the young officer.
Within minutes the call was made and the FBI had an Asset Liability Case started. Another call was made. This time it was the FBI calling to a senior White House Official based on the coded message Senior Agent Bill Tankersley was looking at on his computer. His was not to wonder why, and he did not have the need to know anyway. He just made the call as directed……….
At the exact same time on the Summer Dawn, the opportunity presented itself as Will and Sammy found themselves momentarily alone on the deck with Suzanne. Without hesitation, Sammy grabbed Suzanne and hurled her over the stanchions and lifelines and into the water. Even as Suzanne began to scream, both men began hollering “Man Overboard, Man Overboard.”
This quickly brought the other three women scrambling from below to the upper deck. In those few seconds, Suzanne and the Summer Dawn were separated by more than two hundred feet. She was screaming as loud as she could, but know one could understand what she was saying. She was also flailing her hands in the air, like she was trying to wave someone down.
What she was doing was trying to warn the others. That wasn’t going to happen though. No matter how hard she tried.
“What the hell is going on,” yelled Dawn excitedly, as she came through the companionway door.
“She was leaning over the rail and lost her balance,” said Will. “I’m making the turn to port, start Man-Over-Board procedures, will you please,” he added dramatically.
“Will, take her around as close as possible. Sammy you grab the throw bag, and I’ll handle the Life Buoy,” said Dawn with an air of authority. She quickly grabbed the Ring with the tether rope so as to be ready to throw it to Suzanne as they passed back by.
“Girls, go below and grab some regular life jackets to throw out in case we miss her with the rope,” Will told Beth and Carol, and they both hurried away to assist.
No sooner than they were out of sight, Sammy grabbed Dawn from behind and threw her over as well. She didn’t weigh much over a hundred pounds, and it really required no effort at all on his part. Even though she furiously fought against his actions and attempted to grab hold of him, it was a mere moment of hope in an otherwise desperate situation.
As soon as her head broke the surface of the water he could hear her scream though, “You mother fucker,” she yelled at the top of her lungs.
Oh well, too bad he thought, and continued on with his plan of action.
By the time the other two girls came back up on deck Sammy had produced a small automatic pistol and had it pointed directly at them. “Get off of my boat, or I’ll blow your fucking heads off right now,” he said with a growl. Both girls looked suddenly terrified, and hesitated just briefly.
Sammy fired a round right over their heads and then repeated, “Get the fuck off now,” he screamed. Without hesitation they both dove off of the boat and in to the deep blue water of the Atlantic Ocean.
Will began the slow turn to come back around. Within a couple of minutes the maneuver was complete.
As the boat came around in its counter clockwise motion, toward first Suzanne and then the others, they each in turn saw Sammy standing at the rail with the small gun in his hand. He coldly and systematically shot each girl in the head and torso several times as the boat sailed by. Their feeble efforts to swim away seemed pathetic at best.
Within seconds it was over, and the sea had swallowed all signs of their first victims. The Summer Dawn in due time would follow them down to depths unknown, but it was not yet that time.
Less than ten miles away, Dog and Eddy were easing along in a twenty five foot center console fishing boat, with four fishing poles set out in a normal trolling pattern. To anyone who passed by, it appeared as if they were just two guys out fishing. Of course they were simply dragging empty hooks, because they were not in the mood to really catch anything. They were on a mission and would need to move as quickly as possible when the time came.
When the sat-phone buzzed, it was Eddy who picked it up, and said, “Yo”. On the other end, Will read off their GPS coordinates, and then followed with “How Copy.”
Eddy simply said, “Lima Charlie,” which stood for loud and clear. He then hung up, and he and Dog immediately headed for the rendezvous point. They maintained their trolling speed so as not to attract any unwanted attention.
Within another ten minutes Dog had all the lines in, and they set out towards their destination at full throttle.
In less than a half hour the Summer Dawn came into view and the two boats began to converge. Once along side of each other, the men made quick work of off loading a few gear bags from the fishing vessel. Dog pulled one of the bags to the side of the railing, and reaching in he produced a small automatic machine pistol, of the nine millimeter variety. Turning the weapon on its side to make sure the bullet casings went overboard, he proceeded to stitch the port side of the fishing vessel with fifty rounds of hollow points.
He made damn sure to hole the vessel at the water line or below, and she immediately began taking on water. The four men stood at attention and saluted her as she went down, in somewhat a mockery of the traditions of the sea.
“All right ladies, it’s time to kick this thing off,” said Dog. “We can’t stay on this boat for more than a day or two, plus there probably ain’t no fucking food on here anyways. We need to find us a loaded up travelin’ boat, that ain’t nobody looking for. But in the meantime I do hope we got some cold beer, or something,” he added as he looked toward Will and Sammy.
Will reached into one of the coolers stowed and tied on deck and produced a handful of cold, canned Icehouse beers, and tossed one to each of the others. “How about a little idea of what we got going on,” he ventured, as the others took their seats.
“Yeah, Yeah,” said Dog, “I guess we do need to go into a little Operational Planning stage, now don’t we. I’m thinking we keep heading on over, but instead of Nassau we veer a little south and make for the Exumas. A lot more islands to hide around in, and a whole lot more folks taking in the deserted islands. Those guys should be outfitted a little deeper than this shitbird is.”
Nobody said much to that, and Will was thinking about the food stores on board. They could probably survive a week, but no more on what they had, but that was plenty of time to get to the islands and find another source of supplies.
They all knew that Will was the only one with a real passport and proper documentation, as the rest were all prior felons, and were carrying fake credentials that they would rather not use if they didn’t have to. If anyone had to go on shore it would have to be him.
“Well let’s load the coordinates and set sail for the north side of Exuma, we can hide there for a while, and we’ll have plenty of help staying hid with all the cruisers around,” Dog decided.
“Let’s do it then,” said the boys in unison.
As Dog looked around at his crew, he could only wonder why these three followed him like a bunch of puppies. Maybe because he was “The Dog”, he mused to himself.
Dog also pondered on another fact that he was sure of. It was that he knew other wheels were turning. People were already looking for him and he knew that in his heart.
Will, Eddie, and Sammy knew nothing of his past, as he had not shared anything like that with them. But he had a past, and a bloody one at that.
They also had no idea that on a lonely deserted island somewhere in the Bahamas, Dog had buried a small package several years ago. That small package was worth a fortune to him, and he wanted it back. He had paid for it in blood, his career, and by serving time behind bars.
It was his and he had no intentions of sharing it with anyone else, present company included. Lying there waiting for him was approximately eighty pounds of loose diamonds that he had stolen during a raid in Eastern Africa, and unfortunately there were others who knew he had them.
They just didn’t know where. But for him, a disappearing act was possibly the only way to stay alive. The bad thing was those who were looking for him had all the resources in the world at their disposal, including the U.S. Military.
Yet forward they went, with nary a look back.
The Director of National Intelligence (DNI) serves as the head of the Intelligence Community (IC), overseeing and directing the implementation of the National Intelligence Program. He also normally acts as the principal advisor to the President, the National Security Council, and the Homeland Security Council for intelligence matters related to National Security.
Working together with the Principal Deputy DNI (PDDNI), and with the assistance of a small but highly trained group of Mission Managers including four Deputy Directors, the Office of the DNI’s goal is to effectively integrate foreign, military and domestic intelligence, in defense of the homeland and of the manyUnited Statesinterests abroad.
One of those four Deputy Directors had just received a call from the FBI, and his blood boiled over as he received the news that Miguel “Dog” Maldonado was out of confinement, and reported absent and missing.
Deputy Director Alan Jenson Sr. had not only a professional interest, but a personal one as well. His only son, Alan Jr. had been in Africa with Maldonado as a member of Echo Team 1-1, when something went terribly wrong during the mission. The entire team had been lost except Maldonado. It was certainly obvious to those in the know that a great amount of unlawful activity went on during the mission. That much was undeniable.
Although there was no hard evidence, the Office of the DNI was certain the whole mission reeked of murder, theft, and deception. Jenson himself had been soundly and thoroughly questioned about the loss of a small fortune in diamonds, an accusation made by an official of the African government in question.
With little real evidence, the prosecution team advised cutting a deal to at least get Maldonado into Federal Prison, and out of the Military. They could not afford to prosecute him via a Military Courts Martial, and due to the nature of his operational knowledge he was quietly discharged from the Military and placed in Federal Confinement. Once there, of course he was a model prisoner.
What no one knew, other than Dog Maldonado, was that the Mission Manager for the failed operation was none other than Alan Jenson Sr. and that the mission hadn’t failed at all. Everything went exactly as planned until Dog decided to get greedy and fucked over everyone else in a bad way.
It was one thing for Jenson Sr. to know his son’s killer was still walking on this earth, but it was quite another to be able to do something about it. Most importantly he wanted those diamonds back. Like it would in some way vindicate him for making such a terrible mistake, the mistake of trusting Maldonado with his son’s life. In the end he knew one or both of them would be dead, there was just no other way it could end. At this point in his life, he really didn’t care which way it went, as long as Maldonado went with him.
The next morning on the 20th of June, Summer Dawn was approaching the Bimini’s well on their way to Exuma. They needed to change boats almost daily to prevent anyone from locating, or seeing any reported missing vessel. Even if there were an attempt to be boarded by any law enforcement vessels, Dog was sure the onboard fire power could and would be sufficient to surprise and subdue anyone who tried to stop them.
At about noon they spotted the sails of another boat out on the horizon, and started making way towards them. As they closed the distance Dog was looking through the binoculars and said, “Looks like we may have a customer here boys,” he said with a sadistic smile.
Will and Sammy jumped up and peered out as well. Eddy was down in the galley making sandwiches, and poked his head out the companionway and said, “Lunch is almost ready guys.”
“Hold that thought”, said Dog, “We got a situation here. Big sailor’ coming up on the starboard side. Eddy you stay out of sight till I say so, and Will, you and Sammy grab the pistols and the flare gun. And don’t go shootin’ holes all in the boat either, and let me do the talking.”
They immediately dropped all sails and fired up the diesel engine, and continued toward the on-coming sailboat. Dog fired off a flare in the direction of the approaching vessel, and followed it with a second one. The other boat, noting the obvious distress signal began lowering its sails as well, and attempted to hail the other boat with VHS radio to no avail.
Within minutes the two boats began to cautiously approach one another. The seas were almost flat which afforded Dog the opportunity to move quite close to other vessel. He hollered across, “Radio is out and I got a very sick man aboard, you wouldn’t happen to be a Doctor would you.”
“No”, the other man yelled back across the thirty yards or so that separated the two idling boats. “I’m by myself heading back across, but I can radio for help,” he added.
While the two men were busy talking, Sammy quietly slipped below and grabbed the CAR-15 Assault Rifle. He stepped onto the deck and without hesitation took aim at the other man and shot him center mass. He never saw it coming. The bullet struck the man in the chest, tearing out his heart and left lung, killing him instantly. As he fell to the deck, Dog stated with an ugly smile, “Damn it Sammy, now you’re gonna have to scrub the deck before we can even move in.”
They all laughed at the thought of it, and then they began the process of dropping fender buoys over the sides so that they could transfer everything they needed to their new boat.
In less than an hour they were finished. Dog had tied one of the Summer Dawn’s anchors to the dead man’s foot, and kicked him overboard. Then they once again stood on the deck of the new boat and shot the Summer Dawn full of holes and watched her sink. Once again all hands saluted her departure, as she became invisible to the world above.
Dog looked over his new boat, and estimated her to be about a thirty eight to forty footer, and as he leaned over the stern to get a look at her name and hailing port he started laughing hysterically. “Look at this shit, her name is Easy Come, Easy Go, how fucking ironic is that,” he added. “All right let’s get her cleaned up and get going, you young pirates, and see what the sea has to offer.”
They laughed out loud, and seemed content with the obvious craziness of it all.
“All of Fort Lauderdale is waiting dockside at Hall of Fame Marina. The famed river walk with its first class restaurants, the stunning new beach promenade, the Broward Center for the Performing Arts and more, will lure you by day and dazzle you at night, or so says this brochure,” said Lee laughingly as Shay made the tie on the last of the dock lines.
“Well then, welcome to Ft.Lauderdale,” Shay shot back with a smile. ” I don’t know about you, but I’m hungry as a horse,” she added.
“It says here there’s a Coconut’s right across the street over there,” Lee pointed out. “How does that sound for a quick fix?”
“Works for me, if it works for you, I just want to sit down and eat, and have me a toddy,” Shay said, “And I really can’t believe we are already this far, this fast. It’s just been amazing already,” she added with a genuine smile.
Thirty minutes later they were ordering a round of appetizers and drinks when they heard someone say, “Hey ya’ll,” and they both looked up to see Gina and Boomer Moran and Gina’s boyfriend Trey. Gina was smiling and waving her hand, and acting like she was truly amazed at the site of their recent acquaintances. Trey was looking a little embarrassed, and Boomer had the same serious look on his face that he always seemed to have.
“Hey guys,” Shay said with a smile, “Wanna join us.”
“Oh we don’t want to be a bother, just wanted to say hey to you guys,” said Gina.
“Really, you all pull up a chair, it’s good to see you again,” added Lee. “And hey Boomer, are you enjoying your trip aroundFlorida?”
The young man smiled slightly and said, “Yes I am.” The three of them took chairs at the table, and the waitress brought a round of menus. They all started talking of their trips south, and what they had seen and been doing over the last week……….
On the other side of the Atlantic Channel the boys were making way on board Easy Come, Easy Go, when Dog came out of the cabin and said, “All right ladies, everybody up topside for a mission briefing.”
Once all hands were there, he began, “OK, first things first. We don’t know who is looking for us and who isn’t. We will immediately plot a reverse course and head back towards the Keys, and catch a boat that is heading over to the islands instead of heading back from. That keeps us traveling in the correct direction and on the same time frame as those whose misfortune it is to do business with us.” He looked around to make sure he had everyone’s undivided attention. When he was certain that he did, he continued, “I’m telling you all right now, we can only operate our boats for no more than a days time, max of two. Anything more and we are asking to get busted, and that won’t go down pretty. Keep your eyes open, stay aware of the program and we’ll be fine. Are their any questions?” Dog glanced casually at his boys before inviting feedback.
“Dog, look man you know were all in, and we ain’t never gonna question you man, but you know, we don’t even know what the plan is,” said Eddy very nervously. The others just nodded agreement, and rather sheepishly at that.
Dog looked at his men, and he knew it was time to give them a bone. Something they could chew on. Something good. “Well boy’s it’s like this. I have been holdin’ out on the intel, yes I have. But it was for good reason. I didn’t want any of you going weak or going south on me. Too much at stake here,” he paused and looked each of them in the eye before continuing, “So here’s the poop. A little over six years ago, I stole two million dollars in cash from the Federal Government, whom I used to work for. When, where, and how really isn’t important anymore. Now that money’s sitting in a hole on a special little island not a hundred miles from here, and this is what I’m offering. Three hundred thousand cash for each of you, plus we’ll burn a hunge on a huge ass party to celebrate the occasion. That leaves a mil for me, because it is my shit after all, and I’ll give each of you, oh, about three seconds to decide if you’re in or out,” he added with a wicked smile. “Stutter and I’ll kill the lot of you.”
In unison they all pumped their fist’s, and yelled and hooted up a storm. Oh yeah, they were all in. All in, and way the fuck over their heads and they hadn’t a clue. And in a way it was a shame, Dog thought, because he really did like them. But it wasn’t personal, and that’s just the way it was.
And so Dog kept smiling. “And look here shitbirds, this is just the beginning. So don’t get stale on my ass now, you got it. This is just the tip of this iceberg, and I got plans for you fuckers, ok,” he added. “Now let’s get some lines in the water, cause I ain’t passing up on some of the best fishing waters in the world, even if I’m on a fucking sailboat, damned WAFI’s (Wind Assisted Fucking Idiots). We’ll slow troll all night tonight, stop and sleep if we get tired, it don’t matter. Tomorrow we’ll trade this baby in on a new model, good enough?”
“Yeah Dog we got it man, and we’re lovin’ it,” said Sammy. Everyone was all smiles as they made the turn back for the Keys, and whatever the future held……….
Back at the Office of the DNI, Deputy Director Alan Jenson Sr. had already begun securing operational capabilities from within his vast network. The FBI would send out messages to all local and state Law Enforcement Agencies to be on the lookout for Maldonado, but also to report any instances of missing persons, thefts of vehicles, boats, airplanes, helicopters etc. so that leads might be generated.
He knew the extent Maldonado would go to get away and to get underground, but he was totally reluctant to include any sources outside of his control, especially foreign Island Governments and their respective Law Enforcement Agencies. Maldonado had been captured in Puerto Rico, and Jenson had always had a sneaking suspicion that the diamonds were hidden somewhere in the islands near the U.S. Mainland, but God, what a needle in a haystack.
What he knew for sure, was that Maldonado was coldly capable of anything, and would head directly to his stash, wherever that might be.
The hardest part was figuring out how to stop him, and how to do it so that he, Jenson Sr. would end up with the diamonds without anyone’s knowledge. He figured the best way was to capture Maldonado and torture the information out of him, secure the diamonds, and then kill him. There was no doubt in his mind, that he could personally fire the bullet himself. He would avenge his only son, or he would die trying. He would utilize the Echo Team program to secure the capture if at all possible. That way the operational security would be intact, and no one outside the team would even know what happened. The sad thing was that if Maldonado spilled his guts to the team, then they too would have to be eliminated. It made him sick to his stomach to even think of that. Stupid fucking idiot Maldonado, he thought to himself. Should’ve stuck to the fucking plan……….
Back at the restaurant the gang was cheerfully exchanging stories, and sipping toddies. “Well we are actually thinking of taking one of those cheap two day Cruise Ship deals over to the Bahamas for a couple of days. They say you can go for about a hundred dollars a piece, and that’s well within our budget,” said Trey excitedly.
“That or drive on down to Key West,” added Gina, “We just haven’t decided yet.”
“I like Bahamas,” said Boomer surprisingly. Everyone smiled unexpectedly at his statement.
“Do you guys all have passports,” asked Shay. They all nodded affirmatively, so she added pleadingly, “Come on Lee, let’s all go over for a couple of days on the boat. It’ll fill a dream for a very deserving Veteran, and it would be fun as hell anyway.”
The offer by Shay surprised Lee somewhat, but he quickly realized it came from her heart. Her father had fought inVietnam, and had been seriously wounded as well. Shay had always been very proud of her father, and his service to his Country. Hell, I’m a Veteran myself, he thought, so why not.
“Hey, I’m not the spoiled sport here, if you guys all wanna go, then we’ll go. It ain’t no big deal, but then again it might be. Let’s do it,” said Lee. “In fact let’s get it together and head over tomorrow, we can stay for two or three days and then zoom back,” he added cheerfully, to which everyone agreed. They all laughed and shook hands, and the deal was done. Even Boomer was smiling now.
The next morning the newly acquired crew of the Witchwind showed up early, and raring to go. The boat still had enough provisions on board for this trip, and if they needed anything else they could resupply in Alice Town in the Bimini’s, or in Freeport once they got there. They could head directly for Freeport and the West End, but Lee was thinking of the great fishing in and around the Bimini’s, and he figured Boomer might like to hook a big fish, and experience the excitement as well. He figured they would head that way first, and at most it would only take a day or so longer, and it really didn’t seem to matter to anyone, because no one was in a hurry anyway. They all agreed, and set off the docks at just past 7:30 AM, on the 21st of June.
Both Lee and Shay were really surprised at all the beautiful weather they were having. Right in the middle of hurricane season, they had to keep a constant eye on the weather at all times. So far, the tropics had been quiet for mostly the whole season, which was slightly strange, but hey, no one was complaining. This time of year it is usually much safer heading up into the Chesapeake Bay, but both Shay and Lee had decided to chance it and head south. So far they had no regrets, and in fact were having the trip of a lifetime. As they set out on their little journey, everyone seemed to just loiter around the deck taking in the scenery.
Many people think there is nothing to look at when you are out in the open water, but the truth is totally the opposite. The water moving along the sides of the boat, with the ever occasional spray off the bow, seems to mesmerize all sailors. The ability to talk on board is so different than being on a motor boat. The wind whipping in and out of the sails is somewhat serene at times, as you feel yourself being propelled forward by nature alone. The sheer distance you can see out across the ocean, keeps you busy. You’re always looking for other boats, bigger ships, and of course all the marine life that seems to be everywhere. The crew was simply amazed at the sight of the rich, blue hued flying fish, as they soared through the air just bare inches from the water.
They were making great time, and were over half way to the Bimini Islands, when Lee hollered out, “Ship on the horizon.” Everyone began looking out towards where Lee was pointing, and sure enough there was another sailboat heading their way. Although they were still three or four miles away, it was time to pay attention to where the other boat was heading.
When they were about a mile out they could see the boat was beginning to drop sail. Lee hollered over to Shay, “Hey sweetie, can you try to raise them on Channel 16 for me, looks like they are dropping sail.” As she moved to the radio Lee picked up the binoculars and could see a man on the bow of the boat waving a flag of some kind.
“No answer on 16, Lee, but I’ll keep trying,” said Shay. By now everyone was on deck and curious as to what was going on. ” Vessel approaching the Sailing Vessel Witchwind can you hear me, over. If you can hear me please acknowledge,” she added but to no avail.
“Guess their radio’s out or the guy on front of the boat can’t get to it. Everybody be alert, we’re gonna move up close and check them out,” Lee stated. “Remember this area is full of pirates so be careful,” he added.
“Lee quit that,” said Shay with a smile, “You know that’s not quite true, and your just getting everyone all excited.”
Lee was still on the binoculars, and could see some movement on deck as they got closer to each other. He also could see the other boat was now dead in the water and no longer moving forward. “Look alive guys it looks like something is going on here,” he said. “I can see one man attending to another on the deck, and the one guy is still waving a flag from the bow. Looks like a diver’s flag, but I think they have some kind of emergency going on,” he added and handed the binoculars to Shay so he could begin to maneuver the boat closer to see what was going on. “I’m dropping both main sails and going in on jib and power only,” he added, and immediately went to work.
“Flare off the bow, our direction”, Shay hollered. “You’re right Lee, must be a medical emergency of some kind.”
The seas were running at about two feet so it shouldn’t be much of a problem coming up close to the other boat, thought Lee. As they closed the last hundred yards or so the man on the bow ran back to center deck and seemed to be helping the other man. As Lee approached, he made his turn to set both boats port side to port side and eased in as close as seemed safe. He had the boats about seventy to eighty feet apart as they began to make their first pass, still in gear but just idling.
“I think he’s broken his back,” one of the men yelled over as the two boats passed. No one could see the Dog, as he was hunkered down in the companionway with a Remington .308 caliber sniper rifle. As soon as he could see Lee at the helm he made his first shot, which struck Lee in his left eye and exited out the right side of his head. The impact of the shot sent him sprawling over the cockpit coamings, and onto the side deck. His total loss of balance and insight to what had happened caused him to crawl forward, and he fell overboard instantly.
Trey jumped over towards him and before he could acknowledge what was happening, took a round in the back, at the base of his spine. Fatally crippling him, it removed most of his internal organs out of an exit wound the size of a football. He fell down and forward into the companionway, blocking any access to the interior of the boat.
Boomer’s gaze went immediately to the other boat, and his mind began analyzing the action. He quickly noted three men on the deck of the other boat, up and running with weapons in hand. They began firing at Shay, Gina, and himself even as they began moving.
As Boomer came to grips with what was unfolding, his mind went to another place. His instincts kicked in and he began to run towards Shay and Gina, who were trying to find something to hide behind. As he got to Gina, he grabbed her and threw her overboard without hesitation. He kept moving low and fast toward Shay, who was only ten more feet away. Boomer tackled her mid body and crashed over the starboard side railings, and into the water.
Rounds were landing all around them, as the Witchwind continued on under the power of her idling engine. That left them in open water, no more than seventy yards away from the drifting boat.
“Dive deep or die,” Boomer yelled at the girls, “Do it now.” At that same moment he saw his sister jump and her body contorted as she took a round in her upper right leg. Shay was already at a depth of twenty feet and swimming as fast as she could away from the other vessel.
Boomer knew in his heart that Gina was stuck at the surface, and watched as she took another round into her torso. He watched in a hail of gunfire as she began her final act of curling up into a fetal position, and going under water, and ultimately to her death.
He had been here too many times before, and he knew there was nothing that he could do. So he dove for the depths that he might save himself. Had he not been in salt water, he might have felt the stinging of the tears that he was crying. He dove and he swam until he could swim no more and then he surfaced. He took a huge breath of air and dove under again. He had not taken the time to look around, so he knew nothing of anyone’s fate except his own.
On the surface, Dog was watching the Witchwind motor away under her own power with no one on board. Well no one alive anyway, he thought. Somewhat pissed off at this turn of events, he snarled at the others, “Well that’s fucking great, what do you guys want to do, stay here hunting, or go get the boat?”
Eddy was up with Dog in an instant, and said, “Fuck those motherfuckers, they can’t swim forever.”
Dog looked at the departing boat and said reluctantly, “Yeah, fuck them fish, let’s get the other boat and get out of here. Besides I think I got the guy, and there’s the one little chickadee floating right over there, looking a lot like shark bait. Yeah, they’re all toast anyway, so let’s move out.”
Dog then turned to where Gina was hopelessly trying to swim, trying desperately to keep herself alive, and afloat. She stared straight into his eyes, pleading without words. And then he shot her in the head, and turned and walked away.
Dog and his boys had little trouble catching up with the Witchwind. As Dog motored up beside her, Will jumped from the side of their boat over to the Witchwind just as they banged together. Within thirty minutes they had everything on board they wanted. Then they once again performed the same little drill while sinking the Easy Come, Easy Go.
Standing on the side of the boat, saluting in the same fashion as with the others, stood Dog and his boys. Complete with shit eating grins, to a man. The grim task of cleaning up their carnage seemed not to bother them at all. Within the hour they were headed back for the Bimini’s. Moving at a leisurely pace, the boys were celebrating like the twisted youth they were, worried about nothing. Though in the back of the Dog’s mind, was the lingering thought of leaving someone alive? Was it a mistake? Should they turn back right now, and hunt them down. Dog thought this over in his mind. He played it out, over and over. He finally succumbed to the reality that no one could swim that far in open water. They were already dead or they would be soon, no fucking doubt about that now was there.
Boomer soon became aware of the silence around him. He could see both vessels heading away from him. He simply floated in place for a moment, treading water and looking around. About fifty yards away Shay popped to the surface sucking for air.
He hollered out to her and they began to swim towards each other. As they approached, Shay broke down crying, “What the fuck just happened, and where is everybody?” she cried.
“I don’t know. Can you see Gina?” he asked struggling to get his words out. “She’s in the water, and she‘s been hit at least twice,” he added desperately.
They both quickly looked all around, and it soon became apparent that she was lost as well. They were alone. In the middle of the ocean with no life raft, no life jackets, with absolutely nothing to create a glimmer of hope towards survival. What in God’s name had happened, he thought.
“What about Lee and Trey, were they still on the boat?” Shay asked.
“I don’t know,” Boomer said. They both watched as the boats came together about a mile or so away, maybe a little less, it was so hard to tell. With the movement of the sea, they would lose sight briefly as they rode up and down on the dips of the swells. They did however hear some automatic machine gun fire, and they could see, although with some difficulty as the Easy Come, Easy Go slowly disappeared from their view.
Then they silently watched as the Witchwind disappeared from their view as well, leaving them with virtually no hope. All they could do was swim or tread water until they could do it no longer. Was this to be their final fate, each of them thought silently? The next few minutes were spent staring off at the distant horizon.
“What are we going to do Boomer?” Shay asked. Tears were still streaming down her face. “What in the hell are we supposed to do?”
He was just about to answer her when a faint call of help came from somewhere close by.
“Help,” they both heard again, and both began scanning the waters around them at a frantic pace.
“Oh my God, it’s Lee,” cried out Shay, and she started out for him as fast as she could possibly swim, with Boomer right on her heels.
They made their way towards Lee in short order, and as they closed the final distance Shay could see that his face was distorted and covered in blood.
“Oh God, he’s shot,” she screamed in outright panic. The terror and shock of seeing her husband in this condition actually momentarily froze her in place. She simply didn’t want to believe that this was happening.
Boomer blew by her, and reached Lee within seconds. The water was splashing over Lee’s face as he bobbed up and down in the ocean’s swells, and Boomer could immediately see the wound and knew he had seen much worse. The left side of Lee’s nose right at the bridge was missing. His right cheek was laid open to the bone for about two inches, and both of his eyes were already black and swollen. He had obviously cheated death by less than one inch.
“Must stop the bleeding,” said Boomer, as he tore off his tee shirt and began the struggle of staying afloat while he tore his shirt into strips.
He handed a small strip to Shay and said, “Make patches, fast.”
As they both worked feverishly, Lee tread water beside them silently. “I’ve got three here,” said Shay trembling as she spoke.
Boomer handed her the shredded strips and told Lee, “I am going to pack and wrap your wounds,” he forced himself to say. “It will hurt,” he added, and began tightly compressing and packing the wounds with the cloth. With the three of them fighting to stay afloat, he then wrapped a long piece around Lee’s head like a bandana, even though it covered his right eye. “Must stop the bleeding,” he said again, and everyone there knew what he meant.
Both Shay and Lee were speechless and Boomer knew they were likely to go into shock if he didn’t do something quick. You can not bleed into the waters of the open ocean and not attract fish. Big, hungry fish.
Shay was wearing a pair of Capri style pants, he remembered. “Shay, give me your pants,” he said without looking at her. When he got them he tied one of the tee shirt strips around each of the leg ends forming a type of life jacket. He threw it over his head, zipped and snapped the waist, and began splashing water and air up into the makeshift device. He looked at them both and said, “We’ll share.” He took it back off and put it over Lee’s head and looked at Shay. “Keep it wet and filled up.”
Shay helped her husband get comfortable as possible, but her thoughts could not escape her. “What are we going to do,” she pleaded to neither of them in particular.
“Live or die,” said Boomer. “No more talk.” Then he added, “Just relax, it’s our only chance.”
They had floated along for no more than twenty or thirty minutes when Shay screamed out, “There’s something in the water, right there.” She was pointing and Boomer’s vision picked it up almost instantly, and he took off towards it without another word.
As he approached it, his mind quickly discerned what he was seeing. Floating debris from where the other boat had been sunk. There he thought, a fender buoy floating about twenty yards out, and he was off. He grabbed the buoy and continued spinning, looking for anything that he could get of value. He looked towards Shay and Lee and could see that they too were actively looking, and so he continued on his quest. He knew they would have mere minutes, and anything that was here would be gone and out of reach forever.
Shay grabbed a two liter bottle of Coke as it floated by, and handed it to Lee. She pulled off her shirt and quickly made a sack of sorts and stuffed the bottle in it. She saw Boomer coming back towards them with something white in tow. Her heart shook with excitement as she recognized what it was. Within seconds he had it tied around Lee’s body, and he was off again.
She looked at Lee and said, “Look baby, you just relax, I’m gonna go look for some stuff,” and she turned and swam off before he could answer, her makeshift bag in tow.
They both gathered everything they could see floating. It was exhausting work that paid big dividends in the end. Within the next twenty minutes she and Lee both had on life jackets, they had gathered up two more high flotation fender buoys, and had found a couple of packages of chips, and three other bottles of soda floating with the other debris.
Boomer made his way back to where Lee was and began constructing a three person floating ring with their belongings in the middle. When they were finished, Lee and Shay slumped in their life jackets, and tied together they soon slept as they drifted towards where ever the seas would take them.
Except for Boomer, they were far to tired to consider the dangers of the sea, and each of them were content to sleep no matter. Boomer however knew they were all in extreme danger. The creatures of the sea were not their only worry. Even in the warmer waters they were now in, exposure to the elements was possible and would take its toll, and evening was coming fast. It would be a long hard night. Of that he was certain……….
It was not yet dark on the evening of June 21st, but already Billy Winters was uneasy. His wife Dawn and the others should have been to the islands by now and her call was long overdue. She should have called yesterday, but he had a habit of not showing his wife if he was worried about her doing something like this. She was an accomplished sailor and had made this venture many times by herself. She had plenty of crew with the girls on board, and the two young men that were hitching a ride over seemed nice enough, and hadn’t worried him at all. Just two brothers hitching a cheap ride across, nothing new there, he thought.
Well that’s it, he thought. He couldn’t raise her on her cell phone, and she hadn’t called him, so that was that. He was dialing the Coast Guard’s number even as he was thinking to himself. When he hung up, he called his friend Joey, Carol’s husband, and told him what the Coast Guard had said. They would make a few passes tonight to see if they could see anything, and if nothing was noted they would conduct a formal search the next morning.
Unfortunately the plane flew a pattern over fifty miles away from where the Summer Dawn lay at rest on the bottom of the sea, and not even the Witchwind or her new crew were anywhere close. It was a futile flight for all concerned, and within a couple of hours the haze of twilight began to set in.
There had been a second call placed that evening as well. The Coast Guard also had received a late report of another missing vessel, the Easy Come, Easy Go. The on duty supervisor that evening was a sharp young man, by the name of Ensign William DeBeers. He had seen an Active Alert Bulletin from the FBI, seeking any and all information of any suspect activity in their region. Although this may be nothing he thought better of just waiting and made the call. Within the hour the message was in the hands of Senior Agent Bill Tankersley, who immediately contacted Deputy Director Alan Jenson on his private number as he had been directed to do in just this type of situation.
“Hey Alan, it may be nothing as these two boats were heading in opposite directions,” Tankersley said, “but you said you wanted to know about anything suspicious at all.”
“Look Bill, this guy Maldonado is a nut case. If he’s operating in this area it won’t be the last thing we hear about, I can assure you. But please remember this is a very sensitive situation we have here. We must operate under the radar for right now, if you know what I mean, but I will stay in touch, and please, if anything else comes your way call me, no matter what the hour, ok,” Jenson said concluding the call.
As soon as he hung up the phone, Jenson was making the call to the Coast Guard. He would have to do his best to follow this trail without putting Dog in harm’s way. Not yet. He couldn’t afford to do that, but he did need to get a line on him, if it was him. And he would know very soon, as Dog would leave a trail, and a bloody one at that.
Dog was splayed out in the cockpit of the Witchwind, sipping on a double Johnny Black on the rocks. The air was sweet and the stars bright and lit up by the millions. The silence was broken up only by the sound of the water, as their vessel glides easily through the night. Nora Jones is singing quietly in the background, and Will is steady at the helm, his mind contemplating everything that he has experienced on this day.
The other two were down stairs catching some relax time before their watch would come on. They could sail on through the cover of night, and hopefully be ready to go ashore sometime in the early morning hours, but Dog was uneasy. He sensed something wasn’t right, but he could not put his finger on it yet. He did however; know to pay attention to this ability, as it had saved his life on many occasions.
Double back again, his mind was telling him. He could feel someone or something was on his trail. He fought the urge to turn again, because the prize was in his mind. He wanted the prize like a dog wants a steak. He could smell it. His instincts were telling him something else though, and he made up his mind right then. “Spin her around Will, something’s up, and I don’t like it,” was all he had to say, and they were heading back once again……….
Five miles off of their starboard bow; a small sailing vessel went silently creeping by, both vessels impervious to the existence of the other.
A grizzled, white bearded gentleman and his dog sat in the cramped confines of the smallish cockpit. The two companions sailed quietly along in their small, but exceptionally well built little boat. The “Clam Digger” was a Pacific Seacraft built, twenty foot pocket cruiser called a “Flicka”. Small in size, these vessels were built to sail around the world, and in fact many owners of the same type boat had done just that. The dog was a smooth coated, bob tailed pit bull mix, a mean little shit that the old man called “Critter”. He was just about meaner than his owner, but not quite.
The old man was an old retired navy chief, who just never could live on land, or not for long anyway. An ex-Submariner and a Master Diver to boot, he kept himself in money by a few odd jobs from time to time, and a nice fat ol’ government check each month. Mostly he didn’t do anything, but jump around theIslands, and stay to himself.
Right now he was headed back over to the Mainland to do his semi-annual medical visit and checkup, and he always tended his other affairs while there as well. His sails were set light, and they were moving through the dark at a leisurely four knots or so. Critter was curled up in the cockpit floor, and although he appeared to be sleeping his senses were quite highly tuned, and the old man trusted the dog’s awareness more than his own. The little boat was equipped with an autopilot, and a self steering vane, and the old man nodded a bit as the boat simply plodded along on its course.
A little less than twenty miles away the trio bobbed along in the still of the night, everyone conscious of the danger all around. No one had spoken in almost twenty minutes, as there really was nothing to talk about, except the perils all around them. Lee had been sleeping on and off for the last few hours or so.
Thankfully the expert emergency care that Boomer had provided had done its job, and Lee was no longer bleeding.
Boomer was certain that he was still in a state of shock, although there was nothing he could do about it anyway, so he did not even mention it to Shay. He could though; see in her eyes a certain look he knew quite well. It was a look of sheer determination, a testament to her will to survive.
Boomer Moran had seen this look many times before in the men he fought beside, and those he had fought against. He was somewhat surprised that this same look was coming from such a beautiful young woman.
As Lee seemed to come to, he began thrashing around in the water. It was as if he had just now realized where he was. Shay quickly reached for him and said, “Baby, don’t move like that, just relax, we’re ok,” for right now she thought, holding her words to herself. She gave Boomer a worried glance.
“He’s ok”, said Boomer, “Look, both of you need to be as still as possible. I don’t want to scare you but you need to understand that sound waves travel a long way in the water, and feeding fish are attracted to those sounds in their search for food.”
Shay stared at him in utter disbelief. Not about the subject matter of his words, but that he had in fact just spoken more than three words for the first time since she had met him.
“Boomer, you just spoke, I mean spoke normal, like a bunch of words,” she said excitedly.
He thought about that for a moment. “Hmmm.Well, you know what they say, stress does some strange things to folks”, he said, and then added, “We need to be as quiet as possible.”
Everyone seemed to nod in agreement. They all understood what he meant. They were in grave danger, and they all knew it. As the next three or four hours went by they drifted in and out of sleep, but they all remained quiet. The silence was eerie, yet there was nothing to do, and nothing they could do. It is difficult to know how far you have drifted or in which direction you were even headed. They really had no clue as to their whereabouts.
All of a sudden Boomer grabbed them both and shook them awake. Their eyes jumped open and Boomer was holding his finger to his lips, in the universal sign for quiet. He pointed out to his left, off the right shoulder of Shay’s position in the circle.
She slowly looked around and her heart leapt out of her chest. About twenty yards or so away was a circling shark. A big shark. His dorsal fin was out of the water close to two feet.
“Oh my God”, cried Shay, shuddering with her whole body.
“Don’t move a muscle,” replied Boomer, as he kept his eyes locked on the big fish.
“Untie me”, said Lee, “He can’t eat all of us. Just let me go.”
Shay could not believe what was happening, and just started repeating, “Oh my God, oh my God,” over and over.
Boomer had quickly untied the large fender buoy he was using for a float, and placed it at arms length out in front of him. “Keep me on his front,” he told the others. “Do not let him get around me”, he added almost hissing as he spoke.
His mind was one with the shark, and in an instant the shark made his initial move. He swam straight toward the group and straight toward Boomer and his outward reaching buoy, his body seeming to lift right out of the water before them. A piercing scream formed at the bottom of Shay’s soul, and as she let out the blood curdling cry of desperation, the shark veered suddenly to his right, unsure of what it was he was dealing with.
“He doesn’t know what we are,” screamed Boomer, struggling to keep the group centered up on the shark’s movement. The shark simply began his circling again, trying to determine if this was food or not. One thing was clear, he was not done yet.
A bit less than two hundred yards off the port bow of the little sailboat; the scream broke the silence of the night. The little dog jumped up and began a low guttural growl, very similar to the one coming from the old man.
The old man was up, three million candlepower spot light in one hand, and a Desert Eagle .50 Caliber Automatic handgun in the other. It took him less than five seconds to spot something in the water, and within seconds he had tripped the auto vane, and fired off the quiet but efficient little diesel engine.
He could hear the panic and screams coming from the water ahead of him as he grabbed the tiller, turned, and headed straight for the object in the water. He did not know it, but at that exact same time the big shark decided to make the kill run and began accelerating towards the group and straight towards Boomer in particular.
The big shark was on them in an instant and as his mouth opened up to take in his prey, Boomer jammed the fender buoy in his mouth with all the force he could muster. The shark spun off again, taking the fender buoy with him, thrashing wildly in the water before them.
The old man could now see the group of people in the water, and as he swept the light to and fro, he picked up the big sharks movement just outside of the group. Looked like a big Tiger Shark to the old man. They are meaner than shit and this one looked to be fourteen feet long if he was an inch. Critter was now in a high pitched growl and began drooling as he sensed something was very wrong. The old man began lining up his sights on the shark but he was still fifty or sixty yards out.
He knew he had no more time to decide, and began to slowly and methodically fire one shot after another. He would never know it, but his third shot from the big fifty hit the shark just behind his right eye, entering into his brain cavity and causing the big fish to instantly roll and dive crazily to the depths.
He continued to shoot even though he knew the big fish was gone. Where, he could not know, and he had no clues.
Within a few more seconds he was along side the group of three people. Two men and a woman, and by the looks of them they had already seen enough action.
Scared, scarred, and bandaged, it took them less than a minute to crawl aboard the small boat, the little dog all the while trying his best to chew their asses up. The old man was screaming, the three of them were screaming, and Critter was doing his best to get at them all.
The old man grabbed the dog and tossed him in to the small cabin below and told him “Stay your ass, Critter,” to which he obeyed, but all the while still growling and ready to attack at a moments notice.
The old man looked back at the three people on his boat, and said, “Jesus Christ, Almighty. What in the hell are you all doin’ out here in the middle of the damn ocean.” He stood there shaking his head from side to side in total disbelief. “And out here a shark fightin’ too,” he added with a somewhat strained grin.
Shay and Lee lay in a lump in the small cockpit, holding each other, both obviously at their wits end. This was a small boat, and with four people and a dog, it just got a whole lot smaller, thought the old man.
“That’s a nice cannon you got there Pops,” Boomer said eyeing the man as suspiciously as he was eyeing them. “Desert Eagle if I’m not mistaken,” he added.
“What makes you so sure,” shot back the old man. Better watch this one he was thinking. “Who are you, and what the hell you doin’ out here,” he asked, this time the growl was back, and Critter picked up on it and began growling as well. “And this ain’t no time to be zip lipped either, I asked you a damn question, and I expect some answers.”
“Sergeant Major Walter J. Moran, United States Army, Special Operations Command,” said Boomer, “And what are we doing out here? Well sir, were just trying to stay alive, which is more than I can say happened to the rest of our party. We were ambushed on the water, my sister and her boyfriend are dead to the best of my knowledge, and as strange as this might sound, I need to get in contact with my superiors, as soon as is humanly possible.”
The old man looked dumbfounded, but only for a moment. “Chief Petty Officer Ellis J.Pollard, United States Navy, Retired,” said the old man proudly, “Welcome aboard, son.” Only then did he look around and then down at Lee and Shay. “Let’s get this young lady some dry clothes and let’s take a look at his wounds, and then we’ll see what we can do,” he added.
Before sunrise on the 22nd of June, Captain Neil Jeffers, the Commanding Officer of the Coast Guard Air Station Miami, had his men ready to roll out. Deputy Director Alan Jenson had flown in two hours earlier, and briefed Captain Jeffers personally on the situation at hand. Jenson needed to locate the vessel Easy Come, Easy Go first to determine if his gut instinct was on target.
The family of those missing on the Summer Dawn would never know. Of course they were actually looking for both vessels that were reported missing, but Jenson was already convinced that Dog was making his move. He was also certain in his mind that Dog was running the “Washing Machine”, and that the last of the missing vessel reports were far from over.
Captain Jeffers knew that something a lot bigger was up, far bigger than he had been briefed on, but when the Deputy Director of Intelligence is sitting in front of you telling you what he needs you to do, you just do it. For that reason he was launching two HU-25 Guardian Fanjets and an E2C-Hawkeye AWACS Aircraft. They definitely wanted to find these boats, and by God he was determined to find them. They were all airborne by 0545 Hours with the AWACS Aircraft in the Command seat.
Also they were re-routing three C-130′s out of Pensacola to assist in the search, plus all available United States Naval and Coast Guard ships would be on the lookout, even if not actively involved in the search at this point……….
The sky was just opening up to a brilliant summer sunrise, and Chief Ellis had his crew dressed in fresh, warm clothes and all three were stuffing down some Vienna sausages and crackers, a dish he affectionately called “dog peckers”, along with some fresh water, for which they were all duly grateful. “Hold the reins here Sergeant Major, and let me get something you might put to good use,” said the Chief, and he immediately ducked below into the small cabin.
When he returned he held a small device that was quickly identified by Boomer. “Is that what I think it is?” he asked the Chief.
“Yep”, replied the old man, “It’s a satellite telee, and I don’t get on the water without it.”
He tossed the small object to Boomer, who quickly opened it up and began dialing. He dialed in his personal link for secure communications, or the SECCOM Network, which was a toll free linking station only.
The voice on the other end said, “How can we assist.”
“I’m sick and need to speak to a Doctor,” replied Boomer.
“Do you have an appointment,” the voice on the other end asked.
“No, but this is an emergency,” said Boomer convincingly.
“And what is your policy number, sir,” the voice asked.
“Echo 16-001 Alpha”, replied Boomer. He could sense that all eyes were on him.
“Please wait,” replied the voice.
Boomer could here the transfer taking place as the link up went through a series of identification routines, and he knew as well that a satellite tracking device went into a locate mode and established a GPS coordinated location for the caller. It took less than twenty seconds, and another voice came on the line.
The person on the other end said, “Red, White, and Blue.”
Boomer replied with, “The colors of fire.” The process was now complete. The line was secure. They knew who they had on the line and where the call was being generated from, down to a few feet of the exact location.
“Initiate Report,” the voice ordered.
“Sir, Sgt. Major Walter J. Moran. I am reporting a hostile action report, several casualties, two known KIA’s both friendly, one WIA also friendly, and one other friendly besides myself both uninjured. We are currently in a friendly vessel; a small sailing craft identified Clam Digger, repeat Clam Digger. You can monitor our tracking information and course. We need immediate evac via any available source, prefer U.S. Military if at all possible,” concluded Boomer.
“Yes, Sgt. Major we are tracking you live, and will have immediate transport to your location in 3-0 minutes or less. How Copy?” asked the operator.
“Lima Charlie, and much thanks, out,” said Boomer.
The other three on the boat were staring at Boomer in total disbelief. The old Chief looked at him and said, “I don’t know who you just talked to, but I been in this man’s Navy long enough to know one thing. Who ever you are you got big-time connections, and whoever it was that did this to you, is in deep shit. That much I do know.”
“Look Chief, you know enough to know I can’t say much, but you are right on all accounts. Whoever did this, will pay, I promise you all that. I swear it on my life,” Boomer added.
At exactly 6:25 AM, the Alert went out to the Coast Guard Naval Air Station Miami, and Captain Jeffers directed both the AWACS and Guardians to fly by, as the Coast Guard Rescue Helo was launched. The AWACS bird already had them locked on within one minute and was tracking inbound. The alert also went out to all available Military craft whether in the air or on the sea, and within minutes Deputy Director Alan Jenson knew he was on the trail. Dog was close, just as he suspected. He needed to find out who it was that reported in, in the interest of National Security, of course.
“Captain Jeffers, I’m going to need a secure line here and preferably in an office I can use as a temporary Command Post,” said Jenson.
“Yes Sir,” replied the Captain, “you can use my Staff Briefing Room, and there is a secure line in place already.” He then directed one of his men to assist the Deputy Director, and to maintain his post until relieved.
“If you can Captain, please call the Miami FBI Office and have Senior Agent Bill Tankersley, to head this way immediately. Let him know this an urgent matter, and I am requesting his presence ASAP,” he concluded, wheeling away and heading for the newly acquired CP.
“Yes Sir, is there anything else I can do?” replied the young Captain.
Jenson stopped and turned. “No, not at the moment, but it’s going to be getting real busy here today son, so get ready,” Jenson added affectionately. “Keep me posted on the ETA of the birds and the moment those people are on board I want them here, isolated, and under guard at all times, are we clear on that Captain?”
“Yes Sir”, the Captain said spinning on his heels. His thoughts were certain that this was something big. Very big, he thought. Although he was unsure of what was going down, he now knew that there were implications of the United States Government’s involvement. This was secure in his mind. This was not a rescue at sea, not by a long shot.
Inside the newly created Command Post, Deputy Director Jenson was placing his first call. Much like the call made by Sgt. Major Walter Moran, this call went through a series of identification procedures even though the line was in fact a secure line. When that link was established, and the identity of the caller confirmed, theCommandCenterwas activated, and Operational Procedures were made intact.
“How can we help, Sir,” the voice on the other end asked.
“I need to know the who, what, when, and where of a specific Rescue at Sea, and most importantly by who’s orders did this operation begin. The alert was sent to the Coast Guard Station Miami, where I am currently located,” he stated.
“Please wait one moment sir,” and the man on the other end was gone.
“Alan, it’s me,” a new voice said from the other end.
Alan Jenson immediately recognized the voice as that of Jameson Graham Farr, Director of National Intelligence, and his boss. He was slightly surprised by the fact, but recovered quickly. “Yes Sir. You know I am down here inMiamitrying to get a tail on our man. I know I probably should have utilized other sources, but I, uh, sir,” he stumbled. “Sir, you know how I feel about this guy, and I just can not let him get away.”
“Alan, we’ve got problems here. The rescue going down right now was called in by one of ours,” said the Director.
Speechless again for just a moment, Jenson replied, “Are you saying one of ours as in one of our employees, or one of our Operatives?”
“Look Alan, its E-Team 1-6′s lead, Sgt. Major Walter Moran. Something happened out there, and there’s been casualties Alan, civilian casualties that need to be repressed from the media. If our boy is on the move our shit is going to have to be in order, do I make myself clear Alan?” said the Director, in a tone that left little to be imagined.
“I understand Sir,” said Jenson.
“I’m not sure you do Alan. I mean this is a disaster waiting to happen. I am sorry about your boy, Alan, but this isn’t about him. This is about National Security, so you pull your head out of your ass, or I’ll send somebody else down there, are we clear on that?” said the Director bluntly.
“Perfectly clear, Sir. I’ll talk to you as soon as he is here and de-briefed,” said Jenson. His mind was racing wide open. What the hell is happening he thought as he sat down? His head went into his hands as he sat and contemplated on the events that were piling up on him, piling up too fast. He had to very careful from this point on.
Very careful indeed.
Within a few minutes of leaning back to relax, Boomer heard the sound of low flying aircraft approaching. Though they would never see the AWACS bird which was already operating at close to forty thousand feet, the two Guardian Fanjets screamed by at barely two hundred feet off the water. Everyone on board began waving as if to be recognized, but that act was not needed, as they were already positively identified and under constant surveillance.
The old man dropped all sails and the little boat slowed to a standstill, and began to just bob in the small waves that they were in. The two aircraft maintained visual contact with the little sailboat as they circled around, gradually gaining altitude on each pass. Within minutes the rescue helicopter was on the scene and immediately dispatched two Rescue Divers into the water.
With the helicopter hovering overhead, the retrieval basket began lowering down towards the boat. The little boat was so small there was no room to board for the divers, so they maintained hold of the sailboats swim platform at the rear of the boat. One of the divers was a female and she spoke first.
“Folks, I need each of you one at a time to board the basket and we’ll get you up in the bird and out of here,” he said to all on board.
“Put Lee in first, he’s hurt,” said Shay to everyone. As the basket came down to the boat, the divers held it in place and Lee slipped into position and was immediately hauled up.
As the basket came back down Boomer looked at Shay and said, “You next.”
The wind was swirling water spray all over everyone and the noise was deafening but everyone seemed to be moving right along, and everything was going well, except for Critter in the cabin. You could hear him raising hell, but no one was really paying any attention to him just now.
The lady diver called out, “Who’s next.”
The old Chief looked at her and said, “He’s the only one left, I ain’t going nowhere.” He was pointing at Boomer all the while.
The other diver, a powerfully built man, evident even in his wetsuit, hollered over the noise, “Sir, everybody goes, that’s our orders.”
“I don’t give a shit what your orders are young man, I ain’t going nowhere,” said the old man rather nastily. “This is my boat, and my dog’s in the cabin there, and we ain’t in your jurisdiction anyway,” he added.
Boomer could see the situation was turning to shit with the old man so he said, “Chief keep your VHF on channel 16, and stand by. I’m going up and making a call.”
Boomer signaled to the two divers he was ready to go up. He climbed into the basket and was sucked skyward in an instant. Once aboard he told the Pilot to radio his Command and relay that the old man and the boat could sail to any facility they wanted him to under full surveillance.
At that exact second the old man opened the door to the hatch and out came Critter. He quickly rushed the back of the small boat where the two divers were holding on and began trying to bite them. They both let go of the boat, and the old man motioned them away and started the little diesel engine and began moving off in the general direction of the U.S. coast.
The pilot contacted Captain Jeffers who was maintaining constant contact with his crews anyway. “Captain, this old man and his little boat are moving towards the coast, we have three on board, and according to one of our passengers the old man is a retired Navy Chief named Pollard, and he is monitoring 16 for further instructions. He will not, I repeat, will not board our aircraft unless physically subdued,” added the Pilot.
“Roger that, we have a Coast Guard Cutter moving his way, can intercept and escort vessel to our station. Load up and head home,” replied Captain Jeffers.
“Roger that Miami Station,” concluded the pilot, who then began the lowering sequence to pick up his remaining crew members. As soon as they were all safely on board he flipped over to the frequency provided for VHF Channel 16, and said, “Chief Pollard, this is Rescue One Niner, over.”
“This is Chief Pollard,” the old man replied.
“Chief, you will be intercepted and guided into the Coast Guard Miami Station, how copy?” said the Pilot.
“Yeah, yeah, whatever, just tell em’ I’ll be there when I get there,” said the old man. In a minute his sails were set full and his course addressed, and he and Critter were on their way……….
Unknowing that he was sailing into the mouth of the beast, the beast of his own past, Dog and his soldiers were just about back to where they started from several hours back the night before. To him it meant nothing, as his instincts had always led him, and led him straight and true. That is except for this fucking mess he found himself right back in. Years of waiting had not erased the uneasy feelings that bombarded his mind at a constant pace. He had deviated from a plan and the consequences haunted him to this day. Now he could not shake the thought of this mission’s dire situation. He needed to get to the diamonds, the thing that had consumed his every waking thought for over six years now. He had made concessions in his life, done things he ordinarily would not have done, and for that the reward must be his.
The rescue helicopter was just gaining altitude and preparing for the cruise back towards Miami Station. Flying along at two thousand feet and climbing, the crew and their passengers were just beginning to settle in for the short flight back. Boomer was lying back trying to relax, and Lee was already asleep in his seat.
Shay was staring out one of the side windows, quietly thinking to herself what an odd set of circumstances they had just survived. She really could not believe it all had happened and she was unable to comprehend that somehow any of them had survived. Her heart weighed heavy for Boomer. She knew in her heart that his sister Gina and her boyfriend Trey were gone. Who were those people, that group of madmen that had attacked them so ruthlessly? She could not even begin to fathom what could possess one human being to do such terrible things to another.
As her mind wondered and contemplated the tragic events that had happened, she looked out over the ocean and it’s beautifully serene landscape. Her eye picked up on a sailboat down in the water and she worriedly thought about how the people must be enjoying themselves, and how unaware of the dangers surrounding them, they must be. As her eye continued to focus on the ship, she slowly came to realize what she was looking at. She could not believe it, but yet there she was. Her heart jumped and she screamed, “Oh my God, it’s the Witchwind.”
She grabbed Boomer and shook him fiercely as she screamed into his face, while pointing downward to the sea, “That’s my fucking boat,” she screamed in a hysterical cry as she pointed downward towards the blue green water, “That’s the Witchwind.”
Boomer jumped to the window, and saw for himself. It was her. It was simply unthinkable, but there she was. Lee was up in the other window searching as well, having heard all the commotion in the back of the helicopter.
Boomer made his way forward to the Pilot and pointed down and yelled over the noise of the high pitched scream of the chopper’s turbine engine, “That’s our boat, right there. That’s the guys that attacked us,” he screamed.
The Pilot hit his hot mic and radioed the other aircraft in the area, “This is Rescue One-niner, we’ve got a positive ID on the vessel that attacked these folks, and were going to circle around and do a fly by.
“Roger than One-niner, Guardian 2-3 will come around,” answered the first of the escort aircraft.
“Roger that, this is Guardian 2-4, I’ll make a low level pass to see what’s up,” replied the second escort pilot, “We’ll come in right behind you and dead on the ship,” he added.
As soon as Dog saw the approaching Helo, he knew in his heart the shit was about to hit the fan. His instincts had been right all along. Sammy was on the wheel, and Dog hollered out, “Everybody grab your weapons, they’re on our asses now,” as he dove below to retrieve some fire power. Will and Eddy both had automatic CAR-15′s in their hands within seconds and as the Helo came over they both sprayed the sky with well placed automatic fire.
The co-pilot slumped in his seat as the Helo took fire, and the pilot immediately began evasive maneuvering. “We are taking hostile fire,” he screamed into his mic, “My Co-pilot’s hit and down, we need fire support, again taking hostile fire from sailing vessel below.”
“Guardian 2-4 requesting permission to engage hostile forces,” the pilot coolly announced to Miami Station, “we are on direct, target in sight, requesting a go.”
At Miami Station Captain Jeffers and Deputy Director Alan Jenson were initially stunned, and caught off guard, but quickly and to the point Jenson yelled out, “Negative, abort the run and maintain active surveillance.”
Just about the exact moment of the radio transmission, Dog stepped out of the cabin with a Russian made RPG, or Rocket Propelled Grenade, and lifting it to his shoulder he fired at the approaching aircraft. The aircraft, Guardian 2-4 had just begun to lift his nose to abort when the rocket slammed into its belly and detonated. The aircraft disintegrated in a massive ball of fire, and debris rained down upon the ocean, fire and metal debris exploding through the air. It shook every man standing on the decks of the Witchwind, causing them to dive for cover that simply was not there.
“This is Guardian 2-3, we just lost Guardian 2-4, I repeat Guardian 2-4 is down. Survivors are unlikely. Permission to engage target, over,” he added.
“This is Miami Station, negative, negative, do not engage target. Pull back and maintain surveillance only,” said Captain Jeffers coolly as he looked at Alan Jenson. “I want to know what the fuck is going on here, Sir. With all due respect, I just lost two, maybe three men and one of my aircraft,” he said directing his obvious anger at Jenson.
Jenson was heading back to his Command Post, and, simply turned and said, “Captain, I know you don’t want to hear this, and I am sorry about your men, but the fact remains, you just don’t have the need to know. I’m sorry,” he then continued on to the Command Post where he quickly called the Director to fill him in on the status of the current events.
Within minutes the Helo arrived, and as soon as it sat down emergency medical personnel were attending to the passengers and crew. They immediately began working around the co-pilot but it was obvious to all concerned he was already deceased. One bullet had struck him in the lower abdomen, and one had hit him in his throat, killing him instantly.
The pilot and all passengers were quickly escorted into the terminal building and to the facility’s main duty room. The pilot, Lt. John “Fang” Fangovich, was all over Captain Jeffers, cursing in his displeasure at not attacking the ship that had just killed three of their fellow pilots and friends.
Standing aside taking in all the commotion was a new arrival, Senior Agent Bill Tankersley. It was clear to him they were in the midst of something terribly wrong, yet he remained cool to the situation, waiting for someone to acknowledge his presence.
Jenson was on the phone describing the situation to the Director, who was pissed beyond all belief. “Look Alan, we’ve got to keep this thing contained to the best of our ability. Echo 1-6 is already airborne, heading to your location. They were down atPensacola, and with Sgt. Major Moran already involved, we can best work with him and his team. I need you to brief him, and have the Doc there at Miami Station clear him back for active duty.
“Yes Sir, and Sir, it is him isn’t it?” asked Jenson somewhat quietly.
“I am afraid it is Alan, but we can’t just sink a ship in the middle of the ocean. We don’t know if he has any civilian hostages on board or not. One thing for sure is, he will not escape, at least not until he is closer to land. He has changed course though and it looks like he is headed directly for theBahamas. If everything is a go with Moran, then turn the mission over to him and his group. And Alan, this is definitely one of those with orders to eliminate the threat with extreme prejudice. Are there any further questions you would have of me?” asked his Director.
“No sir, I’ll file the report after the situation is contained,” said Jenson.
“Fine, we’ll talk then,” said the Director and the line went dead. Jenson walked out of the Command Post and saw a man standing there. “You must be Agent Tankersley,” he said, and the man nodded affirmatively as both men shook hands.
“Captain Jeffers, if you will secure Sergeant Major Moran and Lt. Fangovich and meet us in the Command Post, I would be most appreciative. Agent Tankersley, right this way please,” he concluded, turning quickly and heading back into the CP.
Once all the men were in the CP, and had taken their seats, a young Ensign knocked on the door and entered. “Sir,” he said addressing Captain. Jeffers, “There is a Helo just hitting the pad, sir.”
Jenson said, “Just escort them in here immediately, young man,” was all he said. When the door opened up less than a minute later, Boomer looked up and with total surprise, came face to face with Echo Team 1-6 for the first time in over six months. He jumped up and ran into their arms, and they all hugged, screamed and slapped each other with all the glee of a young football team celebrating a big victory.
After just a brief moment Jenson said, “All right men, have a seat. As much as you might want to celebrate, this is just not the time.” They then noted the solemn attitude around the room, and realized quickly this was not a homecoming celebration. No, this was an action/planning room, underlying tensions amiss, and all sat down quietly.
Jenson continued, “Each man in this room is rated at Top Secret Security Clearance or beyond. With that said, this standing order will apply to each of you for the remainder of your lives. At no time without both Congressional and Presidential Authority, will any of you ever disclose what is about to be said, or what actions are to be effected. Am I perfectly clear on that?” He then looked each man in the eye for their affirmation before continuing.
“The man responsible for the actions against you Sergeant Major, and you Captain Jeffers, is also the man who killed my son. His name is Miguel ‘Dog’ Maldonado. He is a former Sergeant First Class, from the U.S. Army’s 75th Ranger Battalion, and a former member of the very first Echo Team, designated 1-1. As you all know by now, he is a ruthless and relentless killer. He is also one the most highly trained Special Forces Operatives in the world. When he was released from the Federal Penitentiary a few days ago, he immediately went underground, and ultimately, for lack of any better description, we lost track of him. Agent Tankersley is here to represent the Federal Government, and to work as lead on the disappearance of the other two vessels, and the deaths and recovery of any victims if at all possible.”
He paused briefly while looking around the room before he continued. “I, for those of you who don’t know me, am Deputy Director of National Intelligence Alan Jenson. While this man is my son’s killer, I hope that I am clear that while we have all experienced tremendous losses at the hands of this man, we still have our primary mission objective that must be met. That objective is to terminate this individual with extreme prejudice,” and Jenson paused for effect. Not that he needed to. These men had seen many a mission worse than this, yet this one was different.
To a man, you could see a lifting of spirits. This guy Maldonado would not see justice this time in a Court of Law. But justice was going to be served, and there was not a complaint raised from any man in the room. “We will launch within the hour,” continued Jenson. “Sgt. Major Moran, you have been medically released for full duty, and will be in charge of the complete operation, to include your return to Echo 1-6. Lt. Fangovich you will be riding Co-pilot with our pilot, Major Nelson, who is outside prepping his aircraft. I suggest you all get your planning strategies coordinated and get out there. Agent Tankersley and I have our own mess to clean up, and God only knows how many innocent people have already been killed. You men will get no further instruction from the United States Government, as this mission does not exist, nor will it ever. As there are no further questions, then good hunting men,” he said while standing.
This meeting was over and it was time for some payback. As Boomer walked off ahead of his men, it was all he could do to choke back his tears. All he knew was that it was Dog killing time, payback for his little sister, payback for everybody. All of a sudden a wicked smile began to form on Walter “Boomer” Moran’s face. Not a nice smile, but the smile of one who knows death is at hand.
The Witchwind was calling.
By 8:00 AM, Dog and the boys could see the Coast Guard Cutter sitting off in the distance. They were well over two thousand yards off, but they were certainly tracking them, and matching their own rate of speed. “Well boys, this certainly sucks. Motherfucker’s got us out here in the wide open. If I had to bet, I’d say we’re under satellite surveillance as well. In real time, no less,” Dog said disgustedly while raising his middle finger up high in the air to no one in particular.
“And I really hate to tell you this, but after they put everything together, it’ll be the death sentence for every one of us. So don’t you go thinking any different? At some point we’ll have to shoot our way out of this shit and maybe some of us might escape, but I wouldn’t plan on it if I were you. I’ll do everything in my power to get you boys through this, but I’m telling you now, for me it’s escape or death and nothin’ in between, do you all got it,” asked Dog to his somber faced crew. They all nodded. They didn’t like it, but you could tell they believed it.
“We’ll keep on sailing, but we best sail for the Bimini’s. Don’t know if they will let us get that far or not, but at least we will be out of U.S. Territorial Waters. If that’s the case we will probably be looking at a Special Op’s, small team attack against us while we’re still a ways from land. For now let’s have two on deck and two down below to start laying out the hardware first off, and load everything to the max, extra mags and all,” Dog added as Eddy and Sammy headed below.
Will stayed at the wheel and began plotting his new course, one that was just handed to him by Dog, one whose coordinates would take them straight toward Cat Cay, near the two small islands of Bimini sitting on the edge of the bank. You see, Dog had been up to his usual tricks all along. The boy’s had thought the Exuma’s was the target, but then they really didn’t know anything, now did they. Dog thought it quite funny that he had buried his prize on Cat Cay. He had always thought to himself that someday he would be diggin’ in a cat’s ass. He usually laughed out loud when he thought about it, but not today. He knew deep in his heart, today was going to be a bad day.
Cat Cay is a private island in theBahamassurrounded by warm, crystal clear water. It’s only 48 miles fromMiami, yet it’s a place like no other. Its beauty is breathtaking, its brilliant white sands hiding the prettiest, sparkling gems on mother earth. It has an airport and marinas, and plenty of shops on theNorthIsland, but these would be of no use to Dog now.
He had planned to relax a while, but now that would not be possible. At their current rate of speed, they would be there in about five hour’s tops. But Dog was well aware they may not make it that far. If the mission against them was to happen in the open water, it could go down anytime within the next few minutes to the next few hours.
He was certain at this point he thought, that piece of shit Jenson was in the nest. He could feel it. That worthless fuck was no better than he was, Dog thought. Dog knew the only reason he was left alive after his capture, and during his time in prison, was because Alan Jenson wanted the prize as bad as Dog himself. They could have offed him at any point, and Dog knew it. That’s why he broke out the gate running. He knew that motherfucker was comin’, now didn’t he, he thought to himself.
As Dog continued to ponder his situation, a light went off in his head. Blink. That fucker is watching me, and waiting for me to show him where the shit is, he thought. Oh yeah, he’s a smart one all right. Tracking my ass right to the prize. That’s why they haven’t hit us yet, he thought, his mind now racing through the possible scenarios……….
As the Team began to ready themselves, Boomer looked at his team, and said, “Guys, it is good to be back, but these are bad times, and it’s gonna get worse from here. These shitheads killed my baby sis’ and her boyfriend, and as far as I am concerned I’m not taking any prisoners. Any of you can’t go that route let me know right now and I’ll pull you from the mission, no questions asked. I just won’t force you guys into this shit, and you all know that.”
The big Texan, Rob Tulley, Boomer’s second, looked around and spoke for all the Team, “Fuck it man, we all know the creed, “No Brother Without The Other”, and we’re all with you Boomer.”
Hooh-Ahs all around and it was a done deal. These guys were the best thought Boomer. Jesus, he thought, there isn’t a man here that wouldn’t give his life for the other in a moment. It was surreal, just the thought of it.
The sat phone in hand he began punching numbers. What he got was a “Yeah” from the other end. “Chief, spin that little ship of yours around and head straight for the Bimini’s and keep heading that way till I tell you different. Anybody ask tell ‘em to fuck off and call me. This is gonna get nasty Chief, so if you don’t want to partake, just let me know now,” said Boomer.
The old man thought about it for about two seconds, and said, “Hell no I ain’t gonna miss this for nothin’ son, you just tell me what you want me to do and by God we’ll do it. Soldier or Sailor don’t matter none to me, we got something we gotta do, we just gotta do it.”
As he spun the little ship around and set the new course, the old man just smiled and looked at Critter and said, “Boy, you better get your shit ready. I know you been hankerin’ to tear somebody’s ass up, and I’m thinkin’ you might just get you some here shortly.” His jaw tightened, and the old man’s eyes hardened as he headed toward what he knew was trouble………
Back in the Command Center, Alan Jenson was briefing the other two men in his small group. Those who needed to know, but would never really know. Agent Tankersley and Captain Jeffers were both somber faced as they listened to Deputy Director Jenson explain to them, the situation here at hand. “We have the families of both the Summer Dawn and the Easy Come, Easy Go waiting for some news of their family members, and obviously we can’t tell them what we think probably has happened here. I suggest the continuation of normal rescue procedures, to include full grid flyovers and full alert to the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard ships in the area. According to Sergeant Major Moran, the Easy Come , Easy Go, is at the bottom of the ocean, and we should be able to get a location on her, but we will want a covert, Naval Special Operations team on that as well. I will get that in motion ASAP, and we must also assume that the Summer Dawn is also in the same situation. Under no circumstances will the nature of this operation be divulged outside of this room. If either of you feel the need to object, my office will bring your superiors in on this situation, and we will do so now, but again this is a matter of National Security at the highest level, and we must move swiftly to secure this individual. And Captain Jeffers, I am truly sorry about your men sir,” Jenson concluded, as he turned to pick up the secure line………
The Cat Cays are actually two islands in the Bahamas, North Cat Cay and South Cat Cay, located approximately ten miles south of the Bimini’s, which is also two islands, North Island, where the action is and South Island, where the airport is. North Cat Cay is a privately owned island, and is run as a private members club by the Cat Cay Yacht Club. South Cat Cay is uninhabited, that is except for Dog’s private treasure.
Diamonds, especially uncut diamonds, are worth as little as $200 per carat. Dog thought about that for a moment, as he had many times before. Let me do a little more figuring here, he thought. With there being five carats in a gram, and 454 grams in a pound, he quickly figured his diamonds were worth $450,000 a pound, maybe a little more. About a half a million dollars for one little ol’ pound of not so pretty diamonds! Times that by eighty pounds, and there you go. Damn, thought Dog, as he had many, many times before. Forty million dollars give or take a few one way or the other. It hardly mattered which way. It’s no wonder that shithead Jenson is stuck to my ass like glue.
Dog laid his head back and closed his eyes. He knew this was about to get rough. Damn things weren’t worth a shit if he died trying to get them. He was sure of only one thing. Jenson would not make his move while they were still on the boat. He couldn’t afford to tip his hand, nor would he ever find the diamonds if he did. Dog didn’t care if they yanked out his teeth and toe nails, and cut off his balls, he would die before ever giving up that precious information and he was quite sure that Jenson knew that was the truth of the matter………..
Over the next few hours the Clam Digger and the Witchwind both slowly headed closer and closer to the Bimini’s. Each group was trying to figure out what was going to happen next. The Chief and Boomer had been in contact again and the Chief had been fully briefed on the situation.
The Coast Guard cutter stayed on Dog’s tail just out of range of any conventional weaponry, and the Guardians were still making loops around the whole group two at a time with constant relief coming out of Miami Station. Deputy Director Alan Jenson was in constant contact with the Live Feed Satellite crew and as soon as Dog began heading in a more southerly route, heading in effect to the lower banks of the Bimini’s, he knew it was time to pull the Coast Guard Cutter back off the tail and rely strictly on the live feed. He could not afford to alert or involve the Bahamian Government in any way, and while the flights over their Territorial Waters were normal activity, the presence of a lingering Coast Guard Cutter was not.
The pilot in the Echo 1-6 Helo advised that they had an hour or so more fuel to burn and then they would need to head back to Miami Station to refuel. The good thing was they were really only minutes away. Boomer was studying his maps of the local area around the Biminis and with the knowledge shared down the pipe about the Witchwind moving south, he made his decision to come in just off the top of the water, and to drop the team on the southern end of Cat Cays southern most Island.
It made perfect sense to him, as they could set up in the area, and make plans as things unfolded, plus this portion of theIslandwas uninhabited, and would provide them with the concealment they needed for the short stay. The chopper could then pick them back up within the hour if needed, but Boomer truly needed some quiet time to further his plan of action. He also had full knowledge at all times of the Witchwind’s location via secure Sat lines, so really there was no need to fly back to Miami Station with the air crew.
He ordered two of his men to bring along their Underwater Assault Gear as a simple precaution, and then the Helo was off. He also contacted Jenson at Miami Station and had another Helo on stand-by just in case they needed to make a hasty exit, and called the Chief and advised him to move south of the Bimini’s.
Boomer was a consummate professional; he never really ever failed to think his plans through to the finest detail. Such would make for a terrible day for Dog. He just had no idea yet, in fact neither of them did………
Within the next few hours the Witchwind was approaching Dollar Harbor just south of the Cat Cays Southern Island. The boys got in as close as needed, and set out the anchors. The weather was nice, and the afternoon sun was really not too unbearable for this time of the season.
Dog thought hard about going to ground and coming back another time, and just fighting his way out of this shit and living to fight another day. But he knew in his heart his odds of getting away were slim. He had about the same chance getting on the Island, getting the diamonds, and then getting away. 50/50 was the best he could hope for, so fuck it. He was going……….
The Sat Feed boy’s had alerted Boomer to their destination, and to the fact that they were now anchored up no more than one mile from his present position. Those Sat boys were like a good bird dog out in a field. You can run, but you just can’t hide. As long as you are outside, that is.
Call it what you want, thought Boomer, be it luck or Karma. It really did not matter to him. He pulled out the Sat Phone and called the Chief. “Chief, they’re anchored down just south of the southern Cat Cay in Dollar Harbor. No use spooking them, so if you can just split the middle and ease into the Marina at the North Island, and catch a slip if they got one. I’ll be in touch,” he concluded.
The old man headed for the Gun Cay Cut, which was the way through to the eastern shore or the Bahama Bank side of the Island where he knew theMarinawas. The Dockmaster at the Cat Cay Yacht Club was an old friend of his, who went by the name of Joey Conch.
He called ahead and reserved a slip, and started thinking about a nice, ice cold beer at the Bu’s Bar, which was located right on the dock. The Chief had been here many times over the years and was a well liked guest, and he liked them as well. Nice and quiet there, he thought. Might not be for long though. TheNorth Island has its own Security Force, but he knew already they were way out of their league with this situation. He pitied them if something went down, knowing what he knew, and knowing what they would be up against. Nothing he could do about that right now, but his eyes were wide open, and he was keen to the danger around him.
It was just after three o’clock in the afternoon when the old man pulled into theMarina. He hailed Joey Conch on the radio, and Joey told him to take Slip #5. The old man liked Slip #5 because it was right close to the watering hole, and he let Joey know the first two were on him. It was their long standing, usual ritual. As soon as he got tied in, he told Critter to sit still, and he and Joey headed over to the Bu’s Bar for cold Red Stripe or two. It wasn’t like he’d been gone long, as he was just here a couple of weeks back.
“What brings you back so quick Old Man,” asked Joey.
“Good ole’ Naval Intelligence, my man,” replied the Chief. “Nothing more, nothing less.”
To that Joey Conch just shook his head. The Old Man was an amazing character, but what the hell; he was a good one for sure. The rules were clear that non member visitors could only stay for three days at the Marina, but long ago Joey quit counting on the Chief. The waitress brought them their beers and they continued to shoot the shit, the Chief easily hiding his weary and wary feelings from his old friend.
At one of the other tables sat a group of four men. Two were Club Members, and two were guests that had flown in about a week ago. The guests were both fromMiami, and had flown over for a short vacation, so they said. While they were pretending to be potential club members, they were actually waiting on contact from a client they did not know. What they did know was that they were there to make a pickup of one passenger, and then they would continue on their flight plan to Aruba. They did not care why or who. The one hundred thousand dollar deposit in up front cash, and the promise of one million dollars in untraceable cash upon arrival in Aruba told them all they wanted to know. For now they were content to wait and enjoy the Island, and all it had to offer.
So the old man and his good friend sat there and enjoyed their beer, and their company, as they had done a hundred times before………
Dog had already planned his escape, and unfortunately it obviously did not include the Boys. Really, Dog did not think twice about them, not even from the very beginning. Just the way it had to be. In the end he had to go deep under, with no loose ends, and no one with any knowledge of where he was would be left alive. Anything less and Jenson would be on his ass, and he knew it. And that included his two getaway pilots as well, thought Dog, “I got a plan for them too.”
You see Dog was one of those rare breeds of crazy ass individuals that the Military spots early on. Then they take them on a journey into the really crazy shit. The world where they have few rules to go by and even fewer people that could really do anything about it, anyway. Then they polish them to perfection, all the while utilizing their skills in all kinds of nasty ways that they don’t want us to know about. Then they pat them on the head and give them medals, and tell them what good boys they are. But sometimes, just sometimes, they forget that in all things there is good and bad. Yin and Yang.
Dog is the perfect example. He’s good; oh you can bet your ass on that. He’s also bad. Very, very bad. You had better bet the whole wad on that.
The two pilots were to remain waiting, until they received a call. Then they would proceed to their aircraft and await the arrival of their passenger. They were to be expecting one man, plus gear, plus payment in full. Dog had it all. Long before his capture Dog had made a transaction, selling off some of the stolen diamonds. While it surely netted him some serious cash, it also led to his ultimate capture. While Dog would have loved to gotten clean away with everything intact, his instincts had told him that Jenson was on his ass, and would be for ever. Hell, I killed his son, I wouldn’t expect anything less, he thought as he continued prepping his gear. That’s why Dog made the sale, and then stashed the cash. Two hidey-holes were better than one. They would never get them both, he knew that for sure.
His gear bags were heavy. He had already stowed everything he would need to escape inside two specially weighted, completely waterproof containers. One contained everything he would need to successfully jump out of the airplane at well over twenty thousand feet, complete with an oxygen bottle large enough in case the need arose to free fall out even higher. Dog was actually planning to jump his gear, and then as he was falling to deploy a small landing parachute that was built in to the specially constructed container he would be secured to. Unknowing to his pilots, Dog had selected the perfect aircraft for this deployment. This was not going to be your everyday parachute jump designed for soft landings. This was a survival system, complete with SCUBA gear, his money, his diamonds, and anything else Dog would need to arrive safely in Aruba. Dog smiled inwardly. Not your typical vacation flight to Aruba, now was it, he thought……….
Back at Miami Station, Captain Jeffers, at Jenson’s direction, had assigned a full 24/7 Armed Security Team for the two civilians. Lee had already gotten out of emergency surgery, and the two were being held in an on-base Visiting Officer housing unit. Although they had provided everything they needed, Shay was pissed beyond all belief. She continued her outrage at the Security Officer that was stationed inside the small apartment with them. She demanded to speak to the Officer in charge, and the young man politely told her that it was already scheduled, and that a full explanation would be provided at that time. She also wanted access to a telephone to speak with her family, which was flatly denied.
Although she was furious, she was also smart enough to know that something really bad was going on here. She was also acutely aware of something else. She could feel that the people in charge here knew something. They knew who this piece of shit and his buddies were. She could feel it, she new it and she wanted some answers. She also wanted to know where Boomer was, but could not get anything out of them on that either. She would wait, because she had no other choice. But she was determined to make the wait equally uncomfortable for all involved. She was in no mood to be nice about anything.
She looked at Lee, impervious to all as he slept in his morphine induced stupor, and felt both a pang of guilt, a pang of sorrow, and yet acknowledged her and Lee’s survival was purely the work of one man. Boomer she knew had saved them both, even as he had lost everything he loved. Even now she could feel his strength, his raw ability to survive at all cost. As she laid her head back, and closed her eyes it was he who she thought of. What kind of man was he? How and why had their lives enter-twined? As she finally succumbed to sleep, her last thought was one of total confusion……….
The Miami Station was a controlled Tactical Mission Planning facility by now. There were now five new operatives inside the facility, having been flown in from somewhere just hours ago. Satellite Imagery stations were set up in three separate locations inside the room.
Captain Jeffers was just concluding a telephone call with Mr. Winters and his group on the Rescue Mission details, and had advised him that he was sending an Officer to their location, until a conclusion was reached. He did this not so much for the families, but in order that they might have a total insight on the actions of the families in question. The presence of the Officer would only help subdue the family’s needs to go outside the Miami Station for further assistance.
Jenson on the other hand was glued to one of the monitors at all times. He watched in real time as the men on the deck of the Witchwind went about their business. He could barely contain himself, and inwardly his emotions were at a peak. He really had no control over what was about to go down, and he could feel the prize slipping from his hands.
In an instant it hit him. Like a bullet right between the eyes. Dog. Cat. Dog. Cat. His mind raced. That’s it, he thought. The prize is buried on Cat Cay. Where is another matter, another problem all on its own? But the answer is Cat Cay. Done deal, and that’s why the bastard stopped here. He is gonna make his stand right here, thought Jenson. Last stand; make it or break it….that was the way it was going to go down. Six plus years of waiting, and now the next few hours would tell the end of the story. It seemed surreal, like he could not believe it was unfolding before him.
Vengeance and greed melted into one. His face and body tensed as the adrenalin rushed through his body. He had to figure his next move. Should he kill him now, or fly out to the island. What if Dog gets the diamonds and in the end they get confiscated. For a moment he actually even thought about somehow making a deal with Dog for half of the prize, in exchange for his escape. He never even thought about how sick of a thought that was. He just wanted the fucking prize……….
On the southern island of Cat Cay, Boomer and his men had moved into various tactical fighting positions, spread out over the southern tip of the small island. If Maldonado attempted to gain access to this island he would be taken out on sight. Jensen’s orders had been as clear as a bell. Boomer’s orders were clear as well. Terminate with extreme prejudice left little in the way of imagination.
Jenson had no choice but to issue this type of order as it had come all the way from the top, and Boomer had briefed the same. He was certain at this point; there was even Presidential approval on this. And at this point that suited Boomer just fine. Thing was, they never said how he had to accomplish this.
This was a cold blooded killer, and a rabid piece of shit, thought Boomer. But his Sis’ was owed, and due some payback. Every member of Echo Team 1-6 was on the same page. They all knew what Boomer wanted even though he had said nothing of the sort. If at all possible they knew this kill was Boomer’s alone, and in any manner he saw fit. They were all on the same page and they had no problem with this aspect of the mission. They also trusted Boomer completely and knew it would have no effect on his judgment in a pinch. He was far more professional than that………
Aboard the Witchwind, Dog was completing the process of prepping and loading his special canisters, which included weapons, ammunition, and LRRP’s rations for food. He also had three gallons of potable water in specially sealed individual packets. The containers were close to eighty pounds a piece, and although completely waterproof they were specially designed to sink to the bottom of any body of water. Once there a man would be able, although with difficulty, to pick up the cases and walk across the bottom of the ocean floor while breathing with normal SCUBA apparatus. At his present location the depth of the water was just less than twenty feet, and should not prove too difficult for Dog to accomplish.
His plan was to go over the side just after dark, which should occur within the next two hours or so. Like so many other times in his life Dog could sense that something was amiss. He did not have a clue that the Echo Team was less than a few hundred yards from him, yet is primal instincts made the hair stand up on his back. He had the nagging suspicion the something just was not right.
And what does Dog do when something ain’t right. Well, he changes directions as fast as he can. Look left, and run right. Anything except stand flat footed. That’ll get you killed every time, thought Dog. He knew the Sat boys were watching him, but fuck ‘em, what could they do, and how fast could they do it, were the questions in Dog’s mind. He walked up on deck and hollered to the Boys, “All right let’s get back to some planning, you boys gather round here.”
When they were all seated around him, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a bag of beef jerky. He tore it open with his teeth, reached in and grabbed a chunk, and stuck it in his mouth and began chewing. “Ya’ll better eat some of this shit, cause likely as not we ain’t going to no dinner parties tonight,” he said.
Each man reached into the bag, grabbed a handful and began stuffing, believing Dog all the way. Dog put the bag down, reached behind his back, and pulled out his Glock .40 Caliber automatic pistol. In less than three seconds, he effectively emptied ten rounds of hollow point Black Talon ammunition into the boys on the deck. They never had a chance. They were in their throws of death, and making all the normal gurgling, choking sounds of a man fighting to secure his ability to breathe. Dog walked away with all the knowledge of his profession that not a man was getting up.
“Oh shit,” exclaimed one of the young officers on one of the monitors inside Miami Station. “We got something going down, right now.”
Every person in the Command Centerturned their immediate attention to the three monitor teams, and watched in real time as Dog went below, and then returned with what looked like some type of luggage or container. The monitor operator one Monitor #1 said, “We got carnage on the deck, looks like three men down on the forward deck, sir.”
Monitor #2 called out, “He’s dropping stuff over board, there’s one, and there’s two. Two objects overboard.”
“Monitor #1 staying with the subject, real time, looks like he’s headed back below decks,” described the young officer.
Jenson snapped to his senses, having been in deep thought and partially caught off guard with the sudden turn of events. His secure Sat Phone was buzzing, and he snapped it up, almost screaming, “Jenson”.
On the other end it was Boomer. “Sir we got multiple shots, rapid fire from the boat, what’s going on there, can you tell.”
“Sgt. Major, it looks like Maldonado just took out his crew, and he has jettisoned two containers over board,” said Jenson excitedly. “Wait one”, he added, looking at the man on monitor #1, who was holding up his hand and waving.
The man on Monitor #1 said, “Ok, he’s back on deck and it appears he is gearing up. Looks like SCUBA gear, yes, yes he’s donning tanks at this time, sir.
Jenson relayed the message to Boomer, and just as he moved closer to Monitor #1, Maldonado jumped off the boat and into the water. “Ok, Sgt. Major he is in, and under the water. Where he goes from here is going to be tough for us to follow, but we will maintain active scan and search procedures until we pick him up again. He’s all yours. Good luck,” he added with a worried look. God he felt so helpless. He was racking his brain trying to determine what his best course of action was to be. At this point he was sure the prize was right there on the island, though with Maldonado you could never really be sure.
At this point in his mind the best possible scenario was a quick kill by Echo 1-6, with no chance of Maldonado sharing any information with the team. But how would he, Jenson ever know. What would any man do to secure that kind of prize? If Maldonado spilled his guts, what would the team do or say. He probably would tell them if he had a chance, thought Jenson, just to fuck me over. He knows I’m watching, and he would do anything to fuck me at this point. His ability to think straight was spiraling out of control, and he fought the urge to mount up a chopper team and fly straight to the island himself.
Back at the Bu’s Bar, the Chief was turning up the bottom end of number three, but his eyes were glued to the four men at the table across the way. He looked at Joey Conch and quietly asked, “What’s up with those two guys. I recognize two of them from before, but the other two seem a little, I don’t know, ah…. different maybe.”
Joey Conch shook it off, and said, “Who knows, couple of pilots from the mainland. Talking about joining the club, who knows? They been here a week though, just hangin’ out.”
In his pants pocket the Chief’s phone went off and he opened it up like usual, “Yeah”, and paused, apparently listening to someone on the other end.
Joey Conch could see his friend stiffen as he listened, and then as the Chief looked him square in his eyes the old man said matter-of-factly, “I got my eyes on two pilots right now, and I figure they been here a week, they must be waiting on our man.” The Chief then listened again for several minutes, and said, “Roger that Sgt. Major, we’ll handle it here on our end.”
As he hung up he looked right into Joey Conch’s bulging eyes and said, “Buddy, we got us a seriously deadly fucking problem here, and those two young bucks right there are part of it. Follow me.”
The old man stood and quickly headed off around the corner out of earshot of any of the patron’s of the bar, and took hold of Joey Conch’s arm and said, “Look man, and listen to me good, this is a very, very serious matter. It is a United States Government issue of the highest order. Top Secret’s ass, its way beyond that. Grab the Security Team Commander and tell him to arrest and hold those two gentlemen until further notice, and tell him to expect a U.S. Coast Guard Helicopter to be here in less than fifteen minutes. The military will brief him then, but look, we got to move fast.”
Joey Conch took off running towards the Security Headquarters building which was really only a few hundred feet away. The Chief headed towards his boat to pick up a little piece of equipment, just in case he needed it. He already knew who and what they were expecting, so he had no disillusions whatsoever. He commandeered theMarina’s little dinghy, and motored off out of the sound and headed back toward the south, toward the east side of the south island……….
Boomer pulled Rob Tulley, his second in command aside and quickly ran down his plan. He was going to high tail it to the eastern edge of the island and then move north as quickly as possible. Then he would meet up with the Chief who was right now heading his way. Tulley and the team would maintain position and if Maldonado surfaced they would take him down. With no one really knowing where Dog would surface, it was Boomer’s belief that while he certainly could not predict his actual location, he sure as hell knew where he was heading in the end. Ultimately, Dog would be at the airport, linking up with his hired pilots.
He ordered Tulley to suit up two team members, and insert them into the water in presumably forward positions of the last known area of Maldonado. They would both be equipped with the Glock 40′s, fitted with the Glock maritime spring cups. They’re two little plastic pieces about the size of a grain of rice, that are there to ensure the proper function of the firing pin underwater for successive shots. He was hoping that with Maldonado incarcerated for the last six years that he may have missed out on this important piece of knowledge.
Boomer was going to move forward to the North Cat Cay airfield, and if all had gone down as planned would meet up with Lt. Fangovich, the Helo pilot, and they could then stand in as the two waiting pilots. He had no idea if the two pilots were known to Maldonado or not. He really did not care. His plans were simple; he would kill Maldonado on sight. He thought about sending Tulley to the airfield, but something in his sixth sense said no, Maldonado was truly a force to be reckoned with, and Boomer just had a sneaky suspicion he would make it to the aircraft. If he didn’t, well dead was dead, anyway you looked at it.
Things moved extremely fast at this point and almost simultaneously. The Security Team made the arrest on the two pilots, and around the corner came the Chief in the little boat. He popped the little engine up and glided to the shore and Boomer hopped in.
“Chief”, he said, “I owe you big on this one.”
The Chief looked at him and said, “OK, I guess I get to shoot the sumbitch then.” He laughed out loud at that, and Boomer pushed them off and they zoomed back towards theMarina.
As soon as they got to the Marina, Joey Conch was waiting, and led them toward the Airfield office. As they walked through the doorway, Boomer noticed the four armed Security Team members, and their Captain. The two pilots were sitting handcuffed on a small bench against the wall. He introduced himself, and told the young Captain he would need an immediate word with the two men. The Captain simply nodded, and while he approached the two pilots, they visibly shook at his sight. Without hesitation Boomer quickly and effortlessly pulled his weapon and stuck it directly to one man’s head.
“One chance asshole, does he know what you look like or not,” he growled.
“Not a chance, sir, really we’ve never met, I swear,” he stuttered, his face contorted in absolute terror.
“Great, which plane, where’s your flight plans, and anything else I need to know, tell me now, cause I don’t ask twice,” Boomer said with a deadly serious look about him.
“Beech Craft Twin, six-place, right out front, on the far left. Flight plans are in the front seat. She’s fueled, pre-flighted and ready to roll out. We are scheduled for landing at Queen Beatrix International Airport in Aruba, although we don’t have a time pre-determined. We were actually waiting for the arrival of our client, or actually for his call,” the man said.
“Yeah, I bet you were,” added Boomer.
Boomer turned as the approaching Helo made it’s landing on the designated Helo pad, “Captain, if you would please place these gentlemen in secure quarters, and retrieve all their clothing for me except their underwear, I’m going to get that Bird out of here ASAP. Our man won’t want to see a US Coast Guard chopper sitting on the pad.”
He met Lt. Fangovich at mid stride and the chopper peeled up and off with a quickness, and headed out of site as fast as possible, yet hugging the water, way down low……….
At this same moment, plodding along on the bottom of bay, Dog wearily trudged along with his cumbersome load. No matter, he thought, I’m almost there. The prize is so fucking close I can feel my heartbeat slamming in my chest. He smiled inwardly. Fifty feet more and turn in towards the beach. Step by step, he thought, moment by moment. As soon as he broke the surface he would leave the containers momentarily, and sprint towards the hiding spot he had left so long ago.
He knew they would be searching on the Sat’s, looking for his movement, looking for any chance to pick him up. He was bound and determined not to help them by moving slow. He had rehearsed this moment a thousand times since yesterday alone. The small clump of palms would be right where he remembered it. With the island being virtually deserted, there was no chance of anything having changed. It would be just as he had left it.
There now, he could see the surface of the water was a mere two feet above his head. Ten more steps and his head broke the surface and he gently let go of his containers. He paused, only his head above the water. Looking to the shore, he scanned the area and within twenty seconds his eyes landed on the spot he was waiting to see all these years. It was unmistakable. Sixty yards away, he started sprinting towards it. His unconscious eye, however, picked up something.
Something behind the palm trees, and down on the sand. As his minds eye came to the realization of what it was he was seeing, a monstrous whallup hit him dead center of his body. He was lifted up, through the air and was flying backwards even as the sound of the gunshot registered in his mind. Blackness, and then nothing……….
Lying behind the palm tree was Sgt. 1st Class William Brody, the Echo Team designated Sniper. The beast that so efficiently took down Dog was the M110 SASS, Semi-Automatic Sniper System, which is the latest technology the United States has in an anti-personnel sniper rifle. It fires the long used, ass kicker 7.62mm cartridge, and is fitted with noise and flash reducer. Not totally silenced, but very, very quiet. As of this moment, it is regarded as the best sniper rifle of its kind. It had already seen way too much action in Afghanistan and Iraq with the 82nd Airborne Division, and other Special Forces Detachments, all with excellent results. This was also the exact same weapon that Boomer had used successfully against the Juba Sniper several months back.
All members of the Echo Team were utilizing the top of the line radio communication devices these days, as well. The Motorola Talkabout, fitted with the Stryker Throat microphone, was their preferred choice. The Stryker mic eliminated all background noise, and even allowed the team to whisper information to each other. It was without a doubt one of the most critical pieces of equipment a tactical team could have, and a vital part of securing mission effectiveness. Even now as Brody whispered, “Target down,” this message was received by all team members including Boomer, who was a little over a mile and a half away.
Unfortunately this did not include Smitty and Jonesy who were geared up in SCUBA, and in position underwater somewhere near by, in an attempt by the team to cover and secure the largest amount of area they could.
Boomer was not on the scene and therefore would not interfere, and in fact did not acknowledge. Tulley was running this part of the operation, and Boomer would just have to wait.
It’s like the end of a football game, where you’re ahead and clocks ticking down. The other team has the ball, and it appears they have no chance, yet you know better than to raise your hands in victory. To do so, brings on bad things, and bad turns of events. Just don’t do it, thought Boomer. So he waited……….
Fuck that hurt, thought Dog as he lay flat in the sand. He had taken a hit directly into his armor plated chest piece. Oh yeah, it’s gonna hurt for a while, he thought even as he quickly summarized what had happened. He knew at some point he was about to be approached by one or more Spec Ops guys. Who the fuck else. He knew his Glock would still be in his leg holster, secure, and waiting. This was it then. It all comes down to this. He did not need to see they were coming, he knew they were coming. They had to, now didn’t they.
And coming they were. Pretty much standard SOP, small “V” shape, center man forward, crouching low, their weapons trained on the subject, ready for any movement. Dog thought about it for only a second, and he knew he could not make his move until he could hear their voices. If he could hear them, he would know where they were. So he waited……….
Tulley raised his right fist, the silent signal for all to stop. They were no more that twenty yards away, when Tulley whispered, “No blood.” Quickly the team assessed the situation, and all acknowledged. It was obvious to all that the subject was wearing armor, yet that really meant nothing, as the concussion alone could kill you. If nothing else it would knock you out, stone cold, and bust your ass up on the inside.
Tulley signaled, and whispered to the man on his left, Scout, to move forward and check it out. “Brody, shift to your left a little,” he whispered to the other, as they all inched forward a little. Boomer was listening to this and thinking to himself, just shoot the motherfucker, who cares. Double tap his ass right now, and make it certain. For some reason, Tulley did not.
Just as Scout got close, Dog made his move. He knew someone was standing over him, because he could feel it. It was more than just a feeling, it was hearing, it was smelling, it was sensing with your whole body. And Dog knew one important fact of combat always remains the same. Action is faster than Re-Action. Oh, yeah, thought Dog.
His hand was like lightening, and the gun was out and firing before Scout could respond. Center mass, two shots and Scout was crumpling down on top of him. Even as Scout’s body was coming down, Dog was pulling him in and rolling to his left, using the man’s body as a shield. In one continuous move this madman came to grips with everything around him. He didn’t even think as he fired off one round directly into the face of Brody, who was standing flat footed no more than thirty feet away, sniper rifle still in the ready.
Tulley quickly began to exchange fire with Dog, his rounds tearing into the body of Scout and the ground all around. In a second it was over. One well place round hit Tulley in the right side of his chin, blowing away teeth and bone, and knocking him sprawling.
Dog rolled out and away from the bloody remains of his savior. He was up, and moved through the carnage with the quickness of any seasoned professional in this arena. Two obviously dead and the big man still breathing, but missing the most part of his chin and lower jaw. Dog knew this was not the whole team, but had no way of knowing where the others were.
Smitty and Jonesy were suited up with double 80′s and would at their current depth, be underwater for another fifty minutes or more. Dog grabbed Tulley, disarmed him, and began dragging him to the small clump of palms. Once there he took the radio and headset, and quickly announced, “OK fuckers, who’s the Six here?”
Boomer froze in his tracks, his hand coming up to his mouth. He did not know Dog’s voice, but he was well aware of all of his team-member’s voices. This was not one of them. Shit, he thought. Bad fucking news. “Come on Six”, he heard coming from the radio. “Look asshole, your teams down, I got one big motherfucker lying here in front of me who needs immediate medical attention, and if you don’t respond, I am just gonna whack his ass right now”.
That would be Tulley, thought Boomer.
“Ok, what gives Maldonado,” said Boomer dryly, while his right hand pushed on his own larynx, in order to change the sound of his voice. He was still thinking clearly ahead, even amidst all this havoc.
“Well now, you know me, who am I talking to,” he smiled and said.
“Fuck off”, was all he heard.
“Ok Six, this is the plan. I know you got a bird within ten, so have them land over here on the south end of the south island,” he paused. “You know where the fuck I’m at, just get them over here right now, or you can scratch the big guy, got it.”
Dog then placed his phone call to his waiting pilots. He never knew the man he spoke with and ordered to the flight line was Lt. Fangovich. Then Dog went to digging. Digging in the sand, four feet deep, just a few minutes and Bingo. There they were. Dog held the prize in his hands and savored the moment. Not too long he thought, we ain’t done yet. No sir, long way from done.
He took off running towards the beach and recovered the two containers. He brought them back and loaded the prize in one of them. He then sat the containers down, and grabbing the big man he pulled him close and waited, his Glock stuck visibly to the side of Tulley’s head, for all to see.
When Major Nelson brought the Helo around for his landing, Dog could see there was no one in the chopper except the pilot. Good, he thought. With the sand whirling and flying through the air, the Helo sat down on its skids mere feet away from Dog and Tulley. Dog shoved the gruesome looking man to the ground and then loaded the two containers into the bird. He then pointed his Glock at the pilot and told Tulley to get in. The big man was struggling, but he somehow made it on his own, and lay down on the floor of the chopper. Dog jumped in right behind the pilot and put the gun to the back of his head. “To the airport,” was all he said.
Boomer and Lt. Fangovich had quickly donned both men’s civilian clothes. Luckily they were all of average size, however the shoes Boomer had on were a little tight. Oh well, gotta do with what you have. They both went to the airplane and began stuffing and hiding their weapons, and pretending to do normal pre-flight duties and checks on the airplane.
Thankfully Lt. Fangovich was not only a Helo pilot, but a multi engine, instrument rated fixed wing pilot as well. Nothing like training now is there. Within minutes the helo came around for its landing. Boomer knew that Dog would call, and he knew he was out of moves too. He sat in the cockpit with the doors open, and waited.
“Ok, Six, we’re coming in,” said Dog.
“Just put her down by the plane on the end, with the props turning. I didn’t think you’d want to hang around for a drink or two would you,” Boomer added.
The chopper sat down on the hard stand about forty yards off the nose of the airplane. Dog hopped out, with one hand still pointing the gun at the pilot, he motioned for Tulley to shove his containers out the door. As soon as this happened he waved the pilot off, and pointing the gun at one of his approaching pilots, he said, “Hello Ladies, why don’t you grab this shit and put it in the back seats, and let’s get the fuck out of here.”
Fangovich grabbed the two containers and loaded them on the small airplane, while Boomer pretended to be talking to the tower. Dog climbed in behind them. When Fangovich jumped in Boomer looked at him and shot him the thumbs up, and they right away began to ease towards the main runway for takeoff. Boomer had the flight plan out on his lap and Lt. Fangovich made the plane’s takeoff and subsequent altitude climb in a normal, professional manner.
Boomer looked back at Dog, and wearing the worried looking face of a person caught up in some deep shit, he said, “Sir, we don’t know what the hell is going on here, but really we just want to fly you where you want to go, and then get back home.”
“Fuck off,” said Dog. “Just turn around, and fly. I’m paying you fly, right?” he growled. “If I want conversation, I’ll order conversation. Get it,” he added nastily.
“Yes, sir,” said Boomer and he turned back around, and he and Fangovich flew. For now, that’s what they would do. Just fly, and wait. He thought about the situation. Tulley would survive. He did not know who was down and who was not. He had no way of knowing if they were all dead, the remainder of the team, or not. He did know one thing though, even as a pang of guilt hit him. Dog would never get off this plane alive. If he and Fangovich had to go down to get him, then so be it. It was a price he’d gladly pay. For his Sis, then her boyfriend Trey, and the other couple Shay and Lee. And Dog apparently he had done something to another Echo Team somewhere down the line. Man, this fucker was a bad one.
Even as Boomer was silently thinking, he was slowly maneuvering his weapon into place. Slowly, not wanting to have his passenger pick up on anything, he moved on with his mission. Within minutes he had his weapon in his hand, still hidden from view by the flight plans he held in his lap.
The flight plan called for them to be on a schedule of a little over five hours flight time, figuring a cruising speed of two hundred miles per hour. They had no way of knowing that Dog was planning to jump out as the plane passed over the western edge of Haiti, approximately two hours out. As it was, it would be dark and a perfect tactical situation for him. Dog began working on his containers in the back, and continued to do so as the plane made its way along at twenty two thousand feet.
About an hour into the flight Dog was taking his liberties with the prize. He opened the container and ran his hand into the diamonds and allowed them to roll around and through his fingers. He was starting to feel cocky now. He could sense that he was within his right to claim victory. Fuck Jenson, he thought, that asshole made it a tough game, but fuck him just the same. Shame I didn’t get a chance to off his ass though, he thought smiling. That would have been a first rate capper there, now wouldn’t it.
“Hey up there,” he hollered towards the two pilots. Scared sumbitches haven’t even looked back here in an hour, he thought. “You ever seen forty million dollars worth of diamonds,” he said looking them both square in the eyes. He even raised his hand up and let the diamonds dribble out of his hand and back into the container they were in. And he continued this motion, like he was teasing them. Which of course he was.
So that’s it, thought Boomer as he looked at Fangovich. The whole fucking deal was over these diamonds. Dog was just laughing and playing with his stash like a little kid. Boomer turned back around to the front, and contemplated the whole scenario. What the hell was happening here? It just did not make total sense.
On one hand he’s running a mission for the United States Government, and supposedly trying to eliminate a National Security threat, by order of the Deputy Director of National Intelligence. What was it he had said? His son was a member of Echo Team 1-1, along with Maldonado.
And then it hit him. Hit him like a sledgehammer. Oh, shit. He’s involved, thought Boomer. The fucking Deputy Director and this piece of shit are connected. How, he had no real idea, but he was sure the connection was there. That’s why he wants him, but he’s reluctant to just hit him and take him out. Jenson never knew where the diamonds were. This guy obviously had hidden them on that island. Why else was he there, and why else would he go through the trouble of getting there the way he did. And that’s why his sister Gina and the rest had to die, so this fucker could have his fortune in diamonds.
Boomer’s blood was boiling now. And the Deputy Director! Boomer could hardly believe it, yet it was now plainly there for him to see.
The silence was broken when Dog leaned in over Fangovich and said, “Take her down to twelve thousand, right now. When you get there re-set the autopilot for the same course.
Something going down now, thought Boomer. What are his plans, what is he going to do. I ought to just shoot the fucker right now and be done with it, his thoughts continued.
Within minutes Fangovich had the plane at their designated altitude, and had reset the autopilot.
Boomer was still pondering his course of action, when Dog leaned in and looked over at him and asked, “Do you really fly as well, or are you just along for the ride?”
Boomer looked at him and said, “Actually, no I don’t, and yes I am.”
“Just what I thought,” said Dog. As he sat back, he deftly withdrew his pistol and shot Lt. Fangovich in the back of his head. The exiting bullet smashed through the front windscreen, and out of the aircraft with a deafening roar. The remaining portions of the windscreen began to disintegrate into and out of the aircraft at will.
At the exact same moment in time, Boomer had decided it was time to end this situation. He was already in the process of turning to shoot Dog, as Dog rose into position to shoot Fangovich. Even as Dog fired his own round he could see what was happening before him. His mind flashed again, the simple rule of combat. Action is always faster than Re-action. As the fire escaped the barrel of Boomer’s gun, blackness is all the Dog knows. He has no further thought, just the simple action of falling backwards to his death.
Boomer quickly realized that the aircraft had lost all ability to provide him with escape—and life. He now had mere minutes to save himself without oxygen. The masks had dropped down into place near all the back seats, and he fought his way to the back over the deafening roar of a two hundred mile an hour windstorm inside the aircraft. There were two parachutes in the back secured to the wall of the aircraft. Thank God, he thought, I used the time on the airfield to thoroughly inspect this airplane and its equipment.
As he struggled into the parachute while taking turns breathing from the hanging mask, he thought of the diamonds. As soon as he had his harness secure he opened one of the Dog’s containers, and there it was. A large black, canvas backpack. He quickly opened the pack, and saw it was full of strange looking rocks that must be uncut diamonds. After a few seconds he simply zipped it closed, without emotion. He held fast to the pack and with his other hand yanked open the door to the aircraft.
As he looked down he could not see any lights so he had to assume they were still over the ocean. He reached back and secured the oxygen mask, and held it to his face and waited.
Yes, he waited. You see there is always a time for action, and a time for patience…..for waiting. This was a time for waiting. As long as the plane was flying on course, and he was breathing good air, he would wait.
Boomer was still waiting patiently, more than twenty minutes later, when lights began to appear below him. He knew this would be the coast of Haiti. Not too friendly a place for certain, but far better than the open ocean. He looked around the small plane, made sure his gear and weapons were secure, and he jumped.
As his body screamed through the night air, he reflected on how many times he had done this exact thing. How many years of his life had been consumed by these talents that he’d worked so damned hard to master? It hardly mattered any more. This he knew would be his last. The price was just too high this time. No if’s, no butt’s, and no doubt’s. That only left him with one more thing to do, now didn’t it. One more piece of shit to take care of, and then it would truly be over.
Then and only then could he try to move on towards a new beginning……..
Four months later…………
The Sea holds many, many secrets. More so, than even the most cunning of Government Offices. The Sea has held her secrets dear and close, and for all those she has consumed she weeps not.
Those who live their lives on her, and give their lives to her, would not ask that of her.
It’s a bright and sunny October morning. The sun is just breaking over the docks of the Conch House Marina. A lone figure sits at a corner table. He sits, and he stares over towards his slip, a mere fifty feet away. His boat rocks gently from the subtle movement of the incoming tide. It is his first boat, the Witchwind, and although he has owned her for just a few months, they are intimate partners and he knows she will be his last.
He barely notices the beautifully tantalizing music coming from his boat, but he knows her work, too. He’s heard it many times now. It soothes his soul, this girl’s music, and brings back fond memories of better days. He looks over at the sign on the wall, where the outdoor stage sits next to the dock’s open air Bar. It says, “LoriAnn live tonight from 5-7 PM.”
A single tear finds its way down the man’s rugged, but handsome face.
He closes his eyes, and captures the vision of the one he misses so dearly. His sister Gina is gone. Yet in his mind he sees her, and smells her scent, as if she is right beside him. He hears her laughter, and feels her presence all around him. She comes to him easily, each time he needs her.
He thinks about the beautiful, shiny new sail boat that is moored in the slip right next to his old girl. She’s a stunning flag blue hulled, Mason 44. Ketch rigged, with every conceivable option. Why, it must have cost a million bucks or more, he thought. Oh, yes. He was sure of that, now wasn’t he?
It was the very best that money could buy in this size range. You might be able to buy bigger, but you couldn’t buy better. And he liked the name too. “Gina’s Wish” was truly a beautiful boat. One that would never… and could never… be forgotten. The existence of both of these vessels, and how they came to be, was etched in his heart and mind forever.
He stares back down at yesterday’s copy of the Washington Post. The small story on the lower right side detailed the untimely death of Deputy Director Alan Jenson. An apparent hit and run victim. According to the story the police were still investigating, but apparently there were no witnesses to the tragedy. Hmmm…what a shame, he thought, yet no smile comes to his face from this traumatic ending to his personal nightmare.
In the next moment, he is brought back to reality by the sounds of someone approaching.
As he looks up, he sees the smiling faces of his two good friends. The only family he had now.
“What’s up there, guys,” he says smiling at the proud new owners of the “Gina’s Wish”.
“Mind if we join you,” Shay asked smiling back. The two hugged briefly, yet deeply.
“Not at all, not at all, my date ought to be here any minute,” he added with great big smile.
Boomer was suddenly beside himself, and laughing out loud when he said, “Yeah, can you believe it. I’ve got a date with an Old Man and a Dog.”
Walter “Boomer” Moran was medically retired from the Army just over two months later. He tried to sit down, and play the part of the retired guy. He truly tried. It really didn’t take him long to figure out that he was a man of action, and that he needed something else in his life. He did not need the money, and it did not fulfill his needs. The diamonds were safely stashed away, yet they too represented little more than a reminder of his grief, and the devastation that they had caused.
Sitting on the deck of the Witchwind one peaceful December morning, Boomer was reading the Miami Herald, when he saw a big add for a position in a Tactical Police Unit in Tucson, Arizona. He pondered briefly on it, and went inside and began packing his things. The boat could stay here at the Conch House Marina, and he would hire a local diver to keep her scraped and washed while he was gone. She was a tough old girl, and he knew he would be back soon, and often.
In less than four hours he was on a plane heading to Tucson.
In the blink of an eye, two more years had gone by…………..
On a warm and sunny April afternoon, a young mother wheels her Toyota pickup off of the main road and into the parking lot of the local IGA. Her six-year-old daughter Cassandra is asleep in the seat beside her. She looked towards her, and briefly thought about waking her up and taking her inside, and immediately decided to pass. Her baby wouldn’t be thirty feet away, and she only needed a loaf of bread, a gallon of milk, and a few other things. A few minutes tops, she thought, she’ll never even know I’m gone. She smiles at her thought, and quietly shuts the door.
The man in the blue van three cars down had just came from the telephone booth on the corner. He was hoping to score some weed from Dude, a friend of his just outside ofTucson, but his friend said he would have to wait another few hours before coming over.
He didn’t mind waiting. He didn’t have anything else to do, and besides that he was good at waiting. He decided to go in the store to buy a pack of smokes. That’s when he looked into the truck parked in front of the store, and saw the little girl. Pretty little thing he thought to himself.
Keep going, he told himself, do not do it. Not in the open, not here. Ok, he thought, fuck it. I’ll wait. He turned around and got back in his van, and pulled over to the phone booth. He waited with his engine running, hopefully appearing to any passerby who might have seen him, as someone waiting on a phone call.
Sally Jordan came out of the store four minutes later and as she opened her door she smiled. Nope, she never missed me, she thought. She fired up the Toyota and turned right onto North Oracle Road, toward Oro Valley. She is very familiar with her surroundings, yet each time she makes her way down this road, she is in awe of the area’s sheer, natural beauty.
Six months earlier, she and her husband Rob had completed construction on their beautiful new home in the valley. It was a stunning, six thousand square foot home surrounded by desert and mountain views as far as you could see. Rob was a very successful Attorney in Tucson, and had made full partner with the highly prestigious law firm of Beine, Howell, and Martinez. Things could not be going better for the couple and their two children.
As she looked into her side mirror she saw a blue van coming up behind her. The road was straight and empty to the front, and the van eased into the passing lane to pass her. The man driving never looked over, just passed and headed on down the lonely highway. She does look at him however, and notices that he is a middle age man, most likely American Indian. Nothing odd about that she thought as she looked over at her daughter. With a smile she quietly resumed the short ride to their home.
In less than a minute, the van is over a half mile in front of her, yet she can clearly see as it starts weaving erratically. Back and forth across both lanes, and then off the road onto the right side shoulder it comes to a sudden stop.
The man steps out of the van, and falls to his knees in the middle of the road. He begins crawling up the road, his right hand clutching his chest. Within seconds she is upon him, coming to the obvious conclusion the man is having a heart attack.
She quickly throws her truck into Park, and jumps out and runs toward the man who is now folded up in the road, with his head touching the hot pavement. As soon as she reaches him, she lifts him up by one shoulder, and looks into the eyes of a madman. She knows it instantly.
He grabs her by her right ankle, and with the swiftness of a rattlesnake striking, he reaches out with his right hand. He deftly, and deeply, slides his cold steel across the inside of her right thigh.
She screams in pain and in horror, but it does not matter. Her main femoral artery has been severed clean, and the man is up and running towards her truck, and ultimately towards her baby. She fights to follow him, but her leg does not want to work. Her pain is the last thing on her mind as she crawls forward, inch by agonizing inch. She feels dizzy and weak, and simply crumbles to the road, unmoving.
She can hear her daughter screaming now, but she can not raise her head. She tries one last time as the man walks by, her baby in his clutches crying out for her mother. Then nothing.
Cassandra Jordan is fighting as hard as a six year old girl can fight. It does not matter. Dewey Rainmaker is six feet tall, lean, and as strong as a bear.
He opens the side door of the van and throws the girl in. He reaches over to his tool box and pulls out a small blue container. It used to hold wet wipes. Now it holds wet chloroform wipes.
He quickly grabs a small handful and jumps into the van, and applies the wipes over the little girl’s mouth and nose. When she passes out, he waits just a little longer, then proceeds to tie her up and place duck tape over her mouth.
“Don’t you fret none there little one, I’ll have you home in just a few minutes,” Dewey said out loud to no one in particular. He slammed the side door shut, goes around, hops in and turns back the way they came from. As they drive back past the spot where Sally Jordan lay in a puddle of blood, the man barely glances her way. The simple fact of her desperate attempt to save her daughter escapes his diluted imagination.
He crosses over Interstate 10, and within a few miles he turns off the main road and heads deeper into the desert. His little ranch is just off the back side of the Tohono O’odham Indian Reservation.
Dewey Rainmaker was not from this tribal area originally, but had bought land here just over five years ago. He had come down from White Bear, in the Southeastern corner of Saskatchewan. Dewey had grown up around the Moose Mountain area, and had grown tired of the cold weather, and the long, boring winters.
He had found the small parcel of forty acres of desert land in the back page ad’s from some magazine. Buy your own desert ranch for next to nothing, the ad had said. Only five hundred dollars down, and forty-nine dollars a month. It took Dewey less than two months to put together his down payment and off he went.
Within the first few months, he had met Dude down at this little roadside bar and grill, the Last Call. Their friendship started out slow, but it was soon apparent to both that this little hang out was something they had in common.
It was one evening out in the parking lot that Dude fired up a joint, and began puffing away. He offered it to his new found friend, and they quickly had two things in common.
Neither of the men cared for working a regular job, and it didn’t take long for Dewey to figure out how Dude made his living, or who he was getting his shit from. Dude thought he was an important man, and he let Dewey know it.
Dewey was in the right place at the right time, it seemed.
Dude knew that his man was down in Mexico peddling some young girls, and the next time he went down to see him about the weed, he told him Dewey was looking for a gig of his own.
The old man had Dude bring Dewey down for a weekend, and from there Dewey got tapped for this little business. Hell, the next thing you know ol’ Dewey’s got a hundred and sixty acres, a nice medium sized log house, and no fucking neighbors to bother him.
As they pull into the driveway his two Rottweiler’s come running to greet him. It’s not really a drive way, not in the conventional sense. The road just abruptly stops in front of his house which is quite normal out in these parts of the country.
He thinks to himself, good dogs, this breed. No one wants to get out of their car with these two on their asses. Even if they were to end up here, which ain’t likely anyway?
He gets out of the van and opens the side door. He grabs the little girl, throws her over his shoulder and heads for the house. He leaves the dogs outside so he can tend to his business.
Little Cassandra is wide awake now. Bug eyed and terrified, she has no clue who this person is, or where she is. At this point she is actually too scared to cry.
When they go through the door and into the living area, he heaves her onto the couch and says, “Get this shit off of her, and put a shackle on her leg, and get it done pronto.”
Cassandra looks around and sees another young girl, who quickly begins tending to her.
The girl is smiling, but the look in her eyes tells a different story. She works quickly to unbind the younger girl, and Dewey is there handing her an open shackle. A very small open shackle. It is attached to a very long chain.
The older girl says nothing, as she snaps it shut around Cassandra’s left ankle.
“Case you wondering, little girl, my names Dewey,” he said.
“This here’s Julia, and she’s twelve. She’ll take care of you, but she don’t talk. Nope she was a whiner and a crybaby, and screamed all the time, so I cut out her tongue. It’s an Indian thing, you know,” he added with a wicked smile.
Cassandra was visibly shaken, and Dewey just smiled and continued, “Go on Julia, and show her now. Show her why it’s important to be quiet, when I say be quiet.”
Julia promptly opened her mouth and showed the little girl her stump of a tongue. It scared the little one even more, but she did not cry or utter a sound.
“Don’t you worry none little girl, old Dewey ain’t going to hurt you. Nope, you’re way too valuable for that,” he said.
“What’s your name little one,” he asked the little girl.
“Cassandra,” she mutters quietly, her head tilted and eyes down.
“Well Cassandra, just follow Julia and she’ll show you where the bathroom and kitchens at,” he said, smiling.
Dewey went on about his business. He knew the girls couldn’t get out of the house because the chains wouldn’t reach the doors. They could tend to themselves, and get whatever they needed without his help. He also knew that Julia would take good care of the little one, just like she had for all the others.
You see, Julia knew the deal. She took care of the others, and she took care of Dewey. That was the deal. Anything different and he’d bury her ass out back with the last one. He’d made Julia watch him do it too. Nope, she was a good little girl, and she was going to stay that way.
He took Julia one day up in Provo, Utah. Must have been just over two years ago, when she was ten. Little bitch he had before her was just too much trouble.
Her name was Katherine, and she was twelve when Dewey grabbed her just outside of Phoenix. Too old to learn, and way too much trouble. When he got Julia, he just took them both outside, and hit the bitch in the head with his hammer. Done deal.
Since then he’d brought home six others, and Julia was working out just fine. Except the few times early on, but then he hadn’t had any more trouble out of her after the tongue cutting.
The crime scene on Highway 77, just south of Oro Valley, had Sheriff Adam Marks confused, but not for long.
He knew Sally Jordan, and knew her well. He knew the whole family. Her truck was still running, and nothing was missing. Sally was lying lifeless in the middle of the highway, seventy-two feet from the front of her own vehicle.
Bled out, from a massive cut on her leg. Clean and to the bone it looked like, but he was waiting for the coroner to confirm it.
When he had called Rob at their home, he told him that Sally had been in a bad accident, and that he needed to get here right away.
Rob had immediately asked about Cassandra, and Sheriff Marks knew then, it was a much worse situation than he had thought.
“You just need to get here quick, Rob,” he said. “And Rob, leave the baby with Nanny.”
He had already called the State Police, and they were already in route. Now he made his way back to his radio to call in additional help, as well as the rescue helicopter team. They needed to quickly search the desert area to make sure the little girl was not out wondering in the desert.
Sheriff Marks already knew better than that, but was certainly compelled to go through the motions just the same.
When Rob arrived on the scene, he jumped out of his car running, and instantly fell down next to his wife and lost it completely. Sheriff Marks comforted his friend the best he could, but really it was a mess. The only thing he could do was to get him away, into the police car, and away from his wife.
“Where’s my daughter,” he cried over and over.
“I just don’t know Rob, but were working on it,” was all Sheriff Marks could say……….
Just over one hundred miles away and sitting in his favorite chair beside the most gorgeous pool his eyes had ever seen Juan Pablo Lopez was smiling.
Looking over his vast estate, bordering the Sea of Cortez, he could feel his excitement rising. His man Dewey had just picked the perfect peach. This one had the potential to make Juan Pablo a great deal of profit. The young, pretty ones always did.
And to think, this idiot would take only fifteen thousand dollars. And the entire initial risk. Juan Pablo’s clients would pay tens of thousands of dollars for each one of the little ones, sometimes more. But for the pretty young blond haired ones, who knew, he thought.
Who knows what ever happens to them, his thoughts continued. He could not worry about that. All he knew was the payments were made in cash and that was that. End of story from his perspective.
He never touched them, and certainly never hurt them, so in his mind, he could live with the deal. If it were not him providing the service, it would simply be someone else.
He told Dewey he would send his driver and his payment the following morning. He hung up the phone and started thinking. Who was his most special client? Why, the one who would pay the most of course. He picked up his phone and began dialing……….
It was now 3:00 PM in the afternoon. The Tucson PD Special Narcotics Investigation Team was moving in on their suspect house. The twelve man team was led by Captain Walter “Boomer” Moran, a two year veteran of the Tucson Police Department. Normally it took years to reach the rank of Captain, but Boomer brought a whole sack of goodies to the table when he showed up for the job. It didn’t take long for the Chief to realize he had a special man in his ranks, and not a man was jealous when Boomer shot up the paygrade scale faster than anyone in Department history.
Boomer to his team, and to all his friends, was the man. If you had to go into the shit, you wanted Boomer Moran in there with you.
Like most Special Op’s guys, Boomer was all in on the physical shit. He ran ten miles every morning, was a master of Brazilian Jujitsu and Okinawan Karate, and Arizona’s top shooter every year for the past two years at the Police Olympics.
Six feet, two inches tall and weighed in at a buck ninety, and as his friends would say, the boy’s just bad.
As the Op’s van screams around the corner, it slides to a stop and the troops deploy. High speed, heavy weapons, and moving fast, they bust through the door and into the middle of a major drug deal going down.
The perp, one Charles “Dude” Daily, was supposedly taking delivery right now of two hundred pounds of Mexican weed, as well as five pounds of Cocaine.
The informant was dead on the money, and when the door crashed down on them, the deal was going down.
The two Cartel mules, who had brought the stuff in, must have thought the crashing party was a little light. Both men pulled their weapons, and instantly took a dozen hit’s a piece, and went down hard and dead.
Dumb fuck Dude, rolled up in a ball, and pissed his pants. Really, he just pissed all over himself.
They yanked his ass up and cuffed him, and lo and behold, he knew his shit was weak. And the bird started singing.
“Look man, who’s in charge here,” he said.
“I am, why,” Boomer asked. He eyed the piece of shit suspect warily, yet without malice.
“Look man, I’m fucked and I know it,” said Dude.
Boomer could see the panic in the man’s eyes. Same as always. Once they were caught, that is.
“Look, I got some shit here; right the fuck now, says I’m good for a break. Some kind of break, mother fuckers, or some little girls are gonna die,” Dude screamed.
He was frantic, but Boomer wanted to hear him out.
“Then give it to me, Dude. You know the drill, no promises. If the shit’s real, you know it will help. That’s it,” said Boomer.
“Fuckin’-A, it will. Go to the end of Sagebrush Road, out in the county not twenty minutes from here. This guy Dewey Rainmaker…. he’s got young girls chained to the fucking floor,” Dude cried hysterically.
“Man, he done cut one of them girl’s tongues out. He’s a sick mother fucker, man; I swear to God this ain’t no shit. They’re there right now, man, right fucking now, you hear me,” he screamed.
Boomer looked into the man’s eyes and said, “You lying to me Dude, and I’ll cut your fucking balls off.”
“I swear to God man, I swear it,” said Dude.
Boomer thought about it for about two seconds. He ordered two of his men to stay behind, and handle the situation at the present site, and he and the other nine ran towards their van.
Like all Special Operations vehicles this one was equipped with the latest in GPS Navigation systems. The punched in the Sagebrush Road location, and were on their way within seconds.
Boomer’s second in command, Lt. John Mackey looked at him for a moment and said, “Boomer, we calling this one in.”
Boomer looked at him and said, “Can’t do that John, it’s out of City jurisdiction, and I’m not going to jeopardize the lives of any young children. My orders, I’ll have to fade the heat.”
Everyone in the truck knew they were stepping outside of their operational boundaries, but then if Boomer’s going in, they were going in with him.
They readied themselves for the assault that was surely to take place in just a few minutes. When they entered onto Sagebrush Road they knew this was it. It was a dead end road. The target was straight ahead. Boomer’s mind drifted briefly back to a time long ago when his actions had cost the lives of some of his team, and he wondered if he was again taking chances he should not take.
They came into the yard and went from sixty miles per hour down to zero in a sliding stop.
As they bailed out of the van, the Rottweiler’s charged. It was not a challenge. They popped them both, and never slowed down. The Ram Man drove the door in, and with Boomer leading the way they ran straight into hell.
Dewey Rainmaker had been snoozing on the couch and barely got to his feet before the door caved in and he met the team face on. Before he could even gather his thoughts, he was staring down the barrels of ten different guns.
Boomer could see the two young girls, chained to the floor. They were both down on the ground crying, sobbing uncontrollably.
He went to them immediately. Gently tugging on each of them, he very softly asked them to open their mouths. The older of the two girls broke down, and began to tremble, but she complied with Boomer’s request. The poor child was in fact missing her tongue, and Boomer simply exploded inside. He went straight for the man who had violated these young girls.
With the strength of a hundred men, he drove his rifle butt into Dewey’s face, knocking out teeth, and spraying blood everywhere.
He reached down and grabbed the man by the hair of his head, and physically drug him out of the front door and into the yard. With all of his might, Boomer grabbed the man by his head and ass, and raising him up to shoulder height he threw the man forcibly to the ground.
As Dewey sat up, Boomer savagely kicked the man to the side of his head. The force of the blow drove Dewey over and face down into the hot desert sand.
Boomer reached down, and yanked him up to a sitting position. Dewey had blood and sand all over him, and was as close to unconsciousness as humanly possible.
Boomer squatted down in front of him, looked him straight in the eye, and said, “Dewey, you tell me what your doin’ with them girls, or I’m gonna kill you right here, you understand me.”
Dewey could hardly talk, but you could hear what he said. It was a simple, yet garbled, “Fuck you.”
Boomer stood up, and turned around. He went ghostly white, and then fiery red.
His men were all around him, yet to a man they would later say they never saw it coming.
Boomer forcibly threw his rifle out of his hands, and into Dewey’s lap where he now sat, blood flowing out of his face and mouth.
“Pick it up and shoot me, asshole,” Boomer said. “You’re a dead man either way,” he added.
Dewey looked the man in the eyes, and knew he was at the end. He quickly moved the rifle up and towards his shoulder, just as the first round of Boomer’s H&K .40 caliber pistol hit him in his left eye.
The back of Dewey’s head exploded, and sprayed his sick brain matter all over the yard. That was the end of Dewey Rainmaker.
It was also the end of Boomer Moran’s career as a Law Enforcement Officer.
It was also the beginning of a whole new career.
To most folks in Tucson, Boomer was a hero. To everyone on the Police Force, he was certainly a hero. To Rob Jordan, and the remainder of his family, Boomer Moran was more than a hero. He was a savior, and a redeemer.
For the City of Tucson, and the Police Commissioner, there was little they could do to save his job. The violation of Policy was just too great to bear. Rob Jordan worked as hard as any attorney could in representing Boomer, but there was just no way they could legally win.
With the testimony of the other officers present, it was clear that Boomer had ordered his team to the ranch. Although outside of his jurisdiction, there was no desire to charge Boomer with any crime. Especially since Dewey Rainmaker had somehow wrestled a weapon away from one of the officers, and was about to fire on the task force. Sadly, because Boomer had elected to go outside of the City’s legal jurisdiction and that opened them up to undue civil liability, for that reason alone he was fired.
In the subsequent Administrative Hearing, the appeal was denied, and Boomer was officially unemployed.
Dewey Rainmaker had no siblings, and no known children. His mother had already passed, and his father was far too embarrassed over the whole matter to even care, let alone sue.
The case however, brought the national media into Tucson. All the big networks were there, and all the cable ones as well. Polls were running everywhere, and due to the nature of what they had found at the scene, the whole country thought Boomer was a hero.
Rob Jordan went on national television in an interview with CNN, and said he was starting a Trust called the Cassandra’s Hero Fund, and that he was making the first donation of one hundred thousand dollars.
He called on all Americans watching; to not let this act of bravery cost this man his life, and his career.
He called on Washington to act, to put out a Bill, to fund a special Prosecution and Investigation Team, to put an end to child trafficking once and for all.
Within days, the fund had amassed more than a million dollars. People all over America were standing up, ready and willing to help where they could. It was clear that many American’s were sickened by the constant reports of child abductions, and children being victimized and murdered.
The law firm of Beine, Howell, and Martinez, offered to pay Rob’s salary for the next year, so that he could take the lead in organizing and managing the trust.
Every day more donations came in. And they kept coming.
It also got the attention of a very powerful attorney in Washington. Jonathan Barkhurst Merriweather III, was not only a great attorney, he was employed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a Senior Legal Advisor for the Child Abduction Taskforce.
He was also a very dear friend of Rob Jordan, who just happened to be his former college room mate at Yale Law.
His friends all called him Trey, and at this very moment, he was studying the lie on the 14th green at the Tournament Players Club at Avenel, one of Washington DC’s premier PGA Tour Event courses with his dear friend Dee Martin Gibson.
Dee Martin, worked for the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crimes (NCAVC), which is part of our Governments Critical Incident Response Group, located near Quantico,Virginia. He was also the current Operational Support Director.
Upon being notified that a child has been abducted, his field offices and the NCAVC coordinate an immediate response to the abduction situation. Special agents would then join local law enforcement in coordinating and conducting comprehensive investigations. Evidence Response Team personnel would conduct the forensic investigation of the abduction site, while a Rapid Start Team would immediately be deployed to coordinate and track investigative leads. That’s the way it works on paper. In the real world it’s much uglier.
“What do you think of the shit that went down out in Tucson, with my roomies wife and kid,” asked Trey.
“Yeah, I heard, that was tragic, man. Glad they got the kid back, though,” Dee Martin said. “The cop that saved her got the shaft too, from what I hear.”
Trey lined up his shot, and made a well placed ten footer. Both men headed off the green for the next tee.
“My buddy Rob’s got him set up though,” said Trey. “At least the guy will have a job. We might even want to coordinate with them on this thing, as it looks like they might have some kind of national movement going on. People are tired of this shit bro’, really tired,” he added.
“Hell, we’re all tired of it. But we seem to just be chasing the tail, never the head,” said his friend.
“Shame is they know who these assholes are. They know a lot of them. Legally we just can’t get close enough to prosecute,” said Dee. “And it sucks, big time.”
“No the shame is we don’t have the balls to do what this guy Boomer Moran did,” said Trey. “You don’t think he didn’t know what was gonna happen. This guy didn’t give a shit about himself. He went in there and popped that guy’s ass. I got it straight from Rob. Hell man, everyone knew, and nobody cares,” he added dramatically.
“Yeah, what I wouldn’t give for a guy like that in the hole. You know what I mean, in the dark,” Dee said. He rubbed his eyes and looked at Trey.
“Like I said Dee, we might want to coordinate with him,” said Trey as he drove the ball off of the 15th tee.
The two friends went on and enjoyed their round of golf. Nothing else was said about the conversation they had. That’s the way it works in Washington. Plans are made, and shit happens.
It was now early June, and the desert was in full bloom. Juan Pablo Lopez was just now beginning to relax. That stupid Indian piece of shit had gotten himself killed, and the perfect little peach was lost along with all of Juan Pablo’s money that he had planned on making on that little one.
Also, he had spent the last six or seven weeks on high alert. He had added several additional patrols to protect his hacienda, and spent a small fortune doing it. As much as he despised the idiot Dewey, he must have at least known how to keep his mouth shut.
And the dumb ass gringo, Dude. He’d gotten his ass busted, and two of Juan Pablo’s men had been killed in that fiasco as well.
A double dose of paranoia, it had been. Certainly, neither of them had talked to the authorities about him, or Juan Pablo would have heard about it already. He had men on his payroll on both sides of the border.
Coincidence possibly, but in his heart he knew that Dude had turned Dewey to the cops.
Juan Pablo was most certain of two things. One, both men knew the wrath of Juan Pablo Lopez, and how far and deep his punishment could reach if needed. And two, the gringo was a dead man.
He could no longer trust the man. Once he was able to locate him, he would have him eliminated, and their connection would be severed forever.
Other than that, at this point, he could begin to relax again……….
Back in town, Boomer was amazed at how fast things were turning. Although the Jordan Trust was simply an amazing feat of accomplishment, and Rob Jordan was handling most of the duties from the legal sense, Boomer was out of his element.
He wasn’t out of opportunities though. Being a thirty-four year old, highly fit, totally unattached and eligible bachelor had its benefits. Boomer truly looked ten years younger than his actual age, and that didn’t hurt things a bit either. He couldn’t buy a drink in a bar any where in town, and the ladies just could not get enough of the man. He was a hero to everyone, and everyone wanted to enjoy his company.
But even that was getting to him. He and Rob had spoken just the night before, and Boomer had expressed his need to get away for a short vacation. He didn’t even know where, he just knew he needed one, and needed it badly.
He thought of just heading back to the Witchwind, and back to a life of uncomplicated freedom. Each year he had went back to her at least twice, just to make sure she was being kept up like she deserved. Each time it had proved harder and harder to leave her, and now this.
Rob was on the other end of the spectrum. He needed to stay busy. He needed and wanted to stay focused on the task at hand. Boomer couldn’t blame him at all.
Sally’s funeral had been tough on Rob. She truly had been the beacon of light that led his life. The town had turned out in its entirety, with the media still in the mix and going full blare.
Cassandra was home now, and although they were still watching her close, she seemed to be rebounding from the whole event quite well. She missed her mommy, and that crushed Rob’s heart. He was thankful that Sally’s mother Nanny had decided to stay on and help with the kids. Rob was certain that he could not do it without her.
Rob was working at the office that morning when the phone rang. He answered, “Cassandra’s Hero, this is Rob, how can I help you.”
“Hey Robby, it’s me Trey,” said the caller.
“Trey, what’s up my brother,” Rob said. “How’s everything up your way.”
“Good, good, just wondering how you’re holding up, and how everything’s working out,” said his friend.
“It’s going good, really good. We’re still taking in a lot of contributions weekly, and honestly, I’m already wondering if I’ll even have the time to go back to the firm. I mean we’re really busy here,” said Rob enthusiastically.
“And the family,” he added, “Well, were doing the best we can. It’s hard Trey, really hard.”
Trey paused for just a second. “Rob, how’s our boy Boomer doing, is he hanging in there.”
“You know, I think he’s a little bummed. He say’s he’s out of his element, and wants a couple of weeks off to get away,” said Rob.
“Hey to be honest, a guy like that, he’s done good sitting on his hands for this long,” Trey said. “Actually that’s part of the reason I called. I figured he might be getting antsy.”
“Look Rob, you know I got that little place up inColorado. It’s just north of the Longmeadow Ranch’s private trout fishery on the North Fork of the South Platte River,” Trey said. “I’ll happily let him use the place for the two or three weeks, it’ll give him some space. Let him get back in a good way.”
“Sounds good to me, I’ll make him the offer, and let you know, said Rob. “And buddy, look, I truly appreciate you for being there for me and my family. I love you, dude.”
“Ah man, what are roomies for,” concluded Trey. “Just let me know if you need me.”
Later that day when Boomer came to the office, Rob shot the proposal to him. Trout fishing on a private strip of the Platte River, hell yes I’m in on that deal, Boomer had said.
A week later Boomer was moving into the small, but exceptionally well built log cabin, sitting just off the banks of the most gorgeous trout stream he had ever seen.
He had gotten all his gear off loaded and was admiring the view out of the main living area windows which overlooked the river itself. His friend Rob had said it was fully furnished and fully stocked, and by all accounts, he was dead on. Down to the beer and food in the fridge, first rate, all the way.
He sat down on the couch, and looking down on the magnificent solid agate coffee table, he saw an envelope with his name on it.
I guess these are my do’s and don’t list, he laughed to himself. As he opened the letter, he noticed it was not what he thought. It was much more official than that.
The contents of the letter were simple and to the point. Enjoy your stay. Stay as long as you like. The fishing’s great, and there’s a grill on the back porch. Nothing like fresh grilled trout, and a cold beer, Boomer thought.
The letter continued…….. If you have an itch to get back to doing work more along the lines of what you really do, there’s a safe behind the picture over the fire place mantel. It’s digital. Punch in your social security number. There is a short proposal inside. Read it over; if you’re interested call the number. If not please place everything back in the safe. But go fishing first. It was not signed.
Boomer thought to himself. That sounds like exactly what I’m gonna do. Fish first, eat second, and then maybe I’ll take a look. Piqued his interest anyway, but first things first, so he grabbed a couple of cold beers, and his fly rod, and headed out the back door.
Within the next hour, Boomer had landed and released four brookies, a nice cut throat, two rainbows, and a beautiful German Brown that must have topped four pounds.
The Brown went back to the cabin with Boomer. Within fifteen minutes, Boomer was watching the succulent, sweet; tangerine colored meat, as it slowly but surely grilled to perfection.
When he deemed it perfect, he shut down the grill, grabbed a cold Heineken, and went back to the living room table.
He thought about the safe, and wondered what its contents would reveal. But his orders were clear. Fish, eat, and then read. And that’s what he did, in that exact order.
As evening came to a close, Boomer sat out on the back porch enjoying another one of this places great amenities. A very nice Montecristo White, an outstanding cigar by all rights.
He had seen the beautiful Burlwood humidor on one of the end tables, and upon opening, found it full of nice cigars and a very exquisite small card that said, “For your Enjoyment”.
Boomer was not a cigarette smoker, and had never really been more than an occasional cigar smoker. But then he wasn’t a fool either.
The small but adequately stocked bar, revealed a host of top shelf liquors, of which Boomer had selected a nice fifteen year old Glenfiddich Single Malt, which seemed to suit both he and the Montecristo just fine.
The letter was drawing on his inquisitiveness, and when he was finished with his smoke, he poured himself another scotch, and headed to the living room.
He gently removed the picture from above the mantel, revealing a small but very sophisticating looking safe. He then punched in the numbers of his social security card, and the locking mechanism released. What he found inside was simply another envelope, slightly larger than the one before, and nothing else.
He sat down on the beautifully designed elk horn couch, and opened the envelope. It contained two sealed letters. They were numbered, Letter 1/Open First, and Letter 2. As he read the contents of the first letter, he realized almost immediately that he was not just here for a rest and relax.
No, he was sent here specifically in order to review this potential opportunity. The letter was clean as well. No names, no agencies, nothing to tie the letter to him, or back to anyone else.
He read it through, and then reread it twice more. It said simply;
Sir: It has come to our attention that your personal circumstances and ours have a common denominator. Your ability to accept the fact one may have to work outside the normal operating parameters of Law Enforcement leads us to believe you can be a valuable asset to our organization, our country, and the world at large.
Should you decide to accept this offer, this facility where you are now located will become your base of operations. You will have full financial and tactical resources at your disposal at all times.
Your mission scenarios will be provided to you on an ongoing basis. They are not negotiable. Failure to except, and or to complete any mission scenario will result in termination of your employment.
If for any reason you can not accept this proposal, please place all other items back in the safe, and enjoy the remainder of your vacation.
That was it. Boomer held the letter in his hands, and thought long and hard about the consequences of the decision he was about to make. Every decision has consequences, some good, and some bad. Who ever had written this letter and set up this deal, was certainly working within some agency of the U.S. Government.
With that said, it was obviously a fully covert, tactical operation. Spooky to the max, no doubt about that, Boomer thought. Boomer was also not the slightest bit disillusioned about what they would want him to do, nor that they were not privy to his Military background as well.
It dawned on him then, that this deal was offered to him as a vacation, by Rob Jordan. Rob knew that Boomer had shot that piece of shit Dewey Rainmaker, for doing what he did to those little girls. It was his actions that had saved Rob’s baby girl.
Rob knew that Boomer was not really ready to be a corporate kind of guy. Without anything being said, Rob had done everything he could to provide for Boomer. Everything he needed. It was the man’s way of paying him back for saving his daughter, and executing his wife’s killer.
He was certain there was a connection here, but that really didn’t matter. The only thing that mattered was what Boomer wanted to do with his life, right now, at this point in time.
He reached down and picked up the second letter. He held it in front of him and then he just laid back and closed his eyes. He stayed there for almost twenty minutes. He was not resting. He was not sleeping. He was playing out the possible outcomes of his decision in his mind. He weighed out all his options. He didn’t need this, and he knew that in his heart.
When he sat up, he opened his eyes, and then he opened the second letter.
And it said; Your country thanks you for your service. We have already taken the liberties of securing your fingerprints and your palm prints from your personnel files. If you will move over to the Fire Alarm system on the wall in front of you, and open it, you will find a blank screen. Place your palm against the screen. Thank you and good luck in your new venture.
Boomer stood up and followed the instructions in the letter. When his palm touched the screen, it activated something in the wall, and the large bookcase to the left of the fireplace began to slide open.
When it stopped, Boomer was looking into a small, but highly equipped vault. It ran approximately fifteen feet down the wall, and was about four feet deep and maybe ten feet high. He stepped in, and the wall closed behind him.
There was enough shit in there to start a small war. Weapons out the ass. Ammunition, communication and navigation gear galore, and cash. Lots of cash. Three containers full of multiple types of currency. Tens of thousands of dollars, by the looks of it. It was hard to tell, but it did not matter. Boomer was sure if he needed something that wasn’t here, it would somehow find its way here. Simply unbelievable.
At the far end of the little room, there was a work station of sorts. It had a table, a chair, and was a well lit area with a full equip of stationary supplies. Lying in the middle of the desk was another envelope. A thick one.
Boomer sat down at the small desk, and opened the envelope and shook out the contents. It contained photos of a slightly heavy set Mexican male. The accompanying document gave the full mission parameters.
On April 16th, 2009, the FBI had taken jurisdiction over the case investigation concerning the abduction of Cassandra Jordan, the death by homicide of Kathryn Jordan, and the subsequent kidnapping and recovery of Julia Robinson.
Based on the information retrieved from one Charles “Dude” Daily, he was also taken into Federal Custody on that date. After intense interrogation, the subject Charles Daily identified one Juan Pablo Lopez, the man in the photographs, as being the point of sale for the kidnap victims of the deceased suspect Dewey Rainmaker. Charles Daily had then been placed into a witness protection program, at an undetermined location.
A Federal Special Response Team was dispatched across the border on June 14th, and the suspect Lopez was captured, and transported to a safe house in the United States.
The location of the safe house was in the document, along with the final instructions. Boomer was to secure all evidence and information from the subject Lopez, and once he was satisfied there was no more value in maintaining the subject, he would no longer be needed.
He would no longer be needed. I guess you can read into that what ever you wanted, thought Boomer. He placed all of the documents from the envelope in the shredder as directed, and hit the button.
There was a satellite telephone sitting on the desk along with an instruction card on its use. The card said, “Memorize your ID Code, and this number, it is your life line.”
He picked up the phone and dialed the number.
Boomer left the next morning for the safe house. It was located in a very remote area near the Yuma Proving Grounds, close to Martinez Lake.
The Government boy’s sure like these secluded desert areas, don’t they, thought Boomer. Too damn hot out here for normal folks and way the hell away from prying eyes. Guess it works out for all concerned.
He was driving his own personal vehicle, a 2008 GMC Sierra extended cab, four wheel drive. I guess they don’t want any connections back to any Government office, he thought. They sure as hell provided for everything else, including the GPS unit he installed in his truck the evening before, but it was all virtually untraceable.
It was almost midnight when he arrived at his Safe House location. There were lights on, but there were no other vehicles present. This was a very remote spot and there wasn’t a neighbor that he had seen, for well over three miles.
Still somewhat unsure of the situation, Boomer went into a tactical approach, with his weapon out. He stayed in the shadow of darkness for the next ten minutes, just to ensure he was alone. He circled the unfenced house twice to make sure he was not walking into something unexpected.
Finally, he felt the area was secure, and so he approached the front door. It was locked, but a key had been provided in his packet. He opened the door, and walked into the empty room.
His pistol still at the ready he began to do a full sweep of the house, to clear all rooms to his satisfaction. When he opened the door to one of the back bedrooms, there sat Juan Pablo Lopez.
He was chained and shackled to a large metal chair, which was bolted to the floor. It was the only piece of furniture in the room. His mouth had been duct taped, and triple wrapped around his head.
Boomer had no idea how long he had been here, but from the looks of him, he’d been well taken care of, and had been kept properly nourished. With that in mind he checked the restraints, and told Juan Pablo that he would see him in the morning.
He shut off the light and closed the door behind him.
When he awoke the next morning, he took the time to inventory his surroundings. Though well equipped, this was certainly not the river house from where he had just come. There were no messages, no letters, and no instructions of any kind.
As Boomer went through his morning ritual, his usual two cups of coffee, and then outside for his normal workout and run, he thought of his task at hand.
He had always been somewhat of a soldier, and he attributed that to his youth. His father had been a career Special Forces Green Beret, from the old days, and he had grown up in Okinawa. Boomer had grown up tough, and had always admired his dad’s commitment to service.
Boomer’s entire career had been in the Military or Law Enforcement, yet his genes tugged at him always, and he seemed to always find himself in a special operations type of assignment.
He contemplated on his new requirements, and how they were different, yet the same. Law Enforcement. Yes, it would be a much more pro-active approach, and it surely would be an enforcement of the law. The fact was, it would require at lot of enforcement.
As he had traveled down yesterday, he had given much thought to this situation. In the end, he decided he would approach it exactly as he approached hunting. He hunted for food. He never was thrilled by the kill, and never considered himself an animal killer. He was a hunter.
Boomer decided that he was still a hunter. He was a hunter of bad people. If he had to kill them, he would not revel in that fact. He would kill out of necessity, and in order to feed justice. Simple as that.
He did his warm up exercises, then went through his list of karate kata. His extensive list of twenty ancient kata, he performed three times each. Then he ran fifty laps around the perimeter of the house. He finished in just less than ninety minutes.
He went inside for a shower and some breakfast, and then he would finish the task at hand.
It was approximately 9:00 AM, when he opened the door to the bedroom that housed Juan Pablo Lopez. The man was already awake and staring coldly and directly at him as he entered.
He made his way forward and immediately removed the tape from Juan Pablo’s mouth. Juan Pablo started to say something, but the first of Boomers savage right hands landed to the left side of his head.
Boomer threw two more successive right hands, all to the exact same spot, right in front of Juan Pablo’s left ear, and on his upper jaw. The effect was devastating, and left Juan Pablo in a state of semi unconsciousness.
Boomer waited patiently for Juan Pablo to regain his senses. And then he looked closely at him and said, “Senior Lopez, this is a bad day for you my friend, a very bad day indeed.”
Juan Pablo was struggling. His face was already swelling tremendously on the left side where he had absorbed the vicious, unprotected blows. Although he was considered by many, a ruthless man, he was not a man of these means. He could not remember ever being in such a predicament before.
“Senior Lopez, we both know you are a business man. So, I will make you a business proposition. You give me the names of three of your top buyers. I will check them out to ensure you are telling me the truth. If you are, I will set you free. If not, I will cut off both your feet and throw you out in the desert to die,” Boomer leaned in close as he finished.
“It is a tough deal,” Boomer continued, “And I respect you for understanding that business, is just business. But in this case, it is the truth, and only the truth, that can save you.”
Juan Pablo was certain this man was the devil himself. He was also certain that his only chance was to give the man the information he wanted, and then pray that he kept up his end of the bargain. This time, saving the others could not save him. And as the man said, business is business. And after all, that’s all it was.
He nodded his head in the affirmative manner. He closed his eyes and just kept nodding yes. What else could he do?
The man rose and left the room. When he returned he had a warm washcloth, and began to wash Juan Pablo’s face, and placed the warm compress against his cheek.
He left again, and came back with a zip lock bag full of ice and held it to Juan Pablo’s face. He said to Juan Pablo, “I have no desire to hurt you further, but the information must be truthful. I do hope you understand, Senior.”
The man left once again, and when he returned he had a chair from the kitchen table, and a notepad and pen. He quickly sat down before Juan Pablo, and looked the man directly in his eyes.
“You’re most prized customer, Senior Lopez,” said Boomer.
“Senator Maxwell Harrington, from your great state of Kansas,” he said without hesitation.
Boomer just about choked, and was visibly taken back by the man’s statement. Juan Pablo merely smiled. The best he could, anyway.
“Does that surprise you, young man? Do you think that your Country is immune from such disease? Come now, do not be so naive,” he stated with smug satisfaction.
Boomer made his notes, and looked at the old man and said simply, “Number two.”
“Carlos Antonio Veron, the head of the local cartel within the state of Durango, in the northwest quadrant of Chihuahua,” said Juan Pablo with some difficulty on his part.
“This is a very dangerous man, Senior. If you do not kill him, he will kill us both if he learns of our encounter.”
Again, Boomer made his notation, and looking up at Juan Pablo he said, “And the last one.”
“The last one is the head of the snake senior. Rarely does he make the purchase, but I know it is to him, where they go. His name is Tuksin Somwan. He is from Bangkok, Senior. You will not be able to touch him. He is far too powerful, even for you,” added Juan Pablo with a smile.
Juan Pablo smiled. It was a weak smile, from a worried man.
“There you are Senior, my end of the bargain is complete,” he said.
“Yes it is Juan Pablo,” said Boomer as he made his final notes.
“Are you sure these are the men you wish to declare,” he added.
“Yes, these are the three top buyers, my top three for over four years now. Yes, this is the truth, and you may check it out, with whatever means you choose,” said Juan Pablo proudly.
“I believe you, Senior, I do believe you have given me the truth. And so I offer you your just reward,” Boomer said.
As he pulled out his pistol, Juan Pablo could not believe his eyes. The gringo had played him for the fool, and he had given the truth for nothing.
Boomer never said another word. He leveled his pistol from four feet away and punched a whole right between Juan Pablo’s eyes. Then he turned away, gathered his belongings and headed back for the river.
His work was done for the day. And more importantly justice had been served. Yet the plot thickened, and he knew not what was in store.
Two days later Boomer was standing on the bank of the Platte, fighting a nice big ol’ rainbow trout. In fact, this morning he had caught several. Each time, he gently removed the delicate fish from the barbless hooks he used on all of his hand tied flies, and released the fish back into the river.
He pondered on the ease of catching the beautiful, but extremely wary fish. He knew the answer was in the proper presentation of the bait. You couldn’t just throw a piece of bait in the water, no you could not. A lunker trout of any species, was a very wary, but vicious predator, and very difficult to catch.
So, that’s what I am, thought Boomer. I am a hunter and a fisherman. It was somewhat ironic, in that many men consider themselves such. There simply are more levels to the equation than meets the eye.
As he laid his line out with the ease of a polished fly fisherman, the water boiled, and the fight was on. He knew right away that this was a nice one. The fish fought a magnificent fight. The fisherman fought even harder.
Patience, thought Boomer, let him go where he wants to. He’s already hooked and he knows it. The fish came out of the water, and exploded through the air. Boomer knew the fish was fighting for his existence. Yet, was he not also fighting for his own.
The fight lasted for over ten minutes. In the end the fish gave up. Tired, and exhausted from the fight, he succumbed to his fate and rolled over on his side. Boomer reeled him in the last few feet, all the while taking in the beauty of his prey.
A giant German Brown Trout, and the sweet succulent meat that Boomer craved more than any other in the river. In fact this was his favorite fish of all time. There were none that tasted finer, and this giant must have weighed over ten pounds.
Boomer slowly, and gently removed the hook from the big fishes mouth. He looked at the fish for a moment, then put the fish back into the cold, rushing water, and released his grip.
“There you go big fella,” Boomer said, as he watched the big fish come back to life, and then dart away to his safe haven. “You haven’t done a thing wrong, no sir you haven’t.”
Boomer stood there for a moment, staring into the river. He absorbed the experience. He closed his eyes, and let his thoughts continue. He allowed himself to indulge in the knowledge that life was about give, and take. That the predators of this earth, were simply feeding an internal craving, a need to seek out that which they wanted. In this moment of time, he knew who he was.
Walter “Boomer” Moran was the predator of predators.
He turned away, and headed back up to the cabin. He made himself a nice fat cheese and ham omelet. He sat out on the back porch and ate heartily. He enjoyed his two cups of strong Cuban coffee and he thought about heading home, back to Tucson for a day or two. Since he’d been back to the river cabin he had yet to go into the secret vault. No, he needed to relax, and gather his thoughts.
He felt no remorse for what he had done. Not to Dewey Rainmaker, nor to Juan Pablo Lopez. They were predators of a different sort. Those kinds can never be released back into the wild. Not ever.
He looked down at the satellite telephone he carried on his belt. He had not made or received a call from that phone since the first call he’d made.
That call had went to some type of answering service. The automated voice had simply said, “This device is for emergency use only. It is also a tracking device. Keep it with you at all times. Good luck.” And that was it. No further explanations, nothing.
He had to assume then that his source of communication would be from the vault. Obviously when he left, someone else came. He could already tell that by the fact that the groceries had been slightly restocked, and there was more beer in the fridge than when he left. Quite convenient really.
Well no use putting off the inevitable thought Boomer. He headed straight to the alarm panel, opened it and placed his palm on the glass. The bookcase slid away, revealing the small vault, and Boomer stepped through.
As he entered the small room, the doorway closed behind him, and he looked towards the little work station. And yes, there was a new envelope waiting. He thought briefly about not opening it, yet he knew his commitment had been made. He sat down and dumped the contents out onto his little table and began to read.
The instructions were quite simple. It said, “Work at your own pace. The information you now have, will lead you to where you should go. We do not wish to know, nor do we have a need to know. Come here as often as you like. Included are your passport and other required credentials. Good luck.”
He looked at the small packet and realized for the first time what was really happening. They were turning him loose.
They provided the first piece of information, and all the equipment and supplies he would need. But that was it. Passport, credit cards, a copy of his Social Security Card. He was hiding in the open. Wide open, for all to see. Actually he could see the beauty in it. It was the perfect camouflage, and the perfect cover. For now anyway.
If he deemed it necessary to have different credentials, then he would just tell them. But for now he could understand that this would make him remain wary of his own movement. He would have to watch and cover his own trail, at all times……….
The next afternoon found Boomer back at the office that had been rented especially for Cassandra’s Hero. They now carried an administrative staff that included the receptionist Helen, of course Rob, and his new assistant Aleese.
They were actually very busy, and they had just today completed the filing to make the small fund into a NPO, or a non-profit organization.
When Boomer came through the door, Rob was all smiles.
“Hey buddy, you back so soon,” Rob said.
“Well actually yes, and no,” Boomer said looking somewhat concerned.
“To be honest Rob, I think you know this is not me. But please let me say first, that I truly appreciate everything that you have done for me. And I mean everything,” Boomer added, while his friend Rob kept smiling.
“It’s ok, buddy, seriously. I’ve known all along. I think you’ll find your niche in the market,” he said. There was a distinct glimmer, or sign of recognition in Rob’s eye. “There’s no doubt in my mind.”
Boomer looked at his friend. There was nothing more to discuss. He reached out and shook Rob’s hand.
“You’re a good man, Rob,” said Boomer, looking his friend in the eye.
“You’re a good one yourself,” said Rob. “Guess this means you’ll be doing a lot of fishing and hunting, I mean, with all the time off your gonna have on your hands.”
Boomer just looked at his friend and said, “Yeah, guess I will.”
Rob looked at Boomer and said quietly, “Come see me when you can, my friend.”
“I’ll do that, I promise,” said Boomer, while the two men shook hands again. A long and firm shake it was too.
Boomer spent the rest of the day emptying out his apartment, and moving everything into a rented storage facility.
Thankfully, he thought, I’m still single and I don’t really own a whole lot of stuff. Once he got everything stored, he drove down to the precinct to say some goodbyes.
He told his old compadre’s it wasn’t anything permanent. He just needed to get away for a while and rediscover his life. Figure out what it was he wanted to do. They all seemed to understand, and they all wished him well.
When he left the precinct, he never looked back. He would head back to the river for a day or so and then, thought Boomer, I guess I’ll head over to Kansas. Do a little visiting.
When Boomer returned to the cabin, he knew he had some preparation and study work in front of him.
He spent his mornings working out, and then he went fishing. But from lunch time on, he stayed at his computer and studied his work like any professional should always do.
Senator Maxwell Harrington was a State Legislator, and not a full U.S. Senator. Boomer was thankful for this in two ways.
One, if the man was guilty, he would be a whole lot easier to deal with at the state level. Then again, just because Juan Pablo Lopez said he was his best buyer, did not make it so.
Two, Boomer just plain did not know if he could assassinate a sitting U.S. Senator. That was just a bit too deep for his first week on the job. Hell, he wasn’t sure he even wanted to kill this guy, either. Gonna have to think this one through, Boomer thought to himself.
I think this is going to be a fishing trip, he thought to himself. But some ideas were already coming together.
Senator Maxwell was a four term sitting senator, from District 19. That meant he was in his home turf, right there in Topeka. He had grown up on a small farm about seventy miles away, and had gone to Kansas University, before going on to Harvard Law.
He was fifty-six years old, married to his first wife, and had two children, both boys. One was a young Captain in the Air Force, and the other was currently enrolled at Kansas as a freshman. Squeaky clean on the topsides.
Obviously an intelligent man on the surface, Boomer knew that meant nothing when looking at a man’s secrets. And yes, everyone has secrets. No matter how small. No matter how deeply hidden. And then sometimes, there are those who appear normal in everything they do, yet they are monsters on the inside.
When you dealt with these kinds of animals, Boomer knew in his heart, it was the same as fishing and hunting. It was always about the lure. Putting something out there in front of them, they could not resist. And the best of lures, would always take out the most wary of predators. It was an internal flaw in the genetic makeup of the predator beasts.
And sometimes the best presentation is to just throw the lure right at them. Nothing fancy. Direct in their face, and force their hand. Make them choose then and there, and without the opportunity to study the situation at hand.
When Boomer arrived in Topeka, he checked in under his own name at the Senate Luxury Suites Hotel, just a block from the Capitol itself. His prior research had determined that the Senators were in house and working, so Boomer knew the place to be was right at the front door.
It took less than two days to determine that Senator Maxwell was a creature of habit when it came to eating. He took both breakfast and lunch at the Falling Water Grille, located in the prestigious Capitol Plaza Topeka. The full service open atrium hotel is located adjacent to the Kansas Expocentre and just a short walk from the Capitol itself. It also houses the very upscale Water’s Edge Lounge.
The next morning Boomer went to the Men’s Wearhouse off of Wanamaker Road, and purchased himself a nice Andrew Fezza suit, and a nice set of loafers. He wanted to look the part and certainly did not want to scare the Senator, nor did he want to appear out of place at the Falling Water, later that day.
He took a table for lunch, at approximately 1:00 PM, having noted on the two previous days that the Senator was a late luncher. He ordered for two, and at exactly 1:17 PM the Senator walked into the restaurant alone, and the hostess took him to his seat.
Boomer approached the Senators table, looking quite the executive professional that he was and said, “Excuse me Senator, but would you care to join me at my table.”
The Senator simply looked at Boomer and said, “I’m sorry, do I know you.”
“No sir, but I do know that you know Juan Pablo Lopez. If you could please join me, our dinner will be here momentarily,” Boomer added most graciously.
The Senator turned almost ashen. His composure failed him completely, and he started to speak, and then decided against it.
“We’re just right there Senator, if you would please,” added Boomer, with his hand outstretched and leading the way.
The Senator was overwhelmed, and yet he rose and followed the lead of this stranger. Dear God, he thought. Oh, Jesus. He was dizzy, and could barely walk. His world was crashing down upon him, and his mind began racing through the possible scenario’s of the predicament he seemed to be caught in this very moment. That this is fucking unbelievable, was the best his mind could do for him on such short notice.
“Please, please, just have a seat Senator. Everything will be fine,” said Boomer. He was smiling and talking so quietly, as if he was trying to hypnotize the Senator into obeying his every command. And it was working.
The Senator sat down across from Boomer and just stared at the man who had delivered the one, single crushing blow that he had dreaded for years. He had always known this day would come. And yet, he was not ready. Why in God’s name had he fallen into the trap? Why had he allowed himself to take liberties with the young ones? Why, why, why? His mind continued the barage of internal questioning.
As he looked at the man across the table from him, he leaned forward. He did not want to be overheard, and his voice was just above a strained whisper. “I guess this is the end of my political career,” he asked.
Boomer leaned forward as well. He also did not wish for anyone other than the Senator to hear his response. “No sir, this is the end of your life.”
The Senator went white, yet Boomer continued. “You walk your ass right up that stairway, to the top of the Atrium, and you jump. You do that and nothing will ever be revealed. Your family will be protected, and no one will ever know. Anything less and the world will judge you for what you have done.”
Boomer looked him square in his eyes, and got up from the table and walked out of the Hotel. The Senator got up, walked up the Atrium stairs, and jumped.
Before Boomer could get back to his hotel, he could hear the sirens blaring. Bunches of them. He continued on to his hotel room, changed into his workout clothes and headed down to the on-site fitness center.
Within twenty minutes the local news station was breaking the story. Boomer ran on the treadmill as he watched. KSNT 27 News broke in on the regular programming.
“This is Kaitlyn Minton, KSNT 27 News. We are on the scene, live, just outside the Capitol Plaza Topeka, where apparently State Senator Maxwell Harrington has just taken his own life. Early reports from witnesses on the scene, say the Senator jumped from the top of the Atrium staircase, in an apparent suicide. I’m here live now with witness John Fratten, who was in the hotel at the time of the incident……”
The remainder of the interview was of no importance to Boomer. He walked over to the multi gym and laid down on the bench to do his bench press sets.
He would leave in the morning and head back to the river. He was content that the Senator was in fact guilty, and therefore felt no remorse for his own actions.
Boomer had never mentioned anything to the Senator, except the name of Juan Pablo Lopez. If that in fact was enough to make a grown man jump to his death, then without a doubt, he was guilty of his crimes and deserving of his punishment.
The next morning Boomer began the drive back to the river, and back to the solitude he so desired. He actually looked forward to getting back out on the river, and fishing for the magnificent trout that seemed so plentiful.
It was an amazing set up. The cabin, the river, the job. Was it really a job? Boomer thought long and hard about his new found situation as he drove. Was it really something he wanted to do, or needed to do. In the end he decided it was what it was. A simple opportunity to do something he could do. When it was time to walk away, that’s what he would do as well.
The next morning at the Belmont Hotel in Dallas, Judge Jonathan Barkhurst Merriweather II, was enjoying an unbelievably good, but true to form breakfast at the Cliff Cafe.Its serene blue floors, cushy booths, and muted yellow walls were lit by a multitude of antique lanterns. It was quite the place to be seen, and the food and staff tremendous. Judge Merriweather presided over the Court of Appeals for the Fifth District of Texas at Dallas. The Fifth District has jurisdiction over appeals from both district and county courts located in Dallas, Collin, Grayson, Hunt, Rockwall and Kaufman counties. The Judge had been sitting at this bench for the last eight years.
He opened his copy of the Dallas Morning News, and the front page story caused him to gasp uncontrollably. His good friend Senator Maxwell Harrington was dead. My God, a suicide.
Oh my, he thought. I’ll need to make some arrangements this morning, yes, and send flowers as well. Yet even as he stared down at his paper, his body shook uncontrollably.
Jesus, I wonder what in the world he was thinking. But inwardly, he was afraid that he already knew. Please, not this, he thought to himself.
He continued reading his paper, but his mind was numbed. As he turned to the second page, he saw an unrelated story about the discovery of a wealthy, yet eccentric Mexican businessman by the name of Juan Pablo Lopez. He had been found dead near the Arizona/Mexican border, on the U.S.side. By all reports he had apparently been dropped out of an airplane or helicopter, from several thousand feet up. He had obviously been beaten, and then executed, prior to being dumped in the desert. Or so was the speculation of the local police and FBI.
Judge Jonathan Barkhurst Merriweather, the Second, puked into his breakfast plate. He then got up, and stumbled out of the restaurant, in a state of massive confusion. It was actually closer to outright terror………..
Boomer spent the next two days relaxing and fishing. He was not in a hurry. He remembered the words on the letter. Work at your own pace. Sounded good to him, he thought. He had yet to enter the vault since his return, as he was certain that when he did the work cycle would begin again. Tomorrow he thought, I will check the vault.
When he rose the next morning, Boomer was all business, and back to his normal routine. Workout, then breakfast, including the Cuban coffee he loved so much. Each time he drank this coffee, he had to reflect to himself just how good it was. The taste was simply incredible.
When he had finished his second cup, he went to the wall and slapped five with the panel, and the vault slid open. He went to his work station and sat down and picked up the envelope that was waiting for him. He opened it up and dumped the contents onto the table and began to read the enclosed instructions.
The context of this letter was somewhat different. It was still formatted very simply, and to the point. The subject of concern was one William Robert Graham. Age thirty-two, white male, unmarried, no military history, and employed by Aero Engineering of Atlanta. Lived alone in a nice upscale condo, and frequented all the gay bars in and around Cheshire Bridge Road in Atlanta,Georgia.
Over the past year seven individuals, all male, all white, and all gay, had come up dead. All the same, ice pick wounds to the upper torso. They had all been bled out completely prior to being dumped. In other words no blood. And two other strange coincidences. One, each victim had apparently been soaked in pure bleach for a number of hours and methodically scrubbed clean of any forensic evidence before being dumped out in the street totally nude. And two, none of the men were from Atlanta.
In other words a serial killer.
The subject wasn’t in much of a hurry, but the pattern was there for all to see. Local police and FBI efforts had reduced the likely suspects to this one man. They had a couple of other maybe’s, but the consensus was that this was their man. Problem was, no priors, and no concrete evidence, and certainly no witnesses. None that were talking anyway.
The solution, send Boomer to Atlanta. Work the local area. Hit the hangouts, especially the Cheshire Bridge area, to include his known hangouts the Heretic, the Jungle, and the Club Eros. Nice clubs, full of good people, and a lot of fun for those who chose.
But for this guy, this was his hunting grounds. This is where he went to feed his addiction. To quell the monster that raged within him.
He probably wasn’t gay cool; he was gay and hated it. Maybe he wasn’t even gay. Maybe he was just an opportunistic piece of shit, and just targeted gay men.
That was Boomer’s mission. Go in. Get close. Up close and personal. If the guy made a move, take him down. If not, they would wait. Maybe it was the wrong guy, but obviously they didn’t think so. If they’re sending me, Boomer thought, then they already know. He once again placed all documents into the shredder, and hit the button.
Not unlike any undercover operation, Boomer began with a planning strategy. He walked through the many scenarios he might encounter. What if the guy just wanted to have sex with me, thought Boomer. What if it’s not him. I guess I’ll just knock him on his ass and leave, thought Boomer. The more he thought about it, the more he didn’t like it.
As Boomer made his plans, he did the same as many of us do. He looked on the internet. He needed a hotel close to the action and this is what he found.
The Cheshire Motor Inn is indeed right out of circa 1955. There is also not another motel like it in the U.S. The staff and the Manager are all very kind and helpful, with the possible exception of the overnight clerk, who is not really that mean, but he really is not that nice either. Without a reservation, he most likely will not lease a room after midnight.
Also, there is the matter of the cruising by gay men. Most of the cruising takes place in the back building and in the many times I have stayed there, I have yet to see anyone mistreated in any way. Just as in any other hotel, in any city, keep your curtains drawn, door locked and you will be fine. The cruising has an added bonus that very few think about, it keeps the property safe. Criminals do not like witnesses and there’s rarely a time when people are not milling around, so the crooks go elsewhere. Parking is also free and that is extremely rare in today’sAtlanta. Also present is security; however you do not see them unless there is a problem, and problems are few and far between. Or so says the review of one patron. And so says Boomer. He called ahead and made reservations for a week. He got the truck packed up and drove up toDenver.
He left the truck in long term parking, and purchased a one way ticket to Atlanta on Delta’s flight 1904. It was a three hour non-stop flight, arriving in Atlanta at 3:30 PM Eastern Time.
He picked up his rental at Avis and was on his way. He decided to stop at a local Wally World for some groceries for the room, and then he hit the Roadhouse right in the parking lot for a steak dinner before checking in. No plans for tonight he thought. We’ll get settled in and relax, and be out on the town tomorrow, with the regular Friday night crowds.
He stayed in his room all night, not wanting to mingle with any of the men cruising the parking lot that evening. And yes, they were cruising. Boomer peeked out of the window a few times and there was certainly no lack of activity here.
The next morning Boomer woke up and did his workout in his room. They didn’t have a Fitness Center here, now did they?
No matter, he went through his routines, focusing on his Karate. He loosened up by shadow boxing, and throwing a multitude of kicks and punching combinations. As usual he drove himself from a moderate workout to an intense finish, lasting close to one hour.
After showering, he went out for breakfast and to do some scouting around. He needed to get the layout of the land. See what things looked like in the daytime, in case he needed to know where he was later. Buildings, streets, alley ways, everything was important to Boomer.
The photos of his subject, William Robert Graham, were already burned into his memory. Surveillance photos from a multitude of angles and positions. Hand gestures, facial gestures, they were ingrained in his memory as well. When Boomer saw this man for the first time, he would recognize him instantly. No doubt about it, what so ever.
According to surveillance reports, Graham liked to frequent the clubs in order. He was a late arriver, and usually showed at the Heretic first and usually around 9:00 PM. Sometimes he partied here all night, sometimes he would head over to the Jungle about midnight, along with many others who were just doing the scene.
Boomer showed up around 8:30 PM, and the place was already rocking. He took a seat at the bar and ordered a scotch on the rocks. He spun his stool to face out into the crowd, and tried to ease in to the mood and the environment. Time to act like a good undercover cop, and go gay quick. Boomer was a pro, and had no problems at all playing out the role.
He thought back to an incident that happened earlier in his career. He was at an FOP, or Fraternal Order of Police party with a bunch of the guys and gals on the force. He was a young Sergeant on the Narcotics squad at the time.
He was drinking with the husband of one of their rookie female cop’s, when the guy said to him, “Yeah, my wife’s wanting to get on the undercover team with you guys.”
“Really,” Boomer said.
“Hey, she’s really into this stuff, and she’s pretty hot too, ought to be easy for her to get in with some of those guys,” the guy went on, smiling.
Boomer remembered looking at the young man and saying, “And you wouldn’t mind her fucking some cranked up dope head, just to help us out, now would you.”
Boomer remembered driving home the point, “Yep, she’ll be coming and going all hours of the night. Dressing like a whore, and acting like one too. Won’t want to fuck you, cause she’s been fucking all day, and half the night, just trying to get the poop we need to bust these assholes.”
Boomer smiled as he remembered the young man’s look. His smile had fell off his face and hit the floor.
And no, the young lady never made an application for assignment to the Narcotics Division. She was a good cop though, and still was. Funny, some people just don’t have a clue what it takes to keep America safe. No clue at all.
Boomer was just about lost in thought when through the crowd he came. Walking straight towards the bar was William Robert Graham. And Boomer made it a point to look him up, down, and all around. He looked Boomer in the eye, smiled and made his way into the crowd at the bar. Boomer picked up his drink and walked off into the crowd.
This was not a quiet bar. The music was jamming, the lights were swirling, and the dance floor was full. It was full of all kinds of people. Dudes with dudes, chicks with chicks, people by their self, it didn’t matter. Everybody was dancing, like in one big group. It was actually mesmerizing. Boomer eased into the crowd, and danced with them all. Hell, it was actually quite fun.
And Boomer was a pretty good looking guy, and certainly a man in great shape. Man or woman, he would not find it hard to start a conversation with anyone.
He danced his ass off for the next ten or fifteen minutes, smiling, mingling, touching, and swaying, but not talking. Just dancing. When the DJ pulled the hammer, he downed the rest of his drink and headed back to the bar.
What he didn’t see was William Robert Graham. But William Robert Graham definitely saw him. Oh, yes he did. And he liked what he saw.
Boomer had to practically fight his way to the bar. There were plenty of waitresses if you had a seat, but the crowd was already extremely thick. This was a big club, and must hold three, four hundred people, thought Boomer.
By the time he got to the bar, he was actually thinking about ordering two drinks instead of one. In fact that’s exactly what he did. Two double Johnny Blacks, to be precise. When he got his drinks, he threw down thirty-five in cash. “Will that work”, he asked the bartender.
“Thirteen bucks a piece, that’ll work,” she said, and she was off to another customer.
When Boomer turned to ease out of the crowd, he came face to face with William Robert Graham. Boomer had a drink in both hands, and his new found friend reached out and relieved him of one of them.
“Why, thank you so much. You’re new here. I haven’t seen you before,” he said.
Boomer never batted an eye, and certainly did give up, or back up from their closeness. “No, actually it’s my first time. Here I mean.”
The man just kind of nodded his head, like follow me and he turned and made his way out of the crowd surrounding the bar. Boomer followed him across the room, to a table full of partying people. People of all types. No one seemed to notice they were even there, or maybe they simply didn’t care.
The tables were large, each seating at least ten or twelve people. Everyone was engaged in conversation, but the music was so loud that in order to hear, you had to be close, real close. Maybe they planned it that way, thought Boomer.
They never sat down, but Boomer took the lead anyway and leaned in close. “My name’s Walter, but my friends call me Boomer,” he said.
The man just smiled. “My name’s William and my friends just call me William,” he said, clearly amused. “So Boomer, what brings you to our little hideout.”
“Oh, I don’t know, curiosity I guess,” Boomer said with a smile. “Actually I’m heading over to Tampa, to see some friends,” and Boomer paused just momentarily.
“Hey, truthfully I just got divorced, and I need a break. I just wanted to get away for a week or two,” he added.
“Ouch,” said William, “She didn’t hurt you did she Boomer.”
“Long story, bad ending, but hey who cares, anyway,” Boomer said, looking William directly in his eyes. Put out the lure, thought Boomer. If he’s a predator, he’ll bite. They always do.
Boomer went on, “So, I thought I’d stop here for a couple of days. You know, I heard the place was upbeat, so I just thought, I don’t know, that I might give it a try.”
“Oh my God, you’re a virgin,” William exclaimed. “I mean you’re not gay,” he added.
“Well no, not really,” Boomer said. “I guess I am curious though, I’m just not sure.” Bigger lure, direct presentation. Nothing scary, just straight to the point.
“Hey look,” said William, “and really no pressure intended, but I’m kinda throwing a special get together tonight for one of my special friends. It’s his birthday, and look, it might be an easy way to mingle with a few really cool gay people. Your welcome to come, it’ll be fun believe me.”
“Your house,” asked Boomer. He knew where this guy lived and it was quite a ways away.
“No, no. Look we all pitch in, and we have us a little party pad. Keeps the home front clean, if you know what I mean. Discretion is the key, baby,” said William. He was smiling now.
Funny how both men thought they were the one setting the hook, thought Boomer. But hey, I didn’t travel this far to walk away.
He looked at William and smiled. With all the talent he could muster. “You sure it would be okay, I mean with your friends.”
“Of course, man, everybody’s open dude. No pressure on anyone. Really it’ll be a blast.”
Boomer said, “Sounds good then, I mean really, it sounds exciting.”
“Great, man, look it’s just a few blocks away, we can take my ride if you want,” said William. That was his hook, and he set it deep.
“Let’s do it then,” said Boomer enthusiastically. Oh, yeah, we’re on now. Won’t be long now, thought Boomer. It will either be a yeah, or a nay.
They both left the club and went out to William’s car. A very nice 1969 Jaguar XK E-Type, in British Racing Green, no doubt. Sweet ass ride, thought Boomer.
As they got into the car Boomer commented, “Very, very nice dude. Twelve cylinders, I imagine.”
William just kind of looked over his glasses, “Is their any other, really.”
The two men pulled out of the parking lot at 9:52 PM, and within minutes were across Interstate 85. William turned right on Buford Highway, and looked at Boomer, and pushed the gas down. The big twelve cylinder engine roared to life, and both men laughed out loud.
William brought the powerful car’s speed down and quickly made his turn onto East Roxboro, and then veered right onto North Druid Hills Road.
He looked over at Boomer and said, “She’s the only girl I’ve ever owned that’s never hurt me, and asks nothing of me. You ought to get you one.”
“She’s a nice one, not many like her left either,” agreed Boomer.
In less than eight minutes, and after driving less than four miles, William pulled into the prestigious townhome community, The Escape, and maneuvered through the common areas until he came to a rear entry double garage of a beautiful three story town home.
The garage door opened automatically, and William eased the sleek automobile into the garage and the door closed behind them.
“This is it,” he said. “Told you we were close. Hey come on up, you’ll love it here.”
William punched the button on the wall, which opened the elevator door, and the two men got in. When the door opened and they stepped out, Boomer was really surprised. Stunned would be a better word. This was an unbelievably beautiful home. Not old school, but upscale hip and modern. And no carpet, just killer looking exotic wood floors.
“Nice, very nice,” said Boomer taking in the whole ambiance. Killer lighting, immaculately furnished, monstrous flat screen that looked like a movie theatre.
“Impressive,” he added.
William smiled and said, “Well thank you. Here let me get us a drink, and then I’ve got a couple of things to do, before everyone gets here,” and he headed off towards the bar.
He quickly made a couple of drinks, top-shelf scotch on the rocks, and handed one to Boomer. He hit a button on the wall console that apparently was like a master panel for the entire entertainment center, and the big plasma screen fired up with a music video plumbed completely through the surround sound system.
“I just love it here,” said William, “Fully sound proofed walls. It’s great, we never get a complaint, and we never have to make one. Look, I gotta run upstairs real quick, but the bath’s right over there, and really, just mingle around, it’s okay.”
“Cool,” said Boomer.
As Boomer just looked around, he thought about the situation. Private place, not his home, and sound proofed, that was interesting. William certainly could not afford a place like this on his salary that was certain.
The car, well you never knew how someone could have acquired a car, even one as nice as that one.
When William came back down stairs ten minutes later, he was dressed like some kind of fucking witchdoctor.
He looked at Boomer and said, “Welcome to my nightmare.”
Boomer thought, “What the fuck.”
As Boomer looked on, William headed towards him. In his arms he was carrying a group of ten or twelve spears. The spears were pointed, but not with conventional stone spearheads. No these were tipped with very slim, very long, stainless steel spikes. Like ice picks.
William dropped them at his feet. All except one. He looked at Boomer with a crazy, sadistic look, which was blended to his face with the strange face paint that he had apparently applied to himself while upstairs.
“Let’s party you little faggot,” he hissed, and drew the spear up over his shoulder and hurled it at Boomer.
These were not toys, but perfectly balanced, lethal weapons. The spear covered the twenty feet between them with extraordinary speed and accuracy.
Boomer spun to get out of the way, but the projectile was much too fast. The six inch long spike buried itself in Boomer’s left arm, just above his elbow. The length of the spike went completely through and penetrated slightly into his rib cage.
Even as Boomer screamed, he began pulling out the five foot long spear. As he looked up, William was already preparing to throw the second.
No sooner than he had it out, the second spear was on its way. Boomer deflected the spear off to his left side, and attacked. As he closed the distance between them, William was already grabbing another spear.
As the two men closed, it became a battle of close quarters. William thrust forward in an attempt to spear Boomer in his mid section.
Boomer deflected the attempt, and used a side strike, landing a vicious blow to the side of William’s head.
William began a series of furious center thrusts towards Boomers stomach.
Boomer fought to evade, and deflect them the best he could, but his wounded left arm hampered his best defense. Within seconds one of the thrusts found it’s home deep in Boomer’s lower abdomen.
Just as quickly it was out, and William was swinging the shaft in a downward arc, striking Boomer on the head and knocking him to his knees.
Boomer knew his life was in peril, and just as William lifted the spear high to deliver his final strike, Boomer drove up and into his body. He ran forward lifting William’s body up off the floor, and drove him into the wall. He turned his body slightly away, and executed the perfect harai-goshi, or sweeping loin throw, driving William to the floor.
Boomer followed him down to the floor and mounted the man and began pummeling him with both fists. The ground and pound technique was devastating. Boomer could see the man losing it.
Boomer brought his right hand high and delivered a crushing blow to the man’s nose. With his left hand he pinned William’s head to the floor, and drove successive right hands into the lifeless mans head. He would leave no doubt in his mind, and threw at least ten more blows to the man’s head before he rolled off, exhausted, and bleeding profusely.
Boomer was hurt, and he was hurt bad. He knew it, and he knew he had to get out of there as well. He stumbled to the front door, and walked out onto the lawn and right into the next door neighbor and his wife, who were returning from dinner out on the town.
She screamed, and Boomer collapsed. He was down, and bleeding at a rate that was not sustainable. Within minutes, he could hear the sirens as they drew near. He was aware of people around him, working on him, asking him questions, yet he drifted in and out without response.
He awoke four hours later, after emergency surgery at Atlanta’s Piedmont Hospital. There were two armed Police Officers in the room with him when he woke. There were two Detectives outside the room waiting for him to get to a point where the Doctor would allow them to interview him.
There were several Media crews on the ground at the hospital, as well as at the crime scene, all asking questions, and wanting to know the names of the victims, and the details of the crime. They would not be leaving until they got them.
The police certainly already had these details but were not releasing any statements at this time. Things were moving fast inside the police circles, as they had quickly identified the deceased as William Robert Graham, the subject of a dual FBI and Atlanta PD investigation.
It also took very little time to determine who else they had. He was a former police officer out of Tucson, Walter “Boomer” Moran. With a couple of quick phone calls they knew most everything about Boomer and his recent experiences. What they did not know, was what the hell he was doing in Atlanta, and especially what was he doing with their guy Graham. That made no sense what so ever. What did make sense was holding out on the press release until they could find out.
In the end, Atlanta’s Police Chief Kevin Richardson, after meeting with Mayor Richard Townsend, and the FBI’s Atlanta Bureau Chief, held the press conference that none of them wanted to give.
Once again Boomer found himself thrust into the national headlines. He had yet to make any statements, and in fact was waiting for his attorney Rob Jordan to arrive from Tucson, before even considering doing so. Boomer knew his situation was not a good one.
Given Boomer’s reputation and who he was, he was not getting a lot of pressure from the locals or the FBI. They were content to wait for his attorney, and needed to follow legal protocol anyway.
And really, considering he bagged this piece of shit Graham for them, they really were on Boomers side anyway. They just could not put together the angle on how and why he was here.
Even as Rob Jordan was in the air, heading to Atlanta, the story was breaking around the big cities across America. In his home in Topeka, Kansas, John Fratten was sitting on his couch watching the television, when the story was played by 27 News.
He jumped to his feet, in instant recognition. The guy, the cop, Boomer Moran, was the same guy sitting at the table across from his, at the Falling Water Grill. The same guy that was talking to Senator Maxwell Harrington, just minutes before the Senator jumped to his death.
John Fratten ran to his kitchen and retrieved his local phone book, and was dialing his phone within seconds. In two rings the other end was answered by a female computer generated voice.
“Welcome to KSNT- Channel 27. If you know your parties extension, you may dial it at any time. If you need the 27 News Team please press 1 now,” the voice said.
He never heard anything else as the phone connected to the News Department.
“This is KSNT-27 News, this is Sheila, how may I direct your call,” a new voice said softly.
Thank God, a human voice, thought John Fratten. “Yes please, I need to speak with Kaitlyn Minton. Tell her this is John Fratten, the man she interviewed at the hotel on the day of Senator Harrington’s suicide. Tell her I need to speak to her immediately,” he added.
“I’m sorry, Miss Minton is not available at this time, would you like to leave a message sir,” the voice said.
“Sure,” said Fratten, “Tell her if I don’t hear from her in five minutes I’m calling another network. My number is 612-6655. Five minutes tops.”
John Fratten hung up his phone and waited. In less than three minutes his phone was ringing.
“Fratten,” was all he said.
“Kaitlyn Minton, 27-News, what’s up,” she said.
“Look, are you up on what just happened out in Atlanta. Ex-Tucson cop kills serial killer,” said Fratten excitedly.
“Not exactly, why,” she asked.
“Why is a good question? Our boy, the cop or ex-cop in question was the man sitting with Senator Harrington just before he jumped off the Atrium stairs that day. I don’t know what the connection is, or if there is one, but seems to me that this man is attracting death wherever he happens to be,” concluded Fratten.
Kaitlyn Minton was completely clueless as to what he was talking about. But she was a good, solid investigative reporter, and she could smell a story from a mile away. She also was not about to let this lead, or any lead of this magnitude slip out of her grasp.
“Don’t talk to anyone else about this. Can you come to my office right away,” she asked. There was something here, she could feel it.
“I’ll be right there. Give me forty-five minutes,” Fratten said as he hung up his phone. He quickly freshened up, and was on his way within ten minutes.
As soon as they hung up, Kaitlyn Minton was doing what she did best. She started on her computer, first to the story coming out of Atlanta, and then on to researching the background of Walter “Boomer” Moran. Then she started making phone calls. To the Tucson press, the Tucson Police Department, and to Tucson City Hall.
It did not take long for her to figure out who Boomer Moran was. A highly skilled, professional police officer, he was well liked and respected by everyone she talked to. It also did not take her long at all to figure out something else. Death and Boomer Moran were walking hand in hand.
The man loses his job and becomes a local hero for killing some sadistic piece of shit, during an arrest in a child abduction case. Then he’s seen with Senator Maxwell Harrington just before he leaps to his death in an apparent suicide. Now he’s seriously wounded in an Atlanta hospital, after supposedly beating a suspected serial killer to death with his bare hands.
Kaitlyn Minton smiled the biggest smile that had ever spread across her face. This was the shit, she thought. The shit that Pulitzer Prize’s are all about. This was a fucking story. And she was going to drive this one into the ground.
What the hell was going on here, she thought. One thing was sure, the linking piece of the puzzle was with John Fratten, and she had to figure out how to keep him quiet for the moment on that.
Her phone buzzed, “Miss Minton, a John Fratten to see you,” said Sheila from out front.
Kaitlyn quickly walked out to greet her visitor. Although they had not seen each other since the interview, she always reviewed her performances several times for technique, and presentation, and therefore easily recognized the professionally dressed, middle aged gentlemen as she approached.
They shook hands as they came together, and Kaitlyn quickly ushered her guest away from the lobby and into the private confines of her office.
“Mr. Fratten, let me bring you up to speed on what information I have been able to gather since we spoke,” Kaitlyn began. She would need to quickly take charge of their relationship as it pertained to this story.
She spent the next ten minutes building up the scenario that Boomer was the local, home town hero. He had stepped outside of his local jurisdiction, and had lost his job because of it. In fact he had now killed two very serious criminals. But the problem was what was in the middle. The Senator.
“I don’t know how to say this Mr. Fratten, but the information we share could be crucial evidence. It could also be very dangerous information to possess until we know how it is linked to the others, or if it is even linked to the others, at all,” she said.
“Dangerous,” said Fratten. His face carried a look of uncertainty, ” How so.”
“Sir, what type of business are you in, if you don’t mind me asking,” she asked as she leaned in towards him.
“Why, I own a little art shop right around the corner from the Capitol Plaza, the Gallery “K”, why,” he asked.
“Well, look at it like this. If someone walked in and sold you a painting, and later that day you found out it was a priceless Van Gogh, would you call me for a full press release, or quietly start doing some homework. More importantly would you protect your find, or let everyone in the world know you had it,” she looked him dead in the eye as she finished.
“I see your point, but this is information that might be important to law enforcement,” he said adding, “It might not be legal to withhold it.”
“I can see your point too, but you really need to understand the seriousness of such information. Give me forty eight hours, and we’ll go to the authorities together. I’m sure we will need to call the FBI, but I want a chance to dig into this Senator Harrington issue in order to protect ourselves. I don’t need any unwanted accusations being made out of my office, and I’m sure you can relate to the same thing.”
She could sense his hesitant feelings, and needed to push just a little more.
“Let me just check up on all of this. I’ll keep you posted each and every day, and we’ll meet again the day after tomorrow, right here, say 3:00 PM. Fair enough,” she said.
“I don’t know, and I don’t like it. But then you are more of the expert in areas like this. This is more than I care to deal with, I can tell you that. Makes me nervous as hell,” said John Fratten.
But the deal was done, and she had her forty-eight hours. Time to go to work.
As soon as Rob Jordan made his way out of the Atlanta airport, he took a taxi straight to the hospital. He had no idea as to what Boomer was doing here, and surely he thought that it must simply be a circumstance of chance. What in the world would he be doing with this man, this suspected serial killer.
Boomer had already been stepped down from the surgical ICU, to a private room on the eighth floor. When Rob arrived he found the door to Boomer’s room closed, and one of Atlanta’s finest standing at the nurse’s station directly across from Boomer’s room.
He introduced himself as Boomer’s attorney and requested to see him.
“No problem sir, I will just need to check your identification, and contact my superiors, but that will just take a moment and we will get you right in,” said the young officer.
Within five minutes, Rob was in the room and at Boomer’s side.
“Hey buddy, how you doing,” said Rob.
“Hey man, good to see you, and thanks for coming,” said Boomer, somewhat groggy headed.
“Look Boomer, we need to get to the facts here,” Rob said seriously. “No use pretending we can wait. They are going to want to interview you as soon as possible, and I doubt they’ll wait till tomorrow.”
Boomer looked at his friend, and felt a tinge of guilt for having dragged him into this mess so close to his own tragedy. “Look man, I’m sorry as hell to drag you into this shit. Really I am truly sorry.”
“It’s ok; just bring me up to speed. I need to know what we’re dealing with here,” Rob said genuinely. Really there was nothing he would not do for this man, within reason of course. But the limits were high, real high.
The next fifteen minutes blew Rob’s mind. Really, it blew him away. Boomer told him everything. The cabin, the set up with Juan Pablo Lopez, the information gleaned from their encounter, and the subsequent meeting with the Senator from Kansas. Then this deal, here in Atlanta, and everything he knew about William Robert Graham. He told Rob how the whole deal was working, even about the vault at the cabin, everything. Boomer was not a fool. He knew he was entitled to attorney/client privilege, and he also was smart enough to know he was in deep shit here.
A knock at the door, and in came two suits. Detectives out of Atlanta PD, Homicide Division no doubt.
“Detective Branch, and this is my partner Detective Williamson,” said the older of the two. “Hoping we can get a statement if we might.”
Rob took the lead instantly. “Other than the fact that my client was attacked by some kind of fucking mad man, and that he was required to use deadly force in the defense of his life, I’d say right now gentlemen, that for now, that’s all we have to say.”
Rob looked at both men with an air of certain professionalism.
“I am assuming that no charges are being brought at this time,” he continued, “And with my client’s condition being what it is, I would say that we are likely to be here for a few days. We will happily advise you before we discharge from the hospital, and head back to Tucson, if that is ok with you,” he concluded.
“Actually we are going to need a statement before Mr. Moran leaves, but no, there are not any charges pending at this time,” Detective Branch conceded.
He really hated being manhandled by attorneys, but hey, it was part of the job, and there were not any plans at this time to charge anyone with any crime.
That would be for the District Attorney to decide, but the scuttlebutt was already out, and there was nothing here but jubilation at having nailed this Graham asshole, anyway.
As soon as the Detectives left, Rob looked at Boomer and said, “Look Boomer, this is kind of a mess here. Best we say nothing at all, to anyone outside of our little circle so to speak. I’m going to call my buddy Trey, who owns the cabin. You haven’t met him I’m assuming, but obviously the two of you are connected in some way. With him you never know, because he never really tells. For sure though, we want his input,” Rob concluded.
He had a worried look on his face, and he really felt they were quite vulnerable at this point.
Boomer looked at his friend and said, “Your call Rob, we’ll do it however you see fit.”
“Great, you get some rest. Say nothing to anyone. Nothing at all. I’m going to get a room nearby, make some calls, and put together a plan,” Rob said smiling, “We’ll talk tomorrow morning, okay buddy.”
After Rob left, Boomer was fast asleep within minutes. His body needed rest in order to heal. He was in great shape, and that helped, but his body had taken on some serious injuries.
For now he just needed rest……….
Back in Dallas, the Judge was frantic. He really was having great difficulty thinking. Hell, he was having great difficulty breathing. At this very moment he was sitting in his car, on the fourth floor of the parking deck across the street from the Courthouse, literally afraid to go in.
The last few days had been a living hell. In fact it had been five days of sheer terror. He knew he was doomed. He could feel it. What the fuck were they thinking?
Almost five years had gone by since that first fateful day. He and his good friend Max Harrington had taken a week long business trip to Tokyo to shore up a potential business deal. It concerned a local, but large automotive parts supplier business located in Topeka, but headquartered out of Dallas.
That’s where they had met Hideki Mitsumori, the CEO of Injin Automotive. The three men hit it off quite well, and their Japanese host provided them with the most exquisite, and tantalizing treats they could ever hope to have enjoyed. Food, drink, and of course the women. All three were of the highest caliber available in the world. Or so they thought.
Four days into their trip Hideki summoned them to his office. Once there he approached the two men on their most primitive level. He offered them a quick overnight excursion into their most seductive desires. They quickly and secretively flew out of Japan on his latest Learjet acquisition, and hastily made way for Bangkok, Thailand.
Once there, they did not mingle with the crowds of normal people, foreign or domestic. No, they were met by the elite of Bangkok’s nightlife, and one of Hideki’s closest friends, Tuksin Somwan.
Tuksin Somwan was to Bangkok, what any Hollywood star is to Los Angeles. Only more. Far more. Tuksin Somwan held the secrets of many and for that reason alone, he was in fact a very powerful man.
Tuksin’s palace was the pinnacle of success. His estate was monstrous. His security detail was top notch, and no one entered the palace that was not an invited guest. For that matter, no one left that was in any way a question, or for any reason, a risk to the security of the palace itself.
What went on there, stayed there. It made Las Vegas look like a joke.
It was here that both he and Max Harrington had allowed themselves to do the unthinkable. In America and in many places around the world it was truly out of bounds. Way out of bounds. But not here. No, here a man could satisfy his most discreet desires. Here there were no limitations to the imagination, and nothing was off limits.
It was a place Judge Jonathan Barkhurst Merriweather II, wished he had never seen in his life. The Judge sighed, and in a moment relented to his fate. He was done. He had no other option that was open in his mind. He would call his son. Not so much for his help, but he felt the need to alert him to the possible future outcome.
His son, Jonathan Barkhurst Merriweather III, was employed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as their Senior Legal Advisor on the Child Abduction Taskforce. If this were to come out it would devastate him. Professionally, he would be ruined. On a personal level, the consequences were simply unimaginable.
Right then the Judge understood why Max had taken his own life. At this point in time, he also considered that action may best suit him as well. Yet, he felt compelled to make the call.
Jonathan Barkhurst Merriweather, the Third, was sitting comfortably in his favorite chair watching the national news on CNN. They were running a back burner follow up on the burial of Senator Maxwell Harrington. That’s odd he thought, I wonder why Dad didn’t call me. His father and the Senator were fairly close friends. And a suicide as well, damn that just doesn’t make any sense. His thoughts were broken by the buzz of his cell phone.
He looked at the number, and it was his friend Rob.
“Hey Robby, what’s up,” said Trey.
“Trey, I hate to hit you with anything like this but I have to,” Rob said.
“Look Boomer is here in the hospital in Atlanta, seems he got himself fucked up by some serial killer according to the locals,” Rob added. “Hell I’m surprised you haven’t seen it on the news yet. He beat the guy to death Trey, and the shit’s getting hot here. You know they are wanting to know what he’s doing here. The whole show.”
Fuck me, thought Trey.
“Ok, just stall them and don’t say shit. I’ll get some guys on it first thing in the morning. Look Robby, you’re a good attorney, just play it out like one. I’ll talk to you in the morning.”
That’s not good, thought Trey. Gonna have to think this through and quick. Just as he sat back down the phone buzzed again.
This time it was his father.
He flipped it open. “Hey Pops, what the hell, I’m sitting here right now watching a story about Max’s suicide. Why didn’t you call me?”
Nothing. No response at all. “Pops, you there,” asked Trey.
“Son, I’m in big trouble,” the older Merriweather said. Then he broke down.
Trey could hear his father sobbing on the other end of the line. He was concerned, but even more confused. He had never seen or heard his father cry. For that matter, he had rarely ever seen the man even lose his composure.
“What’s the problem Dad, what’s going on here,” Trey asked somewhat bothered.
“Son is this line secure,” his father asked.
“Secure enough for what,” Trey asked. Now he was really concerned. What the hell was happening here, he thought.
When his father failed to say anything, Trey said, “Look it’s as secure as it get’s. What the fuck.”
“Look son, I really don’t know how to say this, so you listen and I’ll talk. When I’m done then you ask me whatever you want to ask me. But you listen first,” the elder Merriweather said somewhat coldly.
“Ok, just tell me what the hell is happening,” Trey responded.
“Five days ago Max Harrington jumped to his death at the Capitol Plaza,” his father started. “The next day the paper runs that story, and another one. A story about the death of a wealthy Mexican business man by the name of Juan Pablo Lopez.”
Trey heard what his father just said, but his mind did not want to digest it. “Pops, you didn’t know this guy,” begged Trey.
“I said don’t interrupt me, son,” his father said. His voice was not hysterical. It was icy cold.
“Fuck that,” said Trey. “We bagged that piece of shit ourselves. He was a drug dealing, child abducting, child trafficking piece of shit.”
It was now Trey who was hysterical. His head felt like it was about to explode. He could feel the words coming at him like a locomotive bearing down.
“I’m sorry son,” said the father.
“Noooooo,” Trey screamed into the phone.
“You tell me you weren’t involved with that fucking piece of shit. You tell me that right now,” he screamed.
“I can’t do that son, I just can’t,” his father sobbed.
Over the next ten minutes or so, the old man told Trey everything he knew. About himself and Max. About the trip to Japan. About Hideki Mitsumori, and about Tuksin Somwan. He left out nothing. When he was done there was silence on both ends.
Jonathan Barkhurst Merriweather, the Second was done.
When he spoke next, his words were simple.
“I’m going out like Max, Trey. There’s nothing else I can do to protect you,” his father said calmly. “At this point it’s the least I can do,” he added.
Trey jumped quickly on that. “No,” he said. “I can fix this.”
His mind was moving fast. What would he need to do to contain this? Who all really was aware of this situation?
“Ok, who else knows about this? Did you and Max ever involve anyone else,” Trey asked hurriedly.
“Of course not. Hell no. Neither of us could afford to do that. We never mingled with anyone else from the States. We were always adamant about that,” said the elder Merriweather.
“Pops, take the fuck off. Right now. Fly down to the Tabacon. I’ll have someone contact you there. Go now, and don’t come back until we’ve spoken,” said Trey. “Please Pops just do it my way.”
“I just don’t know what to say, son. I can try it your way for now I guess, I just don’t know if I even want to,” he said.
The pause in the line was deathly quiet, and uncomfortable for both men. “Trey, I’m truly sorry,” the old man added.
“Just stay there until I get back to you,” said Trey, and he hung up the phone.
The Tabacon was a favorite hang out for the whole Merriweather Family. It was a five star, thermal spa resort in northern Costa Rica, near the base of the magnificent and beautiful Arenal Volcano. The resort’s spectacular location along the banks of the Tabacon River had made it a favorite of their family for years.
Now it had become a hideout of sorts for his father, Trey thought. What a mess. This was like a nightmare for the young FBI attorney.
His own father of all people. If it had not come out of his own mouth, he never would have believed that his father was capable of such low down shit. It was crazy.
Yet he was now faced with two distinct paths of action. He could clean up the mess behind him, or he could just have his ass whacked while he was in Costa Rica. He gave that some serious thought. Some really serious thought.
His whole career was on the line here, and he knew it. The Bureau just had no tolerance for shit like this, and he knew it was career over if anything leaked out. He picked up his phone and called his friend Dee Martin. Had to cover his ass too, Trey thought.
They quickly discussed the situation. It just about made Trey sick to his stomach to even think about it, let alone talk about it.
In the end he was not real happy with Dee’s take on the situation. But he knew his friend was right. Even a small drip will turn into a big leak.
They would send in a team to scrub the cabin. Some minor construction would eliminate the vault. They could open the wall and re-construct the small area into part of the main living room. That part would be easy, and it would be done by tomorrow. The second part was the part that Trey didn’t like.
Dee Martin felt it was absolutely imperative to isolate all sources close to the situation.
That meant their boy Boomer had to go. No way around that, Dee Martin had said. The only link from Juan Pablo Lopez back to them was through Boomer Moran, and neither of them was willing to play out their careers on someone they didn’t know. Tough luck on that one.
The worst thing of all was the lingering question in both of their minds. Did Boomer get any information out of Juan Pablo Lopez. They were both sure of it, as it had led him to the Senator. And it scared them both. This was getting nasty very quickly.
Like many things in the world of dark operations, some things just had to be. You didn’t have to like it; you just had to do it. There was far too much at stake here to do anything else except shut down the whole operation. Dee Martin had said he would handle it. Trey was glad for that part.
On a positive note they had gleaned the information on Tuksin Somwan, and Hideki Mitsumori, and could pursue those two as well. Actually they would have too in order to close the loop, and protect the Judge.
When they hung up, both men contemplated on the fact that this day, was the worst day of their lives. Trey’s problem however was miniscule compared to that of Dee Martin. But then, Trey would never know that. The chill that went through Dee Martin’s body was one of those feelings that a man rarely ever feels. Hard and fast, it cut straight to the bone. His eyes narrowed, and his face tightened like the head of a drum, as a cold reality set in.
At 6:15 PM that same evening, Kaitlyn Minton boarded the Continental Airlines flight 3029 out of Kansas City International Airport.
She had driven the fifty-four miles from her apartment in Topeka, and parked her car in the long-term lot.
She had also called ahead and reserved a room for three days at the Super 8 on Peachtree Avenue, just less than a mile away from the Peidmont Hospital where Boomer Thompson was recovering from his injuries.
She arrived in Atlanta at 11:42 PM, took a cab to the Motel, and settled in for an early wakeup.
She stepped off the elevator on the eighth floor of the Peidmont Hospital at exactly 7:42 AM the next morning. She walked to the nurse’s station, showed her identification, and asked for directions to Walter Moran’s room.
The nurse simply directed her down the hall there on the left, where the police officer is sitting.
She was in the act of unsuccessfully trying to talk her way into the room, when the young officer looked over her shoulder and said, “There’s his attorney, you talk to him, Miss. They want you in there, its ok by me.”
She turned and saw Rob Jordan approaching and she made her way to greet him and to put some space between her and the officer.
“Kaitlyn Minton, Mr. Jordan, KSNT 27 News out ofTopeka,” she greeted him with her hand extended.
Rob Jordan was polite enough to shake the young woman’s hand. “How might I help you this morning,” he said. Topeka, he thought. Odd.
“Anything but an interview, we are not doing interviews as of yet,” he quickly added, at the same time doing a complete, visual once over of this young lady. Not the supermodel, but quite pretty, he thought.
She leaned in close. “We need to talk. I know your client was the last person seen talking with Senator Maxwell Harrington before his death. Or should I say, seconds before he leapt to his death,” she added for punctuation.
“Yes, please come in,” said Rob Jordan, stunned by her words, yet intrigued just the same.
This was the second time in two days he had heard this, and he damn well didn’t like it. The depth and scope of Boomer’s problem seemed to be much greater than he had hoped.
“It’s ok,” he told the officer as the entered the room and closed the door behind them.
Boomer was already awake, and had finished his breakfast by the look of things. Rob noticed the IV stand was in the far corner, and Boomer no longer was hooked up to the myriad of plastic tubing.
Rob Jordan made the introductions. He also told Boomer what Kaitlyn Minton had just told him. The young woman stood there somewhat defiantly.
“No shit,” said Boomer.
He threw back his covers and swung to a sitting position just as the glass windows exploded into the room. Boomer instinctively dove for the floor. Wounded or not, he never gave it a second thought. Chaos wreaked havoc throughout the room. Bullets were hitting everywhere, tearing plaster off the walls. Glass breaking, shattering. Screaming.
In the midst of all the confusion, Boomer saw Rob Jordan fall against the wall, and down onto the floor.
The police officer stationed outside the room crashed through the door, and drew his weapon. As he approached the window, he jerked violently backwards and fell instantly to the floor.
The woman reporter was screaming, as Boomer crawled to where Rob was laying, and rolled his friend over. The instant he saw his face, Boomer knew his friend was dead.
He crawled towards the reporter and towards the doorway.
As he rose to a low crouch, he grabbed her and drug her out into the hallway.
The hallway was full of people running from everywhere, trying to figure out what was happening.
“Call the police,” Boomer yelled. “Someone’s shooting at us through the window.”
Boomer guided Kaitlyn Minton past the crowds of people, and down the hall towards the stairwell. They went through the door and headed down.
“Got to get out of here fast,” he said. “Someone either wants to kill me, you, or all of us, but they certainly don’t give a shit who or what’s in the way.”
Kaitlyn was scared but she wasn’t a lay down. She was gutsy for sure. She opened the door and they entered the seventh floor hallway. The elevator was ten feet away. They entered, and she hit the button for the Basement/Parking Deck.
When the door opened, they coolly and calmly walked the two hundred feet or so across the parking deck to her rented Ford Taurus, and climbed in. They made their way out onto the street before anyone said anything.
They both looked at each other.
She spoke first.
“What the fuck just happened there,” she said wild eyed.
“That was what I would have to say was an assassination attempt,” said Boomer.
“Oh really,” she said sarcastically, “Like the ones in the movies.”
“No,” said Boomer, “That was a real to life killing field there, in case you didn’t notice. I didn’t have time to check, but I’d say that two men were just killed in front of your eyes. One of them was my friend. You call it whatever you want.” He looked at her coldly.
“I know you were with the Senator the moment before he jumped,” she said.
“So you say. I bet you didn’t know that I’m a deep cover operative for the United States Government,” Boomer said, still looking at her.
“At this point I’d also say that what you do know is probably going to get you killed,” Boomer added.
“This is bad, isn’t it,” she asked.
“Yes, it is. Real bad by the looks of it,” he said.
“And I do know more about you, than you think,” Kaitlyn said. “I know your history. I know you are well liked, and a well respected cop. I know because I checked,” she added. “That’s my job, and I’m good at what I do too.”
Boomer looked over towards her and paused. She was certainly gutsy. Probably a real ball of fire. Good he thought; she was going to need to be.
“I believe you. Look, we don’t really know each other that well, so here goes. We need to decide where we are going with this whole mess. If you want to, just pull over, and I’ll get out and go my own way. If you believe you’re in as much danger as I believe you’re in, then we can stay together,” Boomer said without a pause.
“Ok then, where to. My hotel, so I can grab my things, or that’s not a good idea,” she asked questioningly.
“No, we leave Atlanta. Get lost quick. We need clothes, so we’ll stop at the first place we see, and you can buy for both of us. We get some food, and we hunker down and wait. Try to figure out what’s going down, and who can help,” Boomer concluded.
“Right there,” said Boomer. It was a Wal-mart Store, oh yeah and a super center at that. “God Bless Wally World,” he added.
“Find a spot to park in the middle, not to close, and not out on the fringes. They have these places loaded with cameras. Best place to hide’s in the middle,” Boomer said rubbing his hands together.
“OK, this is the plan. You go in first. Three short sleeve shirts each. Three long sleeve shirts each. Two pairs hiking shorts, many pockets as they can have, and one pair of jeans, each. My size is 32 waist, and 34 long. You got a pen, write it down,” he said.
She jumped out of the door, “My purse is in the trunk,” she said.
When she got back in they went over everything.
Then he added, “Shirts are large. Get us a pair of hiking boots each, mine are size 12. Soft tennis shoe types if possible and high tops. Six pairs of socks. That’s it, you got it. Then meet me back here.”
She got out and headed into the store. Boomer laid back and relaxed while he thought out their plan of action. Ok, let’s think this thing through, he thought to himself. The whole world knew where I was, and what had happened.
Somebody knew that I had something to do with the Senator’s death, but it was not my handlers. I never told them, he thought. But maybe they know. They knew about Juan Pablo, but did they know about the Senator.
The best Boomer could come up with on short notice was that somehow the combination of the Senator’s death, and him getting caught in this deal had rattled them. Rattled them to a point where they no longer trusted him. No, to a point where they wanted him dead. There was a huge difference there, now wasn’t there.
Boomer was asleep when the door opened. Kaitlyn had everything that he had ordered, and immediately Boomer went to change clothes. That’s when he remembered he didn’t have on any underwear.
“Ahem, you might want to look out the window there while I slip into these clothes,” he said smiling.
“Really,” she said. “In case you didn’t notice I am all grown up. And I don’t really embarrass easily.”
“Your call,” said Boomer and he started peeling off his hospital garb. When he lifted his butt off the seat to pull off his pajama bottoms, it stretched the stitches in his abdomen, and he emitted a short yelp.
She looked his way when he did, and saw him in all his glory. Yep, she thought. Just like her initial investigation had revealed. Boomer was all man. No doubt about that.
“See anything you like, just let me know,” said Boomer.
“Yeah right dude, I’m just worried someone else will see you and call the law on us both,” she said, “Now what?”
“Now we both go back in. You go back to the sporting goods department. Ask if you can buy a gun here for your nephew with an out of state driver’s license. If they say it’s ok then buy a Ruger 10-22 rifle, and any kind of .22 pistol, preferably an automatic of good quality,” Boomer said. She was writing everything down, as he spoke.
Boomer continued, “Grab about five hundred rounds of .22 long rifle ammunition, and pick up a portable GPS, preferably a Garmin, and a shit load of batteries. If they ask or say anything, just tell the clerk they’re for your nephew’s birthdays. I’ll buy some backpacks, sleeping bags and groceries. You got any cash,” he said.
“Yeah why,” she asked.
“Cause I don’t. You got enough to pay for everything ok, if not just charge the guns and GPS. It doesn’t matter anyway. If it’s who I think it is that’s after us, they’ll know about it within a few days anyhow. Maybe by then it’ll be over,” said Boomer.
He just didn’t sound too convincing.
She reached in her purse and got out two one hundred dollar bills and gave them to Boomer, and they were off.
Within thirty minutes they were both back at the car. When they got there, they loaded everything into the trunk and took off.
“Any problems,” Boomer asked.
“None what so ever. No permits required in Georgia, for pistols or rifles, so I got everything,” said Kaitlyn.
They got back onto Highway 400, and headed up towards the backside of Lake Lanier.
Boomer figured the farther away from the big city they got the least likely they would get spotted. He knew they needed to go to ground as quick as possible if they were going to survive. He didn’t want to tell Kaitlyn that, although he had to admit she did seem to hold her own. As his Daddy used to say, she had grit.
“When you get near the lake wake me up,” Boomer said, “I need to rest. And turn your cell phone off. They are all like tracking devices.”
“Right, get your beauty rest, I’ll wake you if I need you,” she said.
Tuffy, thought Boomer, as he settled in. He was asleep within minutes.
Lt. John Mackey, was sitting at his desk inside the Tucson PD’s North Sub-station when the call came in.
“Mackey,” he answered gruffly.
“Mac, this is Boomer,” said the other end.
John Mackey visibly stiffened in his seat, before answering. “Jesus Boomer, what the fuck is going on,” he asked quickly.
“Look Mac, just listen quick. No matter what you hear, I’m being set up. This is an FBI operation, I’m on the run, and they’re trying to kill me. They already killed Rob, and some cop from Atlanta.”
“Boomer look, Rob’s not dead, but he is in a coma. The other cop’s dead, but they are saying you did it, and that you escaped with a hostage,” said his friend quickly.
“That’s fucking bullshit Mac, and you know it. I’ll be in touch,” said Boomer as he hung up the phone. Less than thirty seconds on a pay phone would leave them nothing.
They were in the parking lot of a small convenience store just off of Hwy 400 at exit 14, the Buford Road/Hwy 20 exit. They were just getting in to the foothills at Cummings,Georgia. This was also the area where the Lake Lanier plan was coming to an abrupt end.
Boomer knew in his heart that if Rob was still alive, he was in serious danger. That Rob had been the friend of his contractors meant nothing at this point. Something dramatic had happened behind the scenes, of that Boomer was sure.
“Kaitlyn, look we are only one hour from Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. You’re getting on a plane there and heading back to Topeka. You bust this story wide open, girl, and you don’t take no for an answer,” Boomer said matter-of-factly.
“What about you Boomer. Why do I get this crazy notion that you are going to do something even crazier? What is it with you,” she said with a certain air of camaraderie, yet infiltrated with obvious affection.
“It’s about Rob,” Boomer said seriously. “They’ll kill him if we don’t move quickly.”
He suddenly, yet gently reached out and touched her cheek. Boomer then looked deeply into her eyes and said, “I really hope you’re not married.”
She blushed instantly, and then quickly recovered, “You really are special, aren’t you.”
“That’s what my momma always told me,” said Boomer with a big grin.
Before they left the store, Kaitlyn went inside and purchased four Trac-phones, and paid for their fuel. When they got on the road they headed for the airport, and what ever lay ahead……….
Back on the East Coast, in his office sat a worried Dee Martin. He was leaning back in his Herman Miller Aeron chair, with his feet propped up on his desk, yet he was far from relaxed. In fact he was in deep shit, and he knew it. This whole situation was a complete fucking nightmare. When Trey had mentioned the name Tuksin Somwan, Dee had almost shit his pants.
It was no wonder that the Senator had taken his own life. This guy was the gutter king. A billionaire fucking weirdo, who held the goods on many a high roller through his private parties. Dee knew this for a fact. He had been there several times himself.
You see, this was one deviously genius mother fucker.
Oh, there were plenty of private visits, from plenty of private visitors. And yes, they were all able to have and enjoy the graciousness of Tuksin Somwan, and his private stock. The problem wasn’t that. No one would ever reveal that and live to talk about it again, and everyone involved was dead certain of that.
The problem was what happened to the stock when they were finished with them. And that thought Dee Martin, is where I am fucked. You see Dee Martin was at the top of the food chain on this one. And he was going to stay there. At this point he really did not care who had to die to keep it that way. Just didn’t fucking matter at all.
Dee Martin knew the whole truth. The truth that blackened his heart. The truth that crushed his very soul, and certainly damned him to hell for eternity. These kids were not only forced into sexually pleasuring the elite sicko’s of the world, including himself, in the end they were treated like nothing more than fucking farm animals. Used up in every way imaginable, and then came the tragic ending.
Dee Martin actually found himself glad when they were gone. At least their nightmare was over.
The final gift of giving, Tuksin Somwan always said. When they were truly finished with one of their investments, they would surgically remove the important organs in a private operating room at the palace. They then burned the remains at one of his fertilizer plants, and dispersed the product to the farms around his part of the world. Nothing wasted, money at every level, and all of his products were in extremely high demand at all times. It was a wonderful business model in any sick mind.
Tuksin Somwan also knew that the nature of his business ensured his continued success. Dee Martin knew in his heart this was a once in, never out situation. And that caused him some grief on this day. Because what he was about to do, what he had to do, was to eliminate everyone involved in this little mess. No choice in the matter, so there was nothing left to contemplate on. Period, over.
What bothered him the most, was this was all part of Tuksin Somwan’s own paranoid fucking decision to clean house a little. The hit on Juan Pablo was at the direct request of Somwan. They had been thinking of doing it anyway, and Dee Martin finding himself with Boomer as a new operative, sought the go ahead, and was given the green light. The hit on William Robert Graham however, was his own idea. All his. He’d done it to help a freind, a buddy down in the Atlanta office, so now he owned this little fiasco all by his lonesome.
There was no doubt in his mind that Tuksin Somwan would now hold him personally responsible. While Dee Martin was not scared of many things in life, he was no fool either. He was going to have to think this through very quickly, and act even faster. His own life would depend on it.
Within the hour he was headed for Dulles, and then he would be heading on to Costa Rica. Had to tidy up a little down there, and do it now.
During the last several hours, Boomer had done several things. First and foremost was to strategize a plan of action. Step one was to get Kaitlyn back to Topeka where she could break the story on a national if not international level.
Next everyone needed to be protected, fully and completely. And that would mean 24/7 Special Op’s escort and protection services. Even then, that might not be enough. Boomer had no clue who his enemies were. That had to change and change fast.
Kaitlyn had taken one of the Trac phones, and had left Boomer with the other three. He had made his first call on phone number one to his old friend Chief Pollard. When the Chief answered on the third ring, he just said, “Bout time.”
“Chief, I’m in big time shit this time. You still getting the envelopes?” Boomer asked.
“Yep, want me to open the last one, I will. Give me a second,” stated the old man. The line went dead for a little over a minute. When the Chief returned he said, “You ready to Copy?”
“Go ahead Chief,” said Boomer, “I’m ready.”
“239-333-8811,” said the Chief, then quickly added, “Boy, you better get under cover quick, they got you plastered all over the national news, they’re saying you killed a cop and took a lady reporter hostage.”
“That’s bullshit Chief and you know it. It’ll be dark here shortly, and I’m turning south for Florida….any ideas,” asked Boomer to his old friend.
“Head forEverglades City and call me when you get there. I got an old friend with a cabin out in the swamp we can use for a few days. I’ll rent me a car and head that way. Just call me,” and the old man hung up.
As Boomer sat there he pulled out his map and started planning the quickest route to Everglades City. Then he picked up phone number two and dialed the number the Chief had given him. He already knew who would be at the other end. Rob Tulley, his old second on Echo 1-6 was now the Command Sergeant Major at Ft.Bragg’s Joint Special Operations Center. The Team had gone down hard on that last operation, but he and Tulley were like brothers. He dialed the number and waited.
“Your Dime,” was all Tulley said.
“Hey Bubba, it’s me,” Boomer said quietly.
“Boomer?” whispered Tulley, “Where the fuck are you?” His voice was somewhat different, but then the bullet he took in the face had done some serious damage. He’d been following the story on Boomer on the news as well and was highly worried about his former team mate.
“Heading to Florida, but right now I’m in Georgia,” Boomer told his friend.
“Good, do you have a GPS with you?” Tulley asked hurriedly.
“Of course why?” asked Boomer, although he could sense what was coming.
“Find me an LZ, an open field if possible. Get out of your car, and get concealed, and then call me back with the coordinates. I’ll send a chopper to pick you up. Look Boomer, don’t fuck this up. We don’t need anybody else getting their hands on you, got it?” Tulley said with an air of authority.
“Roger that, quick as I can,” and he hung up the phone.
With the third and final phone, he called Lt. John Mackey back in Tucson. This time it wasn’t a quick thirty second call. He explained everything to Mackey as quickly as possible, and convinced him to get full security details assigned to Kaitlyn by the Topeka PD SERT Team, and to get Rob an equal team from the Atlanta PD boys.
“And absolutely no Fed’s John, not until we figure out what’s going down here,” Boomer insisted. When he hit the “end” button he threw the phone down on the ground and stomped it to pieces. He really did not know who to trust at this point. Tulley was a different matter. The man would die for him even today. Of that he was still sure.
Before Kaitlyn ever made it back to Topeka, Sergeant Major Walter Moran, US Army (Retired), was sitting in a secure location on Ft.Bragg giving his good friend the full lowdown on everything that had happened since that fateful day when he had shot Dewey Rainmaker. He left out nothing. When he was done, Tulley had a very worried look upon his face.
His brother in arms was indeed in deep shit. It obviously involved some branch of the Federal Government. They had obviously tried to whack Boomer at the hospital, and had killed a police officer in the attempt. The big question was who, and more importantly why.
Tulley was convinced there was a connection to one of the targets that Boomer had eliminated, and the organization that had effectively directed Boomer’s missions. No other way around it, Boomer had somehow spooked his handler’s, and that was the first question that had to be answered.
Thankfully the list was short, the Senator and Juan Pablo Lopez were definitely connected, Rob Jordan and his ex room-mate Trey Merriweather were definitely the key starting point, and Merriweather worked for the FBI.
That was enough for Tulley. “Boomer sit your butt right here, I’ve got to bring my Commander up to speed on this. After that it’ll be out of my hands, but I will tell you this, Colonel Axel Axson is a good man, and I trust him as much as I trust you.”
Boomer just looked at his friend and conceded, “Nuff said then.”
Thirty minutes later, Tulley was back and had a strange look on his face. Boomer could have sworn it was a smirk; it was just too hard to tell as he wasn’t use to Tulley’s facial expressions anymore.
“Follow me,” Tulley said and without another word headed down the hallway to another office. He knocked twice, firmly, and announced himself with all the professional courtesy he could muster.
“Sergeant Major Tulley reporting as ordered, Sir. Sergeant Major Moran in tow,” he said with a twinkle in his eye, which went unseen by Boomer.
“Both of you in here now,” the Colonel growled. “And shut the door behind you, too.”
Boomer was slightly taken off guard, as he was no longer active duty military, but he was a lifer and he could always play his part.
Colonel Axel Axson stood as the men entered. When they approached the front of his desk, the three men saluted each other as was the common military courtesy.
“This may come as somewhat of a surprise to you Sergeant Major Moran, but as of ten minutes ago, by the Authority of the President of the United States of America, you are hereby ordered back to Active Duty Status, effective immediately. Are you clear on that, Sergeant Major,” hammered out the Colonel. His affect was immediate.
“Uh, Yes Sir. I’m a little confused as to why. But I’m sure you’ll let me know, Sir,” Boomer replied.
The Colonel looked both of his men directly in eyes and said, “Time to clean up a little mess. If you’ll both follow me please.”
No more than thirty feet down the hallway was an ultra secure, Planning and Warfare Strategy Center. It was triple door technology, including encrypted entry, with heavily armed Sentries at the second level, and it was obvious to Boomer that this was a place where decisions were made about wars to be fought, and people died from the results of those decisions.
It was a huge room with a full array of live scenario scanners, technicians, and communication devices of every type imaginable. The room was very active and there were at least thirty or more people in all kinds of operational status, performing various duties unknown to Boomer.
“Team Alpha on Bank One,” one of the technicians hollered out to nobody in particular. “They’ve got the FBI guy Merriweather in custody.”
“Get him over to Andrews and out here ASAP. When they get here let me know. And put him in one of the monitored offices,” ordered Colonel Axson………..
Five hours after she left Boomer, Kaitlyn Minton walked through the front door of KSNT 27, and straight to the news department Director’s office door. She stopped at the doorway, and stared directly into the face of her boss, Anthony “Big Tony” DeSalvo. He was sitting at his desk, scowling his usual menacing expression, while quietly screaming into the mouthpiece of his telephone. He waved her in with a quick double movement signifying his willingness for her to enter, and even quicker holding up his index finger in a sign to wait.
“We’ll talk later,” he concluded, banging the desk phone to its cradle. “And you, young lady, where in the hell have you been. I’ve been calling you all day.”
She reached into her purse and quickly pulled out her phone, not sure whether to turn it on or not. She thought about it for only a second and put it back in her purse, and looked directly into her boss’s eyes before continuing. She turned and pulled the office door shut and said, “Tony, sit back, shut up, and hear me out.”
While he was quite taken back by her sudden outburst, the last four years of working with this woman gave him the insight to do just what she said. There weren’t many people in this business who could speak to “Big Tony” De Salvo in this way, but he trusted his own instincts, and he trusted her. “Ok kid, give it to me,” was all he said.
The next fifteen minutes were completely one-sided. Kaitlyn laid out the scenario, everything that happened and everything she knew. Everything. The last thing she said was the hardest thing she’d ever done in her life. “Tony, I’m breaking live with this in the next few minutes. This is our story.” She paused only a second. “This is my story Tony, and it’s fucking huge. You put me out there right now, or I swear to God I’m taking it outside this department, if not outside the station.”
“Jesus H. Christ,” he said shaking his head, “Damn it girl, you’re going to get us both fired. Either that or promoted. Get in their right now, we’re going live in five.” She whirled around without another word and headed to the news desk with Big Tony right behind her barking out his orders in his normal yet excited way. Within minutes the buzz around the station was all-inclusive. All hands were on deck and the show was about to hit the road. Big Tony was dialing the number of the main producer of The Nightly News. He wanted a break in with Brian Williams, Lester Holt, or Hoda Codp.
Kaitlyn would get her story, but there was a right way to do it, and Big Tony knew all the right ways……….
Right about that time an eight man team from the Secret Service rolled up in front of the station in two black unmarked sedans, and when they entered the front door they were all business. Within one minute they were in Big Tony’s office, along with Kaitlyn, and the door was shut, and the shades were drawn. Two Agents stood guard outside of the office door to insure their privacy, so to speak.
“Ok Mr. DeSalvo, here’s the deal. Miss Minton will be leaving with us. This is a matter of National Security. There will be no story going out tonight and in fact not until we give the go-ahead. In one minute or so you will be receiving a phone call from your boss, advising you of the same. Until then we’ll wait,” replied the Senior Agent.
What the fuck, thought Big Tony, was going on here. This was like nothing he’d ever experienced in his life. Senior Agent Nobody just stared at him and waited. The phone rang. Big Tony grabbed it up before the second ring.
“Big Tony,” he screamed into the line. He was not a very happy man right now at this time.
“Yes, Sir. What ever the fuck they want. You got it,” and he slammed the phone down, and looking at Kaitlyn he added, “See ya soon, sweetheart.”
The Chief sat there for a while contemplating the mess his old friend was in. He grabbed his telee and hit his speed dialer and waited.
“Well God Almighty Chief, how the hell have you been,” asked a quite surprised Shay Landon. It had been almost a year since they had last talked.
She and Lee had kept in close contact with both Walter and the Chief after the tragic events that had brought their lives together. But time has a way of healing old wounds, and people have a way of just moving on. Early on they had all agreed to meet each year in remembrance, but even that had proven far tougher than enjoyable, and with Boomer living out inTucson that faded out after the first meeting anyway.
The old man smiled at hearing her voice, as he simply liked the woman. Different than most, and had some guts about her. “Where you’all at right now,” he asked.
“Well we’ve been sitting here on Houseboat Row at the Key West City Dock for the last two months. Just wasting away, as the song goes,” she said laughingly. “Why you asking Chief, is something wrong.”
“Matter of fact there’s plenty wrong. You ain’t seen the news about Boomer,” he asked.
“Chief we heard and saw a little about what went down inTucson, but we figured he would call us if he needed us. Seemed a might touchy subject, after all we went through before,” she added.
“Well I’m hiding over here just off of Key Largo, at the Manatee Bay Marina at MM112. Kinda quiet, and an outa sight, outa mind kinda place, but we are only a couple of hours from each other. Boomer’s supposed to be heading this way,” the old man concluded.
“Okay, what do you need us to do? You know there’s absolutely no limit to what we will do to help. Tell me you know that Chief,” Shay said emphatically.
“Right now I just don’t know anything but that. And our boy is in serious shit, he’s hurt, and we got to be ready at a moments notice. I’ll call you back, soon as I hear from him, and we’ll go from there,” the Chief concluded and hung up his end.
When Shay got off the phone she immediately fired up her laptop and started researching the latest on Walter “Boomer” Moran. What she found scared her. Scared her bad and it dredged up bad memories and bad feelings. Within minutes she and Lee were preparing their bags in case they had to leave in a hurry.
She looked at Lee, “Honey, I can feel her, all the way….. deep in my soul.”
Lee looked at his wife and knew the feeling she was experiencing. They had spoken many times of this feeling.
The Witchwind was calling.
“I feel it too,” was all he said. They both kept packing……….
Back at the JSOC Command Center at Ft.Bragg, Colonel Axel Axson’s office was starting to fill up. Not with people, but with noise. No sooner than they had escorted Kaitlyn Minton into his office, she looked Boomer in his eyes, and then rushed to his arms. He held her in his arms briefly and kissed her forehead.
She pulled away from Boomer and quickly turned toward Colonel Axson, “Pardon me for being a bit brash, but do you mind telling me what the hell is going on here.”
“Bit of a spark plug hey Sergeant Major,” he said to Boomer. “If you’ll just have a seat I’ll try to bring you up to speed the best I can Miss Minton,” he said turning his attention to the young journalist.
The Colonel took his regular seat behind the desk, slightly pushed back. He was leaning back looking at the two of them with his arms crossed across his chest. Kaitlyn and Boomer were seated in the chairs in front. The door was shut. Besides being a huge man, the Colonel was a powerfully spirited man, and you could feel his energy. It surrounded him constantly.
“I’ll make this simple, to the point, and it’s not negotiable,” Colonel Axson began. “Just so you know Miss Minton, Sergeant Major Moran has been temporarily re-activated into the Army. That takes care of him. You are being reassigned to the White House Press Secretary, by order of those you do not need to disobey. You will get your story, Miss Minton, if that’s what you’re worried about, but we’ll do it my way. Either that or I’ll have you confined for the duration, and someone else can report the story, which ever you like.”
Kaitlyn Minton looked hard into the face of the man to her front. When she spoke, he knew she was all business.
“We best get started then,” was all she said.
“Very well, then follow me,” and the Colonel got up and led the two of them back down the hall, only this time to another room. Another heavily guarded room.
This place was all business she could see. She glanced at Boomer, but he just stared away. Serious shit here she, thought to herself.
When they went through the windowless door, they came face to face with the only occupant in an otherwise empty room…..FBI Agent and Attorney, Jonathan Barkhurst Merriweather, the Third.
When he looked up and saw Boomer in the group of three people who just entered, his mind thought the same thing that his mouth quietly muttered. A Simple “Fuck me”.
A knock at the door, and in came two older, distinguished looking gentlemen. Suits. Fed’s no doubt.
The taller of the two spoke first. “No introductions needed, or wanted. Agent Merriweather, from you we want the truth. The whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Start from the beginning, and leave nothing out. Start now. And try your very best to not leave out the parts about your father and our dear friend Dee Martin Gibson.” He reached into his pocket and retrieved a small recording device. He sat it on the table and turned it on. “You may begin,” was all the man said.
The shock in Trey Merriweather’s face was plain for all to see. He wanted to cry, but obviously that was something that no one in this room was prepared to tolerate. For the next two hours the pair of suits grilled Trey to perfection. He told them everything he knew. He told them about his father’s involvement, where he was, everything. He left out nothing. He conceded everything.
One of the agents made a phone call as soon as Trey had told them where his father was hiding. Trey was worried, but there was nothing he could do about it anyway. What he could not figure out was the scope of the investigation, and why the hell was this interrogation being held here, instead of in Washington. So he asked.
Agent number one said simply, “This is a matter of National Security. It goes far deeper than you can imagine. This could be a very embarrassing situation for the Administration and the United States Government as a whole. Before each of you leaves this facility today, you will sign a Decree and Testament of Silence. If you break it, you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the Federal Government. Simply put, you will go to jail for many years. End of story.”
They both turned and left leaving the others quite stunned and silent.
Colonel Axson spoke first. “We will make you all as comfortable as possible, and you will be able to leave when I receive orders from a higher authority than myself. Some one will be here shortly to assist you.” With that, he too left the room.
Within minutes two soldiers from the Security detail entered the room. One took Trey Merriweather away, and the other led Boomer and Kaitlyn back to Colonel Axson’s office. Trey felt a scent of relief. He could somehow sense his own safety within the necessary cover-up that was going down before his very eyes.
When the Security Team stopped in front of, and opened the office door to the Colonel’s office, Boomer and Kaitlyn stepped through the door. Sergeant Major Tulley was already there.
When they entered he pointed to the chairs, and they both sat silently. Colonel Axel Axson just looked at the two of them for what seemed like minutes, but surely it was for only a matter of a few seconds.
“Ok folks, this is how it’s gonna go down. Miss Minton, you will be leaving for Washington within the hour. You will be briefed on what the report will contain. Since you were personally involved, it will be easy enough for everyone to stay on the same page,” the Colonel said with a grim look on his face. “As I said, it’ll be your story; it just has to have our twist.”
With a slight pause he continued, “What I am about to say right now does not ever leave this room. It is highly classified, and not for disclosure to anyone. I do hope I am abundantly clear on that. There will be a counter measure taken. It will happen within the next few days, possibly a few weeks. When it’s all over, I recommend you both meet somewhere and disappear for a while. Unless I’m reading my signals wrong I don’t believe that will represent any problems for the two of you.”
Boomer looked at the Colonel and said, “Sir, with all due respect. What the fuck is really going on here? I mean really Colonel; I’ve served this man’s government long enough, and certainly hard enough to know the truth.”
“You know I can’t lay it out Sergeant Major, but let’s just say that we, the American people, and we the fucking Federal Government,” he said his voice rising in a crescendo, “have some sick mother-fuckers within our ranks.”
“With that being said,” he continued, “This little fiasco is coming to an abrupt fucking ending. Is that understandable enough,” the Colonel asked with a look around the room.
There were no comments……….
In the beginning and in the end……..it was the Witchwind Calling. She was always calling…..
Jonathan Barkhurst Merriweather, the Third, learned of his father’s tragic accident with his dear friend Dee Martin Gipson the following day. Their funerals were the talk of Washington and Dallas. Such a loss of two great men, it was almost unbearable. Almost, but not quite.
Carlos Antonio Veron was killed by a rival Cartel assassin within a week. He was never remembered. Just replaced.
Jonathan Barkhurst Merriweather, the Third, went on to retire from the FBI, and retired into complete and utter oblivion.
Tuksin Somwon died three months later in a massive explosion inside his palace kitchen, which nearly destroyed the whole palace. His funeral was attended by many heads of state and many important government officials. He was no doubt, a very important man. Several other very important guests had died in the inferno as well, Hideki Mitsumori of Injin Automotive among them.
Rob Jordan recovered, and carried on in his life’s work. He never re-married, but raised his children well. In time their scars healed, yet the hurt hides deep inside.
The old man, Shay and Lee got their dear friend back. Plus one.
Kaitlyn got her story. Well not really her story, but it was “The Story”. It was the story of the year, actually. And yes, she got her Pulitzer Prize as well. And then she promptly retired to St. Augustine.
Walter “Boomer” Moran got retired again. He also got smart again, real quick. This Kaitlyn gal was the real deal, and he was holding on for dear life. They ended up living on the Witchwind for many, many years. They never felt the need for children, yet they lived out a wonderful life. They spent many a year cruising the Out Islands, the Caribbean, and the Keys with their old friends, and they never looked back.
Critter never did get to dig into anybody’s ass. But then, somebody took care of that for him.
That’s the way it works in Washington. Plans are made, and shit happens.
Oh, and the diamonds. What diamonds?