Disclaimers for Conspiracy of Swords: Please see Chapter One.
Alex actually found herself awake early in the morning. This was a good thing, she decided, since she had an eight o'clock meeting with Rick Price and Ken Thomas, as well as the head of the Philadelphia office. She and David wanted a few minutes with Ken before the meeting, so Alex found herself in the car by 7:15, and shaking Ken's hand by 7:45.
"Thanks for meeting us at the airport, Ken. We were so tired we probably would have taken a taxi and been asleep before we could tell the driver the name of the hotel."
"No problem. I'm glad you're here. It's been a hell of a mess."
"Anything we should know before we go into this meeting?"
Ken sighed. "Well, for one thing, we're getting very little in the way of police help. Davies said he doesn't believe Brogan had anything to do with this, so he's been in to see Agent Harnisch, who's the Agent in Charge up here. Last time we met, Harnisch wanted to know why we were harrassing a man who'd had his car stolen. We showed him everything we had on Brogan."
"And what did he say?" David asked.
"He didn't say anything, except that he'd look it over. We never heard back from him, but Davies called. Said Brogan was calling him claiming harrassment, and wanted to know who to talk to about filing suit. Davies said he'd back him, because there was no evidence that Kyle Brogan was involved in the commission of a crime."
Alex shook her head. "Damn. I knew that man would come back to haunt me."
David eyed her ruefully. "If Teren was here, we could sic her on him."
They shared a laugh, while Ken looked on.
"Um, who's Teren again?"
"Hard to explain," Alex interrupted his partner. "Let's just say she's an unofficial part of our team, courtesy of Cliff."
"And the CIA," David had to say.
"Oh, so Teren's the assassin, right?"
David ducked and Alex groaned. "Look, Ken, don't call her that, okay? She was an operative, and now she's not, and that's all you have to know."
Ken nodded. "Right. So, David why were you ducking a moment ago?"
"Alex threatened to let Teren shoot me the next time I call her -- that. So, I didn't want to be in the way of any stray bullets."
"But I thought she wasn't here?"
Alex glared at David. "She's not, Ken, right, David?"
"With Teren, you never know."
Jeffrey Harnisch was not a bad leader, Alex decided after the meeting. He was just slow to make decisions, which practically guaranteed he'd never make Assistant Deputy Director on the national level.
But when he did make decisions, they were usually very good ones. First, he had decided to release Rick Price to the assassination task force. Secondly, he had agreed to hold Janet Brogan and her two kids in protective custody until they could be placed in a witness protection program. Thirdly, and most importantly to Alex, he had told Police Captain Anson Davies to kiss his ass.
Davies had shown up at the meeting blaming the FBI for the bombing of Kyle Brogan's house. He ranted about harrassment, and screamed at Alex that it was her fault, despite the fact that she hadn't been in the city. Harnisch had told Davies to get out of his office, and that if he ever saw Davies again, he'd trump up so many charges against the man that he'd still be in Federal Court in the year 2050. Then, for the final insult, he had security escort the police captain from the building.
"Stupid, arrogant, self-righteous son-of-a-bitch."
Alex couldn't hide the grin. She'd called Davies that same thing, many times, but never out loud.
"Alright, Agent Reis. What do you need from me?"
"We need to find Brogan, fast. This is your city, Sir, so as far as a search, I'll let you make the call."
"Okay. First off, we know we're not going to get a lot of help from the local PD." He gave them a sheepish grin. "And I suppose I just guaranteed that, huh?"
"Rick, you and Ken have been watching this guy for a couple days. Any ideas where he might go?"
"I doubt he'd go to any of his regular places. Too much of a chance for the wrong person to spot him."
"He's got a little black car, a hatchback, but it doesn't have a license plate yet, so that's out. Even if he swiped a set of plates off another vehicle we'd have almost no way of tracing it."
Alex turned. "Hey, Rick, I thought he asked where he might go, not why we haven't found him."
"I know, Alex, but I'm not sure. I mean, we have people covering all the stations, bus, train, plane, even boat. We sent out warnings to hotels in the area, saying they should call the FBI if someone by his name checks in, but that's not gonna help if he's using fake ID."
Ken leaned forward from his position against the wall. "I doubt he'd have a fake. I mean, he was out when the bombing occurred, and had no need to carry a phony license or anything. And if he didn't have one before, he certainly isn't going to go to his buddies and ask for one."
"So, where does that leave us, Ken?" Harnisch asked.
"Well, I think it means he's either left the city in his car, or he's living rough."
Rick nodded, rubbing a hand across his chin. "Yeah, or he could be staying in one of those ratty motels by the strip. They don't ask for ID."
"Good. I'll have a couple agents go through those places, and I'll have someone else check our street contacts. If he's living rough, chances are he's gonna stand out like a sore thumb, and somebody's gonna notice." Harnisch looked at Alex and David. "Can you two think of anything I'm forgetting?"
David shook his head, no. Alex tapped her nose, and looked up at the ceiling.
"Couple. For one, I think we should check all the hospitals and morgues for John Doe's matching Brogan's general description, or anyone brought in sometime in the last twelve hours. We need to be realistic -- he could already be dead."
"Alex, I can do that while you and Rick are interrogating Brogan's wife."
"Thanks, Dave. The other thing is this. Does Brogan have a cell phone? Did he have it with him? And do we have the number for it. I know it's difficult, but if we can get him to answer the phone, and it's on a GPS, --"
"We can get a position on him. Good thinking, Reis."
Rick was flipping back through his notes. "Yeah, he has a cellular. As for whether or not it's with him, I would presume he took it with him in the car, but I can't say for sure." He folded his notebook. "As for the number, I don't have a clue." He grinned. "But I'll bet his wife does."
Alex smiled back at him. "Yeah, I bet she does. Why don't you and I go ask her, huh?"
"Um, could I just ask why it's going to be you two?" Harnisch asked. "I mean, I know Ken wanted Alex and David down here, but I'm still not real sure as to why."
Ken nodded. "Well, Rick and I, we played good cop,bad cop, and I think we played it well. Janet Brogan knows him and me, and knows he's the good guy, so it should be easier for her to open up without me in the room. Then again, Alex is female, so she'll be even less of a threat." David laughed at that, and Ken grinned at him. "Theoretically, Dave, theoretically."
Harnisch nodded. "Good thinking. Very good. You think you can ask questions nicely, Alex?"
"Sure. And if I don't get the answers I want, then . . ."
"She'll wait for Teren to get here, and have Teren ask nicely." David smirked at his partner.
"Right. And who's Teren?"
The four agents looked at each other, and David said, "Well, Teren is, um --" he stopped for a moment, then he, Alex and Ken finished the sentence.
"Hard to explain."
Harnisch raised his eyebrows. "Right. Hard to explain." He shook his head. "I don't even want to know." He waved at them. "Get out of here."
The four agents shared a grin and left.
Teren pressed the buzzer on the mailbox marked with the name 'Stuart Mouskevitz.' A moment later the door buzzed back at her, and she entered the building. She took the elevator up to the fourth floor, and followed the directions she'd been given. She found 415 at the end of the hall, right next to a fire stairwell.
When she knocked, a voice called out, and she pushed the door open carefully. She found herself in a small foyer attached to a living room. Facing the window, was a young man typing on a keyboard. He didn't even look up.
"Come on in. Close the door, would you?"
Teren did so, gently closing the door behind her. As she made her way further into the apartment, she noticed first its sparseness, and secondly, the owner obviously loved to read. Every wall had bookshelves that stretched from the floor to the ceiling, and all of them were filled with books, or magazines, or pamphlets.The only exception was the area immediately in front of the window, where a table with the computer sat. Beside the computer, and scattered across sections of the table, the couch, and the armchair, were stacks of papers and journals. Teren took her time looking at the books, waiting for the young man to turn around.
When he did, he looked up at her and grinned. "So, you're the spy Carl said he was sending to me. I'm Stu." He offered his hand and she shook it.
"Teren. Nice to meet you."
"Jeez, Carl said you were beautiful, but I thought he was just being nice." The grin widened. "After all, the only beautiful women spies are in James Bond movies, and most of them are bad guys!"
Teren laughed with him. He invited her to sit, and moved a stack of papers off the armchair so she could do so. After looking around for another empty surface, he shrugged and put the stack on the floor next to a book shelf. He returned to his seat, and looked at her.
"Okay, what do you need to know?"
"Well, Carl said you could tell me a little about the leadership of the right wing."
"What part of the right wing? I mean, are we talking far-right, near right, Republican right, religious right, patriot right --"
"Lets start with the religious right, and see where it leads us, okay?"
"Okay." He got up. "Personally, I think it'll lead us in a great big circle."
"What do you mean?"
Stu scratched his head, as he looked among a group of folders in one of his many stacks. "Well, it's kind of like one group leads to another, you know? Religious right, patriots, klan -- ah, here we go."
He pulled out a folder and handed it to her. It was labeled 'Leadership Diagram.' She opened it to find a folded sheet within. She unfolded the sheet to find a group of names, both of people and organizations, with arrows and lines and circles around and through them.
"Um, Stuart, can you explain this to me?"
"Only if you promise not to call me Stuart again."
"It's Stu, or guy, or jerk, but not Stuart."
Teren looked at him, amused. "Fine." She motioned to the diagram. "Care to interpret this for me, Stu?"
"Sure. It's simple really. Look here. This is Stephen Radcliffe. You know him, right?"
"Yeah, leader of Christians Unite."
"Right. But did you know he's also on the board of directors for the Christian History Foundation?"
"Okay, here's the head of the History Foundation, Melvin Stevens. Now, he sits on the Board for Christians Unite, as well as the board for the Christian Men's Front. Which brings us to Martin Richmond. Now, Richmond is the head of the CMF, and he's also on the board of Christians Unite, and the Religious Families Association, whose leader is Jacob Dawkins. Dawkins is on the board of CMF, as well as being a board member, and a Fellow of the Christian History Foundation."
"What's a Fellow?"
"It's a title they give people. It means he gave them a whole shitload of cash."
"Gotcha." Teren examined the sheet again, noting many of the titles and positions held by these men. A name caught her eye, and she pointed to it. "Who's she?"
"Oh, yes, Ellen Maguire, Christian Women's Forum. You know, she's the one that said feminists are all witches and baby killers and dykes."
"When was this?"
"A couple years ago. By the way, she also is a Fellow at the History Foundation, as well as being on the board of RFA, and the board of Rescue Missions International."
"That's the group that blockades abortion clinics, right?"
"Correct. It's run by Harvey Richardson. He, get this, is on the board for CMF, RFA, and CU, as well as being a Fellow at?"
"The Christian History Foundation."
"Correctamundo! You get a prize!"
"Another diagram." He placed another document on top of the one she held. "Okay, here is Steven Radcliffe, right? And here is John Treville. Know him?"
Teren gritted her teeth and nodded.
"Okay. The two of them traveled together in Europe several months ago. Steven would appear at all these religious functions, since they were supposedly touring all the right wing Christian groups in Europe. Treville would be with him most of the time, but not all." He pointed to the line from Treville to a capitol 'N.' "Treville was seen, and photographed, on the stand at a Nazi parade in Lithuania . The parade was in honor of Adolph Hitler. I can't remember what it was about, maybe his birthday, or when he took power, or something. It really doesn't matter what the reason was, these guys just love parades."
Teren's eyes narrowed. "Treville was photographed on the platform? What was he doing there?"
"Reviewing the troops. The guy's a Nazi, right down to his goose stepping little toes."
Teren took a minute and reviewed both papers Stu had shown her. "Okay, now can you tell me how anyone on here connects to Derek White?"
He snorted. "You've got to be kidding me. These people? They're too self-righteous to admit any kind of connection to the far-right."
"But the connections are there, aren't they?"
Stu grinned. "You betcha." He got up to get another file, and Teren slid her coat off thinking it was going to be a long morning.
Rick led Alex into the basement of the Philadelphia FBI building, where there were a number of rooms meant for people they had to keep in hiding. This was the place Janet Brogan and her two kids had been brought after the explosion in their home. It wasn't nearly as nice as their house, but there was a television, a stereo, and a small collection of books to read. It wasn't the Waldorf, but they weren't dead either.
Janet Brogan answered Rick's knock on the door, leaving it open for the two of them to follow her into the small kitchenette. The oldest child, Brogan's daughter, was watching the TV when Alex and Rick entered. She looked up at them with wide eyes, and quickly looked back at the screen. Alex winced at the shock on the girl's face.
Janet had white blond hair, that was swept around her face in waves. She was a few inches taller than Alex, with a heavier body. She appeared to be about forty-five, though Alex knew from the file that she was only thirty-eight. The woman looked like she hadn't slept any more than Alex, and Alex noticed that her hands shook as she poured coffee for the three of them. Alex took a sip of hers, thinking she needed the caffeine. She grimaced at the taste.
"Is something wrong, Agent Reis?"
"Call me Alex, and, no, not at all." She gave the woman a smile. "I'm just not a coffee person. Never liked the taste."
"Then why did you say you'd like some?"
Alex shrugged. "Didn't get a lot of sleep, and I need the caffeine."
Janet chuckled and sat down, folding her hands around her own mug. "I know about no sleep. I didn't get a wink last night, and neither did the kids." She shook her head. "They don't understand what's going on. They both had nightmares all night. I finally just got Eric down for his nap."
"I'm sorry. I know this whole situation must be hell for you."
"It's no party, that's for sure." Janet rested her arms on the table, leaning onto them. "Rick says you have questions for me, is that right?"
"Yes. I know this is difficult, but I need you to be as honest as you can."
"I have been. I've told Rick everything I know."
"Okay. I've seen Rick's notes about the bombing, and the last few days, so I'll try not to ask the same questions he did. I might though, so bear with me, alright?"
"Great. So, just to recap, you and the kids were out shopping, is that correct? And when you came home from the grocery store, the explosion occurred while you were still outside."
"And Kyle wasn't home, you're sure about that."
"Yes. He was supposed to be, but his car was gone. I noticed that when I got home."
"Okay. Now you told Rick that you hadn't seen anyone suspicious in the neighborhood recently. I know Rick, and Agent Thomas visited your house a few times to talk to Kyle. Were there any other visitors?"
"Just a few friends of ours. They came over, oh, last Monday, I guess, because it was right after our other car was stolen."
"And who are these friends?"
"John and Karen. We go to the same church as they do."
Alex jotted the names on her pad. "And John's last name is?"
"Oh, don't drag them into this. They're such good people."
"Janet, we won't talk to them unless we have to, but I need to know their last name."
The older woman sighed. "Treville. John and Karen Treville. Karen and I have worked together on several charity drives, and John is a deacon in our church. He also works at East Penn Telecom, where Kyle works."
"I see." Alex traded glances with Rick. "And the last time you saw or spoke to John or Karen was last Monday?"
"Yes -- no, wait. That's right, John called, a couple of days ago. He wanted to talk to Kyle, but Kyle was in with Rick, and that other man. John said Kyle should call him back."
"That was a couple days ago? Did Kyle return the call?"
"I think so."
Alex folded her arms and looked across the table at Janet. "Okay. I need to know when was the last time that Kyle saw his cousins, Mallory and Derek."
Janet shook her head. "Not that again. Like I told Rick, it's been months since we saw Derek, and even longer since Kyle has even spoken to Mallory. The two of them had an argument over something, two years ago. They haven't spoken since."
"And Derek White? I know you told Rick he was there six months ago. Was it just him, or his family?"
"Just him. There was a meeting, a prayer meeting."
"A prayer meeting?"
"Yes. Derek may have some tendencies toward discrimination, which I don't like, but he is a Christian. He met with my husband and several of his friends to pray."
"Were you there for the meeting? Did you hear them praying?"
"No. Kyle said they wanted the house to themselves. I took the kids and went over to Karen's house. I got home a few minutes before everyone left."
"So, they were praying when you came in?"
Janet looked down at her coffee cup. "Well, no. They were talking, but it was obvious the meeting was over. They were laughing a lot, and they'd had a few beers."
"Is that usual at a prayer meeting?"
Janet didn't raise her head, but she shook it, slowly. "I'd never seen it before, except when Kyle and his friends gathered. He said it helped them relax after praying so hard."
Alex again glanced at Rick, but the younger man was busily taking notes. She turned back to Janet. "Can you tell me who exactly attended this meeting?"
"Well, there were Kyle and Derek, of course, and John Treville. And someone named Jake, but I never heard his last name." She thought about it. "There was also a C.J., and Marty. Marty was a good friend of John's it seemed, because they always came together to the meetings."
"Meetings? There was more than one?"
"Yes. It started about a year ago. For a while they had meetings every six weeks or so. Then, I couldn't tell you when, but just before the last meeting, John invited these other two men." Janet grimaced. "I didn't like them at all, and I told Kyle that. He laughed and said they probably wouldn't be back. I asked him who they were, and he said the group had hired them for something, to take care of some church business."
"Do you remember their names?"
"Yes. Well, kind of. The one guy's name started with a 'D' I think. I'm not sure. But the other one, him I remember. He was really jumpy, nervous like. His name was George."
"George? No last name?"
"I'm sorry, I never asked anybody for their last name. Kyle said it wasn't important." Janet paused, staring down into her coffee cup. "Alex, what does all this have to do with my house being blown up?"
Alex sighed, and reached out to touch the other woman's hand. "Janet, we think that your husband may have been involved with several men, including his cousin, who were part of a much larger conspiracy. We think they may have planted the bomb at the house."
Janet gazed steadily at Alex. "That's not possible. Derek and Kyle care about each other. They're cousins, Derek would never hurt Kyle."
"And the others? Jake, and C.J., and John --"
"No. John Treville has done nothing but help Kyle. He and his wife are very active in our church, and they've been our friends for years. Besides, he just a few months ago gave Kyle that painting the one Rick was admiring the other day."
Alex looked at Rick. "Painting?"
"Yeah, it was a painting of the Virgin and Jesus. Oil painting, looked pretty old to me."
Alex turned back to Janet. "John gave Kyle a painting?"
"Yes. It was one that he'd had for many years, but he wanted Kyle to have it. After all, John and Karen have so many beautiful paintings, and Karen said she'd helped John pick out just which one to give to us."
"And where did John get this painting?"
"He picked it up on one of his European visits. You know, he visits a lot of churches in the former Soviet Union, bringing them bibles. He's a good man, Alex. He couldn't have been responsible for the bomb. That's just absurd."
Alex sighed. She took a deep breath, knowing that what she was going to say would hurt the woman very badly. It would either make her totally distrust the agents, or doubt what she knew about her husband.
"Janet, listen to me. You know that the police found your car, the one that was stolen, right?"
"And you know that it had been bombed, right?"
"Yes, but I don't understand why someone would do that."
"Did your husband tell you these things, or did a police officer tell you?"
"Kyle did. He always takes care of things like that." She looked back down at the table. "Or at least he always used to."
"Well, did Kyle tell you who was in the car when it exploded, and what they had done?"
Janet looked warily at the agent. "No."
"Janet, the people in the car were George Mather, and Darryl Wilford. We believe that they were the two men that joined the meeting at your house that single time."
"Is it? I'd like you to look at a couple of pictures for me, okay?" She slid the pictures of Wilford and Mather across to the woman. "Do you recognize these men, Janet?"
Janet looked at the pictures, and Alex could see the answer in her eyes.
"Janet, these two men are known to be responsible for at least three killings in the last six months."
"One of them was with John Treville in Europe, in the company of gun runners and drug dealers."
"That's not true -- no no --"
Janet broke down, her sobs filling the small kitchenette. Rick looked out the door to see if her daughter had heard, but the girl was asleep on the couch, curled into a fetal position. Alex slid a box of tissue over to Janet, and waited for her sobs to quiet down.
A wailing from the bedroom broke the tableau. Janet leaped up and left the room, practically running. Alex couldn't decide whether she was running to her son, or just trying to escape her and Rick.
Teren stopped in to see Cliff before going to the CIA offices. He waved her into his office, and told her to shut the door.
"How'd everything go out in Colorado? You find anything?"
"Yeah, but not much. I've got some information coming in this afternoon, then I'll catch a plane for Philly. Anything from our other intrepid investigators?"
"Not yet. They made it in, and they were meeting with Harnisch this morning. Then they had an interrogation planned. Alex said she'd call after that."
"Good. No sign of Brogan, huh?"
"Nope. And I'm kind of worried. I mean, he and White, they're our only suspects. If somebody takes them out, we're dead in the water."
"Have you sent someone to pick up White?"
"Yeah, as a matter of fact I gave Tom and Rudy the orders this morning. Their flight should arrive in Birmingham about four o'clock. Hopefully, they'll have White in custody soon after."
"Good. Well, unless something different comes up, I'll be in Philly by tonight."
"Make sure you keep Alex out of trouble. And don't shoot David."
"Right." She gave him a half-smile, then thought about something she'd spoken to Carl about. "Hey, Cliff, who was the person who put this team together?"
He stared at her. "Deputy Director Bishop. He's the guy I report to."
"And he chose the agents to be on it?"
"Most of them. I finally talked him into letting me bring Alex and David onto the team."
"Okay. Who was it that decided to send Alex and David up to Philly to protect Dabir?"
"Bishop. I wanted to send Mark and Ben along with Ken, but he said he wanted David and Alex in Philly."
"Didn't anybody tell him they had no experience in security precautions?"
"Yes, I did." Cliff frowned and narrowed his eyes. "What are you trying to say, Teren, that Alex and David did a bad job because they didn't have enough experience?"
"Not at all. From what I've heard, I understand they did a great job. They couldn't know someone would use the ID from a dead CIA operative. I'm just saying, I was surprised someone with a little more experience in that particular area didn't get sent with them."
Cliff sighed and leaned back in his chair. "I tried, but Bishop was insistent."
"Did he give a reason why?"
"Nope. Just said those were the three he wanted up there. My hands were tied."
Teren nodded. "Well, I better get going. I'll call before I leave, and make sure where Alex and David are, okay?"
"Gotcha. I'm gonna be here late tonight, as usual."
"I thought with a position like yours you'd get to go home early all the time, Cliff."
"Yeah, right. And I bet you believe in the tooth fairy, too."
It took several minutes for Janet Brogan to quiet her son, and when he was finally calm, he refused to leave her arms. Every time she tried to sit him down, no matter where, he would begin crying, and reach his arms out to her.
Finally, he settled on her lap in the kitchen, staring at the two FBI agents with wide brown eyes. He clung to his mother, sucking furiously on his pacifier.
Alex got up and refilled Janet's coffee cup. She allowed the other woman several minutes to compose herself, and then she sat down across from her.
"I'm sorry this is happening to your family, Janet."
Janet stroked the head of the child in her lap. "I don't really believe you, you know. About Kyle, I mean, or John. But I'll tell you everything I know and you'll find out for yourself you were wrong."
Alex and Rick exchanged glances.
"What else can you tell us, Janet?"
"Well, Kyle agreed to drive those two men places. Though once or twice there was only one -- this one, you called him Darren?"
"Right. They drove down to Baltimore. I can't remember when."
"Why didn't they just fly?"
"I don't know. Something about having a car there and not renting one."
"Did your husband make a lot of trips with these men?"
"Several. There was Baltimore, New York, Alabama. And on the way back from Alabama they stayed in Atlanta for a few days."
There was the confirmation, Alex thought. She realized they now had the basic 'who' and 'how' questions answered. Now they had would have to work on the question of 'why.'
And they needed Kyle Brogan for that.
"Janet, when Kyle would leave the house, he'd take his cell phone, right?"
"Is there a possibility he has it with him now?"
"I don't know. I could give you the number and you could call."
"Would he answer it?"
"He might, but I'm not sure." She shifted the boy in her arms. "I suppose I could try our signal."
"Yeah. Once in a while he wouldn't want to answer the phone, because he was in a meeting, or he was really busy. So, we devised a signal months ago so that I could call, and he would know it was me and I needed him to answer."
"And how did the signal work?"
"It was pretty simple, really. I'd call, and hang up after the first ring, count to ten, and call back. It never failed."
Alex reached across and touched Janet's arm. "Will you call him for us? It's really important that we find him, Janet, before whoever blew up your house finds him instead."
Janet glanced down at the little boy in her arms, then back up at Rick, and Alex. She nodded, and said in a quiet voice, "I'll call him."
The area that Teren was about to enter was in the very heart of the CIA underground complex. It was actually three floors underground, and was called B3. The security from B2 to B4 was incredibly tight. Depending on which floor you were going to, you had to submit to different kinds of searches. The second floor, B2, required a simple wanding of the operative's body, since one was not allowed to bring metal of any kind onto the floor. Any and all pens, pencils, or other office supply items were already inside the area, and the operatives could take full use of them. This precaution was taken because of the sensitive nature of the computers in the room, and the rule that in the basement floors, only security guards could carry their weapons.
The floor known as B3 was also a computer floor, but half of it was broken down into small glass cubicles, inside which was a computer terminal, a printer, and a chair. This floor required not only a search for metal, but also a general search of the body by touch. The glass cubicles were called lock boxes, because they remained locked until an operative needed to use them, and then the operative was locked inside the box for the duration of their visit. The glass was clear, so the monitors of the room could see the operative, but the computer screens were hooded, so only the operative could see the information being displayed. Entry to these cubicles, or lock boxes, was cleared through the monitor at the desk, who would authorize an agent to use a cubicle for information retrieval. After clearance had been given, the operative was escorted to the assigned cubicle, wanded once more, and then allowed to enter. The door was locked behind them.
The fourth floor underground was the most sensitive and required not only clearance of the director, but a full body search, after which the individual had to go through a decontamination procedure, since the floor designated B4 was a clean room. Teren had never been to the fourth floor.
It was just after one o'clock when she presented herself at the cubicle control desk. She was pleased to find that Carl had come through, and she was escorted to her assigned box. The guard escorting her recited the rules.
"There will be no communication between you and anyone outside the room. You will not reach into your pockets at anytime, not even for so much as a breath mint. When you have finished you may ring the buzzer, and I will escort you back to the desk. Once you leave the cubicle you must get a re-authorization to re-enter, so be certain you're finished before you ring. You know, of course, that anything you print out will be checked by the control desk. If they think it's of a sensitive nature, it won't leave the floor."
Teren nodded her understanding, and entered the room. She waited until she heard the lock behind her engage before she sat at the desk.
Carl, it seemed, had come through again. Using her personal access code, she retreived the file of information that he had sent. It was a long and detailed file of the Swiss account she had asked about.
She had been wrong. The account was new, opened only three years ago, by Martin Richmond and John Treville. The initial deposit had been over five and a half million dollars. There was close to three million in the account now. The transaction list for the last six months included several large transactions to those accounts belonging to George Mather in the name of Perry Watson. There was also a transfer to an account for Derek White. Other payments were made to two different accounts in China, as well as payments to a Lithuanian bank. Deposits into the account came from Germany, and Switzerland. It seemed Richmond and Treville were doing business in several different countries.
The accounts in China belonged to two different companies that were known to front for the Chinese Triads, the gangs that were responsible for a large amount of the opium trade in the east. The ownership of one of these accounts had been passed on after the death of the principle signer, six months ago. Carl noted that the death occurred in a small town on the Lithuanian border. Teren realized it was the drug leader she and Perry had taken out.
Switching over from message retrieval to message inquiry, Teren brought up the banking system for Lithuania. The security for this system was extremely weak, and it took her only a moment to work her way through the layers and into their file system. She called up the number from Carl's message and found that the account in question belonged to Anatol Radinkov. Teren remembered him well from their meeting six months ago.
The account in Germany was a little harder to work her way into. She finally received access and found the name Jurgen von Odbert. She saved the information to her private account, and left the inquiry system.
At the end of information he'd sent, Carl had added a notation. He told her the money to originally open Treville and Richmond's account had been transferred from another Swiss bank. Unfortunately, due to the date it was opened, the information on the original owner was not computerized. He could get no further information on it. If she wanted to know more, however, there was a person in the employ of the bank's records department that owed him a favor. But she'd have to go see him in person.
Teren hit the print button, and leaned back to wait. She thought about Carl's last statement. A trip to Switzerland. Wonderful.
She wondered if Alex and David would want to go with her.
Alex and David were going back to their hotel. Their day had been frustrating, and all Alex wanted was dinner, a shower, and a bed.
She and Rick had spent a couple of hours with Janet Brogan, and waited with her for her husband to answer the phone. He never did. Janet had been pale, but had said that he must not have taken his phone with him. Alex gave her a weak smile and nodded.
She didn't want to think about the other possibility.
David had joined Ken in calling all the morgues and hospitals. No one answering Brogan's description had shown up in any of them. They also checked the jails, wondering if he'd been booked under a different name. They had no luck there, and no luck with any contacts on the streets. No one had seen Brogan.
The search of the hotels near the strip proved a little better. Someone matching his photo had been in one, but had checked out very early. He'd paid cash, and had stayed only until just after sunrise. Then he left in his car. The witness said the car had plates, but he couldn't see the numbers.
There was nothing else, except to make the circuit again. The job had been passed on to two junior agents, and Dave joined Alex at the hotel, while Ken headed to the forensics lab to see if he could help trace the bomb components.
Rick Price had remained with Janet Brogan and her family. Every so often they would try again to call Kyle Brogan. Alex was glad Janet wasn't giving up hope, but had very little herself.
Dinner was in the hotel restaurant, and was very quiet. Neither of them really wanted to talk, being tired and frustrated and short-tempered. David was trying not to grouse about spending more time away from his wife and daughter. He hoped that Cliff had been serious about that vacation time, or he just might have to go AWOL to save his marriage. When he'd called Miri to tell her that he was heading to Philadelphia instead of going home, she'd been very silent and hadn't said much. He asked her if she'd still be at the airport, and she said he should call her when he arrived -- she didn't want to be left waiting for a flight that he wasn't on.
Alex was wondering where Teren was, and what she was doing. She hoped the CIA agent had gotten what she needed and was on her way. She had to admit she missed the darker woman's smile and the way the blue in her eyes became more intense when she was concentrating on something. Besides, she thought, and Alex had to smile at this, even though she could see the danger in Teren, a big part of her felt safer when the assassin was around.
"Well, that's it, I'm done. I don't think I can keep my eyes open much longer. I'm turning in, Alex. You staying here?"
"Nope, I'm right behind you. You want to sign for the check, and I'll get breakfast?"
"Oh, yeah, take the cheaper meal."
"Oh, yeah, I forgot. The way you eat, every meal is expensive."
Alex gave him a light punch on the arm, then took the check from him.
"Just for that, I'll sign, and you can get breakfast."
"Great. I don't think I'm awake enough to remember my name, much less sign it."
He watched as Alex signed the bill with a flourish.
"That's okay, Dave, I remember your name, and how to sign it."
"Good." They were half-way out of the restaurant when he realized what she'd said. He stopped and looked at her. "Alex, did you just sign my name to the bill?"
She turned on him with a sleepy grin. "Would I do that?"
Alex was leaning against the wall in the shower when she realized she had fallen asleep.
She opened her eyes with a jerk, blinking a little in the steam. She hadn't meant to be long in the shower but the combination of hot water, humid air, and a cool tile wall had dulled her senses, and she had slipped easily into that hazy state between sleep and waking, when one doesn't know which is which.
She turned off the shower, and climbed out of the tub, only to realize the phone was ringing. Stepping out of the steamy bathroom, she wrapped a towel around herself and grabbed the phone from the desk.
"Alex, Rick. Brogan just called me."
"I spoke to Brogan. He wants to talk, but he's scared. He thinks someone's after him, and he's on the run."
"Okay, hang on just a moment, Rick."
Alex returned to the bathroom, grabbing the bucket full of ice on her way. She turned on the water for the sink, pulling the handle for the stopper. When the sink was half way filled she turned the water off, and poured the melting ice cubes into the sink. Then she took a deep breath, and stuck her head into the sink.
Water flew everywhere as she pulled her head back out, shaking it.
"Shit, that's cold." She grabbed a fresh towel and wiped her face. "But at least I'm a little more awake."
She returned to the room and picked up the phone. "Okay, Rick, once more, slowly."
"I had left Janet and her kids, and headed back up to my office. My office phone rang. It was Brogan, and he said he wanted to meet with me. He said he was grateful that we'd taken care of his family, and he was willing to talk, if we guarantee him immunity. But he thinks his life's in danger if he comes to us, so he wants us to come to him."
"What did you tell him?"
"I said I'd have to clear it, but we could probably make a deal of some kind. He said either there's a deal in place or he doesn't say a word."
Alex took a breath. "Alright. Where does he want to meet?"
"He didn't say, but he wants to do it tonight. He said he'd call me at seven and tell me where and when."
Alex looked at her watch, seeing that it was just after five. "Damn, that doesn't give us much time. Am I the first one to know about this?"
"Well, I ducked into Harnisch's office and let him know. He's calling Ken, and I'm calling you."
"Good. When you hang up, call David. I'm going to call Cliff. I don't know if it's too late or not, but maybe he can get someone over at Justice to call Janet Reno, or whoever they need to. Without clearance, we can't deal with him."
"Think we should try to do this tonight, or tell him to wait until morning?"
"Do you think he could last until morning?"
Rick was silent, then Alex heard him take a deep breath. "No. I think by morning he'll be either too fried to tell us anything, or they'll have found him. He's not thinking clearly right now."
"Right. So, wake up David. I'll call Washington. Do you want us to come to the office, or shall we get everyone over here to get this planned out?"
"Well, he's calling my office line, so I think it should be here."
"Got it. David and I will be there as soon as we can."
"Great. See you soon, Alex."
Alex hung up the phone and reached for the cellular on top of her briefcase. "Hey, Cliff, have I got a surprise for you."
Teren was driving to the airport when her cell phone rang. She flipped it open.
"Teren, it's Cliff Jackson. I just heard from Alex. Brogan contacted them and wants to meet. Tonight."
"Yeah. But I don't like the timing. When can you get there?"
"Well, my flight's scheduled in a little before nine. Any idea what time the meet is?"
"Not yet. Brogan's supposed to call back. Shall I tell her to try to make it after ten o'clock?"
"That would give me enough time, I think, especially if someone meets me at the airport and tells me where it is."
"Good. I'll make sure someone's there. Maybe I can even arrange a police escort."
"That would be good. As long as they let me drive."
"Yeah, right." He chuckled, then cleared his throat. "Okay, so I'll let Alex know you're on your way. Any message for her?"
"Tell her to hang tight and keep her head."
"Got it." He paused. "Safe flight, Teren."
"See you soon, Cliff."
Teren hung up, and set the phone aside. She kept her hands steady on the steering wheel, and forced herself not to speed. It didn't matter if she got to the airport ten minutes sooner. That would only mean she'd have to wait an extra ten minutes in the terminal. And she hated waiting.
Thinking about her blond friend, she sent out good thoughts.
"Hang on, Alex. Just wait 'til I get there."
To Be Continued
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