Embracing Justice -chp 18


Embracing Justice

142px-US_Marshal_Badge.png

Can the love of another really help a person overcome the need for revenge or is the old saying true about digging two graves?

Dedicated to the men and women of the US Marshal Service.

Edited by my husband Paul, Honeysuckle, and djkuffman.

~o~O~o~

This is a work of fiction an any persons in this work are purely fictional.


“Specialist, understand, this is not to go past you me and the shithouse door. If everything goes to plan we’ll finally be able to take care of that little LOG problem we’ve been having.”


CHAPTER 18

Provost Marshal’s Office, Ft. Bellamean. 0800

“Excuse me sir, but Sergeant Major Hurwitz is here to see you sir.”

Colonel Thomas Chasm looked up at Specialist Whitman. “Show him in Specialist, and make sure we are not disturbed.”

“Yes sir.” Whatever was going on Specialist Whitman knew when to keep his mouth shut and follow orders. He left the Sergeant Major and his CO to have their talk.

Once they were alone the Colonel looked up at Larry and the file that he carried. “Ok Sergeant Major just what in the name of the nine hells is going on?”

“Sir the answer to our prayers for dealing with LOG is what is going on. In this file is all the evidence we need to deal those people a death blow.” Larry handed over the file that Sam had given him the other day. As the Colonel opened the file and began reading Larry went over to the coffee pot that sat on the side table in the Colonels office. After making himself a cup of black coffee Larry looked around the room. On the shelves and walls were all the signs of a long and selfless career. Pictures of friends, both alive and dead. Awards given and received in the course of serving a man’s country. The diploma for Law earned from the University of Cincinnati. This was the office of both a warrior and a scholar.

“Son of a bitch! Where did you get this intel Sergeant Major?”

“I am afraid that information is on a need to know basis sir. What I can tell you though is that it is solid. That is the reason for my being here today in my day job as a US Deputy Marshal.”

“Oh then what exactly is your reason for being here Deputy Hurwitz?”

“Colonel Gilman on behalf of the US Marshal Dorothy Rose I have been sent here to see if you can help us with this problem? What I need is two squads of reliable MP’s that have SWAT training to help take that compound.”

“If that is all you need why don’t you Marshal’s use your own people?”

“This doesn’t leave this office sir. It seems that the Marshals’ along with more than a few other agencies have a rat problem. One that is so bad that we cannot go to other outside agencies for help in this matter. Now Colonel do you think you can help us out?”

The colonel sat back and started to laugh at his Sergeant Major. For over four years he had been wanting to take a chuck out of those LOG assholes and here his Command Sergeant Major just walks in and hand’s it to him. “Deputy Marshal Hurwitz I do believe we can help you with your little problem. Why I believe the second and third platoons have just the men you’ll need for this mission. I believe you’re familiar with them?”

“Yes sir I am. However don’t you think that two whole platoons is a bit much?”

“Wrong Sergeant Major. Two platoons is nowhere near enough for this operation. If I could release the whole company for this mission I would. Had you read the full report you would understand why I feel this way.”

“Sir not only have I read that full report, but I was one of the people who came up with the plan to hit that joint. Before you ask I know every inch of that compound and what is there. I also know what we need to hit it with, when, and how. If you go to page five section ‘six a’ you’ll see a time table for the guards and when they make their change out.”

“Sergeant Major, I know that you total me this is need to know information, but just who the hell got you this Intel?” Larry could tell that the Colonel wasn’t going to budge on this. So making a fast decision that he hoped wouldn’t come back to bite him in the ass.

“Sir please understand this could get four very good Deputies and a very valuable witness killed, not to mention blow an ongoing investigation. At this time one of the greatest black hat hacker’s is working with those deputies to take down the LOG party. Their reasons for helping the US Marshal’s is not known to me, just that they are going out of their way to give the Marshals all the help they can. If I were to make a wager on their reasons I would have to say that the number one reason is revenge. It was this hacker that was the one to gain the Intel that is the folder in front of you.”

“If I may ask, is the witness and this hacker one and the same?”

“Once again this doesn’t leave this room. The answer to your question is yes. The hacker and the witness are one and the same. Also I will tell you this much one of the deputies guarding that witness is related by blood. If something were to happen to that witness I would hate to be the one that deputy blames. That man will not be stopped until he gets whoever is his target. Because he won’t stop until that person is in the grave. Do you understand what I am saying here Colonel, because if you don’t let me spell it out for you. Blood will answer for blood, that deputy lives by the code of the feud.”

“I take it that this deputy is a friend of yours Sergeant Major? No don’t answer that. I have a feeling that if you did I might not like the answer.”
Looking back at the file folder in front of him, the Colonel sat back in thought. For over three years now he had wanted to be part of the force that took down the LOG, but the Law had always stood in his way. “Do your best to make sure all of my people come home, please deputy. I know that you’ll make sure to do your best in this matter, but I am the one that has to answer to their families if they don’t.”

“You have my word on this sir. One way or another I will do my best to make that happen.”

“Good. Now, how and when do you plan to hit the compound?”

“Tonight just after zero two thirty hours. If that Intel is correct the third shift should have been on duty for six hour by then and the first shift should still be asleep at that time. I figure that we have one team come in from the base side through the back fence line. That will give them the best chance at taking the underground bunkers by going through the escape tunnels that are there. While they are hitting the bunker the first team will be coming in the front. I figure if we let the first team use the FAV’s it will give them an advantage. By being able to hit the gates fast and furious it will keep down the number of casualties on our side. While the FAV’s will maximize the shock effect on the compound guards. Figure that by the time the compound guards figure out we’re inside their perimeter we’ll own the whole damn place.”

“Sounds good Sergeant Major. I take it you have had a lot of time to go over this plan?”

“Yes sir, I have. In fact I also had a lot of help from certain deputies with this plan. A few of which are also former military with more training in SWAT and Close Quarters Combat. They were the two that came up with most of the plan sir. If that is what’s bothering you?”

“No Sergeant Major. In fact the plan you have laid out before me makes use of the troops that I will be assigning to this mission quite well. I’ll hold a briefing at fourteen hundred hours this afternoon to go over it with the two platoon leaders. How does that sound, deputy?”

“Sounds good to me Colonel, and thank you for your help with this matter. It isn’t often that the Marshals have to go to an outside agency for help, but when we do we like working with people who are real professionals.”

****************

Toledo Express Airport 8:15 am, Toledo Ohio……

Jimmy Lakes was like a lot of other runaway street kids in the Toledo area. He knew where to be, and when to be, to score the best panhandling spots. The mornings were the best time to be at the airport if for scoring spare change off of the incoming tourists. He knew which ones to look for and which ones to avoid. Thankfully the TSA agents were more worried about people heading for the boarding area than what was going on in the passenger drop off and pick up areas. So when he saw the group of men all arriving together he knew something was up.

So he trailed them to the luggage claim area and kept his distance to check them out. As he watched them he slowly began to realize that these men were not your normal tour group. They all had the look and feel of professional hitmen about them. The more he watched the more he knew that he had to get this information to Annette DeMarco. Of all the local sources the DeMarco’s paid the most for information. He knew without a doubt that the DeMarco family will want to know what is going on with these guys.

As he headed out he passed the man that they had come to meet and one other. He overheard them talking. The older of the two was the one asking questions.

“No problems Major, but do you mind me asking why you need a fifteen man team for an urban mission? I mean if all we’re facing is low level street thugs you wouldn’t have brought in this many of us. Who or what are we hitting?”

“Top, I would normally give you all the info now, but you’ll just have to wait like the others until we get to the safe house.”

Hearing this Jimmy headed outside as fast as his legs could carry him. Once outside Jimmy looked for the one cabby that he knew would help him. Seeing the man he was looking for Jimmy headed straight for him. The cabby maybe the eighth in line but he knew that Bill Marks would help him. “Bill I need to get to Miss DeMarco’s house as fast as I can. Will you take me there?”

Looking over at the street kid Bill just smiled. He had known Jimmy for seven months now and had come to like the willy street smart kid. “Sure no problem kiddo. But you have to tell me why you’re in such an all fire hurry?”

“I have information that the DeMarco’s need that’s all, I swear.” Jimmy said as he climbed into the back seat of Bill’s cab. When bill heard this he quickly got in and started the engine. Bill knew that he would get paid by Annette or Maria DeMarco for delivering the boy to them. One way or another Bill knew that the DeMarco’s were connected to everything that goes down in this town. Hell even he had gotten paid for a bit of information by the DeMarco women. They paid the most for information in Toledo.

It took them close to an hour with the morning traffic to reach the DeMarco family home. After both men got out of the car they were surprised to be met by a young lady in a maid’s uniform. “How may I help you gentlemen?” Jimmy stepped forward to face the maid.

“I have information that Miss. DeMarco needs to know about.”

“Very well, if you’ll follow me please?” the maid had an air of authority about her that booked no argument. Both men followed her inside the house and were told to wait in the foyer. When the maid returned she was accompanied by Annette.

“So Jimmy what brings you to my home at this time of the day?” Annette asked with a smile.

“Um… Miss. Annette I was over at the airport this morning and I was something that I think you need to know about.”

“Anna, do me a favor and go get the boys something for their trouble. I figure a hundred a piece will cover it.”

“Yes ma’am. I’ll not be more than a few moments.” With that Anna headed for the house safe. Once they were alone Annette looked over at Jimmy.

“There are at least fifteen hitmen in town. They came in on this morning’s flight from Vancouver. They all had the look of true professional mercenaries about them. I also over heard that whatever it is, it is going to go down tonight. Whatever they are here to do it is going to be messy Miss. Annette.”

“I have to agree with the young man here Miss. Annette.” Looking over at Bill Annette could see that there was a little more to this than she thought. “I got a look at those people as they came out of the terminal. Those men are pros and if I had to guess I would say that they are here to either kill you or someone else they figure to make a bundle on.”

“Thank you gentlemen for your prompt attention to this. If you’ll wait a few minutes more I make sure you more than compensated for your time and the information you have provided me.” Annette turned to Anna as she came back into the hallway. “Anna please go back and get these men another two hundred apiece please.” Annette didn’t wait to hear her maids reply or to see that her order was carried out.

Both Jimmy and Bill were surprised to hear how much the DeMarco woman was going to pay them for their information. Three hundred dollars apiece was way more than they could have expected. The most that either of them were hoping to get was a mere fifty bucks, but this was way more than either would have asked for. When the maid returned a second time they just stared in wonder at the three one hundred dollar bills in their hands. Not wanting to upset the DeMarco family they just took their money and left.

In the dance studio Annette looked on as her mother was teaching her adoptive daughter the rudimentary forms of ballet. The music that flowed through the room was Beethoven’s fifth symphony. “Mother we have a problem.”

Maria turned to look at her daughter. “May I know what has so disturbed you my dear?”

“It seems that our friends have sent in a pack of professional mercenaries to handle our dear Samantha and her friends.”

“How did you find this out my dear?”

“Through the usual manner mother. One of my local contacts was the one to bring me the information. They also told me that whatever is going down it will be tonight.”

“Damn that doesn’t give us a lot of time to find out who these people are or what their capabilities are. Do we have any idea if Samantha’s old home still has its surprises intact?”

“Mama, if there is one thing that I know it is this. That house has more surprises than a haunted house at Kings Island. However I do suggest that we get changed and head over to there to give her a hand. I have the nastiest feeling that she and her friends are going to need a hand with whatever is headed their way.”

“Mom, why are we getting involved with a bunch of pigs for?” Kasey asked from her place at the ballet bar.

“Kasey DeMarco! I never want to hear you use language like that again!” Kasey was not expecting to have her head bitten off by Maria DeMarco for calling a US Deputy Marshal a pig. After all they are the enemy aren’t they? “When it comes to Samantha Justice she is your auntie and a part of this family. She maybe a Deputy Marshal as are her friends, but they are still family. We do not ever disrespect family for what they do with their lives. If anything we respect them for having the courage to follow their own path in life. Now, for that little mistake you can perform twenty five pliés, demi- pliés, and grand pliés in all four positions starting with first position.” The groan that came from Kasey at hearing this was almost comical. “Would you rather it be fifty of each?”

“No ma’am, grandma.”

“Good then get to it young lady.”

“Um… can I ask why I need to learn ballet anyway?”

“Kasey, the DeMarco women have always been mistresses of the art. As such it now your turn to learn ballet just as your mother did when she was your age. Now, get busy or you’re going to be here all day just getting through the first twenty five.”

Kasey applied herself to going through each of the pliés that her new grandmother had assigned as her punishment for calling the Marshal’s pigs. The harder she pushed herself the more she wanted to perfect each movement. Her desire to move as gracefully as Annette or Maria was her driving force and need. Annette just smiled at her daughter as she pushed herself to improve. Oh Annette knew that Kasey wouldn’t ever reach that goal. Then again no person ever truly perfected the art of the dance. That is why they practice day after day trying to become better and better with each passing day. Just as she has done for the past twenty years.

“Annette, go start getting ready to head over to Samantha’s home. I believe that our friends will try to kill her and her friends tonight. Get out our shotguns and assault rifles along with my snipper rifle. When they come tonight we’ll be there to end this fight once and for all. When we are done we will send the LOG party a message they will never forget.”

“What message will that be, mother?”

“To stay away from the DeMarco clan or die.”

********

Down the street at the Home of Samantha …

Having finished with their breakfast Sam and Kristine cleaned up the dishes and dinner table. Hunter, Bobby, and Bat went outside to check the perimeter of the house grounds. Everywhere they looked they found nothing out of order. As they made their rounds Bobby and Hunter both found something to ask Sam about. The first of which was the Claymore mines hidden in the outside walls of the house with overlapping field of fire. Each of these was also covered by the gun ports. This house was a real fortress in disguise. The more the two saw the more they realized just how hard it would be to attack this house.

Inside Sam and Kristine both finished with their cleanup of the dishes and headed down stairs to the dance studio again. As they enter the room Sam could see that this was where she belonged. When this assignment was over she was handing in her resignation. She didn’t care where she wound up so long as she could teach ballet. The time she had spent with Kristine this morning teaching her the basics was one of the finest times in her life.

Looking over at the practice range Sam just sighed. As much as she hated to admit it, what that range represented would always be a part of her life. If not in the present then in the past. No matter what happens if push comes to shove she will always rely on her life time of training. The only ones that ever truly accepted Sam for a dancer was Annette and Maria. Then again it was Maria that gave her, her love of classical ballet. From the looks of things when this is all over she was going to have to get Kristine into regular classes. Her hunch was confirmed when Kristine didn’t wait for her and just went over to the studio sound system. Soon the strains of Beethoven fifth were flouting through the room.

Kristine and Sam were still dressed in their leotards, and tights from earlier so it didn’t take much for the two of them to be going through their warmup stretches. Bat came down stairs the moment he heard the music playing. Soon he watched as the two girls began to go through the positions at the bar. It brought back memories of Carlyon, Kristine’s mother. The pain he felt at being stopped in his investigation of her death still cut him deeply. She was more than just a good friend to his wife; Carlyon was also the one who got his wife into the ballet. The two of them had met at the Cincinnati School of Performing Arts when they were teenagers. The two of them never grew apart. When Carlyon joined the Cincinnati Ballet company Lisa was right there with her. He would never have met his wife it hadn’t been for Carlyon. He wished that she was still alive to see her daughter now. Not realizing it Bat made a promise to that long dead woman. One that he would go through the very gates of Hell to keep.

For the better part of two hours he just sat on the steps and watched as the two girls practiced ballet. Well, one practiced while the other taught. It was truly an amazing sight in Bat’s eyes. Hunter and Bobby had stayed upstairs while the three were lost in their own little worlds cleaning their M4 tactical rifles. The girls in the world of dance and ballet. Bat in his memories of his past. So it was little wonder that it was Bobby and Hunter that heard the buzzer at the gate to the driveway gate. Bobby looked over at Hunter. “Well don’t just sit there, answer the damn thing.”

“What should I say when I answer?”

“Hell. Hunter, I don’t know. I don’t know anybody in this town, and I’m not expecting anybody from the office. How about you?”

“Nope. The last I heard we are to be laying low. Thanks to your and Sam’s late night run last night I wouldn’t be surprised if it was the Attorney General.” Hunter got up an answered the buzzer deciding to wing it. After he had given the cover story name for the family they were portraying he asked who was there.

“Maria DeMarco, Deputy. I believe that my niece is here with you, if you want to have her verify who I am. However I do believe that it would be better done if I and my family were inside the gate.” Hunter looked over at Bobby who quickly nodded his head yes. Taking his lead from Bobby, Hunter hit the button to open the gate. “Thank you, sir. It will be myself, my daughter, and granddaughter. We’ll be waiting outside the door for you or Deputy Everbrite to answer it. Please don’t shoot any of us.”

Bobby wiped the gun oil off his hands from where he was cleaning his tactical rifle. “Hay Sam we got company. It seems that the DeMarco’s have come over for a visit. Get your ass up here on the double. There is no way in hell I’m facing that woman and her kids on my own.”

Sam turned to look at Kristine and realized how they were dressed. She knew for a fact that if Mama Maria saw the two of them dressed this way there would be no getting out of her taking over Kristine’s dance lesson or Sam being put through her paces. With no time to change Sam decided to just go with how they were dressed and face the wrath of Madam Maria. “Come on kiddo time for you to meet the woman who taught me to dress, and if you know what’s good for you, you’ll keep your mouth shut for now.”

“Um… Sam you make this woman sound like the devil incarnate in a dance studio.”

“Believe me Kristine when I say you don’t want to be on her bad side in a dance studio. Madam Maria has been known to tear into full Prima Ballerinas without a second thought. Even I tell you she is a bitch in the studio kiddo, I mean bitch with a capital B.”
From over where he was setting Bat looked at Sam with some mirth in his eyes. “Why Samantha Justice I do believe that this woman scares you. Could it be the Hellion of fugitive retrieval is actually afraid of another human being?”

“Bat if you know what’s good for you. When we get upstairs you’ll take Hunter and run for the hills. Maria DeMarco scares the crap out of me not only in a dance studio, but just about anywhere else for that matter. Believe me when I say ‘she is deadly’ I mean it. The only person that I ever met who was better with a knife was my mother and that woman could do things with a blade that were terrifying.” Sam just smiled at Bat as the smile on his face vanished at the thought of there being someone out there that could be that deadly with a knife and they were just going to let them in to a safe house.

Kristine seeing the look on her uncle’s face just giggled and hurried to caught up to Sam. As they reached the upstairs the doorbell range. Sam did not wait for either one of the boys to answer the door and did it herself. She did this for two reasons. One, if the DeMarco’s were here to fulfill the contract on her and the others there would be no stooping them at the door; and the other reason was she didn’t need Mama Maria jumping to conclusions about her living arrangement with the guys. In fact that was the last thing she wanted mama Maria jumping to. Opening the door in nothing but her leotard, tights, and ballet slippers Sam was greeted by Maria, Annette and a young girl no older than sixteen.

“Samantha, it is good to see that you haven’t forgotten all your training. It’s nice to see that you still dance. I hope we haven’t interrupted your practice. Don’t worry though if we have Annette and Kasey can join you and what appears to be your student in your studio once we have had our talk.” Maria smiled when she saw how Sam and Kristine were dressed. The fact that none of them were dressed for dancing was not an issue as they had their gear in the bags that they were carrying. Those and enough fire arms to give any ATF agent a heart attack.

“Well then come on in. we don’t need the whole world knowing what is going on here.” After closing the front door Sam showed the three women into the living room. After they had put down their luggage Maria walked over to where Hunter and Bobby had their M4 rifles broken down for cleaning on the coffee table. Not asking for permission she picked up the bolt for one of the weapons and started to look at it closely. Hunter seeing her pick up his bolt and firing pin for his M4.

“Excuse me ma’am. Please don’t handle that. It’s the…”

“I know exactly what I am holding deputy and you need to take a pipe cleaner to the gas tube of this bolt. It is so clogged up that it is a true wonder you haven’t suffered from misfires. In fact if I was you I would invest in a bottle of Newman’s Break free or Castle Weapons Oil. You’ll find that you get a better cleaning finish and oiling when you use either of those.” After giving Hunter a rather rude reaming turned her attention to the next weapon on the table. Picking up the upper receiver with barrel she looked down the length of it. “Robert, I am greatly disappointed in you. This rifle barrel is filthy. When was the last time you ran a bore brush down this barrel? There is enough dust in this barrel to grow potatoes.”

“That’s the reason I have it out ma’am. That last time I used that M4 was over three months ago. It’s been in storage since then. I haven’t had much call to use it lately. I know that is no reason to not have performed my routine maintenance and cleaning, but I just haven’t had time lately to take care of it. That or any other minor deals that have just been piling up on me lately.” Bobby knew that there was no sense in arguing with the woman as she was right. Hunter on the other hand was still reeling from having his ass handed to him by this woman in front of his friends and coworkers. In all his years as a deputy he had never received an ass chewing like he just had, not since his days as a recruit at basic training for the Army.

“Excuse me ma’am, but just who are you and how is it you know so much about my weapon?” he asked Maria point blank.

“Hunter, before you get your foot any further down your throat allow me to introduce Mrs. Maria DeMarco. One of the women who taught me how to use weapons and be the all-round ass kicking genius that I am today.” Sam decided to save her friend from embarrassing himself any more than he already has.

“That is quite alright, Samantha dear. The young man has every right to question me or anyone else when it comes to questioning the cleanliness of his weapons and their readiness.” Maria placed the smallest bag that she had brought in on the coffee table and opened it to reveal that it was a gun cleaning and repair kit. Taking out a small bottle of Castle Weapons Oil. “Why don’t you try this young man? I believe you’ll find that it will surprise you with its result.”

“Umm… Thankyou ma’am.” Hunter was surprised that this woman would have not only the, for mentioned cleaner but also an entire weapons repair and cleaning kit in her possession. “Can I ask you a question and not get my head taken off?”

“Hunter, it is Hunter correct?” at Hunters nod Maria continued. “I will not say, one way or the other, if I will chew you out for your question but please feel free to ask. However I do reserve the right to ask you a question in return. Is that satisfactory?”

“Hunter, before you ask that question you need to know something. Maria DeMarco is pure blooded Sicilian. If I was you and you didn’t want to be embarrassed I would keep your question to yourself for now.” Sam had to try and keep her friend out of trouble, but she wouldn’t stand in his way if he wouldn’t take the advice. Thankfully Hunter took the hint.

“Thanks Sam. Mrs. DeMarco you can forget that I even had a question.” Everyone in the room started to laugh at the big man’s embarrassment. Deciding to change the topic Hunter looked at the other hard case luggage. “If I didn’t know better I would say that your family has brought a few toys with them Sam along with more than just a change of clothes for dancing.”

“You are correct Hunter. In those cases are more than enough weapons to help you all with a problem that has arrived in my city.” The heat in Maria’s voice was hot enough to melt stainless steel at fifteen feet. “This morning a group of professional mercenaries arrived at Toledo Express Airport. From what our informants have been able to learn these men are here to kill a group of persons in the area. The group of people are you deputies and your witness here. I was late one other time in saving members of my family. I still owe those people for what they did and when the time comes I will get my revenge. Gentlemen, let me be perfectly clear on this. I will not let that happen again. These men have come here to kill the woman that I have treated and felt was my daughter for more than twenty years. The day that Joey Capizeo died on those courthouse steps a part of me died along with him. I will not go through this again, not if I can help it.”

“Ok Mrs. DeMarco I have no problem with that. As for everyone else in this room I’ll take full responsibility for bringing in outside contractors.” Bat could tell there was no arguing with this woman. From what Sam had said earlier they either accepted her help or they would have to arrest her and her family. Knowing that Sam would fight him and the others on this matter he decided to just go with the flow on this matter. “Now Mrs. DeMarco is there anything else you can tell me about these hitters?”

“May I know your name, sir?” Maria was looking at the older man with more than just casual interest. There was something about this man that pecked her interest in a way she has not felt in years, not since she met her late husband. For some reason Bat felt he had to set her straight about his marriage status.

“Bat Masterson ma’am. I am Kristine’s uncle and happily married for over fifteen years now.”

Maria just looked at him and smiled. “Pity that you’re married. However thank you for letting me know your name and that of this lovely young lady.” Turning to look at Kristine a little harder than before. “You have the look of your mother child. I did not know that Carlyon had a daughter. I thought that she only had a son?”

Kristine blushed to her chest and looked down at the floor. “She did have a son and a daughter in the same person, ma’am.” Looking up at Maria’s face for the first time. The surprise that came to her face as she realized who was standing in front of her was total. “Oh My God you’re Madam DeMarco of the Cincinnati Ballet Company! You knew my mother.”

The deputies all looked at Sam as if she should have known this information. “Hay this is news to me guys. The last time I saw the DeMarco’s was over thirteen years ago.”

Maria and Annette just smiled at Sam and the others as they looked at them. Maria stepped over to where Kristine was standing. Placing her hand on the young girls cheek Maria caressed it lovingly. “Yes child I knew your mother. I had the privilege to work with her and teach her at one time. She was a dancer’s dancer. A true artist of every caliber. I see that she passed on her love of ballet to you. Tell me child how much training have you had?”

“Um… only the few years that my mother was able to give me, Madam Maria.” Kristine was truly in awe of this woman. The fact that Sam had been one of her students showed in her dancing. The fact that Kristine was now standing here in nothing more than her leotard, tights, and barrowed slippers was not lost on Maria. In fact Maria took it as a sign from the Heavens.

“In that case I suggest that you head upstairs, cleanup, and return dressed in a fresh pair of tights and leotard. We have a few hours before those people are ready to come at us at the bear minimum, I will not let this chance to teach the next generation of Masterson’s pass me by. Samantha please be so kind as to show Annette to her room where she can change as well. I’ll take the old maids quarters at the back of the house for my usage. Kasey you can share the room Kristine is using. And Sam I suggest that you also cleanup and change into fresh tights and leotard. I want all four of you in the studio in forty five minutes ladies.”

Kristine almost shit a brick at hearing she was going to be sharing a room with real girl. Seeing the look of fear on the other girls face Kristine thought that something was up. “Don’t worry Kasey I believe that you’ll find you and Kristine have more in common that you think. Trust me child I know what I am doing and I would never place you in a position that would embarrass or hurt you. You are my grandchild now and I take that very seriously.” When Kasey heard this from Maria she relaxed as did Kristine. Both girls looked at each other in a new light.

After hearing Maria give her instructions all four young women did as they were told. Only the three men stood around doing nothing. Maria quickly put an end to this though. “Now, seeing as how you three have nothing to occupy your time you can take care of the weapons in those hard cases. You’ll find everything you need for cleaning them and getting them ready for use in those hard cases. Now, seeing as you also have your own weapons to take care of I suggest you get started. I doubt that our friends will give us a chance at making repairs in the middle of a fire fight. If you have a questions concerning the weapons in the hard cases you’ll find me either down stairs in the studio or in my room.” Maria just walked away to go get changed.

All three men just looked at each other and shrugged their shoulders. Taking their cue from Bat, Bobby and Hunter both got to work on their weapons as Bat went to get his, and Sam’s weapons. When he came back down he had not only his hard cases but Sam’s as well. The three men sat down and went through each weapon as if their lives depended on it. The fact that they very may well was not lost on them. They were surprised to see all five women pass through the living room all dressed in the same way.

As they headed down stairs Bobby and Hunter had a hard time keeping their mind on their work. The way the girls were dressed was enough to distract any red blooded male for a hundred yards. Soon the soft sounds of classical music could be heard coming from down stairs. Bobby looked over at the other two men as they cleaned their weapons and made sure everything was in working order. Not wanting to be the odd man out Bobby concentrated on his own weapons. The feeling was surreal, almost dreamlike, in a twisted sort of ‘The Black Swain’ meets SWAT kind of way. Not that any of the boys would know this.

Down stairs Maria was in her element. As she took the sight of the four woman, or two young girls and two young woman, before her as they stretched out before beginning their lesson Maria could tell that each of them had their own problems. Of them all Kasey was the one that would need the most instruction as she was still a beginner. Kristine showed the most promise with her lithe and compact form. Annette was the most proficient as she has been the most active in ballet of them all. But it was Sam who truly surprised her. Maria had expected that Sam had let her skills and lessons go to waste over the years. This was not the case it would seem. As Sam showed a level of proficiency far beyond even her daughter Annette.

It was as if Sam had not become a US Deputy Marshal but gone on to dance with one of the premier Dance Companies around the world. Maria felt that somewhere up in heaven that Sam and Kristine mothers were looking down on the two girls and guiding them through their exercises. The more Maria watched these four young dancers the more she realized that, one way or another, when this was all over and done that they would never hold a gun again. She was making it her mission in life to see these four dancers performing on stage somewhere. With all of her connections in the professional dance world Maria knew that she could make that whish happen.

**********

The office of Dave Earp 1:30 current time.

David was not looking forward to his next appointment. The US District Attorney had demanded that David meet with the DA that would be prosecuting the case against the LOG party. David knew what the man would want and was not in the mood to grant it. Every time the Marshals have a witness in protective custody they want that witness brought into the office to give their testimony. Never mind the danger it put the witness in. Oh no, these dip shits want the witness to come to them. Damn all the security to hell. So what if the witness dies in the process. Who cares they’re just a low life scum bag trying to save their hide. It never occurred to these people that some of the witnesses they protect are truly innocent bystanders.

So he was surprised when it was a woman and not a man that walked through his office door and introduce herself as Bobby Ironsides. “Excuse me ma’am, but you did say that your name is Bobby?”

“Yes I know what you’re thinking Deputy Earp. Bobby is short for Roberta. And yes before you ask, my father is Defense Attorney Robert Ironsides. Before you ask I was named after both him and my mother. I have had one hell of a time living up to that name.”

“I can just imagine. So tell me what it is I can do for you today?”

“That is what I heard about you David, no nonsense and all business. What I would like it is to spend some time with our witness. I understand that she is one of the best hackers in the game right now, along with being the one to bring all of this nastiness with the LOG to our attention. Now I know how you deputies feel about transporting a witness to and from a safe house. So this is what I would like to propose. Seeing as how only you and the US Marshal know where our witness is being held you blind fold me and take me to her. In fact I’ll be honest with you if we could arrange for her to give her testimony via the internet I would prefer we do it that way.” Roberta sat there in the chair across from David as he thought about her purposely. When she saw the smile come to his face she knew she had just won some major points with this man and his people.

“You know something Bobby I foresee a long and fruitful partnership between us.”

--------- To be continued --------



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