Embracing Justice -chp23

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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.


“I love you.” Before Sam could reply Bobby cut the connection.


Chapter 23

Federal Building, Marshals Office, Toledo, Ohio 12:45 pm……

Robbie’s cell phone rang with a tone that let me know it was from her bosses outside of the DA’s office. Pulling it she flipped it open. “Lady Justice is blindfolded, but has a tendency to peek.” After speaking her code phrase Robbie waited for the acknowledgement.

“Not all Justice comes in the courtroom.”

“Have the dinner reservations been made?”

“We have a confirmation for six, plus two cars. Your guests need to be at Wrights Pizzeria for their twenty four inch supersize deep dish. Understand this is a black tie reservation and none refundable. Do you understand Quill?”

“Understood booking and thank you.” Robbie hit the end button and dial David’s phone. When David answered she wondered if the man ever slept. “David can you have Bobby or Sam give me a call?”

“Sure Robbie what is this about?”

“I have their transportation arranged for their new lives. I just need to meet with them to pass along the information.”

“No need to call Robbie. I know where they are. Meet me downstairs at my car and I’ll drive you over to them. Oh and bring your rosary, I have a feeling that you’ll need to go to confession before this is all over. You might as well get it over with now.”

The phone went dead in her hands before Robbie could ask about David’s comment about going to confession. “How in the name of all that’s holy did he know I was Catholic?” Robbie said to no one as she looked around her empty office. Robbie knew that David’s comment was a clue as to where Sam, Bobby, and their witnesses were laying low. Getting up she put her jacket on then, after checking her side arm to make sure it was loaded, placed the semiautomatic nine millimeter in her hip holster, grabbed her purse and headed for the door.

Half way across her office she stopped and went back to her desk. Opening the center drawer she reached in and took out the rosary that her mother had given her on the day of her first Holy Communion. Placing the rosary in her jacket pocket Robbie turned and left her office. As she exited her office and closed the door her two bodyguards stood up from where they were waiting. They both fell in behind her as she walked to the elevator. Pushing the talk button Robbie looked to the both of them.

“You two can stay here. I am only going down to my car and I’ll be right back.”

“Sorry ma’am, but we have our orders directly from Supervisory Deputy Earp. Where you go we go, end of line.” The bigger of the two said.

Robbie knew there was no way around this, they were going to follow her down stairs to the garage weather she liked it or not. When the elevator arrived she and her guards got in. Robbie punched the button for the basement garage when the doors closed. As the elevator started down Robbie thought over what she was about to do. The more she thought it over the more she realized that in the long run it was the right thing to do.

For two people it would be a chance for a real second chance. For one family it would be a chance to step away from the darkness that had plagued it for generations and to step into the light of day. And for the last person it would be a chance to maybe just maybe find the courage to confess his love to the woman that haunted his dreams. Robbie didn’t know who was on the other of the phone call, she never did, but she could tell that they would be able to help Sam, Bobby, and the others.

When the doors opened she was not surprised to see David standing there waiting for her. What did surprise her was the four other deputies from Internal Affairs. Two of them had their weapons and point at the deputy on her right. “Deputy Richards you’re under arrest for conspiracy, aiding and abetting a known felon, and a whole slew of other corruption charges. Place your hands on your head and step out of the elevator.” The lead IA Deputy ordered. The man behind her knew that it was over and did as he was told.

“Sorry about that Robbie. I only found out about Richards an hour ago. It seems the man has been on the LOGs payroll for a while now. If one of our lab techs hadn’t found the entry in one of the ledgers. As it stands right now there are three more in this office to be arrested yet. The guys and gals in IA are even now carrying out those arrests. The Marshals are going to have to replace six whole offices in the Midwest and East cost areas. Thankfully the LOG hasn’t been able to get their hands into the other regional offices or if they had it has only been one or two at most. We also found the low life that tipped off Carstairs in the D.C. office.”

“Sounds like the cleanup is still going strong. How many more do you think they’ll sweep up by the time it’s all over with?” Robbie asked David.

“At present we have over seventy three in custody and another thirty seven to go. With the big fish on the run, with no clue as to where yet. I have our best people going over the records that we got from the DeMarco’s and what the MPs gathered up at the Farm. To be blunt Robbie I figure we will add fifteen to twenty more names to our ‘to be arrested’ list.” As they walked over to David’s car Robbie could tell that something was bothering him. “Look I know that cases like this normally go better with witnesses that are living, but I have this feeling that no matter how this plays out our witnesses won’t be safe until they’re in their graves.”

“I hear you David and I might have the answer to your problem. I also understand why you have that feeling. I haven’t been sitting on my hands. In the past four hours I have found over sixty Wit-Sac files that have been compromised. I am afraid that there may be even more that I don’t know about. Whoever got those files is still out there and has a laundry list of witnesses all with seven to eight digit prices on their heads.”

“Son of a bitch. Just when I thought we had a handle on this mess it just slips through our hands. Damn it Robbie if this keeps up we’re going to need an off the books operation just to protect those people. Can you get me those names and case files?”

“Sure David, but if we do what you’re suggesting we’ll need the approval of both our bosses.”

They stopped talking while David and Robbie got into his car. David didn’t say anything until they were out of the garage and on their way to meet up with Bobby, Sam and the others. David turned to Robbie as they came to the first stop light. “Not only that Robbie, we’ll need the help of your sideline bosses as well.”

“Just what do you mean by that David?”

“You’re not the only one who knows how to perform an investigation Roberta. I was, at times, a highly regarded investigator with a decent record of arrests. It didn’t take too much to put two and two together, and figure out that you answer to more than one boss. So just who do you really work for beside the DA Office?”

“David, please just let it drop okay. Just know that the people I work for on the side are on the side of the angels and leave it at that.” Robbie sighed as she finished.

“Fine, I’ll let it go, but if we do this then I want in from the get go. Do you understand me Robbie? I will not let you put any of my deputies in harm’s way without them being able to get back up in one way or another.”

“I’ll make the calls David. I promise you that if we do this, it’ll be done right.”

Neither said a word as they drove through the downtown area of Toledo. As they drove through town Robbie started to recognize the area they were headed for. When the Church of Saint Jadwiga came into view Robbie understood the comment Mrs. DeMarco made back at the safe house. “Of all the places to lie low I never thought of a Catholic Church.”

“Now you know why I brought Samantha Justice in on this case. No one knows this town like she does.” Chuckling as he thought back to the day that Samantha, then just a scrawny teenage kid walked into the Toledo field office. “Would you believe that before Sam came to the Marshals she had spent three days on the run from not only the Mob, but every two bit thug, crack-head, drug addict, not to mention every law enforcement agency and officer in three counties. You would not believe how she just hid in plain sight.”

“So she has had the home field advantage from the moment she stepped foot in Toledo. I must say David I am impressed. I take it that Samantha and Bobby have other hidden skills?”

David pulled into the parking spot across the street from the church and shut down the engine. Looking over at Robbie with the look of a grieving family member. “Robbie when it comes to Samantha Justice and Robert Everbrite I can only say that they have more tricks up their sleeves than Svengali. Now come on, we have a pair of magicians to debrief on their new assignments.”

Robbie had to almost run to catch up with David as he strode across the street and up the steps to the church. As they entered they were greeted by one of the priests. David smiled at the man. “Good afternoon father. I believe that a few of our friends are here?”

“And may I inquire as to the nature of your ‘friends’ deputy and why would they be here?”

“In the words of a good friend father. ‘The sisters take care of their own.’”

“Right this way deputy. You can keep your sidearms, but please remember that this is a House of God while you and the young lady are here.” The priest led them around to the rectory where Kristine, and the DeMarco’s were waiting to hear form Sam.

“Where’s Bobby?” David asked when he didn’t see his deputy. Then he asked “Hell where’s Sam?”

Maria looked at David then smiled. “It seems that we are not the only ones asking that question deputy. Bobby is outside in the garden pacing like an expectant father. As for our dear Samantha your guess is as good as mine. The only person who has that answer is refusing to give up that information. However if you can get her to give it up please feel free to give it your best shot.” Maria was looking at Kristine with a look of disapproval.

“Okay Kristine, if you know where Sam took off to you need to let me know now.”

Kristine looked around the room then up at David. She knew that she should tell him where the Carstairs’ safe house was, but she felt that she owed it to Sam to keep the secret as long as possible. “Deputy Earp, as much as I want to give you that info, I can’t.”

“What do you mean you can’t? Or is it that you won’t?” as David looked at Kristine she felt that she had to hold out just a little longer.

“Won’t. Look I know that all of you are worried about her, but I have to let Sam do what she’s doing. Besides it’s already too late to stop her.”

“What the hell does that mean?” Robbie demanded.

Before Kristine could answer David stepped in. “What that means is Sam knows where Carstairs is headed and is on her way to catch them.”

“Once again David, you have underestimated our dear Samantha.” Annette said with some heat in her voice.

“I highly doubt that Miss. DeMarco. I know for a fact that Sam is at her core an honest cop and will do her best to arrest Carstairs and his wife. She believes in the system.”

“Wrong David, Samantha is not going there to arrest Carstairs. Where ever they meet one of two things will happen. Either Carstairs will kill Sam or Sam will carry out her long overdue promise to her family.” At Annette’s very blunt statement David and Robbie turned white. The thought of a US Deputy Marshal of Sam’s caliber going rogue was unthinkable. When the priest that welcomed them to the church spoke to confirm this David knew that there was no way he could have stopped Sam.

“Deputy Justice has not forgiven those who took her family from her all those years ago. She swore an oath of blood vengeance twelve years ago and her heritage will not let her quit. Not when she is this close to finally reaching her goal. The Capizeo family name may have died but their blood still runs in her veins.”

“Thanks a lot father. Couldn’t you talk some sense into her?” David quipped.

“Not even the good Lord above could stop that girl once she set her mind to do something. What makes you think that a humble priest such as myself could have done any better?”

As David thought about Sam and how she never gave up on anything he realized that the priest was telling the truth. Of all the deputies he had the pleasure of working with Sam was not only one of the best, but also one of the most pigheaded, uncompromising, quick tempered, hard hitting, and unpolitical of them as well. The woman had more than one complaint in file from other deputies and law enforcement agencies about her unwillingness to let things go. Then there were the complaints about excessive force. Sure most of those were from prisoners that she has arrested, but when the review broads looked at Sam the charges were always dropped. Not surprising when you take in the fact that most of those complaints were filed by guys that were bigger than Sam most of the time.

“Damnit David we don’t have time for this.” Robbie interrupted the conversation. “Look where is Bobby right now?”

Kristine seeing a chance to get away from the angry adults jumped up from her chair and headed for the door saying. “I’ll go get him, I’ll be right back.” And was out the door like a shot almost running down the hall to the garden. When she and Bobby returned Kristine didn’t look as happy as she was when she went to get him.

“Now you will tell me where she is Kristine. If David and Robbie are like you said that means something important has come up.” Bobby was busy chewing Kristine’s ass out as they returned from the garden.

“But Bobby I promised Sam that I won’t tell you guys. She said you would only try and stop her. Don’t you see if you stop her then Carstairs will sooner or later get away and never answer for his crimes? Sam has to stop them before they get out of Ohio. If she doesn’t they’ll never see the inside of a courtroom.”

“Kristine, I want you to think about something darling. What would happen if something happened to Sam? If she were to get hurt no one will be there to back her up. Yes I know that is was stupid enough to take her to that warehouse but I never thought she would go off on her own. She has never gone off the reservation before, so why is she doing it now? You are the only ones with the answers now talk to me damn it.”

It took Kristine a few minutes before she finally answered. “She’s heading for a house in Trenton. I found it because it was the only house that was on the LOG tax report that didn’t belong to the party or Carstairs.”

“Oh shit on a stick! Just what the fuck was that girl thinking?” Robbie rounded on David. “Do you have any idea of what is going with your deputy? God damn it David! Do you realize just how far out on the limb I am right now? Your loose cannon of deputy is going to blow everything. In” Robbie looked down at her wrist watch “just under ten hours there is going to be a plane waiting to take both of your deputies and all four of our witnesses to their new lives. There is no way for me to delay that flight David. If Sam isn’t there or for that matter any of them that plane is going to take off and there will be no second chances.”

“Fine Robbie I get it. Bobby I know that you’re not going to like this”

“Then don’t fucking say it David. I’m not going to leave Sam behind.”

“Damn it Bobby don’t make this harder than it is, already. If Sam isn’t back by nine thirty you’re to take Kristine, Annette, Kasey, and Maria to the pickup point and meet that plane. You are to follow orders Bobby and insure their safety. If Sam doesn’t meet the plane I’ll do my best for her, but I have a feeling that one way or another I will never lay eyes on Sam again.”

“Damnit David you just can’t throw her to the wolves!”

“Bobby I’m not throwing her to the wolves for Christ sake. The problem is neither you nor I know what’s going through Sam’s head. If she has gone off the reservation like you say, then she isn’t coming back. I have always feared this day would come. Oh don’t look at me like that Bobby. I have known all about Sam’s ‘off the record’ investigation into her family’s murders. I figured that one of these days she would find the clues that would lead her to those behind the contract. I had hoped that she would have turned the evidence to someone else and let the courts handle it; but I guess the temptation was just too strong.”

“It doesn’t matter David. Sam either calls Bobby and finds out where she needs to be or she gets left behind. Besides I doubt we’ll be able to catch her if she does ghost Carstairs and his wife. You told me just how good she was at tracking fugitives, do you really think that with all of her training and experience that she’ll just walk into the local police station and turn herself in? No that girl is going to fall off the face of the earth never to be seen again if she does miss that flight and we’ll have ourselves another lone ranger out there taking the law in her own hands.” Everyone was looking at Robbie as she laid everything out as she saw it going down.

“As much as I hate to say this boss, but the lawyer lady is right. If Sam does go to ground there’s no one who can find her.” Bobby knew his partner, but he didn’t know her. Sam was as much a mystery now as when he first met her.

“No Robert that is not true. Annette or I could find her now that we know she is alive.” Maria said with all the confidence of an expert.

“No Mrs. DeMarco that is where you’re wrong. There is no way that anybody stands a chance of finding Sam if she wants to disappear she’s going to disappear. There will be nothing you can do about. David it’s been a pleasure for working for you, do me a favor never change. If anyone wants me I’ll be in the garden.” The big man walked away from the others and headed back out to the garden. Maria got up out her seat and followed Bobby out the door to the garden. She could see the pain in the big man’s eyes and knew it for what it was, loss of a lover.

Annette stopped David and Robbie from going after them. “Please let my mama handle this. She knows what Bobby is going through better than any of us here. I don’t know how many lover’s she had lost over the years, but she knows how to handle that kind of loss.”

“Just what the hell does that mean?” David asked her.

“It’s simple Deputy Earp. Bobby has been in love with Samantha for a few years now. The problem is that now he has been forced to face his feelings for her and the possibility of never seeing her again. It’s like that scene for that old Humphry Bogart film Casa Blanca.” At Annette’s explanation David looked out the door where his friend and deputy had walked.

“Look I know you’re all worried about deputy Justice right now, but you have to let her take care of herself. Whatever happens you have to be at the Air Force Museum at Wright Paterson Air Force Base in Fairfield Ohio, by midnight tonight. You need to been out on the annex runway with whatever you can carry in that SUV. You will be met by a C-130 heavy lift cargo plane. They will in turn load that SUV and you on board. Fifteen minutes after that that plane and you will disappear into the night. Now if Sam is there all the better, but if she is not you all need to be on that flight. I know it sounds harsh but Sam has dug this hole on her own, and she is the one who has to dig herself out of it. There is nothing you or I can do about it.”

“No you’re wrong Robbie. We just can’t leave Sam behind like that. Annette, David, make her call whoever it is and make them wait until Sam can meet us.” Kristine was almost in tears as she pleaded with the other adults in the room.

“Sorry Kristine, but this is one time that my hands are tied. I wish you had called and told me what she was planning on doing, I might have been able to talk some sense into her, but now that she has gone off the reservation there may be no way for her to come back in from the cold. If she gets caught doing what I think she is there will be no way to cover it as a legitimate shooting. They’ll either pull her badge, and kick her off the force, which is the minimum, or they’ll charge her with murder and send her ass to prison.” Everyone was looking at David.

When Annette started to giggle David, Robbie, Kristine, and Kasey all looked at her. “Deputy Earp, I hate to say this, on second thought no I don’t, Stephaney Capizeo will not get caught. She is too well trained for that to happen. No it is not Samantha Justice who has gone after Carstairs. It is not even a person who has gone after Carstairs, but Tisiphone herself. Remember David Earp that before she became Samantha Justice, she was Joseph Capizeo the only son of Mary Elisabeth and Marko Capizeo. She will have blood for blood and there will be no connection back to her or the Marshals.”

“Annette, is Sam good enough to pull this off on her own?” Robbie asked of her.

“Not only is she good enough to pull this off on her own, but I can say there is only a handful of people who are better than her. I can count the number of people who are better on one hand and of those two are here at this church, two more are in Forest Heaven, and the last one is such a mystery that no one knows their name. I am not sure, but she may actually be better than the two in this church. Believe me when I say that Stephaney or Samantha may be one of the best assassins to ever live. For the past six years she has used the skills taught to her by her mother and father to hunt down the worse criminals within the United States and bring them to the justice of the courts. Today she goes to deliver the justice of the blade.”

“So you believe that Sam will succeed?” asked David.

“Not only do I believe that Sam will succeed but she will meet us at that plane. However if she doesn’t then I know where she’ll go. In four months I’ll meet her there and bring her home.”

“And just where will that be, Miss. DeMarco?” Kristine asked her.

“The ancestral home of the Capizeo’s Kristine. Your new mama will return to where it all started for your new family. She will return to San Vito Lo Capo, Sicily.” The conviction in Annette voice put Kristine at ease, and when Kristine smiled up at her as she realized what Annette said about Sam being her new mama. “And it’s aunt or Auntie Annette. Trust me my dear niece your mama is without a doubt one of the best at this game. She just has been working for the white hats for the past six years.”
Outside in the courtyard Maria looked on the young man that was in love with her second daughter. “Robert may I ask you a question?”

“Sure. It’s not like there is a lot I can do right now.” Bobby really wanted to be out there helping Sam not sitting here doing nothing. Maria could tell the young man was worried over Sam not being in time to catch the plane.

“Why have you never told my daughter that you love her?”

“Ma’am I only met your daughter yesterday.”

“Not Annette my dear boy, Samantha. I can tell that you love her why haven’t you told her?”

Bobby stood there with the look of a deer in the lights of an oncoming freight train. “Mrs. DeMarco I have no idea of what you’re talking about.”

“Bullshit. Please Robert let there be only truth between us. At least for now.”

Sighing Bobby turned to look out over the walls of the courtyard. “Very well Mrs. DeMarco I will tell you the truth. If I ever told Sam about the way I felt she would just laugh in my face. In all the time that I have known her she has never once dated anyone. She’s never had a boyfriend or girlfriend in the six years that she has been a deputy. Trust me I know. After I teamed up with her I called a couple of people I know in her old division in cold cases. Hell the more I learned out her the less I knew.”

“So it is not cowardice that keeps you from telling her how you feel, but caution of the unknown. Normally this is a wise choice and I applaud you for your wisdom. However this is one time it is misplaced. Robert trust in your heart and follow it. Just tell her you love her and see if she will return that love. However we have another problem that we need to discuss as well. It seems that my Annette has taken a shine to you, herself.”

“Um… that could be a problem. I mean I don’t find her unattractive, in fact I think Annette is a very beautiful woman, and I would have no problems dating her. I just don’t want to screw up any chance I have with Sam first.”

“Then court them both Robert. It was not uncommon in the old country and both of my daughters understand the needs of men, one a little more than the other.”

“Wait?! What!? You can be serious?”

“I am very serious, Robert. Besides do not your own people practice multiple wives and husbands? You are Native American correct?”

Chuckling Bobby nodded his head yes. “Yes ma’am we do, but only on the reservation. How is it you came to the conclusion that I am Native American?”

“I have spent almost forty years studying the human body Robert. For both the stage and family occupation. That and I read an article on your sister Candice once. In the article she stated that she was proud of her Native American Heritage and her big brother who was a deputy with the US Marshal Service. The problem was she never stated what tribe the two of you belong to. Why is that Robert?”

“We’re Wyoming Sioux. Well half anyways. Candy takes after our mama. As for why she didn’t say what tribe we’re from the answer is simple. Politics.”

“I see. The modeling business has always been a cut throat and back stabbing business. I can see how someone would try to use her heritage against her. Now tell me have you made up your mind about telling Samantha about how you feel?”

“Yes ma’am I have. The moment I hear from her the first thing I going to do is chew her ass out then tell her I love her.” Maria just smiled and turned to head inside.

“Oh and Robert I suggest that you keep your phone on and stay away from that young ADA. For some reason I do not trust that woman.”

“Don’t worry Mrs. DeMarco. You’re not the only one who doesn’t trust her. She has one too many secrets for my tastes. If she wasn’t with the DA’s office I would probably shot her ass.”

As Maria returned to the kitchen and the others Bobby stayed in the courtyard. Lost in thought Bobby never heard or knew that David and Robbie had left. Before leaving through they gave the necessary information to Annette about where and when to be to for their flight to their new lives. About an hour after they left Annette gave the information to Bobby.

Even though Bobby felt the weather turning colder as the sun slowly worked its way across the sky he stayed outside in the courtyard. Every half hour or so he would pull his phone out and check it to see if he had missed Sam’s phone call. With each time he checked his phone the more his worry grew. After about five hours of not hearing anything from Sam he started calling her. Each time all he got was her voice mail. He must have left eight messages for her to call him. The only time Bobby went inside was to eat dinner with the others and the priests of St Jadwiga.

Returning to the courtyard and his pacing after eating Bobby knew that if he didn’t receive a call from Sam soon he would have to take the others and head for Wright Paterson Air Force Base without her. As much as he hated it he would do his job and get the girls out. It was a little before eight thirty when his phone rang with the ring tune he had assigned to Sam. He almost jumped out of his skin. Pulling his phone out of his pocket he hit the accept bottom.

“Where the hell are you?”

“Hello to you to Bobby. And how are you this evening?”

“Okay fine. I am sorry I snapped at you Sam. Now will you please tell me where you are? I been trying to get ahold of you for the past six hours.”

“I am just passing through Middletown and headed for I seventy five. I should be back in Toledo in about three hours.”

“Forget that partner. Head for the Air Force Museum at Wright Paterson Air Force Base and wait for us in the south parking lot.”

“Alright partner. Will do but you should know that if you leave in the next twenty minutes you’ll beat me there by a good ten minutes.”

“Sounds good Sam we’ll see you there. And Sam try not to get into any trouble.”

“Why Bobby it sounds like you care or something.”

“I do Sam. And Sam.”

“Yes Bobby.”

“I love you.” Before Sam could reply Bobby cut the connection. For the first time in their long partnership Bobby was able to get the last word in. for some reason it felt kind of good. Heading inside Bobby was in a great mood. “Okay ladies time to load up. I just heard from Sam. She is headed for Wright Pat as we speak. According to Sam if we leave now we’ll get there about ten minutes before her.” When nobody moved Bobby just clapped his hands. “Come on chop chop. I am not going to let that crazy ass partner of mine beat me to the prize. Besides I figure that if I’m driving when she calls back that I can legally say that I didn’t want to cause an accident by answering her call.”

“Um… Bobby why don’t you want to answer Sam’s return call?” Kasey asked of the first man she had come to like and now trust.

“Because I told her that I loved her then hung up.” Bobby could have said anything else and not gotten the reaction all four women scrambled to catch up to Bobby as he strode out the church and for his SUV. As he approached the big vehicle he was greeted by Hunter and Bat. “Well guys this look like the last time I’ll be seeing you.”

“Yah we heard. David told us to get over here and ride over watch for you until you’re safely at Wright Pat. Not that you’ll need it partner. The last of the big dogs in the LOG Party are being brought in right now as we speak. The only lose ends of any real concern are the Carstairs’.” Bat said with a smile. Between all the evidence brought over from the Farm and what the DeMarco’s and Kristine turned over there was no way the LOG was ever going to recover. By the end of the year they would be nothing more than a foot note on the evening news. It was a good day to be a US Deputy Marshal in his book.

“Oh man I wish I could have been on the team that raided their house in Virginia. I would have loved to be the one to slap the cuffs on those two pieces of shit. It’s a shame they got out before the warrant teams got there. I heard they got the dirt bag that warned them before he even had a chance to leave his cubical.” Bobby could tell that Hunter really wanted to nail the Carstairs’.

“I hope that we get the assignment to go after Carstairs and his wife.”

“Don’t worry Hunter I am pretty sure that once we’re done playing shepherd for these five that David will let us go after them both. Don’t worry partner even if we don’t get the Carstairs we’ll get one of the other low life’s that managed to slip out of the net. Personally I want to go after the piece of shit that stole all those Wit-Sec files. From what Robbie was saying at last count there are over one hundred and fifty missing files. Carstairs and his wife are scumbags no doubting that fact, but whoever stole those files is even lower than that. They’re a traitor of the first degree and need to be put down like a rabid dog.” Bobby was debating about telling Bat that Carstairs and his wife were most like already dead, but decided against it.

“Bat if I was you and Hunter I would take a look at the listed holdings for the LOG party. There are some really funky listings. Some of them look like boats to me. If I was to make a guess I would say they’re heading for one of those boats. That or one of the many planes that are listed under the LOG transportation holdings. More than one of those private jets could make the trip across the pond with only a short refuel stop on the east coast.”

“Thanks Bobby we’ll do that the moment we get the chance. Say where is Sam at? Isn’t she going with you guys?”

“Sam had to take care of something before we could leave Bat. Don’t worry though she’ll meet us at the pickup point. As much as I would love to stand here and jaw jake some more, we really need to be going. It’s a two hour drive to Wright Pat. I’ll lead off, why don’t you guys hang back about half a block or so until we hit the Interstate then make it about a half mile. That way we don’t draw too much attention and scare the locals.”

“Sounds good to me partner, and if we see something we’ll flash our lights twice. Now get going and get those ladies to where they need to be.” Bat turned and climbed into the SUV that he and Hunter were using. When Hunter climbed in on the other side Bat looked over at him. “Hunter did you get the feeling that Bobby was holding something back when he was talking about Sam and the Carstairs?”

“You know Bat I had that same feeling. You don’t think that they know where the Carstairs are, do you? I swear it was almost like Bobby was trying to steer us in the wrong direction.”

“You know something Hunter I think this is one time that we’re going to ignore our guts and follow the lead a fellow deputy has handed us. For whatever reason Bobby doesn’t want us looking too hard for the Carstairs’. In fact we’ll do just like he suggested and look long and hard at any boats that belong to the LOG.”

“Sounds good to me Bat. If I had to guess by the way Bobby is acting I would say that Sam went off the res and took care of our fugitives permanently.”

“What if she did Hunter? You going to turn her into IA?”

“Nope. The way I see it Sam has more than earned her right to see a little private justice for both her and Kristine. If Sam and Bobby want us looking over boats that’s telling me they’re giving us some top cover and away to stay out of the lime light.”

Bat didn’t need to say thing in response to what Hunter said. He knew exactly how his partner felt. The two men fell in behind Bobby’s SUV and drove into the night leaving the church behind them. As they two men drove through the night and down town Toledo they were both thinking they would never see their friends again. Over the two hours that it took to drive from Toledo to Fairfield Ohio and the US Air Force Base Wright Patterson neither man said a word. So lost were they in their thoughts they didn’t realize until it was too late that Bobby drove right past the Military Base.

The C-130 Hercules came in low out of the southwest just under the radar, using the ground clutter to obscure its signature. Bobby, Hunter, and Bat could tell that the pilot of that Herc was either one of the best or crazier than bat shit. Bobby knew that the runway behind the Air Force Museum was used to bring in operational planes for display, but he never thought to use it for an extraction point. Seeing the turn for the museum Bobby turned on his blinker then made the turn into the parking area. Bat saw Bobby make the turn for the AF museum, long with the low flying C-130 and put the two together. Hunter being a younger vet and having a Ranger background knew what he saw even before the other two deputies. The guys over in the SF and Delta teams often told stories about the Ghost Hercs, and now he would have his own story about one.

As they pulled into the parking lot for the AF museum their headlights flashed across a dark blue Ford® F-350 sitting near the entrance for the driveway to the museum annex buildings. With a normal museum with won’t be too big of a problem, but with the National Air Force Museum to get to the annex buildings you have to pass next to an active runway. The chances of having a plane land in your lap were, however unlikely, very real.

Bobby looked at the dashboard clock and saw that it was fifteen minutes till midnight. Bobby flashed his headlights at the F-350 , with the Ducati® in the truck bed. Being the only one with all the instructions for the meeting drove out towards the runway and the waiting aircraft. Sam seeing the lead SUV flash its headlights put the pickup in gear and followed it out to the C-130 that had landed a few minutes before the two vehicles pulled into the parking lot. Pulling in behind the first one Sam saw that it was filled with Bobby, Kristine, and the others.

As she followed the SUV out on to the tarmac Sam’s thoughts went back to the last thing Bobby had said to her two and half hours ago. The idea that Bobby was in love with her really threw her off her game. In the thirty some miles Sam had damn near wrecked the F-350 three times and almost plowed into an Ohio State Highway Trooper once. The State Trooper pulled her over Sam flashed her badge while getting out her drivers license. When the Trooper realized she was a US Deputy Marshal he asked her what was distracting her. Sam just smiled sadly and said.

“It’s this case I’m working Sergeant Getraer.”

“Was it a bad one?”

“Yah you could say that. A thirteen year old girl was raped by her stepfather.”

“Damn I hate it when kids are involved. Look I’m going to let you go with a warning deputy, but do me a favor. Try and get your head on the here and now. You won’t be able to help that little girl out if you’re wrapped around a tree or telephone pole someplace. And deputy it’s Joe.”

“Sam, and thanks for the advice Joe. You know for a Smoky you seem like a decent guy.”

“You’re not bad for a Fed, yourself Sam. As for the advice think nothing of it. All part of being a Patrol Supervisor. Guiding the younger officers to be better in the long run is just one of our duties and our responsibilities to make sure we leave behind a better force than we started with. Take care Sam, and I hope you get the bastard.”

As the Ohio State Trooper returned to his cruiser Sam thought about what he said. No matter what happened she had to be alive if she was going to help and guide Kristine in the ways of womanhood. Pulling back out into traffic Sam concentrated on her driving and not what Bobby had said before hanging up on her. Now as they drove toward the aircraft that would wing them, Kristine, and the DeMarco’s away to new lives she couldn’t get her mind off of it.

She was brought back to the here and now as Bobby pulled around to the rear loading ramp of the C-130. Standing there was a man in a black flight suit waving for Bobby to drive up the ramp. Sam watched as he lined up the tires of the SUV with the ramp then drove into the cargo bay of the big plane. Once he was out of the way the man started to wave for Sam to do the same. So following the example set by Bobby Sam lined up the truck and drove up the ramp. The two big vehicles took up almost the entire area of the cargo deck. Sam had no sooner shutdown her engine than the flight crew was chaining down the F350.

As Sam climbed out of the cab of the she was grabbed up in a hug by Bobby. “Damn it Samantha don’t ever do that to me again!” try as hard as she might Sam just couldn’t get out of Bobby’s hug. “The next time you worry me like that I’ll spank that little ass of yours.”

“Can’t… breathe… Bobby… need… air… put… me… down.” Sam was smiling as she gasped out her plea for Bobby to let her go and put her down. When her friend and longtime partner finally put Sam down everyone else was laughing at Bobby’s antics. Looking up at the big man Sam smiled then stood on tip toes and kissed him. When she stepped back she just blushed. “Love you too Bobby.”

“About time you pulled your head out of your ass mom.” Kristine cracked from where she stood. “We would all love to see you two do the whole romantic proposal thing, but I think the flight crew wants to get the hell out of here.”

When Sam and Bobby turned to see Bat and Hunter walking up the ramp they noticed that their hands were empty. “Bat aren’t you and Hunter coming too?” Sam asked them.

“Sorry Samantha, but this is where we part ways. Hunter and I have are our orders. It’s been nice knowing you, kid. Take good care of my niece.” Bat pulled Sam into a hug then stepped back so Hunter could give his good bye hug to Sam.

“It was fun Sam. Do me and the old man here a favor. Drop us a line when you get to wherever you’re going to let us know you’re safe and sound.” Looking over at Bobby. “Say hi to your sister and give her my love Bobby.” with that the two men turned and walked off the plan and into the night. The last Sam or Bobby saw of them they were getting into their SUV as the cargo door and ramp closed up.

“Sir, ladies, I need you to strap in and get ready for takeoff.” The crewman said as he showed them to the planes jump seats. Once they were strapped into their jump seats and he was sure they were secure the crewman headed for the crew compartment. He had no sooner closed the hatch to the crew area than the engines started to spool up to full power.

All thoughts of talking were forgotten in the thunderous noise that soon filled the cargo space as the planes massive Allison T56-A-15 turboprops ran up to full power. Soon they could feel that big plane moving forward slowly at first then quickly gaining speed. Within the blink of an eye they felt the plane rotate back and leave the earth behind. Down in the museum parking lot Bat and Hunter looked up as the Herc took off and disappeared into the night.

“Do you think we’ll ever see them again, Bat?”

“Hunter I’ll be honest. I doubt that we ever will. Now that Kristine and the DeMarco’s are basically no longer needed to testify highly doubt we’ll ever lay eyes on those six again. For some reason I have a feeling that, that plane is not on any radar or belongs to any law enforcement agency. We might cross their paths as we hunt the bad guys, but for whatever reason we’ll always be picking up their leftovers.”

“I hope so partner, I hope so.” Looking up at where the plane should be one more time. “Hay Bat would say we go looking at boats?”

“You know that sounds like a good idea partner.” And the two men drove away to go chase what they knew was a false lead.
On board the C 130 Bobby and the five women relaxed as it leveled off at cruising altitude. With the heavy drum of the engines making conversation difficult it was decided by silent agreement to just relax and try to get some sleep. Within minutes all six of their passengers were sound asleep the copilot just shook his head and double checked their seat straps to make sure that if something went wrong they wouldn’t go flying about the cargo area. Returning to the cockpit “Looks like our passengers have had a hard few days. I have never seen six people just drop off to sleep that quickly before. I wonder what they have been through.”

“Don’t know, but Lyssa sent the orders to pick them up and deliver them to her on Ram’s Rock Island. Outside of that I don’t think we want to know. I will tell you this much. The old lady back there is Madam Maria DeMarco former Prima now instructor. The woman on her right is her daughter Annette who herself could be a Prima if she ever decided to audition for a dance company. The two kids look like they could be Madam Maria’s students. As for the two deputies all I know is that they are two of the best Trackers in the Marshal’s and both are crack shots. The guy is Deputy Marshal Robert Everbrite Candice Brite’s older brother.”

“Damn I wonder if he could introduce me to his sister.”

“You know that Lyssa knows her as well right? Remember that Tokyo job three years ago? Lyssa had the pleasure of working with Candice.”

“From the sounds of things this whole pick up is a personal deal for Lyssa. Do you think that she’s repaying one of her favors?”

“Don’t know and don’t want to know. You shouldn’t either. Just make sure Kimberly knows we’re on the way home. We don’t need the boss losing it over us not reporting.”

“You know Lonestar there are times you’re worse than having a wife?”

“Oh shut up you reprobate and do your job Pete.”

Soon the two were happily swapping jokes as they flew through the night skies toward their destination in the Caribbean. For the next three hours the two men let their passengers sleep. They both have seen people who have pushed themselves to the point of total exhaustion before, but they were trained soldiers not civilians. Pete and Lonestar wondered what would push a bunch of civilians to this point. As they neared Ram’s Rock Pete called ahead to let Kimberly know they would be landing soon. After getting a quick acknowledgement the two men got down to the business of landing their plane. In the backs of their minds the old flight school saying was always there. ‘Takeoffs are optional, landings are mandatory.’

With the skill born of countless hours of training and flight time the two men brought their ship down with ease. As the plane rolled to a stop at the end of the runway Sam was the first to awaken. Stretching in her seat, Sam looked around at first reaching for her sidearm when she didn’t recognize her surroundings. Realizing that she was still on board the plane she calmed down. The next thing she noticed was that she had been leaning on Bobby’s shoulder.

Sam realized what had woken her up and started getting the others up, starting with her ‘pillow’. “Bobby I think we’ve reached our new home.”

“Hun… what… shit we landed. How long have I been out Sam?” Bobby asked in a tired voice.

Looking down at her watch. “I would say that we both crashed within ten minutes after takeoff and been asleep ever since. Come on I don’t want to have our hosts waking up the others.” the two of them quickly unstrapped then woke the rest. No sooner had they gotten Kristine and Maria awake a black clad pilot came from out of the crew compartment.

Seeing that the two deputies had things in hand he went to the rear of the plane and started lowering the cargo ramp. Sam wanted to thank the pilot but with the baggy flight suit and helmet on he was a little intimidating and for some reason talking to someone with a hand on a gun was not polite in her mind. Once Sam and Bobby had everyone wake they looked for the pilot. The black clad pilot waved for his passengers to follow down the ramp of the C-130. They stopped after stepping down onto the tarmac. They were somewhere definitely tropical.

"Hello ladies and sir. Follow me please," a strawberry blonde woman said.The women followed her without question while Bobby hung back just a little. For some reason his old combat reflexes were waking up. This place had the feel of an off the books operation that was so dark it was a black hole.

"Excuse me. Might I have your name?" Maria asked.

"Certainly Mrs. DeMarco. I'm Kimberly Moore," Kimberly said leading them down a path towards a large house.

Annette asked, "This place is very lovely Miss Moore. Where exactly are we?"

Kimberly smiled, "This is a private island in the Bahama chain. This is Ram's Rock Island."

"And what exactly do you do here?" Sam asked.

"I'm in charge of Logistics for Ram Air Charters. Among other things. Here we are," Kimberly said dismissively as they walked up the steps of the house.The group walked inside. A black dog met them in the living room with a low growl. Everyone but Kimberly froze.

"Warlock. Halten," Kimberly said in German then turned back to the group of women, "Ladies, deputies, please do not get close to Warlock. He's not a pet. Wait here please." Of them all only Bobby knew what Warlock was and he was not about to try a Tactical dog in so small an area, not even if he had a shotgun.

The stood where they were as Kimberly went down a hallway then returned. She wasn't alone. To their shock Lyssa Kordenay-Mason was with her. Lyssa looked to the tactical dog, "Warlock. Auben. Uberwachen" The dog sprang up and trotted out the open patio door.

"I'll leave you ladies and the deputies to it," Kimberly said then went back out.

"Maria. It's been some time. Hello Annette. You both look well." Lyssa greeted them.

"I thought you were pregnant. You look remarkable." Maria remarked.

Lyssa smiled enigmatically then nodded to the others, "Whom do we have here?"

"This is my granddaughter, Kasey. Kasey; say hello to Prima Lyssa Kordenay," Maria said.

Kasey performed a small crusty. “Prima Lyssa, it is a pleasure.”

"Hello Kasey," Lyssa greeted her then looked intently at Kristine, "You have a familiar look though I've never met you. Do you dance?"

Maria smiled, "The Masterson name may ring a bell for you."

"Masterson? As in Caroline Masterson? Is this girl her niece?" Lyssa asked.

"No Prima Lyssa. Caroline was my mother." Kristine answered for herself.

Lyssa walked forward and looked even closer, "It seems certain information was inaccurate. I was under the impression Prima Caroline had only a son. Or so she thought?" Lyssa said that last part pointedly. She even seemed to be smiling slightly. As if in approval or amusement.

"I guess I have issues," Kristine said.

Lyssa laughed, "Girl, show me a person without issues and I'll show you a liar! Come and sit."

The women sat down on the sofa and chairs while Bobby stood behind the chair Sam had taken. While Maria may trust this woman, Bobby still hadn’t made up his mind yet.

"So. Found yourselves in trouble not even two of the world's premier assassins can resolve." Lyssa said casually.
Annette looked stunned. Maria shook her head and chuckled.

"And two of the top Tracker's in the U.S. Marshall's is in the mix," Lyssa added. Looking at Bobby long and hard. "Does your sister know where you are Bobby or are you going to keep her and the rest of your family in the dark about this lovely young lady besides you?" Samantha resisted the urge to gawk. Apparently the Prima and model knew a lot more than any of them thought she did.

"Why am I not surprised that you know our secret?" Maria asked.

Lyssa smirked, "Like you had one to begin with. I knew who you were when I met you."

"HOW?" Annette asked.

"Raphael Giordino is a member of First Group Special Forces. Special Operational Detachment Delta. He's a distant cousin of yours if I am not mistaken." Lyssa replied.

"Rager," Maria commented. Rager was the man's nickname. It was also his personal call sign. Lyssa nodded at the confirmation.
"How do you know him?" Maria asked.

Lyssa chuckled, "Oh you'd be shocked at the list of people I know. Even more at how I know them. All that's by-the-by. I'm sure by now you're all ready to scream at wanting to know why you're here."
All of them answered, "YES!"

----- This ends the first of the Marshals series. Marshals: Embracing Justice. The story will be picked up in the next book Marshals: Man Hunt in the Heartland. -----



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