Educational Justice -chp12


Educational Justice

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Maria DeMarco never thought that she would find trouble amongst her many businesses. After all they were the public face of where her money came from. She was after all a retired Prima Ballerina and like most such women she invested her money wisely. But trouble she did find and in the one place she would never have thought to look. One of the schools she loves and sponsors. Can the Black Badge Deputies ferret out the people behind the troubles before Gemini has to deal with Gym Class?

by Snowfall and Jessie Wolf.

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

Edited by my husband Paul, and AJC Snowfall.

~o~O~o~

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


Chapter 12

Outside of STC 2230…

Bobby and Hunter watched as the Henleys and Gilroys left the parking lot of Southern Coastal Transport. The two Deputies could tell by the body language of the two couples that their dinner didn’t go as they expected. Once the way was clear, Bobby pulled into the parking lot and shutdown the F-350. Anna smiled at them as they exited their truck.

“I see that Samantha and Annette decided to have you gentlemen babysit the Madam and myself. Thank you, gentlemen, for at least showing discretion by staying outside.” Anna almost giggled when Hunter first gave her hug to be followed by Bobby. “Thank you gentlemen, but I highly doubt that your partners would approve.”

“Anna, if anything were to happen to YOU or the Madam, Sam and Annette would have our asses in a sling. This was purely a case of self-preservation.” Hunter’s joke got Anna to giggle. “Now, are we safe here or do we need to move you and the Madam?”

“That will not be needed Hunter. Though I do appreciate the concern. However, can you tell me why I received a text message from Samantha telling me to stand by and wait here for her and Annette?” Maria had stepped into the lobby area.

“No idea Madam Maria. We got the same text message, but no details. They have been off the grid for the past three hours now. If we don’t hear from them soon, Bobby and I will go looking for them.” Hunter answered.

“I don’t think that will be necessary Master Hunter. Look who is pulling into the parking lot.” Anna pointed outside at the F-150 of Sam and Annette. “It seems they have come to us.”

Instead of parking in front of the office building, the two women pulled around back to the side entrance. Seeing this, Bobby and Hunter headed around to the side. They found out why the women had parked there. In the bed of the truck lay one Tracey Lee, bound and gagged. The two men quickly removed the woman and carried her inside the building and down to the basement.

Five minutes later the adult members of the Black Badge Deputies were sitting round the table that just twenty minutes earlier served as a dinner table. Maria took her place at the head of the table and looked at Samantha and Annette. “I take it that young Miss Lee didn’t want to talk with you girls?”

Annette did the one thing that her mother hated the most just then, she spat on the floor. “Mother, do not call that THING a Miss, Ms., or any other honorific again please! That thing is no journalist. She cares nothing for the people she writes about, only that her headlines pad the bottom line. If Samantha had not stopped me, I would have cut her tits off! For spite.”

“I see. Samantha, was it your idea to bring her here?” Maria asked.

“Yes ma’am, it was. We needed a place to interview the woman and her office just wasn’t secure enough. I knew that SCT has a basement and the security to perform the interrogation. If need be, a method of disposal. Madam Maria, the woman is a total cesspool of yellow journalism at its height.” Even Anna could tell that Sam was close to just killing the journalist.

Maria sighed. “So, she is worse than I was informed. I take it that she was less than forthcoming in her dealings for her informational sources?”

“More like outright lied about her sources. The bitch couldn’t even prove her tipster existed, let alone provide factual statements.” Annette said with some heat. “I tried to be civil with her mother, but she just sat there in her chair like she had the RIGHT to claim the protection of the Fifth ESTATE! Like she was some kind of modern day Margaret Bourke-White, or Martha Gellhorn.”

“I see. Very well then, we’ll give her time to simmer in her juices. Just where did you boys place her, by the way?” Maria asked.

“She’s next to the number two boiler, about ten feet away. She’ll be nice and sweaty by the time we talk to her, Madam. We are a little surprised that this place even had a boiler room, though.” Hunter answered.

“Oh, that’s really not a surprise Hunter. I had this building retrofitted shortly after I purchased the truck company. The company that use this building before was a sawmill and lumberyard. They used the woodchopping’s, bark, and sawdust to power the plant. In fact, before the retrofit there were four boilers down there. What’s down there now are just for trash disposal.”

“Mamma, I must say that your environmental consciousness has really grown over the years. Seeing as how we’re giving Tracey Lee time to think over her life values, I believe that Samantha and I have something for you to look over.” Samantha and Annette opened their briefcases and lay out the record books and student files.

Maria and Anna picked up the record books first. The two old women knew what they were looking at the moment they opened the books or turned the first page. For Maria, it was like stepping back in time, to read the family archives. Anna though just smiled, as the books brought back her time as the Booker for Don Dominic Domino, or ‘Don Don’ to his friends.

Anna was the first to comment. “I must say Ladies, I have not seen as set of books like this, since my time with Don Don. Where on earth did you get these?”

“Yes, girls. To whom do we owe this marvelous bounty of evidence?” Maria had a sly smile on her face. “Why, there has never been a larger deposit of hard records since the Capone trial.”

Sam and Annette started to giggle. When the others heard their giggles Maria quickly put two and two together. “I take it, that my granddaughters are to thank for this bounty of evidence?” Sam and Annette just nodded their heads 'yes' as they laughed. “What would be a proper reward for their efforts?”

“This is one time Mama, that nothing but your praise will do. They have been busting their asses to get us every last piece of Intel that we current have. Trust us on this mama. All the girls want is your approval of their hard work.” Sam said with a smile. “As for HOW they came by this Intel, all of this was in Alice Farley’s old office, hidden in a false wall.”

“Old School, but still effective. Now, we know why the Gilroy and Henley families want the schools so bad. We knew about the money laundering and political control. These books just confirm that, but now we know the HOW.” Maria had been reading the last entries when something caught her eye. “Bobby, Hunter; does this entry have any meaning for you?”

Both Bobby and Hunter knew right away what the notations meant. “Yes ma’am. Those are the radio call numbers for the State Senatorial Security Office. That’s the people that cover ALL of the Senators and Congressmen for the state. If the Gilroys or Henleys have their hooks into that office, we could have a real BIG fucking problem.”

“What are we talking about here, Robert?” Maria asked in shock.

“Take the LOG Party mess and times it by fifty. That old saying about South Carolina leading the South, is true in more ways than one. With this many Senators and Congressionalist in their pockets, they could literally change or control everything for the next ten to fifteen elections. These Senators are ALL part of the Electoral College selections.”

“SHIT! Can this GET anymore screwed up?!” Sam was close to pounding her head on the table. “CAN we PLEASE just go kill those fuckers NOW?” everyone in the room could hear the stress in Sam’s voice. They all knew that she was close to tears.

“Relax, child. They are going to pay for all they have done. Most especially for what they have done to these children. Blackmail, may be acceptable when dealing with adults, but CHILDREN have always been OFF-LIMITS.” Maria snarled.

AS if to drive the point home, Maria stood up and headed for the door. The adults all quickly followed her downstairs to the basement. As they entered the boiler room.

Tracey Lee looked up at the six adults with hatred in her eyes. “You have no idea, of who you’re FUCKING with! I’ll have all YOUR asses up on charges for kidnapping, conspiracy, interfering with the freedom of the press, and whatever else I can think up! Then there is going to be the slam job I’ll do on you in the PAPER. When I get done, your sorry asses will be shown for the criminals that you are and everything you’ve got is going to be used up in just paying for your BAIL!”

The smack resounded through the room. “That was to get your attention.” The next smack was on the back-swing. “That, was for the foul mouth Miss Lee. You will keep a civil tongue in your head or I will cut it out. Do we have an understanding?” when Tracey didn’t answer Maria, she smacked her again. “I asked you if you understand. Let me explain the situation you have found yourself in young lady. In your zeal to become the next big thing in journalism; you made a very BIG mistake. You went and endangered children.”

“I endangered no one. Those freaks need to be exposed for the perversions to God that they are. I only reported the truth.” Tracy Lee stated loudly.

It took all of Anna’s self-control to not slit Tracey’s throat then and there. As her knife left its sheath Anna snarled. “This woman is not worth our time. I say we just slit her throat and pull out her tongue now.”

Tracey almost pissed her panties at the mention of a Cuban Neck-tie.

“Now, now Anna. No need for violence, just yet.” Maria’s voice sounded sweet and innocent, but the tone left no doubt as to whether or not she would kill Tracey.

“You will answer the Donna’s questions little girl or I will carry out my promise, whether she orders me to or not!” Unlike Maria, there was no question as about Anna’s intentions. She wanted to kill Tracey, now.

When Tracy heard the title Donna, she knew that things had gone from bad to pure shit. Tracey had been a reporter long enough to know that she wasn’t dealing with normal criminals or the law. These people were the Mob. They didn’t care about the first amendment or freedom of the press. In fact, they hated it. “Okay, what do you want to know?”

“Who told you about those girls?” Maria asked.

“They’re no more girls than I am the man in the moon. What do you care about a bunch of tranny freaks for anyway? You should be helping me to EXPOSE those pits of corruption and depravity. For Christ’s sake, that Academy is nothing more than a federally run training ground for the next generation of spies.”

Once again Maria had to keep Anna from killing Tracey. “No Anna. Not until she gives me, MY answers.” Looking down at the woman tied to the chair. “This is the last time I will warn you. Make one more bigoted comment and I WILL END YOU. Now, who gave you the information on those students?”

“All I know is it is a student at one of the schools. I got an email from somewhere inside the AEGS. All I know is the address.” Tracey finally got the hint that Maria wasn’t playing. “It’s [email protected], that’s all I know.”

“That’s the email for one of the Riding Instructors over at AEGS, Madam.” Annette pointed out. “All teachers and Riding Instructors have that type of addie. We can have Gemini go back after all the emails from that addie and find out exactly when Tracey was informed. And by who exactly.”

“So, we have a teacher or former teacher acting as your ‘inside source’? Not very smart Tracey. In fact; very, very stupid. You just had to have that one big breaking story to get away from your tabloid reputation. You never once thought about getting the TRUTH about those six teenage children. Children that had been ABUSED by a pack of sick FUCKERS for their own jollies. Children that had been kidnapped, brainwashed to be sex slaves, raped repeatedly, forced to undergo gender reassignment, cosmetic surgery for everything under the sun, and then sold to the highest bidder.” The more Anna told Tracey the whiter she became.

For the first-time Tracey realized that the kids she had targeted in her report and rumors were the ones from that slave ship. She had thought they were just a bunch of tranny hookers out of Juvie. “I didn’t know. The email said they were nothing more than Juvie rejects with rap sheets for prostitution, and drugs.”

"But you didn't check. You assholes are supposed verify information before you run a story." Bobby pointed out. "Those girls are protected witnesses. You blew their covers."

"Wait a moment Master Robert. You just pointed out something. They are supposed to verify such a story. It is obvious she didn't. Why did the paper run it anyway?" Anna asked.

Tracy hung her head in shame. "Nobody cares about people like them. We all thought they wanted to be that way, hookers and freaks. I threatened that if my story wasn't run, I'd go to another outlet. The tip came from inside the school. It was good enough for me."

“BUT IT WASN'T THE TRUTH!” Maria finally lost control of her temper. For twenty-seven years, her family blade had not left its sheath. For more than forty years it had never been used in anger. Not since her mother first handed her, her own DeMarco blade had Maria the Dove DeMarco vented her anger with her knife. For decades, Maria’s knife had known only the honor of an assassination. Quick, clean kills, wielded in the hands of a true Mistress of the blade and assassination. All that was about to change.

Gone was the cold, business-like demeanor of the Mafia Donna Maria DeMarco. In all her years, as Maria’s friend and employee, Anna had never seen such fury in Maria’s face. Not even Samantha or Annette had seen THIS level of anger in Maria. The last thing that Tracey Lee saw of this world was the flash from the cold steel of Maria’s razor-edge knife. Just before that, blade was pulled across her throat then plunged into her skull at the base of her neck. While the killing strike was purely professional, it was delivered with a passion and anger that was anything BUT professional.

With a heavy sigh, Maria stepped away from the now dead Tracey Lee. “Forgive me children. It seems that I let my anger get the better of me. That was highly unprofessional of me.” Maria looked at them all. “Let this be a lesson to you all. Passion and emotions have their place in life, just not in the work place.”

That simple comment soon had the four deputies laughing. Only Anna had ever seen this side of Maria. The side that was more than just playful, but passionate. “Boys once you have regained your sensibilities, please dispose of the body. You can use the boiler, just make sure that the body burns down fully. This is one time we don’t need the LEOs sniffing around. Am I understood?”

“Yes ma’am, and may I say it is rather nice knowing that behind that stone face of yours is a heart of gold that beats with fire?” Hunter said smiling.

“Hunter, I have always been a professional. This is most likely the one time that I have ever let my emotions get the better of me.” Maria commented.

“It is the only time Madam, and I should know better than anyone. I have been at your side for longer than most. I have never seen you so angry before. What drove you so, to lose control like that?” Anna was truthful in her statement.

“That… THING, had no conscience at all. All that bitch cared for was Headlines. Headlines that sell. Tracy Lee never once thought about what her desires to be the next great female reporter would have on those she exploited. I would have killed her for far less, but she viewed herself better than all others. And sought to use the fifth estate as a shield against legal prosecution. She is worse than any child molester or serial killer to walk the face of the earth. I should have taken out a contract on her years ago. This is one time that I let my anger at my own failure, her lack of ethics, to get the better of my control. Trust me children, this should never have happened.” Maria said sadly.

All four deputies could tell that Maria’s loss of control had affected her. Bobby stepped over to her and pulled her into a hug. “You’re only human mom. So you let your emotions take hold for a few moments. Big damned deal, we’ve all done it at least once. There isn’t a cop out there who hasn’t dreamed of making the press pay for what they have done to some poor victim. Victims that lack the money or power to make the press pay for callous attitudes and smear campaigns. The ones that are hit the most are rape victims. Too often they are put on trial in public opinion by the press. Saying they got what they deserved or some horse shit like that. If it’s not sensationalized enough for the press, they’ll find a way to get it there, and damned what it does to the victim. No Mom, this is one time you acted more like a cop than ever before.”

“Why Robert! Never SAY such anything again PLEASE?! Do you understand the ramifications of even thinking such a thing? Me? A DeMarco Donna? If that statement ever gets out, I’ll never be able to show my face in front of another Don or Donna again.” With that everyone broke out laughing.

“Well, I’ll make sure to never make that mistake again.” Bobby gave Maria another hug then turned to Hunter. “Come on bro. let’s get rid of the trash.”

“Before you do that boys, what is the situation over at your school?” Maria asked them out of the blue.

“Well, we know who the main fuck-nut is behind the bullies. One Lieutenant Johnson, grade-A dick.” Hunter told them all.

“He’s not the only one then.” Both Bobby and Hunter turned to Annette. “Another Instructor; First Lieutenant Clark Griswold, U.S.M.C. medically retired. Gemini found him when they went digging for the video surveillance in your school. It seems that he was a former Cyberwarfare officer. Nowhere near as good as our girls or their teacher, but good enough to by-pass the protocols in the security system over at SRMA and AEGS.”

“Yes, from what Gemini were able to dig up on this guy, he is a real piece of work deep in the hip pockets of the Gilroys. If your Lieutenant Johnson is anything like Griswold then you have a problem on your hands, boys.” Sam pointed out.

Hunter looked over at Bobby. “One that we’ll deal with in the morning. Have Gemini send their evidence to the following email account.” Bobby pulled out a card and handed it over to Sam. “MAKE sure they understand that it goes ONLY to that address.”

“Okay Bobby, why only to this address? Wouldn’t it be better to send it to the Colonel or someone else in the Academy’s main office staff?” Sam asked her and Annette’s husband.

“Trust me love, that person will be able to do more than anyone other than the Colonel with that evidence. Who we’re trying our best to keep out of our business. The longer the Colonel stays in the dark, the better, for our operations. This way he will have plausible deniability.” Annette and Sam gave Bobby doubt filled looks. Hunter seeing the looks stepped in to help his partner.

“Unlike over at Mrs. Scarlet’s School, the Colonel has to answer to the DOD besides the State School Broad. That is the biggest difference between the two academies at the administrative levels. It’s also why we could go in like we did, as active Reserve Military Instructors. It also gives the Colonel a place to go to, when we leave, for replacements.”

“Speaking of leaving, have any of you had problems with threats?” Maria asked.

“No ma’am. In fact, that is starting to worry me.” Bobby answered.

“I thought that would be a good thing?” Anna questioned.

“It is a double-edged sword Anna. We know that someone had been terrorizing teachers at both schools, true. What we don’t know is who they are. If they don’t come after us, who are they going after? That is the biggest mystery we have right now. One that we need to solve.” Sam told the older woman.

“I see, but I think I might know where they are going.” Anna had the attention of all the adults now. “Let us work from this theory. The other night, they targeted Kasey and Kristine. That plan failed and blew up in their faces. Now, who could have advised the local talent to attack the girls? Answer; simple, Chantel Henley or one of the other Henley and Gilroy girls. That means they have to regain the good graces of the Henley and Gilroy families. Whoever is doing the strong-arm tactics on the teachers will try to raise their standing in the eyes of those two families. The best way for that to happen, is to do what Longmire failed at. They’ll go after Gemini again. Most likely when the girls are out for the weekend. Somewhere that they can get at the girls easily and get away fast. The question is; do we let Miss Kasey and Kristine handle this on their own?”

All three parents of the girls looked at each other. It was Bobby that made the decision. “We warn them to keep their heads on a swivel and let them handle this themselves. We have the tracking tape in place and can bail them out. We need to find the thugs behind all of this and get someone to flip on the Gilroys and Henleys. I’m afraid that is going to be the only way we will put a stop to this, short of all-out war. Which we cannot do. Sorry Madam Maria, that is the way this has to play out. We need to take down those families legally. We still haven’t gotten those Lethal Findings, and until that happens, we’re operating on the fringe here.”

“That is where you are wrong Master Robert. The Black Badge Deputies may not be allowed to go to war, but I can.” There was cold iron in Anna’s voice. “You all have taken a vow to up hold the law, Madam Maria has given her word to never again pursue criminal activities, but I have NOT. I maybe old enough to be a grandmother for the lot of you, but I can still handle a contract. If not, I have MORE than enough favors OWED to wage a war on behalf of Donna Maria DeMarco.”

Of all those present, only Maria really knew Anna’s background. Unlike her daughter and Samantha, Maria knew Anna as the assassin she really was. Anna Fontecello was known to a very select few, but among Hitters she was a legend known only as the Red Nightingale. Her calling card was more famous than even Maria’s or Annette’s. For more than forty years’ law enforcement all over the world hunted for the very unassuming woman, but never once came close to catching her. All they ever found was a single nightingale feather died red.

“IF WE go that route Anna, you will not be alone. Besides, do you really think that I would let you have all the fun?” Maria smiled in a way that made Hunter and Bobby a little nervous. “Like you said the other day, it has been a long time since the Dove and Nightingale walked the night.”

The conversation stopped when all their cellphones rang at the same time.

Maria was the first to speak, though they all answered. "Hello Paul. How are you?"

"Well since you've been so good about keeping me updated about the situation there, I was wondering exactly who I should send over there." Dannigan remarked. "If one of you would be so kind as to set up their computer on a table, we can ALL join in on the conversation."

Bobby moved like his ass was on fire to snatch the laptop off the desk and move it over to the conference table. A window was opened and it sectioned into three. Dannigan occupied one window, Kimberly another with Kasey and Kristine in the last. The two teens waved.

Dannigan disconnected the phone call and spoke directly through the video link. "Update."

"Is this REALLY neccesary Paul?" Maria asked.

Dannigan countered. "Are you all ready to leave?"

"No." They all replied.

The big Spook just looked at them. "Then update me on the current situation."

"Very well then Paul. We have found widespread infiltration and corruption at both schools. Several faculty have been compromised, as you would say. There are two families in the county here that are the influence behind this. They want to expand their influence by way of exploiting the influential children and use the schools themselves to launder money." Maria explained.

"I understand a faction of former slaves have been emplaced at the girls' school." Paul said then consulted some papers. "The one, Kendra, is there as well. Their presence has been revealed, but not completely."

Samantha answered. "Yes Sir. All intel points to a faculty member leaking the information to a local paper. We questioned that so-called reporter and she did support that. We need confirmation by Gemini. How that faculty member discovered their secret, we don't know."

"Where is this reporter now?" Dannigan asked.

Bobby cleared his throat. "Liquidated Sir."

Dannigan sat silent for a moment then asked. "There was no other option?"

"No Sir. She refused to cooperate." Hunter stated. "It was only when she believed that we were not officials that she gave up the information. No official orders would have worked on her."

"Very well. This individual is non-recoverable?" Dannigan asked.

Maria answered. "Completely. I think I am supposed to be insulted by that question, yes?"

Dannigan leaned forward to rest his arms on his desk. "No. You are supposed be accommodating since every single one of you screwed up."

"WHAT?" They all exclaimed.

"ATTENTION!" Paul barked.

Bobby and Hunter immediately bolted upright and yelled. "SIR!"

Paul growled. "Captain, fill them in."

Kimberly looked sternly. "Krystel just finished fixing ALL the videos of the girls in the pizza parlor. We JUST found out about it and it took her four hours to re-upload a carefully edited video. She is CURRENTLY tracking down the security video from the newspaper offices of you snatching up the reporter. Hold one."

Krystel's voice came on. "Found it. Its gone. Now I have to look for traffic cameras and any other security cameras in the area."

Sam and Annette gave each other the 'we really jumped into the shit' look.

"So while Gemini were becoming stars of YouTube, Facebook and every other social media outlet; what was everybody else doing?" Dannigan asked.

Annette jumped in to defend. "We were there! We learned they left campus and went to shadow them."

"Learned? That implies you were not informed by Gemini of their field trip." Paul said and his eyes shifted to the section with the two teens. "Is that correct?"

Now it was Kasey and Kristine's turn to look sheepish. "Yes Sir."

Kimberly growled. "And you both wondered why you have those trackers in your butts."

"We needed to take the girls into town. They need to learn that they can live real lives!" Kristine interrupted.

"Gemini. I am not faulting your motivation. Nor your main actions. I am contesting your method." Dannigan stated. "You went down-range without over-sight. The Swans had to find you when they should have already known your destination. Video was uploaded that Command was not informed of so that your FACES could have been sanitized to maintain your covers. THAT is what the problem I have is."

"Those trackers are the fail-safe. Last resort. Not the first course." Kimberly said pointedly.

Kasey and Kristine answered in unison. "Yes Ma'am."

Paul sighed. "Captain, give it to them."

"Sir. With an initial attempt at abduction of Gemini a failure, behavior indicates that a second attempt will be made at first opportunity. The local Marshal in charge of the former slaves is currently missing and presumed deceased. It is feasible that they may be secondary targets due to their history and the alleged history. All local LEOs are to be considered compromised and hostile. There is a state LEO named Shackle, Annie. All intel says that she has maintained integrity and possibly angry at the local hostiles." Kimberly informed them.

Kasey spoke up. "We had planned to go into town Saturday, taking the girls too. Are you saying that we can't now?"

"Is there a plan?" Paul asked.

Samantha nodded. "Yes Sir. We'll shadow them discreetly."

"Sir." Kasey interrupted.

"Go Gemini." Paul nodded.

Kristine spoke up. "Those men weren't supposed to kidnap us."

"What?" All the adults at the table exclaimed.

Kasey nodded. "They weren't supposed to kidnap us. They were supposed to beat us up."

Paul looked intently. "Elaborate Gemini."

"We bugged Chantel's room. She's the one that sent them after us. She told him to beat us up enough to go to the hospital." Kristine explained.

Paul asked. "Captain?"

Kimberly shook her head. "That data doesn't change the fact that initial hostile action failed. There will be a second. Advise Gemini become hyper-aware from now on."

"Let's wrap this up. The girls need to get to bed." Paul remarked. "Update me tomorrow evening, in depth. That will determine if I need to have a talk with the State Department. Status Upgrade; Ghost Moth, Standby- no notice. Steel Butterfly and Ramrod, Standby-one hour recall."

With that the conference closed for Dannigan and Kimberly's windows.

Kasey and Kristine waved, blowing kisses. "Goodnight!"

Their window closed, leaving only the Deputies, Maria and Anna to talk.

Bobby let out a breath. "Time to get serious. Shawna is now on no-notice to deploy to us. Lyssa and Rodrick will be ready to go in an hour to launch. The Major is right though. We messed up. We haven’t been in communication and they are cleaning up after us."

"Yeah. It’s one thing to cover us. It’s another to clean up after us. We did mess up." Hunter agreed.

Maria took charge. "I understand gentlemen. I will bear the brunt of Paul's wrath for that tomorrow, privately. Since there needs to be a plan in place before we act, we will make one."

For the next four hours, the adults brainstormed and came up with a plan for the girls' excursion.

Henley house 2200…

As the taxi pulled in front of her home Chantel knew that she was in for a fight. For the first time in her young life, Chantel did not want to come home. She was afraid of what her mother was going to do. When she arrived at the office of the Head Riding Instructor she felt on top of the world. She spent the better part of an hour looking for the files and books that Alice Farley was keeping.

When she finally did find the false panel Chantel almost shouted for joy. Her excitement though was quickly crushed. Instead of finding files or record books, there was nothing. As if the empty space were laughing at her. The fact that there was nothing meant that the files had to be somewhere else, most likely at Farley’s home. That was her only hope now, and she had to convince her mother of that fact.

Chantel had tried to get into Farley’s house to see if that was the case. The police tape and police officers surrounding Farley’s home were the only thing that stopped her. With this many cops, there was no way she was getting in. Chantel knew that she would have to tell her mother everything.

As Chantel entered the house she was greeted by their maid, Crystal. “Good evening Miss. I hope your week was pleasant.”

“Good evening Crystal. And no, my week has not been a pleasant one. Have my sisters arrived?” Chantel asked.

“Yes, Miss Chantel, they are currently in your mother’s study. I was instructed to inform you to join them upon your arrival. Before you ask Miss, I do not know why. Just that you and your sisters are to wait for your mother’s return.” The Maid stated.

“Thank you, Crystal. As for reason behind the meeting, I already know.” Chantel sighed and headed for her mother’s study.

Crystal just closed the door and shook her head. “I don’t know what you did to piss off your mother, children, but I doubt you’re going to like the outcome of tonight’s meeting. Especially as your aunt Silvia is on her way.”

What Chantel, Adaline and Alex didn’t know was that the one person they didn’t want showing up, was their aunt Silvia Van Horn, State Senator and current front runner for the Governor of South Carolina. The woman behind the power in South Carolina and real head of the Henley family. Unlike their father, Silvia could work in the open, using her position to work the system to the family’s favor. Their aunt could make their lives very unpleasant with just a word.

Crystal knew that soon the three girls would be in a world of shit. Along with their brothers. They were the last to show and if they didn’t show soon, then there will be hell to pay for all the children of the Henley family. Crystal had only taken a few steps when the doorbell rang. Opening the door, she found someone she was not expecting, the children of the Gilroy family; Stephen, Mary Sue and Savanah Gilroy. “Good evening ladies and sir. You will find your friends in Mrs. Henley’s study. I suggest join them children. Master Stephen, do you have any idea of where Masters Chad and Bradly are currently?”

“No. They left the academy an hour before we did. They should be here already.” Stephen didn’t like where this was going already. If a maid was wondering where his best friends where, then something bad was in the pipeline. Something that spelled shit-storm for them all.

Chantel looked around the room at her sisters and wondered where her parents where. If they were here and not her brothers, then things had truly reached extreme measures. Someone was about to be sacrificed to the authorities. When Stephen, Mary Sue and Savanah walked in; Chantel knew that the shit-storm was about to hit land. And she, and her sisters, were in line with the eye of the hurricane with nothing to stop or slow it down.

“Where the FUCK is Chad and Bradly?” Stephen demanded as he entered the room. “And don’t tell me you cunts don’t know where they are! They don’t make a move without your say so. Just what the fuck have you done to get ALL our asses hauled in at the same time. I want fucking answers!”

Adaline stood up and walked across the study. Once she was standing in front of Stephen she slapped the dog piss out of him. “YOU WATCH YOUR MOUTH, BOY!”

Stephen knew he had stepped over the line, but there was no way he was going to back down to Adaline Henley. He couldn’t, not in front of his sisters. “Look bitch, I am going to give you until the count of ten to start answering me before I start beating the dog shit out of you. You forget your place around here. The MEN of these families run things.”

“LITTLE BOY! The ONLY reason you’re not dead already, is because of the TRUCE! As for you running things, think AGAIN. With one phone call your family will be in the poor house, your sisters will be selling their asses on Queen street in Columbia and you’ll be giving your ASS up to whoever hands you five dollars.” Snarled Adaline. She knew more than any of the others here.

“Understand Stephen, that we are all here because someone screwed the pooch. Big time. Not just us girls, but you three fuck-sticks as well. What the hell is going on over there? We thought you had the Student Council under your control.”

“We’re working on that. You just worry about the mess over at AEGS. We’ll handle SRMA. In two days, everything will be back to normal.” Stephen was doing his best to sound like he had control of the situation, when in truth it was totally out his hands. The problem was he didn’t realize this.

“The only thing we have control over Stephen; is nothing.” Everyone in the study turned to look at the doorway. There stood the twins. Chad just walked up to Stephen and got right in his face. “You threaten my sister one more time Stephen, my boy, and you won’t have to worry about her. I’ll be the one that cuts off your fucking balls. Besides, right now, we have bigger problems.”

“What are you talking about Chad?” Adaline asked

“Simple sis, we’re all here at the same time. That means our parents are on their way home from something big. What that is, none of us knows, but it spells trouble for us regardless. Let’s be truthful here. Until four days ago, we had control over both schools. We were in position to help our parents take over and now all that work is down the fucking drain. The biggest loss though is Alice Farley. Yes, we heard about her arrest over a SRMA. Hell, the whole country has heard about her arrest by now. By the way, what was she THINKING?!” Bradly screamed finally at his sisters.

“It’s not our fault! She went nuts after Boatwright fired her the other day. It’s bad enough that she took the records with her!” Chantel began explaining. Only to have Adaline interrupt her.

Adaline looked at her. “Records? What records, Chantel?”

Chantel looked around the room and knew then that she was the only one to know about Alice Farley and her involvement with the two families.

“I asked you, WHAT records Chantel. Just what records does Alice Farley supposed to have, and what do they have to do with us?” Adaline by this point was standing almost nose to nose with her younger sister. “Start talking, now.”

Chantel Henley was many things, but fearless was not one of them. From the time she was a small child, she had been told to follow Adaline’s orders. Sighing, Chantel looked around the room.

“Alice Farley is the Keeper of Secrets, for both our families. In fact, from what mother told me, she and her whole family have been keeping the lid on all our dry laundry for the past hundred years. She has personal information on students for the last seven years that are from any FAMILY that is or was a threat to us and the Gilroys. Not just in South Carolina, but ALL across the South. How do you think I found out about the FREAKS? It was from Farley.”

“WAIT?! You were the one that leaked the story to the PRESS?! HOW FUCKING STUPID CAN YOU BE?!” Adaline was screaming now. Gone was the controlled, poised and refined young woman that Adaline tried so hard to cultivate. In her place was a pissed off Hellcat ready to pounce. “DID YOU EVEN THINK ABOUT WHAT YOUR LITTLE STUNT WOULD FUCKING MEAN?! GODDAMN IT CHANTEL! WE’RE LUCKY THE FEDS AREN’T CRAWLING ALL OVER THE PLACE.”

“ENOUGH!” The shout from the doorway stopped Adaline mid-rant. The teens all looked back at the study doorway. There stood someone none of them wanted in the county, let alone the house. Silvia Van Horn. The room's temperature dropped, by several degrees, just from her icy presence. The tone of her voice dropped the temperature to below freezing. “Your parents will be arriving shortly, children. I suggest you have answers for them when they arrive.”

“Aunt Sylvia? Why are you here?” Chantel quickly asked.

Silvia glared at them all. “I am here because of you, children. Do any of you understand what you have put at stake here? Years of planning, circling the drain. And all because of your vanity! NOT just Chantel, but ALL of you have put BOTH families in DANGER! Do any of you realize what it has taken to KEEP the Federal Authorities out of this? I’ve had to call in every favor that I HAVE! Now, which one of you MORONS leaked the name of that slave to the press?!”

When none of the children came forward Sylvia knew something was up. “Let’s start with you Adaline. Were you the leak?”

“No ma’am. I didn’t find out about the freaks until AFTER the story was printed.” Adaline stated.

Silvia turned to Chantel next. “Well Chantel, did you make the call?”

Chantel shook her head. “No ma’am. Yes, I knew about the freaks, but I kept my mouth shut!”

“Why?” Silvia asked

“Because, I know that would bring down the Feds. Sure, I wanted them out of the school, but I figured I could run them out with a little bullying.”

“Very well then. Alexis, were you the leak?” Sylvia knew that one of the girls had the answer to her question, just not which one.

“No ma’am, but I do know who did it.” The young teen was doing her best not to shake in fear of her aunt.

“Well, don’t keep me waiting!” Sylvia snapped.

“It was Mrs. Farley. I was outside of her office when she made the call. She kept going on and on about the degenerate, perverted, sex freaks that were being smuggled into the school. I don’t know who she was talking to, but the next day it was all over the papers. She was also the one that made up that story about the Colonel training the Cadets of SRMA to be spies.” Alexis was close to tears in fear by this time. She knew that her mother may be the one calling the shots here, but she answered to their aunt Silvia.

Silvia accepted that, for the moment. “I see. So, none of you children authorized Farley’s stupidity?”

Almost as one the eight teenagers shook their heads 'no'. The boys went so far as to come to attention with their reply and called out. “MA’AM. NO, MA’AM.”

Adaline tried to calm things. “Aunt Sylvia, please understand.”

“What am I to understand Adaline? That a woman who has been a trusted member of our inner circle, for decades, acted totally on her own? Set in play; actions that would threaten our operations for the past eight years. You’re standing there telling me, that a woman who I have known LONGER than any of YOU have been alive, WOULD DO SOMETHING THIS MONUMENTALLY STUPID ALL ON HER OWN?!” For Silvia Van Horn, the very thought that Alice Farley could ever betray the Henleys or the Gilroys was impossible.

“DAMN IT AUNT SYLVIA, WILL YOU BACK THE FUCK OFF?!” Chad shouted from across the room. When Sylvia turned on him Chad squared his shoulders and faced her down. “Alice Farley has been TWO INCHES from going insane, for the past SEVEN YEARS. Ever since some DeMarco bitch bailed out both schools. FUCK. We ALL know that Farley thought SHE was going to be the next Head Mistress for AEGS, and her fuck stick of a brother was SUPPOSED to take over at SRMA.”

“How do you children know this?” Sylvia asked coldly.

“She would brag about it at every practice that wasn’t supervised by Boatwright, aunt Sylvia. She would go on and on, about how DeMarco had robbed her of her RIGHTFUL place as the Head Mistress of AEGS.” Adaline answered truthfully. "We know about it because unlike YOU, we were around her all the time. You only THOUGHT you knew her."

“I am afraid the children are being truthful sister.” Everyone in the room turned and looked as Patricia and Grace entered the room. Patricia walked over and gave her sister a hug, and then turned to Chantel. “Where are the records I ordered you to retrieve?”

“I don’t have them Mother. Wait, before you take my head off, please hear me out?” Chantel pleaded. Patricia nodded her head. “I went to the office, like you said. I followed your instructions, to the letter. When I open the panel; the space was empty. I double-checked the room and did not find anything that would resemble what you described to me. I even checked her computer. Again nothing.”

“What about her house?” Patricia asked coldly.

“Mom, I passed by there on my way here. There is no-way in hell that Chantel is going to get into that place. SLED, NSA, Homeland and the FBI are crawling all over Farley’s place like it was an ISIS compound.” Adaline answered for Chantel.

“If they have that many people from that many agencies there, then we’re fine.” All the children looked over at Silvia in confusion. “If the Feds are looking at Alice in this manner, it means they haven’t found our records. It also means that they aren’t looking at us, so we’re safe. However, we don’t have much time either. We need to get our plan back on track and fast. Do any of you know what had Farley so far off her game?”

“Yes ma’am. The two foreign exchange students and those new teachers.” Adaline answered her aunt then stopped dead. A look of excitement came to her eyes and face. “THAT’S IT!” Adaline exclaimed.

“What are you thinking Adie?” Chantel asked quickly.

“I know of a way to not only put those spicks in their place, but get AEGS shutdown. Shutdown one school and call into question the other at the same time.” When everyone was looking at her in interest Adaline smiled. “We have the Carmen girls kidnapped, only this time we do it OURSELVES.”

“WHAT?!” Everyone screamed at once. When pandemonium broke out at Adaline’s statement, only Silvia remained calm.

“ENOUGH!” once calm had returned to the room Sylvia looked over at her niece. “Adaline, I suggest you explain your idea.”

Adaline looked smug. “Yes, ma’am. The way I see it, those two girls are a diplomatic nightmare waiting to happen. If they get snatched while attending AEGS, then the State Department will get involved. When they turn up dead, the State Department is going to demand that the school be shutdown. Just to keep peace with whatever country is pissed off over their deaths. With all this much attention on the one school, we can point at SRMA and say that their security is just as bad. This will in turn get the State Department looking at SRMA, HARD. We move in and say ‘We’ll take over the running of both schools.’ You, aunt Sylvia, can make a BIG show of backing the takeover by us as a GREAT LEAP forward in International Relations with our Allies.”

“Care to tell us just HOW we are to snatch up these two girls, Adaline?” Bradly snarled. He and Chad already had an idea of what their sister was going to say.

“Look, you dumbass. Just do what you and your buddies are told and everything will go perfectly. As for how, again the answer is simple.” Adaline waved at the teenage girls in the room. “Tomorrow, the school lets out for the weekend. They’ll want to get out and see some of the local sights, do some shopping, things like that. We’ll follow them from the school, giving you and your friends directions and locations. We make sure to show ourselves everywhere they go. We’ll herd them down toward the old Riverwalk area. There are plenty of side-streets and alley-ways that you can use for cover. When the time is right, you grab them. Use one of the old paper delivery vans to transport them out of Akin. Head for Orangeburg and the abandoned lumberyard there. All you have to do is stash them inside one of the storage rooms and walk away. Bring the van back and park it over by the back fence. It’s that simple.”

Adaline sat back in her chair and smiled. She could already see the wheels turning in her mother’s and aunt’s heads. Looking over at Grace Gilroy, Adaline saw that she didn’t need to pitch her plan any further. If her mother and aunt didn’t go for it, Grace Gilroy would. However, it was Silvia Van Horn who had the final say in the matter. Everyone looked to her as she made up her mind.

“Do it.” Adaline breathed a sigh of relief along with the rest of the girls, until Sylvia’s next words. “But if you fail. Don’t come back.”

----- to be continued -----



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