Educational Justice -chp16


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 16

01:30 the night before…

Maria had just returned from her trip to Augusta, Georgia. The big black nineteen-seventy-two Dodge Challenger had been a gift from a former lover. A man that had a real lead foot and bad habit of smuggling illicit alcohol. As she sat thinking about that long-ago lover and the car he had given her, Maria chuckled. Rick had truly loved his Dodge Hemi engines. The power and handling more than made up for the less than appealing appearance of the cars in Maria’s mind. The fact that her Challenger was heavily modified was beside the point.

Maria may have been born and raised in Sicily, learned to drive her first car in Italy, but it was Rick who had truly taught her to drive at high speeds. Her thoughts were brought back to the here and now as her eyes fell on the stack of records and accounting books. There, in front of her, was more than enough hard evidence to take down both the Gilroys and Henleys. There was no need for her to go to war, thanks to her granddaughters’ hard work. A small smile came to her face as she realized what her granddaughters had accomplished.

They had given her an alternative to waging a no-win war with people who lacked all sense of honor and traditions. They had also given her a way to keep her promise to Paul, to walk away from the Criminal life. She just needed a way to get all this evidence into the right hands. Maria thought about the current situation within the DA’s Office. Then it came to her.

Columbia, South Carolina was just two hours away. And with it, the United States Prosecuting Attorney General. U.S.D.A. Robert Harding was an honest man, with more than enough resources to use this evidence to its fullest. Maria placed everything into a leather satchel she had and smiled to herself. “Just like the old days. Only this time I am not having to construct the evidence for the frame job.”

Maria stood up and headed for the garage out back. She had just entered the garage when the lights came on. Standing there beside the Challenger was Anna. She was dressed in black jeans, sweater, soft sole boots, and black leather jacket. She was dressed for a walk in the dark, as they used to say. Anna just smirked at her old friend.

“I take it that you wished to make a late-night deposit, old friend?” Anna asked, pointing at the leather pouch under Maria’s arm.

“What gave me a way?” Maria chuckled.

“You have never been one to break your word, Donna Maria. You gave your word to retire from the life of an assassin. To work for the Law, instead of against it. Your granddaughters were threatened and you were willing to break your word to your husband, the Major, to keep them safe. I have never seen you so angered before, as to be close to declaring all-out war. The fact that you were pushed by these peoples’ actions to the point of breaking your word was more than enough for me to consider calling in every favor owed to me, and cash in more than ninety gold coins to avenge your honor and that of your family’s. I knew that once you had those files, records and books in your hands; you would find a way to use them to keep your word.” Anna just stood there with a smirk on her face.

“Well, we have about eight hours before the girls will be heading for the mall per the plan. The rest of the team are going over their final preparations in case things go south. That gives us about.” Maria looked down at her wrist watch. “About six hours to deliver this evidence to U.S.D.A. Robert Harding and get back here in time to serve the kids breakfast. Think we can get it done?”

“What odds are you giving, Donna?” Anna asked quickly.

Maria smiled. “Seven will get you ten.”

“Nope, not biting. Make it seven for thirteen, with an over-under of ten, and you have yourself a bet.” Anna countered. “Say for a fifty?”

“You, my dear Anna, are on. But I’ll only give you an over-under of five minutes, not ten. There is no way I am giving you a twenty-minute window with the way I drive.” Even Anna had to laugh at this admission of Maria’s lead foot.

“Done, and done, old friend. You drive while I get Krystel or the girls to take care of the cameras and security at the Federal Building.” Anna said as she climbed in on the passenger side.

“Use Command for this Anna. This is one time that we need to keep Gemini out of the loop. They have enough on their hands without trying to hack in to the security of a Federal Courthouse with that poor excuse of a network in the school dorms.” Even Maria understood just how big of a handicap Gemini was working with.

Anna nodded. “I do hope that you plan to have Mrs. Scarlet correct the deficiency?”

“Oh, I have already spoken to Scarlet about upgrading the WOEFULLY inadequate status of both schools' networks. After a short and slightly heated conversation, they agreed about the need to upgrade. It seems that they were due for an upgrade in two years, but due to the extra enrollments they are WAY ahead of when that was due to be done.” Maria hadn’t foreseen the need seven years ago, but ever since her granddaughters had taken to the Cyberwarfare battlefield she had been learning. “Speaking of Computer Networks and all that is truly evil. Please, contact Krystel for us Anna.”

Anna just smiled at Maria and pulled out her phone dialing Krystel directly. They both doubted that anyone was the Command center at this time of the night, as they were the only ones with an ongoing operation. Anna was slightly surprised when Krystel answered after the second ring.

Krystel’s trailer, Ram’s Rock Island…

Krystle and the rest of the OICA team had turned in for the night. None of them had expected anything to happen during the night. Acting off the old military philosophy of get your sleep when you can; they all went to their private homes to do just that, sleep. Krystel had taken her phone, in case something broke in the middle of the night with Gemini. When she heard the ring-tone she had set for Anna, Krystel became wide awake.

“Go Anna.” Krystel said.

Back in Akin South Carolina…

“Hello Krystel, Madam Maria and I need a little of your specialized help.” Anna told the young woman. Putting her phone on speaker, Anna set it on the dashboard. “We take it that you have turned in for the night?”

Krystel confirmed that. “Yes ma’am, but if you need us, I can have the whole team downstairs in ten minutes.”

“No need for that dear. We just have need of your particular skills tonight.” Maria said. “Please take your time and return to the Command Center, dear.”

“Okay Madam Maria. I’ll call you back in about twenty minutes. Is that alright?” Krystel asked.

“Just fine. I’ll explain everything once you are awake and ready to work. And sorry for waking you at this Ungodly hour. I’ll have a new pair of Pradas for you when I get back.” Maria decided to sweeten the pot a little for the operative. Of all those on the island Krystel was the closest to her granddaughters, more like an aunt than the others, and Maria loved the young woman for it all the more.

Ram’s Rock Island…

The phone went dead in Krystel’s hand after hearing about a new pair of Prada shoes. Whatever Madam Maria wanted her to do, Krystel knew that it was most likely off the reservation. Also, something not approved by her team. Krystel often laughed at the antics of the oldest member of the Black Badge Deputy Marshals. Maria had a habit of twisting her team around and having them chasing their tails in fruitless attempts to corner the wily old woman.

Putting on a pot of coffee Krystel headed for her shower. After a quick shower to rinse off the sleep and sweat, she dressed in shorts and light t-shirt with running shoes. Grabbing her coffee cup, Krystel headed for the C.I.C. Once downstairs, Krystel sat at her workstation and brought up the tracking program for the team phones. Krystel was a little surprised to find Maria and Anna’s phones traveling Eastward toward Columbia, South Carolina.

Dialing Anna’s phone number, Krystel had more questions than answers. When Anna answered on the second ring Krystel could hear a car engine in the background. “Okay, Anna, I am up and running. Are you sure that you don’t need Kimberly or the others?”

South Carolina, Interstate 20 east…

“We’re quite sure Krystel. In fact; I would have used Gemini for this, but due to the time, we have no way of contacting them without raising suspicions.” Maria told the young woman. “What we have need of is your formidable skills with computer security systems and the network.”

Krystel watched their dots moving across a map. “Okay, then why are you traveling toward Columbia?”

“We need you to help us break into the Federal Courthouse. To be more specific, the US Federal DA’s office.” The matter of fact way that Maria explained what they needed from Krystle caused her to laugh. “I take it that you believe this is a joke?”

“Yes ma’am, and it is a good one! I have got to remember this one for the guys in the morning. Now, really why are you heading for Columbia?”

“Krystel, no joke.” Maria snapped.

Krystel stopped laughing and turned serious. “You’re not joking? Aw shit. Does the rest of the team know about this?”

“No, and we are not going to involve them. Besides, this is nothing that two old women cannot handle child. Now, can you get us a layout for the Courthouse?” Anna demanded.

Krysel pulled it up. “Bringing it up now, Anna. NOW may I know why you want to break into a Federal Courthouse and the US Federal DA’s office?”

“We have a special delivery for the right honorable Counselor Robert Harding. One that I do not trust FedEx, UPS or the US Mail service to handle.” Maria said with a lopsided grin at Anna. When Krystel heard this, she started laughing. She, along with all the other members of OICA had wondered how the Deputies were going to get the hard copy evidence to the Federal authorities. Maria had just given her the answer, and a way to win a pool.

Krystel asked with a sly giggle. “You don’t mind if I keep this little excursion of yours on ice, do you Madam Maria? If you let me, I’ll forget about the Pradas.”

“I take it that you wish to setup a pool, dear?” Maria picked up quickly.

Krystel only laughed in answer.

“Oh, go ahead dear. Have your fun with the boys and the others. Be sure to place your bet for this night though. I plan on the Henleys and Gilroys having more to worry about than just their attempted kidnapping of my granddaughters.” Maria knew that deep down in her gut, the Henleys, Gilroys or both; would go after her granddaughters the next day.

Krystel replied. “Thank you, ma’am. Now, how long before you reach Columbia?”

“We should be reaching downtown Columbia in about an hour or so.” Anna said.

“Be a dear Krystel, while we’re traveling would you compile ALL the electronic records that the girls have sent you. I would like for you to send them to the good Counselor’s email. That way he will have just about everything to hang both families, root and branch, all at once.” Maria just smiled when Krystel had to chuckle to her use of the DA.

“Talk about pulling a Whitey Bulger. Okay Madam Maria, I’ll have everything you need by the time you get ready to enter the Courthouse. Contact me when you’re ready, Command out.” And the phone went dead.

As the two women drove through the early hours of the morning, Maria and Anna discussed their long history whiling away the time. They talked of old and dear friends, honored and despised enemies. Loves that were lost, the one night stands, and the ones that just plain got away. They talked of their younger years. The contracts they shared and the ones they worked alone. They even talked about the contract that brought the two of them together, the one that had pitted them against each other in a race to fulfill their individual contracts.

That one contract for the same person would lead to a lifelong friendship between the two premier hitters of their day. In the end, that contract took the both working together to get their target. A vile and disgusting man by the name of Veto Jacovazzi. The man was a confirmed child molester, drug dealer, pimp, and White Slaver. He had finally made one mistake too many, by raping the daughter of a Sicilian Boss in Catania. The contract was for fifteen million U.S. dollars. Maria and Anna split the money evenly. Nobody ever found Jacovazzi’s body.

Anna’s phone rang just as they pulled into the parking lot for the Federal Courthouse. “Nice to hear from you Command.”

“I’ve been tracking you since you left Akin, Miss Anna. Now, I have good news and bad news. Which do you want first?” Krystel asked.

“The bad news first please, Krystle?” Maria answered.

“I can only give you a thirty-minute window before the first security officer will be on top of you. Sorry ladies, but that is the best I can do. Someone changed the rounds schedule, from one hour to every thirty minutes. The only reason I can find for this is tomorrow's docket. There is a high-profile murder trial going on. A Kramer verse South Carolina, twelve counts of first degree homicide. Nasty piece of work. They have him cold.” Krystel remarked.

“If that case is being heard on the weekend Krystel, it is serious. Now, what is the good news?” Maria asked.

Krystel purred. “I now own every camera, sensor and electronic lock within the building. You can go anywhere in that building totally unseen, except for the human guards.”

Maria was pleased. “Thank you, Krystel. Have you gotten that other matter taken care of for me?”

“The packet and all relevant data have been compiled and sent Madam Maria. Whenever that DA opens his email he may have one massive coronary from this early Christmas present. You don't mind me being extremely proud of what Gemini has been able to do?” Krystel asked.

“Krystel, you’re not the only one who is proud of them. We all are, but I must say that I am being slightly biased in this matter.” Maria chuckled.

Krystel pointed out. “Madam Maria, I have met seasoned field operatives who haven’t been able to do half as well as Gemini. They made one mistake and took their ass chewing like adults. I doubt they’ll make the same mistake a second time.”

“They are not the only ones to make a mistake Krystel. I did as well, and I can assure you that I will not make that mistake again. I let my PRIDE get in the way of fulfilling a contract. It is time I return to my ROOTS, and remember that I and I alone, am the DOVE. Now start our countdown Krystel. Total time twenty minutes.” There was something in Maria’s voice that carried over to Krystel.

Krystel had seen Maria take charge and run an operation from the Command Center in the past, but this was different. It had to be the fact that this time Maria was putting it all on the line. It was almost as if she was talking to an older version of Lyssa, without the military background.

“Mission clock starts in: T minus five and counting Madam. Get a move on Night-Birds, you have less than five minutes to reach the Calhoun Street side door and get set to start your run.” Krystel called out.

Both women left the Challenger and went straight to the door that Krystel directed them to. As they reached the door, Maria double-checked the blue tooth connection with Anna’s phone. “Can you still hear me Command?”

Krystel was all business now. “Good copy Dove. What about you Nightingale?”

“Load and clear, Command. Where is our bunny?” Anna asked.

“The first guard just passed, start your run in; three. Two. One. Deploy.” Both women moved with a grace and speed that belied their age. Maria, and Anna took the first set of stairs inside the doors to the second floor. Once there they stepped into the hallway and headed for the far end. Again they took the stairwell again to the third floor. After entering the hallway both women looked left and right to make sure they were ahead of the guard.

Krystel had been tracking their run through the building and smiled at their tactics. The older women didn’t use military tactics, but those of a thief, avoiding security guards. For a moment, Krystel expect them to slip into an HVAC vent and use the shafts to get around. Even though Krystel could see them; the system and therefore the guards, were blind to the two women’s movements.

Krystel chuckled. “Very nice ladies. The last door on the left is your target.”

“Copy that Command. Can you give us a count for the next guard?” Anna whispered.

Krystel checked the other cameras and did a fast count. “Twenty-one minutes before the next pass on that floor.”

“Copy that.” Maria whispered as she picked the lock to the D.A.’s Office.

The pins finally clicked and the lock turned. She and Anna slipped inside then relocked the door. For a few seconds the two women relaxed and caught their breath. Over the next few minutes they looked for the right office door for D.A. Robert Harding and not one of his ADA’s. It didn’t take long, but the hunt did slow them down as none of the doors were marked. Ten minutes later the two women were ready to leave.

“Command, where are the bunnies?” Maria whispered.

“Hold where you are for now. Two bunnies are on inbound on your floor as we speak. Count twenty and then go. Your clock is just short of fifteen minutes.” Krystel had been surprised at how well the two retired assassins were doing.

Maria and Anna could hear the amusement in Krystel’s voice at how well they were doing. They had to fight to keep from shaking their heads. Once again, the oldest members of Ram’s Rock Island were showing that they could still teach the youngsters a few lessons in the Art of Infiltration and Espionage. Only for Maria and Anna it would be the Art of Assassination and Thief.

“Clear to move, ladies. Get a move on. It seems that the guards are changing up their routine.” Krystel noticed the change in patrol pattern over the last few minutes, and didn’t like what she was seeing. “Northwest stairwell, clear.”

Maria and Anna didn’t waste time. They exited the D.A.'s office leaving the door unlocked behind them and headed for the mentioned stairwell. Once there they descended at a good pace that would have them out the door in under five minutes. As they exited the building both women smiled at their success. Maria looked down at her watch one last time. “Command, what is our clock?”

Krystel hadn’t been paying attention to the mission clock as she was worried about the elders she had come to admire. When she did, Krystel had to do a double-take. Stopping the clock where it was, Krystel had to make sure she wasn’t seeing things. The clock couldn’t be right, could it?

“Madam, I’m not sure. Do you have your own time?” The Cyber-Operator asked.

“Twenty-two minutes, thirty-eight seconds. Is that about what you have Command?” Maria knew that her watch was right. She just didn’t have the heart to tell Krystel that. Maria and Anna waited for Krystel to answer as they got in the Challenger. “Well, Command?”

Krystel answered. “Your watch is fast Madam. By thirty-nine seconds. I must say ladies that was impressive. You exfiltrated with almost a full ten minutes left in your window.”

“Damn, and here I thought we were going faster than that. We really are getting old Maria. To have slowed down that much.” Anna complained.

When Krystel heard this she almost fell out of her chair laughing. Until she realized that Anna wasn’t joking. If this was them slowed down due to age, what could they have done in their younger years. Then Krystel thought about Samantha and Annette. Those two were almost as fast as her, Tiffany, and Shawna, but not by much. That was just standard running though. Distance, weight and terrain changed things. The Deputies were improving to keep up with the military side. The question of what Maria and Anna could do in their younger years would plague her though out the rest of the night.

Office of the US District Attorney, Federal Courthouse, 0800…

Robert Harding was not a happy man as he walked into his office. Being woken up at six thirty on a Saturday morning by a phone call from Courthouse Security was not his idea of fun. When he questioned the officers on duty, all they would say his office had been broken into and that he needed to come in. Cathy Reynolds, his longtime secretary looked up at him as he entered.

“I hate having to call you in like this Rob, but you have to see what is setting on your desk.” Cathy pointed.

Robert waved her off. “Don’t worry about it, Cathy. I know that you wouldn’t have called if it wasn’t important. By the way, what are you doing in here on a Saturday?”

“I forgot some files that I needed to finish working on the Pitman case. I was just going to pop in, grab the files and head back when I saw; THAT.” Cathy pointed to the stack of files and record books on Robert’s desk. On top of the pile, were two feathers. One white, the other red.

It took him a minute then it hit, like a brick through a window. Robert knew what those feathers were. He had been in Law Enforcement as a beat cop before getting his degree. He had heard and knew of those two feathers longer than most DA’s. For decades those two feathers were the calling card of two of the most wanted hired killers in the world. For them to be here in HIS office, with a pile of evidence, could only mean one thing in his mind. The Dove and the Nightingale were in South Carolina to kill someone. The fact that both feathers were together, could only mean they were working together.

As he stepped around his desk, Robert looked over at the Security Officer. “Did you touch anything?”

“No sir. We’re still waiting for PD bomb squad to arrive before touching anything.” The Chief of Security answered.

“Call them back and tell them to stand down, Officer. If the Dove or the Nightingale wanted me dead, they won’t have delivered a stack of files and books on my desk, with their calling cards. Neither you nor I would have seen them as they slipped a blade between my ribs to end my life.” Robert picked up the two feathers and just looked at them. “No, I doubt that they are even on our surveillance footage from last night.”

“Damn Counselor, h-how in the hell did you know that?” the Chief of Security asked in pure amazement.

“Just a feeling Chief. Right now, I need to see what kind of gift they left me.” Starting with the first book in the pile Robert began to read. After the fourth page Robert Harding knew what he had in his hands. “HOLY SHIT!”

Grabbing his phone, Robert started making phone calls. He knew the moment he started making those phone calls that there were going to be some very pissed off Judges, D.A.s, and cops. And they were going to be all over South Carolina.

Henley Estate 1530…

Grace and Malcom Henley were shocked when the four Akin Sheriff’s Deputies walked into their living room. They were even more shocked when they were told they were under arrest, as the Deputies placed them in handcuffs. The household staff just stood there in stunned disbelief. Never in the history of the Henley household had a family member been arrested, let alone in the house.

As Malcom was being escorted from the house he ordered his private secretary to call his lawyer, David Hawkins. Unlike Grayson and Patricia Gilroy, the Henleys didn’t resist arrest. Once the Deputies had Grace and Malcom secured in their cruisers, they returned for the last person on their arrest warrant. Sylva Van Horn tried to bluff her way out of the arrest, but the four Deputies just didn’t give a shit about her being a Senator. Well, actually, they did. They took every ounce and moment of pleasure they could as she was slowly read her rights. The deputy handcuffing her did so, one click at the time.

As the cruisers pulled away, the estate household staff gathered in the kitchen. The Henley’s Butler wasted no time in raiding the liquor cabinet. He returned with the finest bottle of single mallet Scotch and enough glasses for the whole staff. Once he had poured a finger's worth in each glass, he handed them out.

When everyone had a shot, he raised his glass. “Ladies and gentlemen; I give you, the downfall of the Henley’s.”

“TO the DOWNFALL!” the whole staff answered back and raised their glasses. Once they had drank their first round of Scotch, the butler refilled their glasses.

One of the maids smiled over at the butler and asked. “Well, Jacob, what now? You know that we are all effectively without a job now. If what those deputies were saying is even half true, the Henley family is now nothing more than a soon to be memory. One that will hopefully fade into the night, like the BAD dream we always wished we could wake up from.”

Jacob shook his head. “I don’t care Carin. All I care is that my kids, and yours, won’t ever have to deal with those people. My daughter won’t have to change the shitty dippers of the next generation of over-indulged ass-wipes, known as Henleys or Gilroys! Neither will your kids or any of our kids. They’ll be able to be whatever they want. They won’t have all those nasty blackmailing secrets hanging over their heads. No more having to do what the Henleys or Gilroys want. They’ll truly be FREE! Along with the rest of us. Finally.”

“He’s right Carin. I don’t know about you, but I’ll GLADLY stand before the judge and spill my guts in court.” One of the farmhands said just before he drained his glass. Reaching over he took the bottle of Scotch and refilled his glass. “My ma’ got me stuck having to take care of Malcom’s fucking ponies to help pay off the debt we supposedly owe. Just like your ma’ got you bent over as a damned maid. Fuck’s sake people, for the past three generations the Henley’s and Gilroy’s have been screwing over our families. I say it’s about time they faced the music.”

“If you’re so gun hu to see justice there Henry, why didn’t you do something?” Carin snapped. “Don’t sit there a preach to me. What’s going to happen when they get bailed out? Did you stop to thinking about that?”

No one said anything. They all knew that Carin was right. The chances of either the Gilroys or the Henleys getting bail were high.

“Fuck it. We’ll deal with it, when the time comes.” Then Jacob grinned. “IF, it comes. Which I highly doubt it will. Not with that grocery list of charges they're ALL facing. As for the brats, they won’t be getting bail. I overheard one of those deputies say that the whole lot are facing kidnaping charges. Of Diplomatic Dependents, no less. The only thing those brats can do is beg for mercy in a courtroom. Which they won’t get, not with the State Department breathing down the necks of every DA from here to Washington DC.”

“Damn. I never thought I or my children could ever be free of the Henleys or Gilroys.” For the first-time; Carin believed that they would be out from under the debt owed to the two families.

What no one knew about the household staff, of both estates, was that most were there trying to keep long held secrets from being spread. Secrets that would destroy lives if they ever got out. That or they were working off a family debt that thanks to the interest was now well into the multi-millions.

Offices of SCT, 1630…

Kasey and Kristine looked around their grandmother’s office in wonder. They had expected to return to school when they left the Gilroy estate. Not be brought here. They had always known that their grandmother had exquisite style and taste, but they had never thought it would be anything like this. Everywhere they looked, they found that style and taste in the decor.

All around the room the walls were tongue and grove finished red cedar paneling with carved doves every three feet. The carpeting was a somber gray short pile with white highlights. Maria’s desk was a work of art, a thing of beauty and grace, carved of the finest black mahogany. There were three straight-back brushed black leather bound chairs on this side of the desk.

“Sit down girls and relax, the rest of the team should be joining us soon enough.” Maria said from in front of the desk and smiled at the girls. “By the way, you both did an excellent job today.”

“Thank you, ma’am.” Both said at the same time.

Maria held out her arms and waited. “Before you sit down, give your Nonnina a hug girls.” As both teens wrapped her in their arms, Maria kissed them both on the forehead. “Oh, how I missed you two.”

“We’ve missed you to Nonnina.” Kasey answered for them both.

“Miss Anna, do we have any tea?” Kristine asked.

The old maid just chuckled at the teen's request. “I’ll be back in ten minutes. You girls spent time with your Nonnina.”

Kasey and Kristine smiled at their grandmother and took their seats. “So tell me, how have you girls like your time at AEGS?”

“It’s not too bad Nonnina. Some of our teachers need to go back to school, but overall the teachers are top-shelf. Better than most of the deadwood I had to deal with when I went to school in Ohio.” Kasey answered.

“I have to agree with Kasey Nonnina. The only teachers that I have to compare the AEGS teachers to, are the ones I had back in Columbus. They were about as useful as a screen door on a submarine.” Kristine joked.

Maria frowned at hearing this. She and Scarlett had set a standard that all the teachers at the two were to be much higher. “I see.”

Both Kasey and Kristine saw the look of displeasure cross Maria’s face. Kasey was the first to react. “Oh, no Nonnina. It’s not like that. It’s… well… it’s just.”

When Kasey came up short on words, Kristin jumped in. “WE’RE just used to the teachers we have back on the island, Nonnina. I guess we might be getting spoiled a little.”

It took Maria a second to realize what her granddaughters were talking about. They had the benefit of being schooled by some of the finest minds in the covert world. Their regular teachers speak multiple languages, were masters of their chosen fields, had Masters' Degrees in Math, Science, Liberal Arts, the Law and all its facets. Then there were the less than conventional fields of study. Throw in the fact that their studies were so intensive because there was only the three, it was no wonder her granddaughters found the teachers at AEGS lacking.

“I do see your point girls. I had not thought of that. I forgot that you two are used to a much HIGHER level of education and then there is you’re LESS than normal training as well.” Maria smiled at her granddaughters. “Have I told you two, how very proud I am of you girls, lately?”

Anna returned with a fresh pot of tea and tea service. She had just handed Maria her cup when the rest of the Black Badge Deputies came in. Both Kasey and Kristine rushed to give their parents and Hunter hugs. After a welcoming round of hugs and kisses, the whole team sat down. With Kasey and Kristine taking the corners of Maria’s desk as their seats.

“Okay people, time for the down and dirty. We need to bring Command and the Major up to speed. Gemini, if one of you would please contact them for us?” Maria said from behind them.

Kristine waved for Kasey to do the honors. Kasey quickly set up Maria’s laptop and opened the secured connection. When Kimberly looked out at them from the screen, the young woman was smiling. “Welcome back Deputies. How did the rescue operation go? Any videos that we need to take care of?”

“Negative this time, Command. I ordered all dash and body cam evidence erased. All reports are to state; that undercover U.S. Deputy Marshals acted in response to an emergency kidnapping of two Diplomatic Dependents. I also ordered that all names were to be redacted. At least for the ones that concern our people.” Maria explained before continuing. “Has the Major been notified yet?”

“He should be coming online shortly Madam.” Kimberly answered. Then as if summoned by her words Dannigan opened a window.

“Good evening Deputies, Marshal.” Dannigan smirked at the sour look Maria gave him. “Sorry my dear, but you needed some form of official position. At your age; the only position you could hold, would be that of a Marshal.”

“WHY YOU OLD GOAT! My AGE indeed! You wait until I get my hands on! I’ll show you my age!” Everyone could tell that Maria was only playing with the head of the OICA. “However, we do have business. Are you free at this time?”

Paul nodded. "Update."

“AS of Zero nine fifteen this morning; arrest warrants have issued and served on Patricia and Grayson Gilroy, Grace and Malcom Henley, along with one for Senator Sylvia Van Horn, of South Carolina. At present; all five suspects are in custody along with the children of both families.” Kimberly led off. “As of two hours ago; the entire Henley and Gilroy criminal faction is being dismantled. Thanks to the work of Gemini, Dolphin was able to confirm the identity of the leak at AEGS. That Intel has also been forwarded to the U.S.D.A.’s office. Alexis Henley will be facing an additional charge of Criminal Endangerment.”

“Deputies Justice and DeMarco, can you give us an idea of how this is going to affect the bullies in your school?” When Kasey and Kristine didn’t answer, Paul sighed. “I think we have a problem here people. We have one too many Deputies with the last name of Justice and DeMarco on this team. Gemini One and Two, that last question was directed towards you girls.”

When the Black Badge Deputies heard Paul’s comment of there being too many with the same last name they started laughing. The teens though blushed. They had not thought of themselves as FULL deputies. Samantha and Annette just hugged the girls and kissed them on their foreheads.

“You kids have done a good job so far, now how do you think the arrests of the Henley and Gilroy children will affect the bully situation?” Paul asked them.

“That depends sir. In truth, it’ll be a toss-up. The deciding factor will be whoever is able to move into position first.” Kasey answered.

“It’ll also take someone who can force the rest of the Lipizzan Girls to toe the line. As it stands right now, that is one of two people.” Kristine said.

“Who are your suspects, Deputy Justice?” Paul asked.

“Once again, please understand sir, this is only observation talking.” Paul, nodded that he understood. “Bethany Cartwright and Cathy Beachman. They are the two that stand the strongest chances at gaining control over the Varsity Dressage team. Both of those girls have the right amount of clout, both money and power wise. Other than that, I have nothing else.”

“You forgot about their four little buddies sis. The ones they use for muscle.” Kasey pointed out. “There are four members of the Varsity team that are mostly nothing, but muscle. No real training, but plenty of attitude. We took them out of play, for a while, but the minute they are back.”

Samantha interrupted her. “They’ll be back with a score to settle. In short, we may have taken out the ringleaders for both the schools and the corruption in this area, we still have the bully problem.”

“Does that about sum things up Gemini?” Maria asked the girls. both teens just nodded. “Command, how are main Hostiles holding up in jail?”

“From the reports that I have be able to been able to skim so far the answer is, not so good. It seems that none of their lawyers have kept up their accreditation from the Bar for Criminal Law.” There was a hint of amusement in Krystel’s voice.

“I see. How long before they can arrange for either bail or bond?” Paul asked. “By the way, how did the United States Federal Prosecuting District Attorney get their hands on all that evidence? I thought that I ordered your team to take them down hard and end this problem for good Marshal?”

“OH, you did, Major. You just didn’t give exact instructions on how we were to do that. Your exact orders were and I quote ‘Shut this shit down Maria, FAST. I don't care how you do it, just get it DONE’ end quote. That is exactly what we did. As for how the U.S.D.A. got ahold of that lovely evidence, the answer is simple. Myself and Anna delivered it last night.” Maria cracked a smile at the looks of disbelief on her team’s faces.

“What?! Do you think that two old women cannot break into an office building? Marron! Why with all this technology at our disposal, it was mere child's play. With the kind of, oh what is the word?” Anna said with a crocked smile.

“Support, the word you’re looking for is support, Anna.” Maria answered.

“Si, thank you my Donna. With the kind of support supplied by the Command team, even two old women like us can get in and out of that monstrosity called Fort Knox. All without anyone seeing us.” Anna told them.

“I hate to say this, but Miss Anna is right. Their mission time last night, was far better than anyone would expect. In fact, the only people I know that could have been in and out faster are us.” Krystel said from her station.

“Just how long did it take them Lieutenant Commander?” Paul asked. Everyone could see that even he was curious for the answer.

“Total time from starting in the parking lot to complete exfil was just over twenty-seven minutes. That is from the time they left Marshal DeMarco’s car. As for the actual run time, it's just over twenty-one minutes.” More than a few whistled when they heard the time. “Personally, I would have loved to see what they could have done in their younger years.”

“Why do you say that Krystel?” Paul asked of her.

“Anna made a very blunt comment, something about them getting too old.” Krystel’s very blunt reply left no doubt as her feelings on that matter. “From what I saw last night, they are not even close to being too old.”

“How much did you win off the boys Krystel?” Maria asked with some mirth.

“Enough that I won’t be paying for my next shopping spree.” Krystel had to keep from laughing as Pete, Carl and Eddie grumbled in the background.

“Okay, let’s stay on point people. Now, Gemini, you were saying something about the bully factions possibly being able to regroup.” Dannigan asked. “Have you thought of a way to keep this from happening?”

“The only way to ensure that sir, is to expel those individuals from the schools. Which at this time, is going to be hard to do. The only other way is for us to stay under for the next few months, at least until the Holidays. The same can be said for SRMA and those over there. With the Henley and Gilroy faction out of the way, there will be a power struggle. I believe that Stalking horse and Rumrunner continue with their training of their new platoon, the Alpha assholes will be hard put to reorganize.” Kasey explained what she had seen and figured out.

“Hold on. Why is it going to be hard to expel those kids, Gemini Two?” Lyssa asked. “There is more than enough evidence of their participation in your kidnapping?”

Kristine answered for her sister this time. “It is all about getting one of the Henley or Gilroy kids flipping. Without one of those kids coming out and pointing fingers and naming names, the rest will walk. Knowing the key players in both groups, this won’t happen unless they get a deal.”

“That won’t be happening. Per the orders that came down from the Federal D.A.’s Office; there are to be no deals for anyone involved in the kidnapping attempts on Gemini. It seems we made a miscalculation in the EFFECT that Gemini’s cover would have on the local and State PD.” Kimberly said from her place in the Command Center. “Major, we will need Ghost Moth on-site if we’re going to get a handle on this. As it stands right now, the U.S.D.A. is coming to pound the hell out of them.”

“Shit. That's just prefect. That's on me, it was my idea they go in as Diplomatic dependents. I'm open to suggestions.” Dannigan stated.

“Just a few. Ones that will insure more than a few of the Henley and Gilroy children’s accomplices to flip on them.” Maria got a very faraway look in her eyes. “In the old country, the only way the authorities were able to break the old guard families was to set taps in the jail cell. Here all we need do is get those children in with regular juvenile offenders.”

“Maria, you’re talking about putting those pampered little shits in gen-pop. They won’t last a day, especially the Henleys or Gilroys.” Bobby said from where he stood behind Samantha.

“The regular street kids will kill those kids.” Hunter pointed out. "They're known to the gangs and no doubt, the gangs want a piece of them."

“In more ways than one. We have no idea of how many of those kids the Henleys or Gilroys had put there. Worse, a lot of those kids in juvie will be in there for hard-core street crime and gang-banging.” Samantha said putting in her two cents.

“And THAT is why it will only be the accomplices that we’ll get placed in gen-pop. Kimberly, Krystel. Would you be kind enough to arrange this?” Maria asked with a tone that was sweeter than honey.

“OH SHIT! You’re going to get the accomplices to flip on the Henleys and the Gilroys by just showing them what they get to look forward to in prison. That's low, dirty, devious, almost sadistic. I like it Maria. Go with it.” Lyssa called out just before the whole Control Center broke out laughing.

"Thank you Lyssa. I do have one question, though." Maria smiled.

Lyssa nodded. "Shoot."

Maria looked intently at the screen. "Just how would you have dropped off the package last night?"

"SI! I am curious as well." Anna added.

Lyssa shrugged. "Go in on the roof or over the side of the building to a window."

"WHAT?" Maria and Anna both spouted.

Lyssa explained. "Conventional security starts at the bottom and works up and outward. The higher up you go, the more it pulls inward. Begin with 'impossible', make your way down to 'could be feasible' and start working from there. What your enemy knows he can't do, he believes you won't try."

Kasey and Kristine both chorused. "Train to insane and crazy becomes do-able in combat."

"Oh, Ye of the Faith; Hoo-Aah." Lyssa smirked.

Maria shook her head. "Gesu Misericordioso, il percorso sono su. Next, they'll be wanting to jump from the aeroplanes!"

Everyone laughed while Kasey and Kristine giggled, nodding their heads.

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



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