Educational Justice -chp19


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 19

SCT, Monday, :1245…

Paul Dannigan knew that a shit-storm was on the horizon the moment he walked into Maria’s office. There on her desk, were fourteen solid gold coins. One for every life that was to be taken. Lyssa’s warning that Maria was close to going off the reservation had been accurate. Maria the Dove DeMarco, Donna for the DeMarco Crime Family. Boss of Bosses for not one, but two Organizations, was very close to returning. As much as Paul wanted to just let Maria wage war her way, there was the problem of the law.

Maria had been so lost in her thoughts and prayers for her long-time friend she hadn’t heard him enter her office. She just stood, there staring out her office window. He could tell she had been crying, worried about Anna.

“Maria.” Paul called out to her back. Maria slowly turned to face the man she loved. When Paul got a good look at her face, he knew things were bad. The gold coins were only the sign of Maria’s anger. Walking over to her, Paul wrapped her in a hug. He then held his hand over the coins. “This is not the answer, my Dove.”

“I want their hearts in my hands, Paul. I want vengeance for what those creatures wanted to do to OUR granddaughters. They will NOT see the inside of a courtroom. I will send them all to their graves. They have no honor. They sent an untried boy to murder OUR granddaughters. I have destroyed WHOLE Syndicates for less.” The heat in Maria’s voice let Paul know just how far the Gilroys and Henleys had pushed her.

“How do you plan to do this Maria? After all, they are all behind bars. Are you just going to waltz in there and kill them? Pay off a guard or two to place them in gen-pop? Or are you going to let them get out and turn lose fourteen hired guns? We don’t do things like this Ria. We just don’t kill whole families. We don’t wage war for personal reasons.”

“OH? REALLY PAUL?!” Maria snapped. “Do not stand there and tell me that YOU haven’t gone after someone for personal reasons. I have heard and seen enough of your LITTLE band of merry cutthroats to know better!” Maria waved her hand over the gold coins. “This is not revenge, but justice in its purest form!”

“NOT this way Ria. You’re better than this.” Paul pulled Maria once more into a hug. “The Gilroys and the Henleys will never see the light of day. Roberta Ironsides and Shawna will make sure of this. Trust me on this.” Paul was almost certain he was getting through to Maria.

“They have one chance, Paulo.” Maria had pulled back and looked up her love. “Then; not even Lyssa, in all of her terrifying glory, will stop me. Blood will answer for blood in this matter.”

“Thank you, Ria. I know that you want to finish this matter in a bloodbath, but we have all the responsible parties in custody. Have faith in Shawna and Robbie. That is all I am asking.” Paul hugged her again, then picked up the fourteen coins. “If they fail, I’ll personally deliver these coins. But I know that I won't have to. I promise that not only will you be satisfied; you'll be PLEASED when all is said and done.”

“Thank you, Paulo, but this is my duty to fulfill.” Maria started to cry once more. “I should never have let Anna take the girls back to school. She should never have been put in this situation. She is just too old for this type of work. I should have put my foot down, but in my pride, I never thought that the Nightingale would ever be bested by someone so young.”

“You’re not the only one, Ria. I too thought that Anna was still the unstoppable iron-willed woman of so long ago.” As Paul consoled Maria he thought of his granddaughters. “How are the girls handling this?”

“I have been getting updates from Annette and Samantha every few hours. They headed over immediately after Anna came out of surgery. It seems that our granddaughters have been ripping through every database and network node that has ANYTHING on the Henleys and Gilroys.” Maria sniffed and chuckled. “It seems that our youngest Deputies are raining digital hellfire and brimstone on the two families. I don’t know the exact details, but it seems they have taken over the complete network at their school and are using all that computing power to wage war in the cyber world.”

“Damn! I know they are good, but if what you’re telling is even half-way true it is a good thing we’re looking over their shoulders.” Paul chuckled. “Any word on how Anna is doing?”

“The last report I got, she is stable and expected to wake up sometime today. I have one of my secretaries over there now with orders to call if there is any change in her condition. The doctors say that she’ll have limited use of her left arm and limited motion of her left shoulder, at best. That boy may have been an amateur, but his knife skills were still formidable. He was able to strike true with his one chance.” Maria sighed. “If he had been just a few inches to the right, he would have had a killing blow.”

“He wasn’t as unskilled as we thought, Ria.” Maria looked up into Paul’s face. “Krystel was able to find out a little more about Robert Freeman. I need you to come with me. We’re going to have a few words with a certain recruiter.”

Maria grabbed her purse, and her jacket. Following Paul out of her office he led her over to his rental car. Maria slid in on the passenger side as Paul held the door for her. As Paul was walking around the car, Maria buckled her seatbelt and double checked her sidearm. As she was putting it away Paul just grinned.

“If we have to use that my dear, then we’re in deep shit.” Paul smirked

“I have said it before and I’ll say it again. I may trust the man……” Maria never got to finish the movie quote.

“But never the Devil inside him. Yes, Ria, I know. This time however, it is the black wallet in your purse that will be needed. The one with the badge.” Paul growled out. He knew who had been training Freeman in the use of a knife.

Maria arched an eyebrow. “Oh, then we are going to arrest the individual behind the young man’s training?”

“You could say that, but this time I’m the one who is going to be the arresting authority.” Paul pulled out a set of Army CID Credentials. “This time we take down ALL those involved, not just the head of the snake.”

A half hour later Paul pulled into the parking lot of the Armed Forces Recruitment Center. As he and Maria left the car, Paul placed his CID Creds in his belt with the badge showing. Maria seeing this, aped his show of bravado. She was still ticked over Paul making her a Marshal because of her age. “When we have time Paulo, you and I are going to have ourselves a VERY LONG talk about this badge.”

Dannigan chuckled. “Yes dear, I know. For now though, I need you to crank up the bitch meter to ten. The Sergeant we need to arrest has to want ME to take him in. He can still demand to be turned over to civilian authorities. That is, you.”

“Do not worry on that mi amore. The man will be begging for me to hand him over to CID after I get done.” Maria growled out. For the first-time Paul was having second thoughts about Maria being with him. “If this man is the one to train that BOY, I will have answers or his ass.”

As the two senior members of the OICA entered the Recruitment Center they drew the attention of everyone there. Paul scanned the office area and found what he was looking for. With full strides Paul marched up to the Lieutenant Colonel in charge of the station. “Special Agent Daniels, Colonel; CID. Where is Staff Sergeant Buckley?”

The Lieutenant Colonel pointed to a young, mid-twenties, Staff Sergeant close to the front door. “Care to explain why you’re here, S.A. Daniels?”

Maria seeing where the Colonel pointed walked over to the Sergeant’s desk. Pulling out the handcuffs Bobby had given her the other day, Maria ordered. “Get up Buckley. You’re under arrest for Endangerment of a Minor.”

“What the hell are you talking about Deputy?” The Colonel asked in shock. When Maria didn’t answer him, the Colonel turned to Paul. “Start talking Special Agent. What is the Deputy talking about?”

“Firstly Colonel, you're forgetting that I'm CID. I do the ordering, not you. And before you even think rank has bearing, I'm a full Colonel. Two: she is a Marshal, not a Deputy. Big difference. As for what she is arresting Staff Sergeant Buckley for, that's simple. We have evidence that he was illegally training a SRMA Cadet. Training that cadet then used, in an attempted contracted homicide. In short sir, he is now facing multiple counts of Endangerment of a Minor, illegal and unethical practices as a Recruiter, and whatever else the Marshal feels like throwing at his ass. I’m just here to ensure she doesn’t violate the UCMJ when she puts the cuffs on your dumbass.”

As Paul explained to the Lieutenant Colonel why Maria was handcuffing the Sergeant, she was reading the man his rights. When she got to the part about a lawyer, Maria got a little creative. “IF you cannot afford an attorney; one will be appointed to you. I’ll make sure that one you get; is the dumbest, most incompetent, piece-of-shit that ever scraped past the Bar.”

“What the hell? Colonel, you can’t let a civilian do this. Shit, turn me over to the CID before doing that.” Then as if a light went off in his head Staff Sergeant Buckley called out to Paul. “I’m invoking my right, to Court Martial.”

Paul smiled and walked over to Maria. “Sorry Marshal, but I am afraid that I need to take this man into custody.”

Maria sighed and looked over at Paul. “Special Agent, this piece of shit broke the law on civilian turf. He endangered civilian minors. He will do time in OUR prisons. Unless extradited.”

“What the hell are you talking about, Marshal?” Buckley asked in a panic. “What minor are you talking about?”

“Richard Freeman, you dumb son-of-bitch! That is who I’m talking about. What? Did you forget about your latest victim already?” Maria pulled her arm back to smack the man, but was stopped by Paul.

“I can’t have you hitting my prisoner Marshal, no matter that he almost indirectly caused an international incident. Sorry.” Paul told her with a sly wink. Turning and looking over at the Colonel. “Colonel, I want your break room.”

“Be my guest Special Agent, but I will be in there with you. You’re not going to come in here and make these types of accusations without proof.” Colonel Roanoke stated.

“I have no problem with this, what about you Marshal?” Maria just smiled and shook her head no. “Then let’s get going.”

Paul got right down to business once the door to the breakroom was closed and locked. “Alright Sergeant Buckley, let me be clear. You have one chance, one chance only, to tell us what you know about Robert Freeman. And I do mean EVERYTHING.”

“He’s like every other kid that comes in here, Sir. He’s gung-ho, High-speed, low-drag. Really wants to serve. Smarter than the norm. Has one of the highest ASVAB GT scores I have ever seen or heard of. His score alone would have gotten him into whatever field he wanted. That was the funny thing.” Buckley stopped.

“How so Sergeant?” Paul prompted.

“Freeman really wanted Combat Arms, specifically Cav Scout, sir. Then, there were the options he wanted. Jump school, Air Assault, Sniper, R.E.P, Special Forces, just to name a few of them sir. I kept telling him that most of the things he wanted, you can't get on sign-up. He refused to accept it. I know this sounds crazy Sir, but it was like he was wanting something that we don’t offer under a standard enlistment.” Sergeant Buckley put a strong emphasis on the last two words.

Paul hung his head sighed, then looked over at Maria before answering the Sergeant. “I take it that he was another Ghost hunter?”

“In a nutshell, Sir, that is exactly what the boy is. I asked him once, where he heard about these types of units. I didn’t like the answer, but had to understand how he could come to believe in them. It was his own family members who gave him the stories.” Paul and Maria could tell that Buckley was telling the truth.

“Excuse me, Sergeant, but why didn’t you try to dissuade the boy from such tall tales?” Maria knew what unit young Richard was looking for now.

“Ma’am, I did. I even showed him Lists. That's the master MOS list in the Army. What he wanted just simply isn't on it. It doesn't exist. The boy just wouldn’t give up on his dream of joining one of these Ghost units. We get kids like that in here once in a while. Me and the other Recruiters blame it on those stupid damned video games. You know the ones I’m talking about. Once they reach Basic and AIT, those fantasies are usually shown for what they are, fantasies.” Buckley insisted. "The Army doesn't have anything higher than Delta."

“Care to explain why you were giving the young man training in hand-to-hand and other than the normal Recruitment help?” Paul asked the man.

“Sir, I wanted the boy to succeed. I give ALL my inductees, the same amount of help as I gave Freeman. I hold classes over at my house on the weekends. I teach them as much as I can before they ship-out for Basic and AIT. If I can give them a leg up on their training, all the better.” Buckley sighed and looked at Maria and Paul. “Look, I’ll do whatever it takes to give my inductees a better chance at success in the Army. Fuck, just talk with some of them.”

Maria could tell that Buckley wasn’t the criminal here. All the man had done was try to help a mentally troubled teen. He had been duped. “Give me your hands, Sergeant.” Maria stood up and unlocked the handcuffs. “You’re free to go as far the Civilian Authorities go. What the Military does is another matter.”

“Now, that we know the Sergeant was not complicit we won’t be pursuing charges either. Conditionally, of course.” Paul went to stand up and stopped. “Tell me something Sergeant. Did Freeman ever show any signs of imbalance?”

Buckley shook his head. “Negative, sir. That boy was as solid as they come. Wait; conditionally?”

Paul leaned in. "You will CEASE any further advanced skill set training in relation to Special Operations. Do I need crayons to make it any clearer?"

"No Sir. I understand and will comply." Buckley said, he now sounded very disappointed.

“Thank you for your time gentlemen.” Paul and Maria started for the door. When Buckley stopped them.

“Can you tell me what this was all about Marshal, Agent?” Buckley asked.

Maria nodded. "The little psychopath took a contract to murder. He's lucky he's dead. The State department would happily hand his ass over for extradition."

“Freeman tried to kill two students at AEGS, Sergeant. If the school’s security guards hadn’t been there the boy would have succeeded. As it is, there is one security guard in the hospital, and one is in the morgue.” Paul answered truthfully. He didn’t see any need to lie in front the Colonel or Buckley.

The Lieutenant Colonel groaned. "Jesus-fucking-Christ. S.A. Daniels, Marshal, I assure you; there will NEVER be a problem out of this office again."

Paul and Maria just walked out as the two Recruiters stood there in shock. Once outside Maria looked over at Paul. “Thank you for that, Paul.”

“You’re welcome, mi amore. I knew that you were not thinking clearly. I too want the head of the little shit behind sending Freeman after our girls. They’re all behind bars for now, and Roberta is making sure they stay there. They will not get off, Ria. I know you feel responsible for what happened to Anna. But you’re not, they are, and they will pay. Let’s go visit our granddaughters.” Putting the car in gear Paul pulled out and headed for AEGS.

“Let me call, and let them know we’re coming. Are you going in as Colonel Rolando Carmen or someone else?” Maria gave Paul a smirk.

“Why my dear you should know better than to ask that. I’ll never endanger an Operative’s cover, especially if they are my granddaughters.” Paul chuckled.

Thirty-five minutes later the two were walking through the doors of the main building at AEGS. As Maria and Paul entered the building they were stopped by two security guards. Maria smiled and handed over her driver’s licenses. “I’ll vouch for the gentleman, officers.”

“Sorry Mrs. DeMarco, but our orders are clear. No picture ID, no admittance; no exceptions. Those orders came down from Mrs. Scarlet and the Colonel.” One of the guards told them.

“It is alright, Maria. I had expected and approve the heightened security presence.” Paul pull out and handed over a set of Diplomatic Credentials. The two guards looked over Paul’s ID and handed them back and saluted.

"Gracias Colonel." One said.

“Thank you, sir. Please, be sure to sign in with the main office.” The second guard told them both. “New procedures have been implemented.”

“Certainly, officer. Shall we Maria?” Paul waved for Maria to lead the way. Once they were clear of the guards Paul flashed Maria the creds he used. Maria, had to fight form laughing. He really was coming to see his granddaughters. “I told you, I would never blow the cover for an Operative, especially my granddaughters.”

Paul’s accent was prefect. Dark, handsome, Mediterranean looks, fit in perfectly as an elderly Spanish gentleman. Then again, Paul’s deceivingly European appearance was so nondescript that he would fit in with just about every European country there is. Maria knew that Paul Dannigan could and had played the part of just about every type of European male. Paul was a true Master of Spy Craft.

Paul spotted four young girls heading toward the main office. Turning to Maria, Paul smiled and in prefect Castilian Spanish. “So, tell me have my granddaughters been behaving themselves otherwise?”

Seeing where Paul was going Maria just sighed, but stayed with Spanish. “The attack on Anna has hit them hard. According to Samantha and Annette, they were almost non-responsive last night. Then this morning, they throw them out and began to wage unholy digital war on the Gilroys and Henleys. I have Krystel watching over them in the digital world, but they are refusing to see or speak to anyone.”

“I’ll get through to them, don’t worry mi amore. I’ve seen this before.” Paul knew what was happening with his granddaughters and had seen the same effects in seasoned veterans. “Come, let’s get me signed in, so I can talk to them.”

Once inside the Headmistress’ office both were brought up short. Instead of the normal chaos of a school’s main office, they were greeted by solemn order. Instead of a student being behind the desk helping, they found only Scarlet’s secretary, Julie. “Julie, is Scarlet in?”

Julie shook her head sadly. “No, Madam Maria. She is over at the dorms trying to get the Carmen girls to come out and eat something.”

“I see. Well, I have someone that might be able to help with that. This gentleman with me, is their grandfather.” Maria introduced Paul to Julie.

Julie’s face lit up in with her usual sunny smile. “May I see your ID please, sir?” Paul handed over the Diplomatic Credentials once more. After Julie examined the picture and seals she handed the wallet back to Paul. Spinning around a ledger, Julie pointed to the last line. “Please sign in here Colonel Carmen. I’ll get one of the teachers or guards to show to your granddaughters.”

“No need Julie. I know the way to the dorms. I am sure that Rolando and I can find his granddaughters’ room.” Maria smiled at the young woman.

“Um… I don’t know how to say this Madam Maria, but You may be able cleared to wonder the grounds unescorted, the Colonel is not.” Julie just blushed.

Before Maria could object, Paul placed his hand on her arm. “It’s quite alright, Madam Maria. I would except nothing less for this fine educational institute. With all that has happened, I would be surprised if they WEREN'T requiring escorts. I APPROVE.”

Maria sighed and smiled at Paul. “You’re right Rolando. They’re only taking sensible precautions. Julie, we’ll wait in the hallway.”

“Yes ma’am.” Julie was already placing the call for an escort.

Maria and Paul did not have long to wait before a security guard showed to escort them. Five minutes later, they were entering the third floor of the dorms. Paul and Maria could already tell where their granddaughters where. Scarlet Boatwright, and two security guards were standing outside of a door. Maria played her part, sighed and looked over at Paul.

“Rolando, I HOPE that you can talk some sense into your granddaughters?” Scarlet heard Maria’s voice and turned to her. “Scarlet allow me to introduce Colonel Rolando Emanuel Carmen, NATO Military Attaché to the Spanish Embassy. Colonel Carmen, Mrs. Scarlet Boatwright, Headmistress for Akin Equestrian Girls School.”

“Saludos señora Boatwright, I must say that you have lovely school.” Paul bent over Scarlet’s hand kissing her knuckles. “I wish that we were not meeting under such terrible circumstances. May I know how my granddaughters are?”

“The pleasure is mine, Colonel Carmen. I too wish we were meeting under better circumstances. I will not lie, sir. I am extremely worried about your granddaughters. Ever since they returned from the hospital where their Governess is being taken care of, they have locked themselves in their room. They have retreated from the world. They have barely come out to eat their meals. Now I have no problem with excusing them from classes, but they need to be among their friends or with family. I have been trying to get them to come out of their room more, but as you can see, I’m not having much luck.”

“Let us try Scarlet. Between myself and Rolando, we should be able to get the girls to come out.” Maria, knew why the girls had basically locked themselves in their room. Maria stepped up to the door and knocked. Calling out in Castilian Spanish. “Girls, your grandpa is here.”

The door opened as if it was on a hydraulic piston. Both Kasey and Kristine pulled Paul into their room with Maria walking in at a stately pace. Maria closed the door and let her granddaughters enjoy their time with Paul. Maria, looked around the room and was almost surprised at the number of laptops. Taking a quick count Maria stopped at eight. All were of different brands, apart from two. The ones issued to them by Krystel.

It took Maria a few seconds to realize what the girls had done. With a smile, she tapped Paul on the shoulder and pointed at the eight laptops. The sly smile came to Paul’s lips.

“I see that you have been playing my little Goddesses.” Paul stayed with Spanish.

Both girls nodded. "Si, we have been playing Grandpa." Kasey answered.

“Have you found what you were looking for yet? Or do we need to call your old swimming partner?” Paul asked them quietly.

“No sir. We have things well in hand for now.” Paul gave Kristine a doubtful look, so she added. “We, been taking breaks, sir. Justina has been making sure I don’t go too far under, and not get excited or frustrated. We both know the signs to look for now, thanks to our swimming partner.”

“Good, I don’t want you getting in too deep. Not out here, not during an Operation. Now what have you been able to find?” Paul figured that he needed to get the teens on track.

“Oh, we know WHO paid the rat-fucker. We just haven’t been able to find the pathway for the payment. It just leaves one account and an hour later appears in the other.” Kasey told their grandfather. While blushing at the disapproving look from her grandmother. “It just doesn’t make any sense. It was as if they made a direct deposit from one account to the other. It was like they’re not even trying to cover their tracks. Our problem is the money is moving from one offshore account to another offshore account.”

Paul was looking at what Kristine and Kasey had found. To him it looked like just another payment between one offshore bank to another. It was Maria who spotted the meaning behind the transfers. “Good lord girls! How in the name of all that is holy did you get into those banks’ data bases?”

Paul switched over to Italian. “What is it about this bank that has you so concerned?”

Maria kept her voice low just above a whisper. “THIS is one of my old banks, Paulo. These banks are ALL known to me. If Richard Freeman already had an account, then he was no amateur. That or his family set the account up for him. Girls, can you get back into that bank’s database?”

Kasey and Kristine sat down behind their laptops and went to work. Within moments they were once more inside the bank’s database. “We’re in Nonnina. What or who should we be looking for?” Like her grandparents, Kasey had switched to Italian.

“The account that the money went into, are there any others that have the same four starting account numbers?” Maria questioned.

“Yes ma’am. In fact, there are seven that have the same twenty-four starting numbers.” Kristine was already filtering down the accounts.

“Next look at the next four now. How of those do they have?”

“Just seven.” Kristine told her.

“Of the last eight how many have the third batch as the same?”

“Three.” Kasey finished answering.

“Show me.” Paul knew that Maria was on to something and was letting her run things. When Maria saw that the account numbers were all batched together she had her answer. “These all belong to a primary family account. Angeles, enter the first twelve numbers followed by four zeros, please?”

Paul looked over at Maria. “Please tell me that you don’t have accounts like this?”

“I will not lie to you Paulo. I have eight such accounts around the world. I am also currently the executor for another seven belonging to the Capizeo family. Trust me, those three accounts belong to the same family account. These banks all have long histories in hiding Organization, Mafia, funds. I, myself, have used these banks in the past in making and receiving payments. The answer to who paid Freemen is in those accounts. Angeles compare the account that the payment was sent from to the one that received it.” Maria ordered as a smile crossed her face. “There children; that is what we are looking for.”

“Ria, do you know who those accounts belong to?” Paul asked her.

“Yes, Paul, I do. I need one of those coins.” Maria, held out her hand.

“I thought we were past that point Maria?” Paul pointed out.

“Oh we are, I just need one of those coins. The secret to decoding those account numbers is on the face of the coins.” Maria explained. Paul reached into his pocket and handed them over to Maria. With nibble fingers, Maria shifted through the coins until she found the one she was looking for. “Angeles enter the numbers on the tails' side of this coin.”

After Kristine did as her grandmother instructed, a whole new screen appeared on her laptop screen. Now, they had the names that went with the account numbers. Paul, Kasey and Kristine looked over at Maria. It was Paul who asked the question that was on all their minds.

“How in the hell did you get all those names, Ria?” Paul was floored. “The US DOJ, FBI, Treasury, Homeland and a whole slew of others have been trying to crack the codes to these banks for decades.”

Holding up the coin she read the code off, Maria explained. “These coins have a code on the back that lets a Hitter know WHO is hiring them. Each coin’s code matches a certain bank. Before a payment is made the bank sends an email telling you which coin to use. This way a Hitter knows if they are walking into an ambush or has conflicting contracts.”

“Nonnina, do you have coins for ALL these types of banks?” Kristine asked.

“No my dear, I don’t. Now, when Anna gets out of the hospital, you can ask HER how many coins she has. I am fairly certain that Anna has one coin for EVERY country in the world right now.” The was a note of envy in Maria’s voice, with more than a little sarcasm. “I believe that her personal collection is upwards around fifty bank coins and one hundred and thirty-six family coins.”

“Ria, you never cease to amaze me. Now, can we return to figuring out who was behind the payment to that little shit?” Paul ground out.

“Of course, dear. However, it seems that our girls have already found our contract holder, and WHY they were using Richard Freemen.” Maria brushed the hair out of Kasey’s face as she looked up at Maria in surprise. “How did you find that name dear? Be honest, please.”

“Well, when Angeles unlocked the list of names and matched up the accounts I recognized one of the names. Please don’t be mad with me Nonnina, but they were one of my Johns back in the day. Before mama Annette got me off the street. I remembered the guy had a real twisted thing for being tied up, gagged, tickled with a pink feather and called Sissy bitch cum slut.” At Maria and Paul’s look of displeasure, Kasey blushed. “Yeah, don’t blame me. He paid, I played. It was how I stayed alive back then.”

“We understand dear, but that is in your PAST. Now who is the person that has earned this coin?” Maria took the coin in her hand and flipped. “Who shall be the meat for Cerberus’ dinner?”

“The payment went through Sylvia Van Horn’s first husband’s account. David Freemen is the family account holder, he died six years ago. That was just before Richard was enrolled at SRMA. Sylvia Van Horn is the Henley’s aunt. She paid Richard Freemen to act as the insurance policy for her nieces and nephews.” Kasey looked up at Paul and Maria.

“It seems that Sylvia is trying to bring things back in house. I would wager that she even has her own accounts in more than a few of those banks.” Paul looked over at Maria and nodded his head. “Okay Maria, time to deliver a gold coin. Girls, see if you can find the Van Horn money and strip it. I don’t care what you do with the money. No, I take that back. Make sure the money goes to paying back the victims of these people.”

“We’ll need more power than what we have here. As it is, we’ll need to hide these laptops when we go to dinner. We bring in any more gear, the guards are going to become suspicious. We had a hard-enough time sneaking all this in. The only place we can step-up for that kind of operation is in the T.O.C. for Onyssius.” Kristine knew better than Kasey what they needed to pull off what Paul wanted. “We can send what we know to Miss Krystle and let her handle this, sir.”

"Krystel." Paul said aloud.

Suddenly all screens filled with the image of Krystel and Kimberly. "Sir." They both replied.

Maria and the teens stared in amazement.

Paul held back his smile. "Pick up where Gemini are now and finish up."

"Aye Aye Sir." Krystel replied then winked to the girls. "Good job girls. I’ll take it from here. I starting to wonder how you were going to get past that encryption."

Maria glared at the screen. "Krystel, why do I get the feeling you were already on the other side of that gateway, waiting for the girls to get there?"

"Sometimes it’s better for them to find their own way, MARSHAL." Kimberly grinned, apparently, she had known all along as well. "Update from Ghost Moth. One of the Henley lawyers finally got his paperwork straightened out. He's being allowed access to Van Horn."

"Seize his cellphone and monitor everything you can Captain. Remote One, out." Paul stated.

"Sir!" Kimberly replied and the screens went dark.

Kasey and Kristine looked up at their grandfather.

“We've ALWAYS watched over you two. Shutdown your portable array, I’m taking you girls out to dinner.” Hearing Paul’s orders Kristine compiled the packet and sent it to Krystle. While she was doing that, Kasey was shutting down their portable array. “Oh, and girls, you have both done a remarkable job so far.”

In ten minutes the teens had everything shutdown and stashed away. Both Paul and Maria had to fight off laughing as Kasey pulled the covers from the AC ducts. Kasey and Kristine both looked at their grandparents with a look that said ‘what’ and went back to securing their equipment. Quickly they changed.

Paul leaned in close to Maria’s ear and whispered. “I must say dear, they take after their parents and their mentors. The day those two step onto the world stage, they shall be something no one has ever seen.”

“They will be far more than just the sum of their parents and mentors, dear. They shall be something the likes of which has never been seen before. Spies, Law Enforcement, soldiers, assassins, criminals, Cyberwarfare, mistresses of disguise; they shall be able to dine with world leaders or drink with the common man. They shall be ALL of the OICA in just two operatives as you call them. Before you say otherwise, that is what THEY want. As much as it pains me, they have chosen this path of their own free will.” Maria let out a small sigh.

“Then WE shall insure they have the training they need, Ria.” Paul assured Maria. "Ready girls?"

Both were now dressed like high echelon young ladies as they smiled and nodded. As they walked down the hall, both teens bookended the big Spook and slipped their arms through his.

Akin County Detention Center…

Sylvia Van Horn was beyond pissed. She still could not believe that she was being held without bail. Not even her contacts in the Senate or Congress had been able to influence the DOJ on behalf of her or her family. Not even the local judges were coming to their rescue, setting bails at over four times the total wealth of the two families combined. Then there was that A.D.A. Ironsides. Worse was that smug D.S.S Agent. It was like she wanted Sylvia to try something to force her way out. As if she would be able to legally hunt her down like an animal.

“I cannot believe that little cunt has the audacity to have me, a sitting State Senator, held like a common criminal. I don’t care if she is a U.S. Federal District Attorney. She has no LEGAL authority here.” Sylvia’s rant was interrupted by the cell door opening. Looking over at the guard. “What do you want?”

“You have visitors. Let’s go.” The guard ordered.

Sylvia glared. “That is Senator Van Horn, to you.”

“Not in here it ain't. In here you’re just another number-monkey in an orange jump suit. Now, move your ass or I can send your visitors home. Take your pick.” The guard gave her a smirk. “By the way, I DIDN’T vote for your ass.”

Sylvia wanted to lash out at the man, but knew that she was already on thin ice with the guards of the Detention Center. Taking the hint, Sylvia walked out of her cell not saying another word to the guard. Holding out her hands when the guard presented the cuffs, Sylvia waited to be secured. After the door to her cell was closed, the guard led her to the visitors’ area. There she found someone who she had been trying to get a hold of since Saturday.

“About damn time you showed up, Henry. What the HELL took you so long?” Sylvia demanded of her lawyer.

“Sylvia, we need to talk. Sit down and remain quiet until we’re alone.” Henry Person looked sharply at the guard then the cuffs. “We won’t need those, guard.”

“Wrong, Counselor. The cuffs stay. Orders from A.D.A. Ironsides. The same goes for the rest of the Henleys and the Gilroys. You got a problem with that, take it up with the judge tomorrow morning in chambers.” Turning and heading for the door. “You know the rules, don’t break them. Keep your hands on your side of the table. Nothing to be passed between you. You have thirty minutes, Counselor.”

Once the guard stepped out, Henry took a seat at the table. When Sylvia went to set next to him, Henry stopped her by holding up his hand. “Sylvia, you have to sit on the other side of the divider. Please follow the rules until I can get you before a friendly judge.”

“Damn it Henry, what the fuck is going on here?” Sylvia whispered as she took her seat across from him. “I thought we OWNED the judges in this county?”

“Damn it Syl. Don’t say shit like that! Just sit there and keep your mouth shut!” Henry sighed at the look Sylvia gave him. “Look, it took me pulling in a LOT of favors just to be able to see you. The same goes for the rest of the Henley Law Firms. Don’t you get it yet? Your family fucked the pooch, big time. Do you even have the slightest idea of how deep of a hole you’re in?”

“What do you mean, you had to call in favors to just see me?” Sylvia asked in confusion. “Aren’t you a Criminal Defense Lawyer?”

“That screw up was on us. That is why it has taken us so long to get in. None of us were current on our credentials. That is beside the point right now. You and your family, along with the Gilroys, are looking at hard time. Starting with the kidnapping and going down from there.” Henry sighed. “Look I’ll be honest with you Syl, your only chance of seeing the outside world before you collect Social Security is cooperation with the A.D.A. You have to distance yourself from the rest of the Henleys. You don’t and the only way you get out, is feet first in a pine box. The A.D.A. has a massive case against you and it is getting stronger by the day. Hell, probably by the hour. I need to know right now, have you any connection to the STUPIDITY that happened over at AEGS yesterday?”

“Nothing they can prove.” Sylvia was sure that no one would be able to track her payment to the Freemen boy. All the money was offshore and the transaction took place offshore in banks that didn’t like the U.S. Banking laws.

“YOU better FUCKING hope so, Syl. Because I’m here to tell you right now. The A.D.A. has been given orders from the DOJ and the State Department to HANG your ass. Yours and every member of your family and there is nothing I can do to get the charges lessened. Not with all the evidence the USADAs have against you for the past fifty plus years. I have to be honest here, Syl. They’re going to send you all away until your all old and gray or dead as fucking door nails.”

For the first-time Sylvia thought of someone other than herself hearing this. “What about the children? Their only teenagers.”

“Apart from Alex and Savanah, they will ALL be getting prison terms. Alex and Savanah will be sent to a State Approved Corrections School for Girls. The rest will be sentenced to Maximum Security Juvenile Detention until eighteen then transferred to a regular prison. If they're lucky they get medium security as adults. If they hadn’t tried to kidnap those two girls, they wouldn’t be facing twenty-five years to life. Sorry, but that is the best they’ll get. You ALL really fucked up this time and there is no covering it up. An example is going to be made.”

Sylvia knew that the Henley-Gilroy dynasty was crumbling down around their ears. The ride had finally come to an end and now they had to pay the price. Looking down at her hands Sylvia began to cry. Not for the children, but for herself. Sylvia took one last deep breath before placing her fate in Henry’s hands. “IF I confess to ordering the children to kidnap those girls, will the judge show mercy on the others? By that I mean Adaline and the others, not just Alex and Savanah?”

Henry Pierson looked Sylvia in the eyes. He could tell that the woman really did care for her nieces, nephews and their friends. “Why Sylvia? Answer me that and I’ll do what I can for the kids.”

Sylvia looked back at Henry and gave a one word answer. One that was filled with the pain only a mother could have. “Daniel.”

“You know, if you do this; you’ll never see the outside, if you're lucky? Understand me now, they are going to BURY you.” Henry stated.

“Just do as I told you. I know that slug brother of mine will throw the kids under the bus, just to save his sorry ass. If I can save them from long term prison sentences, then I may just earn some peace.” Sylvia stood up and knocked on the door. “Don’t work anything for me Henry, just the kids.”

“I’ll do what I can Sylvia.” Henry said sadly. He knew why Sylvia Van Horn was doing this for the children of the Henley and Gilroy families. At fifty-nine Sylvia only had one child, a son. A son who she turned her back on twenty years ago, never to be heard from again. Her greatest success and her greatest failure.

“Tell Ironsides I’ll give her the names of every corrupt Official, at Local, State and Federal levels that we’ve helped get elected. I’ll also give her enough evidence to deep-fry three Syndicates. Get the same deal for ALL the kids and she gets everything. That’s the deal I’m offering.” When the guard opened the door, Sylvia turned to him. “I’m ready to go back to my cell, officer.”

It was the same guard from earlier, so she caught him off balance with this uncommon show of respect. He had seen hardened convicts come through this jail in his time, but none of them had ever had such a massive turn around as this woman. This was not the proud, angry woman that had walked into the visitors’ area. This was a woman who had been forced to see the errors of her ways. As he led Sylvia back to her cell he wondered what she and her lawyer talked about. And if he could bottle it. None of them with the slightest idea that the darkest wheels of justice were ready to start turning.

Ram's Rock Island:

"I'm so glad you were able to come, Haruna." Lyssa said after putting away the tea service.

Haruna Hagakure smiled. "Of course. I'm honored to visit your home and see the babies again. What is it you need of us?"

Lyssa walked her over to a glass case and nodded to the sword inside. "I am no longer comfortable with this in my home. I ask that it be sent back to Japan to be held in Grandfather's keeping secretly."

Haruna looked into the case. "I know this family. This sword is of the Mirumoto Clan. Who did you claim it from?"

"I can't tell you that Haruna. All I can tell you is, the sword must not be touched. It must stay in the case I place it in and locked. No one must know about it, save Grandfather. Will this be done?" Lyssa asked.

The young Japanese woman bowed. "As you wish."

Lyssa pulled on a pair of gloves then opened the case and took out the sword. Carefully she slid it into a sword bag then put it into a case that was then locked. After taking off the gloves she held out the case, bowing.

Haruna Hagakure bowed and took the case. "It will be done as you wish it, Cousin."

"Thank you. Cousin." Lyssa bowed again.

Lyssa walked her back to the airfield and the waiting helicopter.

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



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