Chapter 15 of
Tessa Sat in Brad Waverly's office Monday morning.
"So, somebody is out to get you." Brad remarked.
Tessa smirked. "You put it that way. Trying to throw in a dash of paranoia, Brad? Have I become boring now?"
"You are anything BUT boring, Tessa. I wasn't implying, you did." Brad corrected.
"Wrong again. I said that a private investigator is sniffing around the park. Said private investigator is reputed to do alot of work for a certain real estate person. Said real estate person is reputed to be seriously money motivated. It is the conclusion of my attorney that these two people are connected and focused on the park." Tessa listed then leaned in. "Where's the 'They're gonna get me' part I'm supposed to have put in there?"
Brad shrugged. "It sounds that way."
Tessa shook her head. "I've done the 'gonna get me' thing before. This isn't it. This is barely a minor annoyance. If these people decide that getting my attention in a negative way is a good idea, they'll learn otherwise."
That got the psychologist's attention. "Oh? What did you have in mind?"
"I'm fairly certain Trent can find a legal method to convince them to find something else to take interest in." Tessa remarked.
"What if they ignore that?" Brad asked.
Tessa replied flatly. "Then I'm sure that whatever misfortune they lure to themselves will become their primary focus. I hear police officers tend to be rather greedy about having someone's focus."
Brad nodded. "Ah. I've heard that too. Why don't we shift gears. I'd like to talk about Orchiectomy."
"Good subject." Tessa replied.
"If I could get you an appointment next Tuesday. Would that work for you?" Brad asked.
Tessa seemed to be mildly mulling it over. "I'm pretty sure it could. Afternoon would be good. Next Monday afternoon would be best."
Brad knew she had him. Once again; he had dug a hole for her to fall in, she challenged him of the depth and he jumped right in. "Ugh. You got me again."
"And you did all the work." Tessa smiled.
Brad just handed over the paper. "Here. You earned it. Sometimes I wish it was always this smooth, but then I don't think I'd be able to handle a full list just like you."
The timer softly beeped.
Tessa looked at it and smirked. "Aw. Saved by the bell again Brad. I'm starting to think you do that on purpose. Til next time."
"Uh-huh. Have a nice day Tessa." Brad said as she set the check on the coffee table.
Tessa hummed to herself as she drove back to the park, and her home.
Foster thought something was off as he went through the gate. He had used the multi-visit card, but could swear the gate hostess almost narrowed her eyes at him for a moment.
"Enjoy your visit." The young woman said.
The private investigator nodded. "Thank you."
Brad Foster made his way inside and took out his map. He wore different clothing this time. Knee-length shorts, polo shirt, sport sandals and Ray-Bans. In short, he looked like so many others. He even stopped and immediate bought a bottled water to tuck into the thigh pocket of his cargo shorts. Suddenly he felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand straight up and slowly looked around.
"This doesn't look good." Foster muttered seeing a loose perimeter around him of people in black shirts and hats embroidered with badges.
"Welcome back." A voice behind him said coldly.
Foster turned around and looked at a formidable looking man flanked by two others. The aura coming off all of them screamed 'military' and 'combat veteran'.
"Follow me." The imposing man instructed then turned to walk away.
Before Brad Foster knew it, they had closed ranks around him as one reached over and took the map.
"I'll relieve you of that. Anything I should know about?" The Security-man asked.
Foster shook his head. "Just a pen, my wallet, phone and the water bottle."
Jimmy Sloan nodded. "Follow the Captain."
Foster thought it best to just play it cool. He followed where he was led. A set of doors were opened and he was led inside an office. He recognized Tessa Frost immediately, standing in front of the desk.
"Have a seat." The man called The Captain said and pointed to a chair.
Brad Foster sat down and the woman stepped forward.
"Why are you in my park, Mister Foster, Private Investigator?" Tessa asked flatly. "I'll let your imagination fill in the blank about attempting to lie to me."
Foster tried to play it cool. "A client wants to know about you. He didn't say why, I didn't ask."
Tessa was handed the map and held it up. "You're marking camera positions. I have no choice, but to think you intend to cause harm to the guests here. I will not allow innocent people to be made victims, simply because they are convenient, Mister Foster. Especially children. To quote John Wayne; that would cause me great annoyance and displeasure."
Brad Foster was by no means, a stupid man. The fact her voice now held ominous malice didn't go missed.
"No Ma'am." Foster replied.
Tessa kept a neutral expression on her face. "You've broken no laws, yet. The police will meet you at the gate and escort you off the grounds. Do not return Mister Foster. If you do, trespassing charges will be filed. When you report to Mister Nably, inform him that this park and myself are none of his business and I do not like his intrusions. Need I be more blunt, Mister Foster?"
"No Miss Frost. I understand your position and will convey that to my client." Foster replied.
The fact that Foster hadn't confirmed Nably as the client wasn't missed, just ignored.
Tessa simply said. "Good-bye, Mister Foster."
Brad Foster didn't need a baseball bat to the head for a hint. He stood up and was escorted out. A patrol car from the Sheriff's department was waiting. They gave him a written notice to leave the property and would be charged with trespassing if he returned, then followed him off the grounds. The message was very clear; don't come back.
Things stayed quiet during the week. Unfortunately, all that changed when a scream was heard in WildForest. Security responded immediately when Over-Watch called out over the radio net.
"WildForest, Code-8. Say again: Code-8. Location: Petting Zoo moving toward Saloon." Over-Watch informed them.
Code-8 being their code for adult in a panic. Force members close by rushed to the area. Others began making their way, but watching the crowd for anyone looking suspicious.
Mandy Kellar reached the woman first. "Ma'am! Calm down. Tell us what happened."
"We were about to go into the zoo. He wanted to play with the puppies. I was buying a packet of Nibbles for the puppies and when I turned back around, he was gone! He was standing right by me! He wouldn't wander off!" The woman said quickly.
Mandy nodded. "We'll find him. I need your names please."
"I'm Rachel Cavanaugh. My little boy's name is Tony." Rachel informed her.
"Over-Watch and Shepherds, flag Rachel Cavanaugh and Tony Cavanaugh. We have a Code-2, WildForest. Say Again: CODE-2, WildForest. Over-Watch start point is Petting Zoo, snack vendor." Mandy called out over the radio upgrading the alert to Missing Child.
Unknown to the crowd of park visitors, every member of Security went into action as the gates went into Lock-Down. Nine members of Over-Watch tore into Drone Control and launched their craft. One formation consisted of five craft and the other was four. They came in from opposite directions and began their sweeps. Two other members went into the monitor room and took up position to scan the screens.
The primary Watcher went back and located the pair at the Petting Zoo animal snack vendor and slowly advanced the time. Three men came up, two stood trying to block view and the other clamped his hand over the boy's lower face. The boy was lifted up and together the men moved away blocking him from view.
The Over-Watch operators began to narrate what they saw, directing Force members after the group. Suddenly a red dot appeared on a screen and began to flash.
"Shepherds to Over-Watch. We have an alert from a bracelet. Bracelet is Cavanaugh, Tony. An attempt is being made to remove his bracelet. Location: SnowyHill. Alley 5." Wanderer Control informed.
The Main Force members moved. Drones disengaged their grid search and streaked toward the area and were soon on scene as the cameras were brought up. It wasn't a blind spot. The camera there was disguised expertly and had been unnoticed. Within moments the faces of the men were up on the screens and being flagged. Now they would forever be in the system and unable to move within the park without notice, should they ever manage to get in.
The call went out for the Sheriff's department. Units were en-route. Fifteen members of Security, the med-response team, Mark, Dave and even Tessa herself converged to the area. In the lead were specific members that were previously law enforcement and had a secret of their own.
"Hurry up and get that bracelet off the kid!" One man ordered.
The one with a utility knife shook his head. "I can't cut through it. There's a metal band underneath."
"Pry it loose." The thrid man said and handed a flat-blade screwdriver over.
The one with the knife, pocketed it then took the tool and began trying to force the band's connection to the housing apart. The problem was, the tip of the blade could not gain any purchase. He swore in frustration.
The leader demanded. "What's taking you, Ted? Get it off him!"
"I can't! We're going to have to grind it off, Mel!" Ted replied.
Mel snarled. "DAMN! We'll take him over the fence then. Len, go get the van and meet us on the road. Let's go!"
Before they could split up though the sound of boots were heard and voices called out. "FREEZE!"
All three did just that. The last thing any of them had expected, was to facing down several drawn pistols.
"Why are they ARMED? Our scouting runs never saw any armed guards!" Ted hissed.
Jimmy Sloan smirked. "We're all Auxillary Deputies. Put the kid down and step back, slowly."
None of the three felt like giving up their trump card, the boy.
"Mister Sloan. I am going to count to five. If they have not complied, shoot one of them. In the groin." Tessa's voice spoke from behind them. "One. Four."
Immediately the one called Ted set the boy down. He stood up and held up his hands and backed away.
Mel glared at the people in front, but snarled at Ted. "Dumb ass! We could have gotten away, with the kid."
"No way. That woman and her men just want an excuse to shoot us legally." Ted shook his head.
Three members secured their pistols and moved forward, covered by two others each maintaining control, to search then cuff the men. Once secure, Mark and the medic team moved in to assess the boy's condition.
"Sharp!" One of the men called out then held up a capped syringe in his gloved hand.
Mark looked back. "The boy is unconscious. Pupils are dialated. He's been drugged."
Tessa looked at the men. "What did you give him?"
Mel sneered back. "Blow me!"
"Certainly." Tessa remarked then held out her hand. "Mister Sloan, your pistol please. This one wants to be blown; I'll use your pistol to blow his testicles off."
Jimmy smiled and handed it over. Tessa took the gun, worked the slide to ensure everyone knew it was definitely loaded with a round and stuck the muzzle down the man's pants.
"I'm no expert, but I'm sure I can hit something in there." Tessa said calmly, staring him in the eyes and pushing him to turn sideways. Only Jimmy saw the subtle wink meant just for him.
None of them actually expected her to do it, so the sound of the gun going off suprised them all. He screamed in horror and wet himself as he dropped to his knees.
Tessa frowned. "I missed? HOW could I possibly miss?"
Only Jimmy had seen her wink and knew that whatever she was doing, just go with it. The ploy worked.
"We gave him Ketamine! He'll wake up in an hour. I swear it!" Ted confessed.
Mel was staring at the hole in his pants, made when the bullet exited from being fired, struggling to catch his breath. There was also a large wet spot and a puddle underneath him.
Dave leaned down and spoke directly to him. "You definitely want to confess to the cops about what you and your buddies did, along with why. You should even consider informing them of everything wrong you've ever done. It would be a very good idea to go to a nice super-max prison. Better hurry, too. She might just get the idea that it might be fun to bail you out, personally, so she can improve her aim and then feed you to the REAL alligator over in Storm Bayou."
Mel looked up in horror as the woman in white slowly began to smile. "Oh that's a LOVELY idea, Captain. Mister Sloan. How fast can these three have bail posted? I just found myself a new hobby."
Jimmy didn't get a chance to answer. Nine Deputies and the Sheriff arrived. Handuffs were changed while Miranda Rights were read then the three kidnappers were taken out, followed by the medical cart carrying the unconscious boy and his mother.
"Miss Frost." The Sheriff said, turning around. "One of those suspects has wet pants and what looked suspiciously like a bullet hole."
Before he even finished talking, the Security force closed ranks. The message was clear, he was getting nowhere near Tessa.
"I guess my inexperience got the better of me Sheriff Dooley. I was demanded to perform an act. Sad to say, I didn't do so well. Or maybe there was some confusion and a miscommunication as to exactly what someone wanted me to do." Tessa remarked then took on a cruel glare. "I tend to get a certain way, when someone tries to hurt a child around me."
Jack Dooley wanted to groan. "Ma'am you understand that the case against them is now compromised. I may have to turn them loose, because of that."
"I doubt it Roy. I'd be surprised if you don't get a full confession for everything they ever did. In fact, they probably think prison is a fairly nice place to be." Jimmy Sloan commented.
The ex-Deputy had been practically prophetic. As soon as recorders were turned on, all three began to recount every thing they had done in their lifetime that was illegal, with full details. It would later be known that they had been part off a small kidnapping ring to supply pedophiles all over the nation for the past five years. Tessa would later secretly set up a foundation to cover the cost of treatment for the victims, and many more later on, called Little Ones Found.
Brad Foster was crouched close to the tall fence at one in the morning Monday. The park closed at Nine on Sunday nights, as a nod to working parents. He had reported in to Joe Nably as soon as he returned to his office to inform him that he had been confronted and they knew he was the client. Nably went off on a tirade, still demanding that Foster go in.
foster had made a copy of the map before going to the park on a second recon, so he had consulted it to come up with a feasible route. Still, he didn't feel confident about it.
"This is a bad, BAD idea." Foster muttered to himself.
Even the fence practically said 'Don't even think about it'.
He used a circuit tester to see if it was electrified. It wasn't. An extendable ladder on each side got him over the fence. Not subtle, but it was the only way as the vertical members of the fence had been sprayed with a permanant coating that prevented good grip. Also there were shrubs that had spiked leaves on both side of the fence to discourage climbers.
Back on the ground Foster sighed. "This place is a Security nut's wet dream. All they need is electrics and landmines."
Slowly he began to make his way, both walking and occasionally crawling in effort to avoid the cameras' field of view. His destination were neither rides nor attractions. He was heading to the offices. If he could get into the Personnel office and Tessa's office he could come up with some information that would satisfy Nably. If he was successful with those, he would then go into Accounting. Finally he reached the Administration building and used a set of picks to open a fire door.
"I'll take yes for an answer." Foster whispered to himself, noting the absence of any alarm.
He didn't see any sensors either as he entered. It took a few moments to locate the Personnel office on the ground floor. He began going through the file cabinets. Each file was pulled and photographed using a digital camera. After double-checking that nothing was out of order, Foster eased out of the room to proceed to his next target, Tessa's office on the second floor. The upper-cut to his jaw took him completely by surprise. The solid punch to his gut met with no resistance and doubled him over. This was followed by a series of punches that worked his abdominal area along with the occasional kidney shot.
"Zeke, you copy?" The radio on his hip came to life.
Zeke Malone called back. "Lima Charlie. Go ahead."
"Sensors have detected intrusion along the perimeter fence over in WildForest. Standby." Over-Watch informed him then added. "Confirmed. Intruder has scaled the fence and now proceeding into the park. He's trying to avoid the cameras, but doesn't know them all."
"I'm on my way. Vector me in." Zeke requested then asked. "Got an ID on the intruder?"
Over-Watch answered. "Affirmative. Brad Foster, the Private Investigator that's been thrown out and warned. Notation to alert the Captain, Queen Tessa and notify Sheriff's Department. Doing so now."
"Copy that. Continuing on Mission. Where is he?" Zeke asked.
"Admin. He's working the fire-door. Entry. We have him moving down the hall. He found the Personnel office and is entering." Over-Watch narrated.
Zeke had began running and now was within sight of the building. He knew every shortcut there was to get anywhere in the park. Some were there specifically for Security to use and hidden. Zeke made it to the door and used his RFID bracelet to open the door. Inside he stalked down the hall and took a position outside the office where his quarry was. Zeke turned down the volume of his radio and waited. After what seemed like an eternity, the intruder came out. Zeke attacked without hesitation and continued, even when lights suddenly snapped on overhead.
Tessa had been met by ten members of the Main Force and joined them to go inside. She heard the sounds of violence and flipped on the hallway lights. Three-quarters of the way down, someone on the floor was under an onslaught of fists belonging to 210 pounds of enraged former-Marine. Tessa strode down the hall between the columns of her guards and stopped just back from the fight.
"MISTER MALONE." Tessa said loudly. "That will do. I would like you to stop now."
Zeke never took his eyes off the man, but did stop and slowly edged back. "Yes Ma'am. Barkley, secure that piece off shit."
A younger man jumped to obey. "Hoo-Rah!"
Brad Foster gave no resistance as his hands were cuffed behind his back. His whole torso was now sore and would feel worse in a few hours.
"Beyond stupid, Foster." Tessa commented. "Gentlemen, remove him from the building."
"Queen Tessa. He was taking pictures in there. Pictures of the files." Zeke informed her.
Barkley searched him, pulled out the camera and looked through its memory then said. "Personnel files Queen Tessa. Everybody's."
"Remove the card and give it to Captain Dave when he arrives. Destroy the camera." Tessa instructed now standing face to face with the private investigator.
A crunch was heard next. Brad closed his eyes and waited for whatever hits were going to come. Better to just go ahead and let it happen than try to fight back against her, provoking the men surrounding her to beat him to death. He knew without a doubt they would and not give it a second thought.
"Take him to the front gates and hand him over to the Deputies when they arrive." Tessa said looking at him. "I've saved you from my guards this time, Foster. It won't happen again should you prove too stupid to learn from this. Go. Mister Malone, that man does NOT return."
Roughly, they turned him and began to march him out, but stopped when Tessa added.
"When you talk to Joe Nably, tell him I said; 'This stops now, I won't tell him again'." Tessa said firmly then looked to the former-Marine.
Zeke nodded then ordered. "Martell, Cranston, Dermot, Holland. Escort Queen Tessa home when she's ready. The rest, with me. Move Out."
Throughout the entire walk to the front gate, Zeke spared no detail as to what he intended to do to Foster if he dared to come back. At the gates, two Deputies waited with their patrol units. One took Foster into custody, returning the guard's handcuffs then Mirandizing Foster. As they were driving away, Foster finally passed out.
Dave knocked then entered Tessa's office. "Busy night."
"I'd say so." Tessa replied, sitting at her desk in her gown, the tiara sitting on the corner of the desk.
Dave sat down and sighed. "Foster will be released from the hospital sometime tomorrow. Malone beat the ever loving dog shit out of him."
Tessa sat back in her chair. "Had I not been there, I don't think he would have stopped."
"You're probably the only one that could have stopped him. Zeke owes you everything, he'll obey you in all things." Dave said very clearly.
Tessa's face grew stern. "Wrong Captain. Mister Malone owes me NOTHING. I saw a man needing only the chance. I gave that chance, nothing more. All he is now, is of his own making. As he should be! Mister Malone is his own man and I, for one, will have it no other way! He owes me NOTHING."
"That's not true!" Zeke said from the doorway with five members of Security behind him.
Before anyone could object he strode to Tessa's desk then stood at Attention.
"I was worthless when you found me. A stray dog hunkered under your trailer, starving, sick and cold. You brought me out. Treated me like a man again and gave me a chance when nobody else would. You got me cleaned up, fed, taken care of and put me to work. You truly are a Queen and I'll follow you anywhere, carry out any order!" Zeke declared and saluted. "Even when you wanted me to take you to."
Tessa bolted to her feet in fury. "MISTER MALONE!"
Zeke went silent, as had everyone else in the room. Even Dave was surprised. No one had ever seen Tessa actually angry with anyone, much less Zeke. She looked imperious as she faced down the former-Marine.
"My private business is EXACTLY that. Discuss it and I will have you removed, MISTER Malone. IS that UNDERSTOOD?" Tessa growled.
Zeke visibly flinched. "AYE AYE, Queen Tessa!"
Tessa walked around her desk and stood facing him. "I gave you a chance. Nothing more, nothing less. Who and what you are now, is all of YOUR OWN making. I'll hear NO argument to that. You have worked for and earned ALL that you have. Including the respect of everyone in the park. Do NOT jeopardize that now, with such display. I won't stand for it!"
"Gave me back pride, as a man and a Marine." Zeke quietly reminded her.
Tessa shook her head as her voice calmed. "I did no such thing. That was always with you Mister Malone, you merely forgot. Say no more on this. You have my gratitude for protecting us, my trust has been well founded. You may go and sleep well, Mister Malone."
Zeke went down on one knee, took Tessa's hand and kissed it. "Yes My Queen."
With that he rose and left. The members of Security that had been with him were shocked to say the least. They had been working with Zeke for quite some time, never had they seen him act or speak in such manner. They all saluted as well then left.
Dave arched an eyebrow. "For a second there, I thought you were going either slap or fire him."
Tessa sat back down behind her desk. "I would do neither. It would be cruel."
"What about Foster and this Joe Nably ass-hat?" Dave asked.
Tessa picked up a single page. "Trent is working on that now. I have something else for you to do."
Dave took the page when she held it out. "What's this?"
"Some group in Massachusetts. It's claimed they are big LGBT supporters, with stress on transgender persons. Find out. If they are, then we'll lend support and even propose an intern program next summer." Tessa said.
Dave looked at the page. "Finn Foundation. Ok. I'll check them out, starting with John and Jaimie Finn, since it looks like they are the major players."
Tessa said, going back to her paperwork. "Use every means at your command to find out if they are as good as they say they are. Carry on, My Captain."
"By your command, My Queen." Dave replied with a bow and left.
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