Kathy was in the office at seven. Jennifer was already working but had taken time to get a cup of coffee for Kathy. Kathy said, “Thanks, Jennifer, a hot cup of coffee is always better than an apple. Now I’ll expect one tomorrow.”
“You got it, boss. Every day, especially since Mr. Batcher stopped in and told me I was working with a legend.”
“Frank’s the legend. I’m just another worker bee. Okay, let’s find the bad guy. I want him! Go to the whiteboard and write what I tell you and anything else you think should be on the board. We’re going to gamble and take some intuitive short cuts.
“We have seven officers who have visited Arab countries. To keep anyone from seeing the board, the door will be locked at all times, and we’ll use a simple code for the people of interest. Take them as I call them. First gets ‘A’ as an identifier and so on.”
Two hours later, the board was covered. Of the seven, Kathy rejected four names and put them in a lower priority. Her top suspect had been to Pakistan three times, twice by himself. He had a long list of foreign national contacts. The names were all sent out for extensive investigation of databases. Her second suspect had family in Egypt. He, too, had a number of contacts that were also sent up for checking. By lunch time, 75 names had been forwarded for checking and cross-checking.
Jennifer said, “You asked me about the marital status of these seven officers. Five are married, one is single and one is divorced. What do we do now?”
“We check all the wives, lovers, live-ins, and significant others as far as we can. Anyone married to a foreign national, a Muslim, or to a partner with close relatives in any Arab country gets looked at. We don’t have time to put surveillance teams on everyone. For now, we can only do data checks.
“I’m including bank accounts, debt loads and any off-shore accounts. Frank has someone that will take on the money stuff according to the priorities we assign. We need to look at three or four years of performance reports. They are usually not very revealing. We’ll be looking for any dramatic changes in performance rating levels. There is always a reason for big changes. Finish your sandwich, and we’ll get back to the whiteboard. I love working on a board. It seems as if a picture is being painted or the dots connected in a way that tells a story not there before.
“Tomorrow, I want you to continue to check the files for more names, check the bank data Frank should have by then, but don’t take any action or ask anyone for information. I’ll be late tomorrow. Probably come in after lunch. Oh, in case you’re interested, quitting time tonight is six. I need some down time with my fiancé.”
At dinner Storm gave a report on Lou. She said, “Dad is out of the ICU, eating well, and moving around with help. He is very tired and will be until his body makes the adjustment to the oxygen output from one lung. His spirits are good. He doesn’t remember much, and I don’t think he wants the full story yet. By the day after tomorrow, he can have visitors, and I think he’ll want to see you. He’s probably tired of my face and nagging. He wants to come back to work, but I don’t see how he can. This outfit’s missions are too tough for a man with one lung.”
Jack said, “Storm, as long as he’s willing to work, he has a job here. We need Lou for more reasons than his work as a shooter. He has an operational head that is one of the best I have ever seen. Kelly is stepping up to more field work, and we need Lou to take over the important support roles. Storm, you also have your choice of work. Your computer skills and organizational knowhow are impressive. Our inside guy was impressed with your work in identifying and laying out targets. We have more of that to do. The snipers aren’t done yet.”
Kathy said, “I have a job for Kelly tomorrow, helping me with some investigative work.”
Kelly said, “Super, I need to get out of the house for things besides picking up a smelly guy and his dog from a highway crossroads. Both of them went to sleep in the car. I still don’t know what happened.”
Kathy said, “Jack, you like to tell stories. Let’s hear it. The complete tale, no politically correct dodges. I thought it might make a good bedtime story but now is better. The floor is yours.”