Kathy sat on the porch of the cabin, looking out over the valley where she had improved her conditioning and weapons skills. She had spent six hours a day for a week, training to use small arms and building up her stamina running on the mountain trails. Jack, with years of experience and Special Operations training, dramatically improved her hand gun skills and reaction shooting. Kathy knew she was rapidly becoming more than proficient with her SOCOM .45 caliber, Mark 23 Mod0. Jack suggested they buy at the gun store in Pittsburgh and after 30 minutes of practice, she told him it felt right. Another two days on long-range marksmanship with the Stoner SR-25, and she completed the Brandon school for shooters. Finally, Jack told her she was good to go.
While Kathy was working on her conditioning with long runs on mountain trails, Jack spent hours on the phone with his attorney, Lee Jensen, getting the legal work done to change Kelly’s name to Marino and setting up her employment with a schedule for salary payments and a post office box for business communications, as well as a phone line in Jensen’s office that answered to East/West Consultants, a nominal company set up by Lee to protect the Brandon business. Jack arranged for $50,000 from Anita’s estate to go to her sister Marie Kowalski, with the remaining $25,000 of the estate to be sent the following year, also from a front organization managed by Lee Jensen. Jack told Lee he could expect trouble from Marie and to handle her firmly. The insurance program Jack provided to Kathy and Anita was a Brandon self-insurance program, because Jack suspected that proof of death might be impossible to provide to an insurance company. Kelly would get the entire $500,000 but not yet. In the interim, the money would be invested for her.
The next day they packed a few suitcases and locked up the cabin. Kathy would be sorry to leave this cabin, where after months of fighting terrorists, she had found a sense of peace and security in the mountains. She told Jack she regretted their short vacation was ending.
She was sitting on the porch waiting for Jack and Shadow to come back from their afternoon walk. Kathy met them in the parking area said, “I think I could stay in this cabin for a long time. Don’t ever sell this place. It means too much to me.”
“Don’t worry. The cabin is my last physical tie to my father. It’s a keeper.”
Jack said, “We’ll set up in the McLean Ritz Carlton Hotel, where we first met. They’ll accept Shadow as long as we use the back elevator. Tomorrow, I’ll introduce you to my old friend, Paul Kim. Paul’s dad willed him the Dojang a year ago. He is a real martial arts fighter and a very good instructor. On the Dojang floor, he is king. Just do what he says as well as you can and quickly with no questions.”
From that point on, her training and conditioning program was brutal. Five full days each week for three weeks, studying Hapkido in Paul Kim’s Dojang in McLean, had taken all her athleticism and dedication to get through each day. After the first week she knew how to fall and learned basic footwork. After several awkward mistakes, she understood that footwork is the most important part of martial arts fighting. Paul had specially designed ten basic moves for her to work on. Now she could do all of them without thinking. There was poetry of motion in Hapkido, emphasizing flowing body movements that focused the power of the entire body at the point of impact. After learning the basics, she was now working with Jack to add to her repertoire of moves. She could escape from nearly all common holds. Jack told her it was unlikely she’d be fighting trained martial arts fighters. An untrained fighter would have little to no chance against her, once he and Paul were finished with this phase of training.
Tomorrow morning they would be driving to Charleston. She would be the driver. He may be the martial arts specialist, but she was the driver. Jack was too slow.
After two days in Charleston, they bought a place on Johns Island with a five-acre lot bordering the marsh and rented a condo in Charleston proper. Shadow loved the open space. Jack showed him the boundaries knowing he would stay within them. Both properties were put in Kathy’s name. Jack didn’t want to give a possible survivor of the Charleston terrorist cell any advantage. The bomb in his Pittsburgh house and the shooting attack focused his attention. To staff the Johns Island house, he coaxed out of retirement a Vietnamese husband-and-wife team with weapons skills his father had hired years ago.
Jack suggested Kathy call an interior designer to help furnish the house. She could learn a lot about Charleston by running around the city with a professional decorator. It also gave them excellent cover for all parts of the city. Their primary target operated a rug shop. If the owner was who Captain Shorer thought he was, Mr. Joel Hankins would check them out when they went to his rug shop. Jack was sure Hankins would find that they were furnishing a house and put them in his potential customer category.