By the time the panel truck was thoroughly wiped down with Clorox and ready for Kathy to return in the morning, it was after midnight. Jack asked Kelly to come back to the hotel to go over their activities and make plans for the next phase. While Jack was walking Shadow, Kathy made Kelly and herself a tall gin and tonic. They clinked glasses and Kelly said, “It seemed simple, but it wasn’t, was it?”
“No. Far from it. I’ve seen many operations in my time in the CIA. Jack can do more with fewer people than anyone I ever met or heard about. He has a gift of seeing the entire operation in several versions in his head while he is separating the operation into steps that can be easily briefed and followed. If something in one of the steps changes, he has a workable option ready to go.”
“How unusual is it for someone to be grabbed off the street, interrogated, made to cooperate and leave in a non-hostile state with a plan to recontact us all in one hour?”
“Just about never.”
“I still don’t understand how he made that work.”
“Jack was ready for it not to work. As it looked possible, he was planning as he was interrogating. Once he convinced Walid that he didn’t care if he died or not, Jack knew he had him. He started assessing Walid when he put him in the neck hold that put him out. He knew from then Walid wasn’t a pro, probably had no training, and was a weak person. So he began to plan to make him be a ‘willing’ informant. You notice how he convinced Walid that he, Jack, knew all about him and knew the answer to some of the interrogation questions. Examine the contact plan he gave Walid. There was no doubt that Walid knew the contact location. Having him stay in the car allows us the time to look for any kind of an ambush. If we see something we don’t like, we use the cell phone to direct him to another site. On the way to the next contact point we’ll do a thorough counter-surveillance check. If he’s clean we meet him. If not he gets no second chance.”
“Kathy, how will I ever learn all this?” Kelly sighed.
“Just like this, little sister. You have good instincts, at least as good as mine. Jack’s are off the chart and he never turns them off. That’s why I feel safe with him, even with all our enemies. And don’t forget your DNA. Your mother was one of the best ever. She could shoot better than Jack. Her operational skills weren’t as good. She didn’t have Jack’s intricate planning abilities. But, if you’re half as good as your mother, you’ll be better than 95 percent of the people in this business. Watch Jack, ask questions when you can, and learn to compartment your thinking process, don’t ask me how. Just work on it.”
After a pause, Kathy said, “Jack will be here in a few minutes. It will be late before we are through. I want you to stay here tonight. You are now involved with some very bad people who know you and where you live. We have to do something about that. Living alone in a known place puts you in unnecessary danger. Not a good idea. And since you’re staying, you can have another gin and tonic.”
“Okay. Some of these rooms are bigger than my apartment. I can put up with it for one night.” Kelly smiled and finished her drink.
Jack and Shadow came in. “Did I just hear someone say they were staying over night? That’s good because for a while we shouldn’t make a practice of being alone.”
Kelly couldn’t answer Jack because Shadow was so happy to see her that he was trying to get in the overstuffed chair with her. Jack said, “You are a special person. He never pays that much attention to anyone but Kathy or me.
“When he settles down, we can get on with some serious stuff.”
“He’s okay,” Kathy said, scratching the dog’s head. “He’s just bored. No action and long periods wandering around this suite.”
Jack said, “Okay. Everyone, including you Shadow, come and sit or lay around the dining table.”
Everyone settled in and Jack started. “Kelly, tough times are ahead. I know you have been there and done that but this will be a bit different. Here we may end up the hunted as well as the hunters,” he paused to let that thought sink in. “The worse problem first, I believe within the next few months we will lose our inside influence with the police and the CIA. There will be no one looking out for us. The link with the police will be finished within 60 to 90 days. Probably the CIA link is already gone with the posting of Sam Richfield to Tokyo. He is no longer in a position to give us any advanced warning. In the eyes of most law and order officers and intelligence folk we are outside the law. No matter how effective we have been, we are breaking the law and are big-time criminals, murderers, kidnappers, extortionists, torturers, have weapons violations, surveillance without warrants, breaking and entering, wire taping, arson, use of aliases … need I go on?”
“How many managers or street cops would pass up a chance to bring us in? It would be a career-making bust,” Kathy said.
“You’re scaring me.” Kelly looked back and forth at Jack and Kathy, her eyes wide.
“Good,” Jack said. “It will take all our skills and discipline to stay out of serious jail time.”
“What can we do?”
Kathy said, “Simple. Don’t get caught. For example, this is the last time we will all be together in public. Cops showing your picture to the hotel staff would be the starting point. So while we need to operate together, we must be very careful about the wrong people seeing us together. That’s step one. The next one is to be ready to drop out of sight. That means sets of alias documentation that will stand up to at least a first level of checking. We cannot fake fingerprints and DNA. We need transportation bought and prepositioned. Maybe even airplanes. Also passports if we have to leave the country and places arranged around the world where we can live safely. Same for here. I want at least three places bought under different identities or by some organization or company. Shadow is a problem. We can’t hide him and he’s not going to be left anywhere, so if people are looking for anyone traveling with a black Bouvier, we defeat that by having more than one. Maybe even owning a kennel of Bouviers and giant schnauzers. We start getting ready tomorrow.”
Jack said, “Kathy, take Kelly to this address. The man who answers the door is a master forger. He knows me and works for us. My father found him and bought his loyalty years ago. He gets a nice check every year. Tell him what we all need. Give him 30 days for the essentials and 60 days for the nice-to-have documents. We need to be able to travel to Canada and not as tourists. Same with Mexico. He needs no real names. He may already know my father’s but don’t tell him any more than necessary. Tell him these documents have to be used to buy property and businesses outside the U.S. Concentrate on getting Mexico and Canada on the must-have-soon list.
“Tomorrow morning I’m meeting with an old friend who runs an investigative agency of former detectives and cops. I’m asking them to find and follow the people Walid identified tonight. I may buy the agency. I need to think on it a bit more. Okay, on those thoughts, happy dreams. I’m going to bed.”