“Shades of Justice” Chapter Thirty

An hour after Shadow with Gideon right behind him jumped out of the Suburban, they appeared panting and wet on the small deck at the cabin, where a generous stack of toasted cheese sandwiches were disappearing. Gideon flopped down in the Bouvier style of no endless turning around, just thump down where they’re standing. Jack laughed and said, “Shadow took him down to the creek. He loves that spot where the creek is only six inches deep and he can splash around in the water chasing minnows or his own shadow.”

Jack loved the cabin his father built when he was on the run from the KGB. With the diesel underground tank filled, the cabin was self-sufficient. A hidden war room and armory were built into the hillside behind the cabin. When Jack first explored the hidden room and its escape tunnel, he thought the tunnel was part of an abandoned family mine. He had promised himself one day he would explore the tunnel further.

The next morning Jack was sitting on the small deck after coming back from a run with Shadow and Gideon. He had to take it a bit easy for Shadow was showing his age and his old gunshot injury. Gideon’s stamina as a five-month-old puppy was still developing. Quit kidding yourself, Jack thought to himself. At 35, he had to work hard at keeping himself in top shape, too. After drinking and splashing water all around, Gideon flopped down in a shady spot and went to sleep. Shadow was at Jack’s feet in his guard position. Kathy stuck her head out of the door and asked what was happening.

“How about bringing ice tea for both of us,” Jack suggested. “I’ve something I want to talk about.”

“You’re scaring me. A Brandon that wants to talk. Hold that thought. I’ll be right out.”

When Kathy was seated with her back resting against the log wall, Jack said, “We are at a point where we need to consider some fundamental changes.”

“You have my full attention.”

“All our inside contacts are gone. We can no longer act as if we have an ace in the hole. No one in the government will be giving us information or protecting our backs. Remember a few years back when we had the full cooperation of Arjun Singh and his detective agency in New Delhi? We could have never completed our mission or gotten home safely without him. Even then we lost Anita in Kathmandu. After I killed Frank Batcher, our CIA contact who proved to be a traitor, we still had Sam Richfield as a link to the CIA. He is now in Tokyo and unable to help us. Even our police support, Captain Shorer, will retire this month. We are alone. What now?”

“Are you suggesting we try to find replacement insiders?”

“No. It would take too long and they would eventually and unexpectedly disappear. I’m suggesting that we build our own support system. We need an American Arjun Singh. We have all the money we need and enough contacts to start setting up separate units of support that can operate independently.”

“I’m glad we’re talking about this,” Kathy said. “We need help. The operation to take down the Night Lady and rescue Sally pushed the envelope hard. Everything worked right. You know how many times that happens? If we hadn’t been able to find and intercept that boat, Sally would now be a sex slave in some Arab country. We need some backup and support help. I suggest we call Lou and Storm Washington, they were a big help in taking down the al Qaeda sniper operation in D.C. last year. Lou should have recovered enough from the bullet in his lung to help us. I have a hunch they may be running short of the bonus you gave them.”

“They’re on my list. With them, a good detective agency, some analytical support, a small technical photo and audio shop, and a first-class documents guy, read forger, we would be ready to go. Our attorney, Lee Jensen, can help us. It’s time we briefed him. He is up to his neck in supporting us with notional companies, buying properties, managing the Brandon money and protecting it from government predators while paying our legal taxes. I’m almost certain we are his biggest client and he was my father’s closest friend.”

“When do we start all this?”

“I’m ready. Rested. I always love coming here. To finish the first part of our honeymoon here is the stuff of romance novels. You and I are the only people who know about this place. One of my dad’s words of wisdom was, ‘The only way to keep a secret is to tell no one.’ He believed everyone tells someone and that starts the chain to exposure.”

Kathy said, “Let’s keep that secret. I’ve often been tempted to ask you about bringing Kelly here, but have resisted.”

“For now, only we know. We can move out tomorrow morning. Gideon is coming along well. Shadow is doing most of the work. He’s certainly taught Gideon some manners. Shadow has always known what I expect and works at the task. Recall is the hardest thing to train. To have a dog drop whatever they are doing, including chasing a squirrel, and come on command, takes time and patience. If Gideon was out by himself, I’m sure he would at least think about it before coming to me. Shadow gives Gideon no option. When Shadow hears or sees the recall signal, they come in at full speed. Shadow and I will continue working with Gideon at our house in McLean. The exposure to people and traffic in McLean will help his socialization. Let’s be out of here by 8:00 AM. You drive. I’ll think about meeting with Lee Jensen in his law offices and maybe take a little nap.”

“Okay. We can get breakfast in Somerset. It will be cool enough to leave the dogs in the Suburban. You call the Minhs and tell them we are coming. I know they hate last-minute notice of your arrival. I’ll track Storm Washington down and get them to come to McLean.”

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Filed under Action thrillers, Barry Kelly, Books, Spy novels

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