“Shades of Justice” Chapter Forty-five

Kathy met them at Dulles Airport in the Ford Flex she had rented. Shadow and Gideon were in the back. Kathy let them out to greet Jack and Kelly. She knew Gideon wouldn’t run off as long as Shadow and his human pack were there. Shadow ran up to Jack and stood on his hind legs. He knew not to jump on people. Jack stepped forward and hugged him while Shadow licked his ear. Kelly made a fuss over Gideon. Kathy said, “Lover, save something for me.” Jack gathered her in his arms. “The next time you go anywhere, I’m coming. I’m not good at this stay behind and worry stuff. And Kelly thanks for bringing him back.”

“It was more like him bringing me back.”

Kathy spun back to Jack and said, “Did anyone get killed?”

“The sniper and we didn’t do it,” Jack said defensively. “Kelly was dragging him to his feet when he was shot in the back. We didn’t fire a shot. What we both need now is a hot bath and something to eat besides trail mix or store-bought sandwiches on an airplane.”

“Get in the Flex. I can fix both of those problems. Storm and Lou are residing with us. They are a great example of a father and daughter sharing the same values and belief system. Storm runs the family. In fact she runs anything she touches. She has a rare sense of always knowing what to do. Her exceptional beauty with her Jamaican ancestral heritage helps her carry off her in-your-face presence when her blood is up. I have to watch she doesn’t cross Mrs. Minh.”

Jack laughed and asked, “How is Sally doing?”

“Sally is getting into her training program. She is good at hapkido. I went to practice yesterday and was impressed. You will be swamped with questions about the ins and outs and tradeoffs of the units you want set up. I told them beyond keeping it simple I wasn’t going to guess what you were thinking about.”

It was dark when Kathy pulled into the garage of the Brandon house. It was late but the Minhs had held dinner and all were seated around the dining room table. Turkish yogurt soup was the first course followed by an Indonesian curry and rice with several condiments. Dessert was fresh lychees served with strong dark Sumatran roast coffee. Over coffee Jack brought everyone up to date on the episode in Montana and the next phase to destroy the mob-run human trafficking activity.

“We can’t stop the crime of human trafficking but we can put this part of it out of business. Lou, the first action is for you.”

Jack went on to detail what he wanted. He asked Lou to survey Conrad Connors and Dom Salvatori, starting with Conrad, for just enough time to verify Jim’s story about where he lived, phone numbers, car plates, and movement patterns with photos. The next step involved the same kind of surveillance on Dom in Atlantic City. The surveillance on Dom would have to be done very carefully. “As a member of a New Jersey mob he will be aware of his surroundings and conscious of anyone following him,” Jack cautioned. “The intent is to gather enough information on Dom, to again verify Jim’s account, and to learn enough about his movements, associates, and living arrangements so we have the option of picking him up for questioning.”

Storm said, “What kind of analytic unit do you want?”

Jack said, “Small, responsive, and very smart. Almost no paper products. A number of briefings as needed by Lou, Kathy, or me. Kelly, if you or Sally need analytic support ask one of us. Storm, hire as many people as you need. There is no time for on-the-job training. They should have some experience in operational analysis and planning. Hackers are good. I do not want ‘think pieces’ or unasked for reports. Do not hire any analysts that think they know more than you. I’ve seen and used your work. You are very good. No analysts whose egos exceed their abilities. Kathy will give you the pay scale and benefits. There will be no leaking of information to anyone and no discussing of work outside our group. No second chances. All must agree to polygraph-supported interviews at any time. Surveillants and analysts will not be brought to this house or given this address. Use your cells for all calls. Have any and all bills sent to a P.O. Box. Lease or buy secure office space as soon as possible. Kathy will approve all office rentals or buys. Lou, make sure all your people have private investigator licenses and concealed carry permits. If they don’t have them now, get them started on the process. Use hotel conference facilities until you get into your own spaces. Lou and Storm, it would be good if you could have separate spaces in the same building. Include enough space for a small team of lawyers. If you have any recommendations for a lawyer you know personally, please tell Kathy. We’ll meet here at dinnertime for a couple of days until you have office space. The office space will be leased or subleased to you personally. We start tomorrow.”

Storm and Lou left to go to their rooms and start working on their plans. Kelly and Sally stayed behind. Kelly asked, “What about us?”

Jack answered, “Kelly, your role is cast. You can change it, but you’re very good at the hard stuff. Sally, continue with your training but at a less intensive pace. We need you to organize and run a comprehensive legal team, including real estate acquisitions. Kathy and I want to establish a trust fund to finance educations for people who are college material but need financial help. Kathy will go over the details with you. Remember these assignments all depend on your acceptance. And nothing is forever. Both of you will also be asked to work as a team with Lou’s people once in a while and more often with Kathy and me. You always have the right to refuse an assignment. No questions asked. If you have bad feelings about the operation or can’t support it fully, just opt out.

“Kathy and I will be your teachers for now. Kelly is proficient now with long-range shooting. She needs more work on short-distance reaction shooting with multiple targets. Sally, you need both. You will always be in some training phase. Kathy and I put ourselves through training exercises several times a year. We can all make improvements.

“Physical conditioning is a constant struggle for improvement. We’ll include training in the development of cover stories, the use of alias documentation, interrogation, and use of disguises. Doing what we do is very much like role playing on stage. You have to get into the part. If you don’t believe in your cover, you won’t fool anyone. We want the two of you to work as a team to take over for Kathy and me at times. Tomorrow morning a couple of hours after breakfast the four of us will work out in our Dojang. I want to see how the hapkido is coming along. Kelly, you’ll work with me. Sally will be with Kathy. So get a good night’s sleep.”

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

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