“Shades of Justice” Chapter Fifty-eight

Lou took Ted and Warren back to where their cars were parked and told them he would call tomorrow and they might spend some time at the range brushing up old skills. Jack was waiting for Lou when he came back and said, “Before you hit the sheets and after you tell Storm she did a really fine job – we couldn’t have done it without her – come down to the small meeting room. Coffee is there.”

Lou came in the room and said, “Jack, you must be wiped out. You and Kathy have been going for nearly 36 hours without any down time.”

“We’re both pretty tired. Kathy’s in bed but I wanted to go over a couple of things with you before joining her. Because of you and your team five young women have their lives ahead of them, instead of being trapped in a life of slavery. Are you satisfied with your team?”

“Yeah. But they need to get better and they will. I wouldn’t want them in a firefight until they bring their old skills up to par. I told them to go to the range after they get some rest. What happened the last few days in Atlantic City and Loudoun County is making them think. They’re used to the ponderous, careful process of the law-and-order philosophy. They don’t yet realize areas like terrorism, human trafficking, and drug gangs cannot be defeated solely with the process they were trained to follow. They couldn’t believe our kind of justice could move so swiftly. There is no way their old process of painstaking evidence collection, the warrant process, indictment, and trial, all subject to rules that favor the criminal, could have saved these women.”

“That’s the bottom line,” Jack said. “Saving people and preventing harm in the future to others is what we’re about. Yes, we do break the law from time to time but so do the CIA, Special Forces, and foreign intelligence services. Only they have support for their transgressions. We don’t. The law and order people would love to find us, try us, and jail us. They would believe they were serving the nation and protecting our way of life.

The justice we practice challenges their sheltered beliefs. If their daughter was one of the women we saved tonight, they would praise us. Water boarding would be seen as a necessary step to saving their child. Recognizing the hypocrisy of the protection of the criminals with the law and order approach will not happen. So we must be careful. I have two reasons for wanting to talk with you tonight. The first is, can you manage your team by keeping them in what they would consider lawful activities and screen them from seeing things that would make them witnesses for the prosecution?”

“Nothing we did in Atlantic City bothers them. I don’t know everything that happened tonight. Ted and Warren didn’t see much. There was no gunfire. They are wondering how you freed five women in thirty minutes or so without firing a weapon. As I said, I don’t know what happened but I know the bad guys at that farm are not going to be in business tomorrow or anytime later.”

“If we ever get busted, I don’t want you, Storm, or members of your team in trouble. Kathy, Kelly, Sally, and I will handle the real hard stuff. But we can’t do that without your help. Okay?”

“You pay very well. You can’t earn anywhere near the money you pay in run-of-the-mill security operations. I believe we are like contractors the military and CIA hire to work in hot areas. I understand and will follow your guidelines in running my team.”

“Okay! Now for the second reason. Kathy and I persuaded Conrad’s buddy, the guy your team picked up at the restaurant stop along 95 and followed to the Silver Chalice, to tell us about his boss who runs the human trafficking business Conrad and Jim Marshall are part of. His boss’s name is Eddie Hawkins. Now get this, Hawkins is the chief of a police unit in Baltimore.”

“But Sally was snatched in Pittsburgh. Surely Hawkins can’t be controlling human trafficking in the entire country,” Lou said. “Storm believes the human trafficking we’re working on is run on a franchise basis. With regional bosses in several parts of the country signing up gangs to work their areas and develop spotters, snatchers, and transporters.”

“Kelly also believes something like that is going on. I believe they’re right. Ask Storm to set up a file that shows what we know and what we think the organization looks like. A short list of questions to ask our occasional captives would be helpful. I want you and your team to deploy to Baltimore and begin to develop a target file on Chief Hawkins. Storm can put what you pick up and what she can find out searching the web into the file. This guy will have heard about his dead sniper at Marshall’s shooting camp in Montana and the fire at Conrad’s farm and the loss of his human merchandise. He will be alert. Don’t let him spot any surveillance. No big deal if we lose him. You can always find him on the job. I want him to think he is free and clear.”

“Good. We’ll go to Baltimore the day after tomorrow.”

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

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