Janah, “I’ve called in, my contact is sending out the troops, they’ll collect the prisoner and sequester him until this is done. Can’t have him talking about being spirited off by Marshalls, then sitting in a cell someplace. I don’t know how they plan to handle it, maybe say the warrant was issued for the wrong guy, sorry about that.”
Katya, “We’re taking the subject out of town, can you find us a room someplace to interrogate him? Having it rented and the key card would help. We vacated our room, do not want to haul him there anyway. We also had no time to collect evidence from the site, Eloise got a computer but we have no idea if anything is on it that will be useful.”
“Not a problem, back to you in a bit. Car change has been arranged in Charleston, just leave the key on the floorboard,” she gives Katya directions to a covered parking lot and a description of the new vehicle.
I ask, “What happened inside?”
Katya, “Stealth worked in our favor. Those guards must have been low level, lazy from inaction. Two were sitting on a couch playing video games, two were in the kitchen preparing dinner and sipping cheap wine. Lauren and I took out the two gamers, Eloise and Katja hit the kitchen, one was in a pantry behind us. He came out and tried for Eloise, he had a stun gun but the taser hit her in the back and the darts wouldn’t stick, she turned and got him in the neck. Guns are great, no mess, instantly effective. We saved them from a lousy dinner, some kind of hash with cabbage, smelled nasty.”
“The helicopter will have reported you heading to I-77. That’s not great news, unfortunately it’s the only way out. There is some help, they can’t be sure if you head north or south. Still, don’t waste time in Charleston, it’s the biggest city for miles and a good guess would be that’s where you will go. They also don’t know you have Wartler, but they’ll assume that’s why you went to the facility in the first place. We see you on one drone, the other is still following the van, it’s near Charleston now.”
“Any idea who the drivers are?”
“Iraq vets from the long ago war on terror. Names don’t matter, they were low level grunts. If they stop in Charleston, fine, we can track them on the GPS. Collect both drones after you switch cars, your new one will be a panel van. From Charleston, take I-64 west to Huntington, it’s just over fifty miles, there will be a room arranged.”
“Got it, we’re halfway to Charleston.”
“May be a good idea to keep one drone in the air, if they’re searching for you it will certainly be by copter or small plane.”
“Or they have a drone as well.”
“Good point, I must be slipping. Enough chat, we’re monitoring, get the cars swapped and on the way to Huntington. We get the same three sixty view from the drone you do, and we’re keeping a vigilant eye on any intrusive aircraft.”
“It will be dark by the time we get to Huntington, I do not want to stop for food.”
“Oh, my bad, I forgot to mention, the van will have provisions, once you’ve switched, don’t stop again.”
Lauren’s onscreen, “You thought of everything mommy.”
“Wish I had, Nikko thought of the food and drinks. You have a long night ahead. While Katya interviews Wartler, you and Katja need to keep a sharp eye on both the drone feed and the neighborhood. Eloise will assist with the interrogation.”
Lauren grins, “My first kill, gamer looked me in the eye, then I put a laser hole in his.”
I don’t know how thrilled I am about that part, it’s the ugly part of our family life, she’s demonstrated she’s in all the way.
The swap in Charleston goes smoothly, no government goombas leap out from behind parked cars to retrieve their scientist. Wartler is mildly sedated, they haul him from the SUV and park him in the back of the van with the drone and Eloise.
I feel better now that the SUV is out of the game and the panel van is in. We have two rooms booked at a forgettable motel, the key cards are in an envelope taped under steps to the second floor. Their rooms are on the first, kind of hard to take trussed-up Wartler up a flight of steps, even at night.
They put him in the corner room, the one next door is only to provide a space between Wartler’s room and any guest. From the looks of the lot, there aren’t many.
While Eloise and Katya arrange Wartler, Katja and Lauren unload the chest of food and drinks and the bit of luggage they have, which goes to the second room. The pharmaceutical case goes to the corner room.
Katja and Lauren are in the second room monitoring the drone, only the passing traffic along the interstate, nothing suspicious prowling around the motel.
Katya and Eloise have Wartler secured in the only chair, one for the small desk. They load him with Truth, our synthetic drug that keeps him awake and aware, but incapable of telling a lie. It takes only minutes to kick in.
Wartler shakes his head, the tranquilizer has been neutralized by the new drug, which has a hint of amphetamine to spur talkativeness.
“What do you want? Do you have any idea who you’re screwing with? I don’t mean me, I’m just the guy in the lab.”
“You are going to tell us exactly who we are screwing with. We know it is a shadow government, maybe you call it something else. It does not matter. You are going to give us every contact you have, and everything you know about them. Don’t feel too bad, you cannot help yourself, the drug is that good. Would you like a drink of water?”
Eloise opens a bottle, puts it to his lips and lets him have a few sips, they don’t need him wanting a bathroom break.
“After we have what we want, then you can have the whole bottle and a second if you wish.”
Wartler knows three names and one location, the only place he has ever seen them.
“How deep is the organization?”
“They never said, but from conversation I deduced about three or four more, I overheard one say, ‘we need to call Simpson and the others, this isn’t going well and we can’t keep killing old people with no progress.’”
“You do not know who Simpson is?”
“No, but they operate loosely tied to Langley. My research is nothing the mother ship wants to know much about. Deniability is the key word.”
“What is the point? What makes you think using genetically altered pig hormones will make people live forever, or longer?”
“That is the frustrating part. Simulations say it ought to work. I decided age was the problem, the subjects were too weak to take the burst of activity the hormones produced. That’s when the prisoner showed up, someone stronger not so decrepit. You fucked that up.”
“Too bad. Why didn’t you stick to animal testing?”
“That was the flaw, we did, but we used healthy animals. They did live longer, not forever, rats live about three years, we got test subjects to four, a significant increase. If it worked in humans, you’re talking a hundred easy, even one twenty five. And with little deterioration of motor skills or mental capacity. The rats ran mazes, swam for hours, even at over three years old, impossible under normal circumstances.”
“I am having trouble getting the drift, I know that waiting around to test lifespan of a forty or fifty year old human would take another fifty years if successful, so you went with older people first. If it worked, it would still be a twenty year wait.”
“I tried to tell them that. What they wanted was to use it on themselves, and they didn’t want to wait thirty or forty years, most of them would be dead or nearly so. They figured if the old test subjects became youthful and vibrant, good enough. When that didn’t work, they agreed to younger subjects. Extended life is a powerful aphrodisiac.”
“There are life extension drugs now.”
“Not like I can make, or think I can make. If it works, you have ninety year old men with the vigor of a fifty year old, not exactly a teenager, but a vast improvement. Today’s treatments add a few years of relative health, but nothing like that.”
“The men you dealt with, how old?”
“Two late fifties and a sixty, my guess, we didn’t get into birthdays.”
“Ah, thus the rush.”
“Exactly. And there was talk of developing a second treatment, for younger men and women, the vitality part.”
“Yes. Bigger, stronger hearts, vastly improved blood flow, rapid healing and enormous strength. Perhaps even more acute vision and hearing.”
I’m at home grinning, if he only knew, some of us have that stuff now, but I presume he can’t talk to birds, bears, wolves or snakes.
Katya, “And you were also not satisfied with just using the current treatments.”
“Of course, I’m fifty, I could be doing research until I am a hundred, a hundred and twenty or longer.”
“But you need access to test subjects, not something you were willing to go capture yourself.”
“No, highly risky. This way, I got subjects without the trouble and risk of snatching them. Unless of course someone like you comes along. How did you…?”
“I am not giving up my secrets, you are here to give up yours.”
“I’m empty, what now?”
“Now we verify your story, after that, who knows?”
He shrugs, not much else he can do. They loosen him enough for a bathroom break, it’s a typical motel bathroom, no window to jump out of. Then give him more water and a sandwich. He’s not going to try to escape, while he eats, Eloise has the laser pointed at him. Katya puts him to sleep, they transfer him to the bed, tied not with picture wire, just enough duct tape to keep him from being mobile. He’s out for at least six hours anyway. Bedtime for everyone. Katya and Eloise take the bed nearest the door, in the other room Lauren and Katja take turns watching the drone feed, nothing outside of interest for the rest of the night.
Grace B and Emma B spent the night researching the names Wartler provided.
Ellis, Magnus and Potemkin, last names.
I’m into my second cup, stirring eggs while Dasha makes biscuits and Ellen fries bacon, garden sausage for Janah and Oceane. We’re going basic this morning.
Grace B, “Ellis and Magnus are military, were, detached now. Non-illustrious careers, one made Major, one a Captain. Potemkin is a turned Russian, been in the states for twenty years. There haven’t been wars for soldiers to earn a lot of medals, they mustered out after twenty and took the checks. They disappeared for a time, surfaced together seven or eight years ago as liaison to the CIA. Liaison to what is unrecorded.”
Nikko, “Sounds like we have to grab one and interview him.”
Janah, “This is weird, two ex-military, not even particularly ranking military, and a turned spy are a shadow government? Is there any evidence they made some vast fortune either in the military or after they left?”
Grace B, “No, not in personal bank accounts anyway, Emma B did financials on all three. Collectively they are worth maybe three million, more than half is Magnus. If they have money offshore, or virtual assets, they are buried deep.”
Dasha, “Does not anyway mahter, we will get everything out of them wiz interrogating.”
Zi, “How do we find them? With the capture, aren’t they going silent for a while?”
“We make them come to us, we have the bait.”
Dasha, “Da, gud, they will want the scientist back.”
“Or they will want him gone, he’s a liability now.”
Nikko, “You’re on your game Daph, so, let’s demand a ransom.”
I grin, “Brilliant, I always wanted to pull off the perfect kidnapping.”
Janah, “Where are these people? I know there’s a substation connected to Langley, they hang out there?”
Grace B, “Now that we have names, we can find out. The van did not go there, or anywhere near there. It went to an underground parking facility in Arlington. According to the GPS, it is still there.”
“Can we get to it?”
“Yes, it is a public lot.”
Nikko, “We can’t have Katya driving around with Wartler in a van looking for another van in Arlington.”
“Quite right. Mrs. Pearson can call someone and have it stolen, then searched. I’d say a couple of us could fly out and do it ourselves, but if there’s nothing, we only waste time.”
Janah, “Or we just wait and see if it moves. The tracker hibernates until the vehicle moves, the battery Eloise uses lasts a long time even when it’s active.”
“Better idea. They either use it again, or it’s abandoned, I doubt they left clues as to their whereabouts inside. So, we wait until Grace B and Emma B have more detail on our three principals.”
“Yes, those three are first level management, not the CEO and top level executives. We want the whole crew and that means snagging at least one of the three, preferably all of them.”
Nikko, “We do anything now?”
“I don’t see why. We screwed up their experiment, nobody is getting deadly injections. Just wait, when we have a contact method, we get in touch with our ransom demand.”
Daria, “Will they not send more expendables to deliver the money? Backed up by more paramilitary types. I like the ransom idea, but it seems like it could get messy quickly.”
Nikko, “Good point, none of the three is going to show up with a bag of hundreds, that’s grunt work. Scratch my idea.”
“Grace B, connect all the CCTV in the area around the substation. Let’s take a look at who goes in and out. If they park underground, we at least know what cars go in and out. From the plates, our trio might show up as owners, registration will tell us where they live, or at least where they get their mail.”
Licenses and registration do not require a home address, just a place where mail can be delivered, like a new plate or the little renewal sticker. Despite all the advances in technology, DMVs still use the antiquated manual system. What they ought to do is put a chip in the car, readable by law enforcement like an rfid chip, that would tell the authorities who owns the car, if it is insured and if the owner is properly licensed and registered. Cars wouldn’t need plates at all. The old way doesn’t hurt our feelings, we frequently steal plates and swap them on rentals until we’re done with them. So do lots of criminals one presumes.
We’ve chatted through breakfast, the children are swimming, I hear the board thunk as Oceane does an amazing dive and slips into the water as if she were a needle.
“Time for a bit of sun,” I go out and park on a lounger, strip off my t-shirt and let the Arizona sun pump up my vitamin D.
While I fry, an exaggeration, the temp is seventy two, Morshchiny pads over from her spot on the edge of the pool and looks up at me. I pick her up and give her room between my knees. She sags into sleep while I scratch her back.
After an hour, I get up to shower, the mastiff blinks at me and rolls on her back. I do my duty and rub her tummy, earn a lick and put her back on the deck. I figure she might need a pee, so we walk over to the designated area, she sniffs around and squats. Relieved, she saunters over to her spot by the pool watching the children.
Kota B, “Enough for today girls, showers, lunch is in an hour, then a rest.”
Like fish leaping to the shore, girls clamber out of the pool and shower in turn under the two outdoor showers, Kota B hands out towels, they swarm up the outside steps to the exterior dorm entrance, Morshchiny loping along behind them.
Shower, lunch, nap. When I get moving again, I check in with Katya.
“With the ransom plan dropped, we do not need Wartler anymore. We are halfway up an abandoned mining road, in a few minutes his body will disappear into the wilderness, or maybe a mineshaft. Then we go to Arlington.”
“Do you have to go back through Charleston?”
“Nyet, we take a bit longer route that bypasses Charleston, it’s just over four hundred miles either way, no problem. We swap the van for two SUVs outside Arlington, it is all arranged. Hotel too, key cards in the SUV.”
“Mrs. Pearson’s been busy.”
“Ah, found a good spot, talk later.”
I click off, Janah comes along.
“You all refreshed?”
“One of those zone out naps, half asleep.”
“Good, now I need to relax,” she strips off her t-shirt, now she’s nice and nude, lays on the bed and cocks out one creamy luscious leg, “no need for foreplay, just do what you do.”
I don’t need to be told twice, kneel between her legs, lower my head, yummy. She’s already warm, maybe she should order hits more often.
After she pops and trembles, she grins at me and turns over on her knees, “Do the south side too.”
While I lick the a-part, Britt comes in and sits on the bed, “Janah is such a sensualist.”
She scoots next to Janah’s head, kisses to her cheek turn into mouth to mouth, while they make out and I tongue tush, I see Britt’s hand between her legs. Then she moves in front of Janah and leans against the wall, butt propped on the pillow.
Janah mentals me, “You okay with it?”
“She’s ready or she wouldn’t be here.”
Janah gets busy, I’m looking over her back at Britt. Her eyes are slits, the tip of her tongue on her upper lip, she’s moaning softly.
Janah goes off, I hold my tongue on the spot and juice her with qi. Geez, what a vibe. Then I hear a squeal, look at Britt, she clutching the sheets, her hips undulate slowly.
“Ooh, ooh….oooohhhhh,” she slumps to her side, a shiver, her eyes pop open, she giggles, “God that’s amazing.”
“Been my experience.”
Janah shifts over, Lauren licks her lips, they kiss.
“She ain’t no child no more.”
I roll off the bed and head to the bathroom. After I’m done, I slip on a t-shirt and head to the kitchen to start tea. Janah and Britt still lip locked, hands roaming the smooth taut territory.
It’s near midnight before they hit the Covert Op Inn Arlington.
“Everything go okay?”
Katja, “Da, swapped cars, room key cards in one SUV as requested. I presume the van will disappear overnight.”
“Yes, Transportation is most efficient. They are paid well to deliver.”
“On the drive over, we had time to review what Grace B found out., maybe it was Emma B, not sure. We have all three cars, owners Elis, Magnus and Potemkin. Magnus has a house outside Arlington, the others live in apartments, not at the same location.”
“Grace B tap the phones, computers?”
“Da, we will plant listening devices when they are out tomorrow. We do not think much shadow government business is discussed or transmitted from home.”
“Probably right, maybe an emergency though, and they definitely have an emergency.”
“Could be, we will be prepared tomorrow.”
“Watch for cameras.”
“Sister and I grew up breaking into houses, Eloise and Lauren are electronics experts.”
“Appears we have the right crew for the job.”
“And we will have more crew tomorrow, you, Janah and the twins are flying out in the morning.”
“So I was told, get rested, might be a busy few days.”
We click off, I do a bed check on the children, lines of little girls lined up on the circle of beds, Morshchiny cuddled between Uma and Zofia. Her head pops up and examines me, satisfied I’m family, head drops back between her paws.
Kota B stands silent guard in her corner, likely working on hacking files from the men we are going to interview.
We have coffee only, Ellen offers to make breakfast but we ordered omelets for the plane ride, give us something to do, and since Dasha and I are going, she’s got kitchen duty for the whole crew.
Chloe shows up with Amaya, “I’m going to help with breakfast, Britt’s coming down as well, she wants to be a backup chef.”
Amaya, “And I am hauling you to the airport, drink up, it is time to go.”
Sloane appears, “I’m riding, it’s fun to speed around with Amaya.”
Amaya likes speed, we don’t fall under eighty five on the main road. The local constabulary and the staties have used our gun range free of charge for years, they know our cars. Not only do they know our cars, she’s wrangled a blue light out of them. When she zips down the highway over the limit, she flips on the flasher and nobody bothers her. Regular drivers even pull over to the side like obedient citizens.
I kiss Sloane, then Amaya, she issues a final warning to avoid injury or she will never forgive us, we board and are airborne five minutes later. More pharmaceuticals, two laser guns, a bit of baggage including our working gear, and two more drones stowed in the cargo area.
We touch down at a municipal airport south of Arlington, one SUV, Katya already has two and we’re only after three men. We get to the Residence Inn at two thirty, toss our stuff in two rooms and go to Katya’s.
Katja, “We skipped bugging the house and apartments, Grace B and the others dug out sufficient information. This group is unofficial of course, but financed by the CIA and a couple of Senators, not surprisingly on the Intelligence Committee. The Senators happen to be ultra wealthy, billionaires, not in our league, but substantial enough. They are not only ultra wealthy, they are ultra conservative, fascist is not too strong a term. That leaning they keep private, their public face is right wing, but not extreme. The shadow government was formed when more progressive policies began to take precedence in the twenties. (As in 2020, it is 2033 now.) With little opportunity to war profiteer, higher taxes, stricter tax regulation, the re-imposition of banking and financial oversight and reining in pharmaceutical companies and medical costs, they are not happy citizens. Both of them profited heavily in all those businesses.
The goal appears to be to create chaos around the world, multiple rounds of false flag operations, generate fear and anger. You can see where it is headed.”
“Sure, pumped up military activity, more money to the military industrial complex.”
“They will also find a way to create financial chaos, then restrict basic income programs implemented when bots took over so many blue and white collar jobs.”
“How can they do that?”
“Hack a few major financial institutions, misdirect transactions, it is not so difficult. Even taint the water supply and screw with the power grid. All they need is to make the people afraid. In times of crisis and fear, frightened citizens practically demand a police state.”
“Well, I don’t want a police state, and we’re not going to let these dopes create one. The Senators know about the pig hormone business?”
“Not so they would admit it, no doubt they would want a greatly extended lifespan if the treatments exist. We know they do the current versions, they are north of sixty five, look fifty five. Current drugs and surgery are good for making people look younger, actual life extension is a different matter.”
“So they die at ninety looking eighty?”
Katya grins, “Pretty much sums it up.”
“Do we take them in transit, or at home?”
Katja, “When the opportunity presents itself. I think we follow directly, with drone support.”
“What do you know about the parking lot at the station?”
“Underground, guarded. It isn’t supposed to be a government operation, but they have guards at lots of commercial buildings. There are cams at the entrance and exit lanes, no doubt cams in the lot itself.”
“Then the building is out. Any feel for other people working there, it isn’t but two stories and the square footage isn’t much.”
“Techs, four who monitor global feeds, signs of unrest, looking for tender spots to poke and inflame. We only found out about them when we started tracking license plates. Two techs, twelve hour shifts, six to six.”
“Any sense of what they know? Like about pig experiments?”
Katja, “Nyet. We got a bit of surveillance feed from the drone’s listening device. There is some talk of potential targets to inflame, and to what degree. When the three principals are gone, there are video games, the night crew fucked the evening we listened in.”
“Straight, gay, in-between?”
“Two guys, the day crew is a male and a female, they might go at it too, we just never heard them. It was only last night, we got in late, Eloise set the drone to listen in and we went to bed. We found out this morning when we replayed the feed.”
“Dang, gay Nazis, whoda thought?”
Janah, “Maybe that’s why it’s the Aryan brotherhood, nothing promotes solidarity like sex between the boys.”
Dasha, “Dahfoney, we will get busy now, we do not haf to anyway hang around for days to keel a few pig peersons.”
“Correct,” she doesn’t like being away from the children, I don’t blame her, I don’t like part of our family in one place and part in another, “eight of us, three cars, Eloise can fly the drones from here, Janah can keep her company and mental me if we miss something on the ground. Lauren and I will take one target, the twin-twins can either mix and match or go as a set, up to you. Actually, mix might be better, each of you will have one Russian bear if something goes sideways and there is a faceoff.”
Katya, “Good idea, sister and I would just shoot them.”
Janah, “And we need them talkative. Do we need a chat room?”
She doesn’t mean a net site, she means a place to haul the targets for interrogation, under the duress of our pharmaceuticals, before we kill them.
“You can arrange something, in case. We aren’t bringing them here.”
Janah, “Will do. Uh oh, one of the cars is leaving.”
Eloise, “That’s Magnus, he’s alone. I’ll get a second drone on him,” she goes off to launch it.
Since we’re in highly restricted airspace, we’re using our smallest versions, they can remain airborne less time than the bigger version, but they are virtually impossible to spot from two hundred feet and are coated with a finish she and Lauren developed that reflects the color of the environment, a chameleon drone.
All you see is whatever color is primary in the sky.
Daria has prepped three pharmaceutical cases and the requisite restraints.
“Lauren and I will take Magnus.”
We head for the SUV, load up and click on the drone feed. That loads to a GPS that gives me directions just as if I had plugged in a stationary destination.
It appears he’s headed home. Twenty minutes later he pulls into his drive, garage door opens, closes again when his electric Mercedes silently slips inside. His place is nondescript, he didn’t go mansion, I’m guess twenty five or twenty eight hundred square feet. Grace B’s research says he’s divorced, one child, grown and gone, living in Milan. His ex was killed in a fatal car accident ten years earlier, they were already divorced. The son got the life insurance proceeds and didn’t waste a minute leaving the country, and apparently didn’t regret leaving daddy.
Lauren, “What now?”
“My approach on these things is generally direct, knock on the door, when he answers, clock him and go inside. People don’t expect a slim woman to be cracking them in the jaw after ‘hello’.”
“My mom is a piece of work, so gentle with us, so vicious otherwise.”
“The people we deal with make me look like a gnani.”
“What’s a gnani?”
“A realized person, one who has shed any sense of duality and sees the world as one.”
“So, peace and love.”
“That’s the common interpretation, in fact, a gnani be quite violent, depending on the situation. The realized one is not subject to convention, habit or has any interest in other people’s opinion.”
“Then you are realized, awake.”
“Primarily due to Janah, we are each other, one cannot be anything the other is not.”
“Will I realize, be awakened?”
“You are already awakened, as is everyone, but they are blinded by desire and fear.”
Lauren is quiet, internalizing. Meanwhile, Magnus has a visitor, two visitors in fact.
Lauren, “I suppose knocking on the door is a no go.”
I’m on with Eloise and Janah, “Drop the drone in, get pictures of the visitors, and we need to listen to this.”
The two men exit the car, Magnus opens the door as they approach, nods his head indicating they should come in. The door closes.
Magnus, “I’m having a drink, what can I get you?”
“Whatever you’re having.”
I give Janah the make and model of the car and the plate number, “Let’s see who’s inside.”
She’s back in seconds, Grace B is fast, “Bradford Simpson owns the car, the second man will take a minute…, Chandler Frost, former ambassador to Russia, an undistinguished career, which as an ambassador is a sign of success. He’s used to working behind the scenes, which means lots of things to hide.”
“Simpson’s name came up earlier.”
“Yes, he’s the scion of a mega rich weapons dealing family. They manufactured assault rifles and small arms, shifted to lasers with some success. Their guns were only moderately accepted, they didn’t have good penetration control, just burned through the body and anything behind it. If the military knew the level of control we have on ours, there is almost no price they wouldn’t pay.”
“And if we wouldn’t sell, there is no amount of harassment and attempted theft they wouldn’t use.”
“Simpson’s family now makes most of their money brokering arms deals. Their product might suck, but it’s cheap. Some factions don’t care how much they destroy in the process of killing enemies, if fact, it’s a valued feature. In the course of dealing their own weapons, Simpson created a network of other contacts for bigger and badder war toys. They are a trusted go-between, guaranteeing both payment and delivery.”
“Okay, we have part of top management, Simpson and Frost, plus Magnus.”
“I’m thinking Magnus, Ellis and Potemkin are management of the paramilitary. The others are the real shadow government, the two you have there, unspecified others and the two Senators.”
“Yep. And while I have them boxed in a room, I’m going to take advantage.”
“I kind of wish you had Dasha or Daria.”
“Lauren will do her part, not a problem. We may do nothing until his two guests leave, I’m going to stick a tracker on their car, then we listen to them chat.”
I sneak down the street, Simpson’s luxury liner Caddy is just past the sidewalk. As I stroll along, drop the phone I have to my ear, curse, bend over and thunk a tracker on the bumper strut. I pick up my phone and pretend to listen. Our stuff is protected against drops, even on concrete sidewalks, OtterBox Defenders did the job quite well. Then Eloise came up with a protective case that is also a taser, the kind you have to touch the target with, we didn’t want a string of wire and darts to fiddle with.
Back in the car, “Anything?”
Lauren, “They’re in a frenzy about the missing Wartler, they think he probably went to ground after the facility was raided, since he hasn’t checked in, they are talking either coercion by an unknown third party, or outright defection.”
Voice 1, “We need to find that bastard. He knows you three and us. Fortunately he has no knowledge Schmidt and Becker are involved, or the other five council members.”
Voice 2, “He knows enough to drag us into a nasty mess just from the experiments.”
Voice 1, “At least he’s in the dark as to the rest of our operation. We need to find Wartler and kill him. Once he’s not around to testify, there is no connection to us, not that can be found anyway. You’re sure of your systems Magnus?”
“”Yes, yes, all secure, NSA secure.”
I ask Lauren, “We’re recording, right?”
“And they think they’re covered, too much trust in encryption, not to mention, Wartler has already testified, to us.”
Voice 1, “Get your people busy finding Wartler.”
Magnus, “Already on it, nothing at his home, nobody’s been in, nothing was disturbed. He’s obviously not at the facility, his car is still parked there. Whoever raided the place took him. They may simply want to have him pay a ransom, he’s loaded from the sale of Agricon.”
Actually, we took all his money already, Nikko has it traveling the world dropping off some in our various shell corporations, the bulk in untraceable virtual currency.
Voice 2, “Are you suggesting we have a leak?”
Magnus, “What else?”
Voice 1, “Maybe someone wanted him back in the seed business. Or some other GMO project, he is an expert.”
Voice 2, “He got obsessed with life extension, thought he was the Dr. Frankenstein of hormones. He only created short lived Frankensteins. Another good idea that doesn’t work.”
Lauren giggles, “Good thing they don’t know about us….does that make us Frankensteins?”
They have another drink, good, loosens tongues.
Magnus, “How is the destabilization of Chile coming?”
Voice 1, “Be riots anytime, then the revolutionaries, just another gang of thugs who want power by killing off the current gang of thugs, will be suitably armed, allegedly courtesy of the Russians. Simpson is lining up a Russian arms deal as we speak. When the new thugs are found to possess Russian made automatic weapons and shoulder fired missiles, along with Simpson’s crappy laser guns, all with Russian import stamps, our intelligence services will be flooded with proof that the Kremlin is actively destabilizing yet another dictatorship.”
Magnus, “President Munoz was democratically elected.”
Voice 2, “Yes, but he was, or will be, forced to crackdown when rebels start taking towns outside the capitol. Then we drop in and cut off water supplies and power in the capitol itself. The comfortable and wealthy urban population of Santiago will not be happy. It will all deteriorate splendidly, and we sell more arms to President Munoz. After the rebels get the first wave of arms cheap, the price goes up, they resort to kidnapping, what is left of the drug business and theft to fund their rebellion. They will be crushed of course, but not until we’ve made a billion dollars give or take.”
Magnus, “Christ, we keep pulling the same shit in country after country and nobody catches on.”
Voice 1, “And we can always rely on the Middle East, oil isn’t the big deal it once was, now it’s simply about tribalism and which insane imam is building a power base. Gold, diamonds, silver, fishing rights, even cheap old oil are all reasons to go to war, and the Middle East has the added incentive of religious stupidity. Resources and religion, the two factors underlying all war.”
Voice 2, “And the beauty of religion is vengeance for old grievances, your father’s father killed my father’s, father’s family and we must avenge. Fuckers never forget, just simmer and wait for an opportunity, which then must also be avenged. It’s a weapons dealer’s perpetual annuity.”
Voice 1, “Our extortion operation is running like a quantum computer. Congressmen, CEOS, White House admins, it is so easy to encourage moral failures. You have any idea how many men want a thirteen year old girl? All of them. Maybe not all, some want eight to ten year old boys, we even got one female information officer in the White House with a penchant for little boys and one female Congressional aide and a Congresswoman who are into little girls. Not fourteen year old little girls either, as young as six.”
Magnus, “Where do they come from, they picking up street kids?”
“No, arms deals involve all kinds of negotiations, all across the world, you want Slavic blonds, oriental tidbits, Latin spice? You want it we can get it. Gorgeous children every one. I’ve been tempted myself, but we get enough eighteen year old escorts to keep us satisfied. None of us is queer, we have no need for pretty boys.”
I’m on our private line with Janah, “Make sure Eloise has full facial shots of our targets, and I’m sure you’ve arranged to have their car followed.”
“Covered, when Simpson drops off Frost we’ll have the drone track him home. It’s only extra caution, Grace B has addresses, but it won’t hurt to verify with a visual and get a look at the property. Once they get home, we’re going to each for an interview.”
“We’ll have Magnus under wraps by the time they hit the freeway.”