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My Little Mystery Part 14

My Little Mystery Part 14

Emily and Leo land in Soouthampton. Cricket listens to Roger and takes back control of the group.

Here it was 3:30 in the morning two days later and Cricket lay in bed wide awake. Her mind filled with random thoughts of Emily. Was she the one who led the assault on her? Was she out there waiting to attack again? Why was she pushing this agenda? One thought after another cascaded through her brain. She sat up, looked around the room, as she felt the presence of someone else. Ever since the night Roger revealed his specter, she felt him there. Now the feeling intensified, it protected her and smothered her with love.

"Roger," she called. "I know you are here, I can feel you guarding me. Please, come talk to me. I miss you and still love you."

"I am here Cricket, my love. I have not left your side since that night I revealed myself. You are in danger and I have to help you. I don't want you to die never having felt real love and passion."

"Oh Roger, now you are being so melodramatic. Stop it. You mentioned dangers. What is going on? Do you know? Please talk to me."

"As you know, there were two attacks here, but there have been several probes to find your weakness. Most of them have failed. Notice, I said most, not all."

"Yes Roger, what do you mean?"

"There have been people spying on you here, who you can't see. They have been on the property unseen or heard. Your security has a big hole. You are using infra-red cameras. These are good in low light situations, but if there is no light then what do you do?"

"I don't know. Is there a better technology?"

"Yes, there is thermal imaging and motion sensing. Ask Eric about those. He can install them along with what is already there."

"There have been other probes too. Not here or at your home, but at Wolf's Head Oil. I like what you have done with my company by the way. The expansion into other forms of energy was brilliant. I totally missed that opportunity. Well done, my love."

"Thank you Roger. I wanted to spur major growth in the company and these emerging technologies were ready to explode. But that is not what you want to tell me."

"True, have you noticed any unusual activity in some of your offshore drilling platforms lately? There is something amiss in the Gulf of Mexico. Some substandard materials are being used. These can result in a major environmental disaster bigger and costlier than the BP disaster a few years ago. Check it out."

"I had not seen that. I have been more concerned with the Chinese and their under cutting of our bids on some rather large solar projects. They seem to be bidding well below their costs. It is hurting our business."

"Check it out. I think you will see that they are making a profit. They have found a way to manufacture solar cells very fast, cheaply. It might be a good idea to scale back your domestic investment and invest in the Chinese technology companies."

"Is there anything else, Roger?"

"Just be careful my love. Share the knowledge you have. Let the others help you. I can see the toll this is having on you. They love you and want to be with you for a long time. Place some trust in them, please?"

"You know how hard it is for me to let go and delegate. For you and me, I will try. Roger, I still love you, thank you for coming back to help me."

With that Cricket lay back down, hugged her pillow and fell asleep smiling. For the first time in weeks, she felt good and more things came to light that needed to be done. Morning soon would arrive with a new mandate for the group. A new day arrived; it was time for action on all sides.

Cal quietly entered Cricket’s room later that morning, looked at Cricket sleeping with a smile and woke her for breakfast. She sat up, stretched and gestured for Cal to come closer. When he got next to her she reached out and hugged him tightly. She whispered in his ear, “We need to check some things out here and at work.” She kissed him. They left the room together and joined the rest of the group for the morning meal. Everyone seemed to be hyper alert after last night’s revealing time with Mr. Wagner and Mr. Schultz.

When the meal ended, the group got to work plotting their offensive plans. This went on for fifteen minutes, but Cricket felt it was time to reveal her nemesis. She stood up, rapped on the table and took back control of the group. All eyes turned to look at her as she spoke.

“As you all know, I have stepped back and let others run this investigation and probes to find out who is attacking. Thanks to our meeting last night, I know that I can no longer do things alone. I know who is leading the attacks at me. It is one of my former classmates, Emily. I broke her leg and left her with a limp, while we were in school. Later on she was caught and convicted of embezzling funds from Wolf’s Head Oil. I learned that she was released from prison just recently. I can imagine she has a big grudge against me and my success. I am sorry, that you have been dragged into this mess. I thought I could handle this, as I did in the past. You are all now a big part of my life and I depend on you for a lot. I had to share this with you and ask for your help stopping her.”

The group to a person said, “Here, Here, we will be beside you through this and anything else going on.”

“Let’s get busy trying to find Emily. She is not the real problem here. She does not have enough resources to pay for these attacks. There is someone or a group behind her. That is who we have to find and bring them down.”

Cal got up and went to Cricket’s side. He saw that she was feeling weakened by this. She looked at him and reached out. He held her close and sat down with her. Everyone looked on, but nothing was said. They knew the events of the past took its toll on her. They were her support group and she needed them now, more than ever. The table buzzed with people exchanging information and getting assignments. Thirty minutes later they left to continue the investigation.

Cricket called to Eric and Erin. They stayed behind to talk with her. “What kind of surveillance systems do we have in place today?” She asked.

“We have infrared cameras and sound sensors deployed.” Eric replied.

“What about thermal imaging cameras and acoustic sonar detection?”

“We never thought of those, but based on how the second group got through, we may need to install those too. We will get right on it today. They should be up and functional by tonight. Thank you for the suggestion, Cricket.”

Cricket looked up toward Roger and smiled.

Emily and the CEO landed at the Southampton airport late in the afternoon, got off the plane and got their SUV. As they drove out from the airport, their departure was captured by Erin on her computer. Facial recognition software had scanned them as they deplaned and set off an alarm telling her that Emily arrived in town. The software indentified her male companion as Leo Carter, CEO of Hooligans Ltd. Erin notified Stefan and Cal of their arrival. Cal asked that Erin track their movements and locate where they stayed. This was a tricky time for everyone. Surveillance, even remotely, was very difficult.

Emily and Leo arrived at their hotel and registered. They got back in the SUV and toured the area looking for a small office location to set up the access point for the assault team. They unloaded several laptop computers and some minimal office equipment. They called an office rental company and got delivery of two desks, a large table and several folding chairs. This completed the furnishings for the team. Disposable cell phones purchased locally were laid out on the table. Emily programmed the phones to communicate with each other and her disposable phone. All the numbers were local so as not to be traceable to Hooligans Ltd. They got in the car and cruised by Cal’s estate. It looked like a well constructed building that was about 50 years old. It had large windows and solid oak doors. It sat atop a small rise with a long driveway leading up to the front door. It appeared to be similar to several other estates in the neighborhood. As Leo drove, Emily reviewed the current surveillance footage they had. Nothing unusual flashed out at her. It was a normal small estate with average comings and goings. She wanted to get closer and inspect the building and the out buildings. There was a small garage capable of housing five cars. Behind all this was a small barn which looked to house some farm equipment for maintaining the grounds and trees. Nothing seemed unusual, all fit in with the area. They drove back to the office and set up the computers, readying them for the team, when they arrived.

Erin tracked the SUV to the hotel and called to verify they arrived and checked in. She tracked it again through Southampton to the small storefront they rented. She tagged the storefront for later check out by the technicians. When Leo and Emily left the storefront she followed them by using the traffic cameras on the roads around Southampton. For a small community, Southampton had the safest streets and lowest crime rate. Erin and Eric knew why. Everything that moved on a street in the town was closely monitored. Any citizen could login to the police station, monitor and watch the traffic flow. In summer the streets filled with tourists and party goers. Now it was fairly empty.

Satisfied, that they had everything they needed, Emily and Leo went to the hotel, where they ate a good dinner and went to sleep early to be ready, later that night to go back to Cal’s, and wander on the grounds. They needed to know what equipment was in use to monitor for intruders. They knew there were infrared cameras and sound sensing devices. They knew nothing of the improvements made to the systems since the attacks. They needed the latest information to give to the team. A walk on the grounds needed to be done to see this gear. At one thirty am, Emily woke up Leo to get into the SUV and drive out to the estate. As they drove upon the estate, it was dark except for a light out by the barn. They pulled beyond the estate and pulled off onto a small dirt road. They were dressed totally in black and covered their faces. They slowly walked in the foliage up to the main entrance. Everything was still dark except the barn which was normal. Some small lights appeared on in the house but they were in the kitchen and a dining room area.

As Leo and Emily crossed over the driveway entrance, an alarm sounded in the house. Erin watched her monitor and saw the movement of two people stealthily walking onto the estate. They appeared unarmed and moved cautiously. Erin knew by her earlier recognition scans, that they were Leo and Emily. She did not raise an alarm to wake Eric or Cal. It looked to be a probe to check out defenses. The less of a reaction to this probe the better, because it gave them a false sense of the lack of security. Erin tracked their every movement making sure, they did not get too close but stayed a safe distance away. After fifteen minutes Leo and Emily left the grounds with the information they needed.

Erin saved the record of the intrusion for later review by Stefan and Eric. She went back searching for who Hooligans’ client was. It was slow going but by following the money trail she was getting closer. One key piece of information, she missed, was the jet plane registration, when Leo and Emily arrived. The jet they flew in belonged to the client. It was the first big mistake Hooligans made. Of course Erin missed it too. All the footage of the landing and plane storage was kept for later review. Maybe Eric will find it later.

Mr. Wagner (Gus) and Mr. Schultz (Hans) had not slept much that night. They sat in their room looking out the window, trying to catch anything strange. They noticed the entrance of Emily and Leo. They laughed at how bad they were. They moved slowly, but did not try to hide very well.

“Do you think we trained those two very well?” Gus asked.

“No, we failed with them. I can’t believe they are graduates from our school. We better check out those classes when we get back.” Hans answered.

“Do you think we need to tell the group about the intrusion?”

“No, the alarms went off when they crossed the driveway coming in. I heard it when I went to get a coffee.”

“No wonder the team Natalia was in got captured and killed. These are thugs, we are seeing, not criminals. I hope our standards have increased since we graduated Leo. Emily’s limp makes her a bad candidate for stealth moves.”

“Natasha and Damon are a cute couple. They complement each other very well. What one lacks, the other has. When they were apart, it was evident the loss was felt by the other. That is what we want from our graduates.”

Gus said, “What will we do with Natalia? She seems to like Damon too. We have to be very careful there. I watched her with Stefan. They clicked together. Maybe we can get them dating and see what happens. The age difference is minor and they seem to like each other.”

“Yes, I heard Stefan tell Cal about wanting to date Natalia. Maybe we can help that along somehow. Get them stuck in a stakeout, watching Leo and Emily at the storefront.”

Gus laughed, “Now look at us, playing matchmaker for our students. We have drifted so far from our main objective.”

Hans countered by saying, “What are we going to do next? Every test we have set up has been passed. We need to try something outside the box to make sure we have the right choice. Getting Stefan and Natalia together might be a good idea, but it could spark some real fireworks in the group. Let’s focus on that move for now.”

“At some point, we need to clue Cricket and Cal in on our purpose. They have to accept the assignment, before we can go home. I think we can wait until this crisis with Hooligans Ltd is over. When it ends, we will be able to measure the group, as a whole, along with the technicians, Eric and Erin and their crew.” Gus added.

As everyone slept Eric and Erin watched the monitors. It was quiet outside, but things happened with the technicians. They found, that the source of the explosion was a cloned phone. It had been cloned from Cricket’s phone. When a call was made to Cricket, it triggered the clone to start a countdown timer which lasted for thirty minutes. Cricket’s phone rang just as lunch ended. It was a wrong number, but the timer was triggered. The rest was history. Even with this answer, more questions arose. Who cloned the phone? Who was the real target of the blast? Will they try again? With all these questions, it appeared there may be a third antagonist at work. That did not seem possible.

Night ended and daylight washed over the estate as everyone began to stir. Cal and Damon prepared breakfast as usual. Everyone else got up and got ready for another day of observation and sleuthing. Eric and Erin gathered their notes and went to breakfast. The technicians prepared their findings, and joined everyone else. What kind of a day was it going to be?

This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

Copyright © Copyright 2012, 2013 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 by Cal Erickson, aka frogprince

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