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My Little Mystery Part 16

My Little Mystery Part 16

The assault team arrives. More is found on the oil rig. The group prepares for war.

Eric and Erin sat in front of their laptops watching through the windows of the room overlooking the newly rented storefront. They watched and waited for signs of movement inside. The cameras they placed earlier functioned perfectly. They watched the occupants on their laptops and listened to the conversations. About 3:30 that morning, six more people arrived in a large black van at the back door. They brought more equipment from the training facility to be used in the assault on the estate. The now eight team members readied everything for the coming night. Eric and Erin captured pictures of each new team member for later facial recognition. They knew it always helped to know your opponents.

The day started with a cloudless sky into which popped the morning sun. Damon stood on the patio looking east and thought how sunrise came fast, but sunset seemed to take its old sweet time wooing lovers to watch and be mesmerized. His thoughts on this morning, were of the two women in his life, Natasha and Natalia. They both meant something different to him. Natalia grew up as he did, moving from home to home with no one place to call her own. Their environment dictated who they became. Natasha presented a whole new world to him; one of stability and permanence of belonging and building a life with her. He knew in the near future a choice had to be made. He still considered his choice; would he pick Natalia or Natasha? The door opened behind him, yanking his thoughts back to the here and now. Natasha walked out, smiling up to him and hugged him tightly. He looked down at her smiling and kissed her adoringly.

"Breakfast is ready, my love." Natasha cooed and she left him to go back inside.

He turned and lovingly watched, as she walked ahead of him. "I will be right there."

Eric and Erin returned to the estate, after briefing Stefan and Natalia about the arrival of the new forces. At the morning conference, Gus and Hans identified two of the new team force. They were Felicity and Christof, two graduates of the Bard School. Gus warned the group, that they were ruthless and fearless fighters, capable of defeating anyone in their path. Everyone shook their head in understanding and the briefing continued. Erin took over.

“The new team came in on a bigger jet at 2:00 this morning. It was rented through Netjet, as the first was by the same oil investment group on Wall St. This is the first solid lead we have about the deep pockets paying for the teams. Our technicians will be researching this firm today. We hope to have some names later this afternoon.

So far the assault team has not unloaded any heavy arms for use when they decide to attack. We assume this material may arrive later today by truck, shipped from the Minnesota training facility. Natalia and Stefan will be watching and we will capture it all on video there and here.

That is pretty much it for our report for the night. Anyone else have something to add?”

Cricket stood and spoke. “Yesterday we found one of Wolf’s Head Oil’s drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico was being built with substandard product and someone was siphoning the money into their pockets. An investigation has been started by us and the federal licensing agency in charge of drilling rigs.

In light of what we learned from Eric and Erin, we need to be hyper-vigilant in doing our jobs. We do not want to get caught unaware of anything going on around us. So let’s get going and do our jobs.”

Everyone got up from the table and went to their assigned places. The whole estate functioned like a well-oiled machine. The air buzzed with activity as arms and ammunition appeared in various rooms staged for the assault. The technicians sat searching for more information about the oil investment firm. Cal and Damon placed foodstuffs in each room to be occupied later. It may be a long night and they wanted people awake and alert. Cricket and Natasha left for the office in an armored limousine. Eric and Erin slept during the morning until lunchtime. Gus and Hans walked around making sure things got done and were ready.

Natalia and Stefan watched bored as the assault team slept. Leo and Emily left earlier to get food for the team to eat later. They spent a long time gone from the storefront. Stefan sent Natalia out for coffee and a mid morning snack. When she did not call in or come back Stefan worried. She never left for this long. One of the monitors flashed to life; a lot of activity appeared in back of the storefront. It looked as if Emily and Leo captured someone snooping around. Stefan looked closer and discovered it was Natalia. He slammed his fist on the table and cursed under his breath. His thoughts turned to getting her back. Her loss meant a lot to the group. She knew some of the plans and could spill them to Leo and Emily.

Monica came and whispered in Stefan’s ear,“ be careful sweetheart, control your temper and calmly report what happened. It isn’t the end of the world. I can go over there and watch her closely and report back to you. ”

“Please, do that for us love, we need to get her back and know what she told them, if anything. She used to be an employee of Hooligans Ltd, but she is also a graduate of the Bard School. Her loyalty to the school is without question, but we do not know what they will do to her. I have to call the group now.” Stefan angrily spoke.

“OK, I will go now and be back in a little while with a report.” Monica said as she drifted through the wall.

Stefan picked up his phone and dialed Cal who picked up on the first ring.“ We have a problem, Cal.”

“Calm down Stefan, nothing can be that bad. Let me put you on speaker, so Damon can hear too.” Gus and Hans walked in the room too.“ OK, what is wrong?”

“I sent Natalia out for coffee and a mid-morning snack today. She was gone too long and I worried about her. As I watched out the window the monitor for the back door flashed on. Emily and Leo had captured Natalia and brought her back to the team headquarters. She struggled to get free, but they had her cuffed and gagged. I want to mount a rescue to get her back.”

“Whoa, there cowboy, we can’t just go in there guns blazing and take her back. We need to plan this out and get some help here to pull this off. Maybe we can get some help from the city police here too. Have you seen anything illegal going on in there? Maybe we can report that to the police and let them free Natalia. It is a thought.” Cal mused.

“That might just work. If nothing else she is freed and the team is postponed from moving tonight. That helps us prepare and has the local authorities clued in on the team and their potential involvement in an assault somewhere.” Stefan agreed.

“No … No you can’t alert the authorities. Not only will they free Natalia, but they will take all the papers that are there and discover that the target is Cal’s estate and start asking questions. We do not need that publicity or attention. We need to be low key and handle it ourselves. Right now sit back and monitor the situation. We will get back to you with plans and join you.” Gus injected with a voice of reason.

“OK, I will sit tight.” Stefan reluctantly said and hung up. He fumed because she was out by herself. She needed more training in watching for a tail or following someone. Stefan blamed himself for her capture. He wanted to get her and prove to the group he was the good man Monica knew he was. He slowly paced the floor thinking and cursing. He failed to see Monica return and sit on the table.

"Ahem! Stefan, Natalia is fine. She has told them nothing, she is playing them against each other. It turned out Felicity and Christoph were in her class and owed her some favors. They are working to help her escape with them and the plans. Just give her an hour and things will be different. I am going back over there and listen some more. Sit tight."

Monica left and Stefan felt better about the situation. Why is it that a woman's words can either incite or soothe a man when needed?

Stefan watched the monitor and the sleeping team. Natalia was in the small office with Emily and Leo. They tied her to a chair and left her gagged and quiet. It looked as if she slept while they plotted. Every so often she moved her head and looked up at Stefan. She knew he watched her closely seeking a sign to rescue her. She wished one of her hands was free to make the sign. As luck would have it one of her friends entered the office and talked to Emily. She got up and left the room followed by Leo. Both of her friends came in and released her, grabbed the papers and ran out the back of the office. Natalia was free, but rather than go directly to Stefan she led her friends away to a deserted spot about a mile away. From there she called Cal and told him she escaped and needed a ride. Cal called Stefan who jumped in his car and went to her aid. They went back to the stakeout room and brought Felicity and Christoph with them.

Stefan thought, “I wonder if this is a mistake. We don’t know who these two are and where their loyalties lie. They may be friends of Natalia, but we don’t need any more outsiders joining us now. I will check with Cal, Cricket, Gus and Hans. They are the final judge in all this ”

Stefan left the three friends, went to his car and called Cal. Cal put his phone on speaker for Damon, Gus and Hans and conferenced in Cricket. “We have Natalia back, but also two more former students of the Bard School, Felicity and Christoph. I am not sure I trust them, so I took them to the stake out room. They seem genuinely happy to be away from Emily and Leo, but I am not sure. The three of them are chattering away and gesturing across the street about the upcoming assault. It was to happen tonight but I am not sure anymore. We will have to wait and find out. Anyone have any idea what to do with these three? Damon did you know Felicity and Christoph?”

“They were friends of Natalia and got into minor trouble with her a lot. I met them a few times. They seem like alright sorts, but I can’t say for sure. Maybe Gus and Hans know more.”

“The three of them were always getting into things where they did not belong but mostly harmless. We never had any severe discipline problems with them. They were average students not excelling in anything. I would say they are OK, but keep an eye on them until this is over.”

“I will bring them out to the house later. Meanwhile we will go over the maps and diagrams taken from the offices. This whole thing gets muddier and muddier. I want it to be over so we can get on with a normal life again.”

Cal said, “ Don’t we all. With the cameras running, sending data here and audio being captured, you can leave anytime to come back to base here. We want to get those papers here so we can formulate a defense strategy for the assault.”

“OK, we will pack it in here and bring our stuff back. I don’t want to leave anything behind that they can use against us.” Stefan announced.

The phones hung up and Stefan went back to the stakeout. He packed up the computers and all the papers, walked out the back to the car and drove to Cal’s estate. Felicity, Natalia and Christoph continued chattering throughout the drive. Stefan listened but did not understand much of what was said. The three young people were like teenagers, talking about nothing important except in their own little world. Stefan tuned them out and the drive went a lot easier for him.

Cricket and Natasha sat in her office directing the investigators where to go in the Gulf of Mexico to get to the oil rig under construction. The foreman and crew abandoned it when she shut it down. That was very suspicious. Upon inspection, the foreman pocketed a lot of money from suppliers and sub-contractors and bailed when discovered. Now the company was stuck fixing the problems and paying fines levied for the foreman’s deeds. There was a warrant out for his arrest, but he disappeared overnight. From all records he worked for the oil investment firm on Wall St. This was getting deeper and deeper. Cricket needed to get information about this firm and fast. They cut into her life, her livelihood and the lives of her employees and friends. They must be stopped, but how? Who were they? Maybe Cal could help her again like he did earlier. Roger could investigate but needed direction.

Cricket picked up her phone and directed Natasha to listen too. She called Cal. “Hello, Cal. I need your expert help to solve a very sticky problem.”

“What is it Cricket?”

“The oil rig in the Gulf was being sabotaged by the same oil investment firm that is attacking the estate. They paid the construction foreman to short-cut things and use sub-standard product. He made millions and disappeared when I shut construction down. A federal warrant was issued for his arrest, so I am not worried about him. I need to find out about this Wall Street oil investment firm. Can you help me?”

“It is public knowledge that I work with and for you now, but I can use my contacts to find out more information for you. Once we gather those facts we can attack them where they live and work. Our pockets are deeper and we can wield a bigger broader sword. Don’t worry my love; we will stop the onslaught of people coming after you.”

“Thank you, Cal; I knew I could count on you. How is the stakeout doing, anything new to report? We need to get them off our backs tonight. Do you think we can attack them?”

“That is possible but again we don’t want to call attention to our estates. Remember they are small fortresses. We need to keep that information secret forever. I know it is early in the day for you, but I think you and Natasha need to think about coming home now. Nothing is wrong I just want you near my side so I can protect you.”

I will try to wrap everything up soon so we can leave to come home. I miss you and I know Natasha misses Damon. Goodbye Cal, see you soon.”

She hung up the phone looked over at Natasha and said, “How long before we are done for the day?”

“If we delegate some of what I was doing we can leave now.” Natasha replied.

“OK, do it and let’s go home. ”

Natasha made a few calls and everything was delegated. She packed up her desk, locked it and walked to Cricket’s office. Cricket waved Natasha into her office while she talked on the phone. Natasha sat at the desk and Cricket switched to speaker mode. It was a federal investigator who was on the oil rig. He delivered a verbal report on the condition of the rig.

“The rig is in decent shape. We have done a visual inspection and nothing seems broken or in disrepair. Over the next few days we will be taking core samples and x-rays of the columns that make up the legs of the platform. That will give us a better picture. So for now, things look good. Have a good evening.”

“Thank you for calling. I await your findings and will be glad to cooperate in any way I can. Goodbye.”

Cricket looked at Natasha with a big smile on her face. That was good news to deliver to the group later. “Let’s go home.” Cricket got up walked to Natasha and put her arm around her waist and hugged her close. They walked out of the office arm in arm smiling broadly.

In Southampton, Emily and Leo sat in their office after the team released them. They were livid that two of the team members overpowered them and freed their prisoner. The plans they took were not important as they were preliminary in nature. Felicity and Christoph were junior members of the team and had very little knowledge of the future activities. The team was still six strong members who could assault the estate. Things proceeded as planned, but the assault was postponed until they had more data on the armaments at the estate. The team needed to investigate the grounds more and gather more pictures of the house, garage and barn. They missed something on their original survey. Emily sensed it in her gut; she wanted to see more. Leo learned to trust her feelings in this area on this trip. They planned the night’s survey and waited until dark.

At the estate, Felicity, Natalia and Christoph greeted Gus and Hans. The rest of the group looked on warily at the trio. They did not trust the three now. Nothing much was said, but more done in looks. There seemed to be a lot of unanswered questions about them and this oil investment company. The group was on high alert tonight.

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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