“So, what do you think?” Lisa asked, leaning closer to Joel in the crowded restaurant.
Joel glanced across the street, studying the air conditioning repair store. “I haven’t seen anything yet.”
“I meant about the food,” Lisa asked, taking a final bite of her johnny cakes; small fritters of seasoned, fried cornbread.
Joel, smiling, regarded his now-empty plate, which had contained conch salad and johnny cakes. “Bahamian food is kinda cool – what we’ve had of it so far. But I’ve been wanting to get the opinion of someone who can’t cook, and Trev is on the wrong side of the planet. So, what do you think?” he asked, with a mischievous grin on his face.
In her sweetest voice, Lisa replied, “I’m thinking it’d be nice to be a widow and I’m not even married yet. I know I can’t cook too well, but comparing me to Trev is going way too far.” Lisa chuckled as her tension ebbed – exactly as Joel intended. “Okay, I’ll get you back for that later, but right now,” she glanced across the street, “we’ve got to figure out what to do.”
Joel drummed his fingers on the table. “I don’t know. Just stop by for a look and see what happens? Maybe hand them a flier and see how they react?”
“Okay, play-it-by-ear it is. Let’s go,” Lisa said, as she stood up.
They paid, and then made their way across the street, studied the store for a moment, and then entered, a small bell sounding as they opened the door. The store’s front was small; barely ten feet on a side. Disorderly shelves full of parts boxes lined the sides, and opposite the door was a bare-wood built-in counter.
An old man emerged from the back room. “Can I help you?” he asked, in a heavy, lilting Bahamian accent.
Joel tried to smile, his expression ending up as more of a nervous smirk. “Uh, hi. We’re trying to find a missing grandmother… my missing grandmother. She’s senile. We heard she’s been seen in this area. She used to, ah, be in the air conditioning business, a lot of years ago, and used to do business with some stores in this area. We’re thinking that maybe she might have come back, because it’d look familiar to her. She doesn’t remember who she is sometimes, but she can seem pretty much normal other times,” Joel said, and handed the man a flier with Bridget’s picture on it.
The man studied it for a moment before replying, “I’ve seen nobody like this.”
Lisa gave the man a smile. “Did you work here about five years ago?” She might have been here then… or maybe a few more years ago than that.”
The old man shook his head. “I’ve only been here about a year. I hope you find the lady. When the mind goes, that’s a bad thing,” he said, with a sympathetic smile. “I’ll ask some of the others, maybe they seen her,” he said, taking the flier. He failed to notice that it did not contain a phone number, and proceeded to pin it to a note board on the wall behind the desk.
“Thanks, we’ll come back in a couple of days,” Joel replied, giving the man a friendly wave.
Shortly after Trevor and Shane had driven off with Gray, several reporters had descended upon the yacht club, where they were still roaming the docks – in flagrant violation of the club’s restricted access. Two of the reporters had attempted to board Atlantis, which had caused the club’s lone desk clerk to decamp from the office and post himself as a guard on the docks. The reporters busied themselves taking pictures, and an uneasy de facto truce developed, with two police officers arriving to keep an eye on things.
The reporters had ample fodder for their lenses; it was a glorious day, calm and sunny, yielding photogenic backdrops and broad vistas for them to shoot while they waited. The waters were calm, placid, and almost undisturbed – save for a slowly-moving column of bubbles tickling the glassy surface of the sea.
At the restaurant where they’d had beer and lunch, Shane had paused to take a few tourist brochures from the display rack. During the drive towards Melbourne, he handed one to Trevor. “Look at this; the Melbourne Cricket Ground and the area around it; all sorts of sporting arenas, and there’s a museum and also some shops.”
Trevor could tell that Shane wanted to go, so he grinned and nodded. “Sounds good.” He leaned forward to ask Gray, “Is the Sports District on our way to Chapel Street?”
“It is, by the route I’m taking,” Gray replied, even though it wasn’t.
“Let’s go there first then,” Trevor said, and then, in a hesitant tone, added, “We’re sort of worried about both time and money. We need to get some shopping in before the stores close, plus, uh, there’s your bill. Could you just drop us off at the sports area?”
“No worries, mate. You’re already past the maximum for the hourly rate, so the fare is still fifty, whether I drop you off right now or take you all the way to Sandringham at midnight,” Gray replied.
Trevor smiled with delight; that sum was far less then he’d feared. “Hey, thanks! Okay, first the sports area, then Chapel Street, then… uh, you recommended the Docklands, right? We do need our last stop to be somewhere where we can get recognized, then we’ll take the train back from there.” Trevor was unaware that events in Sandringham had rendered their plan to be recognized moot.
Gray gave Trevor a friendly smile in the mirror. “We’ll make the Docklands your final stop then. There’s several shopping areas, such as Southbank, and it’s convenient to Southern Cross railway station for your trip back to Sandringham. The trains to Sandringham actually left from Flinders Street Station, not Southern Cross, as Gray well knew.
Upon arrival at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Gray said, “I’ll give you the guided tour. I’ve been here quite a few times; it’s well worth a visit.”
They set off, taking in the sights. At the museum, Gray excused himself, ostensibly to head for a restroom, though his intent was to make a phone call.
As soon as he had some privacy, he dialed the disposable cell he was carrying. When the line picked up, he asked, “What’s the situation?”
“Bad. He can’t get close yet, let alone under the target. There are reporters and cops on the docks, so bubbles get spotted pretty easy,” one of his associates replied, speaking from a boat anchored off the beach a few hundred yards north of Sandringham.
“Have him hold his fucking breath,” Gray replied, in a quiet, angry voice. “I’m not sure I can keep delaying our guests… I’ve a bit of a reception planned for them in our area – a nice, friendly mugging – assuming I can keep them occupied for a bit.”
“Maybe it’ll be better after dark,” the man replied.
“It had bloody well better be,” Gray warned, before hanging up. He quickly rejoined Trevor and Shane, and with a smile on his face, continued their tour.
Gray mainly spent the time explaining the games of rugby, cricket, Australian Rules football, and soccer. Shane jumped in frequently, adding to Gray’s explanations, as they moved on to look at more displays. Gray began with the background behind the various displays, with some anecdotal stories about past players. He explained almost everything at great length, resulting in the visit taking longer than Trevor and Shane had expected.
Shane enjoyed the visit more than Trevor did, though Trevor was happy just to see Shane’s enjoyment as he looked at exhibits dealing with the history of Australian sports and teams. Shane, with some long-winded help from Gray, tried to explain what it all meant, though most of it went right over Trevor’s head – the important games of teams he’d never heard of, delving into the minutiae of sports he was only slightly familiar with.
Shortly after sunset, they stopped for a snack – and at Gray’s prompting a few beers – before returning to the car.
Amidst the clamor and chaos of early-evening traffic, Gray deftly maneuvered his car towards the Chapel Street shopping district. His route – by design – caught the worst of the construction delays and slowdowns.
Half an hour after checking into their Nassau hotel, Lisa and Joel heard a sharp knock on the door.
Joel crept to the peephole and, after peering through, he turned to tell Lisa, “It’s Officer Gonzalez!”
“What’s he doing here?” Lisa asked, as Joel opened the door.
Gonzales stormed in, fixing Lisa in a hostile glare “What I’m doing here is idiot-hunting, and I just bagged two big ones.”
Lisa blinked. “We were just–”
Gonzalez scowled. “Get packing. You’re leaving on a flight home in three hours, and if you give me any damn trouble, you’ll both be inside a Bahamian jail for a few days – and yes, I can do that. I know what you’ve been up to, and it’s damn lucky you’re still breathing. Handing out fliers looking for Bridget and describing her as having dementia is a damn good way to get killed.”
Joel’s eyes opened wide. “We didn’t think she’d find out, we just wanted to get leads for you –” he froze in mid-sentence as the implication sunk in. “How do you know about the fliers?”
Gonzalez pulled a copy from his pocket and threw it at Joel. “A friend in Freeport. You met him in a bar there. If I heard about it, Bridget might too, and so might the cartel; if they are hunting her, this would get their interest, big time. That’s why you two are leaving. You’ve put yourself in deadly danger.”As far as Gonzalez knew, if Bridget was alive – which he thought likely – she was probably on the run from the cartel. He had no way of knowing that she now ran a major part of it.
It crossed Joel’s mind that Gonzalez was far outside his jurisdiction, but the threat of jail stilled his tongue on that issue, and the mention of deadly danger prompted him to glance at Lisa with concern before replying, “Okay, we’ll pack… uh, we need to cancel our reservations too.”
“About that…” Gonzalez regarded Joel with a fierce glare. “I know you were heading to Andros Island. I’m assuming that you were given a copy of Bridget’s asset list?” After receiving two reluctant nods in confirmation, Gonzalez pressed on, “So what are you doing here in Nassau? Freeport is on the list, as is the town in Andros, but not here. Start talking.”
Lisa and Joel shared a worried look, and then Lisa, sighing in resignation, shrugged. “A place here was doing business with a place she owned, about five years ago.”
“Did Bridget tell you that?” Gonzalez asked.
Lisa shook her head. “No, it was in the bookkeeping records of a place my father did some computer work for.”
Gonzalez knew which business that was – it had been one of the ones traced by the forensic accountant. “I’ve seen the records of that place, there’s nothing about the Bahamas on them.”
“The records Daddy has are from when he did the work. He made a backup. He keeps crates of CDs from his work.”
Gonzalez froze, just for a moment. “Okay, now what else have you found?”
“Nothing so far, just that.”
“Interesting. Okay, get packing and I’ll be back in a few minutes. Don’t even think of making a run for it; I’ll be right outside the door, plus I can find you easy enough.” Gonzalez stepped outside and walked a few paces, snapping open his phone. He selected the forensic accountant from his address book, and dialed.
A short conversation ensued, and then the forensic accountant gave his opinion. “Officer, those records could be very useful in a variety of ways. Did he deny having them when his connection to the case first came up?”
Gonzalez cringed, “Uh, he didn’t deny it, because so far as I know no one thought to ask. We didn’t know he kept copies, but we sure should have asked… I should have asked –it’s my case. I’ll get you those CDs.”
Gonzalez returned to the hotel room, where he found a dejected Lisa and Joel packing. Warrants require an affidavit of cause to give to the judge, and in this case, Gonzalez already had what he needed – Lisa’s statement. He only needed confirmation. “I need the address of the place here in Nassau.”
Lisa dutifully handed it over, blissfully unaware of what it would unleash.
Gonzalez stepped outside again, to phone the Ft. Pierce Police Department. He confirmed his identity, relayed the situation and the information, and gave his order, “Get an evidence warrant, then send two cars to the residence of Robert Whitaker. Seize any and all electronic records, starting with the CDs in the garage. Whitaker is not a suspect. Make sure to let him know that. At this time, we believe he may unknowingly be in possession of records connected to the Bellevue case. Let me know when you’ll be there, and I’ll phone him after you arrive. Repeat, he’s not a suspect so don’t needlessly antagonize him – we might need his help.”
Ten minutes later, Gonzalez escorted a somber Lisa and Joel from their hotel room to the front desk, waited while they checked out, and then drove them directly to the airport. There, he made certain they got on their flight, and waited until it took off.
Under the impression that the problem of Lisa and Joel was solved, Gonzalez turned his attention to the main purpose of his visit. However, his flight to Andros Island didn’t depart until morning, so he decided to have a look at what Lisa and Joel had found and made his way to the air conditioning repair shop. Once there, he availed himself of the same restaurant that Lisa and Joel had used, keeping an eye on the store for a while. He then phoned a contact with the Bahamian police, asking them to investigate.
Gonzalez ordered dinner, and was almost done by the time the Bahamian police arrived. He had no official standing in the Bahamas and, not wishing to push professional courtesy too far, he waited a few minutes while the locals entered the store before strolling over – he knew they were expecting him.
Upon entering the store, Gonzalez carefully swept his practiced eyes around, spotting nothing noteworthy or amiss. The two Bahamian officers were chatting in a friendly way with the clerk – the same one Lisa and Joel had spoken with. In the end, all Gonzalez was able to learn was that the store had changed hands several years before. Still, a lead was a lead, so he took note of all the information that he could.
Before leaving, Gonzalez looked around again, his eyes lingering briefly on the note board, which now contained only work orders and invoices. With a smile, he thanked the local authorities and the shopkeeper and left, making his way back to a hotel, where he would spend the night.
An absolutely furious Robert Whitaker paced in his driveway; Lisa had called, letting him know that she was on her way home from the airport, a fact Gonzalez had already informed him of.
As soon as Lisa and Joel pulled in, Robert exploded. “What the hell were you thinking, Lisa? Going off looking for Bridget is insane! She’s a killer.”
Lisa and Joel made their apologies, though Robert was far from done. He waited until they’d finished, and then said, in a cold, furious tone, “I’m in a lot of trouble thanks to you two. The police left not long ago; they took all my records, all my computers, everything! Can you imagine how my clients are going to feel once they find out that I’m responsible for the police having all their records to comb through? I don’t mean just any linked to Bridget – those I’d have gladly given – but all of them! This is a disaster, and you put your lives at risk to make it happen. Get inside, now, both of you!” he roared.
At Sandringham, the harried desk clerk had another issue to deal with; a call from Greg Fowler from Carnarvon. The clerk described the presence of police and reporters, and also mentioned that he’d been the one to request the former to keep the latter from making too much trouble.
“You ought to let Trevor and Shane know, if you haven’t already,” Fowler prompted.
“I think so too, but I only have one number for them. I know they don’t have the phone with them; I was standing next to their boat one of the times I tried it, and heard it ring,” the clerk explained.
“Read me off the last four digits of the number,” Fowler asked, already suspecting that it was to the satellite phone. It was, and as soon as he had confirmation, Fowler said, “Get in touch with the hire car driver and have them pass on a message.”
“No can do, sir. The one we’d arranged called in with engine trouble. We had a message in the office to that effect to give Mr. Carlson, though he never came in. He was supposed to meet the driver here. I did see them leave in a car, so I rang the hire car firm. They said it wasn’t them, though they’ve had some trouble with other firms poaching from their dispatch radio. I was going to follow up, but that’s when the reporters started showing up.”
Fowler’s palms began to sweat. “So you’ve no idea who they are with or where they went? Hold the line; I might need to speak with those police officers.”
Fowler placed the clerk on hold, and then dialed Trevor’s cell, hoping he’d taken it with him and had it on.
Trevor and Shane, accompanied by Gray, were enjoying their shopping excursion on Chapel Street, a store-lined boulevard with streetcars trundling up and down it. After an hour they’d arrived at The Jam Factory, an indoor shopping mall, where they felt a bit less conspicuous wearing sunglasses – their glasses had garnered them a few odd looks outside, due to it being dark. They were in a clothing store when Fowler’s call arrived.
“Trevor, where are you?” Fowler asked.
“Hi Uncle Greg. We’re in a mall in Chapel Street, a shopping area. Melbourne is great!”
“Are you and Shane alone?” Fowler asked, hoping that he was worried for nothing.
Trevor felt a tinge of concern as he replied, “Just us – and our driver.”
“I need to speak with you in private. This is important. Tell him it’s… a family emergency.”
Trevor blinked. “It’s okay, he’s not close, he’s outside the store.”
“He’s not the driver that was arranged for you,” Fowler said, and then peppered Trevor with a few rapid-fire questions. It was Gray’s reluctance to be around once Trevor and Shane drew attention that made him suspicious, and him not being the requested driver was, in Fowler’s mind, enough to confirm it. “Okay Trev, listen carefully. First, tell me where he parked.”
Trevor did his best to describe the location of the parking lot and then the car, and added, “Uh, we could try to get his license plate number if you want.”
“Don’t. I want you away from him. Maybe I’m being paranoid, but this smells bad to me. Okay, now here’s what I want you and Shane to do,” Fowler said, and then he began giving Trevor some detailed instructions.
As soon as the call ended, Trevor shared a concerned look with Shane, who had been listening in. “Now I’m worried,” Trevor said, as they both, as instructed, took off their hats and sunglasses before moving towards a crowded area of the store, en route to the customer service desk.
The store, popular with Melbourne teens, had a sizable contingent of girls, one of whom obliged Fowler’s plan by saying, very loudly, “You’re Trevor Carlson, aren’t you?”
Trevor did his best to smile. “That’s me,” he replied loudly, and then offered, even louder, “Anyone want my autograph?”
Word spread quickly, and a girl-heavy contingent of shoppers descended on the store, mobbing Trevor and Shane. The mob was small, though loud and eager – Trevor had quite a following amongst Australian teenage girls, in large part for his now-famous survival of the Southern Ocean after a pirate attack, though for the teen girls – plus a few guys from the nearby gay district who had joined in – his looks played a larger role. For that reason, Shane found himself a center of attention as well.
While Trevor and Shane were dealing with the mob, Fowler was on the phone. His first call had been to the local police, asking them to send officers to Trevor and Shane, as well as to apprehend their driver.
Fowler took the Sandringham clerk off hold. “We may have a situation. I need you to take the phone to one of the officers on the docks.”
“Uh, I can’t, sir. This is the desk phone; it’s got a cord.”
“Then write down my number and have the first one you get to call me back at once, it’s an emergency. Tell them who I am, and that we have a situation.” Fowler made sure the clerk had his number, and then hung up. The clerk, who was doing his level best to cope with a situation that was far beyond his normal duties, dashed off to find one of the police officers.
Fowler’s impromptu plan had been to first protect Trevor and Shane by getting a crowd around them. A secondary concern was apprehending the driver, to see who he was and what he wanted. That thought occurred to Trevor and Shane as well.
Trevor, between signing autographs, glanced at Shane and whispered in his ear. After receiving a nod in reply, Trevor told the small mob, “We’ve got some other stores to see. Follow me if you want,” while Shane was slipping away.
Outside the store, Gray had seen the commotion and heard Trevor’s name. Gray would not risk having his picture taken, so he’d begun moving away from the entrance.
“Hey wait!” Shane said, jogging up behind him, wallet out. “We’re just going to make our own way back from here, but we need to pay you first. We got recognized.”
Gray reluctantly turned. He was tempted to keep going, but assumed that taking the money was the least suspicious thing to do. “Ah, thanks mate,” Gray replied.
Shane took his time digging banknotes out of his wallet. “Fifty, right?” he asked.
“That’s right,” Gray replied, holding out his hand while casting a concerned glance toward the store’s entrance, where a small mob with Trevor at its center was emerging.
Shane handed over the cash. “Hey, thanks for everything, you’ve been awesome.”
“It’s been my pleasure. Have a safe voyage,” Gray replied, giving Shane a fast smile before turning to walk out the mall’s exit.
Shane watched him go, and then jogged over to a girl twenty feet away. “Did you get it?” he asked.
“Sure did,” she replied, turning Trevor’s phone so that Shane could see the picture of Gray. “I got three. Now I get my picture taken with you and Trevor, right?” she asked, phone still in hand.
Shane smiled and nodded. “Absolutely.”
Trevor and Shane posed for pictures with the girl, and then Trevor got his phone back. He called Fowler to check in. “We’ve got lots of people around us, and the driver is gone; he took off right after Shane paid him.”
“He stuck around to be paid?” Fowler asked, feeling slightly relieved. That wasn’t something he thought someone up to no good would do, so he again wondered if this was just a case of one firm poaching another’s customers. Upon hearing Trevor’s confirmation, Fowler said, “Okay, maybe we’re worried for nothing, but I’ve got officers on their way to the car park. If he’s not what he says he is, they should know soon.”
“They’d better hurry; we’re not very far from the car,” Trevor cautioned, and then asked, “Do you think he’s a fake? He seemed like a real driver – uh, not that I’ve ever met one before.”
“Trev, I hope you’re right, though it can’t hurt to be careful. I’ll see what turns up… and do me a favor; look around and see if that mall has security cams. If so, maybe they got a shot.”
Trevor chuckled. “Way ahead of you, Uncle Greg; I’m e-mailing you three photos of him right now. That’s why Shane went to pay him; so we could have somebody snap a pic with my phone.” Trevor said, and hit ‘send’.
“Good going, Trev. I’ll get those to the local police straight away,” Fowler said, already checking his e-mail.
When Fowler retrieved the photos, he sighed; they were not of high quality. Trevor’s phone had a low-resolution camera, and the problem was compounded by poor lighting and some motion blur. Still, it was as good as or better than a security camera would have likely provided. Fowler sent copies to the Melbourne authorities, hoping they could improve them with processing.
The authorities could, and eventually did, though it would avail them little. What they had were low-quality photos of a fairly average, middle-aged, severely balding man with a mustache. Gray, having been concerned that he might be photographed with Trevor and Shane, had crafted his appearance with care; his ostensibly far-receded hairline the result of a careful cut and shave, his false mustache artfully applied. His hair would take time to regrow; in the meantime, he’d wear a toupee. In the end, it wouldn’t make any difference; they didn’t have a prior known picture of Gray to match against.
Due to his head start, Gray arrived at his car long before the police. He had grown suspicious, and though he’d seen no sign of overt trouble, he much preferred to be elsewhere. He pulled out of the parking lot nearly two minutes before the police arrived, heading for a business near the Docklands, from whom he’d acquired the car for the day.
Trevor and Shane, now in the company of a police officer, left the mall, shopping bags in hand. Their day in Melbourne was now at an end; Fowler had ordered them back to the boat. “Should we take the streetcar to the train station?” Trevor asked the officer, while gesturing at one of the passing streetcars.
The officer glanced at the streetcar and shook his head. “Oh, you mean a tram. No; due to the concerns, I’ve been ordered to get you there myself. One thing first though; I’m to drive you past where your driver parked, to make sure we went to the right spot.”
Trevor and Shane soon found themselves in the back of a police car, with Shane giving directions to the parking lot. A drive through confirmed that the car had gone.
During the drive to Sandringham, Trevor phoned Fowler, who told him that there was probably nothing to worry about, but he should sail at once. Fowler then phoned Sandringham to make certain that the police there would give Atlantis a once-over before sailing, to make certain that nothing was amiss.
The officer made use of the driving time by interviewing Trevor and Shane about Gray, trying to discern clues to his identity via accent, speech patterns, unusual comments, etc.
When they arrived at the yacht club’s parking lot, the officer left Trevor and Shane in the car while he stepped away to have a fast conversation with one of the local officers. When he returned, he stuck his hand out. “I’ll need the keys to Atlantis so the officers can make certain that she’s as you left her.”
Trevor, mindful of the gun, tape, and gold anchor hidden aboard, saw no recourse but to comply, handing over his keys with a wan smile. Moments later, they were handed to one of the Sandringham police, a man who had some experience in forensics.
After a tense wait, the officer who had driven them informed Trevor and Shane, “Nothing amiss, from the look of it. Officer Fowler rang to be sure we checked it all, even the crew cabin. We’re also sending a swimmer under her for a look-see, just as soon as someone rustles up a waterproof light.”
“There’s one in the storage compartment under the cockpit bench seat,” Trevor offered.
“I’ll let ‘em know. We sure don’t want any repeats of Geraldton,” the officer replied.
“Neither do we,” Trevor said, sharing a worried look with Shane.
Ten minutes later, the all-clear was given. Trevor and Shane were hustled onto the dock, past a gaggle of waiting reporters, and onto Atlantis. No sooner had they stepped aboard than one of the officers said, “You’re supposed to sail at once.”
Trevor nodded. “Okay, but we’ll need a few minutes,” he replied, and then thanked the officers.
Trevor and Shane began a search of their own and, upon finding nothing amiss, raced back to the cockpit. Trevor fired up the engines while Shane tended to the mooring lines.
With a flourish, and a bit faster than was generally accepted within a marina’s close confines, Trevor maneuvered Atlantis out, taking her past the breakwater at ten knots. He made a call to Fowler, who told him, “Head for Sydney, and keep an eye out. They haven’t caught the driver yet so we’ve no clue if he meant any trouble, but this whole thing bothers me. I’ll call you in a few hours at most; hopefully I’ll have news.”
Trevor glanced at the navigation screen, setting course for The Rip.
In a placid lagoon of the Cocos Islands, fourteen hundred miles northwest of Carnarvon and halfway between Australia and Sri Lanka, Kookaburra lolled at anchor, one of several yachts visiting the islands. Martin and Rachel, walking hand in hand on the beach, basked in the rosy glow of a tropical sunset. “It’s beautiful here,” Rachel remarked, turning to glance up the palm-fringed beach.
“It’s been a great vacation,” Martin agreed, smiling at his wife. “It’s tempting to stay a few more days, though that might make it a hard sail back to Carnarvon.”
“Harder than you think,” Rachel replied, chuckling. “That route would take us head-on into the trade winds, so we’d either have to detour or be beating and bashing the whole way. I’ve rung Greg; he’s driving up to Broome to meet us, and we can get there on a close reach. That means we’ve got two more days before we need to leave, and we’ll have time to stop at Christmas Island for a day en route.” Christmas Island was another Australian possession in the Indian Ocean, which was also a favorite of yachters.
Back in his usual bar, Gray relaxed, sipping a beer as he waited for his associates, basking in the glow of a profitable job that was going very well. When they arrived – the hair of one still glistening with salt – Gray asked, “How did it go?”
“Took a while, but I got under the catamaran. It was almost dark so I had to be bloody careful using the light, but I set it low and used it only when I had to,” the associate replied, before going on to discuss the details of his work under Atlantis.
Gray talked with his two associates for a few minutes, asking detailed questions before stepping away, seeking the privacy of a back room. There, he used a disposable cell to call a number he’d been given – one that would be redirected to a distant private line. As instructed, he had an encrypting scrambler ready to engage.
When Bridget answered, Gray said, “Complete success. Can I turn on the gadget now?”
“Most excellent. Do so,” Bridget replied, glancing in fury at her own visage on the flier clutched in her hand, before setting it down to engage her own encryption.
A Discussion thread for this chapter is in my forum, please have a look and join in. direct link here. The forum enables conversations so in many cases it's a far easier to use it than the "leave a comment" section on this page, so I suggest having a look, but use whichever (or both) you are more comfortable with .