Basic Shadow Ch. 09


"There are no guarantees that we can find what you're asking us to look for, but my people are among the best there are, and we can try. What about the people? They can't be made to cooperate, I know, but I'm afraid they'll be obstructive, belligerent, maybe even violent."

"That I can take care of. I've sent for corporate security. I can get a hundred men, men who have actually done this sort of thing before, in smaller branches, to provide security, muscle, watchdogs, threats, whatever you need. We can get you in and protect you while you're there. It will be your job to get in, find the data, preserve it and analyze it to tell us what's happening."

"We can probably do that. I'll get a couple of friends to come along who have special abilities. Is there daycare on site?"

"Who . . . no, I think I don't want to know. I will insure that there is. That will be an expense they won't expect in Amsterdam."

"Call me when you have it set up. A couple of weeks should be enough to get my teams together."

"I'll do that. Thank you, Dee Dee. If it were offered to you, would you want to take on the normal audit functions for the company when we're done?"

"No, I don't think so. I thought so once, but no longer. Doing the work for Iphigenia would help me grow into something like the Big Five one day, but a while back Tony and Julie and I had a big gab about where we want to go, and that's not it. We want to do specific audits, not the usual stuff. We want to find secrets and blow them open. We don't want to be big for the sake of big. We're accountants who just want to have fun."

"And doing audits is fun?"

"For accountants."


"Oh, George," Dee Dee exclaimed when they were in their room, the little one settled, "it's too bad we're going home in the morning. It's been such a lovely vacation."

"I never expected to get a European sales contract, and I don't think you expected to get another crack at what they were hiding at Iphigenia," George said, "on top of a lovely, restful time with two very nice people."

"They are nice, aren't they."

George watched his sister - mother of his child, light of his heart - the urge to pull her into his arms and simply devour her almost overwhelming him. But on this, their last night on vacation, still carefree despite the important business they'd concluded that afternoon, he knew he should go slowly. He wanted to make love to his love slowly, thoroughly, sharing love and lust and joy with her.

He reached out and loosely entwined his fingers with hers, the simple touch of their fingers starting a fire within him that only she could put out. He lifted her hands and brushed a kiss across the backs of her fingers. She twitched, confirming that she felt the sexual heat of his touch as well. He drew closer until they were within inches. Each could feel the heat of the other's body.

She reached up and drew him down for her kiss, soft lips pulsing against soft lips. She released him, ran her hands over his chest, barely touching his sensitive nipples.

He lowered his head and grazed gently on her earlobe, then dropped kisses down the curve of her neck to the nape. She turned into him, kissing along the reach of his jaw. He lifted his head to reach the soft skin behind her ear, licked, absorbed her scent, a mix of healthy, aroused woman and violets, something she hadn't used before.

"You do smell good, Shadow, is that new?"

"Must be the soap, I think, something floral. Ooooh, that felt good."

Releasing her hands, he reached for the tie to her robe. He pulled the loosely tied knot apart and slid the robe from her shoulders, revealing her in all her naked glory. She returned the attentions, dropping his robe to reassure herself that in his nakedness he was still the most handsome and attractive man she'd ever encountered. His readiness was apparent, but she was in no more of a rush than he was.

George lightly touched the shallow hollow at the base of her throat.

"You are lovely, you know. So fiercely competent and able, and so loving and dear." He leisurely drew the tip of his finger downward, brushing past the breasts so full of milk for their child, tracing downwards to her navel. Her eyes drooped halfway closed and she swayed slightly. Her fingers shifted from their position splayed across his chest to one where they were sliding up and down his back, feeling the flow of his muscles, tracing patterns on his skin.

She stood like some exotic night-blooming flower, her body outlined in the faint moonlight, so familiar and dear to him, so alluring still. His gaze tracked slowly down the body that had become so important to him. He fought to keep from pulling her into him, to extend their loving, for loving it was, the merging of bodies of two people deeply in love with each other.

Her breasts caught his eye, fuller, now, with milk for their baby, the tracery of veins more apparent in their expanded state, reaching out for his hands. His hands accepted the invitation, caressed, fondled, while his fingers tweaked her nipples into alertness, ignoring the small spill of milk, milk for the child they'd made together. His gaze tore itself from her breasts to drop to her waist, still a little puffy from the birth, but coming back into her hourglass shape. His hands followed, dropping to her hips, pulling her in against him.

She followed the pressure of his arms and hands, pressing against his erection, the proof of his need. She circled her hands over his back, dropping to clasp his buttocks and bring him to her. George settled his hands on her waist, content for the moment to let her lead. She pulled him into her, his erection flush against her stomach, as she reached for his lips and kissed, again, long and lovingly, her tongue exploring his mouth. He changed again, his hands on her delicious buttocks, pulling her into him as his tongue explored her mouth, then commenced a rhythm that he hoped would soon be followed by other parts. She draped her arms around his neck.

Dee Dee let one hand fall, seeking his private parts, wrapping around his penis and caressing. He moved away and dropped his mouth to her breasts, kissing, then suckling her nipples, first one, then the other, then back. She gasped in pleasure. Each tug of his lips sent heat seeking deep within her, to settle at her centre. She pushed her loins into his.

She gripped his shoulders and pushed her breasts forward, meeting his heat with her own. He crushed her to him, then lifted her, depositing her gently upon the bed they had shared this past week, the bed in which they had shared love and lust and were now sharing love again. Dee Dee pulled him to her, her lips meeting his, then dropping down the curve of his neck. He pulled her over atop him and ran his hands down the smooth planes of her back, the soft curves of her buttocks and down the backs of her thighs.

As he caressed her, she rubbed her breasts against his chest, raising his nipples to quivering alertness as they encountered hers. She squirmed, her centre raising his member to highest alert, memories of lovemaking past calling to them both. He shifted, sliding her under him as he moved to rise above her. He slid a finger down her front, circled her navel, down through the silkiness, a quick tip of her button. She shivered with the heat. He followed the path so traced with the tip of his tongue, dipping into her navel, and licked then nipped at her clitoris with his lips. While he used his fingers to caress her labia, one finger dipping inside, curling , his mouth sucked gently on her clitoris and then his tongue and then she exploded, flying high above and only slowly fluttering back to earth, replete for the moment.

George moved up, easing himself between her outflung legs, pulling himself higher until he could touch her lips with his, could ease himself into her mouth, then slid himself between her legs and joined. Many long slow strokes followed as George repeatedly thrust deep within her, then slowly released, then thrust once more. Dee Dee followed his lead, responding, rising up when he pushed in, dropping back when he retreated. Gradually the force and speed of their contacts increased. George could feel her tightening, preparing. He fought to hold on through the exquisite pleasure. Then she was there, grasping him with her internal muscles as she shot over the edge, a brief scream of pleasure, then he was with her, exploding into her depths as he lost himself within her.

"Oh George, I do so love you."

"Love you too, Shadow."


Dee Dee spent the next week marshalling her troops.

"We have a major smash audit coming in the next few days," she told her staff. "This is the one we've been waiting for. No one is to speculate on where it is. Don't let's spoil the surprise."

"Do we have all we need?" Meredith asked.

"Yes. We will have legal authority for full access everywhere. We are acting for the majority shareholder. We will have all sorts of security, enough to blow them out of the water, plus police and FBI. We will have the best audit team in these here United States - you guys. And a few extras if I can con, convince, them to come along."

That evening Dee Dee called Cassie.

"Hey, mommy, how are the kids?"

"Good. The twins are putting on weight and learning to cry in tandem. Moira and Morag are both getting in parenting practice. Robin's in his standard in-love-with-all-females mode."

Okay, time to start conning, uh, convincing.

"Tommy around?"

"Yeah, he and Robin are floating around somewhere."

"Maybe I don't need Tommy. It's just that I need an expert computer hack, uh expert. They say you're pretty good."

"Dee Dee, if you want us both, why don't you say so?"

"I'm not good at a con job, am I."

"No. You're too principled, which makes you so good at what you do. Just a minute."

Dee Dee could hear Cassie yelling to somebody in another room: "Tommy, wanna go smash Iphigenia?"

The response was eager: "Hell, yes!"

"He says okay," Cassie reported back. "Can I bring the children?"

"Yeah, I made sure they'd have daycare for you and me. Can Robin get the time off?"

"They need him too much to say no."

"I just got the go ahead. It'll be Thursday. My people have chartered a jet for all of us, since their only corporate plane on this side of the ocean won't hold anything like all of us."

"All of us?"

"All of us. I'm hitting them with everything I've got."

"Marvellous. The Audit Nazis."

"I like to think of us as the Audit Attack Squad."

"So who's got the Leslie Nielsen role?"


"Don't tell him. Let him figure it out. Regardless, we'll see you at the airport, down here I suppose, since your field won't take a real passenger jet, Thursday morning at nine. All three of us. Angie won't want to come. I assume we're going in first thing Friday morning. You have an access expert?"

"I keep forgetting you haven't met her. Have I got an access expert for you. Tommy's good, but Bella's a hot knife through butter."

"Down with Iphigenia!"

"Down with Iphigenia!"

The call broke up into sets of giggles in two different registers and then the connection was broken.


They'd flown into New York the night before, Dee Dee's full audit team, the first time she'd ever deployed the full strength of her entire firm, all of its employees in one place for one purpose. They took up an entire floor of the hotel nearest the Iphigenia offices. There were two more floors taken up by the Iphigenia S. A./Iphigenia Worldwide security forces, hard-eyed European men who made the pretty-boys of the local office look soft, marshmallowy, even. They were likely dangerous when let loose. Damn fine eye candy, though.

Dee Dee addressed her forces one last time.

"See what you can do about getting some rest, or at least relaxation," she added, noting several interesting pairings, one or two with the masculine security professionals. She had George, but if she hadn't . . . .

"We're pretty sure someone is running a scam through the service charges," she continued, "but either it's a lot more massive than we think can be managed in that way, or there's something else underneath. Most of you have met Tommy Graves in one audit or another. He's got some computer skills we can use, as well as a touch of muscle. You've probably all seen Cassie Matthews on television or read her column. She complements Tommy's skills, an unpublicized talent that we're all going to forget afterwards. Robin is Cassie's significant other, and is a lot more than muscle, though if you need muscle, he's the man.

"To justify all this fuss, we have to find something. I don't expect that will be a problem. Just remember, we have the legal right to be here, and no one has the right to push us out or close anything off to us. If you have any problems, call security. I don't expect any of you to have to use force, either to get where we need to be or to protect yourselves. Captain?"

Captain Erwin Klein, a thirtyish six-footer from Czechoslovakia, his attractiveness complemented by two of Dee Dee's people hanging off his arms and several more staring at him with undisguised lust in their eyes - Dee Dee had to pinch Julie to get her to close her mouth - addressed the group.

"We are tasked tomorrow with your protection, first, and to assist where we may. We can provide assistance is moving things, keeping the company employees out of your way and in whatever other ways you may ask." Even he coloured at the many meanings that could be buried in that statement. "However, our first task is protection, so please follow orders when that is involved. Otherwise, we are at your service." He winced again. English was definitely a language with multiple layers of meaning.


Dee Dee felt like a queen as she led her procession into the Iphigenia offices the next morning. She was accompanied by two - count 'em, two - officials of the SEC, one brandishing the order that gave her complete access to everywhere in the headquarters, all electronic and paper files, absolutely everything. There was a someone or other from the commercial crimes division of New York City police, a little out of his element, as well as the number two person, actually a woman, from the local office of the FBI, investigating breaches of federal laws and interstate criminal conspiracy. The real strength of it all was her little army: the team from her firm, much larger than any team she'd brought to an audit before, plus Iphigenia Worldwide security, fifty of them, armed and dangerous and dedicated to her, an army indeed.

Dee Dee sent Bella and the codebreakers off in different directions to start getting into the data, now, immediately, before anyone had the sense to send the "wipe" and "self-destruct" commands, all with appropriate security. Her own first stop was at the Chief Operating Officer's offices. She marched past his protesting assistant, who faltered at the sight of Captain Klein and three of his roughest men, stuck her head around the door, and croaked in a passable imitation, "We're back."

She was gone before the COO could get up from his desk, but he jumped up anyway, dumping his girlfriend on the floor, yelling for his assistant and an explanation. All he found was a certified copy of the SEC order sitting plumb in the centre of his assistant's desk. His assistant was nowhere to be found. Neither was her coat. There was a dapper man who greeted him politely, flashed an FBI ID at him, put the handcuffs on ever so carefully, and started reciting the Miranda warning before the COO opened his mouth to object. Oh shit.

Down the hall Bella was opening locked doors, cabinets and drawers like locks hadn't been invented yet. It was only when she got to the area to which central processing of service charges had been assigned that she even slowed down. There she pulled out a listening device, at least that's what it looked like, and handed Bobby a reader of some kind and told him to keep his eye on the dial. Gordie waited with a cut-off, something Bella had put together that would convince the machines inside that the doors had been opened with proper protocols, or maybe hadn't even been opened at all. Even with all that mess, the doors were open in under two minutes.

Tommy had come along since the invasion promised the chance for at least a little mayhem. He'd been opening doors and the rest on the other side of the corridor. "Son of a gun," he commented at this last breach of what was supposed to be airtight security. "I need her."

"If you're nice, I might let you borrow her sometime," Dee Dee advised coyly.

"Where'd you find her?"

"Bobby found her, playing computer games. They're pretty much an item now."

"It's okay, I don't want her for that. I probably wouldn't live through it if I did."

"I don't think she's that wild."

"It's not her I'd worry about."

One of the local security came upon them. He was waving his gun, yelling something about get out, when Tommy took the gun away and laughed as the man fell to the floor, clutching his broken fingers.

"Damn but they break easy. You hardly work up a sweat taking them out. I hope yours don't break as easy."

"No," Dee Dee laughed, "Mr. van Rijn loaned me the corporate assault team. Apparently they've done this before. And they aren't the kind of pretty boy that breaks easily, either."

"He must like you. Any reason why he didn't come along?"

"He just said I had to do this by myself if I was to get any respect. I can see his point. It's why I wouldn't let George come along this morning. He'll be in later. I'm the one named in the order, I'm the one with the access, I'm the one who has to make it happen. Me and my people, anyway, and you're one of them for today."

Gordie and Bobby took the client service charge base apart in short order. It had been constructed the same way as the false trading system they'd discovered in the mini-audit some months before. Sloppy, though it made their task easier. As expected, there was a significant drain, syphoning profits into the accounts of certain board members, all of whom happened to have voted for Dee Dee's dismissal. Just a coincidence, Gordie chuckled to himself. As soon as he and Bobby had stabilized the files and secured their information against counterattack, they called in some of Dee Dee's auditors to document the discovery. Then they bent their efforts to terminating the drain.

When they reported to Dee Dee, she noted that while the drain was substantial, it was unlikely to have been large enough to have driven the paranoia that had terminated her contract against the wishes of the parent company, at least if van Rijn's reactions could be trusted to represent the feelings of the board in Amsterdam. There had to be something more. She set Gordie and Bobby hunting for what that might have been. Bella found another locked room with destruct codes, and they went in warily, which was just as well as it had been a trap, set to catch any intruder and dump the main computer banks. They managed to destroy the trap, but it was not protecting anything they could find.

The security people just kept tumbling into the building. They'd been recruited to carry out equipment, stand guard over document troves, take out officious minions, whatever was required. Dee Dee thought she'd been using them up quite quickly, but she never ran out.

"Hey, Dee Dee," George noted (he'd come along about an hour after her triumphant entry), "the colour of the collar tabs is different. You must be into the second company."

"Pieter only said that I wouldn't run out when I asked him how much security he could give me, though I only thought I had the one company."

"I think you have all four companies of the elite, if you need them."

An hour or so later, though, and Cassie and Tommy reported their find, the big one the COO and the board had been protecting. It was a huge dump, scheduled to go off in three months or so, just after the mid-winter investment bulge, that would have gutted Iphigenia North America and funnelled billions of dollars into secret accounts all over the world, all of which could be traced to high level Iphigenia North America board members and employees, if you were as good at that part of the job as the people Dee Dee had working for her today were. It was a huge scam on the owners of the company and their clients, which would likely have destroyed the entire Iphigenia network, causing untold losses to the shareholders and clients of the company around the world. Now, that was a scam worth taking risks for. And one worth bringing down.

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