Having Fun with Dycke and Payne Ch. 09byProlonged_Debut10©
41. A Fate-ful revelation
After more than a week of being restricted, to the inside of this palatial home, Payne had become alittle testy. Dycke was sure someone would find his head somewhere in the building, after he played a practical joke on her that she did not quite appreciate. She verbally tore his head off one afternoon, and then she ran up to her room crying. She bolted both doors and stayed there. She would not speak anyone, not even her parents, who tried to console her.
Dycke felt that this was the best time to speak to Marti about what was on his mind. He went to her and waited for her to acknowledge his presence, while she was on her computer. He stood there for a few minutes, and while he was waiting. He wondered if this was such a great idea. He started to turn and leave, when Marti said to him, "Hello, Dycke. We should go outside for a walk and you can tell me what has been worrying you for the past week."
Dycke looked at her, as if she had two heads. He wondered where she had hidden her crystal ball, because she always seemed to know what was going on everywhere and in everyone's mind. He said Marti, "Okay, but it is not going to be a thirteen mile walk."
Marti took him out through the tunnel and out the back of the garage to a gazebo that was located by a man-made lake, in the center of the property. Once they sat down, Marti said, "What has been on your mind, Dycke? Almost everyone has noticed."
"By everyone, do you mean, Fiona, also?"
"Yes Dycke, even Fiona has taken notice of your change of attitude. What is going on that you had to come to me, rather than speak to Fiona, who treats you like her younger brother, rather than a client?"
"Marti, what I am about to tell you, cannot go past you. This is a private conversation between us."
"Okay Dycke, it stays with me."
"The day prior to Payne having her face unmasked, I had this terrible premonition. I have had the same feeling, several times more, during the past week. I knew deep down in my soul, that Payne was going to be the most beautiful woman I had ever known. I also knew, in that same instant, that she was going to leave me. It will not happen now, but it has already started.
Today, it was because of a practical joke, which she normally loves. She will start school soon and when her schoolmates see her and the shock wears off, they will flock to her like bees to pollen. Those she selects to be her friends will idolize her. Those she chooses to alienate will become depressed because of what they did to her. She will stay with me to show off what she has, and what she can have because of her attachment to me. She will be the envy of everyone in school.
I am afraid that when she gets to Duke, that is when everything will fall apart, for us. She will no longer be the big fish in a small pond. There will be girls there almost as beautiful as she is, and she will not be as secure as she was in high school. The people at Duke will be better looking and many upper classmen are going to be attracted to her.
Even though we will be living together in a house, off campus, my worst fear is she will meet someone else, that she will start coming in late, hiding things from me, and eventually want to break up with me. She will not tell me the real reason for breaking up with me, the spare my feelings. From that moment on, however, I would not want to see her, again. I will be devastated. I will not know in what direction I should point my life. I will be nineteen years old, and feel like my life is over. This is why I asked talk to you, instead of Fiona. I would be crying now, if she was here, and she would be holding me, as my mother would be. I need advice from someone more detached from me, to give me a more dispassionate point of view. Payne will not tell me the real reason for breaking up with me, to spare my feelings. However, from that moment, I will not want to see her, again. I will be devastated. I will not know in what direction I should point my life. I will be nineteen years old, and feel like my life is over. This is why I asked to talk to you, instead of Fiona. I would be crying now, if she was here, and she would be holding me, as my mother would be. I needed advice from someone more detached from me, to give me a more dispassionate point of view. Please, Marti, help me, if you can."
Marti sat there for amoment, digesting everything Dycke had just told her. He had no evidence of infidelity. Everything he told her was from a gut feeling; could she prepare him for such a loss? Payne and he had met on under ridiculous circumstances and fallen in love, at first sight. They had taken each other's "virginity," and as Dycke told her, if there was anything that was a 'first', they had done it together.
"Dycke, you have presented me with a very tall order and I'm going to give you the first thing that has come into my mind. ' Do not attend Duke.' Tell Payne that the track coach from UNC contacted you and begged you to reconsider your decision to go to Duke and join his team at UNC. He understands your relationship with Payne. However, your majors are different. Your schedules will be different, and you will start training for track competition, during the summer. He said that he could make sure that your academic schedule was more flexible than Duke would make for you. You will be able to spend more time with her, between the adjustments of the schedule and your training regiments. Marti continued with her plan and it sounded better to Dycke every moment she continued."
When she stopped, there was deadness in the air that called for someone to say something.
Finally, Dycke said something that was unintelligible.
Marti asked him to say it again.
Dycke said, "No!"
Marti demanded, "Say it out loud."
"Fuck her. I will do it!"
Marti said, "Good! Now you have to remember:
First. She has done nothing wrong, yet.
Second. You must not change the way you speak, act, or treat her.
Third. You must continue to love her, as intensely as you do now.
Fourth. You must treat her parents the same way you have been treating them.
Fifth. Finally, if you screw up any of these, she may stay with you for all the wrong reasons. Then, you will wind up in a marriage, where you will both wind up hating each other. If this is going to happen, as you feel it is, let it happen before you get married, and before you have children. Do not let them be caught in a loveless marriage or worse in a single parent home."
42. The Threat is real
An FBI agent, dressed as a cable technician, entered the main house on Tuesday afternoon. Marti and Fiona were expecting him, so there was no uproar when he walked in. Everyone sat down at the dining room table to hear what he had to say. He introduced himself as George Smith, and immediately, all who had assembled at the table, started laughing. He looked at them and said, "No, really, my name is George Smith. Only the CIA plays those name games." After the chuckling quieted down, Marti asked him what he had found out for them.
George said, "You have attracted a very elite group. All they do is kidnap for money. We have been able to track fifteen kidnappings to them, and we suspect them for six more, all in Europe and Asia. This is their first foray, into the United States. In total, they have collected over three hundred million dollars in ransom. If it were I, I would have retired. However, in the last three years, they have picked up their pace, and are averaging three successful kidnappings a year. They always go after high-value targets, and they always ask for twenty million dollars or more. They get it, because they have not hurt any person they have kidnapped, when the ransom is paid, promptly. The two that were not paid were never found and believed dead."
"Do you have any clue as to who they are?" Marti asked.
"We do now, because they are going after your boy. However, before that, they will like ghosts. Now we know that they are Russian expatriates, living in Switzerland. That is how they are able to hide all that cash. We found out that they were coming after Dycke, only after the fact. When we were invited into this case, we were able to backtrack it through the FAA systems, and then through your business systems in Antwerp. As soon as we got into the European Union, Interpol got involved, and they were able to ferret out bugs in the underground cables serving some of Mr. Schneider's businesses. The bugs gave us computer addresses that led us to their team's computer whiz. He is now under twenty four/seven surveillance. He cannot burp, without us hearing it, and he cannot shit, without us seeing it. They bugged his computer and all the computers at an Internet café, a few blocks from his apartment. If he tries to use it to send coded transmissions, we have it covered."
Marti interrupted him, saying, "This is all very interesting stuff, George. However, when are they going to try and nab Dycke?"
"Oh, I'm sorry. I often find myself telling the story of how we wind up catching the bad guys. They are, already, in place. They are waiting for you to get bored here and return home. They will find out when your plane takes off and the approximate time of landing at Charleston. They will attack you, as soon as the aircraft is in the hangar, and the engines are shut down. They know your aircraft is in Burlington. They know you are here. There is a tracking device on, at least, one of the vehicles and on the aircraft itself. Do not try to remove it. We are going to try to use that against them. One of your people may have a tracking device on them, also, without knowing it. Check on it but do not turn off. The helicopter worried them, for a moment, until all three of your units joined up, in the same place, at the same time."
Fiona spoke up and asked, "How many should we be expecting?
George said, "Amaximum of sixteen. From the display you gave them last Sunday, at the hospital, I would expect that they would throw everything, including the kitchen sink, at you. I told you that they have not killed many 'principles,' but they cut down their escorts like pawns. We will get our operational plan to you, as soon as possible. When you have looked over our plan, if you agree with both the date of departure, and the plan itself, use the word blue in your coded reply. If you disagree and want to make changes, send those changes, in the code, and use the word black in your code. They will watch you to make sure Dycke is on board the aircraft. I am sure that they will be watching the air traffic system, to verify that the plane does not deviate from its flight path from Burlington to Charleston. If it does, they will not show up. If it does not they will be there, en masse. We will get body armor to your aircraft. Do you need weapons?"
"A few air to air and air to ground missiles, for our helicopter would be good, just in case they try to use an aircraft for their escape."
Marti said, "I think their plan is stupid, and from their success rate, I do not think they are stupid people. It would be crazy for sixteen people to attempt a kidnapping and firefight, in an open area on an Air Force base. The possibility of being faced with a rapid response force, that could be less than five minutes away. It makes no sense to me, at all. I think they're setting us up, to flush us out."
George said, "I have been here too long. If they have somebody watching this house, they will figure out that I am not a repairman. The fear you have is well founded. We thought about it, also. It makes much more sense to get him while he is en route from the airport to his house. We are scouting the route for the best ambush spots that will leave them with a variety of escape routes. We do not have enough people-power to cover them all, because of budgetary constraints, but we will do the best that we can." And
Dycke jumped in and said, "If I threw in one million dollars, or ten million dollars, would you have enough money for the extra manpower?"
George said, "I believe that would be more than sufficient, but I would have to ask my superiors two questions:
First: Is it legal for a private citizen to pay the FBI for protection, against an imminent threat of kidnapping?
Second: Is one million dollars too little money? Is ten million dollars too much money? After I get the answer, I will get back to you."
Dycke said, "Thank you, I would like that answer today, if at all possible. If the answer is no, I will have my attorney call a couple of senators and congressmen from South Carolina and possibly, the Attorney General of the United States, to see if that opinion can be changed."
"I will give my boss that message. I am sure that it would give him the impression that you are not fooling around. Goodbye all."
After George left the room, Marti sent Gary a text, on her secure telephone. She let him know that there was a security breach, on their computers, and that the enemy knows our every move!"
When Gary received the text, he was livid. In his entire career as a computer programmer, and security expert, no one had ever broken through his firewall programs. He was going to update it, and then backtrack along every line of code to find the culprit, who had broken his encryptions. He was going to cause that hacker so much pain; he would wish that he only had hemorrhoids, the size of grapefruits.
43. Preparing for War
The security team at Piker Temple' office scanned the day's mail, and found a letter for Dycke marked personal, and private. It was from a lawyer, Turnquest Schneider, in Switzerland. They were unsure, if there was a family relationship or not. Knowing that their communications were compromised, his security detail went to a local Staples store, purchased a "throw away" cellphone, and put in a call to Desiree. He said, "Desiree, Hank Moody. Have what looks like important message for Dycke from Turnquest Schneider. Sending by fax local Staples, under "Churchill." Yes/no, two to three minutes."
Desiree hustled to find either Marti or Fiona to get this message to them. She found them cloistered over a map of Charleston, going over routes to Dycke's house. She relayed the message to them.
Fiona told Desiree to find Dycke.
Dycke was with Payne and her parents' playing cards in the 'rec' room, while Steve was watching a re-run of Baywatch, on television. She told Dycke that Fiona wanted him, 'now!'
Dycke went, immediately, to see what was up. Piker Temple went with him.
Dycke, after hearing whom the letter was from, said, "Send it, immediately!"
Marti was about to disagree, but held her tongue, because of the tone of Dycke's voice.
Desiree called the number, simply said "Yes!", and hung up.
Hank Moody received the message, and immediately faxed the copy of the letter to the UPS store, in Burlington. Even though he knew communication at his end was secure, there was no way to be sure that not all communication, at the receiving site was compromised. There was no way for the kidnappers to know, that the code 2 to 3 minutes, told Desiree where the receiving site would be.
Marti dispatched two Hummers with four men each, to pick up the letter. The trailing car immediately picked up the tail, and called it in. Shortly after the car that was tailing them, disappeared. They reached the UPS store and picked up the letter, addressed to Winston Churchill's dog, Rufus, and proceeded back to the estate, without incident.
"Dycke, I have received word, through our mutual business partners, that you are expecting guests, when you return home. I thought it would be wonderful for you to have your great uncles Mercedes to ride in, while your guests are in town. This car is very heavy, and does not do well on gas mileage. However, it has strong curb appeal, him and dark shielded windows. Although, I am not sure you shall want to keep it, the bill of sale is in the glove box. Sign it and it is yours. You will owe me fifty euros for the car, and if you do not send it to me, quickly, I shall be destitute, after my U.S. taxes become due. It will arrive via a private freight courier, on March29th. It has been cleared by U.S. Customs, here in Switzerland. If you do not want the car, send it back to me. However, you must pay the freight charges. Cordially, Turnquest Schneider.
Dycke laughed. He turned the fax over to Marti to see what she is, made out of it. She looked at it and said, "Dycke, I think your uncle is sending you an armored car."
Dycke replied, "That is what I thought."
Fiona said, "That solves one big problem. No one will be able to get to our principals. I have seen the limo many times, and it will seat nine people easily. It does not look like an armored car. If the kidnappers are shooting anything, except armor piercing rounds or an RPG at it, everyone inside will be safe. Call a staff meeting, and we will brainstorm this new information, together. Then, we will send an update to the FBI."
All of the agents gathered in the "great room," and received maps with possible routes, from the Charleston airport to the Schneider house, and then the Temple house. There were only three possible routes to take, but only one logical one, unless you knew you were being followed, or set-up. One of the first questions asked was, "Why are we taking them to a known destination."
Marti explained, "The kidnapper's track record shows, that they do not kill the target, they kill protection detail, without mercy. Do the same to them, without hesitation. I believe if we do not get them now that they will try again later, when our intelligence reports are not as accurate. The FBI is ready. Interpol has all its resources working to help us. The local police will be on alert, as a backup. Everyone is as prepared as we will ever be."
After she finished her speech, everyone in the room agreed with her assessment.
Marti continued her briefing and told everyone to look over their maps and find potential routes, chokepoints, escape routes, and especially schools and other high-density areas that could become targets for the kidnappers to take hostages. She told them when they were finished, to take someone else's map, analyze it, make notes, give it to someone else, and review another map. After we have done it four times, we will go over it. No criticism will be considered too small to be checked. More criticisms of any potential route chokepoint, hazardous point or whatever will be taken into consideration. We will reconvene in four hours.
Four hours later, they reconvened, and the decisions seem to be unanimous. There was only one logical way for the team to get the principals home, without threatening too many civilians. Within one half mile of the hangar, on airport property, there were three universities, including Embry Riddle with their own fleet of aircraft. This area would have to be secured because of the possibility of the theft of these aircraft in an escape attempt. Their return was to be scheduled on aSaturday or Sunday, when very few students would be attending classes, at the universities.
The route from the airport would take them straight down Dorchester Road to the Temple's home first and then, double-back to Dycke's house. The trip would take thirty to forty minutes, along city streets with a forty-five mile per hour speed limit and traffic signals. No one was happy, however going any other way would tip their hand, and let the kidnappers know that they were on to them.
Working for them, however, was the lay of the land. Over eighty percent of the communities on both sides of the road were dead ends. There were two major arteries that they could get to and disappear in traffic, if they could get to them. Interstate 26 was to their North and Interstate 95 was to their West. They all agreed that this was not going to be their option. Charleston has a deep-water port, with ships arriving and departing every few hours. It has countless rivers running to the sea and bays and the intra-coastal waterway along its coast. It was a good bet that they had arrived by and would depart by ship. Fiona would contact the FBI to see what they could find out about the movement of commercial traffic into and out of the port of Charleston, in the next two weeks.