It would cost him, but he was declaring war on a criminal.
November 10, 2013
A VG Serial: Black Continent Continental
Skeeter eyed her partner with amusement. He had been trying to reach someone all morning—maybe Eleanor—and he never got an answer. She could tell he was trying several different numbers. Skeeter and Angus had been partners for so long that she could predict his facial expressions, mannerisms, and sometimes, exact cuss words for this very frustration.
“Angus, Skeeter, I need to see you in my office.” Captain Sullivan had an unreadable, stern expression on his face. “Sit!” He said, when they entered. “I took a call for you while you were out, earlier—they said it was important, so I took it. I don’t want you to get your hopes up, but Brad Cooper may have a donor. We should know before the day is over, if it is a possible match, but he will probably have to be transferred to Dallas for the surgery and it will be a tricky transfer.”
Angus and Skeeter glanced at each other, and eased up a bit in their chairs. “Well, no matter how risky the transfer is, he would want to take that chance. The sooner he can do it, the better. He is losing his grip,” Angus said.
“While I have got you two in here, I want to commend you on the work you are doing on the brainless body cases. We still don’t know what the evil entity is, but you two have found out what object the victims are getting it from, and no one else has been able to do that, not even the FBI. I have read your confidential reports and will respect your desire for confidentiality, as there are too many loose ends to jump to a pat conclusion, yet. I know you don’t want false information to get out. It would be better to wait until you have more.” Captain Sullivan’s compliments were honest—he didn’t just dish them out willy-nilly.
Angus and Skeeter shot each other a sideways glance again, then, Angus decided to make his move. “Captain? We have been wondering if we could take some time off without pay.”
“Time off?” Sullivan was incredulous. What in the world for?”
“Well we need to go to Aftica—on our own time and at our own expense.”
“Africa? You are not serious.”
“I am as serious as a heart attack,” Angus answered. “We need to go over there and make a few reliable contacts—someone to be our eyes and ears. Because of the extra-long travel time, we would need two weeks, to do proper development, if you get my drift.’
Sullivan then looked over at Skeeter and she nodded firmly, without hesitation. He could tell they were dead serious. “This is the FBI’s problem. Interpol’s problem. Not yours.” He stared at them through a wall of silence.
Finally, Angus spoke. “Captain, it is a personal commitment. Skeeter and I have declared war on these people—whoever is doing this. I don’t expect you to understand, exactly, our situation. But I know you have had cases of your own, in your career, where you, in your head, declared war on a criminal.”
“That I did,” Sullivan admitted. “Several.” And I got a great deal of satisfaction in nailing them myself.”
Angus continued. “This is similar for us. What is it going to hurt for us to go over there, figure out where these honey pots are coming from, and nose around a bit—if we pay for it ourselves and on our own time? It is what is important to us. While there, we can try to develop one or more informants that will report suspicious activity back to us by telephone or text.”
“I see what you are saying. You know it is very dangerous over there now, right? Marauding terrorists. It’s not going to be that easy. I know you are in a hurry, but I need about a week to give this some thought. How am I going to keep all of our asses out of slings? During that week, see if you can figure out where some of these victims got their honey pots. Were they purchased? Import shops? Some are quite old—maybe some came from antique shops. Maybe they got them as gifts. From whom? Do what you can while I scratch my head for a week over this Africa thing.”
* * *
“Well at least he didn’t come right out and tell us ‘no.’” Skeeter voiced her conclusions.
“If he lets us go, only one thing I know to do, Skeeter—cash out my savings accounts. It means that much to me to nail this sucker.”
“Yeah, if we are successful, it could save many lives, worldwide. I am good for about five thousand, Angus, but no more. Would that do any good?” Skeeter asked, bravely.
“We will figure out a way to scrape the money together. This is what we have to do for Cooper—for all the innocent victims.”
Skeeter observed Angus trying to make phone calls once again. The calls were not going through. Then, without explanation, Angus grabbed his jacket from the back of his chair and he was gone.
Chapters of Dark Continental by Sara Marie Hogg will be published on Saturday and Sunday.