Scorpion's Reach part 4. "We need to know!"
From the Author, before we start.
I think I should point out that I'm planning five of these 'teasers' and then hoping to link the fifth with some form of promotion, (and hoping that nice people will leave a review on the Amazon site, but I didn't say that did I?)
In the last couple of episodes, Joey and Sandy had a holiday cut short by a horrific 'accident' that it turns out both Joey and Sir Michael have suspicions it might not have been one, some things didn't quite 'add up' as Joey put it.
What's going on? Well, lets get back into the story and see what happens.
From the previous
Joey sat there stunned for a few moments, he’d expected to just report in that they were okay, he wasn't really expecting Sir Michael to take his suspicions as seriously as he seemed to, then again Iran had caused a real shit storm to break loose and there were more than a few wanting blood from the fallout, and they weren't all people on the wrong side of the law.
Continuing 'The cover up'
Senior constable Dennis Murray had a real problem, police procedure dictated there had to be witness statements and a full investigation, but the ‘paymasters’ didn't want either. They weren't the kind of people you ‘piss off’ expecting to make retirement age, if you did you’re not likely to make the following week, let alone birthday.
He’d tried explaining that the only thing he could do was ‘delay’ the process. They didn’t like it, but finally agreed to come up with something,a delay could work, but it had to be couple of days delay between the accident and the Serious Crash people looking the car over, he had no idea why, but that’s what they were running with, it also meant he’d need to make sure the taking the statements got ‘screwed up’ so that would slow things down as well.
Kingi had gone and done his work, he’d taken statements, but Murray wanted them “on my desk”, what he got was on the friggin’ computer, that really screwed things up for him. No way to take them down without arousing suspicion. “SHIT” was all he could think, ‘nothing else for it’ he thought, ‘do what they ask and ride out the storm!
“Kingi” he looked up from his computer, Officer Kingi was in the adjoining room. “Get your bloody arse in here”
Hene stepped into the room a little confused; he thought he’d done everything right. “What’s the problem boss?” he was mystified.
“I told you not to put the sodding statement on the computer did I not?” Murray screamed as Hene closed the door. “What the hell’s this crap?” he swivelled the computer round to show him.
Hene knew he’d done the statements right, he’d done them ‘textbook’ style exactly the way they were taught to at Police college. He’d also followed police procedure, that said the first officer ‘on scene’ took statements, Murray had sent him to speak with the witnesses after all “I followed procedure sarge” was the only reply he could think of.
“Procedure?” Murray screamed more as a question than anything. He was turning red, the statement was perfect but that didn’t matter. It wasn’t what he’d told him to do, and it didn’t say what he needed it to, and any changing stuff was going to show up on the system, that is unless he can get Kingi to take the statement down using his own passkey, then they’d accept that the statement might have been faulty. “It’s a bloody mess! You need to take it down immediately and THEN I’ll go in and put the real events onto the new statement”
“Sarge” Kingi tried to reason with Murray, “The statement was exactly how we’re taught at Police College! Why should I change it?”
“Just do as I flamin’ well tell you, you bloody idiot” Murray pointed to the door. “And get out of my sight and get it flamin’ well done”
Hene was furious. It just wasn’t right and he knew it, but Murray was his boss and getting on the wrong side of him could finish his career before it’s even begun, but still, it just wasn’t right.
He brooded over it for the rest of the morning, but then came to a decision. He could delete the statement but still save the original on a thumb drive. He was going to Hamilton later in the week, he’d still have the original, so he could talk it through with one of the detectives there, they might be able to give him some advice, it might also let them know that something just wasn’t right here, but he’d have to be careful that it wasn’t just some rookie ‘probationer copper’ trying to get ‘one up’ on his boss, then again, what was he supposed to do?
Of course, you could always buy the book?
It had been three days since the accident and still the Police hadn’t been in contact, not even a ‘follow up’ call from victim support or any of the groups like that, that seemed odd to everyone, not least to Sandy.
“He got our address right” Joey replied with a hint of frustration, “I made him repeat it a couple of times”
“That would have been amusing” it was Mr Smith spoke up. Joey was confused why that would be, Mr Smith continued. “An Englishman trying to tell a Maori how a Maori name should be pronounced” It was actually good to see the small smile on his face, it’d been awhile since he had anything to smile about.
“Gave him my phone number as well” Joey replied. “Actually, I’ve got his so maybe I’ll call and find out what’s going on” He stood up and made his way outside. The conversation round the table turned to where Joey and Sandy had met, she told them he was a work colleague whom she’d ‘taken a shine to’ and they ‘went from there.’ Joey’d already told them that he was ex Army, that went down really well with both sets of parents and a couple of invites to the local Returned Services Association had been extended, so far Joey’d managed to pass on both of them.
He came in a couple of minutes later looking a little confused, Sandy saw it before the others and managed to get him to one side before the others noticed.
“What is it?” She virtually demanded as they stepped into the living room.
“I got through to Officer Kingi” Joey replied, “He said he put the statements in but got a strip tore off him by his boss who wants him to rewrite everything.”
“Well?” Sandy asked, it was obvious Joey wasn’t telling anything.
“I told Sir Michael I saw one of the cops walking down to the crash site with an empty bottle of booze!”
“You’re sure of that?” she asked.
“Absolutely” Joey replied. “I can’t tell you what it was exactly, but I’m sure it was either Beefeater Gin or Whiskey, the bottle was that shape!”
The Cop was carrying this?
"We need to know why they didn't want questions asked!"
“And he’s looking at putting it down to excess alcohol?” She asked no one in particular, “still, they’ve got the Crash Unit’s scene and car examination yet” she carried on the thought, “But it does sound strange, almost like you want them to find things that way.”
“Oh Officer Kingi’s been told not to speak to us unless he wants to lose his job” Joey continued.
“What?” that was just too far, Joey had to be joking.
“Nah, I’m not” Joey could see what she was thinking. “Apparently this ‘constable Murray’ is a bit of a power freak. But Officer Kingi is afraid for his job at the moment”
“But that doesn’t make sense”
“Tell me about it” Joey replied. “The whole bloody lot isn’t making sense; they want this “brushed under the carpet”
Sandy was looking directly into Joey’s eyes, there was a steely look in her eyes that just made her look all that more sexy than normal. “I think we need to know a little more of what’s going on!”
“We are meant to be on holiday, remember?”
“So, we just let something like this lie? Even when we know somebody’s hiding something?” Sandy replied asking the question knowing full well it wouldn’t sit well with the awkward Englishman.
Joey was in agreement with Sandy, he didn’t need to say anything, but she knew she’d hit a nerve, however, he still needed to hear it from her. “So, what do you want us to do?”
She stopped for a moment, “I think we need to find out why they didn’t want statements, and who exactly was in the car?”
“Speaking of which that reminds me,” Joey interjected. “Sir Michael said he was going to get us some paperwork for checking the car itself out, that should answer if it was really an accident!”
“Sounds like someone’s already been scheming!”
“No more than usual!” he replied, “You didn’t think we’d be dropping it altogether, did you?”
“First let’s find out where the car was taken,” she headed back in, the rest of the family were drinking tea. Their laptop that was there on the kitchen bench, closed up, she took the laptop and headed back to the lounge, “Sorry folks, got some things I need to do, won’t be long.” She mouthed to Joey to wait there with the rest of the family as she headed off.
Gotta know what's so special?
“Excuse me” Sandy spoke to the waitress who brought their coffees, “but I noticed you have free Wifi, could I get the password please?”
“Sure, no worries” the waitress, a young girl with a ponytail replied smiling, “just give me a minute or two.” She put the two drinks down and headed back to the counter, neither Joey or Sandy spoke while they waited.
She was back within the minute, “here you are” she handed a piece of paper to Sandy, “it'll give you an hour access, if you need more just let me know.”
“Thanks” Sandy replied, “that should be enough, just got important email to deal with” which was half true, an email from Sir Michael made it 'clear as daylight’ he wanted the car checked, AND NOT BY THE COPS!!
It took her about fifteen minutes to find what she was looking for, and another couple of minutes to access the incident reports, they were all there, but the witness reports seemed a lot briefer than they remembered giving.
“The car’s in the Thames compound” Sandy glanced up from the device she was using, it looked just like an iphone, but way more powerful, and directly linked to '6's servers, “according to the log the serious crash unit hasn't processed it yet, they're planning to do that tomorrow.”
Joey sipped the coffee, it was good coffee, “Sounds like we need to get our 'skates on’ then” he downed the rest of the drink,”how far is Thames from here?”
"Hold on there cowboy” Sandy gave him a frustrated look, “ before you go barging in let's check the security.”
A couple of minutes later they had all they needed, the password protection on the security clearance hadn't been much of a problem, though Sandy was impressed it took the servers fifteen seconds to break the code, that doesn't sound a lot, but when you realise they were bombarding them with half a million bits of information a second, that's a hell of a lot of combinations. They once broke the Metropolitan police computers in ten seconds, so fifteen was pretty respectable.
“Looks like they've got four cameras on the garage floor, and two monitoring the outside, all watched from the police station”
“Any chance we can get in without being seen?” Joey asked as they stood up.
“No need” Sandy reached for her bag as she replied, “maintenance is booked for this afternoon, I just booked it in the system”
Most people would need at least a week to get over the trauma of the accident, they didn't have that luxury, with killers possibly right on their 'tail’ they needed to stay ahead, and the only way that could happen was find out what happened with the car, what caused the crash:
“Afternoon officer” Joey, dressed in the overalls of a technician, greeted the desk officer, “here for some scheduled maintenance on your security system for the compound and yard” he plonked a heavy toolbox on the ground, the thunk reverberated round the reception area of the station.
“Hold on a minute” the duty cop looked up from the computer, “let’s just check the system” he tapped a few keys on the computer keyboard.
Joey just stood there, impassive; just as if nothing was happening, absolutely no sign of nerves at the fact that only a half hour before he and Sandy had hacked into the police database to insert the ‘backstory’ for their fake ‘technician’.
The screen came alive with a picture of Joey, but the name was slightly different, a ‘Jimmy Metcalfe’ and enough of the truth there that if he was asked a question he could easily get away with it, there was also a set of fingerprints.
The officer reached down and took what looked like an electronic fingerprint pad from under the desk, it had a cable coming out of the end which he inserted into a USB port on the desk computer, he looked over at Joey.
“Oh shit” Joey exclaimed as if in shock at suddenly remembering something, “Left my bloody ID badge at home, SHIT!” he almost shouted as he began running through pockets, “Damn, sorry officer, I’ll have to come back tomorrow SHIT!”
“Hold on a moment buddy” The officer smiled, “Even if you had it, we wouldn’t care, not without the fingerprint scanner confirming who you are, put your right hand on there” he pointed to the scanner, “If that confirms then you can carry on and we won’t mention the ID badge!”
“Oh, Cheers bro” Joey gave a good Kiwi impersonation, he did as he was told, the machine was silent for a moment.
“ID confirmed” the officer more or less read off the screen, he looked up at Joey, making eye contact “you know where the junction boxes are?”
“Pretty much” Joey replied, “do I need an escort?”
“If you'll wait a couple of minutes sir, I'll get someone to take you through” the officer said as he reached for the internal phone
They were there a total of twenty minutes, just enough time to let the cops think they were checking the camera feeds, they were, but to Sandy's laptop. The idea was she'd record ten minutes footage, then when Joey was ready to go in they'd play that footage in a 'loop’ giving him ten minutes to get in, check the car over, retrieve anything interesting and get out, all without giving any indication anyone had been there.
It was dark around nine, the town was beginning to 'party’. That meant a busy night for the station: Cops would be coming and going all night.
That was good, at least for Joey and Sandy it was, it meant people moving around, it was good cover for the little escapade they had planned.
The only hassle they had was that the recordings had been done in daylight, but they were doing this at night, they’d managed to compensate for it some, but they were still relying on a ‘busy station’ and overworked cops, a vigilant cop might just catch the switch, if they were watching the screens right at that moment in time.
The compound had a back way in, it was pretty secure, with Chubb locks and a burglar alarm wired directly to the front desk
“Loop's running” Sandy spoke through the earphones, she was in their car, with the engine running, the laptop was plugged into the cigarette lighter. “I've bypassed the alarm, you're good to go”
“Cool” Joey replied as he worked the first lock, “see you in ten” as the lock popped open.
There were two other vehicles in the compound, all of them had their own space, plastic sheeting creating separate spaces, keeping them apart, so one didn't contaminate the other.
He found the McLaren in the end space. Everything from the crash was there, even photos of the scene, and detailed notes of where each and every piece of debris was found, basically they could rebuild the scene down to the nearest millimetre with the notes.
“Two gone” Sandy's voice came into his earpiece, “eight left.”
Joey took his time, about five minutes in he spoke up. “I'll need longer”, he was starting with the obvious places, under the car.
“How much longer?” She couldn't hide the concern.
“Couple of hours” Joey suggested. He knew she couldn’t see the smile on his face, he just couldn’t resist the teasing.
“What?” She was so loud he almost removed the piece, “that's not what we”
“Just kidding” Joey tried to calm things down, “but possibly another ten, that possible?”
“At a stretch” Sandy replied, “not found anything?”
“Oh I've found it alright” he sounded like he was concentrating, “it's just going to take me a little longer to disarm it!”
“Disarm what?” She almost deafened him again, “what have you found, a bomb?”
“Yeah, some kind of incendiary device,” Joey replied, “don't worry, I've got this under”
“Joey, get out of there, NOW”
“I told you, I've got under control” Joey hissed so strongly it made her jump, he'd never used that tone with her before, “it looks like a timer on it, I'd say whoever did this, planned all of it, even this but"
“Blowing a bloody police station up?” Sandy was incredulous.
“Perfect way to get rid of evidence” Joey sounded almost blase, like it was 'nothing really’, “think about it, the car's been here what, a day or so?” He was still working, “ah here it is, I've found the timer, it's not a bomb as such, more like an incendiary, kind of like a flare.”
“Two minutes left Joey” Sandy couldn't think of anything else to say.
Two cylinders, that's what it was. Both plastic, but the lower one was much bigger than the top one, it also had a glass inner, all the evidence said whatever had been in there had been extremely corrosive, probably an acid concentration of some kind. The brake pipes looked like they'd been eaten by an acid, and damn quickly.
'I bet the top is white phosphorus’ Joey thought to himself, 'If it is I'm in deep shit’ he thought as he began assessing the situation.
The second cylinder had a valve like fitting, the valve looked like it had a small motor and wires leading to it.
'I see what gives’ he talked to himself, not quite loud enough for Sandy to make out what he was saying.
“What?” She asked, “never mind, resetting the loop, give me twenty seconds”, “there, done”
“I just worked it out,” Joey spoke again, “it's white phosphorus, timed to expose and ignite in about an hour, I can disarm and remove the device, that's what I'm going to do”
All for now.
Yep, Joey's found a damn Bomb or something like that, in the car and inside the Police station, and it's on a timer! Timed to incinerate the evidence right when the cops least expect it!
But am I 'jumping the gun' there? I can't remember.
Course, you could always buy the book!
Until next week.