BK SECURITY SERVICES (BKSS) LLC
ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO
May 1, Tuesday
"Hey, boss. This just in. We've got problems."
Taskforce commander, Bernard Keller, gripped his phone and exhaled hard.
"The guy's wife survived. She just reactivated her phone."
"What?" His free hand raked his greying buzz-cut. "You're shittin' me, right? How the hell could anyone survive that wreck?"
"Damned if I know, boss. She must be one tough broad. No telling, but she did. The sniffer picked up phone activity. Plus she's texting and going out on Facebook."
Keller groaned. "Terrific. How long ago did this happen?"
"The phone was activated just under a week ago."
"Almost a week? What the hell, Johannsen? You're just noticing this now?"
"Yeah. Report just came in. I guess we're not exactly at the top of the NSA's priorities. Right, boss? Actually, it's lucky they hadn't cut the trace. We were about to have them ax it, then they sent this."
Keller muttered his pet profanity through clenched teeth. "Listen, Johannsen. If there's any luck involved, it sure as hell ain't yours. Why didn't we know she was alive?" Seconds ticked by. "Johannsen? You still there?"
"Yeah, boss. I guess she, uh, looked dead. When they got her out of the truck."
"So, you assumed she was dead."
"Uh, yeah. They bagged the dude and had one ready for her. She was covered with blood, unconscious, and looked it. I've seen dead people, boss. She looked dead. Real dead. D-E-A-D. "
"You know the definition of assume, right?"
"When you assume you make an ass outa you and me. Get it, numbnuts?"
"Heh, heh. Yeah, I get it. You know, boss, if the goddamn ambulance hadn't gotten there so fast, she would've been dead. I guarantee it."
"So, tell me. What did that teach you?" More silence. "Well?"
"Uhhh. I guess we, uh, shoulda disconnected the telematics. When we installed the tracker."
"Details, Johannsen. You can't pee like a puppy if you want to run with the big dogs. If you'd done it right she would've been dead and you would've been outa there. Truck in the ravine, plus no dealing with the stupid cops." He expelled an impatient breath. "What phone activity has there been? Who's she called?"
"Just family. She calls her father. Either that, or he or his wife call her, at least once a day, usually more. But there's some good news."
"You can't be serious. Hmmph. Like what?"
"Well, from the transcripts, it sounds like she doesn't remember a damn thing. We might be okay."
"Huh. Do you believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, too?"
"Yeah, boss. Right. Hahaha. Don't worry, we'll keep monitoring the situation and see if we need to take any further action."
Keller rolled his eyes. "Uh, actually, you do. A lot. This is a huge complication. With the chick alive, you need a comprehensive background check on them both. Wire that address in Denver, the one on their truck registration. Have you checked their place for evidence?"
"No, not yet. With the guy dead, we didn't figure there was any hurry."
"Uh, it's been over two weeks. Get your ass over there. Remember what I taught you about hidey holes. But don't make a big freakin' mess, understand? Be subtle. She can't know she's being watched. We absolutely need to know if their trespassing was a dumbass mistake or intentional. Maybe they actually were cross-country skiing and missed the lethal force posting. It could've been covered with snow. But their being there could've been deliberate. We need to know. Understand? It matters. A lot. If so, we have even bigger problems."
He ground his teeth, not wanting to think about where this was going.
"Depending on what we find, we may need to take her out," he went on. "But carefully. Make it look like complications from her injuries or something. Check out her family. See if there's any concern with them if she remembers anything. At most, she's probably only an accessory, unless there's evidence indicating foreknowledge. We just need to be sure. Can I assume that's a no-brainer?"
"Roger that, boss. I'll keep you posted."
"Yeah. You do that."
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