Embracing Justice -chp21

Embracing Justice


Can the love of another really help a person overcome the need for revenge or is the old saying true about digging two graves?

Dedicated to the men and women of the US Marshal Service.

Edited by my husband Paul, Honeysuckle, and djkuffman.


This is a work of fiction an any persons in this work are purely fictional.

Chapter 21

02:30 backside Ft. Bellamean just outside the main fence line……

The second platoon moved through the woods on the backside of the Farm or as they were calling it Target Sierra Hotel. In their minds this place was a true shit hole. The third platoon was ten minutes form hitting the front door with a true shock and awe attack. The fifteen Chenoweth Scorpion Fast Attack Vehicle’s or FAV, of the third platoon each carrying a three man teams of pissed off teenagers all with a hard hate for the LOG Party and what they stood for were going to raise unholy hell with the gate guards of this compound. For too long what when on inside this compound had been a sore spot for the Post and the men of the 473rd Military Police battalion of Ft. Bellamean. No one knew what all they did here, but the men and women of the 473rd knew deep in their hearts that it was not good.

The primary job of the second platoon was to secure the escape tunnels and underground cells. They had received orders to only engage the guards or other Farm personal as a last resort. If they surrendered then they were to treat them like they would any other suspect. However if they were to engage the second and third platoons in a fire fight the orders were clear. Shoot first, shoot fast, and shoot last. No member of the two platoons was to take any chances with trying to make arrests. According to the Intel they could expect any prisoners they found to be suffering from Stockholm syndrome. So when encountered all prisoners and captives were to be stunned and handcuffed for the safety of the teams.

At exactly 0230 hours the second platoon heard the heavy machine guns of the third herds FAV’s as they hit the front gate. That was their cue to blow the hatches on the escape tunnels. The men and women of the second platoon rushed the stunned and momentarily blinded underground guards. Within thirty seconds of blowing open the escape hatches the second platoon had secured all of the underground bunkers. Of the eight men guarding the underground complex three decided they wanted to shoot it out with the MP’s. Those poor unfortunates now resided in the land of their ancestors.

The third platoon’s lead FAV’s started the fight off with a burst from their Mk 19 40mm automatic grenade launchers. One One and One Two were dropping their rounds dead on top of the guardhouse. Within seconds it and its occupant were dust. TOne Three and One Four were hot on their rear wheels opening up with their M2 fifty calibers. The heavy rounds tore into the guards standing out in the open. The FAV’s of the second, third and fourth squads split up with the second squad going to the right, the third squad going to the left and the fourth squad heading for the main house with the first squad. The two squads that turned after they entered the compound followed the fence line looking for the roving guards.

The third platoon’s orders deferred from the seconds in one important way. They were ordered to engage and destroy the enemy guards. One way or an other those men were not going to be walking away from this fight. They would never see the inside of a courtroom anywhere in the US. These men were mercenaries, nothing more nothing less. To the men and women of the 473rd MP Battalion they were lower than street thugs. If they surrendered they would be arrested according to the law, but if they wanted to stand and fight then all bets were off. They were going to be turned into hamburger.

For Command Sergeant Major Larry Hurwitz the operation couldn’t have gone off any better. As he sat outside the compound fence listening to the command frequency of the two platoons a smile slowly came to his face. The raid had gone down by the numbers and none of his people were getting hurt. The only people going home in body bags tonight were the bad guys and this was a good thing in Larry’s mind. The only down side was the reports coming from the underground bunkers. What the second platoon was finding made Larry sick to his stomach and madder than hell. More than once he had to stop himself from issuing an illegal order that would most likely have been carried out by the MPs down there. If that order were given Larry knew that none of the Farm personal would live to see the sunrise.

Within an hour of hitting the front gate and the escape tunnel hatches they owned every inch of the Farm. With it they now had everything they would need to tie it back to the LOG party Leaders. Preston Carstairs was going to spend a very long time behind bars thanks to the records on the compound computers. Not only was Carstairs going down but the enter top tier of the LOG Party leadership. The records for the sale of slaves to more than sixty people around the world were on those seized computers. The attack by the second platoon had taken the staff, of what was rapidly becoming known as the ‘training facility’, so fast none of them had a chance to scramble or lock out the compounds computers.

When the compound was secured it was US Deputy Marshal Larry Hurwitz that walked through the gate, not Command Sergeant Major Larry Hurwitz. He was more than happy to hand over the search and arrest warrants to the supposed owner of the property. “You want to see the warrants here they are you sick fuck. Now I have the pleasure of reading you your rights. You have the right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. So keep your fucking mouth shut. You have the right to an attorney. If you get Johnny Cockering I’ll shoot your ass. If you cannot afford one, we will provide you with one of the most incompetent bottom of the class piece of shit Public Defender. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? If not please be so kind as to drop dead you dumb fucker. With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me? Personally I could give a shit less if you just sat there and bleed to death than hear one word out of your mouth.”

As Larry read the Miranda Warning to the man several of the MP’s started to laugh at the adlib portions. Even the three officers from the Army CID that had accompanied them on the raid were getting a laugh. When the man started to say something Larry just talked over him. “Seeing as how you have decided to excise your right to remain silent we’ll take that as your admission of guilt. Now please shut the fuck up you asshole. Besides there is nothing you can say that will change the charges or outcome for what we have found here. You’ll be lucky if we allow you to spend the rest of your miserable life in saltier. Personally I would love to ship your sorry ass off to Pelican Bay and put you in genpop. However that’s not going to happen because you dumb shits really screwed the pouch here. You see contrary to popular belief the jurisdiction for the US Military Police and Investigation Division does not stop at the base fence line. In fact it extends five miles beyond that fence. Even here in CONUS. So you see ladies and gentlemen the US Military can arrest your asses. They only have to turn you over to the US Marshals to handle your prosecution. Now these kind soldiers have agreed to transport you to their fort for holding until such time as the Marshal can arrange for your transfer over into our custody. If I were you I would do anything in my power to keep them happy. You see the military have a totally different attitude when it comes to people trying to escape. They shoot to kill and don’t ask questions. Lieutenant if you would be as kind as to get this scum out of my sight the US Marshal Service would be in your debt.”

The young Lieutenant that Larry was addressing just smiled. “It would be my pleasure Deputy Hurwitz. Third herd round them up and get them in the duce and half.” The third platoon quickly began grabbing the staff of the Farm by the back of their necks and anything else they could get their hands on to motivate their prisoners to move out. A few of the younger soldiers went so far as to kick certain prisoners in the ass to get them moving.

When the last of the prisoners had been loaded onto the two and a half ton cargo trucks, Larry turned to watch the special med team he had arranged for arrive. Three hug RV still buses pulled through the gates. He and the rest of the MP’s had not opened one cell in the bunkers. When he started forming the plan to take this compound with Sam and the others they realized that they would need psychiatrist and consolers on hand before they released any of the captives. No law officer is ever really trained to handle the type of physical and emotional abuse that those captives had been put through.

Some of the reports that the second platoon had given on the captives were truly horrifying. That was one of the reasons Larry had used the third platoon to transport the prisoners. He was afraid that if he let the second platoon have that detail none of the prisoners would have lived passed the turn-in for the main gate. When the time came for those people to go to trial he was going to make sure that every last member of the second platoon for the 473rd Military Police Battalion would be there to give their account of what they saw down in those bunkers.

These youngsters would be having nightmares over what they had to walk away from and not being able to help those poor souls. He knew that there would be more than one heading for the psychiatrist’s over at Mental Health Services. Hell he hadn’t even been down there yet and he knew he would have problems. Deciding it was time to see what all their hard work had won them Larry headed over to the first bunker. As he walked the hallway of the bunker he saw the professionals taking one captive at a time from their cells.

Stopping at one of the cells he saw a clipboard hanging next to one of the cell doors. Taking it down, Larry began to read. What he read pushed his rage to a point that if he had one of the so called staff here in front of him right now, he would be brought up on murder charges. The more he read the more he knows that he would have to turn this case over to another Deputy. The reason for this was simple. He was getting way to personal to remain objective over this case and the people involved. It wasn’t long before he felt the bile in his stomach start to rise. Putting the clipboard back on its hanger Larry turned and ran for the outside. Once there he didn’t stop until he came to some bushes. Once there Larry deposited the MRE he had for a snake earlier. Not since his time in the jungles of South East Asia as a seventeen year old kid had he thrown up over something he had seen or read in a report.

The hand on his shoulder let Larry know he was not alone. When he stood up a Private First Class handed him an open canteen. Taking a quick drink and then spitting it out after swishing it around in his mouth to wash the taste of vomit out. He took another drink before handing it back to the PFC. “Thank you Private. I needed that. I am sorry to have put you troopers through that hell down there.”

“Sergeant Major, the men and women of second platoon would walk through hell wearing tissue paper vests for you, but if you ask any of us to go back down there and not help some of them kids you’ll have a full blow mutiny on your hands. Please don’t make us do that?”

“Private if anyone tells you or any of the other members of second platoon to do that you have my permission to shoot the dumb son of a bitch.”

“Damn they really got to you Sergeant Major.”

“Son, were you there when they took any of those poor souls out of their cages?”

“No Sergeant Major.”

“Did you read any of those clipboards hanging next to the cells?”

“No Sergeant Major. I was more than a little busy at the time. Hell everyone was, but we did see some of them as they were being put into those cells when we came in the backdoors.”

“Son let me give you a piece of free advice. Whatever you do, between now and the time we get out of here, do not under any circumstances read one of those clipboards.” With that Larry Hurwitz turned and walked into the predawn light and rising morning fog. As he walked away one of the first captive slaves was brought out of the bunkers. He never looked back at the Farm. Larry would never return to the Farm.

The slave saw Larry walking away into the early morning fog that was rising. The onetime fifteen year old boy forced to be a girl pointed at him as he faded into the fog. When the medic who was helping her looked to where she was pointing all he saw was the fog bank. No matter what the slave tried she couldn’t get across to the nice man in green that she just saw a ghost. Like all slaves though once she and the others were together for a little peace and quiet she would tell of her sighting of the ghost who saved them. The Ghost of Justice, who would be the one to bring justice to those who had hurt her and so many other slaves. In the years to come when the survivors of this terrible place returned to remember the day they were freed. They would tell the story of the Ghost of Justice and how he led the soldiers to free the slaves.

It would be five days later when his letter of resignation would arrive at Dorothy Rose’s office with an effect day three days prior before anyone had heard from him. His retirement request would arrive at Ft Wayne Indiana at the same time. The last anyone would ever see of Larry Hurwitz would be at the trial for the Staff of the Farm. After giving his deposition Larry Hurwitz walked away from Law Enforcement and into the legends of the US Marshal Service.

Sam’s old home 10:00 pm……

As much as David and Robbie want to try for a cover up there was no way to hide the bodies of all the dead mercs and then there was the fact that the gate wouldn’t open. The mercs SUV had jammed the gate to the point they needed a cutting torch and tow truck to get it open. There would be no way to get it open in time for the girls to get out in time to keep things quite. Then there was the fact that the local PD was already on their way and would be there in less than ten minutes. The response time was actually shorter than any of them expected.

“Okay folks this is how we’re going to play this. Sam, you, and the girls find someplace to stash your selves. Bat, Hunter, Bobbie, and me will run interference long enough for you to get to your hidey hole, I am pretty sure that Bobby can show us where to meet up. Robbie once we have the gate cleared haul your ass back to the office and start get the warrants ready. Then contact the other offices to arrange for the arrests. I figure we have maybe ten to twelve hours before our suspects run and go to ground in some nice foreign country. So we’re going to need to move fast and furious on this people. The time for waiting is over. We’re going to have to take these people fast and hard. If we don’t we’ll never catch them.”

“You made one mistake in the plan boss.” David and the rest all looked at Sam. “The Demarco’s can get Kristine and themselves to the church just fine. You're going to need me here to help keep a lid on this. Before you go getting all ‘big brother’ on me just hear me out David. If the cops start asking question about the house or try to enter it I can legally stop them as the house does belong to me. You on the other hand have no legal claim to the house. You can yell all you want about it being a safe house and part of an investigation it still won’t stop them from going inside the house.”

“I hate to say this David but she is right about the locals needing to investigate the house. If she is here then she can legally deny them entry as the home owner. I don’t like it any more than you do but we have to do it the way she wants.” The fact that Robbie was supporting Sam’s version of the plan had everyone’s attention.

“Alright we’ll do it your way Sammy.” Looking over at the DeMarco’s and Kristine. “I trust you with Kristine’s life Maria. I know you’ll keep her safe. Now get your asses out of here. We’ll keep the LEO’s and vultures busy. I figure we can stall them for about six to seven hours. Do you think that’ll be enough time for you all to get to Sam’s hidey hole?”

“More than enough time David. Samantha we’ll see you at confession.” With that Maria turned and gathered up the girls. “Okay ladies we need to be at Saint Jadwiga in two hours. Kristine, Kasey, go pack enough for one night and meet Annette and me in the living room. Annette you and I are taking care of our weapons. Okay ladies we have a good distance to cover and almost no time to get there.”

Sam and the others all stood back and watched as the DeMarco’s and Kristine headed inside. The girls had no sooner entered the house than the first of the TPD patrol cars pulled up outside the fence. David swore and gave Sam a quick order. “Damn it! Make sure they go out the back, Sam.” Sam didn’t argue and headed inside. David and the others all headed over to stall the local PD. Before they had even reached the fence three more cop cruisers had pulled up with five more coming down the street.

It wasn’t long before the news vans started showing up as well. Seeing the news vans pulling up Robbie stepped to the front of the deputies. Holding up her hands to show the already jumpy police officers that she was unarmed. “Gentlemen please lower your weapons this is a US Marshal safe house. You won’t need them for now.”

One of the officers from the first car called out “Identify yourself.”

“I am Assistant District Attorney Roberta Ironsides with the Federal Prosecutors Office. Behind me are Supervisory Deputy Marshal David Earp, US Deputy Marshal’s Hunter Taugh, Wayne Masterson, Bobby Everbrite, and Samantha Justice. Now please holster your weapons before we start another unwanted fire fight.” David had to give it to her. Robbie sure knew how to handle herself in a tight situation like this. Then again she had more time in front of hostile juries than most people. She was used to talking people into seeing things her way.

Once the local police had put away their weapons David, and the rest of the deputies put their own weapons away that they had been discreetly hiding behind their backs. All five of the deputies had to face off against more than one trigger happy local police force in their past. As far as they were concerned they weren’t safe until the locals put away their guns first. Once order had been restored Robbie turned things over to David. David quickly diverted the local police away from the SUV stuck in the gate. With the
skill of an accomplished politician David had the local police handling crowd control and keeping the press at arm’s length.

Robbie just stood there shaking her head as David pulled the oldest trick in the book when it came to law enforcement. He simply claimed jurisdiction over the crime scene. The fact that they were using the house as a Federal safe house for the US Marshals made it all the easier. Within a half hour the local Marshals had a full investigation team on site. One of the TPD officers made a comment about the size of the wounds in one of the dead bodies. David was quick to shut down the man’s speculation. “Officer, let me explain something to you. When it comes to protecting our witnesses the US Marshals have a simple policy. Whatever it takes to put down the threat. If it takes a nine mil or a fifty Cal all’s fair as far as we’re concerned. In short patrolman we don’t fuck around. If you ever want to find out what one of my deputies will do just go on threatening one of our witnesses. You won’t like their response, I can guarantee it. This is nothing compared to how far they will go.”

“Um… sir if this kind of firepower is nothing in protecting a witness, I know I don’t want to know what they’ll do if they were to go all out.”

“Son you have no idea of how far we’ll go to protect our witnesses, no idea at all.” as David walked away the young patrolman turned to his training officer and partner.

“I wonder what he meant by that John?”

“You know something Ponch. I don’t think we want to know.”

David had returned to where Sam and the others were standing. “Are our friends out of the house and safe yet Sam?”

“I just got a text giving the all clear, boss. If you guys can give me and Bobby about ten minutes we’ll be long gone as well.”

“Not going to happen right now Sam. I need for you to stick around for a few more hours. I figure by the time the vultures get done circling we’ll have teams in place to hit all the principle players plus a few of the supporting scumbags. How’s the fight for warrants going Robbie?”

“I have three judges screaming at me right now to bring in our witnesses and the evidence before they’ll sign off on the needed warrants. As much as I hate to say this we need to get the DeMarco’s and Kristine back to the Federal Courthouse.”

“Not going to happen Robbie. I don’t know which judges you’ve been dealing with but right now you need to contact Judge Beam and get those damn warrants.”

“Wait you mean to tell me you have a judge in your pocket and haven’t told me about them? I thought you were a friend David?”

“Oh you are a friend Robbie; I just don’t like pulling out a First Circuit Court Federal Judge in the middle of the night for warrants. Hopefully he won’t hold this against us. Now here his number, don’t abuse it, Robbie. I want to stay in the man’s good graces.”
Robbie quickly copied the phone number form David’s phone listing. Once she had the phone numbers for Judge Roy Beam she made her first call. Within seconds she was talking to the Hanging Judge and getting her warrants. After she had explained the situation to the judge she had warrants for everything she needed to take down the LOG. While Robbie was on the phone to Judge Bean David’s cell rang. Pulling it out David saw whose number was calling.

“Deputy Marshal David Earp”

“Earp, I want to know why you’re seeking arrest warrants for Preston Carstairs and the enter LOG Party leadership? Just who the hell does that ADA Ironsides think she is? For that matter just who the fuck do you think you are? If you want warrant for those names then you will bring me the evidence and your so-called witnesses. I don’t give a rats ass about what you believe to be a threat I will speek to these people before I issue one warrant for a member of the LOG Party, especially the leaders of that party.” The more Judge Henry Stone ranted the more David smiled. He had figured that Robbie had called him, Jerry Sheindlin, or Joe Wapner to try and get the warrants first. After all they too were Federal Judges, but unlike Bean they were members of the LOG Party.

“Judge Stone I really do hate to inform you that your services are no longer needed. I am really sorry for the way ADA Ironsides bothered you this evening. Don’t worry sir I’ll make sure she understands the way things work. Have a good night sir.” after whishing the Judge a good night David cut the connection. Walking over to where Robbie was reading off a list of names to Judge Bean’s sectary. “Robbie add the names for our three ‘favorite’ judges while you’re at it. Oh and the charges are interfering with a federal investigation for starters. I am sure that there will be a few more once we get done investigating their happy asses.”

“Damn I like the way you play David. Remind me never to get into a poker game with you.”

“Robbie I have only a few vices, one of which is not poker. I only gamble with my life never my money. So when it comes to cards you can forget ever getting me into a game.”

“Damn you’re no fun. Just when I thought I had a hope of getting you into a game you pull it away.” Robbie stood there pouting but with a hint of a smile behind her eyes.

“Just what kind of card game did you have in mind consular?”

“Strip poker.” Robbie could have said anything in the world and not have gotten the reaction she did out of David just then. She could have said my head is on fire please put it out with a sledge hammer. Or my panties are the eatable type care for a snack. David just grinned and walked away whistling a merry tune.

As the night wore on and the excitement dropped off the deputies slowly began to find they were alone once more. First it was the nosey neighbors who retreated back to their homes and beds. Next at just after one in the morning the news vans retreated. It was time for the late night and early morning crew to take over. Next to leave were the Toledo PD at around one thirty in the morning, once the news vans and looky lues were gone they really had nothing to do. The US Marshal Service had taken over the scene and was handling the investigation as far as the local authorities were concerned. In short this was a problem for the Marshals and the locals had better things to take care of without getting involved in a federal case. At shortly after three thirty in the morning the last of the US Marshal Investigation team packed up their equipment and left.

“Okay Sam you and Bobby can get the hell out of here. Give us a call once you have the witnesses secured and know where you’re heading. We’ll take everything from the house in to headquarters and get it cataloged for the trial. With everything that Kristine and the DeMarco’s have handed over to us along with their recorded testimonies I highly doubt they’ll be needed for the trial.” Everyone just looked at Robbie as she said this. Her next words even grabbed David’s full attention. “I figure that once Judge Bean hears those recordings and sees that flash drive along with all those hard copy files Sam, Bobby, Kristine and the
DeMarco’s are going into Wit-Sec before ever going to trial.”

“Wait a minute here Robbie. Just what the hell do you mean by that?” Sam asked before Bobby could even open his mouth.

“Just what I said. Now go get what you and Bobby have here along with whatever the DeMarco’s and Kristine left behind and go pick them up or lay low where they are. I have a feeling that this isn’t over just yet. We have three……” Robbie never got to finish her sentence as David’s cell phone started to ring. David pulled it out looked at whose number it was.

“Talk to me Larry.”

“How many did you find?”

“Damn it! Were any of the MPs or CID hurt?”

“What do you mean you had to hold the MPs back?”

“Holy shit! Just what did you find in those bunkers?”

“You have to be joking? They had all that on file in the bunkers? Both paper and digital files?”

“Larry, get those files locked down and under guard. Let no one near those bad boys, not even the Provost Marshal, sorry about that Larry.”

“Thanks Larry. Pass on my thanks to the guys and gals on that end. I’ll make sure to send the paperwork over for a unit citation for them all.”

“Sure Larry I’ll talk to you later at the office. No I’m not going home till every last one of these people are behind bars.”

“Sure, I’ll arrange for them to be met by your boys from the range to take that evidence off their hands. I promise you that none of these people will walk away with a slap on the wrist.”

“I hear you Larry trust me I hear you.”

“Okay I’ll talk to you when you get into the office.” David hung up his phone and just looked at it for some reason he wasn’t ready to talk about. When he did look over at Robbie there was a look of disgust on his face. “Robbie we are going to need more warrants.”

“David who was that?”

“That was Deputy Larry Hurwitz. The four seventy third military police battalion just assisted him and a few other deputies in a raid on a Farm owned by the LOG Party. What they found there almost turned battle harden veteran MP’s into a lynch mob. Trust me when the evidence gets here we are not going to need our witnesses. Not only did they find computer records they also found hardcopies and video tapes of everything that went on at that place. In short Robbie they found the Holy Grail of evidence for a case like this. The LOG Party is going to be nothing more than a myth by the time we get done with them. The shortest sentence we’re looking at will be around thirty years for the lower levels. The big boys and girls are looking at survival life times before they can even think of parole.”

“Good God! Just how much evidence did they find David?” bat asked.

“Bat I have never lied to you. There is enough evidence to put away the entire Party for life. There is so much evidence that it will take four teams of techs a month to go through it all.”

“Oh man! David if you don’t send those Mud Puppies a few cases of beer I will.” Sam said.

“Hell! Send them a case of the good stuff, David. I’ll pay for it myself.” Bobby cracked.

“Put one on my tab as well boss.” Hunter said with a smile.

“That makes it unanimous David. Send them a case on me as well.” Bat had a grin a mile wide.

“Okay people I hear you. Six cases of beer for the boys and girls of the four seventy third on the way paid for by the US Marshals. Now can we get back to business? We still have four witnesses that we need to get out of town and undercover. Anybody got ideas on how to do that?” David was looking at his deputies but the answer came from Robbie.

“Let me make a few phone calls David.” Robbie just walked away to the far side of the yard and started dialing a phone number she knew by heart. One that she had never thought she would need but had been given to her by a family member. When the connection was made she got a voice message center. “Oxfords, not Brogues. Dinner party for six needed. Formal dress and black tie required. Prepay the check and send the bill to the Lone Stars.” When Robbie finished her message she closes her phone and returned to the deputies.

“Okay Robbie care to tell me where you’re sending my deputies and our witnesses?” David asked for everyone there.

“David this is one time I can’t answer your question. I don’t even know yet. The people I called will be getting back to me later with the info for where, when and how Sam and the others are to make contact. Please don’t ask me what I can’t answer.” There was almost a pleading to Robbie’s voice that got David’s attention.

“Okay Robbie I’ll leave it alone for now. Once we get in the clear though I want answers got me?” Robbie could tell by the way David was talking there would be no getting around his demand and he wasn’t going to just forget about it either. So she just nodded head yes and prayed that someone on the other end will be able to shut David down before she was asked too many uncomfortable questions. “Sam, Bobby get your gear along with whatever else is here that belongs to you, Kristine, and the DeMarco’s. Once you have that get your SUV loaded then get the hell out of here.”

“What about the gate boss? The lab rats may have taken away the bad guys truck but that gate is still screwed. Care to tell us how they’re getting out in the SUV?” Hunter asked him.

“Hunter there are times that I wonder about you. Get the deck cord out of your breaching gear and wrap the upper and lower cross bars. We use that to cut the gate in half. Then Bat, you and I pull it out of the way.”

“Got it boss. One high explosive cutting torch coming up. Just one question what about the noise? At this time of the morning it is bound to draw attention.” Hunter pointed out.

“Not if you blow them one at a time Hunter. The amount of deck cord to wrap each bar will only sound like an M80 fire cracker. Something that I am sure these fine upstanding citizens have heard more than once around here.”

“Gotcha boss. I’m on it. Give me about twenty minutes and that gate will be down and out of the way.” Hunter took off for the SUV that he and Bat were using. He didn’t unload the breaching gear as he didn’t think they would be needed it in the house. Now he was glad that he had not unloaded it at the office.

As Hunter and David took care of the gate Bat went inside with Sam and Bobby. He wanted to have a few words with Sam alone. Once they were upstairs in Sam’s old room Bat put his hand on her shoulder. “Samantha, I need you to do me a favor. Where ever you go, whatever you do when you get there I need for you to make sure that Kristine never forgets her mama. Can you do that for me, please?”

“I promise you Bat that I will never let Kristine forget her mama. Can I ask what brought this on? I mean we haven’t even left yet and then there is the trial to go yet. We have plenty of time for you and her to get to know each other again.”

“Wrong Sam. I figure that by sundown today you, Bobby, Kristine, and the DeMarco’s will have dropped off the face of the earth. I don’t know what Robbie is up to but I don’t trust that woman as far as I can throw an M-1 tank. I know that she isn’t working for the LOG I can tell she has a real hatred for those people, but she isn’t on the side of the angels either. Another thing do you have a holdout piece?”

Sam just smiled up at the older deputy. Reaching down she pulled up her pants left pants leg to show him the snub nose thirty eight pistol there on the inside of her ankle. “I never go unarmed anywhere Bat. This is just one of my little friends.”

“Okay Sam but I would move that somewhere else. The first place everyone looks is the ankle for holdouts.”

“Like I said Bat, this is just one of my little friends. It is there are a distraction my real holdout is somewhere else that I’m not showing you.” Bat took the hint and started helping Sam gather up her gear. As she was placing things into bags Bat saw her stop and look at her closet with a longing that he had last seen in the eyes of his wife.

“Sam, I’ll give you a few minutes to take care of what is in that closet. Do me a favor and don’t leave your family or dreams here. Screw the program and take them with you. If it’s out here when I get back it gets loaded in the SUV.” With that Bat reached down and picked up the first of the bags in Sam’s room. He never looked back as he headed for the stairs and out to the SUV that Sam and Bobby were using. Once Bat was out of the room Sam closed the door and went to her closet. Moving the hidden panel aside she reached in and pulled out her chest opening it up she returned the AR-15 she had been using earlier to its place of honor.

Sam sat there looking at all of the weapons in the bottom of the chest. There was still a lot of room for mementos. Looking around the empty room that had once been her bed room Sam almost cried. Then she realized that her sisters’ room had been untouched for over twelve years. Rushing out the door to her sisters’ bedroom she looked around before she started to pick certain items to remember them by. She was going to fallow Bat’s advice and take part of her past with her this time. Returning to her bedroom she placed the items she grabbed form her sisters’ room in the chest before heading for her parents’ room where she opened the one place that she knew the evidence collection team didn’t get into.

At the back of her parents’ closet was a panel that hid a safe. Opening the safe with a half remembered combination Sam just smiled at what was inside. Sam grabbed everything inside the safe and put into the emergency grab bag that sat beside the safe. When the safe was empty Sam closed and relocked the safe before returning to her room. Inside the bag was her heritage and what most would say was a treasure fit for a queen.

By the time Bat had returned Sam had placed the grab bag in the bottom of the chest then hid it with several pictures of her family and three pairs of point shoes. Two pairs of the point shoes belong to her sisters’ and the last to her mother. The one item that stood out was the pocket knife that belonged to her father. There were a lot of pictures of her family in the mix but one stood out among them all. It was a picture of her and her sisters’ preforming in Swan Lake. You had to be one of the few people who were there that night to find the boy among the girls.

She had just closed the chest when Bat returned for the next load. “You just about done there Sam or do you need more time?”

“No Bat I’m good. Got everything I need in this chest.”

“Did you take my advice?”

“Let’s just say that my past and my dreams are safe and sound. If you can give me a few more minutes before taking this chest down it’ll be perfect.”

“Sure thing kid, take your time. Just yell when you’re ready.” With that Bat picked up everything but the chest that was in the room and left. Once again Sam opened her chest and went back to her closet. Once there she pulled out the one thing that she would never again leave behind. Pulling the odd shaped cloth filled bag from the back corner of her hiding place Sam sat down on the floor and pulled out her oldest and dearest friend. The stuffed animal had been a gift to her when she was ten. A friend of her mother and mama Maria had given it to her when she was in the hospital having her tonsils out. The bear was dressed as the Premier danseur for Swan Lake down to even wearing a pair of ballet slippers. Giving the small bear a quick hug she placed the toy into the chest.

“Sorry I didn’t get back here the last time for you Siegfried but I am not leaving here without you this time. It time to go home buddy.” Sam closed the lid to the chest and stood up with it. Taking one last look around her childhood bedroom Sam turned and walked out through the door. As Sam walked past the bedrooms of her deceased family she heard the words of a promise made long ago ringing in her mind. ‘I am Joseph Edwin Capizeo the last of my line. By the blood that burns in my veins those who are responsible for the deaths of my family shall pay. They shall pay in blood. They shall pay in souls. They shall pay with their lives. Only death shall stay my hand and keep me from my vengeance. I am Joseph Edwin Capizeo the last of my line and vengeance shall be mine or may death claim me.’

With these words echoing through her head Samantha Elisabeth Justice made another promise on the steps of her family’s home. One that would be upheld. “I am Samantha Elisabeth Justice and justice will come for the ones responsible for the deaths of the Capizeo line, or death will take their souls.”

--------- to be continued --------

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