After two years of heavy hard hitting make or break cases and a little arm twisting Maria as take her family to Sicily on vacation. Unknown to them or the OICA a deadly ghost from the past would rear its ugly bringing with it death and destruction.
by Snowfall and Jessie Wolf.
Dedicated to the men and women of the US Marshal Service.
Edited by my husband Paul, and AJC Snowfall.
This is a work of fiction an any persons in this work are purely fictional.
The Rose Tavern, Boston, Massachusetts, 1000
Dianthia O’Leary could not believe the man that just walked throw the door to her bar. “Ya’ hav’ som’ nerv’ walkin’ in ta me bar, Saoirse Doyle. Ya’ better has a good reason fer been here. If nout, I’ll be puttin one between yer eyes.”
“Relax Dia. This is purely a business proposal. You heard about the bombings of the Federal Courthouse?” Saoirse asked the red head Irish woman.
“Aye. I would hav’ ta’ been a hermit to nout hear about tha’.” The fiery red head was known for her temper and it was starting to get short. “Wha’s tha’ hav’ ta’ do with me, an’ your business Doyle?’
“There was no sit-down and the hitters are old country hitters.” Doyle could have smacked Dianthia over with a feather when she heard this. “ALL old markers are being called in Dianthia. There’s a bounty on these men. A million dollars per head. The old bosses don’t care how it happens or who does it. They just want those people stopped. Dead or otherwise.”
“I’m out ta’ business, I run a bar now, Doyle. Besides, ma’ marker was with yer Da’ not you. Now, get out of ma’ bar.” Saoirse knew when to cut bait or fish. Dianthia O’Leary may be wanted in Ireland, but in the States she was squeaky clean.
“Have it your way O’Leary, ma’ da’ may be dead, but you still owe.” The man growled at the Irish woman. “Everyone repays.”
Dianthia snarled and wiped down the counter top of her bar. “Fine. Wha’ is it ya’ wan’ you bloody bastard?”
“I thought you would see things my way. Besides, you’re not the one I want. I know you know how to get ahold of the Irish Rose. Tell her or him to get the job done. Use whatever or whoever to stop these fucks. Just let us know where to send the payments.” Doyle turned to walk out the door.
“What about ma’ marker?” Dianthia asked. “I do this ma’ marker is clear. I owe nothing. Do we have accord?”
Saoirse Doyle didn’t want to give up the one marker that kept this woman in his control, but he also knew that there was no way to contact the Irish Rose, but through her. No one knew who the Irish Rose was, or where they came from. All they knew was when the Rose did a job. All anybody knew was that the Irish Rose was a former IRA sniper turned freelance specializing in the impossible shot known for the single rose petal pierced by a shell casing left behind. And Saoirse didn’t want to lose that very valuable tool. The problem was he had come to Dianthia and she was calling the tune, whether he liked it or not.
“We have an accord. The Rose can use whatever resources they want, just so long as the job gets done.” Doyle pulled out a coin and tossed it to Dianthia. “Here’s your marker Dianthia, make sure you stay retired.”
With that Saoirse Doyle walked out of Dianthia O’Leary’s bar.
Once he and his thugs were gone Dianthia sighed. “Well, it looks like I got one last job. I always knew that this damned thing would come back to bite me in the ass.”
Walking over to her phone she placed a called. When the other end was answered Dianthia wasted no time. “Jimmy, called the others. Our marker has been called. Yeah, this is our last job. Yeah, we’re going after whoever bombed th' courthouses. No, I don’t think we'll be needing Peter and his firecrackers this time. Just make sure that he is on call. Yeah, just shooters this time. I want to keep things as low key a possible. No need to go pissing off the local coppers. See you and the boys in two hours. No, nothing heavier than three-oh-eight.”
After hanging up with her team leader and longtime lover Dianthia pulled down a bottle of Jamison’s. After pouring two fingers of whiskey into a shot glass and downing it, she made one more phone call. “Mallory, it’s me; Rose.”
“I was expecting your call. You’ll have the needed package before the end of the hour. Usual pickup point, and O’Leary, this one is on the house.”
“Why?” Dianthia was not only shocked, but confused by the infamous information broker giving out free intel.
“The Dove, Nightingale and Tulip are already working this contract. If the rumors that I have been hearing are true, they are not alone. They have the last Capizeo working with them. Do yourself a favor Irish Rose, don’t get in their way.”
That news stunned the former IRA gunner. “If what you said is only half true, I don’t even want to take the contract.”
“Then don’t.” Mallory told her bluntly.
“Got no choice, my marker got called in.” Dianthia knew that Mallory understood what that statement meant.
Mallory paused then said. “Damn. Well, best of luck and stay out of their way. The packet will be there. Goodbye Dianthia. I hope they’ll let you retire after this.”
After putting the receiver back in its cradle Dianthia sighed. “So, do I old friend. So, do I. Maybe it’s time for Rayne to take over. She’s the same age I was when I took over for me ma’ after all.”
The Old Haunt, New York, New York, 1005
Casey Atwater wiped the water off of the bar top as the three men walked through the door. He knew what and who they wanted before they had even got near him. “Forget it, Rinaldi. I’m out of the game, retired. I owe no one anything, all markers repaid. I’m clean. Now, get out of my bar.”
A large gold disc spun to rest on the bar top. The disc was three inches across and had a set of crossed daggers on one side. “I’m not calling in a marker but giving one out. It’s yours if you want it Casey. We need you and your boys to handle a major problem. NO bodies, no witnesses, nothing but clean kills.”
Casey picked up the marker and looked it over as he thought about what the Godfather of all New York was offering. “Why?”
“Those bombings have brought down too much heat on my operations, and the hitters broke the treaties.” Of all the things that Casey didn’t expect to hear it was that. The idea of foreign hitters working inside the U.S. was too much for him to believe. Not since the time of Capone had anyone brought in outside hitters.
“How much is the bounty?” Casey asked.
“How many?” this was something he needed to know if he was going to take the job.
“According to Mallory, three teams of three.”
Casey asked for the last piece of information he needed to make up his mind. “Who else is hunting them?”
“So far, Irish Rose, Ice Pick Thomas and Two Toes Hanne have their teams coming in as we speak. The Dove, the Tulip, the Nightingale, and if the rumors are true, the last Capizeo is working with them. Is this going to be a problem?” Rinaldi asked.
Casey Atwater thought the world had just come to an end. The Dove, and Nightingale were one thing. But with her daughter and the last Capizeo working with them, that changed the game, BIG time. It was time to give the marker back.
Sliding the gold disc back to Rinaldi, Casey shook his head. “Damned right it’s a problem. No way in the nine hells am I putting me or my boys on the same target as those people. Take some free advice here Rinaldi. Stay away from any target that has the DeMarco’s or the Capizeo’s after them. Those people have a bad habit of killing those who get in their way.”
Rinaldi tried to bait him. “Come on, Casey. You really can’t be afraid? Two old women, a girl barely out of her mid-twenties and the ghost of a dead family?”
“First; those old women have killed more men and women than any one hitter currently alive or dead. Second; the girl, is the daughter of Maria the Dove DeMarco. Annette DeMarco is ten kinds of deadly in her fucking sleep. Lastly, if there is a last Capizeo out there somewhere carrying on their family business, don’t go pissing them off. Remember something, it was a half-trained kid from that family that destroyed the Great Lakes organization sixteen years ago. A fully trained Capizeo would leave your dreams of controlling all of the Northeast burning on the alter to your stupidity and go have coffee.”
“You really are afraid of them. Why are these other hitters still going after the targets?” Rinaldi had never seen this man back down from any contract. Yet here he was, not only backing down, but telling him to leave it alone.
“Because they are all paying off markers. Nobody else would even think about taking an open contract that has the DeMarco interest. Only the most desperate or honor bound would take a contract when they’re involved. Now, like I said earlier, get out and take your marker with you.” Casey knew that there was another type of hitter out there that would take the contract, but not even Rinaldi would go to one of them, treaties or not.
The Rink Deli, Baltimore, Maryland 1210
Like most Law Enforcement in Baltimore, Judge David T. White enjoyed eating at the Rink. The place was a real cop shop. David looked around as he walked in to get his lunch for that day. The guys behind the counter looked up and smiled. They knew what the Judge would want before he ever ordered. After all, Judge White came here every day and always ordered the same thing. A double ham, pepperoni, salami, and provolone on rei, lightly toasted.
Bill Henley just called out to David. “Have your order up in two minutes, Judge White.”
“Thanks Bill. Any of my cases in here?” Judge White asked.
This was a very real concern for most Judges in the Baltimore area. With the deli right across from the courthouse, many of their plaintiffs and defendants ate here during the lunch time break. It wouldn’t look good for a sitting Judge to be seen with either. As the judge could be seen as being partial to one side or the other. The staff of the Rink Deli would always find out who was sitting what cases every morning to keep that from happening.
“Nope. You’re good your Honor. As it is the only lawyers we’ve had in here today is Stone and Berry looking for Detective Callahan. I don’t know what that gal did to piss off those two, but it must have been a whopper.”
“Bill, let me tell you and your crew right here and now. Detective Sergeant Henrietta Callahan could piss off the Pope just by doing her job. As for what she did to piss off everybody’s favorite Public Defenders, that’s easy. She shot the dumbass that tried to rob the bank she uses, with her in it. Should have been cut and dry, still is really, but she blew his balls off with that hand cannon of hers.” Judge David White never had a problem with Detective Callahan, as her cases were always air tight. The gal did ninety percent of the DA’s work for them. “If she ever decides to” David never got to finish his sentence.
The impact at the base of his skull snapped his head backwards as the .308 cal., 175 grain, boat-tail round tore through his neck. The bullet continued on until it slammed into the counter top. Judge David White was dead before he hit the floor or the glass from the door stopped falling. The sonic crack of the rifle sounded through the deli as the staff and customers were diving for the floor, behind counter and under tables. Police officers, Sheriff’s deputies, even private citizens with CWP’s; all drew pistols and scanned the buildings outside for the sniper.
The Cable company van that was across the street slowly pulled away as the shooter slid the cover over the shooting port. The driver called back to him. “Did you get your target?”
“One more filthy pig of a judge down. The fucker never knew what hit him.” The shooter called back.
The passenger smiled hearing this. “Perfect. At this rate we’ll have the whole country in turmoil before the week is out. The other teams should be hitting their first targets in the next few hours.”
“How long until we get to Pittsburg?” the shooter asked.
“After we switch out to the Escalade, maybe four to five hours depending on traffic. Why?” the driver asked.
“Oh, I thought that we might take in a ballgame. I mean we might as well enjoy our time in Pittsburg. I hear the Pirates have a decent team this year.” The shooter answered truthfully. The driver and front passenger looked at each other before they shrugged their shoulders. They didn’t see any reason not to taken a baseball game while they worked.
Federal Courthouse, Columbia, South Carolina…
Judge Daniel L. Jackson couldn’t believe the crap the Defense Attorney was pushing on the jury. He knew, as did everyone else in the courtroom, that the defendant was guilty as hell. The Police had arrested the man in the act of holding a knife to the throat of a teenage girl trying to kidnap her. The fact that the girl happened to be transgender just racked up the charges. To the level of a hate crime. It didn’t help that the girl was his step-daughter. In fact, it made things worse.
Daniel’s attention was drawn to a man in the back row of the gallery. Over the past ten days Daniel had memorized the faces of the gallery, and this man was new. Daniel looked closely at the man then waved for his bailiff. “Just a moment Counselor. Bailiff check that man’s ID, third from the aisle, on the left.”
“Yes, your Honor.” The tall bailiff moved to check the man pointed out to him the judge. He didn’t know why, but he had learned to trust Judge Jackson. The man had a habit of picking out problem spectators before they could become a problem. Standing next to the man the bailiff held out his hand. “Driver’s license, please?”
The man smiled and pulled out his wallet and a clear coated press badge for the local press pool. “Bill Markus Freelance Reporter.”
When Jackson heard this he almost blew his top. “I ordered a total press blackout. How the hell did you get in here?”
Markus pointed at the Defense Attorneys. “They let me in during the recess, your Honor. Can't blame a man for trying to earn a living.”
“Bailiff, confiscate his bags, then throw his ass out. And I don’t mean just the courtroom, but the building.” Judge Daniel Jackson was pissed. Looking over at the Defense Attorneys. “Any more surprises like that and you’ll be held for contempt.”
Surprisingly Markus surrendered his shoulder bag without a fight. It was like he knew that it wasn’t worth spending the night in jail. The bailiff showed him out and had two Deputies escort the man out of the building. Markus hurried across the street to a waiting SUV. Once inside, the beard and mustache came off with a strong pull even as the SUV was pulling away.
The front seat passenger turned to Markus. “Did you get the package to the correct courtroom and is it armed?”
‘Markus’ smiled as the last of his disguise came off. “Yes on both accounts. We’re clear to send the signal.”
The front seat passenger sent a text message and ten seconds later, a blast ripped through the courtroom where Daniel Jackson held court. The fifteen pounds of Semtex and ball bearings were the perfect weapon for destroying the courtroom. As the high explosive pushed the ball bearings in their outward journey of death and destruction, the men responsible were on their way to their next target.
The bailiff who had taken the reporter's press bag died before anyone else, as he was standing next to the bag. The Courtroom recorder felt heavy wood splinters tear through her chest just before her life ended. The DA’s were thrown backwards into the gallery. Both men would need extensive medical care and faced a long recovery. For the Defense team and their client, the blast was a mercy in some ways. The stepfather would spend the next four months in a coma before expiring from his wounds. The lawyers would only lose their voices and eyesight.
Judge Jackson was saved by the heavy wood of his bench. He only suffered minor injuries and a mild concussion. As he picked himself up off the floor his first concern was for the teenager. She was further back in the gallery and protected somewhat from the blast. He next turned to look over at the jury next, and to his horror over half of them were dead. The rest would need medical attention fast if they were going to survive.
The terrorists had missed their intended target, but the attack would shut down the courthouse for some time. The need for repairs would push back court cases by months. For some of those cases, it would be a possible breach of due process and force mistrials across the board for many of them.
Judge’s chambers, Federal Courthouse, Atlanta, Georgia 1135
Judge Robert Frost was pissed beyond normal. The three young men, no teenage boys that were in his chambers were not unknown to him. In fact this was the third time for all three of them. This was also the third time for the same reason. Looking at the five parents of the boys he wanted to charge them. It didn’t matter that they had been suspended repeatedly for bullying before, and been allowed to return to school, they kept targeting the same kids.
“Let’s cut through the red tape here people.” He snapped. “This is your last warning boys. I don’t care if you’re the core reason for your school’s football team going to State. The only reason I am even agreeing to hear your pleas is as favor to the Coach. Your Principal has asked that I put the paperwork in for you to transfer to Carmen High School. I am inclined to agree with her on this matter.”
“Excuse me Judge Frost, but this whole thing is being blown all out of proportion. Their just boys being boys. It’s not like anyone got hurt. If they did, then they just need to butch up and grow up. Life is hard.” The father of the main instigator decided that this whole mess needed to be put into prospective. At least as far as he was concerned.
“Wrong, Mister Andrews! Your son is a borderline psychopath. I have the reports from those doctors you hired to get him off this time. So, this is” Robert Frost never got to finish. He was cut off by high-speed lead poisoning. The bullet passed through Robert’s forehead. The three boys were splattered with brains, bone and blood. Everyone in the room stared in abject horror at the sight before them.
Danny Andrews, star linebacker, for his high school’s football team turned away and deposited his lunch on the floor. His two friends were right behind him in making their own deposits. Danny’s father ran out the office door yelling for a medic and barely keeping the flashbacks at bay. Across the street, a window on the seventh floor closed. The man inside quickly broke down and packed away the KAC M-110 sniper rifle. As he exited the building, the man looked just like every other Lawyer or over-paid businessman that populated the downtown area of Atlanta.
Command and Control Center, Ram’s Rock Island 1145
Krystel looked over at Kristine and Kasey with pride. Those two teenagers had spent the night looking through hundreds of hours of video footage hunting for the entry point for the other two teams of assassins. The only time the teens took a break was to use the bathroom or eat. The rest of the Command team had gone to get some sleep as there was nothing else they could do just then. Only she had stayed to oversee the girls and ensure they took breaks or quit if they pushed too hard.
Her biggest worry had been Kristine. The young diver had come close to losing herself more than once during the night. Yet, every time she came close, Kasey would pull her back. It took Krystel a few times of seeing this to know that Kasey was acting as her sister’s minder. She had seen the signs before, but had never really sat down and just watched Gemini in action.
Then when the reports started coming in of the different attacks across the nation on judges, she jumped in. It was taking all three cyberwarfare specialists to hunt down their first suspect, the Baltimore sniper. Then when the bombing of Columbia happened, Kasey pulled off the Baltimore sniper without being told too. The older teen was now scouring the footage from the courthouse in Columbia. When the report of the attack in Atlanta came, Kristine pulled off the Baltimore sniper and went hunting the one in Atlanta. Now, each cyberwarfare specialist hunted a different assassin. Neither one wanted to be the last to find their target.
Lost to their individual hunts, none of them heard Anna enter the Command Center. The old woman looked up at the main screen to see a facial recognition program running on automatic scanning the multiple international airports security footage.
Setting the tray with three lunches down Anna clapped her hands and called out. “GIRLS! Take a break!”
Kasey was the first to come out of her little world. “Kris, come back. Anna is here and she wants us to eat.”
Kristine blinked and looked up from her screens then over at where Anna stood. “Yeah, that would be good.” Looking behind her at Krystel. “Miss. Krystel, we better get something to eat before Miss Anna rats us out to Nonnina.”
Krystel blinked her eyes and then over at where the stately older woman stood with her arms crossed under her breasts. “Now, girls. You can go back to hunting whoever it is after you eat. I won’t take no for answer. The same goes for you Krystel. I know your type. You’ll work yourself to death if someone doesn’t make you take breaks. Seeing as how the others are getting things together to help the Ground team that leaves me. SO, get used to having me around.”
“Yes, Anna. I know when to fight and when not to.” Looking around at the plates of food and glasses of iced tea. “Speaking of the others, where are they?”
“They are all upstairs going over the hard copies of the files that Maria and the girls brought home. How are your INVESTIGATIONS going?”
“Well, we’ve been side-tracked. We need the others down here. There have been more attacks across the east coast. Two sniper attacks, and one more bombing.” Krystel explained before taking her plate.
“Well, you won’t find them if you three work yourselves into the medical center. While you three take time to eat, I’ll go get the others.” Anna ordered them all before heading upstairs to get Maria and the rest of the OICA.
Krystel looked over at the two teens who were busy eating the light lunches that Anna had brought down. “Is she always that way?”
“You mean authoritarian, bossy or stubborn?” Kasey asked with a smirk.
“All the above.” Krystle answered with an up lifted eyebrow.
“YES!” the teens answered at the same time before giggling.
Krystel just joined in eating her lunch of a chief’s tuna salad with oil and wine vinegar dressing. When the adult members of the OICA entered the Command Center Krystel was happily munching away. Lyssa, looked over at the salads that the three cyber specialists were eating. Smiling she turned to Anna.
“Anna, if you weren’t so damned loyal to Maria I’d try my damnedest to poach you. Just for your skills as a cook.” Lyssa knew just by looking at the three workstations and the main screens that there had been more than a few developments. “What do you have Krystel?”
“So far, we haven’t been able to locate where the other two teams entered CONUS. We do know that they are here and are operational already. Three assassinations all too close together in time, but with way too much distance to be the same team.” Krystel pointed to the secondary main screen with her fork.
“DAMN! How bad is the situation? Do you have any leads yet?” Rodrick couldn’t believe what he was seeing on the screens. “What have the LEO’s put together so far? And where in the nine hells is the Ground team?”
“Ground team has been moving since they hit the ground in Philly and started working the bombing site there this morning. I sent them the newest Intel just after zero nine hundred, Sir. At last contact; the Swans were in Big Blue, while Stalking horse and Rumrunner were using Black Beauty to head for the New York crime scene. Should I contact them for you?” Kasey answered Rodrick about where the Black Badge ground was as she had the information.
Rodrick just shook his head 'no' for now.
“The situation with the local PD’s is a little more complicated Sir. It seems that each department is working off very different ideas as to who and why the hits were carried out. New York is under the impression that theirs is a case of revenge against Judge Stone. He had more than one death threat made against his life over the years. Philadelphia believe that the attack there was nothing more than a leaking gas main. So far, I haven’t been able to gather anything on the three new cases as they have just begun. Sorry Sir.” Kristine answered from where she sat at her workstation.
Rodrick looked over at Krystel. “Krystel, I must say that your protégées are doing a fine job. My question is what have you been doing? Playing solitair.” The smirk on Rodrick’s face let everyone know that he was kidding.
Krystel got up and walked over to Rodrick and whispered in his ear. “You try and keep these two from going into a full-on dive without the training. Trust me, Skipper, Gemini is a one of a kind Deity class operator that should never be allowed to operate without supervision for just that reason alone. One is a diver, the other is fast becoming one. I have my hands full with these two, even back when I worked for Cyber Division Pacific I never had anyone like them working under me.”
Rodrick took the very blunt assessment of the two teens and wisely kept his trap shut. This was a type of warfare that he, Lyssa, Shawna and Tiffany had little or no expertise in. Kimberly had some, but Krystle was the real cyber operator. This was HER bivouac and he didn’t belong. Krystel walked back over to her station and then pointed up at the main screen.
“As for what I have been doing, I have been overseeing and fighting my way through more than a few thousand hours of security footage looking for the point of entry for our secondary tangos with Gemini. So, far we have gotten through about sixty percent of the raw footage. Before you ask, we’ve only been feeding the footage of possible tangos to facial recognition. Once the first of the new attacks came in this morning we abandoned the entry point search and concentrated on the crime scene footage. That is what we’re currently working on.” Krystel went back to eating her salad and waited for the others to comment.
Maria and Anna both looked at the three new crime scenes. Anna quipped snidely. “Oh, you would just have to be in Philly right now, Joseph.”
“Anna, who is Joseph? And why would he have anything to put in?” Lyssa asked her.
“Joseph Capizeo, Prima Lyssa, was and most likely is one of the best snipers the Capizeo family ever turned out. You know him as Samantha Justice.” Anna walked over to where Kristine was working the Atlanta sniper. “Kristine, bring up an aerial view of the federal courthouse and the surrounding five block area.”
Kristine didn’t know what Anna was looking for, but did it anyway. Anna’s next comment got everyone’s attention. “Show me where the judge’s office would be please?”
Again, Kristine followed Anna’s instructions. Then on a whim put the feed on one of the secondary screens. Anna was making her nervous looking over her shoulder. Anna, and Maria just walked over and looked at the overhead view of the downtown area surrounding the federal courthouse. Once it was up where everyone could see the aerial view Rodrick and Lyssa spotted what Anna was looking for.
“Kristine structural frame that. Good. The building directly across the street from the courthouse. How tall is it?” Lyssa asked with all the professionalism of a trained sniper.
“That building is twenty-two stories, Sergeant Major. Ten stories taller than the courthouse.” Kristine was fast typing in commands at her workstation. “The side facing the courthouse has a seventy percent occupancy rating at this time. The top five floors are completely empty on both sides.”
“Hoo-ahh. Anna, I think I know what you want Kristine to find and why you would want the point of view from a trained sniper. Any of those top five floors would be perfect for a close nest. Too close for my tastes. I'd go further out. Half to three-quarters of a click. Back to my question, why was Samantha even trained as a sniper? Standard training?” Lyssa asked as she looked over at Maria.
“Remember, Lyssa, Samantha started life as Joseph Capizeo not Stephany Capizeo. Like all the men in her family she learned the ways of a male assassin first.” Maria left the rest of that story unsaid. “As Joseph, he earned his bones when he turned fourteen. The rifle he used is with her now.”
Kimberly, Lyssa, Rodrick, and Krystel looked at Maria to see if Maria was joking. They could not believe that Maria just told them that Samantha Justice had earned her bones as an assassin at such a young age. Both Anna and Maria sighed at the looks, before Maria answered their unasked question.
“Annette, earned her bones not much later. The life of a DeMarco or Capizeo has never been an easy one, especially for our children. That was one of the reasons why I jumped at the chance that Paul offered us when we came here. It is also why Samantha, and Annette have worked so hard to become the Deputy Marshals they are. Remember what we agreed to when we first came here. To come out of the shadows and repay our families’ sins. Sam has been doing this, and now we DeMarco’s are.” Maria turned to looked at the crime scene for the Baltimore sniper.
Lyssa nodded. "So be it. The past cannot be changed. We move on. Kasey, bring up the traffic footage for that street where the judge was shot in Baltimore. Just the traffic cams at the stop lights, please.”
Kasey snapped out of her stunned silence by her grandmother’s confession and story of her mothers. Within seconds she had the needed footage on the main screens. Maria looked up at the main screen with the eye of a professional hitter. Anna, had already spotted what she was looking for. “Kasey, can you get a clear view of the Cable company van?”
“Yes Miss Anna, just give me a minute. How far back do you want me to go?”
“Last ten minutes before the judge was shot, dear.” Anna ordered. As Kasey followed Anna’s instructions the adult members of the OICA could only stare on in confusion. As the footage rolled Anna suddenly called for a halt. “Stop! Back slow. There! See the flash! This team used one of the oldest methods of assassination known in modern times. The drive-by. I must say whoever is in charge of this team has a sense for history.”
“Excuse me, Miss Anna. What do you mean by a sense of History?” Kimberly asked.
“In the nineteen-twenties and thirties Baltimore was one of the most contested cities in all of the US among the different Syndicates. As for why that particular shooting has a sense of history, that goes back to that deli. In nineteen-twenty-four that deli was a bar. One that was frequented by Judges, DA’s, cops, and known Family members. On the fifth of May that year nine police officers, three DA’s, and one judge were gunned down in a drive-by. The problem was, none of the Families were in the bar at the time. That one attack brought down more heat than the local Syndicates could stand at the time. Needless to say, certain legal and non-legal authorities wanted the war ended and sent in two local assassin families to end the war.” Maria gave the OICA members a smile as she told that small piece of family history.
“Wild-assed guess, it was the DeMarcos and Capizeos that ended said war.” Lyssa just snarked at hearing Maria’s history lesson. “So; after what, ninety years, the place is a deli that is more of cop-shop now. The perfect place for a judge, DA, or LEO to eat during the noontime lunch rush if they are working the courthouse. Everyone would know this is a common place for them to go to. Shit! It is a target rich environment for revenge killings against law enforcement.”
“Not only that Prima Lyssa, they wouldn’t have to be a train sniper to do it. That street is maybe sixty feet at most, with another twenty feet to the target inside. Even Mindy could make a kill shoot at that distance.” Kasey told everyone only to receive a glare from Kimberly. “Sorry, Miss. Kimberly, but that is the truth.”
Kimberly sighed. “You’re right Kasey, I just don’t like the idea of it is all. They got the Judge for the oldest excuse.”
"What's that?" Kristine asked.
Lyssa looked over and said flatly. "He was there."
Kristine frowned. "Oh."
Kasey walked to give Kimberly a hug. “I will do every I can to keep Mindy from ever having to do something like that Aunt Kimberly. If anyone were to even think about hurting my little cousin, they better say their prayers that I get them first. Because if either of our moms, dad, or Uncle Hunter get them no one will ever find the pieces.”
Kimberly kissed her forehead and smiled. "Get in line kiddo. It'll be a race like no other!"
“Okay, we’ve found two of the attackers and have a track on them. What about the last one? Columbia. How the hell did they get a bomb into an active courtroom?” Krystel asked.
“I think I know how.” Kristine said as she brought up the security footage of the courthouse hallways. “This man here is one of our escapees. He is also a known explosives expert. His also specializes in using Semtex and other plastic explosives to bomb his targets. If you’ll watch the footage of him entering the building closely, he entered as a freelance news reporter. That bag over his shoulder could hold enough shaped Semtex, C-4, or his favorite for this type of attack, German Sprengkörper DM12. The detonator could have been a cellphone, tape recorder, anything that would be considered normal for a reporter. You see him go into the courtroom with it, then an hour later the bailiff escort him out and has the security officers show him out the building. Then next thing we see is the explosion. They don’t use explosive sniffing dogs, so all he had to do was sew the stuff inside the lining of the bag and no one would the wiser.”
Maria sighed then looked over at her granddaughters. She was both proud and worried over the fact that they could piece together the plans for these attacks so easily. “You girls have done a great job. Now, you’ve been up for longer than your parents would like, not to mention me. Now, go get some air then sleep. I have a feeling that the assassination teams won’t be striking again today. In fact, if they’re smart they’ll leave their current cities and head cross-country to new states and targets. Targets, that will bring about a much heavier response.”
There was something in Maria’s voice that grabbed Lyssa’s attention. “Who do you think they’ll go after next Maria?”
“State Supreme Court Judges.” The note of finality in Maria’s voice was clear.
“Why?” asked Rodrick.
“They are the next level up from the ones that have been targeted so far. They’ll hit three sitting Supreme Court Judges, then drop back down to the First Circuit courts, then bounce back up after another eight or nine. After that they’ll go after the Mayors of three major cities. Moving on to three Senators from the Blue states. Once they have panic spreading throughout the eastern seaboard they’ll go after POTUS. That is how these teams work normally. Only this time I believe their final target will be U.S. Marshal Dorothy Rose.” Maria never took her eyes off the main screen as she laid out her thoughts on the plans of the hit squads.
“Why her Maria?” Lyssa asked.
To her and the other OICA operators killing Rose made no sense. POTUS was a legitimate terrorist target, not the U.S. Marshal.
“Revenge.” Maria’s one word answer put everything into perspective. "She led the official charge."
Supervisory Deputy Marshal William Chandler looked over the latest reports for Atlanta, Baltimore, and Columbia. Everything he read made his stomach turn. Everything he read made the Operator in him want to punch the investigating police.
“God Damn It! Can’t those idiots see the pattern here? Fuck me Sideways! Just how the hell did have this shit go down? We have at least three teams working here and no answers.” Billy swore.
The six men and two women that made up his team sat there going over the same reports that William was. Unlike him though they didn’t see what he was talking about. Deputy Debra Couzins looked up at her boss as he finished his rant. She had wanted to become a Deputy Marshal like her famous grandmother, but her abilities with computers kept her out of the field. “Boss, I know that I’m just the computer monkey here, but can you explain to me what you mean?”
“First off, Deb. You’re not just a computer monkey. You’re a U.S. Deputy Marshal and a very valuable member of this team.” Looking around the table William stood up. “Listen up folks. I handpicked each and every one of you. You all have skills sets that the others don’t. There are only three generalists on this team for a reason. We’re the ones that go through the doors first. They are myself, Doug, and Ricky. We’re also all former military and have Close Quarters Combat training. I never again want to hear one of you others ever say your just a desk, forensic, computer, or any other kind of monkey. You’re the ones that get us heavy hitters to where we need to be, and point us at the right damn target. Understand?”
All the Deputies nodded their heads and Billy smiled. “Now, to answer your question Deb, I guess it has to do with my time in the military. Unlike Doug and Rick my specialty wasn’t law enforcement, but Spec-Ops. I guess I just know what to look for when it comes to these types of things.”
“Okay, hold on here boss.” Billy looked over at the only other woman on his team. “I know that this looking like random acts of revenge, and could be considered terrorist activity when taken in a certain light. That being said, what would be their final objective. These attacks don’t fit in with the profile for a terrorist cell or cells' actions. What I mean is; there is no political reason to attack these judges. Shouldn’t they be going after say a Congressman or Senator. That would make more sense if this was a terrorist group attack. Then there’s the total silence. No one is taking credit for the attacks.”
“Normally I would agree with you on that Bridget. If it wasn’t for that packet the Boss handed me yesterday, I wouldn’t even be thinking along these lines. Then there is the fact we got an Interpol Chief Inspector flying in from Sicily. That alone pisses me off. They have a prison break and now we got their escapees blowing up and/or shooting our judges. No, what has me thinking about these attacks as terrorist actions is the way they were carried out.”
“Boss, you’ll have to forgive me, but just how does two sniper attacks and three bombings, all in different cities, point to terrorists?”
“Okay, Bridget, I’ll try to explain this better. We all know you’re our resident psychological profiler, and normally I would be the first to seek out your opinion on this. Hell, since I first put this team together, you have pointed us in the right direction so many times that I believe you’re a mind reader. This time however, you’re working from the wrong point of view. Hell, we all are. These teams are working towards a common goal. What we don’t know is the final target.”
David King the youngest member of the team looked up at the man who gave him his chance a being a field officer. “Boss, I think I might have an idea of what these guys are after. I know that I don’t have the experience of most people here, but I would be willing to take long odds on their objective being the collapse of the cases against the former slave owners and cleanup of loose ends.”
“Okay, Dave. How do you figure that?” Bridget asked.
"I'm liking this already. Lay it out." Billy nodded.
“Look at the judges that has been killed so far. Every last one of them has either ruled on, or is hearing a case involving LBGT teens, for starters. The next is they all have one of the former slave owners’ due before them on their docket schedules.”
“HOLY SHIT! He’s right boss.” Dale Carter stood up holding copies of the judge schedules. “Only he missed one thing. There are over two hundred currently sitting judges that match the target profiles.”
“AH SHIT! HIT the button Tracy. I want full security measures put in place on all judges. I don’t care what cases they’re hearing, I want every judge to have heel-toe detail. If the CSO’s are shorthanded they can deputize the needed bodies from the local PD’s. Deb, Bridget, meet that Inspector from Interpol and bring his ass straight here. David, Kiel, I want you two on the first thing smoking to Columbia, South Carolina. Go over that bomb site with a fine-tooth comb. You’re our experts on EOD. I want a full report on what was used.”
The gathered deputies took their orders and went about carrying them out. They all knew that William’s next stop would be with Dorothy Rose. None of them wanted to be there when he gave her his report.
"One more thing. Everybody is to be armed at all times. This is War-Footing and we have people under attack. Carry on!" Billy ordered.
"RIGHT BOSS!" They all replied.
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