Prolog and Chapter One

Steve pulled into Colledge road, ahead he could see the flashing lights of emergency services up the road, as he got nearer he was stopped by a deputy.

He had driven six hours north from Miami after being called by a friend Dale. The FBI want someone they could trust to move some dirt for them. After some haggling they agreed terms Steve packed a bag, loaded his jeep on the trailer behind the front end loader and was on his way.

He bought the big Kenworth to a gentle stop and wound down the window, the deputy shouted over the big prime movers engine, “Roads closed, you’re going to have to backup buddy.”

Steve shutdown the engine and in the quiet said, “I got a call from the FBI to come out they want help at a fire, agent Dale South.”

The young officer moved off and using his radio and made a call. A few minutes later he came back and said, “You can pull off the road just past the next cruiser, the officer there will take you to the command post.”

Steve thanked the deputy and restarted the Kenworth, he drove it two hundred yards further down the road, he eased off the road just past next cruiser where another young deputy walked Steve to the command post as a light rain fell.

The mobile command post was located across from the property where the local fire department was still pouring water on it. Outside the command post a heated discussion was in progress between firemen, DEA, FBI, EPA and the US Marshals.

Steve thought it was nice that they all wore their agency’s jackets. He could imagine the discussion already in his head as he had participated in this type of confrontation before.

The fireman was probably a Fire Marshal or investigator and was not allowing anyone to interfere with his crime scene, the EPA was worried about run off pollution, the FBI want access to investigate the real crime behind the fire, the DEA likewise wanted access as there were drugs on the property, while the US Marshalls were there as there was a possibility of further misadventure.

As Steve and the deputy approached one of the FBI agent detached himself from the discussion and held out his hand, Dale had known and worked with Steve on and off for a while. He quietly said, “Hi Steve, it’s like the fire in Miami last year, their flexing their muscles.”

Steve nodded and as they shook hands saying, “Thanks for the call Dale, are they at the compromise stage so that we can get some work done?”

Dale, “it’ll be another half hour or so, go inside and grab a coffee, pots by the door.” He handed Steve an FBI tech ID and said, “Put it on it will stop the locals hassling you and have a look at the site.”

Steve said ok, put the ID on and grabbed a coffee, he walked back across the road and through the open gates. As he past them he noticed they had been rammed and the locking pin wrenched from the ground?

The gatehouse to the right had sustained some damage as well. It looked as if someone had sprayed it liberally with machine gun fire, the wall were pock marked with four broken window in the side facing the drive.

At the main house the firemen were still pouring water on it, it resembled a pile of hastily stacked oversized concrete playing cards. It looked as if someone had blown it up and the falling concrete panels had settled wherever they fell.

Steve looked at the pile and knew that there could still be people alive in the pile, however the amount of explosive used would preclude survivors, it was something he had seen a lot of in the sand death by concussion blast.

Steve walked around the fire staying out of the firemen’s way, trying not to piss them off as they would be working together soon. At the rear of the house was an open grassed area separating the pool from the house, only a few large chunks of concrete marred the area. The fire department had two hoses draining the pool to feed the fire engines.

Dale came up to Steve and asked, “Ready to be the voice of reason?”

Steve smiled and said, “As always, we’re going to need a crane and a rock breaker or saw.”

Dale, “You make the calls, we’ll do it the same as Miami, they bill you and we pay plus ten percent, are you going to be able to lift the panels enough to get the fire out?”

Steve said, “I shouldn’t have a problem with that, is there a reason the fire department isn’t using their heavy lift bags to open the space between the panels to put the fire out?”

Dale shrugged and said, “come on let’s ask.”

When they approached the group, the discussion stopped and Dale introduced Steve as their destruction expert, the small joke got some smiles. Steve took this as a good sign, they discussed the issues and Steve proposed an alternative.

He would dig a bund to contain run off, so the EPA could contain any potentially dangerous run off and test it.

Then working with the firemen, Steve would lift the concrete panels and allow the firemen to douse the area, they would work through the pile till the fire was out.

If time allowed they would then start removing concrete from the pile to allow body recovery and investigation, Steve said, “If there wasn’t sufficient time this evening to get to that stage that would be the next day�s first task. They would proceed as the necessary equipment became available.

Everyone agreed rapidly to Steve’s proposal, relieved that they could proceed with their agencies mandate.

Steve walked back to his low-loader, lowered the ramps and unloaded the wrangler then the front end loader. As drove the loader into the compounds, a fireman stopped him and climbed up to pass a radio to Steve.

Steve rapidly dug the bund, gouging the immaculate lawn between the pool and the shore line.

In the next hour Steve went where he was directed and lifted panels where the firemen wanted. Once the fire was out the firemen cleared the site and attached listening devices to the concrete in the hunt for survivors.

After a further two hours of listening, the fire marshal handed the site over to the EPA. While this was happening Steve made some calls arranging for a crew with a crane and rock breaker.

At the same time the EPA did preliminary run off sampling for drugs and came up clean. They declared the site safe for investigation and departed will further samples for testing.

It was now nearly six pm and after discussing the FBI’s next actions Steve left the site till the morning. The FBI would start a preliminary investigation of the site, they already had half a dozen lighting towers deployed and lit up to aid them.

Steve moved the front end loader back to the low-loader refueled and lubed the chassis for work the next day, then parked it in the compound for security.

He drove to a little motel near Jacksonville where Dale had arranged a room for Steve.

Steve signed in at reception, retrieved a key and headed off to his room bag in hand. He quickly shed his smokey clothes and put them in a provided laundry bag, then had a long hot shower to wash off the smoke and grime from the site.

Once dressed he called reception and arranged to have his clothes washed this evening and returned in the morning, then headed out for something to eat.

He was at reception asking for a dinner recommendation when Dale and a few other agents arrived, Steve stood to the side as they registered. Dale came over and said, “we called it a night when the Bobby almost broke his neck, we’ll start afresh tomorrow, are you all set?”

Steve, “I’ve a crew and equipment arriving for a seven am start tomorrow, am I leaving the rubble on site?”

Dale, “At this stage yes, stack it out of the way. It doesn’t look like there are any relatives of the owner, we recovered his body before you arrived.”

Steve, “Do you have the buildings plans for me?”

Dale, “The plans, aerial photography, pictures of the house before and after, we have the plumbers and electricians that worked on the site coming in early tomorrow.”

Steve said, “Great, I wouldn’t want to put a crane in the sewage tank or poke a hole in a buried propane tank.”

They both smiled and ended up having dinner together at a nearby steakhouse.

Over dinner Steve mentioned that he was looking for somewhere else to live as he grown tired of the hectic Miami life style.

Dale, “Well you should relocated here, you’d be within six hours of Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina from here, you know we always need someone with your expertise.”

Later that night as Steve tried to get to sleep in a strange bed, he did think about it and decided to make a few calls to realtors.

Chapter One (Wednesday)

Steve woke at his normal five am, he shaved showered and headed to breakfast. He ate a large breakfast to fuel his day and was finishing up when the Dale and a couple of the agents from yesterday wondered in. They quickly assembled breakfasts and joined Steve as Dale introduced Steve.

Steve offered Dale a ride to the site and so when Dale had finished they left early so they were on site well before seven.

The extra crew Steve had hired was waiting for them when they arrived. It was a four man crew with Earle crane driver, Kenny excavator/rock breaker, Andrew rigger and Chris laborer.

Steve introduced them all to Dale who went over the site procedures. They only moved what was approved to be moved by FBI site team. If they found anything they would call an FBI agent over who would bag and tag it. They could take nothing from the site and would be searched as they left the site.

The four were a little surprised at the restrictions but they were paid well so they went along.

Steve took out a set of site plans and walked the site with the four, they decided on possible positions for the crane and where to stack the concrete.

Earle and Andrew would work the pile moving the slabs off the pile, Kenny would break the slabs into pieces Steve would move and pile the slabs, while Chris would move where needed.

The plumbers arrived before eight and located the propane tanks and water line routes, they said the electrical lines were run in the same trenches separated horizontally and vertically as were gas and water.

With this information they positioned their equipment and laid out a rope marker for the supply lines leading to the house, just after eight they started moving concrete.

Half an hour later, they stopped as the first body was found. Two FBI techs photographed the scene and collected evidence, then coroner removed the corpse and they were allowed to continue.

Steve asked Dale how many bodies they expected to recover, Dale said, “We believe there were six men in the building, when it was blown.”

Steve, “We’ll break at ten, or if a body is found within half an hour before then.”

Dale, “I’ll let the caterers know.”

Steve let the crew know about the intended break, Kenny said, “I have a fuel delivery due around then four drums of diesel.”

Steve, “Thanks Kenny, I had a couple on the low-loader, but I think we’ll be here another days at least.”

They got back to work and by lunch they had recovered four more bodies.

Steve had found some garden chairs by the pool and was eating a sub when Dale came over and sat down to eat. Between mouthfuls he asked, “Would you be interested in this place?”

Steve looked around, and said, “sure but I couldn’t afford it.”

A couple of mouthfuls later Dale said, “Two hundred thousand and it’s yours,” he pulled a document from his pocket and handed it to Steve, “That’s the current valuation on the property from the Asset Recovery group.”

Steve, “What’s the catch, this must have been a ten million dollar home.”

Dale, “It was, the price has been appraised by two separate realtors and that’s their figure, the catch is the FBI want to lock you in for the next year, at the current rates. I talked to my boss this morning and they want you to think about joining us as well, you’d be part of our technical services group.”

Steve took another bite chewed it then swallowed finally saying, “I’m happy to be locked in at my current rates, now how do I buy this place?”

Dale handed Steve a pre-completed form and said, “Sign this and date it, you do have two hundred thousand dollars don’t you?”

Steve, “In the company account, can I do an EFT?”

Dale said sure and led Steve back to the command post and faxed the purchase contract off. He then had Steve login to his bank account and transfer the funds to the Asset Recovery group and label the transaction ‘Purchase Colledge Rd Case 20110221-1’.

Dale then called the Asset Recovery group and confirmed the transaction. After he hung up he said, “Congratulations you now own a pile of rubble.”

Both laughed, Dale said, “After five you can have a look at the rest of the property.”

Steve got back to work and by four they had recovered a further six bodies, three quarters of the concrete pile was cutup and stacked when they exposed a safe.

Dale took one look and asked Steve if he could load it on his truck and take it to the Jacksonville Marshalls compound.

Steve asked, “Can’t you open it here?”

Dale, “The internal glass tamper protection would have failed due to the explosion, driving the locking pins in to place, the door will need to be cut out, it will take a while.”

Steve discussed lifting the safe with Earle and it was decided to relocate the crane for the lift while Steve drove the Kenworth and trailer over close to the crane and safe.

The safe weighed thirty eight tons with the crane lifting it easily. Once it was on the truck Steve had Kenny chip off as much of the attached concrete as they could easily.

While the safe was being lifted, Dale called for reinforcements for the safe move.

Once Steve was satisfied they had all the concrete they could get off the safe off, he swept the debris off the trailer and secured the safe with chain tie downs.

Dale was waiting with a pump action shotgun for Steve when he climbed down from the trailer, he said, “I’ll be riding with you, we have escorts outside waiting for us, follow them.”

Steve and Dale climbed into the Kenworth cab and Steve started it up, he looked to Dale who asked, “Ready?”

Steve nodded and rolled the semi out of the site, they had a three police cars escort and two suburbans following.

Steve was thankful for an uneventful trip as the convoy turned into the Marshalls Jacksonville compound, he was a little surprised that it was located at the Airport though.

When Dale saw Steve’s questioning expression he said, “Better security, also the content can be flown out from here.”

The onsite marshal opened the hanger they wanted the safe in and had Steve back in and shutdown.

Dale introduced Steve to Ross who said, “So you’re our construction expert?”

Steve smiled and said, “Dale talked me into it.”

Ross asked, “Do you need a lift back?”

Dale, “Thanks but no, we have a lift outside.”

Steve asked, “Are you going to move the safe off the truck or leave it there to open it?”

Ross said, “We’ll leave it on the trailer where it is and open it.”

Steve said, “If you’re not moving it, let me immobilize the Kenworth.”

Steve climbed into to Kenworth and a minute later removed a plugin module, he passed the module and keys to Ross and said, “Hide these in the office without it you can’t move the prime mover or start it.”

Ross hefted the module and said, “Good idea,” and saw them out before locking the hanger and returning to his office.

Steve and Dale were driven back to the Colledge road site at six thirty. The marshals guarding the site let them in after checking their IDs.

Dale went to the command post and retrieved a set of keys and a flashlight in case there was a problem with the lights.

Their first stop was the gatehouse, Dale opened the door and turned on the lights, he said, “We had the electricians check here and the boathouse. The gate people will be in on Monday to fix the gates as well.”

Steve asked, “Boathouse?”

Dale, “yes boathouse, that’s our last stop.”

There was surprising little damage inside, when Steve commented on this Dale said, “the exterior walls stopped the 7.62 rounds, the half dozen internal holes are where they went through windows. You’re going to need windows and some cabinet work done, no electrical or water problems though.”

Steve was surprised to find a staircase just off the entry and went upstairs to find a loft style second floor. He found two large bedrooms and a large bathroom and both looked as if the maid had just left there were clothes hanging in the wardrobes.

The downstairs had a large lounge and combined kitchen meals area, another bathroom and separate toilet.

Dale went to the refrigerator and pulled out two beers and passed one to Steve, he said, “Well what do you think?”

Steve took a long sip and said, “I think I’ll enjoy living here.”

Don smiled and said, “You could move out here now and save the FBI the cost of your room.”

Steve laughed and said, “And who’s going to cook my breakfast and dinner?”

Dale joined Steve laughing, he said, “Come on let’s look at your boat house.”

Dale turned out the lights and locked up. The marshals had the mobile lighting towers on to illuminate the site so Dale and Steve had no problem navigating the site, the skirted the house and followed a path that led around a copse of trees that hid the huge boathouse.

Steve said, “You have got to be kidding,” as the boathouse came into view.

Dale was about to reply when there was a flash of lights from inside the boathouse, Dale stopped in his tracks and motioned Steve back to the trees.

He pulled out his radio and called the onsite marshals. He asked, “Do you have anyone in or near the boathouse now?” The reply was negative.

Dale asked for assistance and they made a call, Steve said, “night vision goggles.”

Dale amended his request to include night vision goggles, he was informed that a TAC team was forty minutes out.

Dale asked Steve, “Stay here.”

Steve said, “Give me your backup, I’ll cover you.”

Dale thought about it for ten seconds then drew his backup piece and gave it to Steve asking, “You do remember how to use one of these don’t you?”

Steve, “It’s like riding a bike, you never forget.”

That caused Dale to snort as Steve chambered a round and ask, “Are you sure you’re up for this?”

Steve, “How do you want to do this?”

Dale said, “Ok, well stay in the margin of the shade these trees offer from the lights behind us, that way they may miss us even if they have night vision. We’ll do a leapfrog movement the lead will cover the building while the following moves up in advance to cover.

Dale was worried, they were assuming a lot especially that there was only one intruders and he was in the boathouse. They both arrived at the boatshed breathing hard, they could hear the rhythmic nocking of a boat against a slip.

Dale tried the main doors and found they were unlocked. As he tried to open the door as quietly as possible it screeched and there was a short delay as Dale threw himself to the ground as two shots rang out punching holes through the door at chest height.

Steve moved up to the door beside Dale, who was getting to his feet, he said to Steve, “wide open,” indicating the doors, then on three they wretched the doors open as a boat was started.

Dale yelled out, “Stop FBI or we’ll shoot!”

The man at the controls of the boat turned and fired at Dale again causing him to duck for cover, leaving Steve with a clear shot.

At just over thirty feet Steve didn’t miss, the back of the intruders head exploded as the Steve’s two shots found their mark, Dale stood an did a scan of the boathouse looking for a second intruder.

Dale signaled Steve to cover as he went for the lights, there was no second intruder.

They both cautiously converged on the boat from either side, eventually Dale realized someone was calling on the radio, as he stepped on to the he answered the call.

The marshal on the other end sounded as if he was having a heart attack when Dale said, “One intruder down, no friendly casualties.” He pulled a glove from his pocket and used it to turn off the boats engine.

He looked at Steve who still had the pistol in his hand and climbed off the boat. Steve’s eyes didn’t leave the dead man. Dale walked over to Steve and gently put his hand on the gun, he quietly said, “Nice shooting, thanks.”

That seemed to cause Steve to snap out of it, he exhaled deeply and turned his head towards Dale and said, “You didn’t tell me I had a boat.”

Steve’s remark broke the tension in Dale and caused him then Steve to start laughing, that’s how the deputy marshal found them laughing.

Twenty minutes later the FBIs tactical response group was on site searching the grounds along with six more agents.

Steve spent the next two hours being questioned as did Dale. During that time the body was removed, they then did a walkthrough of their actions while being videoed.

It was after midnight when they returned to their motel, as they parted Steve said, “on site by seven?”

Dale replied, “I’ll see you at breakfast.”

Steve retired to his room had a quick shower and slipped into bed. He was sure we wouldn’t sleep, but he was soon in a deep dreamless sleep.

Chapter 1 »

Story tagged with:
Ma/Fa / Consensual / Heterosexual / Fiction / Crime / Mystery /