Zeus and Io - Books 1 and 2
Copyright 2012,2013 by Harry Carton
Tuesday came, as usual. I got up early and started to make some bacon and eggs. Coffee was not on the menu. Didn't want to take any chances on being jumpy at the airport. Also, I didn't want Arti to have to make any side trips to the Ladies' Room. Coffee always turned on her internal water works, it seemed. We'd have enough problems with the Mexican kidnappers of the girls, and the 5225 kidnappers of me.
The plan was to get to the airport by about 0930 in full DEA regalia, look around, accidentally-on-purpose wind up near the arriving flight from Des Moines and try to foil the dastardly plot of the Mexicans, all the time keeping an eye out for the 5225 team. If we could find out where or what the kidnappers planned for the second girl, we'd go and help her, too.
Nobody had an idea who the second San Diego girl would be. We knew that they were after a Mexican girl (that was Maria, in Phoenix), a white girl and a black girl. So, depending on who the girl was on the plane, we'd have some clue about the identity of the other girl. She wasn't arriving by plane, though, so it was more likely that she was an employee. But at 15 or even less? That wouldn't be legal. Not that that would mean anything.
Artemis awoke during the cooking process. It was probably the smell of the bacon that did the trick. She rose, and did some stretches, all the while giving me a show. She was still wearing her nearly transparent 'night-wear.'
"All right, Miss," I said while turning away from her display. I didn't turn completely away, you understand, I could and did see her from the corner of my eye. "I'd ask you to assume the position but I can see you already have. Please get dressed and stop teasing me. We have a mission to take care of today."
She stopped, saying, "Oh pooh. You're no fun at all. Wait a minute ... did you say something about a missionary position? You know, that's where I'd be on my back, like this..." she flopped on her back on the bed " ... and you'd be between my willing thighs..." she spread her legs.
I tossed an empty, and still dripping, egg shell at her, hitting her in the midsection.
"Hey! You better be glad you missed my special Midnight Seduction outfit. 'Cause I want to wear it again tonight, and..."
"Arti, please get dressed and stop fooling around."
"When you're fooling around with me, we'll both know it," she groused, "but okay."
She hopped out of bed, stripped in two seconds flat and proceeded to get into her fake-DEA outfit. Watching her get dressed was almost as intriguing as watching her dancing poses in the Midnight Seduction clothes. First there were the sexy little, almost-not-there panties: black lace. The no-nonsense sports bra that flattened out her breasts. They went on with a minimum of effort, but it was the little touches along the way that I particularly liked. Not trying to be sexy was much sexier than her trying. She ran a finger under the thigh band – or whatever it was called – of the panties to make sure it was just right. Then the wriggle in the elastic sports bra, the casual hand to seat her breast into it – first on the left and then on the right.
Pants were next and they were almost too tight. Way tighter than a typical DEA agent would wear, and...
"Oh cut it out. Stop drooling over her," Martinez complained. "Take her to bed already, and stop making these pin-up fantasies."
Quiet, Master Chief. They're my fantasies. I'm too damaged, and she's too young, and I care for her too much.
"You keep telling yourself that. Maybe someday you'll believe it."
Oh shit! The orange juice is burning and the eggs need to be poured.
"Breakfast is served, wench. At your pleasure," I called to Arti.
She plopped the DEA vest on the couch next to her and dropped the windbreaker over the back. She cast an eye up at me as she began to eat.
"Nothin' huh? I wear the Midnight Seduction collection, and it gets no reaction?"
"Ms. Desmonopolous, we have a mission to do today. It's going to be dangerous. We don't know who is trying to target me, and we don't know who or how many there are that we are trying to trap. Not today. Besides, I'm..."
" ... damaged. Yeah I know," she interrupted. "That's bullshit. Just tell me that you liked the show, that you noticed."
"All right," I conceded. "From the time you stopped posing to the time you put on your clothes, I noticed. You're a much sexier clothes-putter-on-er, than you are as a pin-up model. Although..." I let it dangle in mid-air.
"Although... ?" she prompted.
"Although we don't have time to get into that. We're trying to get to the airport with our trusty canine companion by 0930. We have to dress him in his vest, and dress the H2 in its disguise." I touched the ITE earpiece. "Io? Have you given any thought to where we're going to park the trusty steed?"
For the first time, there was a pause before she answered. "Yes, we shall park with the police on the side of the building."
"Is something wrong, Io? You paused a bit. I don't mean to complain but ... you've never done that before."
"I am sorry. I was not prepared for conversation at the moment. I am also tracking an attempt by someone – the Chinese, I think – to interfere with Goldman's trading computer. So far it is not getting through."
Arti asked, "Do you need to set up anything to monitor it and perhaps intercept, Io?"
"No, I shall track it from Minnesota and from inside Goldman's. I have set that up, now. I will track your mission at the airport from inside the H2, when that vehicle is turned on. There will be no bifurcation of attention. I can devote 100% of myself to each of five jobs. At present, there are only three that need full-time attention.
I pressed the remote 'start' button on the car's fob. "There you go, Io. You know, you can turn it on yourself."
"Thank you, Zeus. That is more comfortable. I did not want to presume to turn on your vehicle."
"That's silly, Io. It's your H2 more than it is mine," I protested.
"Now I can handle seven jobs," she continued. "There are several updates to other projects, but in accordance with operational principles you established in Florida, I shall hold those in abeyance until the completion of the current mission."
"Perfect, Io," I said. "I'm sure that 100% of your attention will be more than adequate."
"But," she said, "my performance is augmented to a serious degree with a touch of human illogic, I fear. I need input from you two – or three, actually – from time to time. Nothing is urgent, now, however."
I locked up the camper, setting an intrusion alarm on the inside that would ring my phone, and emit an ear-shattering shriek inside the camper. We headed for the H2. This time I had all the necessary equipment. I made sure to check everything on Arti's list.
By 0928, we were at the San Diego airport, and parked amid several police cars in the "Official Vehicles Only" lot, alongside the arrivals building for the American flight from Des Moines. We unassed the H2, got Sonny in his doggie DEA vest, put our DEA vests on and grabbed the windbreakers. It was hot outside, but figured to be cool inside, hence the jackets. Besides the more we could change our profile, the better.
I was pleased not to see any other Federal Agency vehicles.
We entered the building and began our 'routine patrol, ' ostensibly looking for drugs. What we would do if we found some miscreant peddling drugs in the middle of the American Airlines domestic arrivals building, I could not tell you. Sonny was behaving well, as I expected, and we only had to chase away two little girls who wanted to visit with the nice doggie.
"Sorry, but he's working now," seemed to turn away their enthusiasm.
About three quarters of the way through the building, I saw five other DEA agents near the doors on the opposite side of the promenade. They split up into a group of three, coming our way, and another pair going downstairs, toward the departures section. Something seemed 'not right' with the other pair, but I couldn't put my finger on it directly.
I met the three with a rehearsed story: "Hey, you guys local?"
"Yeah," said the shorter one in the middle.
"Jefferson, from the Harbor Squad," I said. "We're following a tip. Supposed to be some bad guys arriving today, between 11:30 and 2:00 pm. Three Latinos. They'll be picking up checked baggage."
"We're gonna nail 'em!" said my eager junior associate agent, Officer Artemis.
"Okay. We're just prowling around looking for anything out of place. Absolute routine. We'll try and be in the baggage area later on. In case you need backup."
We carried on and so did they.
I tapped my ITE device to contact Io.
"Where did five DEA agents come from?"
I sub-vocalized the question. Io picked it up, anyway.
"Checking ... No DEA agents assigned to the airport today. No DEA vehicles parked nearby, except ours," she said.
"Well then, we've probably just met the pickup team from 5225. No way they were Mexicans. It's possible that they're the real DEA, on a last minute assignment."
"The cartel could be using local talent to get the girls," Arti said.
"Possible. But I don't think so. At least they're going to be at the baggage carousel, not at the arrival jetway," I said. "Maybe ... There was something off, but I can't put my finger on what it was."