Day 36 Evening
I walked into the Bar area of the First Inn expecting to see patients in need of help. What I saw was a War Zone, in the middle of which was Mariana Stuart comforting my wife. I walked over and asked incredulously, “What in the hell happened Sally, what did you do?” Then the hounds of hell exploded in my face.
Somewhere sometime, Col. Mariana Stuart had been a DI and I was getting the full glory of a DI in barely controlled rant mode.
“You will not question my Officers in such a tone again. You think the wrath of God is Andrew Stuart, wrong dickhead; I am what you should worry about. CPT. If you ever question LT. Kellerman in that tone again you will feel that wrath, do you understand me, punk?
“What LT. Kellerman was doing was saving my ass from a backshooter and doing a damn fine job of it.”
Then in a Soto voice that only she and I could hear, “That I did not need but, you son will never tell her that!” She followed that with a conspiratorial grin that told me all I needed to know. This butt chewing was more for Sally’s sake than mine. Drawing on that half vast store of military knowledge imparted to me by the male half of Clan Stuart; I locked my heels stared into space over her head and barked “Ma’am, Yes Ma’am, “ in my best imitation of the Young Guns.
“Very good CPT, “she barked. “LT Kellerman and myself cannot, under any stretch of the Code of Ethics, be involved in the forensics investigation that needs to be done here. However, Sheriff Nash has requested me to maintain security on this site until his return so CPT. As the Senior member present of both the medical community as well as Strike Force Alchibah. This is your site, LT. Kellerman and I will be at the Lab if Sheriff Nash needs us. Take Command Sir!”
With that she took one step back and snapped up one of those iron tight salutes that Clan Stuart and the Young Guns seemed to be able to produce in a heartbeat. As I started up with my normally untrained sloppy response, I heard Ash’s laconic drawl in my head, “Shit Bubba you got it down, when you need it it’ll happen”; as the first locked and cocked iron hard salute I had ever pulled off greeted hers.
Great, how was I supposed to do both jobs? Then in my head I heard on of those late night conversations with Andy over of course Stuarts Worst, “Delegate CPT., only do yourself what someone else can’t; if you train your people correctly, you can be in five places at once.” I punched my now working wrist comp, “Candidate Summer Pierce, CPT. Kellerman; Priority” Her reply snapped up in mere seconds. “Sir, Yes Sir. What can I do for you Sir.”
“Candidate grab at least one other troop and report to the bar at the First Inn, this will be a physical security detail and this will be the only radio transmission from this site until further notice, clear?”
“Sir, on the way,” was the sharp reply.
I sat my bags on the counter, pulled out the remote sampler, and fired it up to sync with the Lab over the landline. Before I had finished three people walked in the main door.
LT. Jaisa Benjamin said, “You called Sir?”
I turned to see her in her new rig and my mind went back to last night in the new Stuart household. Hell, it had started as a house warming party at the new Stuart digs when Andy had handed her that fancy new rig.
“Here you go LT. I can’t do anything about too many targets or too many angles but, I can affect too few rounds.” He reached behind the chair and came up with the rig she was now wearing.
“Fred may have been dumb and slow but he wasn’t cheap. This here is as good as it gets. You can thank Walt over there because neither Mariana nor I would have thought about ripping it off of him, we had enough .45’s to not want more. But, for someone as ambidextrous as you; it should be quite the thing.”
I had watched a light come back in those cold dead eyes that had been missing for the last few days.
Andy had made a simple declaration, “Walt told me to save these for my kid. Little did He know that we are not sure we can have any? So take this Girl, because you are as close to a daughter that I think I am going to see. Hell, which we may ever see.”
I watched Connor Benjamin fire up from his seat and stop in mid lunge as he saw the same thing that I did. A fire came up in those eyes that had not been there. There was no light of humanity in that fire but the cold hard stare of Duty was there in force. Damn, I thought there is a human in there after all.
I stood and watched that same cold fire in her eyes as Summer and Ryu broke for the doors. In that instant I knew what Andy was trying to build and I knew it had been done. Kill him; kill Mariana and Strike Force Alchibah will still come for your throat. It lived in Andy’s heart, and in Mariana’s. And by God it lived in the heart of Jai Benjamin and as I now knew in mine.
“Secure the communications LT. Benjamin, I have forensics to do!” With that, I turned my attention to the bodies.
I was just finishing up my samples and feeding them into the repeater when Karl Nash came into the room.
“Where the hell is Mariana Stuart and who the hell are those Daemons guarding the doors?”
Before He could move another step, the right-handed version of a Wilson Combat Masterpiece was under his chin.
Jai Benjamin was behind it and her voice was cold as ice. “You will not question the CPT., Sherriff Nash. We have been tasked to investigate a multiple homicide. CPT. Kellerman is in charge of that. Do you have a problem Sir?”
Karl asked over his shoulder, “Do you have a problem Joe?”
Fortson’s reply was short and sweet, “ Not with this damn thing pointed at my head!”
Joe was standing in the side door with Summer Pierce’s .45 stuck in his ear.
“Let them go Jai and Summer they are the good guys after all!”
Joe laughed and walked back outside.
I finished feeding the forensics samples into the repeater. When the results came in I looked at Karl and asked, “Tell me you control Jack’s residence?”
Karl replied, “Of course, what is the problem?”
“Some where in his quarters you are going to find a cryo vault, only it will not have sperm and ova. It will have rogue DNA that he used as his voluntary sample. Because the skin scrapings under Kathy Osborne’s right fingernails, you know the only part of her body that did not fall into the pond she almost drowned in or we would not have any evidence. Well, they did not match anybody on Alchibah, so no forensics but guess what; they match that dead ass over there. Mariana killed more than she knew!”
Karl acted faster than I thought he could, “Sabbu, Joe:” he screamed into his wrist comp. “Get back to Jack’s place, find me a cryo unit.” From is wrist comp came, “Sure thing Sheriff.”
Karl looked at me and asked, “When the hell did I become the Sheriff?”
I grinned, “About the time when you said you would be the Boss of the Guard. Count yourself lucky you ain’t Strike Force, Andy can’t kick your Ass!”
He just grinned and asked, “So what went down here Doctor?”
“This dumbass with the issue .45 in his hand drew on Mariana Stuart. That was his last dumb mistake. But he damn sure was part of the rape, I just wish we had something on the other person. When we find that cryo case that will give us a legal ground to take fresh DNA samples from the rest of that crowd.”
We stared at each other for a long period, suddenly his wrist comp chimed, “Boss we found a cryo box; call off them damn dogs we are coming in with it.”
“CPT Kellerman, care to call them off?”
“No problem, Strike Force; the Sheriff is in control of the crime site; we can Stand Down!”
“So, CPT, how do you control these Young Wolves?”
”Sheriff, I don’t have to. It seems COL. Stuart bet the ranch on duty and honor. It sure looks like he won that bet, hands down!”
Nash knew he was staring at one of the King Wolves!