SUNDAY JULY 5th


​   “We’ve got eyes!” says Evans excitedly just as Chace was about to open the door to go to Aella’s room. He Chace and Evans are still hunkered by the laptop as the satellite images scroll across the screen. There is very little movement throughout town as the time approaches 5 a.m.
   “Have them focus on any large buildings,” say Chace, “that are big enough to hide a damn truck.”
   Evans types in the request.
   “And concentrate between Ostrander and Delaware,” he adds.
   “They’re going to hide it,” explains Chace, “and hide it quick. I’ve a feeling that they’re going to rig it as an incendiary device.”
   “A bomb?”
   “Yep,” answers Chace grimly. “Just like the Oklahoma bombing. All that stuff that Nick picked up was the basics… sort of like the stock for the soup.”
   “There’s about twenty barns in the area that could be suspect,” says Evans as he shakes his head and studies the screen. “None of them show anything other than the usual activities.”
   “I’m calling Miller,” offers Chace. “He’s had a chance to rest and we need fresh ideas.”
   Chace dials his number and it’s immediately picked up.
   “I’m already in the lobby,” huffs Miller into the phone as he hustles along. “The Home Office dug another “Lucky Day” up off the internet. From four days ago.”
   “And?”
   “They were targeted to 6 weekly local rags within six states. All it said was “Gather,” adds Miller with a grunt as he pushes the hallway door open. “I’ve got the printout. Where are you guys?”
   “Room 150,” answers Chace. “You sound like you’ve found something the Boys in Washington missed.”
   “Could be,” laughs a breathless Miller as he turns into the corridor, “then again I might just be watching too many Secret Agent Movies.”
   He opens the door to Room 150 as Chace and Evans turn to see him filling in the frame, holding up the sheet, and smiling.
   “But if it works, it works.”
   “We get you on a diet,” laughs Chace, “and you’re gonna make a helluva good field agent.” He stops and looks at Miller expectantly. “Did ya bring any donuts with ya?”

   Willy has been talking – mostly complaining – for over an hour now. The trooper has been wearily listening to him bitch literally about everything and often has to redirect his tirade as he goes into a tangent about some horse or person from 25 years ago.
   “Willy?” asks the trooper pleasantly, “would you like a coffee and something from the breakfast in the barn?”
   “Why yes,” smiles Willy slightly, “I would… some egg and English muffin, with cheese… please.”
  T he detention barn is already up and about as the horses had been fed and everyone is lined up for breakfast. The Corporal’s phone buzzes.
   “Yeah?”
   “Bring us a couple of regular coffees and egg cheese muffins,” says the trooper quietly into his phone in the corner of the trailer.
   “Tiring, isn’t he?” asks the Corporal.
   “This guy has been giving me the runaround for over an hour. The next thing I know he’ll lawyer up on me,” says the trooper as he eyes Willy fiddling with pencils on the desk.
   “Okay,” says the Corporal finally. ”He isn’t going to name names like he said. Let’s wait until the Captain gets in here at 7… he can get a statement from the little weasel.”
   “Good enough,” answers the trooper. “Bring them coffees.”
   He turns to see Willy slightly smiling to himself with his eyes glanced to the floor.
  “ I’ll name names alright,” Willy thought as he shifted in his seat.
   But first he had to go through a list in his mind of everyone who’s ever slighted or aggravated him in the past two years. Now was the time to put their ass in a sling.
   He quivered with delight at the idea of it.
   And they’re gonna hear him roar.

  “What time you got?” calls out Chace as he takes the sheet from Miller.
   “6:45,” came Evans reply. He stops studying the laptop and walks over to the drapes on the window and opens them. The bright morning sunlight lit up the room and made them all squint.
   Chace places the sheet on the table and studies the various highlighted numbers.
   Miller places his finger on his handwritten number “4147.”
   “The ‘master number’,” nods Chace with the look of realization.
   “Yeah,” answers Miller, “only this time it spells ‘gather.’”
   “Is it another subliminal trigger like ‘Ephialtes’ was?” asks Evans.
   “That’s what I wracked my brain on,” answers Miller but then I followed the 4-1-4-7 past the 00 cutoff point in the number sequence both 9 top and 9 bottom, cross and diagonal.”
   “Anything?” asks Chace.
   “Nothing but gibberish, mismatched letters, no matter which of the four major languages they used.”
   “English, French, German, and Spanish?” asks Evans.
   “Right,” agrees Miller, “but it is right there in front of us.”
   “In front of us?” snorts a bewildered Chace. “I’d better borrow your glasses.”
   Evan leans closer and scratches his head. “What?”
   Miller takes the highlighter and moves it across the square to the double 00 counting out as he goes along. He marks each two-digit number with authority.
   “One, two, three, four… 24. One… 39. One, two, three, four… 03!” he calls out until he reaches the final end 00.
   Chace picks it up and reads the numbers aloud: “24-39-03-22-04-30-61…”
   Evans catches it.
   “The last three sets of numbers,” he exclaims, “43061! That’s the zip code for Warrensburg!”
   “Yes!” says Miller triumphantly. “And there’s a county road 322 that leads through the backwoods of the town!”
   “2439 CR322 in Warrensburg?” asks Chace.
   “I’m on it,” calls out Evans as he types new directions into the laptop. The camera focuses in on a farmhouse, two SUVs, and a large barn set off a quarter of a mile from the road.
   “It’s owned by an Edgar Martin,” adds Evans as he reads the particulars. “He’s 93, disabled, and the place has been in his family since 1883.” His wife died over 20 years ago. He can’t be there by himself.”
  “ Go thermal,” instructs Chace.
   The house shows one person in the kitchen but the barn seems devoid of anything. The roof is interfering with the signal.
   “That’s a portable transmitter set up,” notes Chace with a smirk. “It’s called the Terrorist’s Camouflage… $99.99 at Small*mart.”
   All of a sudden a male figure emerges from out of the barn and walks towards an SUV. A second figure follows him out almost immediately. They stop and talk by the door. A third figure comes out and pulls back the barn door. The exhaust from the delivery truck plumes upward.
   “That’s our spot!” calls out Chace. “Let’s go!”
   “How far?” asks Evans as he gathers up the laptop.
   “Eight miles!” answers Miller from the map on his iPhone. “We can make it in six minutes!”
   “Five if we hurry,” laughs Chace.
   Then all three broke into a run down the corridor and out to their cars.


To be continued