Starting a New Life
Patrick rushed behind the team sprinting in that direction. There in a field behind the service area was a helicopter. Probably there for the escape of those in the RV. They had the pilot held securely and two more of his team were lying injured on the ground. “What’s going on?”
“We questioned this guy as to what he was doing here, and he pulled a weapon on us and hurt two before we overpowered him.”
“Get the helicopter ambulance again and take our men to hospital.”
“Already done Sir.”
Patrick moved quickly to where the pilot was being held and both men gasped in surprise. Lieutenant Theo Gibbins recovered first and laughed. Well if it isn’t Sergeant Murphy. I heard you’d joined the police force on our return. Your men started an unnecessary fight and I had to defend myself. They are at fault.”
“What was your business here Lieutenant?”
“Just dropped in for something to eat at the restaurant when your men pulled weapons on me and I returned the favour.
They are not in police uniform so its natural to assume criminals were trying to steal my helicopter.” He laughed again. “My lawyer will see it that way I’m sure.”
“With respect Lieutenant we will have to take you in for questioning in that two of my men were shot. I will personally apologize if what you say is true, but we will have to go by the book.
“Murphy you’re getting in over your head and unfortunately I’ll have to deal with you in court later. But of course, I’ll cooperate for now.”
When Gibbins had been taken under police escort Patrick spoke. “Search the helicopter and take anything that looks suspicious as evidence then get someone over here who has a licence to fly and take it back for forensics.
Patrick then sought out the local Police Station where statements were being taken from Paul who remained uncooperative. “Have you recovered everything he was carrying on him?” The officer indicated a shelf where everything had been deposited in a box. Patrick picked up a pair of new unused gloves and began to examine contents. He picked up an air ticket departing the country that evening and thought for a while. Then turned to the ones guarding Paul. “Is this the only door into this interview room? His eye swept the room as he waited for the answer. The guards nodded.
“Gentlemen can you give me a few minutes with this man by myself. Only a few minutes.”
They nodded and took up positions just outside the door. “Paul if you cooperate with me I’ll see you get the lightest sentence possible. If you decide to become a state witness and we get the big guys we can put you under witness protection with a new identity. We only have a few minutes to make a deal before I have to bring these police officers back in.”
“There are people in high circles that cannot be touched so you are out of your mind. That would be my death warrant whereas after a jail sentence if you can prove I deserve one I’m still alive.”
“What about a new ID a new passport and enough money to establish in another country of your choice, does that interest you?”
Paul paused and thought about that. “A new ID and new passport and money to establish outside the country? Interesting but risky for me if these high ups are involved in the process.”
“Well you could give me a hint as to what kind of government agencies to bypass to make you feel safe. “How much money to re-establish yourself somewhere else?”
“How about one hundred thousand dollars that I know I can offer you?”
“You guarantee my safety and a half million dollars and I’ll think about it.”
“OK I’ll pass that proposal upward but there’s something you need to do for me first. I deliver you to the airport with your ticket, you link up with those who are leaving the country with you this evening and speak only to those who will be going out with you. We move in and arrest you all after seeing who you greeted, so you are not suspected for putting a finger on them. You turn states witness at the trial and we get you out of the country with new passport and IDs and as much money as I can get for you after you serve time. I just want to get this syndicate busted and in that we may not be able to identify those you hint in government are providing an umbrella to the syndicate we will have to put that aside for another day. Of course, we’ll be watching your every move at the airport so don’t even consider getting out of this country without cooperating with us or or warning anyone or you could die as a fugitive.
Patrick called police in. I’ll send the Feds in to collect this man soon and will take the box of evidence with me now. Put the box into a sealed bag for me to take. I’m giving you a receipt for it. I’ll want to speak with this man as soon as you can get him back to headquarters and my office so hurry it along.”
That evening after a hasty consultation with top officers and compromise with Paul the planned arrest at the airport took place. Paul was nervous as he approached the get away group but held it under control. He shifted between the scattered group pretending to ask directions and each in turn sent him on his way not wanting to draw attention to any long conversations as a precaution. Then as they joined the queue to board their international flight waiting plain clothes police pounced. Each was escorted protesting loudly under the prompting of guns to a holding room, searched, cuffed, and sped downstairs to a waiting police bus. They were photographed on cell phones and pictures forwarded to another group of special officers upstairs in the security control room where videos identified those arrested and security videos were wound back for each individually to see what contact each had made with others not in the group but in the airport at the time of each arrival. In several cases two individuals stood out as having contacts with members of the departing group on each one’s arrival. Once again security cameras were employed to see if those individuals were still present and they were found in an observation deck from which departing flights could be observed. They were located and taken into custody. When Patrick saw them in the interview room he was shocked. One was a prominent lawyer and the other high up in the judiciary. It would be tough to nail these two as they would no doubt draw on sources in high places to see they were not implicated, not to mention the probability of a huge lawsuit. They’d have to do this by the book and be very careful!
When Marvin had arrived back at the Retirement Resort he found the staff concerned. Some staff had seen Marvin speeding out of the grounds with Paul driving and two men seemingly guarding Marvin. Word spread like wildfire and they sought the advice of Sid as to whether police should be called. He assured them all was well. Probably the boss had been called to an urgent meeting and would no doubt be back soon. They were urged to get on with their work. So, when Marvin appeared several hours later and resumed his rounds and office work without comment concerns evaporated. He was comforted to know Patrick had his men watching for any remaining moles in their resort that must be dealt with. Over the next few weeks that concern vanished and Marvin’s stress level subsided.
Once news of the arrests had been circulated in the underworld remnants of the syndicate melted away. Criminal investigators were desperate to retrieve whatever they could from accounts securely locked away in offshore banks but they were met by a wall of silence from those arrested who’d engaged high profile lawyers to defend them and simultaneously sue for supposed wrongful arrest. Intense efforts were made by arrested syndicate members to try and find who’d blown their cover. Fortunately, their ire was directed to the helicopter pilot who’d not shown up at the airport and who they suspected of making a deal though he strongly denied it. The police encouraged that thought to keep attention away from Paul who’d agreed to be a key final witness on the understanding after a lighter sentence he’d receive a new identity and enough money to set himself up in another country of his choice to avoid death at the hands of criminals.
After a month Stephanie had emerged from her coma but suffered memory loss. She had no idea who she was and did not recognize anyone police thought may help her to recover her memory. This of course caused her enormous fear. Patrick thought his wife Maria may be able to coax memories of her childhood as a possible means of bringing back a full understanding of her history. They needed to have her as both a member of the syndicate to be charged and a witness. So, Patrick requested Marvin maintain a regular visitation schedule in the hope their childhood time together brief as it was would help regain her memory. They took her to her former apartment, showed her the things she’d prided herself in before the accident and showed her the wreck of the car. She recognized none of it. They took her to her bank and showed her a bank account in the name of Grace Willis then asked her to write her signature so they could compare that handwriting with her signature record in the bank. Steph looked at the balance wide eyed then complied with the handwriting test but had to ask the police what to write. She laboured over writing Grace Willis as the name was unfamiliar to her and it was nothing like the signature in the bank. Doctors could not guarantee she’d ever regain her true identity again so police had to cross her off the witness list and would find it hard to have a charge against her as an accomplice because of her condition.
Marvin’s heart went out to the woman in her distress as did Maria. Between them they worked to teach her skills and when she was eventually released Maria insisted on taking her into their home to continue rehabilitating her. Patrick was not sure that was wise, but Maria was persistent and eventually he gave in. Stephanie now answered to this name and clung to them like a daughter as they patiently reskilled her. Apart from memory loss she was quick to learn and once she’d came to terms with the fact her only known history was what she’d developed since waking up in hospital she was at peace. Maria had retrieved her birth certificate from official records and often caught Stephanie studying that document trying to understand why she had an identity she didn’t recognize. But she was developing a positive attitude and pleasing happy personality despite her accident. Patrick and Marvin sponsored her into healthcare studies at the local county college and after retraining her driving skills she was able to use the drivers licence used before the accident. She knew that face on her driver’s licence was hers along with the name on it but how she’d acquired it was part of the black memory hole. After her extensive rehab had been completed she still walked with a slight limp but continued a structured exercise program to improve her physical condition. Over time she developed into a thoughtful outgoing personality claiming Patrick and Maria as the only parents she was conscious of. Marvin watched this development carefully.
The case against the syndicate underlings progressed well. It was those who’d been instructed to leave the country and had been arrested at the airport. The case against them had been carefully researched and prosecuted and it helped that both Paul and Theo Gibbins evidence had clinched the deal. Drugs and other incriminating evidence had been found in that helicopter and a smuggling operation cross border had been shut down too. Gibbins had eventually made a deal with prosecutors for information in exchange for a lighter sentence. The two arrested from the top echelons of the syndicate gave a much bumpier ride as they had political and top legal support. However Gibbins had been most helpful in identifying funds offshore and with heavy diplomatic pressure placed on the island hosting that offshore bank with threats of a reduction in foreign aid a substantial recovery of funds eventuated miraculously into a government nominated bank account to return as much as possible to families who’d suffered loss. The stress of that case convinced Patrick he needed to join his wife Maria in retirement.
Stephanie was now job seeking after graduation and on a weekend visit home Maria had a private conversation with Marvin. “Remember telling me a few years back that Steph had a way with the residents? They seemed to warm to her. What about giving her a chance at your retirement resort?”
“I’d have to let HR at head office look at that Ma, but yes, she was able to relate to residents as I recall. We’ll give it a try!”
HR was surprised at the number of high-quality recommendations that accompanied the application. They’d been informed this woman had been well received as a resident visitor before her accident and loss of memory and recommendations from police officials certainly helped tip things in her favour. Marvin smiled happily as he received their approval. Steph had felt life had been kinder to him before the accident and probably remembered none of that conversation now.
But when Steph arrived at his office for orientation to her new work she looked around thoughtfully. “Something inside me tells me I should be familiar with this place Marvin!” She looked a little fearful as he took her around the building for orientation. She smiled at Ruth Goldstein in the recreation room. “I feel I know that woman Marvin, but I can’t remember how or when.” Then she shrugged and went to talk with the woman.
“It’s nice to see you after a long while Grace.” Said Ruth happily.
“I think you have the wrong woman my name is Stephanie.” She placed a hand of assurance on the bewildered lady who continued to smile.
“I guess I had it wrong!”
Stephanie laughed as she continued down the corridor and Marvin steered her into the cafeteria. She paused thoughtfully and turned to study the door they’d just passed through. Strange, I have bad vibes about this room Marvin. That’s unusual as I love food!” Both laughed.
She turned to Marvin. Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity. What do I call you now I work here, Boss, Sir or Marvin?”
“Marvin is fine! I’m turning you over to the one in charge of nursing to supervise the rest of orientation week. You’ll have to work with her in planning recreational activities for all the people here. Big job so we better get you started.”
“I can hardly wait to get started!”
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