Hope you enjoyed watching Frei in action in the previous episode assisted by the wonderful Jessie and Miroslav. And I also hope that you enjoy catching up with Renee, Frei and Fleming.
As, always, please excuse the typos.
Act 3b Scene 1
The new house that they had set up in was newer, warmer but felt small compared to the larger house. It was a modest building like the ones in most affluent suburbs with a living room off the front door, kitchen at the back and a study on the right next to a small bathroom. Upstairs there were three bedrooms and one bathroom which meant Renee was sharing with Frei. Unlike Aeron, Frei didn’t share the same bed and had made a makeshift attempt on the floor. Renee had tried to suggest they sleep toe-to-head but Frei said Renee wriggled and the floor was less likely to elbow her in the ribs.
Aunt Bess had her own room because she snored loud enough to rattle the floorboards and Stosur had turned her room into a part bedroom, part surveillance hub so she slept on the floor like Frei.
Somehow, considering how crowded it could have felt, Aunt Bess tended to the gardening and mowing during the day—while using contacts to check police sources for information on Aeron—and cooked dinner in the evening.
Stosur was always in her room unless flying to attend fittings or dinners for her wedding to Huber.
Renee fixed the car that someone had left in the garage, did the shopping, worked out, called Lilia for any updates in case Aeron had contacted her, worked out, fixed the car… oh, and tried not to shoot Frei for sneaking off and making her panic.
“Black, you will have chin hair if your brows sink much lower,” Frei shot her way as she pointed to Stosur’s monitor.
“You could have gotten hurt.” Renee folded her arms as Frei showed her the pictures of Derek Lavelle… and Crespo or Kiwi as he was sometimes known. “What is that jerk doing talking to Lavelle?”
“What he usually does,” Frei said with a bland voice. “Trade slaves.”
“Why is Lavelle trading them when his wife or mistress or whoever they are is not there?” Renee waved her hand at the screen. She remembered Crespo. He was a creep who bought the kids who failed in Caprock; he was also the jerk who tried to ambush them which saw her and Aeron critically injured with Frei also badly wounded.
“Because he does the trading.” Frei turned to her and gave her arm a sharp squeeze. “I would like to make him do the assault course too but our focus is Derek Lavelle.”
“Abby won’t know who he is,” Renee muttered wanting to… well… he needed pickle juice, as Aeron would say.
Frei nodded to the doorway and Fleming limped in looking pale and tired.
“Who won’t I know?” she asked and limped over. “Who is with Lavelle?”
“Kiwi,” Frei said and retreated to the drinks’ cabinet. “He sells children and he ambushed us and Renee was critically injured.”
Renee tilted her head, tightened her lips and narrowed her eyes. “Urs, I think Abby gets he’s a jerk by the selling children part.”
Fleming nodded, eyes glinting. “How can I prove who he is?” She sneered at the screen. Her long hair which was always pristine was scraggly and shoved in a bobble. “How can I show that Derek isn’t interviewing him?”
Frei filled up a glass and plopped ice in. “Because we have access to Derek’s phone. We’re going to be ready when he makes the trade, liberate some people he’s trying to buy, and give you the evidence you need.”
Renee nodded. “And maybe kick his butt.”
Fleming took the glass Frei handed to her and held it up. “I am happy to assist.” She knocked back the glass then spluttered. “However, how are you going to get to the people he is buying?”
Renee glanced at Frei. “Usually by being shot at, beaten, dangling off cliffs and then being dunked in water.”
Fleming raised her eyebrows then coughed. “That is not a nice whiskey… it doesn’t even taste like whiskey.”
“It’s one of our medical staff’s concoctions,” Frei said and helped Fleming to the sofa. “Mixed with whatever she decided was… whiskey like.”
“Is this the medical staff who I didn’t see?” Fleming asked then rubbed at her head. “I hope their medicine skills are better than their taste buds.”
“Yes,” Renee said not sure what Susan had given Fleming but she only hoped it wasn’t tested on the chair first. “You were unconscious for hours. Your head might be sore for a while.”
Fleming stared at her, shock in her intelligent eyes. “I was?”
“Yes,” Renee folded her arms again. She was annoyed at herself that Abby went into the unit, that they didn’t see it was a trap, and that she’d hit the trap and because she’d been blind, Abby had been exposed to more toxins. “You need to keep taking the medication as stated.”
Fleming wrinkled up her pale lips which were usually glossy red or brown. “I can imagine Martin having something to say about me taking it.”
“You won’t have to take it for long. It’s just until your blood tests are normal again.” Renee looked at Frei hoping she would nod or be helpful but her focus was on the screen. “You have a strategy that I don’t need to take medication for?”
Frei strode to the center of the room. “Kiwi has been more careful about his trades since we removed Sven. His business has been failing because we hit Caprock and the European academy.”
Fleming held her hand up. “Academies?”
“He targets schools,” Renee said and nodded to Frei. “Does he owe anyone money?”
“Plenty of people,” Frei said and put her hands on her hips as she often did when wearing her jacket. “I know he needs some good sales to steady his business and Derek clearly wants to sell.”
“What evidence do you have?” Fleming asked studying the screen.
“Not enough for you to move in,” Renee said with a calm tone trying to remain professional but she gave in, sighed, and took Fleming some water. “You need to remain strategic. These aren’t normal criminals.”
Fleming glared up at her. “I am the head of internal affairs for the FBI.” She wagged her finger. “I have arrested countless criminals and I have a perfect record for investigation.”
“I know.” Renee sat beside her. “Abby, you don’t need to tell me your experience, I’ve seen how capable you are.” She tapped the water glass. “You need to drink it, it’ll get rid of the taste.” She sighed. “And you need to listen to me. We aren’t doing this the FBI way, we’re doing it the CIG way.”
Frei raised both eyebrows. Yes, they would do it the Locksmith way but they couldn’t share that with Fleming.
“I can’t arrest someone whose been investigated without following the right process.” Fleming shook her head but did drink the water. “Gould is capable of assisting and so am I.”
“Strategically,” Renee said then leaned onto her knees. “You are stronger when you have the overview of the situation and Gould will be needed to help with the logistics.”
Fleming handed the empty glass to her and stood up. “I’m not going to sit back while that man targets people.”
Frei narrowed her eyes. “I outrank you and I say you are.”
“I am not accepting it.” Fleming strode to the door. “I’m not allowing you to prevent a prosecution through unprofessional practice.”
Renee glanced at Frei. Maybe they should have darted her? She looked back to the door as Fleming wobbled and then hurried to her only to catch her when she slumped down.
“You have a dart gun I can’t see?” she mumbled as she carried Fleming to the couch.
“Susan feels she needs bed rest,” Frei said with a shrug. “I explained she would attempt to help.”
“Please tell me Susan didn’t give her anything to alter her memory. She’s not allowed to be insane.” Renee placed Fleming’s head to the armrest and placed a cushion under it. “She can’t talk to chairs.”
“It is just the medication you were taking,” Frei turned back to the screen. “You did not have those side effects.”
“No, I had the stomach cramps instead.” Renee rubbed her ribcage. “And the sickness.”
Frei nodded. “I had a rash and a fever.”
“Should we carry her to Susan…” She stopped then shrugged. “Or maybe you should carry her.”
Frei rolled her eyes. “Black, she is asleep and we need to work.”
Renee moved away from Fleming then went back and placed a blanket over her. “You think that by giving Abby the evidence it will help with Alanna—well, Rachel—and Pucker?”
“It will isolate them.” Frei picked up her laptop and tapped it. “Once Lavelle is out of the way, we can remove Pucker and Rachel’s assets… and remove the rest of their slaves.”
Renee sat opposite Frei and leaned onto her knees. “Getting shot at and dunked it is, huh?”
Frei smiled and flicked on her screen. “I thought you’d enjoy that idea.”
Renee smirked. “I get to dart people, I’m good.”
Fleming breathed softly in response and Renee focused on Frei’s strategy. She felt her St. Christopher’s warm and closed her eyes. Rescuing slaves from owners and traders with very little resources and a lot of obstacles. As Aeron would say, it was business as usual.