Jonathan Stone got his win. And the credit for it.
The data from the GPS tracker Annie Walker had hidden in one of the horns crossing over into Mozambique was monitored and relayed to him and Ben Mercer by a technical wizard named Eric Barber.
The truck containing the horn was driven to small, family-owned butchery on the outskirts of Maputo, where the two operatives watched the carcasses being off-loaded. Less than three hours later they observed a small, refrigerated van being loaded with several polystyrene boxes labeled with the name of the butchery. The van left the premises headed for central Maputo. The signal from the GPS device did too.
The "meat" was delivered to a restaurant near Maputo's dockland. Coincidentally a fruit-and-vegetable delivery happened at the same time. The horn left with the fruit-and-veg delivery men – presumably in the 'empty' packing crates they had returned to the vehicle after their delivery.
It overnighted in a large storage depot belonging to Dos Santos Fruit Co.
Two days later the horn departed from Maputo in refrigerated container on board a ship to Mombasa, Kenya, hidden in a consignment of mangos.
Once in Kenya it was transported by road, north to the Kenyan border, and over it into Somalia. It eventually reached the small town of Barawe – a known Al Shabaab stronghold - on the thirteenth of July.
Arthur Campbell called in some large favors.
Joan Campbell watched and waited.
On the twenty-first of July there was once again movement of the horn towards the port area of Barawe. Just before dusk that evening, a small boat approaching the harbor was quietly intercepted by an unidentified inflatable vessel carrying a team of highly skilled men. Men who carried out their mission with military precision.
Five surface-to-air missiles were found and confiscated. As were two missile launchers.
The horn moved again a few months later. An anonymous tip-off led to the shipment being intercepted in international waters en route to Vietnam.
Jonathan Stone was commended for his part in the interception of a shipment of 'Russian' missiles bound for a town known to be a hiding place for several Al Shabaab commanders – some with links to previous attacks on Western targets in Kenya.
Although offered a transfer to a more prestigious station, Jonathan chose to remain in South Africa. He felt the region had a lot to offer in terms of gaining experience and developing a unique resume. After months of investigation, surveillance and careful approaches Jonathan eventually turned the owner of the depot from which the mangos (and horn) had been shipped - a fruit exporter named Joao Dos Santos. Dos Santos became Jonathan's very first asset.
He had other reasons behind his decision to stay, too. These he kept to himself.
Sindisiwe Ncube, similarly, got her win.
Two weeks after Annie Walker and Auggie Anderson flew back to DC, Karola King was arrested in Botswana attempting to board a flight from Gaborone to Tunisia using a passport in the name of Michelle Bouwer. Her small son, traveling as Lukas Bouwer, was with her.
Sindi had asked immigration to check departures at South African borders. She had, on a hunch, given them several possible identities to look for. One of them had panned out. 'Michelle Bouwer' and her son had entered Botswana at the Grobler's Drift border post early on the morning of the thirtieth of June. Botswana police had been alerted of the presence of a South African fugitive traveling under a false name within their borders. It was only a matter of time until they found her.
And they did.
Karola King was sentenced to twenty-five years imprisonment for offences related to rhino poaching, corruption, smuggling, and – after specific testimony from Julian Willemse – arranging the murder of Michelle Bouwer. She had ordered Julian to surveil Michelle, he had told the court, after becoming concerned she had become suspicious of their activities. It had been Julian Willemse who had taken the photograph of Michelle and Jean-Paul, but Christiaan Du Buisson who had taken a copy of it to his sister in an attempt to blackmail her into keeping quiet. The blackmail had not worked.
They had resorted to threats.
Those had not worked either.
Julian Willemse also admitted to tipping Mrs. King off about Jaco Bouwer's renewed interest in his wife's death, triggering the rollout of the final stages of the long-term plan to frame him.
Additional evidence against Karola King had come from various sources including information mined during intricate analysis of her computers, business and personal, and a forensic trail leading to several Tunisian bank accounts in the name of Michelle Bouwer. South African technicians and auditors were advised by a handful of (anonymous) American experts.
The poaching case against King focused on the smuggling of horn via her funeral business. No mention was ever made, in police files or the court case, of smuggling via Mozambique.
Christiaan Du Buisson received a five-year sentence for his part in the operation – significantly reduced as a result of his testimony against Karola King.
Leeza Ford was given a two-year suspended sentence. Despite the fact that she now had criminal record, Dr. Jaco Bouwer insisted that she continue to work for him as his practice manager.
One month after it became apparent that the poaching ring had been broken wide open by the work of Detective Sergeant Ncube, and that the evidence was going to hold up in court, a captain within the Task Force quietly transferred to another department.
As a result of the incarceration of both of his parents, young Lukas Du Buisson was released by the courts into the care of his paternal grandparents, there being no class relatives on his mother's side.
Within hours of this decision an urgent injunction was sought by lawyers on behalf of his UK-based uncle, Jean-Paul Du Buisson, who had just laid charges of child sexual abuse against his father, Dr. Jean-Luc Du Buisson.
Similar charges were laid against Du Buisson by his other son, Christiaan, shortly thereafter.
It had been the threat to his young nephew that had prompted Jean-Paul Du Buisson to final talk about what had happened to him and Christiaan as young boys. He had previously only ever told Michelle, and that only in mid 2011 because he was desperate. His life had been unraveling, and he needed help. She had flown him back to South Africa and, for a period of three months, had funded his stay at a private clinic where he had received the counseling and psychiatric treatment he had needed. It had been this facility to whom the payments from her account, the ones Jaco had noted, had been made. The calls, made from her phone to the unknown number on the records Jaco had found, had been to a prepaid cell phone given to him on the day of his discharge.
She had been checking up on her older brother to make sure he was OK. And that he got back home safely.
Jaco Bouwer, who had been spending a lot of time since the arrests with his newly-discovered nephew-by-marriage, was, on recommendation by two social workers, granted temporary custody of the boy. This was based, in large part, on the obvious bond that had developed between the two. It was also based on the fact that there was a great deal of feminine influence in the form of a petite, pixie-like, gloriously straight-speaking veterinarian, who was forming an increasingly large part of the lives of both his uncle and him.
There was, as Auggie Anderson suspected, a conversation with Joan Campbell waiting for him on his return to Langley. A conversation that resulted in him, three months after the end of their Southern African mission, filing 'close and continuing' paperwork.
Or at least Joan thought so.
In truth, she really hadn't needed to talk to him. He'd already made up his mind, even before she spoke to him, that he was going to do it.
Actually, it had been an earlier conversation with Joan, one she maybe didn't even remember, that had clinched the deal for him.
On the flight home the words she'd spoken to him almost a year previously had risen up in his mind. Words she'd spoken on that day he'd asked her why she'd paired them right in the beginning. Words spoken on the day he and Annie had given up on their relationship.
"Annie needed someone to ground her," Joan had said, "and you needed someone to force you out of your comfort zone."
Nothing had changed, he had realized.
They still needed each other for exactly those reasons.
And there'd be no giving up this time.
That's it. C'est fin! And what a journey it's been. Thank you all SO much for hitching a ride with me - for your reviews, encouraging tweets, personal messages, DMs and WhatsApp messages. You've got the stalled car re-started every time.
My biggest thank you of all goes to cherithcutestory2 for patiently editing every chapter for me, making suggestions, doing her best to make me sound less British, and chivvying magnificently whenever needed. She's just...
Tonight, on what would have been Nelson Mandela's 96th birthday, as I close this story off, the beautiful Tutu Puoane is actually performing at The Orbit Jazz Club and Bistro in Johannesburg. And in my mind, the credits of this story are rolling to the sound of her gorgeous rendition of the song 'Mango Picker' with it's blended in strains of the prayer that forms part of the South African National Anthem:
Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika
God bless Africa.
I suspect there are many more hope-filled stories to be told here.