Chapter 40 Deus ex machina

*

Dan Cooper shook his head in disbelieve. The whole scene in front of the MDPD building seemed completely 'otherworldly'.

"That's impossible!" He murmured softly, placing his glass of orange juice on the table of the First Class Lounge of JFK.

Alijosha Danilenko aka Alex Daniels who had been watching the same news show together with his collaborator, while waiting for the call for their flight to Miami reacted immediately.

"What's impossible, Dan!" He asked the man good-naturedly. He had almost forgotten his troubles down in Miami.

Hardly had they left the Federal Patent Examiners Office, they had signed a juicy contract with the MoD and were now looking forward to several million U$ for a very sophisticated voice reconnaissance system. The benefits from this project would make up for whatever losses the 'Bratstvo' had endured over the blown arms deal of Jakov Jarovsky.

Danilenko had learned of the disaster in his hotel room in Alexandria, but had been too reasonable to react and call Nevzorov in Miami. He had been perfectly unwilling to risk his deal with the US DoD. From his point of view their future was not in illegal meanderings with rogues from rock states or fanatics like the PIRA, but in businesses like this.

Cooper turned to his boss, head still shaking. His right pointed at the screen.

"I have been working with this guy for several years and while it is true that he had a penchant for gambling which got him fired from the lab for a while, he's not the type to hook up with a criminal organisation like the Russian mafia of Miami. This entire thing looks to me like a big set up……'

Danilenko became immediately very attentive. He gave Cooper a most convincing smile.

"Dan, everybody can turn rogue, even police officers. Perhaps he was overwhelmed with debts and this was his only way out."

Cooper shrugged his shoulders. Nothing was impossible. His boss was perhaps right.

" You see, it is just curious that the guy in front of the media, who is holding the press conference is the IAB sergeant in charge of the Crime Lab and not the MDPD press officer. And he's literally playing tennis with Wolfe's ex-girl friend, who is now the CBS news anchor for their lunch time journal. That's not terribly logic from what I know and understand."

Aliosha Danilenko made a mental note to push some investigations as soon as they were back in Miami. What Copper was telling him made indeed perfect sense….and it smelled very, very fishy. He replied with humour.

"Dan, you have left that bunch a while ago….everybody moves on. Why should an IAB guy not get a better job then snooping after his colleagues. The man does very well in front of the press. And why should an ex-girl friend not hold sufficient grudges to berate her ex in front of

some cameras?"

Before he could continue, the flight for Miami was called and he and Cooper snatched their hand luggage to walk over to the check in.

*

They had come together in the morning; Caldwell to pick up Ryan and Rick to provide her with moral support and a shoulder to cry on.

Erica kicked of her high heels and gratefully accepted a cup of tea from her personal assistant.

"We had a skyrocket audience!" The girl told her gleefully. "Already with your subject on the Russian mob we were front running against all other channels, but this morning's press conference in front of the MDPD with that rogue copper who's been working for them……

Erica wanted to strangle her PA. Why couldn't that nasty girl simply shut up and mind her own business. She was in no mood for shoulder slapping and songs of glory. It had taken every bit of her self control not to break down with a fit of nerves in front of the camera when Caldwell had handed Ryan over to the Dade County Prison guard, who had pushed him into the prison bus with an evil grin and a couple of nasty words on his lips. This moment had been even worse then their good bye in the morning.

Ryan had handled the situation much better. He had been completely impassive before the mud throwing press and his mud throwing colleagues. He had neither flinched nor lowered his eyes, not even when his colleague Eric Delko had given him this murderous stare full of hatred. Erica sipped a bit of tea. Ryan had not been impassive when they had made their good byes. She smiles, also something deep inside just wanted to curl up in a distant corner and cry. Her eyes were fixed on the silver framed photograph on her desk. She had to keep faith in him, had to trust him now, had to convince herself that he knew what he was doing. His had always been a rather dangerous line of business. She had covered crime scenes and police work long enough to be very much aware of this fact.

Ryan would do his job and she would do hers…give her very best as a journalist to help him keep his cover inside that hell that was Bunker Hill Detention Facility. Erica switched on her computer and started to prepare her wording concerning the 'Scandal over Rogue Cop at the MDPD". She'd take Rick Stetler's suggestion and make them run the scene from Paris Point Neuf and the brutal kill of fake Tim Belkin. A good deal of men inside the prison would see this news journal and see a cold blooded and ruthless killer. Those of weaker hearts and minds would keep their distances out of fear. It was common knowledge in this brutal and pitiless environment that one who had not hesitated to kill outside would hesitate even less to kill again, once inside and with nothing to loose.

*

Jakov Wolinski aka Jason Weller enjoyed his coffee over one of the sports magazines Baba Danielenko had subscribed for him and which he received via a weekly Amazon parcel. He sat comfortably at a table by the window of the 'privilege cafeteria' to which the best behaved inmates would win access if the guards estimated that they were 'very good boys and no trouble'. Habitually he had not used this privilege in order to stay as close as possible to Ivan, but over the last few days he had considered it politically correct and in line with the 'Bratstvo doctrine' to take occasional leave from his boss. Considering his excellent behaviour and excellent lawyer at 1000 U$ per hour, he knew that he'd be out in no more then 12 months and back in the fold of the brotherhood. He was not incline to risk his own professional future over another of Ivan Sarnoff's blunders. He had even taken a very courageous decision: While he bore a grudge against Ryan Wolfe ever since the incident at Ivan's Fighting Club The Aegean and which was in a certain sense the reason for his imprisonment, although he had not killed Madden, he would not touch the guy or search a fight with him, when he'd arrive at Bunker Hill.

Jakov Wolinski was already unwilling to risk his privileges and anticipated release for Ivan Sarnoff's sake. Even less would he risk it just for the sake of his own pride and over a maggot like Wolfe! He'd rather enjoy watching many others who were already wetting their knifes over grudges against the MDPD in general and this officer in particular. It would be good fun to see them skin the Wolfe!

*

Ramona Sanchez smiled, notwithstanding her heavy heart and her worries for Ivan: Piotr supported by her two little brothers sat high up in the old oak tree they had acquired together with the nice, cosy house. He was happily hammering and sawing and the tree house was already taking a good shape. Babushka had discovered the bio farmer who had his exploitation right behind their house and the prairies and had taken her little dog for a walk. She wanted to buy a good chicken and prepare some good Russian food for tonight's return of .

Thoughtfully the young woman turned a small piece of paper with a telephone number between her fingers. The day before she had lied to both Babushka and Piotr and secretly returned to her old home and some people she would not have approached voluntarily before. But she needed help and quickly. She needed competent help to get Ivan out of Bunker Hill….the sooner, the better. Ramona had spend an entire week mulling things over and making a plan and now the plan was good and mature…especially since she had realized something very curious: Her bank account, habitually fed with her nice salary from and correctly provided with money, considering the fact that she was only a lowly governess and housekeeper from Puerto Rico had suddenly been filled with a hallucinating sum of money. She also owned a deposit box with a lavish amount of bearer bonds. When she had seen the amount, Ramona had almost fainted…..5 million U$.

Ivan had told her during one of their lengthy nightly discussions that he had seen to it that his personal holdings had been transferred to her discreetly, since his personal situation, over some kind of business problem, was turning from bad to worse and that he wished that at least a certain amount of his gains were kept safe and far away from prying eyes. Ramona had sworn him that she would keep his money safe and find a way out for the two of them and the boys. He had sworn her, that he trusted her with his life and that he loved her….no matter what would happen.

And now Ramona knew what would happen: She just needed the courage to call the number on the paper slip, arrange things and within the next four weeks this whole mess would be over for good. She gave a baleful look to the beautiful house. She would miss it, but she was convinced that they would rebuild a new good life for themselves on the other side of the border in Canada….far from troubles, far from Ivan's faithless and disloyal so-called friends and far away from and the MDPD.

With determination she pushed the paper back into the pocket of her trousers and waved cheerfully at Piotr and the boys. 'I will make us some iced tea and a nice salad, guys!' She shouted.

Piotr gave her the thumbs up and waved back.

Now all she needed to do was to find a valid excuse to leave Miami unobserved for three days.

Ivan's brand new false Canadian passport would be ready within a week's time. She did not mind to pay 15.000 U$ for a pristine document. Ivan would approve her spending his money in such a reasonable manner. Then she needed to fly quickly to Montréal. She had already taken the necessary rendezvous in the capital of the large French-speaking province of the neighbouring country: Banker, real estate broker, translator and the owner of a small agriculture enterprise trading seeds and flower bulbs who wanted to retire and sell his business. It was perfect! Nobody would ever look for one Ivan Sarnoff in the far-away Canadian province of Saskatchewan.

*

Rick Stetler felt terribly awkward. It was not so much the press conference and having send Ryan Wolfe off to Bunker Hill detention Facility in an orange bus with iron bars that gave him the creeps. It was also not the reminiscences of an early morning, when a young and very shaken woman had cried on his shoulder, something that had not happened for a very long time in his life. He managed nonetheless to smile at Maxine Valera who handed him a plate with chicken salad on a patchwork blanket under a lush palm tree in the park close to the MDPD facilities. Travers, the UK-born lab technician served him a glass of home made apple juice and the IT-wizard Benton, with his funny pony tail and bright, good-natured smile chatted amiably with him.

While never outright hostile, these three had always been rather prudent around him and his IAB staff, but after the press conference and Ryan's transfer they had suddenly approached him all together and invited him kindly to share their lunch.

Rick tried to figure out this situation discreetly, complimenting at the same moment Valera for the wonderful lunch she had prepared. None of the three tried to talk shop or Ryan Wolfe! Benton was just enquiring with Rick about his past times and leisure and the two others had been hinting at a planned barbecue on the beach next week end and the possibility that Rick maybe would like to join them and a bunch of friends.

He smiled at the three young lab experts, admitting that he was a keen rider, when time permitted it and that he could not understand people who'd spend their free time on a golf course. His brains were working at high speed: Either these three had a tremendous grudge with Ryan Wolfe and were sucking up, because he had put the black sheep into an orange bus or they were completely unconvinced of the whole set up, firm friends of the Wolfe in sheep's clothing and tremendously diplomatic, letting him feel that they had understood the entire set up from A to Z.

Stetler wanted to shudder, also temperatures at Miami were high and his tie was strangling him slightly. He finished his chicken salad, drowned the very good apple juice and accepted a slice of raspberry pie with whipped cream.

His heart told him that Travers, Benton and little Maxine Valera understood that he was no ogre and what had happened in the morning was just a clever police operation against a dangerous enemy. His brains were still hesitant: How could three lab rats understand, what none of Ryan's co-workers – Delko and Dusquene – had understood?

Rick plunged his spoon into the raspberry pie. It was fabulous and the whipped cream was pure delight. He relaxed against the huge trunk of the palm tree, accepted Benton's not so diplomatic invitation to join them at the beach on the weekend and decided that these three were perhaps more insightful and clever then Horatio and his two most favoured CSIs Delko and Dusquene.