Friday, April 3, 2015
Searching (Blogophilia 6.8)
As all the lonely people did their safety dance up the hill, the Detectives looked on. As they watched the parade, the victim’s Mother started screaming obscenities after being stepped in the rush. At the laundry room, the uniform officers split the herd in two, to keep the driveway clear. As the motion stopped, everyone settled down a bit. There were complaints in six languages were continually fired at the police and fireman. All they could do was stand along the safe line and keep everyone back.
Media trucks lined up like soldiers down Graves Rd. All the up and coming reporters spent their time either on camera saying nothing with a lot of words or angling for any scrap of news they could find. Helicopters droned like bees overhead. The circus was only missing the Ringmaster. Captain Hudgins grudgingly took on that role. Only he was as silent as a statue. No sense giving any information when there really wasn’t anything confirmed.
Two canine units arrived and were admitted into the proceedings, parking their caged trucks at the top of the hill. Excited German Shepherds piled out of their cage, ready to work. Their handlers, rather thin with shaved heads, half drug them down to the accident scene, where they were told by the Detectives to mark time while they took care of the package in the Camry. The disappointment was apparent on the dog’s faces when they were told to lie down.
The Hazardous Devices rig showed up next. Black and silver, it looked like a cross between a fire truck and a tank and it was towing what looked like a heavy duty barbecue smoker. A uniform waved them into a space just past the accident scene. Three athletic looking crew members exited the truck. They were dressed in fatigues and gave every appearance of having just left the military. They marched in formation to where Hudgins and Murray and introduced themselves.
“Captain Hudgins? Good Morning.” The smallest of the three men held out his hand” “I’m Sgt. Merrimack, and these are my colleagues Cpl. Smith and Cpl. Hornback.
Everyone shook hands. He then grabbed a smallish pair of tactical binoculars out of a padded case and scanned down the parking lot, eventually settling on the Toyota.
“This it, Captain?” Merrimack asked, pointing toward the car.
“Yep. The car hit a mother and daughter here, and then was parked down there.” Hudgins stopped and lit a cigarette. “It’s a 2004 Toyota Camry registered to a Jeremy Michael Allen; last known address is in Atlanta.” He took a drag the flicked the ashes on the grass. “This guy has a history not liking LEO’s. It looks like he might have been setting up a trap for us.”
“Specifically, we think he was gunning for me.” Murray added, rubbing his receding hairline. “He was convicted of Arson and Murder in Dekalb. He bashed in the heads of his Mother and disabled Cousin and then set the fire, probably to cover his tracks. Since Jackson and I worked the case, he’s always blamed us for their deaths.”
“Lovely.” Merrimack put the glasses back in the case.
“The package is sitting on the back seat. One of the Crime Scene Techs spotted it pulling fingerprints.”
“OK.” Merrimack nodded. “Hornback, unload Alfred.
Alfred turned out to be a three foot tall robot that looked like a cousin to R2D2. A cylindrical brushed metal body was mounted on tank track feet with articulated arms attached to either side. The device’s head was topped with two cameras that could pan a full 360 degrees and grappling hooks could handle any explosive. All this controlled with a laptop computer with an add-on resembling a two stick game controller. Any dangerous situation could be reviewed remotely with this set up. It took Hornback about ten minutes to set up, placing the control monitor and console. on a folding table just behind the mobile command center.
“Hornback, ready?” Merrimack asked as everyone settled around the table.
“Yes, Sir!” and with that the right hand joystick slid forward. Hudgins and Murray watched fascinated as Alfred began sailed toward the car. When the robot got to about five feet from the car, Hornback stopped it and with a push on the left stick, made the camera pod rise even with the door handles of the car. The back seat was hard to see because of glare.
“Twitter-light filter.” Merrimack commanded.
The cursor on the screen drifted to an icon that looked like a mirror and the windows seemed to disappear. Taking the controller from junior man, the Commander began rotate the camera from the dashboard to the rear of the car. The package then came into view.
“Two pipes…caps…wires…” Merrimack adjusted the focus. “Looks a little amateurish with how it’s taped, but yeah, it looks real.” He paused a moment. “I don’t see a fuse. It’s going to be one of two things; either a remote detonator or it isn’t armed. Because I like to live, I’m going with the first option. Smith, get the crowd back another one hundred feet.”
With a bit of struggle Cpl Smith and the uniform officers moved everyone across the road. When the crowd was settled again, Smith returned and Merrimack called his team for a quick meeting to discuss how best to remove the package from the car. Hudgins and Murray excused themselves.
Hudgins went up the hill to deal with the media while Murray went to the start K9 handlers on the search for Jeremy. The dogs were lying on the ground next to their vehicles, whiny and restless. When they saw the Detective approach, their ears perked up. They could sense it was time to go to work and they began to whine. With just a minimum of introductions Murray began the instructions.
“OK. We need to start the search. We do know that Allen was last seen going into that building just to the left of the car, there.” He pointed toward the building. “From there, we think he went out the back entrance and maybe hopped the fence over the warehouse over in the next door.”
“So, we should start there and approach the building from the back and hope we pick a scent?” The taller handler was tugging at his barking mutt’s leash as he said this.
“Yeah, and you will have the advantage of the building shielding you on the off chance that is a live package in the car.”
“Sounds like a plan. Sgt. Jackson, you want to join in?”
“Sure.” Jackson always liked working with the K9 guys. “Let me put the notebook up.”
“I’m betting he hasn’t left the premises.” Murray added. “He likes to watch too much.”
Chaos is always fleeting, Jeremy thought, as he saw the crowd reform at the top of the hill. He figured the dummy bomb had bought him at least an hour. Thinking on a way to salvage the project, he began to assess what he had. The live bomb, the detonator and a bag of nails the last resident of the abandoned unit had left behind. He wasn’t getting out of this alive, but neither were the Pigs.
Watching the dogs being pulled from their cages, he had no real hate for them. They were just pawns and tools in the Pig’s game. Their sacrifice on the altar of control was just collateral damage and that was fine. They will sail away under the Rainbow Bridge to a just reward.
Another step I take is another mistake for you, Murray. I hope you aren’t chicken and lead the way in here.
Topic-Colleen Keller Bruening
Pic Guesses: Sail away (in blog), Dreamboat, Dawn Dreams, Styx Ferry, Angel transit.