Deadly justice, p.7
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       Deadly Justice, p.7

           Darrell Case
 
Derrick looked at Allison's red-rimmed eyes and said nothing.. Dutifully he followed her out of the hotel.

  They drove in silence. Finally, as they neared the hangar where the Lear waited Derrick cleared his throat. He liked her. She was a good agent. She didn't deserve what was about to happen to her.

  “I'm sorry, Allison, Jorgenson called back while you was in the bathroom. He said the President is demanding an investigation. “

  Allison nodded, not trusting her voice, Allison nodded. “You're suspended until you meet with the review board.”

  On the plane, Allison watched the clouds evaporate. It seemed as if her dreams were like them, vapor with no substance. Alone in the cabin she gave in to her grief. A child was dead, a family torn apart. It was her fault. As the jet sped through sky, her heart sank. Here was yet another death attributable to her. She hid her face, and let her tears flow. Below the plane, the Freemans clutched each other as their world crumbled around them.

  Allison shifted nervously in the leather chair. Except for the director's secretary, she was alone in the waiting room. She picked up the same magazine for the third time. It was the only one without a photo of little Bobby Freeman on the cover. She flipped through the pages without seeing them. Even in this one magazine, the images of smiling children seemed to accuse her.

  With her eyes closed Allison saw the news clip broadcast on every TV station in America, the UK, and Middle East. Six- year old Bobby Freeman laughed, and smiled into the camera. Over his head a blue and white banner declared ‘Happy birthday Bobby'. Balloons and children seemed to fill every square inch of the spacious room. The camera focused on Bobby opening a brightly colored box with holes in the sides. As the little boy tore off the wrapping, the camera zoomed in. Out sprang a golden- haired puppy. The dog planted its feet on a torn portion of the box and slathered his new owner's face with its tongue. Laughing, Bobby picked up the pup and cuddled it. The tape continued showing scenes of the boy and puppy playing in a fenced yard and the child asleep-the puppy resting its chin on Bobby's chest and Bobby’s arms locked around it.

  Cut to the funeral. Weeping, Bobby's mother clings to his casket. Then his father and mother hold each other as the pallbearers carry the casket through the cemetery. Behind them the puppy, grown into a beautiful gold wavy- haired cocker spaniel, follows.

  Tears moistened Allison's eyes. She wiped them away quickly hoping no one noticed. The intercom buzzed, bringing Allison out of her reverie. She sat bolt upright waiting. The secretary, a prim old- maid type, spoke into the phone. She turned her sour apples expression on Allison. “The director will see you now, Miss.”

  The non-use of Allison's proper title grated on her. Before the secretary could replace the phone, Allison was on her feet striding toward the huge oak double doors. Sour Apples came out from behind her desk on the double.

  “Wait! Wait! I must announce you.”

  “You just did,”Allison said hitting the doors midstride. In spite of their weight, the doors flew open. Whirling around, Allison caught both doors and shut them in the face of the startled secretary.

  Tony Steel enjoyed his position as head of the FBI. The power to direct investigations and intimidate others was something to which he was aspired. Unfortunately, his only qualification for this rank was his friendship with Gerald Robbins.

  Being from south Texas Tony had decorated his office with a southwestern theme. Pictures of cowboys on horseback adorned the walls. In a large display case a Winchester 30-30, Sharps 50 cal. Buffalo Rifle and a Colt, six-shooter gave the room the air of a museum. The Colt was said to have belonged to Jesse James.

  Allison almost bounced on the thick carpet. “I'll bet the carpet isn't the only thing that's padded,” she thought.

  Even in the large office Steel's desk looked to be the size of an aircraft carrier’s deck. Behind Tony’s desk, a full glass wall looked out over the capital. “Take the bully by the horns,” was one of Allison's father's favorite expressions. This morning she intended to do just that.

  “Chief, I want you to know . . .” Steel held up his hand palm out.

  “Ms Stevens,” the director drew a deep breath. “Your actions in the Freeman kidnapping jeopardized the entire operation.”

  “And caused the death of a 6 year old child,” Allison said with tears in her voice. She had determined she would not shed tears no matter what the outcome of her meeting with Steel.

  “Actually, no.”

  Allison's mouth dropped open. Feeling as if huge weight had been lifted off her shoulders; she collapsed into a nearby chair. “The coroner determined the time of death was two hours before the incident at Idle Creek Bridge.”

  “So it wasn't my fault Bobby Freeman was murdered.”

  “Technically, no, however you must still appear before the Review Board. Depending on their recommendation, you could be demoted or terminated. The President is demanding that you be dismissed.”

  Allison went cold. If Robbins wanted her out of the agency she was gone no matter what the outcome of the hearing.

  “Mr. Steel, you have my file. My record is untarnished. I've never had a problem in the field.”"

  “Yes, Ms. Stevens, and this is the reason you're being given the opportunity to go before the Review Board.”

  Allison started to speak. Again Steel held up his hand. Allison noticed it was pink, and non-calloused with tiny specks of blood on two fingers. “Rome Jorgenson also requested your discharge.” Allison was so angry her body trembled. She bit her tongue to keep quiet.

  “We were aware there were two kidnappers. The other suspect. ... slipped away, and may never be found.” That was inaccurate. Behavioral had determined Mickey Sanders was working alone. They were wrong. The FBI was covering itself.

  “Jorgenson was losing him.” The lie sailed out of her mouth before she could stop it. Steel's face turned to stone. A lie to match their lie.

  “Agent Jorgenson had agents covering every inch of the forest, paper-thin tracking devices hidden in the money and two helicopters standing by three miles away. We could have tracked the suspects into the United Kingdom.” Steel sighed.

  “But of course you knew this.”

  Alison didn't respond.

  “Go home, Allison, you're suspended until after the hearing. You'll be notified when to appear before the Review Board.”

  Allison stumbled out of Steel's office. She felt as if her legs would barely support her. In the outer office, Sour Apples gave her a nasty look.

  Numbly she walked down the hallway to the elevator. All those years of clawing and fighting the system. Alison had worked day and night to prove she was just as good as any male agent. All the sacrifices. She took any assignment. She put off her dreams of a family. She had no friends outside of the agency. Her family was the FBI. If she lost her position with the agency she would have nothing. The emptiness in Allison's soul threatened to engulf her.

 

  Chapter 6

 
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