Ghost Marina on the Mississippi

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Chapter 31 – Plan of Action – Modern Day

“So, you don’t believe me?” Jason said, his disappointment palpable.

“On the contrary. It all makes perfect sense, but what to do?” Jeremiah said and looked a trifle bemused. “First, I’m going to have some bruschetta, I’m starving, and I can’t think on an empty stomach.” Then gave out another belly laugh.

After a few moments of munching and commenting on the quality of the food, Jeremiah outlined a plan of action.

“The first thing we must do is verify that the marina is now government property, which I’m sure it is. Next, we will have to gain access to the marina and let the EPA do its thing, even if it is not government property we will still have to do that, it’s a potential safety hazard. If the EPA gives us the go-ahead, which I’m sure they will after all these years, the wall over the road will have to be torn down as well as clearing the entrance from the river. The National Transportation Safety Board would be very interested in this one and I expect they will want to take jurisdiction over the investigation, although just about every government department will be involved and if your theory is correct, I expect the military will want to take charge. Either way, salvage cranes will have to be brought in and arrangements for those would still have to be coordinated between the Coast Guard and NTSB. I will let both the EPA and NTSB know because they will also have to arrange for coroners.” Jeremiah explained but then his brow creased a little before continuing, “you realize now that the investigation is out of your hands. Once you have explained your findings to whoever takes charge, either the military or the NTSB team, you will be forced to hand over your evidence and you will be out of the loop.”

“I understand that,” Jason replied.

“You’ve done a hell of a thing here and I expect the cover-ups haven’t finished because if what you have told me is substantiated, there is no way the government is going to admit to shooting people and sinking ships.” Jeremiah explained, “I would suggest that for your own good none of this goes any further than this table. And Jason, make no mention of the jewelry, money or the photographs you have found, otherwise you’ll lose those too.”

“But I’ve told you!” Jason said.

“I don’t recall that son,” Jeremiah said nonchalantly. Jason got the drift but still didn’t like what Jeremiah was saying.

“But according to government records my grandfather was missing in action, yet he was murdered on a boat here in Missouri, a boat he was ordered to operate.” Jason countered.

“Exactly, following orders and was missing in action,” Jeremiah said quietly and deliberately. “The government will stand by what they said originally, they have not lied.”

“But what about all those people on the St. Louis Streamer who were murdered? How are they going to explain that one away?” Jason asked. The others were now looking first to Jason and then to Jeremiah as though they were in the middle of a tennis match.

“It sank, which was what was originally suspected. The only difference is, now, thanks to you, we have located the sunken boat and can confirm all souls onboard perished.” Jeremiah replied philosophically.

Jason was close to tears, all the research, all the time he had spent in successfully finding the real reason for his grandfather’s disappearance only to have the truth suppressed once more. Then Jason thought of one more thing.

“Then there’s the body at the entrance how would they explain that?” Jason asked.

“What body?” Jeremiah asked.

“The head I told you I found buried in the concrete wall.” Jason said.

“Sorry, I don’t recall you telling me that and certainly nothing was found by the investigating team,” Jeremiah stated. “Did you take any photographs of the alleged body?”

“Yes, you know I did.” Jason hissed, then added, “look, who’s side are you on anyway? I thought you came here to help us.” There was a pause, things were getting tense and Jeremiah realized this.

“Look, son,” Jeremiah continued in a quiet sympathetic voice, “I have come here to help you. I’m playing devil’s advocate that’s all. Trust me, I have been involved in a lot of unscrupulous crap over the years, stuff that has never made it to the public domain. I’ve got a feeling that this is another one. You’ve opened a big can of worms here son and Uncle Sam is just not going to let the whole truth get out.”

“Jeremiah is right Jason,” Chuck chipped in, “look, your objective was to find out what happened to your grandfather, you’ve succeeded in that and you’ve come away with some expensive jewelry to boot. You know the truth and you have found the Streamer, I’m sure you’ll get credit for that. Who knows, thanks to you, we may even be able to re-open the State Marina. Allow Jeremiah to run with it now and you can let it go.” There were nods of approval from around the table.

“I can assure you that once I have reported this, things will move fast, and I will be like you, just a bystander in the investigation. Although the authorities may want to question you Jason and they may also need Coast Guard’s help for certain activities but other than that, you and I can just stand back and watch.” Jeremiah added.

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