The previous day’s events continued to weigh heavily on Frank Carragher’s consistently overloaded mind. Although the ringleaders as well as several demonstrators had been arrested and were currently being held in detention, the district administrator feared that these outward displays of defiance were proof that the cracks in the proverbial dam were getting larger. With the combined strength of NAP and UN forces unable to eradicate the mounting insurgency just a few hours south of him, Carragher was beginning to believe that it would only be a matter of time before he too was faced with the same situation.
Although the heavy-handed bureaucrat’s sexual needs were being adequately being taken care of, he yearned for something better. His staff continued to bring him young women, some barely of legal age. Sure, Carragher enjoyed their company, but what he truly desired was an older, mature woman, perhaps in the neighborhood of thirty-five to forty-two. Major Toombs entered his superior’s spacious office with two NAP troopers. Carragher was preoccupied peering through the files of several of the women who were detained in the re-education facility. He himself had not yet been inside of there. After studying the profiles, the district administrator set his eyes upon a local country girl with a warm demeanor and infectious smile.
‘Nicole Clare. Age thirty-five. Chemical researcher, freelance journalist and blogger. One daughter, Arielle, age seven.’
“Interesting,” Carragher said as he perused Nicole’s profile. He looked up at Toombs.
“Good afternoon, Major.”
“Good afternoon, Sir. You will be most pleased to learn that Steven Fenton, Laura Winwood, Rachel Beckerman and Peter Krowlikowski have all been sentenced to indefinite forced labor. The latter are Fenton’s compatriots.”
“Yes, I’m aware of that. Major Toombs, there is something I need you to do for me.”
“I will do my best to fulfill your command.”
“Come over here for a minute.”
The troopers stood at attention as Toombs walked over behind Carragher’s desk. On the computer was a photo of Nicole Clare.
“Major, I would like you to arrange for me to have an audience with this woman. She appears much more mature than the others. Very attractive too I must add.”
Toombs appeared hesitant.
“Is there a problem?”
“Sir, with all due respect, what I am about to tell you is both shocking and true. Nicole Clare is the fiancé of Jake Scribner.”
“You just won’t let that die, will you?” Carragher said.
“Sir, please, hear me out. This woman, a blatant enemy of the state, has publicly denounced the federal government, President Asher and just about everybody else you could imagine. She is dangerous and cannot be trusted.”
“Well, according to Ms. Clare’s file, she’s been a good girl since arriving at the facility. There have been no flare-ups. She attends daily classes without question. Does exactly as she’s told.”
“Sir, her daughter is locked up in there as well.”
“I know that Major.”
“She’s just going through the motions.”
Carragher looked up at his right-hand man.
“Would you be willing to bet your lavish, gold-plated pension on that, Major Toombs? I’ve never been one to pass judgment too quickly. If Ms. Clare is indeed joined to Scribner the way you claim that she is, then we can most certainly use that to our advantage. Like every other prisoner in that place, she’s in a desperate situation. And desperate people do what they have to in order to survive.”
“Sir, I just wish you’d reconsider---
“I will hear no more of your negatively, Major Toombs. I always get what I want and right now I want her. I gave you an order. I expect it to be carried out. Dismissed.”
Toombs half-saluted Carragher.
He then walked out of the office.