Chapter 54: Bustout
Charlie’s bombshell just sat there in the conference room for a moment while we all processed it. He wanted us to go to war with a vicious drug cartel to spring his family?
“Let’s go then,” Patricia said. “We’ve got a few weapons in the car.”
“WAIT,” Charlie said, pulling her back down in his lap. “We can’t just roll in there hot and start shooting. We actually have to PLAN this if we’re going to do it.”
Craig looked over at him, he knew how big a deal this decision was. “I’m sorry about your family, Charlie, I really am. But, why would I risk my Pack and others to help you against the Zetas?”
“I know you don’t know me or trust me, and you shouldn’t. I wouldn’t. If I knew a way to get out of this by myself, I wouldn’t be here. I need men, weapons and intelligence, and I’m willing to trade you what you are looking for in order to get it.” He reached into his pocket and removed a flat memory card, setting it on the table in front of him. “Everything I know about the Cartel and the people working for them is on this card. Names, contact protocols, payouts, leverage being used against them. Locations of Cartel facilities, maps of smuggling routes. And what you may be interested in most; every person and organization that was used to support and protect Maitea and her brother as they killed our kind.”
Ella leaned forward, she was furious. “You set this network up, you used it as they traveled the country and killed innocent werewolves, some women and children. One was in OUR pack! You knew what the Cartel was doing, and you actively participated. Give me one reason why I shouldn’t tear you to shreds right now.”
Patricia jumped to her feet, putting herself between the Alphas and her mate. “I’ll kill anyone who tries,” she said as she glared at Ella.
“Please, love, sit down.” Charlie ran his hands along her waist, reaching his hands up to touch the skin on her stomach and pull her back down. “You are right. I deserve to die, I came here expecting to die, if not here, then I’ll die trying to free my family. At least you will have the information you need to stop them, to stop a war from being started again.” He started nuzzling into Patricia’s neck, relaxing her as his teeth scraped the spot his mark would go.
“Do you know where your family is being held?” This was a big ask, especially if it was in Mexico, I thought.
“It’s not an international call,” Charlie replied. “They are going to call in the morning to get an update. That’s another reason I need your help, I don’t have the computer savvy to both hide my location and figure out where they are calling from. I demanded to talk to my mother and sister again, and they agreed.”
Craig looked at the time. “All right, there is a lot to get done here. Josh, you take the memory card, copy it, and start working through it. Rose, you work with him, start building a list of who we need to go after for the Alpha Council.” I nodded, it wasn’t in the field, so Gunny wouldn’t go nuts. “Gunny, I need you to go to the Gila Pack and see their Alphas and Betas immediately. We can’t risk this information getting out, so all communications will be face to face. Ask for their help in breaking out his family; we need access to aircraft, their helicopter, and their warriors and weapons if they’ll provide it.”
“Here,” I told him as I turned off the voice recorder. “Let them listen to his words directly, it will be more effective than relaying our information.”
Ella looked at him, already thinking ahead. “Josh, give the first copy of that card to Gunny. If anything happens here, the Gila Pack will have the information. John, I need you to go to El Paso,” she said as she looked at his father. “Give him the second copy of that card, along with a copy of the voice file from that recorder. Same message and request as Gunny is taking to Robert and Renee. We don’t know which Pack will be closer.” He nodded and the three of them left the room. “Jacob, we have to assume that someone is tracking Charlie, and knows he is here. I want the house on lockdown, nobody outside unless necessary, and then in three-person teams and armed. Let the children know they won’t be going to school until further notice.” He took the order and left to start setting things up.
“What about my family,” Charlie said. “They’re vulnerable out there if someone saw us.”
Craig saw the danger. “I’ll have them brought here. We’re running out of guest rooms, but they can stay in the bunkhouses with the kids or sleep in the theater room.” He looked over to Al. “You’re the planner for this operation, and will control ops in the field,” he told him. “Get the gear you will need together and loaded into one of our SUV’s. Talk to Lars Thorssen, start putting together a team for the assault, then get some sleep.”
Pretty soon everyone except the visitors had a job. “This affects our Pack,” Ross said. “All our resources, including us, are available to you.”
“And we thank you for it,” Ella said. “We have a few political and law enforcement connections, but Lisa, you are the one with access to the President and his cabinet. I’d ask you to work with Rose to sort out the information Charlie brought us. We can’t fight the war, but we can point the President in the direction he needs to go to end this threat before war breaks out.”
“What can I do,” Charlie asked.
“Nothing,” Craig replied. “We haven’t verified your information and your confession has already identified you as an enemy of the Packs. I’m holding off on doing anything until we can evaluate your intel, but I have a responsibility to our kind here. You’ll be locked in our cell unless needed elsewhere, pending a trial by the Alpha Council.”
“I understand.” He kissed Patricia, then moved her off his legs so he could stand up. “If there is anything else you need from me…”
“There is an video link from the cell to our security center. If we have any questions, we can just ask you.” He nodded and rose to his feet as Craig came to his side to lead him away.
“Wait, what about me? I’m his MATE, I don’t want to be separated from him,” Patricia said.
“You can be locked in with him if you prefer.” She looked at Craig, then at her mate. “If he’s in a cell, I’m with him,” she said.
“If you need anything, there is a call button in the cell. I’ll apologize in advance for the conditions, it’s going to be a tight fit in there. The cell isn’t big, nor is the bed, and it’s not the most comfortable accommodations. It was originally built as a safe room for the family.”
“Wait,” Ross said. He pulled Patricia aside. “You need to think about this, sis. Your mate could be killed in the rescue, if not following his trial. If you mark and mate him, it will make it that much tougher on you if it happens. I don’t want to lose you to the madness,” he pleaded.
“He’s my mate, Ross. He’s my chance at happiness, and I would gladly trade a night with my mate for a lifetime of wondering what I had missed out on. I’m sorry, brother, but if he agrees, he’ll be mine tonight. It’s what we are.” She gave him a hug, then took Charlie’s hand as they walked out the door and headed towards the basement.
“Drive safe, Gunny,” I sent to him as I heard his car leaving the garage.
“Take care of our babies, love. Get some rest, everything doesn’t have to be done at once. You need to sleep tonight.”
“I promise. Say hello to our friends for me.” I cut the connection and walked out of the room, heading to the basement room that was Josh’s computer center and our security monitoring station. Josh was working through the files on the card, the large monitors full of stuff. I saw Carl on the computer next to him, looking through a series of images. “You guys kiss and make up?”
“Really, Mom?” He looked at Carl who was just grinning at him. “We had a talk and came to an understanding.”
“What understanding was that?”
“He’d treat my sister with respect or I’d beat his ass.”
Carl just laughed. “Get your licks in before summer, Josh, because when I get turned I’m going to turn you into my personal chew toy.”
“Is the link up to the holding cell?” Josh nodded and turned it on, then quickly turned it off again. None of us needed to invade their privacy like that; let’s just say they didn’t wait on mated life for a bigger bed. “All right then, I think it’s best to leave them alone.”
The copy center was going full speed as they went through the information and sent it to the printer. Ross and Lisa walked in, escorted by Ella. “What can we help with,” Lisa asked.
Josh didn’t even look up. “Sorting,” he said. “We’re focusing on the people first, getting the files on each printed. As they come out, they need to be sorted by organization, and you should take notes for later. You won’t believe how many names, how deep this goes. If I recognized a few, that’s something,” he said.
“We can do that,” Ross said.
I started to grab papers before Ella stopped me. “Rose, look at you, you’re exhausted. I want you to get a few hours sleep at least before you start, this will survive without you.”
Lisa came to my side. “She’s right, Rose. Ross and I can get started, then when we get tired you can take over for us. It would be good to have fresh eyes on it.”
I looked at Josh and Carl. “What about you guys?”
“We’re computer hackers, Mom. I’ve got enough chocolate donuts, beef sticks and Red Bull down here to go for two more days without sleep.” I looked at him, he wasn’t kidding, and with his skills I had to trust him to know his limits.
“Fine, I’m going to sleep. Lisa, come get me at three, we can split the night.” I went back to our room, showered and pulled on one of Gunny’s Marine Corps T-shirts. Pregnancy was taxing me, and I wasn’t even that far along, I couldn’t imagine what I’d be like in four or five months. I was asleep as soon as I hit the pillow.
The light hurt my eyes as I heard my door open and Charlotte calling for me. I looked at the clock, it was just past six in the morning. “Dammit! She was supposed to wake me up!”
Charlotte just laughed. “Josh told me that would be your reaction. If you recall, Ella told you to rest, Lisa told you when they got tired you could take over for them. Well, they are tired now, so get dressed and we can head down there. Marge will send your breakfast down there.”
“NO BACON!” I ducked into the bathroom, she followed me and held my hair back as I prayed at the porcelain altar yet again.
“Mom, it’s hard to envy you for being pregnant when it hits you this hard,” she said. “I hope I don’t get morning sickness this bad.”
I rinsed my mouth out and gave her a hug. “When you get pregnant, which won’t be for a while, you won’t mind. It’s all part of the process, and there are far worse things coming.”
“Back pains, kicks to your kidney, a bladder the size of a grape and the pain of childbirth. Enjoy your figure while you still have it,” I teased.
When I was dressed, we both went downstairs. As soon as we entered the room, she ran over and kissed Josh before joining Jane at the table. “No school today, so we are helping our mates,” she said.
I gave Ross and Lisa a quick hug, they were dog tired, so to speak. They walked me through the piles of paper on the table, divided by agency and then in alphabetical order. When they handed me the list of Cartel agents, I was shocked. It was almost eight pages long, single spaced. Each line had the full name, organization, title, and whether they had been blackmailed or bought.
Most had been bought. The breadth of their reach was incredible, and it extended well beyond the Customs/Border Patrol and DEA agents. It included local and Federal judges, Sheriffs, FBI, Justice Department, and three sitting US Attorneys. I got to the last page, where she listed Administration officials. Two were highlighted.
The Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Attorney General. Both bought and paid for, she even included the millions in payouts they had both received. “I know,” Lisa said, “I nearly threw up when I saw that. Both of them were in the meeting when I gave the President the information on the conspiracy within the FBI to sabotage the investigation. We never had a chance, between the two it was going to be pinned on some low-level staffers then swept under the rug.”
“Not involved, but there are some in his White House staff. These guys make the Russians look like amateurs when it comes to intelligence.”
“So, what do we do?”
“We put together the information and help the Alpha Council decide how to proceed, Rose. This is WAY above our level.” I had to agree.
Gunny was still gone, and it was going to be a long day. I grabbed an egg and cheese biscuit and some juice and started work.