Red Pill, Blue Pill
Colletta Nygaard’s POV
I had arrived several hours before my appointment, giving me time to clear the Secret Service screening and arrive at the waiting room for the Homeland Security Director. I was nervous; this could go so many ways, and Chase had not told me the decision of the Council yet. I looked at my phone; it was 12:18, a mere 12 minutes before I was scheduled to meet. I checked for text messages; there was nothing. My left hand nervously touched the two Flash memory drives in my iPad case pocket, making sure they were there.
I recognized a few of the men entering the office from my research into the administration of President Laura Kettering. The man I was meeting with, Rufus Washington, had a distinguished career in the FBI before moving to Homeland Security after its formation. Frank said he would be tough, but open-minded, asking pointed questions and quickly getting to the heart of the matter. Frank had promised him that the meeting would not waste his time, and Rufus had agreed to gather the people he suggested.
We had twenty minutes to set the course of our mutual futures.
The phone rang, and it was Chase. “Hi, honey. Did they decide, blue pill or red pill?” The pills were code for the two Flash drives I brought along. The Blue pill was leverage to stop the investigations into Chase and Frank, and focus only on the Sons. The Red pill was for me to reveal our existence to them, and focus on managing the fallout.
“No, Mom, they can’t agree, and you’re out of time. They would prefer the blue pill, but if you need red, then take the red pill. Whatever happens, you have my support.”
I didn’t like this at all. “Perhaps I should postpone the meeting.”
“No, we won’t get another chance. By tomorrow, it could blow up on us.” He sounded worried, and what he didn’t say worried me too.
The Council had ONE thing to resolve, and they couldn’t even do that. Worthless windbags. “Fine,” I said, but I was nowhere near fine. How could they leave the future of a species to a retired Luna who was filling in for her injured friend? “I’ll call you when it’s over if I’m allowed.” That was another reason for me to be out here; there was a chance they’d detain me and haul me off for medical experiments. We had no idea how humans would react to the news that their nightmare creatures existed.
“I love you, Mom. We’ll talk when you get back home.” I caught the inference; the phones were not to be trusted.
“I love you too, Chase.” I hung up the phone and powered it down so it would not disturb the meeting.
Two minutes later, his secretary came around to me. “They are ready for you, Mrs. Nygaard.”
“Wonderful.” I followed her down a hall to a door, butterflies in my stomach the whole way. I forced myself to take a deep breath and relax before I entered.
“Ah, Mrs. Nygaard,” Rufus said as he stood up. “Welcome to the White House.”
“Thank you, Mr. Director,” I said as he gestured to a chair at the head of the table.
“May I offer you coffee? Water?”
“Water would be fine.”
He poured me a glass as he looked at the others at the table. “I’m at a bit of a loss as to why Frank Grimes needed this meeting. I owed him a favor, but I hope this isn’t a waste of all our time.” He looked to the man to my left. “Peter Sinclair, CIA Director; Valerie Grunwald, Secret Service Chief; Hugh Patterson, FBI Director, and Marisol Guttierez, Attorney General. Everyone, this is Mrs. Colletta Nygaard.” Some barely looked up from their phones during the introductions. I wasn’t someone they cared about, and they were only here because Rufus asked them.
“Thank you. I won’t waste your time.” I took out the blue thumb drive. “My son is Chase Nygaard. He and his wife, Rori King, were attacked in their homes by five members of the Sons of Tezcatlipoca yesterday morning. Thanks to Frank Grimes and the ready availability of modern sporting rifles, we were able to limit the loss of life.”
“That must have been difficult,” Valerie said.
“There is far more going on here than a gang war. The Sons of Tezcatlipoca are after us for several reasons. One: Chase, Rori, and their dog teams killed five of their people in Orlando during the clubhouse attack. Two, we removed Harleigh Ryder from the hospital, and she is safe under our protection; the Sons still want her dead as revenge for what her father did in his DEA time. Third, Chase Nygaard is the source of the information that took down the Sons’ Oakland drug pipeline, as well as the banking and phone information that is key to your RICO case. Finally, my family has acted decisively and directly against the Sons. We hacked and emptied their offshore bank accounts and distributed them to the victims and charity. We are also responsible for the attack on the warehouse near the Los Angeles clubhouse of the Sons, where we killed five gang members and liberated over ten million dollars in drug proceeds.”
NOW I had their attention. The Attorney General spoke first. “You just admitted to at least a dozen felonies, including murder, kidnapping, and attempted murder of a police officer.”
“That is true. The dead men are not a loss. All of the money was from illegal activities. The police officer was a mistake; our person didn’t think he would guzzle the coffee and overdose on the sedative. We will make it right with him when we can talk.”
“Wait a minute,” Hugh Patterson said. “Did you have anything to do with the Headless Presidents? Or Manilo Correria?”
“No,” I said. “The Sons were in bed with the Sinaloa Cartel. We suspect the Cartel decided they were a liability, and cut their ties, brutally and effectively.”
“You want a deal,” Marisol said.
“We do,” I replied. I pulled a paper out of my computer case, one that Sawyer had drafted before I left town. “This is a letter immunity agreement for your review and approval. It grants us immunity from prosecution for specified and non-specified crimes for the listed people who were involved in these matters. It also provides a one-time exemption to banking laws, allowing us to bring the cash we retrieved into our accounts without penalty or taxation.”
“And you get the cash and the get-out-of-jail-free card for what, exactly,” Hugh asked.
“Chase Nygaard may be listed as a Cooperating Witness in your trials for the remaining Sons of Tezcatlipoca. We have already provided you with details on their drug pipelines, personnel, and finances; we have not provided all that we know. The complete data is on this Flash drive. It also includes information on the Cartel assets within government, beyond those already provided to Director Grimes. We have an electronic copy of their paybook; the account numbers and cash drops for compromised officials, both regular and special payments and the reasons.”
“Jesus,” Hugh said.
“There’s more. The Sons of Tezcatlipoca exist in Mexico; the drive includes all of the information we could find on their makeup, locations, and finances.” The CIA Director perked up at this; drug cartels under Presidential Decision Directives are threats to the United States, and the CIA and DEA work with and around local authorities to battle them.
“We have proof that your Task Force intentionally failed to warn my family of the presence of Sons in Duluth hours before the attack, including emails protesting the decision by the Deputy Commander. I also have copies of illegally obtained medical records and other material improperly obtained. The agreement precludes releasing this information and waives civil action that would be extremely embarrassing for the FBI. I can show you the data we are providing on my computer, which will wipe itself if I don’t enter duress codes on time.”
Rufus looked over at Hugh, who nodded. “I found out about it yesterday, the person involved has been removed from the Task Force and will face disciplinary action.”
“Anything else,” Marisol asked.
“The Task Force scope is restricted to taking down the Sons of Tezcatlipoca. I can’t allow an unchecked investigation to spread to those who had no part in what we did, as stated in the letter. Also, end the suspension and investigation of Frank Grimes. He’s an honorable man, who worked with Chase to take down the Sons. The text message was to Chase; we used it to time the warehouse attack, but it had nothing to do with the losses during the raids. You had just busted a major drug pipeline, the Clubhouses were on lockdown, and the leadership fled. They fought back because that is what they do.”
Marisol sat back, thinking. “And if we refuse to grant you immunity?”
“The files on the flash drive are encrypted; I will only provide the code when the letter is signed. I will deny anything I said today, and we will use our contacts in the media to publicize the misconduct we have identified against my family members.” I looked directly at her. “We aren’t your enemy, Madam Attorney General. We protected our own, and in the process, we helped rid the country of a violent drug gang. We have resources you do not; we can be allies or enemies, but I prefer to help my country.”
Rufus looked at his watch. “I cannot postpone my next meeting. Marisol, what are your thoughts?”
“If this is what they say it is, the public interest will be served by granting the immunity. We would require the code and the opportunity to interview the principals to answer questions and gather testimony.”
I reached out my hand and shook hers. “You can understand we don’t trust the Task Force. We do trust a DEA agent we worked with in Orlando, Frank Donovan. Allow him to perform the interviews, and I’ll coordinate everything he needs.”
“Make it happen. I’ll brief the President.” We all stood up, he shook my hand and asked me to thank Frank Grimes for doing this. He left the room, leaving me with the Attorney General and FBI Director, both of whom were calling people to come to the conference room and see what I’d brought.
I leaned back in my chair, letting out a breath. I’d done it; I’d shut down the investigation and precluded any legal action from being taken against our Packs.
I spent the next four hours in the room ‘unpacking’ the data we had provided and answering the questions that I could. The agents at the table were on their computers, forwarding some things to the Task Force, others to different groups. The Sons and the Cartel would be on the defensive for weeks.
The FBI Director came back in, asking me to speak to him in private. We moved across the hall to an empty office. “Frank Donovan has been assigned to the Sons of Tezcatlipoca Task Force, and has been directed to fly to Minnesota immediately,” Hugh said. “I have just one question for you.”
“Of course, Mr. Patterson.”
“I got a call from the FBI crime lab that analyzed the crime scene data. There was DNA from three people in the kitchen, but only one body. The two other blood samples didn’t match any of the attackers, Frank Grimes or you. They DID match the DNA samples we took from the two large dogs that were dead.” Shit. “How is it that dogs have human DNA?”
I pulled out the red flash drive and set it on the table. “Hugh, do you know about the Red Pill and the Blue Pill?”
“Sure, from The Matrix. The blue pill, you forget what you know, and go back into the comfortable illusion of life. With the red pill, you see the truth, but then you have to deal with it and everything that it means.”
I nodded. “I gave you the blue pill data today. Everything makes sense, the right people get punished, and life goes on as you know it. This drive is the red pill. If you learn what is inside it, nothing will ever be the same, and countless lives will forever change. The blue pill is what you need, while the red pill is the uncomfortable truth.”
He thought about it for a minute. “Does the red pill represent a threat to the United States?”
“No. We have far more to lose from the red pill than you do. The information could easily cause a panic, even war. We are all better off if the red pill remains in my pocket, but I will give it to you if you insist.”
“And if I don’t want the red pill?”
“Forget about the blood samples and close the case of the attack on my son’s home. It’s straightforward, and the right people died.”
He thought about it for a while. “I’m not sure I can take your word for this,” he said. “I need to know, Colletta. Even if it’s just to know if I need to bring this to the attention of the others.”
I nodded; I figured he would, he was an investigator. “Fine. Close the door and lock it.” He moved to the door; he locked it and closed the blinds. When he turned around, I had my jacket and shoes off and was pulling my dress over my head.
“Wait a minute! What are you doing!” Hugh started to turn around as I stood there in my underwear.
“I can’t do this in clothes without ruining them,” I said. I removed my lingerie. “Look at me, Hugh. I don’t mind.” I waited until he turned towards me, his eyes wide as he took in my figure. “Don’t say anything.” With that, I shifted into my wolf.
“What the hell,” he said as I dropped to the ground in my fur. I walked over to him; he was scared, but that went away as I nudged his leg. He reached down to scratch my ears, and I moved so he could get my neck too. When he was calm, I shifted back. “You’re a werewolf.”
“All my life,” I said as I reached for my clothes. “The two dead dogs in the kitchen were members of my Pack; they died defending us.”
“How… Jesus, have you always been here?”
“Our kind has been in this country since the Pilgrims arrived. We have lived peacefully, around and among humans, for centuries. We are not your enemy.” I pulled the dress back over my head as he sat down, trying to process it. “That is the red pill; the knowledge that not everyone you think is human is a human. If this gets out, there could be widespread panic and outbreaks of violence. We don’t want that; we want to live in peace, raise our families, and contribute to our communities. You’ve taken the red pill; do you think everyone else needs to take it too?”
He closed his eyes and thought. “No. Not as long as it isn’t a problem for us.”
“You know the truth now, Mr. Patterson. If you have more questions later, you can talk to me. Frank Grimes knows the truth as well. I would only ask that you not tell anyone else, at least not without telling us first.”
“No one would believe me anyway,” he said. “You’re an interesting woman, Mrs. Nygaard.”
I shook his hand. “It’s been my pleasure,” I said. “It is time for me to go to the airport unless you have more you need of me.”
“You’ve given us plenty,” he said. “I’m glad you all got your immunity letter. I prefer to have you on my side.”
“Goodnight, sir.” I walked out, and one of the Secret Service agents walked me to the exit where I caught a cab to the airport. I sent a text to Chase, telling him I took a blue pill and was on the way home.
I’d done it.