“We have people heading around the other side,” Corey said, catching up with her. “Stay behind me. You don’t have a vest on.”
She didn’t know where he got another gun. He took off running after the figure. She followed.
There was a clanging sound, and the fence vibrated. Banter couldn’t see, but it wasn’t long before she saw what made the sound. There was a gate. She figured the man had pushed through the gate so fast that the gate had swung back and hit the fence with some force.
Down the back of the building, she could see other police coming their way. She wondered why this gate hadn’t been watched. Another slip-up of the police. Another procedure about securing the perimeter not followed.
Banter could no longer see the man, but Corey seemed to know the direction to go. She had a hard time keeping up with him because he was moving so fast. They had never raced, but now she knew to never challenge him.
Corey rounded a corner. When Banter rounded the same corner, she could see the man. He was running down the street.
Then she caught the hand command from Corey to stop. He kept on going.
I’m not a dog, she found herself thinking, but she slowed. She could see that Corey had a clear shot. She wondered if he would take it.
A car sped past her. It passed Corey, who seemed to know to get out of its way. The car looked like it was going to continue on down the street, but then it swerved with a screech of tires. It sideswiped the man, knocking him to the ground. Moments later, Corey was on top of the man, yelling at him to show his hands.
Banter stopped behind a parked car. She panted to catch her breath while she watched Corey disarm the man and handcuffed him. She could see he was panting as well, but continued to speak loudly and read the man his rights.
The car that had sideswiped the man had skidded to a stop but no one got out. Banter knew why. She recognized Peter’s car, and she almost laughed, wondering if that was why it was so beat up: he was hitting suspects.
A police car screeched around the corner, pulling up to Corey. Two officers got out to assist. Peter’s car slowly drove off.
Banter sat down on the curb to hide herself once she saw they were getting the man up. That was why Peter never got out of his car. Undercovers stayed hidden and never showed their face when police were around. They never showed that they were assisting.
There was the sound of a car door closing. She figured the man was probably in the backseat of a cruiser, but she stayed where she was until she had the all clear.
“Let’s get you in the car,” Corey said, startling her.
“Yeah, they took off with him.”
Corey took the gun from her.
“Where’s Patsy?” she said, wondering what he had done with her since she was nowhere in sight.
“I told her to sit and stay. Hopefully, she’s still there.”
“All of this is going on, and you expect her to stay?”
“I thought all Banter trained dogs would sit and stay until the end of time.”
“You got more faith than I do.”
She caught him smiling.
“I think Patsy’s was trained before we found her,” he said.
They walked back the way they came, but before they stepped into the open area of the loading docks, she put her hands behind her back as if she was still handcuffed. Corey put a hand on her, completing the charade.
About fifty feet from the door of the warehouse was Patsy. She was sitting and staring at them. Banter figured that was where they had fallen to the ground when the bullets started flying. Considering it was a totally open area, she saw little bullet damage near them, despite the men on the roof were peppering the area.
“Good girl,” Banter said in a quiet voice.
Corey released her just for a moment to give a heel command to Patsy who followed dragging her leash. She was no longer growling at anyone.
Corey’s car was toward the other end. They walked the length of the area. She was dismayed to see bullet holes in the police vehicles they passed. This was the area that took the brunt of all the gunfire from the roof. When they reached Corey’s cruiser, she was relieved to see no holes.
“I’m glad you parked further away,” she said.
“I wasn’t part of the first wave after Patsy brought us here.”
He opened the backdoor for her and helped her in as if she was still handcuffed. He shut the door. She caught that he had picked up and snagged Patsy’s leash in the door. It now held her. He walked off. She could hear Patsy resumed growling at anyone who came near. Near to Patsy seemed to be within twenty feet. There was a lot of activity and everyone steered clear of the car.
Police cars and vans were leaving, but there didn’t seem to be any fewer people. Then the camo net must have been taken down. City lights flooded in. She wondered if a helicopter helped in its removal. Then, someone must have found the lights for the building and flood lights lit up the area.
Banter saw men being pulled out of the semis where she figured they had holed up. None of them appeared to have been armed. They all looked like more migrant workers.
Then Corey was back. He opened her door.
He motioned for her to hop in. Banter moved over to give her room. Then Corey shut the door and went around to slide into the driver’s seat.
“Getting you out of here. There is a lot of work to do yet.”
“How did you find me?”
Corey pulled behind a police van that was leaving. She knew it was loaded with some of the semi drivers.
“When we reached the loading docks… the other loading docks, no one was there but the security guard just like that night when we first found it.”
“I called Bert. He hadn’t been watching your bug. Of course, by then it was gone and he couldn’t see. Then, Peter showed up. He had been watching, and he said you disappeared in a different area.”
Corey pulled out into the street. There was a convoy of police vehicles heading toward the station.
“I called Bea.”
“Bea?” she said, feeling confusion.
“I told her to grab one of your t-shirts out of the laundry and to bring Patsy.”
“And the boys?”
She half imaged Bea running out the door with Patsy and leaving the boys.
“She brought them, too, of course.”
“Where are they now?”
“Probably home. Once I had Patsy, we drove to where Peter had last seen your bug.”
“She actually tracked me?”
She looked at Patsy who was being attentive out the windows like she was still on guard.
“It was unbelievable,” Corey said. “I handed the leash to Peter, let her sniff your shirt, and said find. Peter could hardly keep up. I followed in my cruiser.”
“She let Peter hold her leash?”
“I think she was so focused, because I did the exchange so fast, she didn’t even realize. Plus, I think it was because she was finding you. Boy, she wanted to go so fast, that Peter finally got into my cruiser and held her leash out the window. She flew.”
“I heard her coming.”
“Peter was monitoring, so when his phone service died, he let everyone know. The Army guys moved up and did their thing, and like magic, there was your signal.”
“You have no idea how relieved I was. There was no way to contact you when I found myself in a new location.”
“I went in behind the first wave with Patsy to get you out of there.”
“And you both found me.”
She gave Patsy her favorite scratch on the ears.
“So, were you going to shoot that guy before Peter showed up and nailed him?”
“No, Peter was wired and in on the communication. He was watching that perimeter area with another cruiser. We weren’t going to lose that guy. Peter told me he was coming and would head him off.”
“Head him off? He hit him with a car.”
“And you’re complaining?”
“No. No. Glad to see we’re stretching our police authority.”
“We’re allowed to take down someone dangerous with a little force. We were within our bounds. Personally, Peter didn’t hit him hard enough. He could still walk, and I don’t think anything was broken.”
“He’ll just be sore in the morning.”
Corey tapped his phone that was attached to a magnet on his dash.
“I have Banter. We’re heading in.”
“Where’s Peter?” she said.
“He’s heading in as well,” Bert said.
“Good. We’re out,” Corey said.
The call ended.
The police station was quiet as usual at this time of night until they reached the sixth floor.
Bert was in his office, but he was on both his desk phone and his cell phone. There was an FBI agent at Carla’s desk. He was using her phone as well as his own cell phone. Ray was in his office on the phone. John and another FBI agent were in there with him.
“I’ll be right back,” Corey said, and he left toward the elevators.
Banter moved over to Bert’s office. Patsy followed, panting and looking patient.
An officer rushed into Bert’s office to hand him some papers and then was gone.
“Yes. We’ve sent out a picture of the trailers. Any truck pulling that type of trailer is to be pulled over. Yes, we’ve got warrants. We need to pass the word to everyone.”
Bert listened a few moments.
He ended the call on his cell.
“I’m on hold,” he said. “Good to see you.”
“You don’t look too happy.”
“Just busy. This is huge,” Bert said. “We’re tracking semi-trailers across the whole interstate system.” He jerked his head toward the man at Carla’s desk, “Ted is FBI. He’s working on getting the word out. So is Ray. We’re slowly getting every state’s cooperation.”
“Where’s Corey? We need him.”
“I don’t know. Restroom I think.”
The call on Bert’s phone took his attention.
Banter backed out of his office. She wondered what she should be doing and decided to aim for Ray’s office.
Corey caught up to her and handed her a soda.
“I have to go. Catch up with you later. Stay here.”
He gave her a kiss on the cheek.
“Corey,” Bert said, calling out of his office.
“I’m on it,” Corey said, heading out the door at a fast pace.
Peter arrived and headed straight to Ray’s office.
“What do you need?” he said.
Banter joined him.
“Nothing from you two,” Ray said. “You’ve done enough.”
He turned his attention back to his phone. John and the other FBI agent hardly glanced at them.
“He makes it sound like I did something wrong,” Banter said.
“You did,” Peter said. “You’ve disrupted the lives of hundreds of drug dealers throughout the entire country.”
“I think that’s a good thing.”
“Depends on whose side you’re on.”
She ignored his attempt at humor.
“I liked your take down. I wondered why your car is so beat up.”
“You do what you gotta do.”
“You need a soda?” she said.
He didn’t have one.
“No. I’m good. I finished one on the way here.”
They were slowly making their way to her office. Patsy settled beside the desk. Banter took her chair.
“That girl can run,” Peter said, sitting at the table.
“So I heard. She doesn’t like men, so Corey and I are both surprised she let you take her leash.”
“Her attention was on your t-shirt. I think she likes you.”
“I’m really glad she does. I was really hating all I was seeing. Glad you were paying attention.”
“After I had dropped you off, I waited twenty minutes. Then, I drove past the other place. It was too quiet. I checked your bug. You were somewhere else, then you disappeared. Then the raid team arrived. I found Corey and let him know.”
“He told me.”
“He has a cool head. In an instant, he was on his phone talking to someone about bringing Patsy.”
“I thought they arrived awfully fast at the new location.”
“The dog had a police escort when the car arrived.”
“Your nanny, Bea? She was following a police escort. They were there in short order. Then bam. I had a leash in my hand, and Patsy was pulling me a long.”
She felt he was exaggerating a little.
“Then I think she was pulling the cruiser along,” Peter said.
“I heard you were in the cruiser holding her leash out the window.”
Ray stepped up.
“Good work, Banter. So far we’ve found a bountiful load of cocaine and marijuana at both warehouses. The club is even pulling in a few guys. They tell me they lure them into the kitchen and arrest them. Apparently, they found a stash of handy little packages in the fridge with the to-go cartons.”
“What about what’s going on now?”
“We’re tracking the trailers for that flower company. Does World Vast Flower Dash sound familiar?”
“WV,” she said.
“Yes. It’s a huge distributor of fresh flowers. Or so everyone was thinking.”
“So WV Delivery was tied to the flower company and didn’t mean White Van.”
“Exactly,” Ray said. “This is global. FBI is in this big time, pulling resources from everywhere.”
“Do we know yet who the bigwig was? The one that Peter ran down?” she said.
Ray smiled and nodded.
“As soon as he arrived here, I was called. He’s the President of World Vast, Padre Indigo. Also known as the Blue Peacock.”
“Yeah, he fit that description.”
Ray’s phone in his office rang.
He left at a run.
Banter took a sip of her soda.
“Blue peacock,” Peter said with a shake of his head.
He took out his phone.
Banter knew they were now in wait mode. Mark joined them.
“I don’t need to watch the club any more,” he said. “The FBI are there. There was a little more traffic than usual. I bet we’re going to be chasing the license plates I pulled.”
Banter thought everyone looked tired. Mark seemed content to stare into space. Peter was now tapping away on his phone which reminded her of her own phone. She took it out of her desk drawer.
“There’s going to be a lot of expensive lawyers trying to free Mr. Peacock,” she said.
Both men nodded.
Movement at Carla’s desk made her look up. Carla was taking her seat while paging through papers. There was a baby car seat on the floor.
“Did she ever figure out who daddy was?”
The FBI agent at her desk moved, going into Ray’s office.
Jose shook his head.
“If she found out, she’s not saying,” Mark said.
“From here that kid looks awfully dark. That in itself would eliminate half the police station,” she said. “Including Corey.”
“He was asked?” Peter said.
“I’m thinking it was no policeman,” Jose said. “We’ve had the rules pounded into us about relationships with other staff members.”
“Personally, I think she had too much fun when she went down to Jamaica this winter,” Peter said.
The other two men shrugged and nodded.
Banter turned back to her phone, wondering about the other job board. She pulled up the app and went looking for it. It was an easy find searching with the correct word. That same word allowed her to create an account and link up her dark account which allowed her to receive money. There was one job posted, and it was for Mr. Peanut. She accepted the job and wondered if she’d still get paid the twenty thousand.
“You’re smiling,” Peter said.
“Comics,” she said.
She decided to keep this to herself. It might be useful if those fancy lawyers managed to free someone.