Shades of Gray

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After the phone conversation with Gallo yesterday, Carson knew that Gallo, unhappy over how the apparent lack of success on the Simpson contract had brought about unwanted attention from the local authorities, would make arrangements to have him silenced; he just didn’t know who the contractor was until today.

After Murphy pulled his disappearing act, Carson had pressured Andrew Simpson to find out what Wallace Murphy thought he knew and prevent Murphy from sharing what ever he knew with the authorities or anyone else. Simpson had claimed that someone had gotten to Murphy before he could, almost getting him as well in the process. Simpson never mentioned that he had Murphy’s files; Carson had obtained that information as well that Simpson’s plan to sell the files to an unknown buyer from Simpson’s jealous hooker girlfriend.

Mathew Gallo had contracted him because he suspected Simpson was an informant. It had been Carson’s intention to take care of Simpson himself before the Gallo’s called in their own contractor as he couldn’t afford to have Simpson implicate him as his handler; looking back on it now, Carson realized that he should have acted more quickly on his suspicions when Simpson refused to meet him. But Carson always had a back up plan; after he had “interviewed” Simpson’s whore he had planned to take him out personally but someone else had gotten there first. That someone was the same person who had killed Wallace Murphy, tying up loose ends left over from the Murphy contract. That person was the same person who now had Murphy’s files, Ms. Taylor Bennetto. Carson’s cell phone vibrated in his pocket; he smiled at the name the caller ID registered. Speak of the devil, thought Carson, and she appears.

Carson stopped pacing and looked as well at the crime scene photo of Andrew Simpson’s dead body tacked to the bulletin board. Carson smiled. Bimonte had suspected that the cases were connected and had persisted until he discovered a connection. The police had all the pieces of the puzzle save one, the identity of the contractor who killed both Murphy and Simpson. He was eager to provide them with the missing piece. Steve Carson was looking forward to the big reveal; it was his ace in the hole and playing the final card was going to be fantastic.

“I’ve been wondering if or when you might call.”

“Did you now,” answered Taylor sarcastically. “I’m amazed that you’ve had the time to wonder about anything. From what I understand, you’ve been quite busy the past couple of days.”

“There have been more than a few interesting developments in this case,” said Carson keeping his voice almost blasé. “Some required my immediate attention.”

Taylor paced around Alex Harmon’s bed in the Emergency Room of the Adirondack Medical Center. Harmon was connected to various monitors and IV devices, which Taylor had muted when she had appeared in his room. He was awaiting surgery for bullet was lodged in his left shoulder. Over the last hour, the two of they had mapped out a strategy to bring this episode to an acceptable conclusion. Harmon’s face was concentrated on every word Taylor said and every movement she made.

“Perhaps you should have paid more attention to your work,” Taylor huffed insolently. “I should think that you would have learned to be more careful about leaving loose ends. You of all people should know what happened when you start pulling at loose ends.”

Taylor knew how much Carson prided himself on being precise in everything he did, how he always had a plan for every contingency. Harmon and she had discussed this when they scripted this call. It was something that they knew they knew they could count on and something Taylor could use against him when the time was right. She also knew how much he hated it when his efficiency was questioned and she paused to let the insult settle before continuing.

“I think its time we settled things once and for all,” Taylor said. “Meet me at Gallo’s camp on Lake Placid in one hour.”

Carson laughed. “Now would I do that?”

“You’ve made some critical tactical errors,” she answered matter of factly. “I have the one thing you need to set things right again. The only way you get Murphy’s files, the only way out of this mess you’ve created is through me.”

“You really expect me to bargain with you?” Carson clenched the phone so tightly his hand hurt. “I have no intention of ending up like Wallace Murphy or Andrew Simpson,” Carson hissed into the mouthpiece. “If you think I’m going to willing put my head in a noose for you, you have another think coming.”

“If I wanted you dead, Carson, you’d be dead.” Taylor hesitated briefly allowing the threat to sink in. “You had a free shot at me and you missed. I’m willing to call a truce and let bygones be bygones. I’m offering you the chance to get out of this alive with what ever you’ve managed to squirrel away from your little side business.”

“That’s bullshit and you know it,” scoffed Carson. “You and I both know that isn’t possible.”

Taylor laughed sardonically. “That all depends on where our true loyalties lay now doesn’t it? Clearly you seem to have much more invested in the Bureau than I do at this point. The Gallo’s have made me an offer recently that I’d be quite remiss if I refused. I’m simply offering you the chance to continue your life as you’ve come to enjoy it. This way we can both get what we want.”

Carson focused his attention on her tone looking of signs of deception. Taylor was Alex Harmon’s prized agent and most apt pupil. Was it possible that once she had acclimated to life with the Gallo’s that she had developed a genuine taste for it? He knew that she possessed both the skill and the mindset to take down a man twice her size; he had seen the coroner’s photos of the wound she inflicted in Andrew Simpson. Was she playing him or had she been playing Harmon and the FBI for the last eight years?

“Do you honestly expect me to believe that you’ve gone rogue; that you actually intend to stay in the Gallo organization?”

“What I’m telling you is simply this.” Taylor’s voice assumed an icy confidence. “If you intend to stay alive, your only option is to maintain your current front as a faithful FBI agent and supplier of sensitive insider information. I can help you do that.”

Carson let his mind begin to process the offer. Even though he remained on alert and was extremely suspicious of her motives, Carson began mulling Bennetto’s offer over considering its merits and its dangers and wondered if what she was offering was possible. He didn’t trust Bennetto in the slightest, but trust was irrelevant at this juncture because neither of them had anything left to lose.

“Suppose I agree? How do we both come out of this alive?”

“Let’s just say that I’ve made some alterations to Mr. Murphy’s files which, if you decide to play, could benefit you.” Taylor said in her best business negotiator manner. She knew he had taken the bait; the hook had been set and now all she needed to do was reel him in. “Meet me and find out what’s possible and what’s not.”

“Gallo’s camp,” Carson repeated. “One hour.”

Taylor ended the call and stepped to the side of the bed. She somberly regarded the monitoring devices and IV’s connected to Alex Harmon.

“I’m sorry I didn’t get to Carson sooner. I couldn’t be sure that Carson was behind the most recent agent deaths until Mathew told his father that he had planned on using him to take Simpson out and get Murphy’s files. I didn’t think that he’d risk taking things this far.”

“How much does he know,” Harmon’s voice was strained.

“Carson only thinks that I have evidence linking him to Murphy’s side businesses; he might suspect that there is more in the files than I have told him, but he won’t know for sure unless he gets a hold of them—which he won’t. I think he counted on getting the files and taking me out before I could tell you what I discovered. When he found out he missed his target, he tried to get to you before I could.”

“What about Gallo?” Alex winced, his breathing became more labored from the through and through shot to his lower abdomen.

“Mathew has no idea that his father was actually the one arranged to have Murphy taken out. He wants me to make arrangements to have Carson taken care of.” Taylor stopped and looked hard into Harmon’s face.

“Alex, Carson is panicked and spiraling out of control. He’s become a danger and a liability.” Then Taylor asked him the question that both had hoped would not have to be asked. “In the event that we can’t contain him, I assume that you want this taken care of as well?”

“Your I-file is missing. Does Carson have it?” Harmon seemed to ignore her question.


“Then, yes.” Harmon returned Taylor’s hard stare and took as deep a breath as his injuries would allow. “Washington is sending a team in to investigate my shooting, which means you don’t have a lot of time. Finish this once and for all.”

Taylor nodded that she understood and stepped back from the bed as the ER nurse and two orderlies entered to take Alex Harmon to surgery.

Twenty miles away, as Steve Carson’s phone clicked shut, the office door opened and Trooper Calvin Montgomery entered reading an open case file. Carson slipped his personal cell phone back into his pocket and took out his Blackberry. He waved it at Montgomery as Cal closed the file he was reading and stood between the door and where Carson had been pacing. Cal looked curiously at Carson, as the usually composed FBI gent appeared to fidget uncomfortably for a few seconds; the arrogant swagger that Carson had exhibited when the two had first met was conspicuously absent. It seemed to Cal that Agent Carson was acting more like a nervous teenager trying to avoid showing a bad report card to his parents.

“I need to file an official status report on the shooting and the follow-up investigation for the Bureau,” Carson offered as an opening. “As the senior agent was involved, the director in Washington is going to want everything constantly updated.”

“Then we should get to the hospital right away and check on Harmon’s status,” responded Cal. “I’ll make sure you have copies of all the reports filed as soon as they are completed.”

Carson nodded, picked up his coat and belongings, preparing to leave. “Then I guess we should be going?”

Cal nodded in agreement then he turned and regarded the evidence board that Carson appeared to have been studying when Montgomery entered the office. His expression wordlessly questioned what Carson had been looking for on the evidence board. Carson followed Cal’s line of sight and reading the unvoiced query, responded.

“I was thinking about what you said earlier on the phone,” Carson began as he walked over and joined Montgomery in front of the board. “You’re initial impressions of the shootings tonight. What makes you think that what happened is connected to the two earlier killings?”

Again Cal was surprised at the slight nervous inflections in Carson’s voice. Cal waved the folder in his hand with a slight flourish and extended to Carson as response to Carson’s question. As the FBI agent looked at the contents of the file, Cal crossed his arms across his chest and took a few steps closer to the evidence board. He quickly looked toward the photos of Candy Cane, one smiling and alive, the other, depicting her dead battered face and the pair depicting Andrew Simpson in life and death.

“That’s a copy of the lab results that Harmon had your people run for comparison to our lab’s findings,” Cal said watching Carson’s face for a reaction. “Forensics has determined that the times of death for Simpson and Kane indicate that more than one killer is involved. According to your lab, the estimated TOD for both victims is within a two-hour window. The coroner noted that the times of death are so close that it is difficult to say who was killed first.”

“I’m not following your reasoning Officer Montgomery,” said Carson.

“There is no way that one killer could have been in two locations at once. There was no trace evidence indicating that Cane was ever in the tent discovered at the scene. The trace evidence indicates that she was killed in an area with similar plants and other environmental characteristics but the soil traces from the Simpson murder site and those found on the Cane body are different. She was killed somewhere near where her body was dumped into the river. There is no evidence to suggest that Cane was ever at the Simpson crime scene.”

Carson nodded in agreement. “Where is the connection to the shootings?”

Montgomery crossed the office and retrieved the forensics files that were on Bimonte’s desk. He opened the one containing the autopsy findings for the Cane woman.

“When the lab compared the hair found at the scene to the Flume victim’s hair, they discovered that they didn’t match. The hair collected at the scene may have resembled Cane’s but it was synthetic.”

Carson exhaled impatiently. “And?”

Montgomery flipped through the autopsy photos and pulled the bottom two out of the stack clipped into the file. They were photos of the victim’s head; one, taken of the back of the woman’s head showing the base of the skull, the other a photo of the side of her face. Cal pointed to two impact marks, one on the base of the girl’s head and one just under her jaw line.

“See the raised pattern on theses bruises? The coroner assumed that these were impact abrasions caused by the body’s trip down the river and over the Flume.”

“And they’re not?” Carson questioned.

Cal shook his head. “Upon closer inspection, these two specific bruises showed a pattern after the body warmed to room temperature during post-mortem examination”

Carson kept the skeptical expression on his face, silently imploring Montgomery for more support for his conjecture waiting for the connection between incidents to be made.

“Look at the rest of the report; at the ballistics comparison,” said Cal as he turned squarely towards Carson. “Initially we surmised that the explosion at the Gallo camp was caused by a sniper using a high powered rifle to target either Mathew Gallo or the throttle assembly of the boat. We were wrong.”

As Carson reviewed the ballistics information, Cal continued.

“Trace analysis of the metal housing of the throttle assembly indicates that the bullet used to blow up Mathew Gallo’s boat engine was most likely a Hyroa-Shok .357. The bullets our techs pulled out of Commander Bimonte’s vest were Golden Saber .357’s. The rifling on the slugs from Bimonte’s vest and the metal tunnel left by the trajectory of the bullet passing through the boat motor metal are the same.”

“Our gun guy is pretty sure that our shooter is using a 357 SIG model 229.” Cal waited until Carson looked at him before finishing. “Same gun, same shooter and obviously a pro who knows how to make a statement with his ammo. The marks on the girl’s jaw line were consistent with those made from the butt of the same gun.”

Carson closed the files and handed them back to Montgomery. “So you’re saying that the shooter is the same person who beat the girl to death?”

Cal nodded.

“Interesting theory, I’ll make note of it in my report.” Carson tried to sound blasé as he picked up his coat and walked toward the hall. “Shall we?”

Cal shook his head at Carson’s apparent dismissal of his interpretation of the evidence but it was Carson’s demeanor really bothered him. The two men walked in virtual silence until they reached the exit. As the two men approached the exit leading to the parking lot, Carson stopped and turned to Montgomery.

“If it’s all the same to you,” Carson began, “My rental is right out side. I can get there on my own.”

Before he could respond, Cal’s phone began to vibrate; he looked at the screen and saw Michael’s cell number. Before he answered the call, Montgomery held up his hand indicating that he wanted Carson to wait but Carson waved him off and headed for a silver Taurus parked in the middle of the parking lot. As Cal watched Agent Carson get into the car something he couldn’t put his finger on poked at his subconscious.

“Yeah Boss,” said Cal.

Michael could hear the distraction in Cal’s voice. “Catch you in the middle of something?”

“No, actually I was on my way to the hospital,” Cal said shaking his head. “I came to get Carson; he’s on his way.”

“Did you fill him in,” asked Michael.

“Yes, for all the good it did,” huffed Cal

“Meaning?” Michael sounded puzzled.

“Meaning that Carson didn’t seem to care one way or the other.”

Cal made no attempt to hide his annoyance. His comment was met without comment from the other end of the phone and Cal knew that Michael’s silence indicated that he needed to explain further.

“I don’t get this guy; one minute he’s all “I’ll tell you what’s what” and the next it’s like “oh that’s nice.” I mean the guy’s partner was just shot.”

Michael remained quiet for a second or two and then he said, “By the time you get here I should have the ER attending convinced to sign off and let me out of here. We can discuss this further on the way back; I need to get to my office.”

Cal got into the unmarked cruiser that he and Michael used for official business. “I should be there in 15,” said Cal snapping the phone shut.

As he turned the cruiser into the parking lot to the hospital, Cal didn’t see Carson’s rental parked anywhere close to the ER entrance. He pulled into the spot reserved for emergency service and official vehicles, got out and continued his search for Carson’s car. Cal was certain that it was not possible that he had arrived before Carson and Cal couldn’t understand why he didn’t see the silver Taurus parked anywhere close to the admitting entrance. He didn’t have the time to continue to scan the lot as he saw Trooper Carl St. Louis waiting at the entrance to the emergency waiting room. Cal jogged up to the entrance and as St. Louis led him to the examining room assigned to Commander Bimonte, Cal stopped as they passed the admitting desk.

“We’re clear to go back there. I already cleared you as a police officer,” St Louis said. He assumed that since Cal was dressed in civilian clothes that he was stopping to identify himself before proceeding.

Ignoring St. Louis’ statement, Cal presented his badge to the admitting nurse. “The other gunshot victim that was admitted…”

The nurse’s fingers tapped her computer keyboard in a flurry, accessing the requested information. “Alex Harmon,” she said nodding. “He is stable and being prepped for surgery as we speak.”

“Has anyone asked to see him since he was brought in?”

“Yes. There’s an agent in with him now.”

Cal thanked the nurse and moved so that St. Louis would continue to lead him to where they were treating Michael. The admitting nurse buzzed them through the restricted entrance to the ER ward and together they walked quickly down the hall.

St. Louis looked at Cal, confused by his inquiry. “Is there a problem Cal?”

“No, no problem,” said Cal. “I just didn’t see Carson’s car in the lot. He must have parked out front.”

As St. Louis ushered him towards Bimonte’s room, Cal surveyed the hall, looking for Carson and trying to determine which room Harmon was in; he hadn’t realized that he had stopped walking until he felt St. Louis’ hand on his arm pulling him in the opposite direction. Bimonte was sitting on the bed having his blood pressure checked as the two officers entered the room. Montgomery and St. Louis waited patiently as the nurse finished making notations on Bimonte’s chart.

“The doctor will be in to complete your discharge in a few moments, if you can wait that long,” said the nurse smiling.

Michael chortled. “Thanks Rosemary.”

“Try to stay out of trouble,” Rosemary said playfully over her shoulder as she left the room.

Montgomery and St. Louis exchanged amused looks, which they then turned on their commanding officer, who did not seem to appreciate the humor they seemed to find in his exchange with Nurse Rosemary. Clearing his throat, Bimonte finished buttoning his shirt and sent Trooper St. Louis to find the doctor in hopes of expediting his release. As soon as St. Louis was out of the room, Michael motioned for Cal to come closer.

“Is there anything you want to tell me; something about yesterday afternoon that St. Louis already thought I knew?” Michael asked rhetorically.

Cal shifted his weight, rocking slightly on his heels as he considered how to phrase his response. “If you’re referring to Taylor’s accident…”

“She was at your house when I called,” Bimonte accused, his voice tight and annoyed. “You knew we were looking for her. Why didn’t you say anything?”

“She asked me not to…” Cal was trying very hard not to sound evasive.

“Because…” The sharp tone of Michael’s voice clearly indicated that he expected the absolute truth.

“She asked me not to tell you right away because her “accident” was no accident.” Cal stopped watching Michael’s expression cycle from annoyed to something between apprehensive and angry.

“Some one cut her jeep’s hydraulic lines,” he continued. “Her brakes failed on the backside of Whiteface about five miles from my house. Her Jeep is at the bottom of the ravine just past the doglegged turn by the logging road. She may not have been the target at the lake, but someone definitely wanted to make sure that she didn’t get back to Gallo anytime soon.”

Michael stared back at Cal without really seeing him; he was mentally transforming the information Cal had given him into mono-colored pieces of the puzzle that this case had become and was attempting to fit them into place. Investigator and father jostled for position as questions of both a personal and professional nature jostled for position, each demanding his attention. He made a snap decision as to which type he wanted answered at this particular moment.

“Was she badly hurt?”

Cal pushed his hand through his hair. “Not badly enough that she would agree to go to the hospital. She was able to jump from the vehicle before it went over the ditch, banged her head off the road pretty hard.”

“Where is she now?”

“She insisted that I take her to Gallo’s place on the lake. The old man had arrived by the time we got there, so something big must be getting ready to go down.”

Cal hesitated for a moment and Bimonte knew that he was holding something back. He looked hard into Cal’s face, wordlessly demanding to be told everything. Cal lowered his eyes and finished his report.

“I sent Taylor a text concerning the shooting. I thought she should know.”

Bimonte sat back down on the bed; as he digested the information, he decided he was glad that Rosemary had taken his blood pressure before he questioned Cal about Taylor’s accident. St. Louis reappeared with a doctor before Michael could pose the professional questions he wanted answered and Cal took advantage of the distraction to affect a quick, retreat from Bimonte’s interrogation. He moved out into the hall and walked to the nurse’s station. He leaned up against the counter and cleared his throat to get the attention of Nurse Rosemary who was updating a chart.

“Can I help you officer,” she asked without looking up from her paper work.

“Can you give me a condition update on the other man who shot? I’ll need the information for the case file.” Cal added quickly.

Rosemary spun around in her chair and swiveled to her computer station.

“Mr. Harmon suffered three gun shot wounds; two were clean through and throughs, the third bullet appears to be lodged in the soft tissue between his left shoulder and scapula,” said the nurse reading from the screen then she spun back around to face Cal, briefly glancing back towards Bimonte’s room before she finished reciting the information on her screen.

“Mr. Harmon was taken to surgery about fifteen minutes ago; he should be in recovery in about an hour.”

Cal followed her line of sight as she looked down the hall towards where he had come. Michael was standing just outside his room, shaking the hand and clapping the shoulder of the doctor he had just bullied into releasing him. As the doctor turned to leave, two men in dark suits approached on opposite sides of the doctor and appeared to begin questioning both Michael and the doctor. Bimonte looked toward Cal just as the two men stepped away and began an approach to the nurse’s station. Cal knew from their clothing and the guns discretely holstered on their hips that they were FBI. Cal thanked Nurse Rosemary and started back to where St. Louis and Bimonte were standing. The larger of the two FBI agents stopped directly in front of Montgomery.

“Trooper Montgomery,” he said offering his hand. “I’m Special Agent Pryor, this is Agent Spanelli. As we have just informed your commanding officer, the incident at Commander Bimonte’s house involved an assault on a federal officer; we will be taking over the investigation into the shootings.”

“I see,” said Cal. “Of course; I sure Agent Carson will be able to supply anything you need. He’s around here somewhere.”

Spanelli and Pryor quickly exchanged an odd look, which triggered Cal’s suspicion radar.

“We’ll need copies of the crime scene photos as well as any evidence your forensics team gathers,” Pryor said flatly ignoring Montgomery’s reference to Carson.

Cal nodded his assent to their request as the Agents moved toward the nurse’s station. He heard Pryor identify himself to Nurse Rosemary and request he same information that she had just provided Cal. He continued down the hall and rejoined Michael who was issuing marching orders to Trooper St. Louis.

“I want you to stay here and act as liaison with Special Agents Pryor and Spanelli. Cooperate with them fully; make sure they have access to everything. I’ll send Williams back with a car later. I want updates; let me know when Harmon’s out of surgery.” St. Louis nodded as Michael turned to Cal and continued. “Let’s get out of here before they decide I need more tests. I need to get back to the barracks.”

As they quickly made their exit, Cal attempted another visual sweep of the parking area for Carson’s rental.

“Anything I need to be aware of,” Michael said questioning Cal’s obvious distractedness.

“I was just wondering where Carson disappeared to,” began Cal. “I’ve had a strange feeling about that guy since the minute I laid eyes on him. He was acting all weird at the barracks: one minute he’s all ‘I’m the agent in charge’ then the next he acted as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened and he couldn’t care less. I can’t shake the feeling that the feds are holding out on us.”

Michael took a moment to consider what Cal said before commenting. “Let’s let the feds deal with their own personnel. Carson’s probably in the cafeteria waiting for Harmon to get out of surgery.”

Cal caught something in the tone of Michael’s voice; it was almost as if he were reciting some rehearsed speech for the benefit of anyone who might be within ear shot. He gave him a suspicious look as they got into the car and kept the expression trained on Michael as he started the car and pulled out of the parking lot.

“Something’s going on Michael. I know that look,” said Cal as they pulled onto Route 9. “What is it? What’s going on? What was Harmon doing at your house?”

“When I left the diner last night, I found a package on the front seat of my car. Someone had broke into the car and left it on the front seat. When I got home, Harmon was waiting in my living room.”

“Are you saying Harmon broke into your car and your house?” Cal was incredulous. “Why? What was in the package?”

“Something Harmon called an ‘I-File.” Michael shifted uncomfortably in his seat trying to determine how much personal information he wanted to divulge.

“What the hell is an ‘I-File?”

“In addition to being thick enough to keep Harmon from meeting his maker last night,” began Michael sarcastically. “Basically it was a complete history of my life.”

Cal’s mouth unconsciously dropped open in shocked surprise. “Everything?”

“Everything,” said Michael shaking his head at the impossibility that something like that file could exist. “There was even a copy of my divorce decree in there.”

“What would the FBI want or need with that information?” Cal gripped the steering wheel tightly and leaned forward into it. “What does your life history have to do with any of this?” As soon as the words left his mouth, Cal made the connection; the truth of it made the words stick in this throat.

Michael watched the wave of recognition wash over Cal’s face.

“Harmon said that Taylor’s been acting strange, overly secretive, bordering on paranoid since the Murphy incident. He thought that by understanding me, he might have a better insight into what may or may not be going on with her.

Cal’s memories began to emerge from the grey of the past and started to swell like an angry sea crashing against his investigative reason. He remained silent as Bimonte continued.

“He also told me that Taylor had figured out who was behind the FBI information leak,” said Michael taking a deep breath. “He showed me a text she sent him indicating that she was going after who ever it was. I’m sure she sent the message to him while she was at your house. Did she say anything to you?”

Cal thought back to the earlier events at his cabin and he remembered Taylor composing and sending several text messages before they left for Gallo’s camp. He replayed their recent conversations about the case in his head and could not recall her saying anything about who the information leak might be.

“No, she didn’t,” Cal’s voice suddenly became sharp and annoyed. “In fact she made a big deal out of trying to convince me she had no idea who the leak was.”

Taylor had repeatedly lied to his face and he was pissed. He knew from that moment by the Cascade Lakes that she was holding back and he was angry that he had let his feeling for her cloud his judgment. He gripped the steering wheel even tighter and jumped on the accelerator as he wondered what else she had lied to him about.

Cal made the final turn off of the Mackenzie Pond Road that would take them to the rear entrance of the parking lot of the Troop B barracks. Michael knew that Cal was angry and let him stew in silence until they had parked the cruiser and had entered the building. Once they were inside and after Michael waved off the greetings of relieved officers, he and Cal entered his office, leaving orders that they not be disturbed.

Cal paced in tight circles in front of the evidence board as Michael logged into his computer and began picking over the forensics files on his desk. Michael watched Cal beat himself up just long enough to bring out Cal’s investigative reasoning before attempted to bring Cal’s focus back to the matters at hand.

“Tell me everything she told you; don’t leave out anything, no matter how insignificant you think it might be. We need to get this son of a bitch before anyone else gets hurt. Who ever it is has already tried to get to Taylor once so they know she’s on to them and it’s likely that they’ll do what ever is necessary to stop her.”

Cal stopped pacing and leaned over the chair in front of Michael’s desk. Michael’s face was a mixture of excitement and concern.

“We don’t have a lot of time. Now that Harmon’s been shot, the Feds are going to take complete control of the investigation. There’s something missing from all of this, something that Harmon can’t decide whether or not he wants me to know about. We need to figure out what the missing piece to the puzzle is in this case before they take it away from us.”

Cal pushed away from the desk and went over to the evidence board and tapped on the photo of Wallace Murphy alive.

“Taylor told me that Murphy had files containing the name and a record of all the activities that the FBI mole was involved in. She said that the mole was going after Murphy to keep him from either selling the information he had to the highest bidder or turning it over to the authorities.”

Cal returned to the chair in front of Michael’s desk and slammed himself down into it and ran both hands through his hair. “She said that Murphy went straight to Carson with his information because he didn’t trust Simpson anymore.”

Cal stopped short and looked at Michael who seemed to reach the same conclusion.

“I think I may know why she lied to you about not knowing who the leak was,” said Michael as if he had read Cal’s thoughts.

“Harmon also said that certain classified files of his had gone missing; Taylor’s I-File was one of them. He said that there were only two people who knew enough about the existence of those files and who had enough computer knowledge to have accessed those files without his knowing.”

“Taylor and Steve Carson,” said Cal.

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