Ms. Williamson has been captivating the hearts of readers for decades. Her heroes are strong and daring while the antagonists, diabolical!
A Very Lucrative Operation ...
Colonel Stuart Broadnax sits back in his chair looking out of the window overlooking the parking lot. The telephone rings, its Erhard Huber, a top operative working for STOP—The Society to Overthrow Profiteering. Stuart’s mentor, Major General Adam Weinberger, had introduced him during the ruckus involving the Pentagon Conspiracy.
“Colonel Broadnax, this is Erhard Huber with the STOP. We met through our mutual friend, General Weinberger?” Erhard begins the conversation.
“Ah yes, I remember you. So, how are things with you and Diamond Covington? She’s a handful.” Stuart laughs, imagining Diamond and her daredevil tactics in order to get a story.
“She is fine—I assume. Much too adventurous for me. I’m involved with someone else at the present.” Erhard explains.
“I understand. So, what can I do for STOP?” Stuart inquires.
“We have reason to believe that the success of Dr. Bamberger’s Miracle Compost is due in part to genetic tampering.” Erhard comes right to the point.
“And you believe that the Expansion of Genetic Exploration is just a front for the bigger racketeering—European dominance of the wheat market.” Stuart surmises.
“Exactly!” Erhard retorts. “Baron Schröder is rebuilding the destroyed complex once owned by Müller and Schmidt Ltd. I have it on good word that the Baron will be moving some of his chief biochemists and engineers to the new facilities. They will be huge!”
“That good source wouldn’t be Dr. Huber would it?” Stuart queries.
“Abigail is married to my Uncle Albrecht and his invalid brother is my Aunt Monika’s husband. And being my aunt’s favorite nephew—she tells me everything. My aunt really doesn’t like Heinrich Schröder since back in the Colonel Schneider days when he tried to kill her family.” Erhard answers.
“Isn’t that pretty risky, Erhard? Working for the Baron?” Stuart wonders.
“Not if you’re trying to play it at both ends. Albrecht enjoys the rich life provided by Abigail but neither are that fond of the Baron. He is too dangerous to be trusted and he has no problems eliminating anyone that doesn’t live up to his demands. Remember Ian Schmidt?” Erhard clarifies.
“I did wonder whatever became of him.” Stuart remarks.
“The Baron had him assassinated for not keeping Dr. Evans under control.” Erhard offers.
“Hmm. That would seem like all the more reason for keeping your mouth shut.” Stuart replies.
“What do you think happens when the Baron no longer needs Abigail’s services or if she bungles up a project? The Baron would have the entire family murdered. Eric Singleton seems to be the only person he tolerates.” Erhard asserts.
“I suppose low-life scums must stick together. Anyway, what do you need from me?” Stuart asks.
“Dominic LaRue. We want him to assist us on finding out just what goes on. When he worked for the DGSE, his tactics were a bit—”
“Unconventional?” Stuart offers and both men smile.
“That’s the word.” Erhard replies. “There are a few people that we want to question.”
“Such as?” Stuart queries.
“The Slovenian Andreja Šušter, Everett Müller and Luis Schmidt.” Erhard retorts.
“I can understand Everett Müller and Luis Schmidt since it was their establishment that was destroyed but why Andreja Šušter?” Stuart inquires in puzzlement.
“You know who Andreja Šušter is?” Erhard questions.
“He was once an industrial magnet who had his fingers stuck in a lot of pies.” Stuart answers.
“He is also a very skilled arsonist. In fact, this is how he really got caught.” Erhard tells Stuart.
“And—one and one is two!” Stuart bolts upright in his chair. “So, when things start to look sour regarding Dr. Bamberger’s Miracle Compost, what better way to extract yourself from a sticky situation than—” Erhard finishes the sentence.
“Hire a down-on-his-luck professional, throw him a bone, then the three of you leave the country.”
“Do you know where they are?” Stuart asks.
“Yes. You forget that STOP has a network of covert entrepreneurs, bilateral authoritative operatives, and military liaisons like you. We are an elite group with members in over 25 countries.” Erhard asserts with pride.
“One would think you formulated the organization.” Stuart smiles.
“No, but I am one of its most loyal advocates—that is me and Johannes Fischer.” Erhard waits for the big gasp.
“I knew it! Nobody could be that neutral. Well how do you like that!” Stuart straightens, partially in awe.
“Dominic is the only other person who knows about this. You can’t even talk in your sleep about this.” Erhard insists.
“If word ever got out about Johannes—”
“STOP is not an organization that people talk about. In fact, there are only discussions amongst the members. No outsiders are privy to us. When I was at the Academy—it has every appearance of a regular academic institution. However, the curriculum is highly specialized.” Erhard expounds.
“So, getting back to business. You want Dominic to use his unique powers of persuasion to extract information from Šušter, Müller, and Schmidt. Have you spoken to Dominic yet?” Stuart asks.
“No, I wanted to talk to you first. I have a luncheon engagement with him in about an hour.” Erhard tells him.
“I see. Of course, Dominic is at your disposal. I will need to inform both Kit Weinberger and the President regarding this.” Stuart explains.
“With no mention of Johannes?” It’s more of a cautionary response than a question.
“There is no need to discuss him. There is a strict code amongst the branch of Military Intelligence—the lights of our existence goes out before our word is jeopardized.” Stuart recites.
“This is good. I need to meet with Dominic. Thank you, Stuart.”
“You are welcome, Erhard.” The call has ended. Erhard rushes to prepare for his meeting with Dominic.
Meanwhile, back toward the outskirts of Stäfa, the demolition team has just finished moving away the last of the debris. Baron Schröder looks at Baron Balogh.
“This is going to work out great! I will have the new structure completed in no time and we can begin to reestablish ourselves as kings of compost.” He laughs hardily.
“Hmm.” Marko replies.
“What is it now, Marko?” Heinrich is becoming impatient again.
“Why did Müller and Schmidt leave town so soon. I don’t like it.” Marko grumbles.
“Oh Marko, you are such the child in matters of secrecy. What did you expect them to do. They made a pretty nice bundle off Dr. Bamberger’s Miracle Compost so they have left for greener pastures. Who cares. Their loss is our reward. We will not have to share any of the profits. Cheer up!” Heinrich retorts.
“It was just strange how the warehouse caught fire and—” Heinrich cuts him off.
“I felt that way myself until Eric reassured me that both Müller and Schmidt were with him when the disaster occurred.” Heinrich takes a sip of the vodka he has in a silver canister.
“Hmm.” Marko repeats his earlier reaction.
“Go home and take a nap, Marko. You are too overwrought.” Heinrich commands as he continues to admire the cleared land. Marko leaves but not without giving a strange backward glance toward Heinrich.
“And you are too foolhardy. You take too many risks.” Marko rejoinders as he leaves. “This is why I need to end this relationship.”
To Be Continued ...
Spores: The Final Assault 13
- Spores: The Final Assault 13
Erhard Huber has enlisted the services of Dominic LaRue in finding out if Baron Schröder has tipped the scales one too many times. Dominic is more than happy to assist. Also, Sophia Balogh is finally speaking up regarding her brother's behavior.
© 2020 Jacqueline Williamson BBA MPA MS
Jacqueline Williamson BBA MPA MS (author) from Memphis on September 25, 2020:
Never ignore the hunches of someone who has "been there."