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This is the fifth section of the continuing saga “Starting Over”. In Part I, LTC (Retired) John Jackson had moved to Seattle after being widowed. He ran into some trouble and some decent people (okay, and a few strippers), while working towards getting his private investigator license. That took place between Sep and Dec 2012.
In Part II, he got involved in a ring trafficking in young women. The main perpetrators were captured, but the hired gun/enforcer slipped away. That took place in Apr and May 2013.
In Part III, which took place in 2013 and 2014, John managed to find the enforcer in Key West and was planning to kill him, but changed his mind. He really didn’t know if he could kill someone in cold blood, but the man was living with a woman and had decided that he was retiring. John let him go with a promise to do intelligence work for him and returned to Seattle, where Maggie gave indications that she wanted a serious relationship. Then he used that enforcer from Key West to assist in capturing an assassin. The assassin had been hired to kill him and the detective who helped him break up a leg of a human trafficking chain.
In Part IV, it’s 2019. John and Maggie couldn’t work things out and now John was working on a case that, at first, involved someone who had assaulted Luke’s wife Maria. John then had two men try to break into his apartment to attack him. The authorities caught the two men by tracking them to a strip club, but John got beat up by them before the police got there. When he woke, he found that Vanessa, his waitress at the strip club, was an undercover officer. There were several events that were taking place and it was being done by an anarchist group. However, funding for these events was tracked to someone in human trafficking in Singapore by a hacker that John found through Bob in Key West. He returned to Seattle with the information on a thumb drive, and the FBI and others started tracking him. Finally, the master of the human trafficking ring had his son try to soft sell John’s daughter into visiting Asia with him, primarily to kidnap her. John found out, he and his buddies stopped it, and then John, feeling the rage, flew to Singapore and, with the backdoor assistance of a government person, was armed and killed both the leader and his son of this trafficking ring.
LTC (Retired) John Jackson, 5’11”, 180, 55 years old.
Marie Jackson, John’s dead wife, 5’8″, 140, 44 years old, died 15 Jan 2012
Angelica Jackson (Angel), John and Marie’s daughter, 5’5″, 125, 28 years old.
Mary Bradford, bartender, 5’5″, 120, 48 years old.
Margaret (Maggie) Bradford, Mary’s sister, 5’6″, 115, 46 years old, and John’s love interest.
Madeleine (Maddie) Bradford, Maggie’s daughter, 16 years old.
Juliet Margolin, waitress, 5’4″, 145, 24 years old, Mary’s cousin.
Samantha (Sam) Walker, 5’6″, 130 pounds, 48 years old, John’s neighbor.
Joyce Walker, Sam’s daughter, 5’4″, 120 pounds, 28 years old, and now an exotic dancer using the name Lily
Marion Walker, Sam’s daughter, 5’4″, 115 pounds, 26 years old.
SFC (Retired) Craig Smithson, 6′, 190, 55 years old, NCO from John’s Army unit.
Captain Jeff Smithson, 5’11’, 185, 53 years old, SFC Smithson’s brother and a captain in the Seattle Police Department.
George Watkins, 6’4″, 280, 45 years old, bouncer.
Jeanne (aka Jasmine) Welch, 5’5″, 110, 23 years old, exotic dancer.
Olivia, 5’4″, 120 pounds, 30 years old, called Livy, exotic dancer.
Luke Cole, 5’10”, 180, detective in the Seattle Police Department.
Maria Cole, 5’6″, 135, Luke’s wife.
Marcus Candiotti, strip club manager.
Max Meridian (real name Harold Johnson), Mark’s lead kidnapper and enforcer. Now changed his name to Bob Thomas and is married to Susan. They own and operate a bar in Key West.
Susan Thomas, Bob’s new wife.
George Watson, a new member of the detective agency.
Vanessa Williams, 5’6″, 130, detective in the Seattle Police Department.
Yvonne, 5’2″, 105, illegal hacker who helped find the human trafficker who had funded the anarchists in Seattle.
—————————- Previously —————————-
—————————- Thursday, 31 Dec, 2020, John’s apartment, Seattle, WA
John grinned to himself. He had gone from alone and very lonely, to having a lover and his daughter under the same roof for the foreseeable future. Pandemic be damned!
He was just dozing off when his phone buzzed with a text. He hadn’t gotten many at all lately. He picked it up and saw a note from Craig at the detective agency. It just said, “Call me at 0700. Major problem. Need to discuss and then probably need help working on it.”
—————————- Friday, New Year’s Day 2021, John’s apartment, Seattle, WA
John woke around 7am and got up. He first called Craig and just got his voice mail. He was a little concerned, but there was nothing he could to about it right now. It went straight to voice mail, which usually meant he had it turned off for some reason. He would try Anadolu Yakası Escort again later.
He went into the kitchen and suddenly realized that they had forgotten any New Year’s Eve celebration. They had been tired and distracted last night and missed it, although there probably wasn’t that much to miss right now, with the pandemic in full swing. He decided to do a nice New Year’s Day breakfast.
John got out the fixings for eggs and pancakes and bacon. He made the batter for the pancakes and then got out all the hardware. Even though he was trying to be quiet, the banging of pots and pans cannot be kept too quiet, so just as he started making the scrambled egg mix, Yvonne walked in, naked and stretching.
Yvonne looked amazing, but John was a little stunned and he hissed in a loud whisper, as he gestured toward the apartment door, “Yvonne! My daughter’s next door.”
Yvonne jumped a little and her mouth opened wide in recognition of what she had done. She rushed back into the bedroom to grab a robe and came out a few seconds later appropriately covered. She looked properly chastened.
John started the pancakes and had a plate to keep them warm in the oven, and then started making the scrambled eggs after a few pancakes were done. He was almost through making about ten or twelve pancakes and just putting the scrambled eggs on a plate when Angel walked in. She was wearing a t-shirt and a pair of sleeping shorts. The shirt was a little thin and showed off her nipples. The shorts were short and tight. Both made John uncomfortable.
Yvonne saw it in John and chuckled. “Angel, I think your dad is uncomfortable seeing you dressed like that.”
Angel looked down. “What? I wear much less on the beach.”
Yvonne laughed. “Yeah, but your nipples are not so visible on the beach.”
Angel shrugged. “Well, most of the time, they are. Sorry, dad. I’ll change after breakfast. Right now, I’m starving. And it looks like it’s a great breakfast.”
John nodded. “Yeah, we forgot it was New Year’s Eve last night, so I figured we could all have a nice breakfast and watch the Rose Bowl Parade.”
John pulled the pancakes out of the oven, put them and the scrambled eggs on the table, and threw some already cooked bacon in the microwave. He then got a bottle of champagne and some orange juice out of the fridge to make mimosas.
“Wow!” Yvonne’s eyes went wide. “You really outdid yourself and you had all the fixings for a great breakfast and mimosas. I love it.”
Angel looked at Yvonne with a grin. “Now do you understand why it is so hard to find someone to live up to my old man? I can’t find any men like this.”
John blushed a little. “Now, don’t lay it on too thick. I already made breakfast for you.”
“Yes. Absolutely. He has many talents.” Yvonne said suggestively, grinning.
Angel blushed and put her hands over her ears. “Please. Like I said last night, I don’t want to know about anything else, okay?”
Yvonne just grinned and shrugged.
They all sat down and started eating. John put on the Rose Bowl parade and they all ate too much. John tried Craig’s phone a couple more times, but it went straight to voice mail.
Finally, about noon, Craig called back. “Hey, John. Sorry I didn’t pick up earlier. I was in the middle of something with this case. Here’s the deal. I was working on gathering some information for the DA on a case when I found out something interesting. It was a low-level drug case, but in following this guy and the data, I was able to trace it back to someone big. I don’t have a name yet, so I need some assistance, both with the physical following and with computer data. Can you still make contact with that hacker who helped on the last big case?”
John looked over at Yvonne. “Yes, I think I can reach that individual and get them to do some research for us.”
“Good. I need to trace this back to the larger boss. The DA thinks that maybe he can get this guy to turn on the boss. This low-level guy has three drug arrests already, and may go away for a longer time if he doesn’t play ball. They are all for hard drugs; meth, heroine, and cocaine.”
“Okay. Can you send me the information you need with what you have? I can pass it along to my contact and we can see what they’ll find out.”
“Good. I’ll send an email to your work account.”
“Got it.” That meant to the very protected server that we had that we always used a VPN to get into.
“Great. Let me know when I can get something. I know it’s New Year’s Day, but sometime by early next week would be good.”
“Not a problem. I’ll get right on it.”
“Later.” And Craig hung up.
I turned to Yvonne. “Looks like we have some work to do.”
Angel looked at the two of us. “You work together?”
Yvonne answered that one. “Yes. I have helped John and his firm on two cases. One of them with the FBI. I’m a computer expert.”
Angel looked at John. “John’s a computer expert, too.”
Yvonne grinned. “Not like me.” She looked over at John who shrugged. She turned back to Angel. “I’m actually Bostancı Escort a hacker, and not always a legal one. I just happened to help your dad back before the pandemic and started to really like him. Also, I have no family and was very alone and depressed during this pandemic, so I finally drove out here to spend time with him. It’s so much better than being alone.”
Angel nodded. “Yes, it is. I understand that. I was really lonely back in Virginia, despite all the Zoom calls and such.”
John stood up. “Okay. I’ll log into our work server and get the information we need while you get your computer up and running, Yvonne.”
Yvonne stood. “I’ll get it out, but we can’t do it from here. We need to move around. I like to connect to a different free WIFI for each tracing. That means we need to drive around and catch free WIFI from several locations as I do this. We only need to stop for about 5-8 minutes before I will close everything down and we will move on to the next WIFI connection.”
“Okay. I’ll get dressed, too.”
Angel leaned back as they bustled to get ready. “I’ll just stay here and watch football.”
When they were ready, they went down and got into John’s car and started making the rounds. Seattle still looked like mostly a ghost town. It was New Year’s Day during the pandemic, so people were very sparse. They were just finishing up as Yvonne disconnected from the fifth place they went, when John’s cell phone chirped. I was a specific chirp that indicated a text message from what looked like a spam number. It meant that John had to get his burner and contact Bob, the former enforcer, in Florida.
Bob had been an enforcer for hire in a previous life. He had taken a contract from a web site that was used by high level felons to be an enforcer for one of the members of the human trafficking ring. The web site was well hidden and used a lot of shorthand code, so it was hard to trace and figure out what was going on. When John broke up a Seattle leg of the ring, Bob had been asked to take out John. When Bob failed on his first attempt, he had decided to get out of dodge for a while. John tracked him all the way to Key West and then confronted him. He had planned on killing him, but found it difficult to do so coldly, sitting in his kitchen. He had watched Bob for a couple of days leading up to that. During that time, he had seen that he was settling in with a woman named Susan and trying to move on from his previous life. John held him at gun point, talked to him, and decided to let him live. But he made a deal so that Bob would help him when needed, with excellent remuneration. John had now used him a couple of times and the guy was married, owned a bar, and was of great assistance. He had to get home to contact him.
When they returned to the apartment, Yvonne started putting together the information on a thumb drive, while Bob went to get his burner phone. He kept it in a box in a drawer. He pulled it out, inserted the battery and SIM card and powered it up. He called Bob and it was answered on the first ring.
“Hey,” John started with. They didn’t use names.
“Danger coming. Yuang, Y-U-A-N-G, Lee has taken out a contract on you.”
“Reason not specified, but it is rumored to be because of the murder of his father and brother.”
“Doesn’t matter. Contract is out there. Accepted by individual with username Dirty Harry.”
“Great. Any other information?”
“Yes, accepted yesterday at 1800 eastern time. Will call if further info comes available.”
They both hung up and disconnected everything from their phones.
John thought about that. Did the Lee’s have a son/brother? How would he know about John and his actions? He had gotten in and out of Singapore on a fake passport provided by the U.S. government and nobody knew he was even gone. He went to another drawer and pulled out the card for the FBI guy that he contacted for the last job. He only knew him as Agent Smith. He also didn’t know if this number had been a burner that no longer existed.
John dialed the number and the voice mail came up and said “Speak”, just like Agent Smith did. So, John answered.
“Yuang Lee, San Francisco, hired hit man for me, John Jackson. Intel requested. Directions required.”
When John and friends were in Virginia, they were there to get Jun Lee, the individual who was trying to entice Angelica, his daughter, to travel to Singapore. This FBI guy, or whatever he was, had been the one to stop them from taking Jun Lee, but then assisted in the procurement of a fake passport. He also arranged for an unregistered gun to be provided from someone in the Embassy in Singapore. This sounded more like a three letter Intelligence agency than the FBI, but John didn’t care. Had this Agent someone or for some reason ratted him out? Did someone else know other than this guy?
John called Luke Cole and told him that he had had another hit contract put out on him. He didn’t say it was because of the killings, but because he helped break up the human trafficking Erenköy Escort ring. Luke asked for more information, but John didn’t have much. He gave him what he had.
John called Craig and told him the same thing. He then said that he would have some information from the hacker in about an hour on their drug case. They discussed what to do about the contract killer, but didn’t finalize anything.
Yvonne put the information on the druggie that Craig was following on a thumb drive and gave it to John. She never connected to any network while at John’s, or any other place she was going to be for more than two days. John called Craig and arranged for the pickup. He then sat Yvonne and Angel down and told them about the contract on his life. Angel looked worried and Yvonne looked thoughtful.
John pointed toward the other apartment. “For the time being, nobody is in this apartment except me. You two have to stay in the other one until we finish this thing.”
Angel didn’t protest, but Yvonne did. “I can be of assistance here. I can handle a gun and myself if we are attacked.”
“Sorry, but it’s not negotiable. I have to know that the only two people who I care enough about to spend the pandemic with are safe. I want you both over there any time except middle of the day. Then we can strategize, formalize actions, or whatever.”
Yvonne got up and retrieved her laptop. She put it on the kitchen table. “Get in contact with your source and tell him that we need the information on the web site for the contracts. We can start there. I can try to see where the individual was when they connected and, if they connect again, we can try to trace him. Once you have him on the phone, we’ll drive around again and hit some free WIFI connection spots so I can get online and do that research.”
“Got it.” John got up, retrieved the burner, put it together, and sent a text to Bob’s phone. Two minutes later he called back.
“Have hacker resource here who you put me in contact with previously. Need information on the web site and your login credentials. We want to try to trace the user.”
“Roger. Will send in encrypted email from library to your work.”
“Roger. See you.”
They both hung up and broke down their phones.
John met Craig at a Starbucks. There were only a thousand or so in the Seattle area and most were only being used for takeout orders. They discussed the situation in a back area where it was deserted, and John gave Craig the information on the drug dealer. For the contract on John’s life, Craig volunteered that Angel could stay with him and his family. John hadn’t told him about Yvonne.
“Not necessary. She will stay in the separate apartment and not use mine at all. The connecting door will stay locked.”
“Okay, but listen. I have two buddies in Tacoma that retired from the Army who are looking for work and called me a couple of weeks ago. If you can pay them, I’ll invite them up to assist.”
Craig grinned. “Misters Left and Right.”
John laughed. Craig was referring to Marty and Carl, two Rangers who had assisted them in rescuing the then six-year-old Maddie from a local drug lord who kidnapped her to get to John. He had been dating her mother Maggie when Maggie and Maddie got in the way. The two Rangers had worked together so long that when the group had set up at the warehouse where the kidnappers were, one said “Left” and the other “Right” to designate which bad guy they would take of the two that were in the warehouse. “Well, that works out. I already overpaid for the last job, so this one should be cheaper.” John referred to the large bags of money that had been doled out when they found it in a safe in the warehouse.
Craig waggled his head in a sign of “Maybe”. “Oh, and George is an expert with drones. He has three of them for our company now, one with a really nice video feed. He can assist, if needed.”
“That would be great. Now I have to check my email and see if I can find out who wants to kill me and why.”
“By the way, how did you get this information so fast?”
John grinned. “Well, just between you, me, and this table, the hacker is a young lady who has no family and just arrived at my apartment looking for someone to at least have social contact with. The pandemic was making her depressed.”
Craig laughed. “Does that include the more personal contact?”
“Hah! Who knew that your sex life would be the envy of all the guys at this point?” Then he turned a little more serious. “Sorry. I know you’d rather have your wife back.”
John slapped him on the shoulder. “Not a problem. I know how you meant it.”
Craig stood. “Okay, I need to review this and get the information to the DA, if it helps.”
“It will. See you.”
By the time John returned to his apartment the information from Bob was available and he and Yvonne again made a trek around the city using the free WIFI from Starbucks, Subway, and some hotels. She managed to find out more than John thought possible. She found out that a Yuang Lee had taken out the contract and that he could be traced to San Francisco, but not back to Singapore, where the other two Lee’s were from that John had taken out. She looked more, but could find no trace back to the others. She was perplexed, because she found traces to many of his other relatives.
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