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H&K: Path of Knowledge

Book 1 of the H&K Series: Chapter 19

By Shawn David KelleyPublished 2 years ago 18 min read
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Chapter 19

Hank sat in Karen’s family room. Bob had told everyone that Hank had been asked to consult his task force starting the next day for a few weeks. The adults sat up discussing the past few weeks and Hank’s consulting assignments past midnight. As it was late, everyone finally retired.

“We need to talk and get a few of the lies sorted out once this is all cleared up,” Bob told Hank before heading to bed.

Katharine went to sleep in one of the guest rooms on the second floor next door to Tess, Bob, and their two kids. Bob seemed to think that Wright didn’t know about Karen or that they were staying at her home. What Bob didn’t know was that Sarasin’s team was already on site outside the home. Sarasin watched from the same wood line that Hank had used when he had observed Karen’s house shortly after all the Doctor Martin issues began.

Hank stood up to walk to the patio out the kitchen door when Karen appeared at the top of the stairs wrapped in a terry cloth robe. He stopped as Karen descended the stairs. The look on her face spoke volumes to Hank.

“Does this have anything to do with Martin?” Karen asked. “More like, Martin was wrapped up with these people. Suffice it to say, I have brought some attention upon myself from an old acquaintance of mine. So, it’s best if I disappear for a while,” Hank told Karen.

“That doesn’t add up, Hank,” Karen said. “I have watched as you go charging in, but now you’re running and hiding? I don’t buy it.”

“Karen, you can’t mention any of that to anyone. It’s imperative that everyone thinks that I am just an ordinary IT guy who spent some time in the army. Okay?” Hank eyed Karen intently.

“Okay, but I have the feeling that you are leading these people after you and away from the rest of us,” Karen shot back at him.

“Let’s just say, it’s safer for everyone if I go away for a while.”

Hank’s cell phone buzzed. “Hello?” Hank answered the unlisted number.

“Well, well, it’s been a long time, old buddy,” Wright’s voice came out of the cell phone.

“How did you get this number?” Hank demanded as his hand reached for the HK45 in the shoulder holster. Hank pushed Karen into the family room, pointing for her to get down on the floor.

“It’s incredible what you can accomplish with the right amount of money,” Wright told Hank. “Have you seen a certain assistant DA lately?”

“Why are you doing this?” Hank asked as he drew his pistol, shutting off all the lights in the house. Once the house was completely dark, Hank went from window to door to window, peering out to check the perimeter.

“Money, old buddy. You killed the sheik’s nephew. Now he wants you dead,” Wright told Hank.

“Then why call me and warn me?”

“Oh, you’ve already been warned. But who told me is the question on your mind,” Wright teased. “I know where you are, and I know how you hate it when kids get killed. So why don’t you meet me? I’ll give you two days to get to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Check into the Isle Inn. I’ll be in touch then.” Wright hung up.

“Get that?” Hank asked into the earbud he was wearing.

“Got it,” Sarasin said.

“Hope Sanchez doesn’t realize we are onto him though.”

“Who are you talking to?” Karen demanded, coming to Hank’s side.

“I’m leaving now. A Homeland Security detail is on their way to secure everyone here and your family,” Hank told Karen.

Karen rose on her toes and kissed Hank, just a soft, affectionate kiss.

“Thank you. Katharine is lucky to have you. If only she knew everything about you,” Karen said, moving away from Hank.

“No one needs to know everything,” Hank whispered.

There was a knock on the patio door leading from the kitchen. Hank turned, his pistol coming up. Sarasin stood at the door with Tabby and Jerome standing guard, facing out from the house. Hank walked to the door and opened it.

“Time to go. The task force detail is coming down the road as we speak,” Sarasin said.

“Go wake Bob up. Let him know that I was picked up by a security team and that more vehicles are approaching. Quickly,” Hank urged as he started out the door with Sarasin.

As Karen ran upstairs, Hank and the others climbed into one of the team’s assault Jeeps. Tabby drove the Jeep at a high rate of speed away from Karen’s house, passing the task force detail as they sped in the opposite direction.

“Where’s Sanchez?” Hank asked Sarasin. “With Lowell.” Hank eyed Sarasin quizzically. “Where?” Hank demanded.

“Lowell showed up at the safehouse after we all separated. He was supposed to have been on the jet with the other part of the team I sent to Atlanta but has quite the story to tell as to why he couldn’t make it. He supposedly got word that we have a mole in the team and now he is accusing Grant of setting a bomb on board the jet she was returning from Cancun on accompanied by Milan, Bennie, and Heath. Lowell told Sanchez that he had received a call from Grant, and a few minutes later, an informant in a cartel in Cancun called him to tell him that Grant had paid him to rig the jet to explode in midair. Lowell told Sanchez that his informant had placed a parachute onboard for Grant,” Sarasin told Hank.

“So according to Lowell, an informant accused Grant of paying to have a bomb placed on the jet, and that’s why he didn’t catch the jet with the rest of the team? He mentioned Milan specifically?” Hank surmised.

“Correct, and according to the FAA, the jet exploded before hitting the ground. No bodies have been recovered as of yet.”

“I would like to speak to Lowell. No one but Grant, Heath, and Bennie knew Milan’s name,” Hank half spoke aloud.

“Knew you would. So do I. Sanchez and Lowell will meet us at the warehouse. I spoke to Lowell and told him that we suspect Sanchez as being a mole. I told him to hold Sanchez for a couple of days before we could get there,” Sarasin told Hank.

“Good idea. Let’s get there before Lowell suspects anything,” Hank said, glaring ahead.

*****

“Why are you doing this?” Sanchez asked Lowell as Lowell pushed the button on the winch that lifted Sanchez from the floor by his handcuffed wrists.

“I have to throw the blame on someone. You’re the only one here to do so. Besides, Sarasin and Hank, both trust you way too much. I need to tear the team apart from within. Don’t worry, I’ll keep you alive for a while. You know how I like to play with my subjects,” Lowell leered at Sanchez as the handcuffed man dangled from the winch cable.

“Why are you doing this to the team?” Sanchez demanded. “Why? I was more qualified than Sarasin to lead the team to begin with, but they had to give it to a woman. Sarasin is too weak to lead a team,” Lowell fumed.

“Sarasin was CIA. You were an asset. Assets don’t lead teams,” Sanchez shot back.

“Sure, they do. They just wanted a woman as a token.” Lowell glared at Sanchez.

Sanchez was handcuffed to the winch in the soundproof room. Lowell had spent several hours torturing him until Sanchez had passed out. Now Lowell was standing outside the room on his cell phone as Sarasin and Hank pulled into the warehouse two days early. Lowell quickly terminated the call as the two pulled their vehicle into the building. The rest of the team arrived a few minutes later on their heels.

“Where’s Sanchez?” Hank asked as he climbed from the Jeep. “I locked him in the room, handcuffed to the winch,” Lowell told them. Lowell was visibly shaken at their early arrival as well as with the rest of the team.

Hank and Sarasin entered the room as Lowell opened the door. Lowell followed Hank and Sarasin into the room while the others remained behind him. Lowell was slowly reaching for his Sig Sauer .40-caliber pistol with his left hand in its shoulder holster as they entered the room. Tabby grabbed Lowell’s left arm, pressing a syringe into his arm and injecting the sedative. Lowell slumped to the floor. Sanchez was lowered to the floor and the restraints were removed.

“We know who the mole is,” Sanchez breathed as he stood up, rubbing his wrists.

“Grant is here,” Jerome called from the door.

Grant, Heath, and Bennie walked through the warehouse straight to the room. They all greeted each other.

“What happened?” Sarasin asked.

“After I texted Lowell, I texted Hank from the secured jet bathroom. He ordered a dead drop. Then all hell broke loose. An explosion blew the rear door off the jet. A second charge took out one of the engines. We were just able to get our chutes on. The pilot was able to set the autopilot before we jumped. The jet exploded even before it hit the ground. Once we landed, we grabbed a vehicle and made our way here as instructed,” Grant told them.

Hank turned to Bennie. The look on Hank’s face told the man Hank was questioning his loyalty at that moment.

“Hank, I did not know of Lowell’s treachery. I swore an oath to you when you saved my life. I stand by that oath,” Bennie told Hank.

“I believe you, my friend,” Hank told him, offering him his hand. The two men shook hands.

“Well, it’s time for Hank to disappear,” Sarasin came up to the two.

“I’ll be in touch,” Hank said as he walked out of the warehouse alone.

“Let’s find out what Lowell has to tell us and how far his treachery reaches,” Sanchez said as he pulled the unconscious man to the cable of the winch. Sanchez snapped the restraints onto Lowell’s wrists. The winch hoisted Lowell into the air.

*****

Bob greeted the task force security detail as they knocked on the front door of Karen’s home. He was glad to see Lynn Marquis standing at the door. Lynn was a fifty-five-year-old, five feet one stout African American woman with short crop-cut hair and had twenty-four years of experience in law enforcement, ten of those years with the task force. Marquis wore her tactical uniform with a throat mic, a bulletproof vest, a tactical vest, an M4 carbine across her chest, and a Glock .40 caliber in a hip holster on her left side, being left-handed. Marquis was Bob’s second in command. Bob noticed the detail was made up of eleven other fully armed members of the task force whom he had served with in one capacity or another over the years until they had come to the task force. Six blacked-out Chevy Suburban SUVs flanked the driveway.

“Good to see you, Marquis,” Bob greeted the woman with a handshake.

“Director,” Marquis replied as the detail fanned out to secure the perimeter as Marquis entered the house with Bob.

“Director, the task force is under attack once again,” Marquis said as she closed the door behind her. “We lost three members and their families last night. Someone has hacked our computers and downloaded the full database for the task force. All the families are being retrieved, most by the US Marshals, and relocated.”

“How many family members were killed?” Bob asked with a grim look on his face.

“Twelve, nine were children. The homes were hit with what appears to be rocket-propelled grenades from the preliminary investigation. And an eyewitness report from a neighbor of one of the families,” Marquis told him.

“Where are the families being taken?”

“The secretary of Homeland Security has ordered the families to be taken to the Greenbriar Bunker in West Virginia. Transportation is being differed for each family in case we have a leak. No single mode of transportation and only the leader of each detail knows the exact route they will take.”

“Good,” Bob replied as his family came down the stairs with Karen, her children, and Katharine.

“I’m sorry, director, but only immediate family,” Marquis stated, looking at Katharine, Karen, and Karen’s children.

“They are targets as well. If it weren’t for Ms. Mitchell, we wouldn’t have half the information we have now on the terrorist cells,” Bob countered. “They’re coming along.”

“Yes, sir,” Marquis acknowledged.

Ten minutes later, the six SUVs rumbled down the street. Bob was in the lead SUV, sitting next to Marquis in the rear passenger seat while the driver scanned the path ahead. Tess, Katharine, and the kids were in the third SUV with two task force members. Karen and her three kids were in the fifth SUV. As the vehicles neared a four-way intersection, they slowed down as the light turned red.

“Break!” Marquis commanded through her throat mic.

All six SUVs broke from their linear formation, going in different directions. Two SUVs cut across the curb and sidewalk to an adjacent street as the other four SUVs split at the intersection. All six SUV drivers floored the gas, taking turns at a high rate of speed. Automatic gunfire rattled against the armor-plated SUVs as they sped past the intersection. The last SUV exploded in a hail of fire as it struck a landmine that had been placed in a shallow pothole in the center of the street. The remaining five SUVs scattered as the drivers became more mindful of any debris or item that looked out of place in or near the road.

“Bryant and Jamison,” Marquis said before Bob could ask who was in the destroyed SUV.

“Have we gone dark?” Bob asked, referring to radio silence.

“As of now, we are. I instructed every detail leader to go dark once we got to the highway or if we were attacked,” Marquis informed Bob.

“Good. Where are we heading?”

“Task force headquarters.”

“So, we’re dark until we get to headquarters?”

“Completely. Signal jammers have been activated in each vehicle.”

Hank walked to a black Porsche SUV outside the warehouse. As he opened the door, running footsteps brought him around, his HK45 slipping smoothly from its shoulder holster and coming to the ready. Hank caught himself as he lowered his pistol. Grant was running after him with Jerome in tow. Each carried military packs and HK MP5s. They ran to the passenger side and waited.

“You forgot these,” Grant said as she threw Hank the keys to the car. “We’re coming with you. Sarasin’s orders to keep you safe.”

“I don’t need babysitters,” Hank said as he unlocked the driver’s door.

“Come on, Hank, Sarasin’s orders. Besides, we’re not babysitters, we’re here to keep you from going after whoever’s doing this on your own,” Grant told him.

“Get in,” Hank huffed as he unlocked the passenger door.

Grant tossed her pack into the small backseat as Jerome climbed in after with his pack. She got into the front passenger seat as Hank got behind the wheel. Grant smiled as Hank closed the driver’s door.

“Where are we going?” Grant asked. “To visit an old friend.”

“Are we there yet?” Jerome laughed from the backseat.

“Children, behave,” Hank said as a smile broke across his previously stern face. “There’s one person who may have the answers to some of our questions. Until we get his location, we just drive.” Just as Hank steered the Porsche onto the main street, his phone buzzed.

“Hello,” Hank answered with the hands-free speaker on.

“Carnegie Hall, New York City, tonight at seven,” Sarasin’s voice came from the speaker. “He thinks I’m coming to see him.”

“Right,” Hank growled. Grant and Jerome both looked at Hank.

“Grant, Jerome, make sure he doesn’t do anything stupid to the person please,” Sarasin told the two passengers.

“What I’m going to do won’t be stupid,” Hank replied. “I promise I won’t shoot him, other than that, no promises.”

“Fair enough, I guess,” Sarasin said as the connection terminated.

“New York City, here we come,” Grant said enthusiastically.

Hank groaned.

“Who are we going to meet?” Jerome asked.

“A nobody. A complete self-centered jerk,” Hank replied.

“But you’re already in the car,” Grant joked.

Hank glared at her as he gunned the engine as they went up the on-ramp to Interstate 95 north. Hank merged into the traffic and moved to the far-left lane. In moments, the Porsche was flying down the interstate at over a hundred miles an hour. The federal tags would keep the police from pulling them over, hopefully.

Karen pulled her children down under the windows as the rounds began to bounce off the armored SUV and the vehicle went across the curb and sidewalk. As the last SUV exploded, Karen held her children the best she could as they began to cry. The driver was doing everything he could to drive evasively while keeping control of the vehicle. A few moments later, they were alone on another street, leaving the other SUVs to their routes.

Tess and Katharine clung to the children as all hell seemed to break loose. Tess watched to make sure Bob’s vehicle wasn’t the one that exploded. Shamefully, Tess thanked GOD that Bob’s vehicle had made it through the intersection without incident. Katharine wondered where Hank was even as bullets stopped bouncing off the SUV and the fiery debris was left far behind. Where had he gone before the task force detail had arrived? She knew that Bob had said he had been brought onboard the task force to consult, but why hadn’t he been picked up by the same detail? The SUV they were traveling in had a protective window that could be raised or lowered between the driver’s compartment and the rear of the vehicle for privacy when those in the back needed to speak privately.

Then Katharine’s cell phone rang, bringing her mind back to the present situation.

“Don’t answer that!” the vehicle detail leader said as he spun in his seat next to the driver.

“Hello?” Katharine answered before the detail leader’s words registered.

“I’m coming for you, bitch! You and your whole family will pay for what you tried to do to Samantha Craig. That’s right. I know you tried to kill her.” Katharine went white as a male voice came through the phone. “You might have heard of me, David Wright. I will kill that bastard husband of yours too. I’ll watch as you die a slow agonizing death after I force you to watch your family die, one by one. Kiddies first.” The connection went dead as the signal jammer blocked the signal.

“Who was that?” the detail leader demanded.

“Someone named David Wright,” Katharine told him.

“David Wright? the driver asked. “Interesting.”

The window between the rear of the vehicle and the driver’s compartment began to rise. The two shots rang out from the front of the vehicle as the detail leader slammed against the passenger door, two slugs in his neck. The window lowered just a bit as the driver dropped a smoking canister into the backseat. The knockout gas acted quickly as the driver raised the window. Tess, Katharine, and the kids were rendered unconscious in moments.

“I have the new director’s family and Logan’s wife,” the driver spoke into a handheld radio he pulled out of his vest. “I’m circling back around to pick you up.”

“I wanted Sarasin!” Wright’s voice boomed from the radio.

“Sarasin was already gone with Logan,” the driver told Wright.

“Well then, we will just have to use his family as bait to get Logan and Sarasin together,” Wright said as the vehicle came to a stop alongside the street.

Wright opened the passenger door, pulled the dead task force detail leader from the seat, and dumped his body against the curb. Wright looked back into the smoke-filled rear of the vehicle. Hank would pay and so would Sarasin, Wright thought.

“It’s going to be okay Ms. Mitchell,” the detail leader told her as they cleared the area. “We have orders to get you and your family to safety.”

The driver looked in the rearview mirror at Karen as she saw his left shoulder move across his chest. Karen was sitting behind the driver as he pulled his pistol from the shoulder holster. The driver’s eyes went wider as Karen placed the barrel of the Rossi .38 revolver Hank had given her against the driver’s neck.

“Drop your gun,” Karen ordered the man.

The driver began to swerve back and forth across the road to throw Karen off balance but in doing so lost the grip of his pistol. The detail leader struck the driver hard against the bridge of his nose. The driver’s nose shattered and his eyes watered. The leader grabbed the gear shift and threw it into park. The vehicle spun around several times before coming to a stop. By the time the vehicle had stopped, the driver found himself facing not one gun but two. The detail leader produced zip tie restraints to bind the driver.

“Cover him?” the detail leader asked as he opened the passenger door.

“If he moves, he’ll get an extra hole in his head,” Karen warned.

The detail leader came around the front of the SUV and opened the driver’s door. The detail leader pulled the driver out. Karen opened the rear passenger door, keeping her revolver trained on the driver and detail leader. The detail leader led the driver to the rear of the SUV before opening the rear compartment. He shoved the man into the compartment and produced another set of zip tie restraints and bound the driver’s feet. The detail leader closed the compartment.

“Thank you, ma’am. You saved my life,” the detail leader told Karen.

“Now what?” Karen asked.

“The detail went dark when we were attacked. By dark, I mean that all communications have been jammed. We can’t contact any of the other vehicles. By the way, my name’s Shamus Roy. The director is my brother. You’ll be safe with me.”

“Nice to meet you, Shamus,” Karen shook the man’s hand.

“We need to get moving. No telling who may be following us or if they have any tracking devices thanks to Anderson there,” Shamus indicated the driver.

“Wait,” Karen said as she dug a burner cell phone from her pocket that she had swiped from Hank without him knowing it. She dialed the preprogrammed number on the phone.

“Who is this?” Hank’s voice came through the cell phone. “How did you get that phone?”

“Hank, it’s Karen. We’re in trouble. We were attacked and the driver of our vehicle tried to kill Bob’s brother, Shamus. One of the vehicles was destroyed. All the other vehicles have scattered. Shamus said since we were attacked, the detail went dark,” Karen spoke rapidly.

“The task force has moles,” Hank hissed. “Where are you?”

“Five miles or so north of my place on the side of the road,” Karen told Hank.

“Get moving. Tell Shamus to head to my place. I’ll meet you there,” Hank said as he drove north on Interstate 95, terminating the connection. Hank quickly made a U-turn at an emergency crossover and headed back to Katharine and his home in Bucks County.

“Sarasin, the task force detail has been hit,” Hank said into the phone as Sarasin answered her phone.

“How do you know that?” Sarasin asked.

“Karen just called and told me. That means the detail has been compromised. Can you track the vehicles?” Hank asked.

“It’ll take a little time, but yes.”

“Then call me when you have their fix. Karen said they scattered when they were attacked. One vehicle was destroyed for sure.”

“I’m on it. Also, Lowell is talking. Wright has a contract for you and me from the sheik. It seems he’s still pissed about Paris.”

“That’s what this is all about with Wright? Paris?” Hank nearly screamed.

“Who would have thought he would take rejection so hard?”

“Call Byrd back, tell him his life is in danger,” Hank told her as he terminated the connection.

Sarasin called her ex-husband’s phone, but it rang until the voicemail picked up. She called several more times before it was answered.

“Well, Adaline, so nice of you to call,” Wright’s voice came from her phone.

“Wright? How did you get Byrd’s phone?” Sarasin demanded.

“Don’t be naïve. The number is being forwarded. By now, Byrd’s dead anyway. My gift to you,” Wright laughed.

“When I catch up with you—”

“You’ll never even get close, but I’ll be seeing you when you least expect it. And I’ll have fun watching you die as well as that bastard Logan,” Wright fumed. “By the way, I have Roy’s family and Hank’s wife.” Wright laughed as he terminated the connection.

“Byrd is dead and Wright has the Roy family and your wife,” Sarasin told Hank a few moments later.

“Dammit!” Hank swore. “I’m heading to my place. Karen Mitchell and her kids are going there. I’m leaving Jerome with them in the safe room. After they are secure, Grant and I are going hunting.”

“Wait for me. I want to kill the bastard too,” Sarasin snapped.

“That’s what he wants—both of us together,” Hank said.

“Then let’s not disappoint him,” Sarasin replied, calming down.

“Paris all over again?”

“Still like what you see?” Sarasin asked as she terminated the connection.

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About the Creator

Shawn David Kelley

Prior Service, saw the Berlin Wall dismantled and the aftermath of the Gulf War/ Desert Storm/ Desert Shield. He has drawn upon his unique views of life and science fiction to bring together an alternate reality of excitement.

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