Book #2 of the Vigilante series
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Claude Bouchard Books
The friendly takeover of CSS Inc. leaves computer executive Chris Barry unemployed, very wealthy and pleased with the situation.
But the hiatus is short-lived...
As a result of his involvement in the recent Vigilante investigation, Barry is approached by Jonathan Addley and invited to join Discreet Activities, a government agency of the clandestine variety,
Accepting, he promptly takes on his first assignment under the guise of an IT consultant, to investigate possible links between a local import business and the murder of its MIS director.
As he discovers the firm is being used to import narcotics, his cover is blown and things get personal, spurring him to show that murderers, drug lords, biker gangs and kidnappers are no match for...
Prologue - Tuesday, January 7, 1997
“Who the hell is this?” demanded the voice on the other end of the line.
“Never mind who I am,” George replied, his voice a wavering whisper. “Just listen. Quality Imports. Got it? That's all I can say. Quality Imports. Check it out.”
He quickly hung up the phone and sat in the darkness of his office, breathing deeply, fighting back the urge to vomit. After a moment, his shaking subsided and the churning in his stomach slowed. He realized that this was dangerous but also knew that he had done the right thing.
Standing, he began to pace back and forth as he continued his deep breathing in an attempt to regain his composure. He started feeling ridiculous and began to relax. There was no reason to worry, he reasoned, he was alone. Anyhow, nobody had the slightest idea that he was aware of anything.
Feeling better, he picked up his briefcase and left his office, heading for the main entrance. As he walked by the door leading into the warehouse, he paused then stopped. He had to look again. It was silly because he had seen what he had to see but he felt drawn, as if by some powerful, invisible magnet. He set down his briefcase and, following a moment’s hesitation, opened the door.
The warehouse was dark but he had been without light for some time now and his eyes had grown accustomed to its absence. Quickly, he made his way to the rear receiving area where he had seen the cases an hour before.
As he picked up the crowbar he had used earlier and started to pry off the cover of the first wooden case, he could feel the adrenalin pumping through his system once again. The lid came off more easily this time and he leaned it off to one side against the racking. Although this time he knew what to expect, he experienced the same gut wrenching feeling he had felt an hour ago when he had first discovered the cocaine.
At least, he believed it was coke. The shipment came from Columbia and, according to the labels and paperwork, was supposed to be coffee. Though he was far from being a drug expert, he was certain that the contents of this case alone were worth several million dollars on the street.
As he stared in awed horror at the rows of powder filled plastic bags before him, the warehouse lights suddenly came on, bathing the cavernous room in harsh light.
“Good evening, George,” a familiar voice greeted from behind him.
He turned to find himself faced by four men, two of whom, like him, were executive managers of the company. The other two, whom he recognized as warehouse employees, were armed with what appeared to be automatic weapons which they pointed directly at him. “Greg… Wayne… What’s going on?” George nervously asked, for lack of something better to say.
“Well,” responded Wayne, the company’s Director of Operations. “What’s going on seems to be that Georgie is not minding his own goddamn business. What do you think, you stupid fuck?”
“Listen,” pleaded George, shaking all over again. “Whatever you guys do with your spare time is your own business. Just let me go and I promise I won’t say anything. I swear.”
“You sure of that, Georgie?” enquired Wayne with a warm smile. “I can’t let you go unless you’re sure of what you’re saying.”
“I swear it, Wayne,” promised George, sweat streaming from every pore of his body. “I won’t say a word. Hell, I’ll even quit if you want. I won’t even show up tomorrow.”
Wayne gazed at him thoughtfully for a few seconds then pulled a handgun equipped with a silencer from under his jacket.
“You got that right, dude,” he grinned as he calmly pulled the trigger four times.
“Was that absolutely necessary?” whined Greg, Director of Finance, as George’s body slumped to the floor.
“Greg, sometimes I wonder why the fuck I ever involved you in all of this,” Wayne snarled in exasperation. “What were we supposed to do? Believe the schmuck and let him go? You just better pray that he didn’t speak to anybody about all of this.”
Turning to one of the other two, he continued. “Bring his car out back and get him out of here. Dump him and the car in some tough neighbourhood somewhere. Hopefully, the cops will think it was a mugging or something.”
“Do you think he might have spoken to somebody?” Greg questioned uneasily as he watched the body being dragged away.
“He can’t have been on to us for long so, I doubt it,” Wayne replied with his usual overconfidence. “But if he has, I’m sure they’ll understand that their best bet is to shut the fuck up.”