Chapter Two

No matter that his best friend had a magic alien suit, some of FBI work is simply sitting reading, being on the computer, and trying to get links to connect the various aspects of a crime wave. By the time Bill got a hold of the case, a three days had passed since Perkins, Bailey and Wallinski had been blown up, which historically in his work with Ralph was too long for Ralph to pick up on the vibes of the destroyed mansion. So, Bill figured he was responsible for establishing a starting place. That meant nitpicking through the case. Unlike his boss, Bill loved puzzles and solving them. A third of the enjoyment of the case was putting the pieces together and discerning the perpetrator, a third was the arrest and any action that occurred as a result, and the last third was seeing the creep sentenced to jail; one less person putting society and civilians at risk.

Bill spent the day reading through the chart and familiarizing himself with the case. Four businessmen had recently been killed:

First victim: Popolopokis, Arnold, Senior Vice President of International Mailers, Inc. Died 5/12/83, when car exploded upon ignition. IMI was an international shipping company, flying documents overnight all around the world.

Second victim: Thomkins, William, CFO of Technological Insights, Inc. Died 5/22/83 at vacation home in Lake Tahoe. TII made computer components. The first two Feds, David Dankins and Paul Jones had died with Mr. Thomkins.

Third victim: Michaels, Stephen, Comptroller of Edgars. Died 5/29/83 when private jet he was piloting exploded right after take-off. Edgars was a franchised restaurant chain.

Fourth victim: Perkins, Harold, CEO Global Paper Enterprises. Died 6/10/83 when home blew up. GE was a paper manufacturing plant. Bailey and Wallinski had died here.

The file disclosed that none of the men knew each other. The only clue Bailey and Wallinski had found, which had led them, unfortunately but correctly, to Perkins, had been a slip of paper found by the edge of the runway Michaels had used, in some weeds. It was a little memo pad note, with "GPE next" on it. Bailey and Wallinski had used the computer to come up with all companies with GPE initials and had set themselves to chat with all the CEOs, to try to find some link.

Bill had known all four men, but considered himself a friend of the 35 year old Tom Bailey. Bailey had been on his Fed bowling team. He had a wicked spin on his bowling ball, which Bill could never replicate, and was the team's high striker. He had an easy laugh, a wife, and two young kids. Bill scowled at the thought of those kids losing their father and Lisa, his pretty wife, losing her husband. Whatever creeps were responsible for this, Bill vowed to himself would be brought to justice. Silently rolling his right shoulder to clear his head, Bill returned to studying the file. There had to be something connecting these four men.

The drudge work began. He got a list of all the employees of all the companies for the last ten years who had joined or departed any of the companies and checked to see if any had worked for the other companies. There were no intermixing of employees. No major changes at the companies; no large lay-offs. A few contentious firings, the previous agents had ruled out any of the ex-employees as suspicious.

Another odd thing was that all four businessmen had been killed when they were alone or with FBI agents investigating the case. The bomber apparently did not want random family or civilian deaths on his head. These were specifically targeted explosions, and went off just when precisely determined. That meant the bombs were probably planted previously and then the businessman were followed, to ensure they were alone or with interfering Feds, when the bombs were set off, no doubt by radio signal…

Since the detonation material was stolen from an Air Force base, and since the method of killing had a Special Ops nature about it—being able to plant the devices, following the victim without being detected, using radio signals to initiate the device-Bill wondered if any military trained bomb experts had gone rogue. In any case, it sure seemed like it was a professional job all around.

He contacted a friend he had at the Pentagon, who promised to look into it and would get back to him in the morning. Sighing at the wait, Bill's mind when back to when he had taken Ralph to the FBI vault in the basement, where old evidence was stored of unsolved cases. Ralph had grabbed a recovered machine gun and holographed a murder; although the theft was old, the murderer was using one of the guns at that moment. If, then, the bomber was planning another bomb, perhaps handing Ralph a piece of the Bailey crime scene would enable him to vibe a new clue or even the identification of the bomber.

It was worth a try.

Bill lifted his Styrofoam cup and chugged down the last of the black water brewed in the office coffee pot. Cold and bitter, like Old Faithful, it caused a little heartburn to erupt up his esophagus. Bill was used to that. Heartburn and him were old pals, keeping each other company at least twice a week. What Fed didn't get heartburn? What Fed didn't get skull pounding headaches? Well, Bill thought, putting on his suit jacket and collecting the file, probably Carlisle, who no doubt escaped the common ailments of working agents by causing both of them in others.