Kathy Bennett had years of experience working with people who wanted to hide something. Their encounter with Faye Arthyr convinced her the woman wasn‘t telling everything. Fortunately Kathy had the resources to tell what was being hidden.
Kathy and John were at a U.S. Naval Air Station that was technically in mothballs and used for parts storage. One of those ‘parts’ included a Stealth Fighter in one corner. The staff were under orders to help the CIA agent any way she needed. The Station’s IT guy was more than capable of help her ‘access’ Ole Miss’ intranet. Soon Kathy was looking a at a very secure, very hidden list of artifacts found at the buried mound.
The sheer quantity was overwhelming. With literally millions of items here it was hard to even decide where to start. Then she noticed a variation in the serial number grouping. Most serial numbers ran sequentially. 1001 was on the end of the shelf, 1002 was at the beginning of the next shelf with 1003 sitting next to it. But there were quite a few items scattered non-sequentially throughout the warehouse. Kathy printed a list of their locations then headed for a late lunch.
As the sun went down their Honda Accord was parked beside the laundromat on the edge of town. The local JAG office had provided the undercover vehicle at request of the Secretary of the Navy himself. After about fifteen minutes a University of Mississippi pickup truck went by. Their driver pulled out and followed it. He was one of two Navy SEALs assigned to the couple, also by special request of the Secretary. The second sat in the passenger’s seat with a submachine gun tucked under it. Someone very high up was taking this investigation very seriously.
The pickup pulled off in front of the huge former cotton warehouse and parked. The SEAL drove the Honda past the warehouse, parking behind a closed service station where they could see what was going on. The “employee” got out and walked to the door, unlocking it. The man stayed inside for fifteen minutes, then drove away.
Once the pickup was out of sight their car pulled across the street into the alley running down the side of the warehouse. Halfway through they stopped, John and Kathy stepped out and the SEALs continued through to the other end of the alley. Kathy found the side door unlocked and the two slipped inside.
They put on night vision goggles, allowing them to move in the darkness. Kathy cue her throat mike and whispered to their backup.
“This is HELEN. We’re in. Over.”
The voice of the second SEAL whispered in her ear.
“HELEN this is TROY we read you. Move. Over and out.”
Once the University Security checked it at dark the warehouse sat alone for six hours. But while their source inside the Archaeology Department said nighttime visits to be rare, they weren’t out of the question. While neither of the two intruders were concerned about being arrested they didn’t have the time to spend getting bailed out of the County jail. John had a deadline and Kathy had VIPs at the top to impress. If there was a threat to the nation– or world– the sooner POTUS knew about it the better.
After lunch Kathy had made laminated copies of the anomalous serial numbers and their locations. The pair now moved through narrow aisles toward the locations. When the warehouse had been built fifty years ago it was the third largest cotton warehouse in Mississippi. The University bought it during the late seventies and fixed it up enough to store artifacts. Now it looked like something straight out of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Metal shelves stretched twenty five feet up to the ceiling, loaded with containers.
The variety of artifacts was staggering and eerily similar to what they had seen in Russia. Everything from soil samples to tools to garbage to skeletons were stored here. Each was carefully stored in a container with a bar code on it. There were fifty rows of these shelves. Kathy was glad she’d done her homework.
There were fifty items they had to find. It soon became evident someone really wanted to hide these. They were mostly small and stashed in literally the hardest places to find. But she still had to find each one. After the first two had been found Kathy called in the SEALs. Even with the extra manpower made things go faster four hours passed by the time Kathy took the final digital photographs and the SEALs helped her back to the ground floor.
John had found two hundred metal boxes, locked and stacked on the tops of several shelves. Selecting a box at random a SEAL picked one of the locks and popped it open for Kathy to examine. It held numbered manila envelopes full of papers, photographs and CDs. With no time to investigate Kathy relocked the box and had the man replace it. The four paused for a moment to ponder what secrets might be locked in the boxes. And why they were locked there.
But there was precious little time to ponder anything. The two SEALs left the building and soon the four were on the road. But halfway to the Air Station both Kathy and the SEALs had noticed the cars they kept seeing behind them.
The SEAL in the passenger’s seat made a phone call.
“ODYSSEUS this is TROY. We need some HORSEPOWER.”
A moment later two Mississippi Highway Patrol cruisers pulled over the two sedans. Unmarked black SUVs arrived moments later. Black clad figures with automatic weapons hustled Abraham Hunter and his associates off into the darkness.