[Background music at the end. This story will be posted in full after the Challenge for those of us that like to read everything in one complete telling,]
ESCALATION – Wednesday Early Morning
Entwined in each other’s embrace starts a hectic day, equipping us with the energy to cope with the traumas dug up at CID. Our Aberdaron assault case is bogged down with confused victims, inflicting identities, and other cases taking precedence. Most are evaluated – by money powers – as more ‘exigent’.
Results that use less resources. Austerity 101. Ffyc restraints. My case means my rules.
We have found no addresses in the Nefyn area for the two men, and their occupations remain vague. Evidence is elusive.
While Kama rides her Ducati motorbike into Porthmadog, I ride my Ninja to Caernarfon, heading for the address of Göteborg Electric Engineers.
The unit is on an industrial estate that exposes the decline in UK industry. Rust and decay. Boarded up windows, chained gateways, abandoned cars, and a few thriving businesses. GEE is not one of them.
The weeds cracking the concrete steps are the healthiest evidence of life. Yet, the iron mesh gateway is wide open despite the other signs the business is dead.
Heart sinking, tattoos jangling, I park the bike then try the front entrance. Nothing – as expected.
I check the windows and side doors. Nothing. My heart ebbs. I grit my teeth. Another dead end.
I walk back to my bike, intending to report in.
A delivery van pulls up by the unit, and the driver carries a large box to the front door, then leaves. Does he know the unit is abandoned? What were his instructions – if any?
I check the package, but there are no indications of what it is. A 2x 4x 5 shipping box. The only clue are two labels. One shows the sender’s address – GEE in Sweden, who must know their UK subsidiary’s correct address. The second is a FRAGILE – FREIGHT label.
My tattoos warn me to leave so I drive to a position from where I observe the building. Report in as I watch.
“This address for GEE is for an abandoned unit. But a van has just made a delivery as if it will be collected. Number plate and details memorized. I’ll wait and see. Smiles.”
Time drags with background traffic noise and seagulls. Beach noises win. Visions of sand and beautiful shells.
My mobile rings. The PCSO on-duty at the hospital.
“We endeavoured to stop him, but Ellis Evans checked himself out without giving us a clear idea of where to reach him. Vic Vaughn is still here and making no sense. If he attempts to leave in similar circumstances, I will attempt to dissuade him more effectively. I’m sorry I let you down.”
“You didn’t. Nobody knew that he would do that. I’ll make sure we locate him.”
“Diolch. I believe that with your reputation.”
Ellis Evans – the man whose clothes I failed to check. My stomach tenses – twists. Too late now. Forensics should have done their job anyway.
I close my eyes. Another fail DI Ffion Baines will struggle to explain to the Chief Constable.
The sound of a vehicle turning into the unit’s yard pulls me back to my stakeout. It’s a Skoda Octavia Estate 4 x 4 with GEE signage. The driver gets out and retrieves the package. She’s tall, elegant and athletic, 5’11” – fitting the exotic description the diving trainer gave our SWP colleague.
“Package retrieved. Following vehicle and suspect matching SWP description. Will send photo of licence plate. Track me please, cariad.”
The 4 x 4 is unaware of the tail and leads me to an industrial park on the outskirts. Smarter, newer, flourishing businesses, including the North Wales offices of GEE. Security is evident everywhere, from CCTV to guards.
What is being protected? GEE hardly registered in our checks. No alerts. No criminal records. No evidence of felonious intent. Who are they?
F for Freight, Felony and Fragile. G for Göteborg. E for Electronics and Ellis Evans. Plus, Escalation and Evasion. I for Identity and Instructor. N for Nefyn and Nowhere.
FEIGN. Who is attempting to deceive us? Someone is playing games and my tattoos say we are not the Home team nor is this Eirias Stadium.
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William Congreve – The Mourning Bride