“A Mouse In The House”
“They’re organizing some kind of special brute squad to invade the Northwest and deal with us hatemongers, Federal Domestic Terrorist Police or something like that. Apparently it will be kind of like the Black and Tans in Ireland a century ago. It’s still in the planning stage, but Mr. Chips was bringing us the word from the Army Council to start preparing tactical and strategic plans to deal with a big increase in fed boots on the street and a lot tougher tactics. I myself was there from Three sec acting for Colonel Redmond, and Tommy Coyle and Harry Hannon both there to brainstorm.”
“You had both brigade commandants and an Army Council member there in the same room?” demanded Bresler. “Jeez Louise, that was risky!”
“I know, but sometimes we just have to put our heads together and work out a tough problem, and this was one of those times. The meeting never actually got started because Harry hadn’t arrived yet.”
“A panel truck sounds like bugging equipment, though,” said Bresler. “They might have had shotgun mikes or some of that weird microwave satellite gear. Did you sweep everybody who came in?”
“Yes, Red came down with those two kids from Dundee he uses a lot, Shane and Rooney, and Tommy had a couple of guys with him. I did them all myself as they came in the door, and nothing popped. I know, they can listen in on people in a basement now from satellites in space these days. They have fiber-optic micro-bugs that are the size of a pin head, bugs that look like cockroaches and even scuttle across the floor, you name it. The old-fashioned wire stuck on some guy’s shaven belly with surgical tape is as outdated as the flintlock. Whatever it was, I can tell you that they didn’t seem prepared to move on us. It looks to me like some kind of observation stakeout. But how the hell did they know where to listen in?” Hill slammed his fist into his palm in frustration.
“So what do we do now?” asked Bresler.
“We take every one of those incidents and we review and analyze the hell out of them,” said Hill. “Once we’ve narrowed it down to a few suspects, then it gets tricky, because we will have to devise some bogus setups to entrap them and see if we can make some Portland cops show up on cue at a certain place and time. These are the kinds of things that you will have to find out, Gary, because I can’t without tipping everybody in the Battalion that there’s a rat around, and you know that whatever else happens, we do not want that to get about. Our morale is high, largely because so far we have been able largely to prevent infiltration of this very kind. Rampaging paranoia and mistrust can destroy the Second Battalion as a fighting unit just as effectively as any mass arrest. It can even seep out of the Second Battalion and infect other units, and we have to prevent that at all costs. This has to be handled quietly, efficiently, and above all quickly, before anyone else dies or ends up in the Justice Center torture chambers.”