Neville Dugat wants to talk. To the team’s knowledge, he has never been at a loss for words, but this is the first time he has initiated a conversation. Samantha and the other team members are hoping for a breakthrough. It’s going on 3 o’clock, and as they’ve learned from the events of the last couple of days, they need to move fast. If you don’t, the window of opportunity as well as the actual window may not only close but be blown to hell.
Samantha asks, “Has Neville been read his Miranda rights?”
Monroe answers, “Yes. When we captured him, and he was semi-conscious.”
“Maybe we should read them to him again? We don’t want to give him any loop holds.”
Monroe says, “Good idea. Officer Jones, would you?”
“Be happy to.”
Samantha adds, “Formally arrest him too.”
“What are the charges?” Officer Jones asks.
Samantha pulls out a paper from her purse, reads for a moment, counts to herself a few times and says, “Let’s see, … four counts of attempted murder, four maybe five counts of kidnapping then two more murders, maybe even more… all premeditated.” Samantha realizes that’s a lot to remember and wanting to be official, hands Officer Jones the paper and says, “Here… and tell him that’s just the beginning.”
Officer Jones nods and goes into Neville’s room. All look at one another hoping for the best.
Monroe makes eye contact with Samantha. “This is your play.”
She nods, smiles sternly at Jesse, Bob, and Monroe and warns them, “No ad libs,” then nervously adds, “I hope I have my lines down, but it’s better if Neville does a monologue. He is the star in this play.”
Monroe nods. They can only hear muffled voices in the next room. Then suddenly, ‘I don’t think so’, and a couple of expletives. It appears Neville disagrees with the charges.
Officer Jones comes back in, smiling and looking pleased. “Neville isn’t happy. I told him, ‘Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.’ I love saying that.”
“Well, it’s time,” adds Samantha.
The team enters Neville’s room, and he jumps up, “What the hell is with those charges?”
Samantha answers, “Those are the charges you’ve earned. Honestly, Mr. Dugat, that’s the tip of the iceberg. This is your opportunity to choose if you want to share some of the charges with your accomplices, or carry them all on your shoulders alone ? It’s up to you.”
Neville stares back at her in silence.
Samantha continues, “We told Nurse Drew you made a bargain to tell us everything. You know when? The day before the compound was leveled. I bet she thinks you’re dead, but not because we told her, or she saw it on the news. It wasn’t on the news, and we didn’t tell her. Quite a coincidence, isn’t it?… Mr. Dugat, it’s time to end this.”
Neville soberly asks, “Have you called Harriet Drew?”
“Are you worried?”
“It’s better if she thinks I’m dead.”
“Because she’ll try again?” Samantha asks.
“Oh, yes… If they know I’m still alive, no doubt they’ll try again. Better for her also if she thinks I’m dead.”
“They’ll kill her too. They don’t allow witnesses.” Neville’s usual confident intelligent air has disappeared, and he shakes his head realizing it’s over. His thoughts have turned inward. His guilt has caught up with him. Now he needs to try to lessen his charges. He is focused on self-preservation and retribution for those who got him into this mess. He won’t go down alone. Resigned to his fate, Neville says, “I was approached by a man… a Draakar from a small island in the Caribbean called San Marin.”
Shock spreads across the faces in the room, especially Pamela’s. When they escaped their world before it was destroyed, Pamela was unaware Draakars were among them although she later learned the Draakars’ numbers could be counted on one hand. Now she learns a spaceship from Osteo escaped their doomed planet with Draakars who now live on islands in the Caribbean. Dazed, a million questions run through Pamela’s head.
Samantha does a double take when she glances at Pamela and realizes this information is shocking to her. “Do you have any questions?”
Surprised, Pamela is taken off guard but quickly answers, “Yes.” She opens her mouth to speak but goes blank. An awkward pause follows as everyone looks on waiting. Pamela in an unusually inarticulate voice asks, “Well,… you… Mr. Dugat, you said… San Marin in the Caribbean?”
“He lived there? Were there Osteoans on this island?”
“There were. Yes.”
“Was the island… Was it inhabited by others beside Osteoans?” “Are… are there other Osteoans, on other Islands?”
“I really couldn’t say.”
“Is this the place where they arrived from our world?”
“Mrs. Lawton, I didn’t receive a history lesson from him.”
Worried, Pamela asks, “Did others know what he was doing?”
“I have no idea.”
Pamela tells Samantha, “Thanks. I have so many questions… I’ll learn more later.” Pamela looks at Bob, very emotional at the news, smiles and tells him. “Maybe we can take a little trip to San Marin.”
Bob lovingly replies, “We will. Count on it.”
Samantha nods, retakes the reigns and asks, “What did this man want, Mr. Dugat?”
Passionately but with a hint of hostility Neville answers, “He wanted the world to have more Draakars. For the first time, a Draakar was not trying to hide who he was to the world. I was angry that so few, if any, would ever admit they were Draakars. My mother kept it from everyone. I never knew a Draakar who was proud of being one. My whole life all Draakars seemed ashamed of who they were, and now a Draakar from another island was asking me to help him in developing drugs like Doesonear, to help Draakars. It was more of a preservation thing with me. I didn’t know what I was getting into.”
“Does this man have a name, Mr. Dugat?”
“His name is Victor Daulton.”
Samantha asks, “You stated you didn’t know what you were getting into. What did you find yourself a part of?”
“Well, I later found out he has specific plans to create Draakars from regular humans in addition to recruiting other Draakars. He wants to offer them as mercenaries to dictators mostly in South America, I believe. I found out shortly before you guys put me in here. I bought into the preservation of Draakars aspect, not the mercenaries part, but as you may have seen, you cross him, and you’re a dead man or woman. It doesn’t matter.”
Bob and Jesse are both so angry, almost seething at what they’ve just heard.
“I’ll tell you where he is, but first you have to give me something,” adds Neville.
“And what would that be, Mr. Dugat?” asks Samantha.
“Those counts of murder and attempted murder. I didn’t kill anyone. I’ll admit to abduction for experimental purposes only, but I never meant for anyone to come to harm. If I tell you how to get him, you have to cut me some slack and drop those charges.”
“As if you haven’t committed any crimes, Mr. Dugat?”
“If you want to know where he is.”
“No judge will allow all charges to be dropped, Mr. Dugat.”
“I want that deal, and you need to give it to me because Victor Daulton, if he believes he’s in danger, is packing up to leave as we speak. You can believe he’s got an escape plan ready.”
“Mr. Dugat, what you say might be true, but he thinks you’re dead, remember?”
Neville replies, “For now, counselor, for now, but he hasn’t survived this long without having his own sense of self-preservation. He’ll know something’s up, and he’s a very cautious man. He’ll run alright, and make sure he leaves no one behind who can testify against him. Then he’ll make plans to return... I don’t know when, but he’ll return.”
“He can’t be allowed to leave,” Jesse interrupts anxiously.
Monroe says, “We want to know where he is… NOW.”
Samantha adds, “I will do what I can. I’ll tell the judge about your cooperation, and I guarantee you’ll receive lesser charges and be shown leniency, but Mr. Dugat, if this man, Victor Daulton, gets away because you were slow in giving us the information, all bets are off.”
“Near Mandeville, not too far from Lake Pontchartrain there’s a house hidden in the trees on Bayou Cane. I don’t know the address or name of a road. I can find it, but you’ll have to take me with you. I was there only twice. You’ll need me there especially if you’re in a rush.”
“You’ve decided to help us now, Mr. Dugat?” asks Monroe.
“If you get Victor Daulton, or better yet kill him, I’m helping myself.” Neville states.
“And you might get a chance to escape, right?” Monroe turns to everyone and asks, “What do you think?”
Jesse chimes in, “I think we need to act now, the sooner the better.”
Bob and the rest agree.
Officer Jones asks, “How many men does Victor Daulton have protecting him?”
“Not sure,” replies Neville.
Monroe asks, “Samantha, do you have any more questions?“
Monroe continues, “We need to make plans.”
They all nod and start to leave Neville’s room. Neville smiles, and Samantha catches a glimpse, stops and says, “Mr. Dugat should you be lucky enough to go with them and try to escape you could be shot. At the very least any deals are off the table. No leniency.”
Neville nods, “Right, Counselor.”
Monroe asks Officer Jones, “How fast can you bring the Finding together?”
“I can have… maybe fifty in an hour to two. Then adding travel time, another hour.”
“Be dusk about then,” Monroe says.
“And we don’t know the area, all the terrain, the bayous,” adds Jesse. “And we damn sure can’t trust Neville.”
Bob asks them, “Can we send a few of the Finding to do reconnaissance? We need intel, location, number of men, the works… Then maybe we’ll attack at dawn.”
“I like it. I wish we could leave him here,” Monroe comments with contempt as he looks toward Neville’s room.
Suddenly Officer Jones’s phone rings. All eyes swerve in his direction. When a phone rings lately, they all automatically think, ‘What now?’ “Hello… I see… Only three?... Still there?... Hold on…” Officer Jones looks at the others and quickly reports, “Three men were caught searching through the rubble.”
Jesse says, “Looking for bodies.”
Monroe tells Officer Jones, “We can’t let them go.”
Officer Jones back on the phone, “Take them in. No one escapes.”
“We can’t wait until tomorrow. Our Mr. Daulton will be waiting to hear from them… He’ll know something is up,” Bob tells them.
“Can we send a few ahead with us right behind?” asks Jesse.
“We’ll have to,” Monroe says and nods ‘Go ahead.’
Officer Jones redials, “Come to the compound, now… Bring the bus. I’ll explain, hurry.”
Monroe says, “Let’s get our guide ready.”
Officer Jones says over his shoulder as he goes to retrieve Neville, “We can handcuff him and leave three others with him, with orders to kill him should he free himself.”
Perplexed, Pamela mentions, “It is hard to believe that many from this island are a part of this. It is not the Draakar way.”
“Maybe they did not bring the ‘Draakar Way’ with them to our new world,” Bob says.
Jesse adds, “Might be a good thing if fewer are protecting him.”
Samantha tells Pamela, “Hopefully Victor Daulton is the exception to the rule.”
A slight hum of the bus is heard, and Monroe says, “Well, let’s go find out.”
Hard knocks on the door alert the team to action. The Finding have arrived. Through the open door the bus engine becomes louder. Officer Jones rushes out the door with Neville followed by the others who board the bus. The Recon Finding already on board sit ready to go. As the bus speeds away, maps of their destination appear. The wooded areas are familiar territory, but Cane Bayou is much closer than they first thought. Victor Daulton is a Draakar, and it is no mistake he chose this safe house along a bayou for a quick get a way should it be needed. The team needs their own plan of action. Plans are in motion... Plans are underway but with so little time to plan…