Busted Axle Road
Chapter 118

Copyright© 1993, 2001, 2010

"Where the hell did this shit come from?" McMullen raged to Harper. "How the hell did the L.A. Times come up with this stuff?"

"Hell, I don't know," Harper said, looking at the front page again. The headline read, "SCAM OF THE EARTH".

"There's supposed to be nobody that knows some of that but you and me!" McMullen said, even more pissed. "I haven't talked to this Bairnsfether character. It must have been you."

"I didn't say anything," Harper said. "Dale, I've got just as much riding on this as you do. Some of that had to come from the confidential files."

"But how?"

"I don't know," Harper said. "The only thing I can I think of is that we've been hacked."

"You mean, somebody got into the confidential files in the computer?"

"Hell, that's not the worst of it," Harper said. "I've been getting calls from all over the country. There's a special mailing that's gone out from somewhere. It's got a copy of the L.A. Times story, and a letter, and a proxy form asking our members to give their proxies to someone named John Pacobel. I never heard of this Pacobel character, and the membership rolls show he only joined the Defenders two weeks ago."

"How the hell big is this mailing?"

"Big. Just as a guess, I'd guess that it went to every member we have."

"How the hell did someone do that? Who did it? And, for that matter, it takes time to get a mailing like that out. How the hell did they get out a week or so ago a news story that only ran in the Times today?"

"It beats the hell out of me," Harper said. "It's got to be a setup, but I'd sure like to know who's behind it."

There was a ruckus outside Harper's office door. "You can't go in there," they heard Mollie yell. "They're in conference."

"Get out of my way, lady," a man's voice said. "We got a search warrant."

The door flew open, and several men burst into the room, bearing guns and riot gear. "Freeze!" one of the men yelled. "Hands on the desk, no sudden movements. You have a right to remain silent. You have a right to a lawyer. Anything you say can be held against you."

In moments, Harper and McMullen were laying on the floor, hands handcuffed behind them. One of the men wearing a jacket with "FBI" on it in big letters sat down at Harper's desk, and turned on the computer. He typed a few keystrokes, and the screen came alive with a menu.

"It's all here," he said after a moment. "Just like they told us."

"Download the whole thing," one of the agents ordered.

The agent was wrong. He'd never know it, but five minutes before they broke into the room, one of the files had been erased from Harris Harper's directory on the Defenders of Gaea mainframe, never to be recovered.

At just about the same time that the agent was downloading the evidence onto disks, the phone rang thirty miles away in Malibu. "I'll get it," Blake Walworth offered.

"No, I'll get it," Jenny said. "I think I know what it's about." She picked up the phone, and replied, "Evachevski residence."

"Jenny, what the hell do you think you're doing?" Knox's voice was so loud that even Blake could hear it across the room.

"I'm doing what I have to do, Fred," she replied calmly.

"First, you won't do any interviews at all, and then I look up and you're on Good Morning, America this morning, trashing the Defenders of Gaea. What the hell got into you?"

"Don't you read the paper, Fred?" Jenny said. "I mean, the front page, not the entertainment section? Your buddy McMullen and your buddy Harper are up to their asses in hot water. You were the one that put me up to doing that spot for them, and it's not the only thing that you've done for me that's not been in my best interests."

"That's telling him, Jenny," Blake said.

"But that interview on Good Morning, America! And I heard you shot an interview with Hollywood Tonight! You didn't have to say those things. Why not plug the picture you finished last summer, if you have to go on TV?"

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