Family Ties
Chapter 15

Copyright© 2020 by Lumpy

After fifteen days Taylor and Whitaker stepped out of the central Berlin police station, following their final round of interviews with the police and government attorneys.

They had almost didn’t make it out of the storage locker. The responding officers saw all the scattered bodies on the floor in official-looking uniforms and reacted poorly. Even though Taylor had thrown down his weapon, he could see several fingers tightening on triggers as they looked around the carnage about them.

Police officers are well trained and have procedures they are required to follow, but they’re also people. Seeing what you believe are murdered coworkers and friends can overwhelm even the most disciplined person into a lapse of judgment, a certainly fatal lapse in Taylor’s case.

Luck, the single biggest thing Taylor and Whitaker ever seemed to have going for them, was on their side once more. One of the responding officers recognized a body lying face up in the hallway. Apparently, not all of Graf’s men were mercenaries. Some were, in fact, just street criminals who didn’t mind physical work. In this case, it was a criminal that the officer recognized. His audible confusion at seeing someone he knew for a fact wasn’t in law enforcement dressed up as one of their tactical response team members was enough to slow everyone down just enough to keep things from going south.

That wasn’t enough to get them to handle Taylor and Whitaker with kid gloves, but it did keep them from getting shot. The officers were still keyed up and weren’t gentle about putting Taylor and Whitaker into the back of patrol cars. Taylor still had the remnants of a few of the bruises as he stood outside the police station, but at least he was alive.

Things had spiraled out of control after that. Confusion was rampant within a few hours. First, there was the issue of Graf being there at all. He was signed out for the day and hadn’t arranged for any official actions that would require a heavy response team. Then they found a complete lack of any kind of documentation required for their involvement. Finally, they got prints back on several more of the bodies in the storage building, none of whom had any business being dressed out as police officers.

It took more than a day for anyone to even question Taylor or Whitaker as they tried to figure out what the hell was going on. When detectives finally did interview the two of them, separately, of course, they dismissed their story out of hand.

Taylor didn’t blame them. Even he had to admit it sounded outlandish. Thankfully, Joe Solomon had called in a few favors, enough for the Germans to begin an investigation into both the evidence they’d acquired and looking into Graf himself.

Taylor had been right that they didn’t have enough proof. Had Graf been alive to make excuses, he would have almost certainly have been able to talk his way around the financial records and video. Thankfully, that wasn’t all they had after the confrontation at the storage locker. The two fake officers they’d detained had talked, trying to cut a deal, selling the other one out. The police also picked up the banker, who eventually talked as well.

What bothered Taylor, though, was that he had the impression that all that together still wouldn’t have been enough had Graf still been alive. Officials did not want to come to grips with the idea that one of their own was dirty and kept looking for a way to rationalize everything.

Graf wasn’t alive, however. In the end, the officials decided they’d rather sweep everything under the rug rather than deal with the fallout of a dirty cop. Taylor and Whitaker had to agree to quietly get the hell out of Germany in exchange for the dropping of all charges. Since this included shooting a gun and causing a panic at the college campus, something they actually did do, that worked for Taylor. It wasn’t perfect, but it was probably the best deal they would get.

“I still think this is bullshit,” Whitaker said as they started walking down the steps away from the police station.

“It’s how things are. I know it sucks that everything’s being swept under the rug, but that was how it’s always going to be. At a high enough level, everything’s about politics. Do you think if the Bureau found an agent actively committing paid murders and framing people to cover it up, and they had the chance, they wouldn’t make everything quietly go away?”

“No, they wouldn’t. They exposed Aldrich Ames.”

“He was still alive, so they had to do something. If he’d shot himself, they would have made it look like an unfortunate end to a glorious career and hushed everything up.”

Whitaker stopped and gave glared at Taylor.

“Hey,” he said, holding up his hands in a don’t shoot gesture, “I’m just pointing out how things really are. If anything, the military’s worse when it comes to something like this. It’s the way it is. They were never going to come out and say, ‘we had a bad officer who did all these bad things.’ What’s worse is that the people who ordered all of this aren’t even getting that. They’re getting away with everything.”

They reached the street, and Taylor held out an arm, waving down a passing taxi.

“They’re who I’m worried about. These are the type of people who believe they’re above everything. If they think we’re in any way a danger to them, they’ll silence us.”

“Is that why you didn’t want to mention the journal or turn it over?”

Taylor had managed to signal to Whitaker as they were being apprehended to say nothing about the journal. Since the cops had kept them separate, he hadn’t been sure she’d gotten the message until later, during the interrogation.

“No, that won’t matter to them. We already know enough to be a problem.”

“So, how do we make ourselves not a danger?”

“We can’t, so we go the other way. Everything’s a balance sheet with people like this. We have to make it so that it’s not worth the costs of coming after us. We have to make ourselves radioactive.”

She had more to say, but Taylor waved her off, opening the taxi door for Whitaker to get in. They rode in silence to the Wissler Trust offices Taylor had previously visited, both to gather their thoughts and because this wasn’t the type of conversation they wanted to have in front of a stranger.

“I still don’t like it,” Whitaker said once they were out of the car.

“I know. This is what I’ve been trying to say for a long time now. Laws are great, and policies have their place, but not everything falls into those black and white guidelines. Sometimes reality forces our hand. They bought off a police officer and had him murder multiple people and frame us, just to keep a journal hinting at illegal activities from surfacing. They aren’t going to let the law keep them from doing whatever they want to do. There are only three ways out for us, here. Getting every last one of them arrested on something so damning they won’t be able to wiggle out of it, which considering their political clout doesn’t seem feasible. Killing everyone involved with the trust until there’s no one left to come after us. Again, not a feasible option. The only remaining option is convincing them it’s better for them to leave us alone.”

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