Precious Cargo

All characters appearing in this story are mine of my own design.
This story is a work of fiction based upon nothing in particular.

Precious Cargo is copyright © The Silver Coyote

Hurricane Jessica

According to the guards, he had just used his one allowed telephone call to call his sister on his GSM phone. The guards had confiscated his phone after one of them had discovered him hanging up from the call in his jail cell. It was the best he could hope for, at least his family knew where he was.

It was his own damned fault for being here. He supposed his hormones might have gotten the better of him. All he'd done was pick up a hitch- hiker in Page when he had stopped for gas. Or had she picked him up? It was hard to say. She had approached him, backpack in paw, in the grocery store service station office while he had been paying for his gas. She asked him if he was heading west, and could she ride along with him? She was the most beautiful ferret he had ever seen. After taking in her figure, her hair, her gorgeous eyes, he'd have answered in the affirmative if he'd have been on his way to Mars. She introduced herself as Jessica, her smile melted his soul.

They had talked some as they headed west on US 89 towards Kanab. As the beautiful desert scenery of southern Utah sailed by the windows of his Jeep Cherokee, she had told him she was a college student on a break, hitching home from back east to see her family. She described Montclair, the town east of Los Angeles in which she grew up. Her father and mother both worked for Boeing Aerospace in Pomona. She was attending college at Wright Aerospace Academy in Dayton, the new Air Force sponsored university for engineers in the aerospace and missile sciences. Her smooth-as-silk voice, her easy manner, her enchanting smile, all had added up for him to an enormously pleasant conversation.

They had traveled trouble free as the afternoon wore on. They stopped at an A &W in Kanab for burgers and sodas, and continued on to Utah state highway 15. Mike related some information to Jessica about his home and family, describing growing up in Orange County and his current college career at Biola University. She asked many questions about his church and his involvement there, which he was only too happy to answer. By the time they had passed through the little town of Virgin (the irony of that name was not lost on Mike, he grinned in spite of himself in his jail cell), Jessica had settled in for the ride all the way to Los Angeles.

Then, out of nowhere, the patrol cruiser had appeared behind them, lights flashing. Mike was sure he hadn't been going over the 70 mile per hour speed limit. His old Jeep Cherokee probably couldn't go that fast, anyway! Before the dust had settled from his pulling over to the shoulder, his confusion shifted rapidly to stark fear when he observed the officer approaching his window brandishing a large caliber revolver, demanding he get out and lay face down on the ground. Another officer on the far side of his Jeep was ordering Jessica to do likewise from behind a riot shotgun.

Within minutes there were half a dozen cruisers on scene, and at least a dozen officers from different jurisdictions. Helicopters buzzed overhead, one landed in the roadway not too far away from where he had stopped on the shoulder. Initially he was told to sit in the dust next to his Jeep while Jessica was taken to sit in a cruiser's back seat. Then he was pawcuffed and advised of his rights. He was told he was being arrested for aiding and abetting, whatever that was. Jessica was taken away in the cruiser she had been sitting in, he was eventually driven away in another. He hadn't seen her since. He had no idea where his Jeep was. Later, at the State Police station in La Verkin, he'd been told he was under arrest for aiding and abetting a known felon, and that he was going to be transported to a county facility in Hurricane, Utah. Outside of that small amount of information, he had no knowledge of what Jessica was supposed to have done, or why he was under suspicion.

Now in his jail cell, he was scared, lonely, and horribly uninformed.

Meanwhile Natalie Shapir, a.k.a. Jessica, was sitting at a table on an opposite side of the same building. There were three furs in the room with her. The first, a young, stocky black tiger with a strong Bostonian accent, was from the Salt Lake City office of the FBI. A taller, thin brown bear in a captain's uniform of the Utah State Police was from the Cedar City office of that agency. He was soft spoken and clear of eye, born and raised in the Beehive State. The third fur, a coyote dressed in an undecorated olive drab jumpsuit and wearing a semiautomatic pistol at his waist, was a member of the Interstate Police Force, home office unknown, most recently of the Gulfstream Six business jet sitting on the tarmac at the local airport outside of Cedar City. The IPF fur looked faintly Sonoran, but it was hard to tell. He had yet to utter a word.

The FBI fur addressed the sullen ferret who sat staring at the three of them. "We have you, Natalie. The very best you can hope for is a reduced sentence, and the only way a judge is going to consider that is if you turn the rest of your cell to us."

Mike would not have recognized this ferret. Whereas her alter ego Jessica had been warm, friendly, and fetching, this same ferret named Natalie was cold and hard as steel, a mean and ugly sneer on her muzzle. "Fuck you!" she spat at the furs in front of her. "I've got nothing to say. Talk to my lawyer."

The eyebrows of the coyote arched slightly. The State Police officer stepped forward and addressed the ferret before the FBI fur could formulate a reply to her caustic response. "Natalie. They have you dead to rights on video, training other members of your cell to make bombs and gas weapons. They also have you on video and audio discussing where and under what circumstances to deploy these weapons. There is an eye witnesses that places you at the bombing in Columbus last week."

"So?" she asked. "Send me to prison! I'll be out before you know it, one way or the other." She smiled imperiously at the officer, at them all. "If my lawyer won't do it, my crew will."

The coyote stepped forward to stand next to the FBI fur, who addressed the ferret again, snorting in contempt. "Your crew... Natalie, we have Greg and Mary. They're both singing like birds. We'll have all the names they're spouting rounded up by the end of the week. And we ran down your money fur this morning in Toronto. Your crew is broken up."

Natalie's countenance fell for just a moment. This information obviously jarred her. But then the imperious look returned. "So?" she demanded again. "Then I don't need to tell you jerks anything. You already have all the answers. Piss off!"

"We need one thing, Natalie," the FBI tiger replied calmly. "We need your director. We need the fur you take instruction from."

"Instruction? Hah! Nobody tells me what to do. This country is so fucked up that targets of opportunity abound, I don't need anybody pointing them out for me! What you laughingly call a government justifies the slaughter of millions for something as ridiculous as a few barrels of oil, yet similar behavior by clear thinking citizens within it's own borders is ruthlessly persecuted. You're all fools!" She fairly glowed upon the conclusion of this obviously rehearsed diatribe.

The coyote stepped forward, ever so slightly eclipsing the FBI fur. In a quiet voice with a touch of a Sonoran accent he addressed the ferret. "Miss Shapir." He smiled to her, she sneered back. "Your dialog is about ten years out of date. People were passing this load of crap around when the senior President Bush was in office. It's outdated, as is your appraisal of and trust in our judicial system. Your perception of your rights is incorrect. Welcome to the twenty first century." He paused for effect, and to judge her reaction.

She stared at him, the sneer still fixed on her muzzle, saying nothing.

"My name is Hector," he continued after a moment. "I work for the Interstate Police Force. Our organization was formed specifically to find, detain, and destroy if necessary furs like you. As you have already heard, we have more than enough evidence to put you away on multiple life sentences. What you may not understand is that I have the presidential authority to pass and carry out any sentence deemed appropriate by me in this matter, here and now." Again he paused, smiling slightly. With deliberate slowness he moved his left paw to unsnap the nylon strap securing his pistol within it's holster.

"You can't intimidate me, asshole," Natalie spat at him.

Turning to the FBI fur and the State Police captain Hector said "Excuse us, gentlefurs, if you please..." The other two furs glanced at each other silently, the captain with a worried expression, the FBI agent's face an unreadable blank, and turned to leave the room. The door shut behind them. As this was happening, Natalie's expression changed from smug, to concerned, to worried, to scared as the door clicked shut.

"Now, Miss Shapir," Hector said, turning to face her once again, "it is just you and I. 'Mano a mano', as we say in my town. You will tell me what I want to know, or you and I will dance. And I must warn you, Miss Shapir, I lead forcefully. Very forcefully." The pistol, a Beretta 92SBE, seemed to almost levitate from it's holster into his paw. " Now you have only one choice and only one opportunity, Miss Shapir, so pay attention." With an absolutely calm expression on his own face he placed the barrel of the pistol against her temple. "Who is your director?"

"Fuck you…"

In his cell across the building Mike heard the gunshot. Wondering what kind of insane asylum masquerading as a police station he had fallen into, he sank to his knees on the floor and began to pray.

To Chapter Twenty Four: To The Rescue.

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