Undercover Rose 3
Undercover Rose 3
I had to find a place to live. It would be defined by whatever the state decided to pay me as a salary plus the bonus of whatever I could ‘arrange’ from the investigations I made. So rather than contact Mission, I checked the balance on my prepaid credit card.
The balance had been $500 at the beginning of my job as a stripper. It was again $500 without any explanation. I didn’t argue. Instead I tried to decide what to do with the money. It was hard since I didn’t have any idea where I would be headed next, or how long it would be between jobs.
I had been given a temporary rotating email address. I had been told by the Camp Commandant that it would be good for 30 days, if it was not compromised before then. Either way a new one would be activated for me when needed. The email I received at that address was simply two sets of numbers. I recognized it immediately as GPS coordinates. When I applied them to a map, they appeared to be in the middle of nowhere. It appeared to be back in the mountainous area around Church Camp.
I doubted that it would be on the campus of Church Camp. I did expect that it was close enough for the staff at the camp to launch a rescue mission if needed. The trick would be for me to make sure it was never needed. I hope that I would never give up the Camp either by accident or to save my ass. Of course one could not guarantee that kind of thing.
It had always been my understanding that I would park the Ford on the side of the road and leave the keys in it, when I was finished with the assignment. So I left it parked alongside the county road, which appeared to lead to the coordinates.
Thanks to Big X I was in good enough physical condition to move my clothes to the backpack in the Ford’s trunk and carry it away. I was pretty sure the hike was no more than three miles so I just started to walk.
“It’s getting dark old girl, better pick up the pace,” Liam said. It got dark shortly after I got to the cabin.
When I got inside the house I found a video player on the table. “Ah a message from the boss,” I said aloud. I opened it up and was immediately confronted with the need for a password. “Shit Liam, they never gave me a password.”
“You could try guessing,” he suggested. I took Liam’s advice and began to guess. I made five guesses before I hit the right set of words. The password was 2ndhandrose.
When I got the file open I found the message was in the form of a pit bull animation. The talking dog said, “Remove your computer’s hard drive and throw it down the well outside. You will find a new drive in the cabinet over the dry sink. Do it now Rose,” the angry pit bull demanded.
The animation went on to give me a set of step by step instructions. When I was finished playing it three times to be sure I had done it correctly, I restarted my computer with a new operating system and files already installed.
When I left the cabin I carried the old hard drive and a plastic container to fill with water from the well. There was no pump, so I had to remove the cover and lower a bucket into the well. Then I had to haul the bucket of water to the surface.
Once back inside the cabin, I recognized the heater as a wood stove just like the one at Church Camp. I walked back outside and found the woodpile behind the cabin. I used the small hand ax to split some of the logs by driving a wedge into them. I wasn’t as strong as the men, so it took me a while. I wasn’t a bit cold when I finished. Since I knew that I would be once I was inside the cabin for the night, I wanted enough wood for the night at least.
Inside I pulled a can of beans from the cabinet above the dry sink. I used the label as a fire starter. I was quite the woods person. When the fire was hot, I used it to heat the beans in a three inch deep skillet. I would like to have had real food, but I could use what was in the cabin to stay alive. It would also help keep my weight down, I was sure.
I also found an old mayonnaise type jar filled with corn meal. I used it to make some muffins. The metal cups went into a kind of dutch oven device which also sat on the stove. “I see you learned your lessons well while you were in summer camp.”
“Sure send your little girl to camp so she can learn to give blow jobs and kill. I was really grateful for the time I had spent at Church Camp. I found that I didn’t mind being alone one bit. I had some healing to do after my club experience.
Speaking of that I had a pretty good idea that the metallic gold blouse and hot pants wouldn’t be of much use in the woods. I took my underwear out of the backpack but left the fuck me clothes inside it. I hung the pack on a nail near the dry sink. I found jeans and a thick blouse made from something similar to wool.
“Since I am definitely a girlie girl, I hope this doesn’t last long,” I said aloud to no one.
“It is like putting a sweater in the closet. You take it out when you need it not before,” Liam said.
I slept in my clothes that first night. It was a little chilly, but mostly I was afraid I might need to be on my feet, and then out the door quickly. I imagined everything from Alec, to a bear coming through the door. I wished at that moment I had a weapon. I was going to need to discuss that with Mission, or maybe not.
Maybe she expected me to pick up what I needed the same way I got extra money. It took about thirty seconds to convince myself. With that in mind I decided to actively pursue a weapon on my next job.
Without a firearm of any kind to make me feel better, I did the next best thing. I kept the small hand ax handy. It could be a formidable weapon, especially in the hands of a trained killer, or just in the hands of a frightened bitch. I fell into the latter group, but I was sure I would not hesitate to hack off someone’s hand with the ax.
After four days of eating canned food and drinking really awful coffee, there was a note in my dummy email. It said simply, walk to the road … bring your clothes … be sure the fire is out. It led me to believe I would not be coming back. The same nerdy looking driver met me in a small van type SUV. The good thing was he had a pepperoni pizza and a cold Coca-Cola waiting for me.
I finished the pizza long before he finished the three hour drive. After the pizza I devoured the information in one of those brown envelopes. One that I couldn’t take with me and the boss could deny existed. It wasn’t the ideal situation but it was better than prison.
Somehow Mission had managed a job for me working in the Local Police Crime Lab, not as a scientific technician but as a photographer. She knew from my prison intake records, that I had taken several courses in photography, before I crossed the line into pharmaceutical sales. I was a better photographer than drug dealer but the pay in photography was lousy. It was lousy compared to the pay for selling drugs anyway.
The instructions said I was being hired as an experiment with the Capitol City Police department. There had been some high profile cases overturned because of evidence tampering. The source of the tampering seemed to be in the Crime Lab, or in the evidence room.
There were three theories. One was that the technicians compromised the evidence through sloppy work. That theory meant that a person or persons were going to lose their jobs.
The second theory was that someone tampered with the evidence to be sure there were grounds for a new trial or direct acquittal. That meant that if they were caught they were going to jail.
The third was that the evidence clerk was doing the tampering. That was the least likely but possible.
My assignment was just to lay low and look for anything that didn’t seem quite right. The digital folder had a group of labeled photographs so I would know the players. When and if I found anything Mission would send in a team to investigate. She wanted to know where to look before she sent them in to find nothing. She wanted cloned hard drives and as much visual conformation as possible. In other words she wanted me to see what was going on and to steal the hard drive data as well.
“Most important of all,” Liam said. “Is to not get caught doing it.”
“Yeah, I know,” I agreed.
“What was that?” the geek asked before dropping me in a Wal-Mart parking lot with a set of keys.
“Nothing,” I replied taking my backpack from the van. I clicked the button then looked for automobile headlights. The lights that flashed belonged to an older Chevy pickup truck. It was nice to know that the State Police didn’t have a loyalty to any one car company. I got into the truck and drove to the address which had been previously entered into the smart phone’s GPS. It was an apartment in keeping with what a recently divorced professional photographer might be able to afford. One whose ex was being a pain in the ass and ruined her business.
I was supposed to be an almost church lady. Well as close to one as a chick with false boobs and a talent for cock sucking could be. I was going to have to be an actress again it seemed. I had the biography in the cloud, so there was nothing on my computer but the address to the highly encrypted file. Yeah the SBI had some hackers who could break it, but it wasn’t likely that some wacko drug dealer type or some lab geek could. Still seven days from that very night the cloud would lose it, as if it never existed. That is the length of time I had to become Naomi Roberts. I hated that name from the first time I read it.
“You just need freckles to match it,” Liam said with a laugh.
The apartments were new, well just new to me. The building was at least twenty years old. “More like forty,” Liam said. The apartment key had a paper tag with the number 23 printed on it. I went to apartment 23 then knocked. It would never do to rattle doors to stranger’s apartment. No one came to the door and there was no sound inside, so I tried the key. The door was hard to open, but that was just because it was old and swollen from several days of rain. The rain came from a tropical storm off the coast less than two hundred miles away.
I noticed immediately that the place was empty. Not just empty of people also empty of furniture. I had a new burn phone and a list of burn phone numbers, but they were not to be used for mundane things like a bed. For that I had an elaborate list of email addresses which changed routinely, or could be changed on a moments notice. They had devised a new twist, well it was new to me.
You know the controller has access to your email account as well as you?” Liam asked.
“Yes I know Liam. I leave the message as a draft and the controller answers by updating the draft. Since neither message was sent the odds of it being traced were minuscule,” I explained
I found that I had a landline installed in the apartment, so I set about hooking the dial up modem. When I finally had everything working I typed the following draft message: Honey I’m home what about the furniture rent or buy,
I explored the second floor apartment while I waited. I found it was actually two rooms. One was a bedroom with a small bath attached. Beside the bath was a walk in closet of an equal size. The second room was the one I had entered into. It was a living room with a wall of kitchen appliances on the end. At least the appliances are full size and I won’t have to build my own fire, I thought.
After I saw what I needed I drove to the local Wal-Mart store. I chose it only because I didn’t know another store that might have everything I needed in one stop. I hated to go shopping all over town.
My shopping list at Wal-Mart was
One Bed in a Box.
Two lamps small and plastic.
Two plastic shoe box racks each holding four boxes.
One knock together plastic desk
One very small flat screen TV
A box full of plastic dishes
A coffee maker.
Two wooden TV trays.
Two plastic chairs in that bean pod design.
I left a cart filled with those items in the front of the store while I went back for a second buggy of food items. When the cashier finished ringing the items they came to over three hundred dollars. I filled the bed of the truck and headed off for the apartment.
I pulled into my space in the underground garage and began to carry things up to the apartment. It took several trips. The TV and the Desk each took a trip by themselves. After that it was five more trips of several plastic bag filled with cheap Chinese goods. Then cardboard boxes of furniture type things.
It was well after dark when I got everything put together. I found that I had cable TV and cable internet service. The cable TV was very limited service, but the internet service was unlimited.
I was too tired to either watch TV or go on line to look around. I was totally exhausted. I managed to slip into the shower after I hung the cheap plastic shower curtain. After that shower which I’m pretty sure I needed badly I found Liam sitting on the toilet fully clothed of course. He was looking at me naked and smiling.
“Liam you are a fucking perv,” I said and laughed.
“Guilty as charged. You know looking is all I can do these days.” I smiled at him as I walked naked into the bedroom and flopped onto the air bed, which lay on the floor. Even with Liam looking I fell sound asleep in seconds.
I slept long and hard that night. Since the next day was Sunday, I dressed in my running suit, but I went to breakfast instead of a track. I wasn’t sure I wanted to continue to run every morning, but I did plan to look the part in case I decided to run.
My throat still hurt some, but it felt a lot better after the few days in the mountain cabin. I was at least 90% healed. I wasn’t sure how ready I was to go out into the world again, but I would find out the next morning for sure. The day passed as I checked out the town a little. I found the mall and a couple of good restaurants. It looked like a pretty good place to live. Well I didn’t much like where I was placed, but the town itself looked pretty good.
Since I spent the day in my track suit, I decided to run before bedtime. It wasn’t the best neighborhood, but the killer had taught me enough not to be afraid of the loud mouthed kids I passed along the way. I didn’t mouth off back at them, but I wasn’t the least bit intimidated by them either.
I went to bed tired, but I knew sleep wouldn’t be easy unless I could keep my mind off the last few months. I tried to concentrate on a time before I was involved with any of this shit, but I just couldn’t remember a time when I wasn’t on the fringe of polite society. It was exciting, probably because of the milk toast home life I had before mom and dad divorced. I was trying to remember us as a family, when I fell asleep.
Monday morning began at five AM with the buzzing of my cell phone. It wasn’t an incoming call ring. It was the alarm clock ring. A had set it so that I could run. I knew Big X would be proud of me, but I really struggled to get dressed and make myself run. I really hated to run. I knew there had to be a better way, but I never knew what my finances would be so I didn’t want to join a gym, not to mention I would never get my months use of it for sure. But the running was killing my back. I guess some of it was a distribution of weight problem. I was lugging around at least five pounds of boob, and boob related materials. I was probably slumping forward some without realizing it.
When I got home I showered, then dressed for my first day at work. I wasn’t too worried since Mission had cleaned up my file, and I was a competent photographer. I should be able to baffle them with bullshit for a while.
I got in the pickup truck and found my way to the Capitol City Police Department’s Headquarters building. “Hi, My name is Naomi Roberts. I’m starting work today with the Crime Lab.” I said it to a young woman dressed in a modified police uniform. The nametag identified her with a second line saying police cadet.
“Okay, I’ll show you down to the lab,” she volunteered. There were three cadets behind the desk, so she probably wouldn’t be missed. “The Crime Lab is in the sub basement. The sub basement covers the area under the parking garage as well as the entrance to the building. It also contains our evidence storage room,” my guide added.
“Okay,” was all I could think to say. She finally led me into a long corridor with several doors. We stopped at one which read, Scientific Investigative Unit. The second line read Howard Holt Director.
I took her cue and knocked on the door. “Come in,” the man’s voice said.
“I’m Noami Roberts. I was told to report here to begin work today,” I informed the at least one hundred pound overweight man.
“Sure I was told you were hired under the Federal Crime Scene Documentation Grant, welcome aboard. I’m pretty sure your equipment arrived last week. Come with me and I’ll introduce you to the crew.
I followed him into the main lab administration area. It was the space where everyone worked on their reports and socialized between actually doing crime scene work. There were at least ten equipment spaces where evidence was processed.
“This fellow is Pete the Geek,” Howard said. “He will help you get everything squared away.”
“Call me Pete,” the older man said extending his hand.
“Hello Pete the call me Naomi,” I admitted. Howard nodded then walked away. “Pete would you explain the process for me please. I’d kind of like to know where I fit into it.”
“Well what Fat Howard failed to mention is that I’m the crime scene supervisor, at least until the detectives take over which doesn’t always happen. When it goes to the detectives we are supposed to assist them. Truth is our first job is to maintain the integrity of the scene. Usually we gently remind the detective, if he is screwing it up. We always have to be sure the patrolmen aren’t fucking it up.” He realized what he had said so tried to apologize. “I’m sorry about that slip I don’t always use that kind of language.”
“Don’t worry, I’ve used worse when discussing my ex-husband,” I said.
“I’ll try to keep it to a minimum.” He took a breath of air for relief then continued. “Your job will be to shoot high contrast high relief pictures of the scene.”
“Strobe lit, high resolution shots, careful directional lighting,“ I said. Hoping he would mistake my trying to remember how you did it for knowledge.
“Exactly, you will learn where you can and can not go depending on the progress of the technician processing the scene. You can shoot anything you can see from the door before we process the scene, but you can not go inside till I clear you to do so. Then you can go into only the areas I clear for you. Do you understand?” he asked.
“Yes sir, I do.” I had never taken a course in forensic photography, but I understood immediately the need to preserve the scene.
“Now the number of shots you shoot doesn’t really matter it’s the time you take. I suggest you get the lighting right the first time to avoid experimenting that takes time,” Pete said.
“That makes sense to me,” I said worried about balancing the strobe light with the existing light I knew I could work it out though.
“Good, I’m going to have you work with me the first week or two then I’ll put you with one of the other squads. We had a different unit for each of the patrol shifts to get full coverage. The real specialist work on call,” he explained. “If we have something big, we might have to wait a half hour to get the biologist out. The real crime scene techs can do most anything from collecting evidence, to taking biological specimens, but testifying it s the big deal here. That’s why everyone is a specialist.”
“So how many people work in the lab,” I asked.
“To be honest we mostly do collections, then take the samples across to the state lab. We run our own computer checks for names and fingerprints but mostly the state lab does our biological testing. Just makes more sense money wise.
Most crime scenes it will be just be you and me going out. Well after next week you and an evidence specialist. The evidence specialist will be looking for objects for you to photograph, then put them in a bag for processing. With two of you it should allow us to clear the scene much faster and move things along,” he explained. “We have four crime scene techs now. You will be working as a test to see if a photographer will speed things up for us.”
“I will try to make you all look good,” I said.
“Not to mention the grant runs out in 90 days. If it is not renewed, you will be out of a job,” Pete said.
“Since the divorce I’m getting used to short term jobs,” I said. I knew my fake background. It was based on my being unattached and willing to fill in for anyone at any time. This kind of gig would have been a treat for me. I was told to act accordingly.
I was told by Mr. Holt that my cameras had arrived. I would prefer to use them since I am familiar with them. The city I’m sure wants to get the most for their grant money. It was a chance to evaluate the position and the equipment I brought with me. Also they could evaluate me personally, since they thought I would be looking for a job. The plan was to find the information, document it, then make a soft extraction. Just let the grant run out.
My background bio also stated that I had two small children who were living with my mother. It was the compromise solution to me being out of town for three months and their father being an asshole.
There was a police scanner in the larger room where we sat with Styrofoam coffee cups and computers. Pete the Geek was working on notes from an earlier case. Earlier because the day started for him at 7 AM. Since I arrived at 9 AM he had already been out on a B&E.
He suddenly lifted his head and said, “Get your camera bag and I’ll take the evidence kits. You can give me a hand with the larger case, if you will. It wouldn’t usually be in the office, but I brought it in this morning to fill it with evidence collection materials.”
“Are we going out,” I asked.
“I just heard a patrol officer request unit 721 be dispatched to his location. I don’t have the address yet, but we are 721. Everyone who drives the lab car is 721 unless we get tied up and have to call in the boss for backup. Sometimes it’s one of the off duty lab people on overtime, which the boss hates,” Pete said with a smile. “Then they are 722.”
Just then the phone rang. Pete said, “Where to Alice? Roger that she’s a looker alright.” Pete turned to smile at me as he said that into the phone.
“What’s that all about?” I asked.
“The dispatchers are locked away inside a janitor closet at the end of the hall. We seldom see them so they are nosy as hell. She wanted to know how you looked. If you are into girls Sophia is very nice, and very butch,” he answered.
“I have no idea, if I am into girls or not. I have only been into my husband since I was 18 years old,” I said. “This is all new to me.”
I had been following him up one flight of stairs as we spoke. I also carried the back end of a large plastic storage bin. In the parking garage we swung it into the rear of a Ford Expedition. There was room since the rear seats had been removed. It was just one of several large plastic storage boxes in the vehicle. There were even plastic shoe boxes along the walls. They were stacked in a kind of plastic storage drawer system. I had no idea what the drawers and boxes contained.
Once inside the passenger seat, Pete pulled out of the parking space and headed for the exit. When we were out in traffic, we moved at a snails pace through the streets till we cleared the downtown. Once away from the downtown, Pete picked up speed and a few minutes later was parked outside the taped off crime scene. The crime scene was located on a major throughway around the city.
“Hit and run,” the patrolman said as we approached. He obviously recognized Pete. “Woman and kid headed to the hospital with severe injuries. I have no idea their status so treat it as a big deal.”
Pete nodded. That’s when I realized the man wore sergeant’s stripes. I quickly assembled the camera gear and went to work. The faster I got through the faster they could open the road. I began with three focal length shots from the north, three from the east, three from the south, and three from the west. One of the patrolmen walked me through the cop theory of the accident. I shot images of the point of impact, complete with a view of the skid marks leading up to the impact spot. Then I shot a view back in the direction from which the car had come. Then all the evidence from tire marks to broken glass. Pete had me shoot the bloody interior of the car for courtroom use. He was sure they would want the drama for the jury, if it got that far. I shot a picture of a blood covered brown stuffed bear. I hoped it wasn’t the child’s blood but I knew that it was.
Pete pointed out things he wanted shot and I did that as well. Then the patrol sergeant approached me and added to his list. I had an almost full memory card when I got back into the Ford.
“You okay,” Pete asked.
“Yeah, I’m fine.” I said it, but I wasn’t sure I was since there was a kid involved.
“We need to go to the hospital emergency room to stand by. I’m going to call in to see if Fat Howard wants to do that, or cover for us,” Pete said as he walked away with his cell phone in hand. A few animated minutes later he returned.
“We are headed back to the lab. Fat Howard decided to break his own rule and have the hospital collect their clothes and effects. We will run buy and get them but only if this becomes a homicide,” Pete said. “There better not be any critical evidence on the clothes or on mom’s cell phone, since the chain of custody could be broken and it would all be useless.”
He drove the SUV to the police headquarters underground parking garage. From there we lugged the camera bag and his evidence kit to the corridor leading to the lab. Since we had to pass the break room he pointed to the door, “You want some coffee?” he asked.
“Not if it’s like most vending machine coffee,” I replied.
“Yeah I know, let’s get a coke and we will stop at Starbucks later,” he said.
“Pete, if it’s all the same to you, convenience store coffee is fine with me. It’s also a hell of a lot cheaper,” I suggested.
“A girl after my own heart,” he replied.
So we bypassed the break room and returned to the lab. The original memory card from the Nikon went into the evidence bag but I didn’t seal the bag. I replace the card with a new one from the case sized box as Pete the Geek instructed me. The flash memory card box from which I had taken the replacement was marked 1gigabyte. That was a lot of memory but with high resolution cards it probably wouldn’t be enough for every crime scene. I was surprised how many pictures they wanted shot at the scene I had just come from. I had shot over 100 images and there was less than half a card of storage left. I carried four extra memory cards with me. I was pretty sure there was a full case of them in one of the boxes in the truck. I was sure there should be since I would be shooting many hundreds of images at a homicide, I was sure.
When I had my equipment stored, I removed the card from the evidence envelope. I copied the card to use as a set of work files. After that, I returned the original to the evidence bag and stored it in the evidence folder. I, along with the broken glass, was headed for the case file in the evidence room. The files copied from the SD card would be enhanced and copied again if they were needed. The files were numbered with the number of the incident report, so that they could be retrieved later. At the moment, that ended of my involvement with the hit and run accident.
Edited by Walt