|Cooper and Vivian sat in the back seat of the unit wondering what the hoopla was all about.
"Why can't we take our unit?" Cooper questioned.
"This one is a little sensitive," Nate explained and turned to Vivian, "I know you were moving this weekend, so the Bureau is going to pay to move you. They will even have an agent monitor the movers."
"I appreciate it, but I already hired movers," Vivian told Nate, "so it won't be necessary."
"They insisted," Nate turned to her again, "they said it was the least they could do for pulling your vacation, so they will pay your movers."
Vivian looked over at Cooper, who looked just as concerned as her.
"No, Nate," Vivian was now insisting, "My movers will be fine."
"Alright," Nate said as if he was surprised at her insistence, "I'll let them know."
Vivian and Cooper seemed to have missed it, but Nate and Mason exchanged a glance, and noted to talk later.
Vivian and Cooper gave each other the same look.
"So, what's this case about that we would get called off of vacation before being able to take it?" Cooper questioned.
"I know very little," Nate turned to the two in the back, "I was told to come get you three, offer to pay for your move, and that we would be fully briefed in Statesboro."
"What do you know so far?" Vivian asked.
"There was a burglary," Nate responded, "some buildings on federal property around here."
Vivian nodded and turned to the window.
The group arrived in Statesboro shortly before Ben and Lane.
Vivian and Cooper walked over to the coffee and poured themselves a cup; a nice distraction for a private conversation.
"Is it me or are Nate and Mason getting a bit chummy?" Cooper asked Vivian.
Vivian looked relieved he said that, "I didn't want to say anything, but I noticed it, too." Vivian considered what she saw in the unit. "Did you see the look they gave each other after I refused Nate's offer?"
Cooper nodded, "I know they thought we didn't see it, it was quick but it was there."
Ben walked over to the coffee pot and poured himself a cup.
"What are you two love birds talking about?" Ben questioned them.
"Word travels fast," Cooper chuckled.
"So what are y'all chatting about?" Ben questioned.
"I was just saying, how I noticed how chummy Mason and Nate have become," Vivian mentioned to Ben.
Ben sighed out of relief but it seemed a bit put on, "I'm glad y'all noticed,too." Ben took the conversation to a remote corner. "It seems to have been going on for a few months, but when me and Lane walked over to where they were, they quit talking, like we interrupted a private conversation."
"Did you hear what they were talking about?" Cooper questioned.
"No, I didn't," Ben told them.
Vivian glanced at Cooper when Ben turned to look around. Cooper nodded, they seemed to be getting the same feeling that Ben wasn't being completely honest with them.
"Look, I'm not going to be throwing y'all under the bus, but, just to separate the two of them, I'm going to offer to take Mason."
"Okay," Cooper responded.
Ben walked over to join the group, but Vivian and Cooper hung back to talk to one another.
"That was a little disconcerting," Cooper told Vivian.
"A convenient distraction," Vivian said as she looked toward the group, "from him."
"Yeah," Cooper said as he turned his back to the group, "I got that, too."
Vivian sighed and looked up at Cooper, "Is it because we went through what we did, or is it what it is?"
"I think," Cooper offered, "we are more observant to it because of what we went through."
Vivian nodded as Lane walked up.
"Hey Lane," Vivian greeted him.
"What are y'all talking about over here?" Lane questioned with a smile.
"Just wondering what they canceled our vacation for," Cooper chuckled out.
"Yeah," Lane agreed, "it must be pretty serious."
The agent in charge then called everyone to the seats.
With that the three joined the group talking about what they would be working on, the little they knew about it anyway.
Several National Parks buildings were broken into in the area. It appears to be eco-terrorists by the evidence left at the scene.
The officers were sworn in as temporary federal agents and divided among the agents.
"Viv, Coop, Lane," Nate called out, "you're with me, and we're off to South Carolina. Ben, Mason and Agent Justin Phillips are going to handle a different one East of Savannah."
"Where are we headed in South Carolina?" Cooper asked on the way to the unit.
"Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge," Nate replied as they climbed in the SUV.
"I have to admit," Vivian told the guys, "it's going to be fun to leave the state."
The trip was quiet for a while when Nate spoke up, "I hear you two are an item now?"
Vivian and Cooper smiled at each other.
"Yeah," Cooper told him, "we are."
"Now, to get you two married off," Nate said as if he were thinking of a way to do it.
"Nate!" Vivian yelled as they all laughed.
The four laughed the whole way to Pinckney Island.
Before they knew it the hour and a half drive was over and they were pulling on to the property.
"ID," the officer at the gate greeted them. Nate showed his credentials and the officer responded, "All the way to the back."
Nate drove them through the wooded island to the back of the property. Nate parked at one particular building and they all left with their gear. Vivian went to the back of the unit and grabbed the crime scene kit.
They greeted the Agent at the front of the building and he let them in. It was obvious the building had been ransacked from the moment they entered. Things had been spray painted on the walls and things were in general disarray. All four pulled on gloves and Vivian began to open paper bags for them all to deposit evidence should it be necessary. Cooper and Nate began walking slowly through the building taking photos of everything from different angles. Vivian set up a few dozen bags and pulled her own camera out. Lane began to look for things to fingerprint. She walked passed the men who were busy. She made her way to an office about 20 feet past the men. She took several pictures of the door, which was off the door frame, and had obviously been forcibly removed. She looked closer at the door frame, and could see it had been heavily reinforced. She took several pictures of the door frame, and stepped passed it to the office. She took several pictures as she made her way to the desk. She could see it had been forcibly opened and the bottom drawer was empty. She continued looking through the office, and soon discovered something in the corner near a book case. She called Cooper on his cell phone and asked him to join her.
He soon walked in the office, "What you got?"
"Look at this book case," she said as she got on the floor. "It sits ever-so-slightly off of the floor."
Cooper joined her on the floor, and he, too, could see how it wasn't resting on the floor.
They both stood up and Vivian pulled on the book case, which swung open.
"What do y'all have here?" Lane questioned them from the doorway.
"That is what we are still trying to figure out," Cooper told him as they examined the doorway the intruders had already breeched.
The two squatted down to look at how the suspects entered the room.
"Liquid nitrogen?" Vivian questioned.
"It has to be," Cooper said as Lane walked up. "Look at how the metal shattered."
Vivian stood up and walked to the doorway, and Lane took her place to have a look.
"Nate," Vivian called him over and walked back over to the doorway.
"What is it?" Nate asked as he entered the room.
"Why in the hell does the National Parks Service have an office with a hidden reinforced door to a secret room?" Vivian questioned him as Cooper stood up to hear the answer.
Vivian walked over to the desk where the kit was, and retrieved the items she needed to collect the evidence from the doorway.
"I don't know," Nate looked as confused as they felt.
"You're FBI," Cooper offered angrily, "and have a clearance, they need to tell you what this place is, 'cause it ain't the Parks Service."
"Can we enter that room?" Vivian asked him equally angry.
"I wasn't told any different," Nate said as Lane turned to look at him.
"It looks like they used liquid nitrogen to break the door off the hinges," Vivian reported. "Which means whoever broke in here knew what this place was, and came prepared."
Nate glanced at Lane and then looked at the door.
"Let me make a call," Nate said and left the room.
Cooper walked to the doorway and watched Nate walk outside. He turned to Lane, "Did you know anything?"
Lane looked at him shocked, "No, why would I know?"
"It seems like everyone is in the loop but us lately," Vivian snapped as she finished getting everything she needed out of the kit.
"What are you talking about?" Lane asked.
Cooper sighed in disgust and started to say something.
"It's nothing Lane," Vivian said as she walked over to the doorway to collect the evidence, "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to snap at you, I'm just tired."
"Don't sweat it Viv," Lane told her, "but their has to be some truth to what you just said."
"No, I'm just tired and my temper is short," Vivian told him again as she finished collecting the evidence. She shot several more pictures of the door and doorframe.
Cooper looked at his watch, "We've been here for four hours already. We're all tired, hungry and need a smoke."
"That is a fantastic idea," Vivian said as she finished sealing the evidence envelope containing the doorway debris.
Cooper and Vivian walked together to the front of the building and stepped outside. Vivian lit a cigarette as they stepped out and handed the pack and the lighter to Cooper.
Vivian looked over and saw Nate standing about a hundred yards away, "We need to be careful what we say to Lane."
"Why do you say that?" Cooper questioned.
"He slid into our group way to easy, and there is something my gut is telling me, and I just can't figure it out," Vivian explained.
"If we ever get a chance, we need to talk about this more in depth," Cooper told her. "I was thinking the same thing about him getting into the group."
"We do need to talk," Vivian agreed, "there are so many things that I have thought that I don't mention because I think I'm being paranoid."
Cooper nodded as Nate began walking up.
"The manager of the building is on his way," Nate told the group, "and a crime scene unit from the bureau is on the way to process the rest of the building."
"Why didn't they do that to begin with?" Cooper asked incredulous.
"Which also means we can't enter the last room," Vivian added the anger written on her face.
"No, you can't," Nate told the two, "I'm sorry, I didn't know."
Vivian and Cooper sighed in disgust.
Vivian tossed her cigarette, "I'm going to go collect our equipment."
"I have to go with you," Nate told her apprehensively.
"Are you serious?" Vivian questioned him, now disgusted.
Nate nodded, "I wouldn't have come had I known."
Cooper tossed his cigarette and the three walked in to collect their belongings.
Vivian and Cooper quickly collected their stuff and walked out to the unit to put it in the back.
Cooper, Nate and Vivian stood outside near the unit talking.
"I'm sorry guys," Nate apologized again, "I wouldn't have come had I known."
"How did it not cross someone's mind that we might not be allowed to enter it?" Cooper questioned as the sun, now fully risen, warmed them.
"They didn't report it properly," Nate explained.
"I have a question," Vivian announced to Nate.
"Shoot Viv, you know that," Nate told her.
"Lane has a clearance?" She asked half disgusted.
Nate questioned her with his look, and then realization crossed his face. He ran inside to get Lane.
Cooper turned to Vivian as they leaned against the unit, "That wasn't an 'oh, crap I forgot he was in there', was it?"
"No, it wasn't," Vivian agreed.
"I was sort of wondering if he would notice," Cooper added.
"I was getting to impatient to wait," Vivian told him.