The Crew comes together to discuss what they have found out about Coop & Viv's incident.
Vivian and Cooper were able to do most of their recouping at home over the next few weeks with the help of their friends. They still had not been released for duty by the doctors yet, but Mason, Ben, Lane and Nate insisted on poker night. Nate went and picked up Vivian, and Mason went to Cooper’s to help him get ready for everyone.
Mason stepped over to where Cooper was trying to lift a twelve pack of cold drinks to put in the fridge. “Coop, I promise I can get it.”
“I just feel useless. I'm fine and just want to go back to work." Cooper grudgingly sat at one of the bar stools at his breakfast bar,
Cooper watched as Mason dumped some chips into a bowl, knowing he could have handled that.
“I wanted to talk to you about something.” Cooper watched as Mason continued mill around the kitchen.
“What ya got?”
Cooper thought about what he was going to say for a moment considering the topic it was, “You know that little thing I told you I had for Vivian?”
Mason nodded and considered what Cooper had just said.
“It’s not so little anymore,” Cooper sighed and wondered what Mason thought about it.
Mason stopped and leaned on the island counter in the kitchen pausing a moment to think about what he wanted to tell Cooper. “You know, right now after what y’all went through, it might not be a good idea.”
“Really?” Cooper nodded, and was hoping Mason would have encouraged it. Mason nodded and looked over at Cooper, knowing what he wanted to hear, but instead telling him what he needed to hear.
“There’s something coming up that I’m going to talk to you to about in a little bit,” Mason added as they waited for the others to show.
“What is it?”
“It’s nothing bad, in fact it’s really good, and they’re asking that y’all be involved.”
Mason could hear a car pull up, and walked over to open the carport door. A few seconds later Nate was opening the storm door for Vivian.
“Well, look who the cat dragged in,” Mason announced as the two walked in.
“Yeah, yeah.” Vivian dropped a backpack by the door, and sat next to Cooper on a bar stool. “I don’t know why I can’t drive yet; I feel fine. I did finally get my cast off.” She held up her hand and waved it around.
“Just give yourself the time. Even if you’re fully healed take the time to rest. Y’all went through a lot.” Nate stepped over to the fridge and grabbed a beer.
Mason smiled. “I have some news for the two of you, something we found out last week.”
She narrowed her eyes. “What are you up to?”
“Nothing,” Mason chuckled and smiled deviously at her. “Right now, we’re just waiting on Ben and Lane.”
“Lane, is finally coming back to poker night?” Vivian was excited. He had started missing more nights than being there the last time she played.
“Yeah, he’s been helping us with everything, since y’all went missing.”
“Just to let y’all know, we are not actually playing poker tonight, though I do refuse to give up my beers.” Nate stood next to Vivian, he was worried about her. She kept telling everyone she was fine, but he could see something different.
Nate walked back over to Cooper’s fridge, which Mason just stocked, and pulled a beer out for everyone.
Lane soon arrived, and he stepped over to Vivian.
“Lane, where have you been hiding?” Vivian gave him a warm hug.
“You know how it goes, just been working. I know I didn’t get by your house much over the past couple of weeks, but I’ve been thinking about you girly.” Lane sat on a stool next to her.
“I know, but you’ve been over there so much, and you were at the hospital every day. And still I never got to take you out for your birthday.” Vivian patted him on the shoulder.
“Maybe one day this week I could come get you, and we’ll go to some place here in town.” Lane grabbed the beer Nate was handing to him.
“That would be nice.”
They all turned to see Ben walk in carrying some sort of gadget about the size of a briefcase, and a large envelope, which he handed to Nate.
“I see you got it,” Nate commented as he looked at the case in Ben’s hand.
“I got it. Why don’t we go downstairs?” Ben stepped toward the stairs
Everyone started down the stairs, and they all followed Ben into Cooper's basement storage room. It was a large storage area, and mostly unfinished, but the home of the washer, dryer, hot water tank, and the electrical panel didn’t really need to be finished.
The crew watched as Ben closed the door, opened the case and plugged it in. He flipped a switch and turned to the group.
Ben focused his attention on Cooper and Vivian. “Okay, First, this thing,” he began and pointed at the device. “It will keep what we say between us; it jams any kind of signals. Second, I want to tell y’all me and Nate have known this since the day we found you, but circumstances, as they are, have prevented us from telling you this.”
“Why do I think I should be scared?” Vivian was concerned, and wondered why they were going to such great lengths to keep the conversation between them as private as possible.
“Not scared, but informed.” Nate leaned against the cinder block wall.
“Y’all know our boss, Chad?” Ben directed his question to Vivian and Cooper. “Mason, you’re really in this, too.”
“Yeah, we’ll get to that in a minute. Y’all know Chad, right?” Nate continued to try to explain what was going on.
“Sure, we’ve worked with him enough.” Mason spoke for the three
“The same day you were ‘released’, for lack of a better word, from your ordeal, I found some information out,” Ben explained. “Chad told me that at the same time we were getting the phone call to tell us where you were, he was getting a call, to explain your condition. He was told that what you went through was an interview of sorts. They planted the folders, the guy you got out of the attic was one of their agents, and, Mason, they wanted you on the case, too.”
“What?” Vivian was confused, knowing in her heart of hearts this had to do with the people who were after her and Jake. “I haven’t applied for any jobs, and I sure as hell wouldn’t want one that does that to me to get in.” She also made a mental note that Cooper wanted to call Mason to help them out.
“These are not agencies that you apply to, they recruit. Their employees are hand-picked,” Nate explained as she shot a look to Lane. Lane caught it and nodded. He knew about the men who were after her when Jake was alive. But they were ruthless and vicious, they stopped at nothing to get her including killing her husband, but only she knew how Jake died. “They were testing you. They knew exactly what you read and/or didn’t read, and what you did at the house.” Nate could see the tension building in the two, especially Vivian. “They had cameras all over the house.”
"Did you test the water we gave you?" Cooper asked the two agents as everyone listened.
"Yes, and they were spiked." Nate pulled a report detailing the analysis of the water, and handed a copy to each of the three detectives. It was noted that they used an animal sedative, which is much less regulated.
"I suspect they had a camera in your conference room in Statesboro, did you know that?" Vivian set the report aside and spoke to Ben and Nate.
"No, we didn't." Ben was angry that anyone was able to get in there and do that.
"They described to me, in detail, what transpired while we were at your office.”
"We need to check, but I'm sure they have removed them by now," Nate mentioned to Ben who nodded.
“I understand what you're telling us, about why they did what they did, but why would they bring us to the brink of death?” Cooper seemed confused as he questioned his buddies.
“They were trying to break us,” Vivian sighed and fell against a wall.
“Exactly.” Ben pointed to her and the others nodded.
“I still have some connections, from when I was in the military,” Nate explained. “I spoke to one of my buddies, and mentioned your names. His entire demeanor changed. He became very serious, and stated you would be recruited, but he’s part of an entirely different agency. You guys will be approached by several agencies including, the regulars like the CIA, NSA, DIA, all the others, and some you never heard of. You can bet that several of them have vetted you already. So, one agency did what you just went through, but a bunch of others liked what they saw.”
“No, offense, guys,” Mason said to Vivian and Cooper, “but why us?”
“Mostly because you kick ass at your jobs,” Ben told the trio. “I just want to let you know I have a buddy, too, and he told me the same thing that Nate’s did.”
“If that was an ‘interview’ then what does recruit mean?” Mason questioned with raised eye brows.
“It's generally the traditional sense, I still get recruited.” Nate knew this was the end of the beat downs.
“You went through what we did?” The shock was evident on Vivian’s face.
“No, I was in the military, so they kicked my ass and called it training,” Nate chuckled and they all laughed.
“I’m not saying it’s right, what they did, and I’m telling you if I see any of the guys that grabbed you off the street, I will kick their ass, but there is no reason it should happen again,” Ben told the three with a certainty that left no room for doubt.
“What about me?” Mason waited, wondering, if he too, would be taken in one day.
“The chance of it happening to you now is very slim.” Nate thought for a moment wanting his friend to still be careful and mentioned, “But that’s not to say it couldn’t happen.”
Ben inquired, “I have a question for you two, what happened when they first got you in the cars?”
Cooper silently indicated for her to go first.
“I don’t know if you saw this, but as soon as I was in the car, they handcuffed me, and put a black bag over my head.” Vivian turned to Cooper to allow him to answer also.
“Me, too,” he responded a little reserved.
“We didn’t see that,” Ben sighed. "If we had, we would have fought to get you out."
“You couldn’t have seen it, they had limo tint on the windows. But when they got me to where ever they took me, the guy to my right pulled me out of the car really fast and the man to my left pushed me out, as a consequence, I fell hard on the concrete, on my head” Vivian wiped the sweat off of her brow, in the chill of the room. “I was able to do a blind leg sweep and knocked one of them over, and the grunt that followed was quite satisfying.”
The men were glad she got a blow in and nodded their approval.
“Good for you.” Lane seemed angry as he listened.
“They brought me to a room, took everything out of my pockets, which wasn’t much, we had left most of our stuff with you guys, and sat me down in a chair.” She then explained her attempt at freedom.
“How did you get your cuffs to the front?” Mason was trying to figure out how she did it so quickly. “I don’t really understand that.”
Vivian turned her back to Mason, and put her hands behind her back. “cuff me.”
Mason casually put his handcuffs on Vivian.
“Y’all back up,” Viv watched as the men moved against the walls. She then stood there jumped, pulling her knees up to her chest, and brought her cuffed hands to the front at the same time landing on her feet.
“Damn!” Nate bellowed obviously impressed.
Vivian pointed to Cooper. “He can do it, too.”
She held her hands up to Mason and he removed the cuffs. He handed them to her and she cuffed Cooper. Everyone stepped back and watched him do the same thing Viv had just done.
“Where in the hell did you learn that?” Mason laughed, knowing this was going to be a good story.
Cooper and Vivian looked at each other and chuckled.
“One night, we were over here, and we were watching some cop movie, and we were drunk, and this guy did it in the movie. So, we came down here and kept trying it until we could do it,” Cooper blushed a little as he related the story to his friends.
“Are you serious?” Nate laughed so hard he almost couldn’t talk.
Vivian started blushing and grinned, much to the amusement of the men. “Yep.”
Ben turned to Cooper. “What about you? What happened with you?”
“Y’all are going to think I’m crazy, but my first few moments are almost identical to Viv’s,” Cooper ran his hand through his hair as he appeared to think. “We have compared notes and we were shocked, when we talked about it, how similar it was.”
“Really?” Ben knew the two were tit for tat, but that was unusual.
Cooper nodded, “Right down to the whole thing with the cuffs.”
"Never did I think we would have to use it," Vivian closed her eyes, the memory of the incident still very fresh in her mind.
Ben thought for a moment, wondering if he should say what he had or not. He looked over at Lane who nodded, “My source, got me a copy of your interrogations.” He watched them tense up a bit. “No one has watched it, and I will destroy it if you want me to.”
Vivian looked shocked, “There’s video of it?” She looked at the men wondering why they were just telling her this.
“We thought you knew,” Lane said very slowly and deliberately.
The confusion on Vivian’s face spoke for her, “Why?”
“Cooper mentioned something about cameras,” Mason interjected and looked at Cooper.
Cooper turned to Vivian, “They were prominently mounted in my interview room.”
“I saw no cameras.” Vivian shook her head.
“Maybe you forgot?” Nate offered the suggestion.
Vivian looked at Mason, she knew he knew, or at least suspected something, “No, there were no visible cameras in my room.”
“They must have had them disguised as something else,” Lane shrugged and looked at the other men.
“That’s got to be it,” Mason agreed, he did notice Vivian’s memory over the years, and if she said she didn’t see any cameras, there weren’t any visible.
“Now that you know, do you mind if we watch it?” Ben questioned.
Vivian and Cooper both seemed to debate internally their decision.
“Give us a minute.” Cooper held up his hand, and him and Vivian stepped to a corner to confer briefly. They soon stepped back to where they were. “We don’t mind if you all watch it, but we ask that you watch it here."
"I don't want to see any of it." Vivian shook her head, and they knew it was still a raw for them.
“I do want you to be aware that most federal agents have seen it, and do have access to it.” Nate watched the pair. Vivian rubbed the back of her neck, but Cooper seemed okay with it. “And that’s at the FBI level, those in the higher echelon saw it much sooner.”
“So, chances are this video has even made it outside of the states.” Vivian considered the reality of it all.
Nate nodded and watched her, “Chances are.”
Vivian sighed and fell against the wall. “I was going to ask you to destroy it, but there’s no point in that.”
The men felt bad for her. They all knew she just wanted a normal life.
“They drugged you?” Nate winced a bit with the question.
“Injected it in our neck.” Vivian’s whole body cringed at the thought of it.
The four grimaced and knew it had to be torturous.
“Are you sure you don’t mind us watching it?” Mason didn’t want them to feel obligated to let them watch it.
Vivian thought quickly, and rationalized, “I know if it was reversed, I would be curious as hell about what had happened. I’m also guessing a lot of people have seen it already, so there’s no point in asking y’all not to.”
“Can y’all tell us why y’all want to see it?” Cooper watched the others and waited for a response.
“I’m curious,” Mason bluntly responded, hoping that was enough.
Nate and Ben looked at each other, and Ben spoke, “Our sources, the ones we got the info from, couldn’t say enough good things about you two in regards to the interrogation.”
Vivian thought that was crazy. “Why?”
“That’s why we wanted to see it, to find out the why.” Nate shrugged, not knowing how that would impact the decision of the two.
They soon concluded the conversation, and the contraption Ben brought with him was unplugged and put away.
The group then wandered back out into the basement living area, and began to chat with one another.
Vivian decided she was going to get a good drunk on tonight, just to get the ghosts of the past out of her head; Cooper would have her back and let her crash here as she had many times before, or one of the other guys would get her home.
She watched as Cooper ran upstairs to order some pizza.
“Mason, can I talk to you outside for a minute?” Vivian stepped over to him, a little nervous.
“Sure.” Mason walked with her outside into Cooper’s back yard.
“Can we keep this between you and me?”
“Of course.” This concerned him a little, and waited to hear what it was she was, seemingly, concerned about.
“You know how I had a little crush on Cooper?” She questioned him.
He nodded and was concerned by the question. “Sure.”
“I don’t so much anymore.” Vivian confessed, “I’m not saying I don’t care about him, I do, but just not like that. Has he mentioned anything to you?”
“He did tonight saying he still has one, but don’t say I said anything.” Mason cautioned her.
“Of course not,” Vivian lit a cigarette and looked up at him, “I wouldn’t want to start dating anyone right now anyway.”
“That’s probably not a bad idea, plus there’s something new coming up, and you have to do it Viv.” Mason wanted to tell her now, but promised he wouldn’t.
“What is it?”
“I’m about to tell y’all, seriously, don’t sweat it.” Mason’s grin got bigger.
“Thanks, Mase, this made me feel better.” Vivian leaned over and nudged him with her shoulder which made him laugh.
The two went back inside as Cooper was coming back down the stairs.
“Okay, Coop and Viv,” Mason began to explain. “There’s an offer that’s been put up on the table. The sheriffs and police chiefs in Long, Liberty, Bryan and Chatham Counties are starting a multi-jurisdictional permanent task force. Me, Nate, Ben and Lane are on it, and they want y’all in on it, too.”
They looked at each other briefly, and then back at the men. “We’re in,” the two replied in unison.
“This is going to be awesome.” Ben smiled wryly.