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Ghost Ship (NUMA Files 12) Clive Cussler 2022/7/22 13:54:34

“It’s all right,” another voice interjected.

Kurt didn’t recognize the speaker, but the man obviously knew him. He introduced himself. “Trent MacDonald out of Langley.”

Kurt recognized the name, recalling that MacDonald was the first person at the CIA to share any information regarding Sienna’s possible survival.

They shook hands. “Thanks for your help,” Kurt said. “Caught yourself quite a fish, by the look of things.”

“Not as big as the one you bagged,” MacDonald admitted, “but we’re happy. We passed the information your friend gave us to the FBI. Fortunately, they were able to grab Forrester before he took off for a country with no extradition treaty.”

One more point in Calista’s favor, Kurt thought. “So what part did he play in all of this?”

“Forrester was Brèvard’s inside man,” MacDonald explained. “All the financial maneuvering ran through him. He used his contacts to plant the computer viruses at the Federal Reserve, compromising the main system and the accounting protocols. He also set up a network of shell corporations that would have made it virtually impossible to track the money once it was moved.”

Kurt wasn’t surprised.

“And if that’s not enough, he’s been controlling Westgate,” MacDonald added, “with an implant in Westgate’s brain, making sure he didn’t remember too much too soon.”

That put a new light on the confrontation at the Smithsonian. “I knew this guy was a snake from the moment I met him,” Kurt said.

“First impressions,” MacDonald said.

Kurt nodded and looked past Forrester out the window, where he could see FBI agents clearing the plane, looking for evidence. As they worked, the first sign of daylight appeared, and the high clouds were brushed with the slightest hint of pink. Apparently, it was morning after all.

Kurt looked back at Forrester, who glared back at him without a trace of remorse. “Might want to enjoy the sunrise,” Kurt said coldly. “You’re not going to see many more where you’re going.”

A twitch ran across Forrester’s cheek, but that was his only response. It was enough.

Kurt turned back to Trent MacDonald, shook hands once again, and then continued on his way.

He left the terminal and stood at the curb, wondering just how long he’d have to wait for the shuttle to long-term parking. Before he could hazard a guess, he spotted a familiar-looking black Jeep coming his way. His Jeep. It pulled up and stopped right in front of him.

As the driver’s door opened, Anna Ericsson’s pretty face, flaxen blond hair, and beaming smile popped up over the roof.

“Did you take up auto theft while I was gone?” Kurt asked.

She laughed. “With all your memory problems, I thought you might have a hard time finding your car in the parking lot when you got back.”

Kurt pretended to be hurt, but he honestly couldn’t remember driving to the airport two weeks earlier. “You might be onto something,” he said, and then added, “Sorry for how I behaved. I wasn’t exactly myself.”

“I realize that,” she said. “I crossed a line too. Any interest in starting over?”

“Nothing would make me happier,” he said.

She jumped down, came around the Jeep, and offered her hand. “Hi,” she said as if meeting him for the first time. “I’m Anna Ericsson. I’m a psychiatrist. And I’m not allowed to date my patients.”

He shook her hand. “Kurt Austin. Fortunately, I no longer need a shrink.” He opened the passenger door for her and asked, “Mind if I drive?”

She settled into the passenger’s seat as Kurt made his way to the driver’s side and got behind the wheel.

“Where to?” he asked.

“Somewhere we can look out at the river,” she said coyly.

He shut the door, put the Jeep in gear, and pulled away from the curb, smiling. “I know just the place,” he said. “And the best part is, we’ll be the only guests.”