Chapter 63 & 64
Meaghan looked back at her jailor, who looked relaxed and unconcerned as she stared down at the bed with sharp blue/gray eyes.
“So, I can see those questions floating around your eyes, perempuan bodoh.” Meaghan recoiled as the insult slapped at her. “Go ahead and ask away, if you can handle the answers.”
Meaghan tried to pull her thoughts together. “Does my kidnapping have something to do with the tower sabotage attempt?”
“You’ve been a thorn in the side of this organisation long before that little bit of mischief. Your parents were always in search of our group, but they were clever enough to have hidden their offspring from us. It’s a pity about your parents last year.” The last part was said with a sneer. “If they had cooperated with us during interrogation, you would have never been involved. Of course, it turned out great for us, since you got drawn in on your own.”
“You…how do you know about my parents?” Meaghan tried, but could not entirely remove the plaintive note in her voice, something that did not go unnoticed by the mercenary, who smiled unpleasantly.
“They never made it onto that commuter plane; we caught them, squeezed them for information, and then disposed of them. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find the file containing the information on us. We’ve been searching ever since; that’s why we seized their assets by faking loan documents, but it wasn’t anywhere in their belongings.”
Meaghan’s mind whirled with this new knowledge. Her parents didn’t leave her and her sister without anything; it had been stolen from them. And Shel? She remembered when the woman moved into the neighborhood, so soon after her parent’s accident, and the different times she tried to get inside her house.
‘They think I have this file,’ Meaghan thought. Her breath hitched when she realized that her ersatz neighbor had a hand in her parent’s murder. The anger she felt bolstered her.
“I want to speak with Shel.” The woman examined her for a moment, and then gave a sharp nod.
“She wanted to know when you were awake. I’m sure you two have a lot to talk about.” She smiled, but there was no humor in it. She pulled out a black phone from her back pocket and flipped it open.
“Shao Xiao Shel, this is Shuk. She’s awake. Ok.” She snapped the phone shut and walked back to the desk. “You’re about to get your wish, perempuan bodoh.”
After a very short time, the cabin door opened, and a shaft of sunlight haloed her neighbor and former friend. Shel was wearing a faded pair of jeans and a blue check man-styled long sleeve shirt knotted at her waist. Her boyishly short hair lent her an almost harmless appearance, but Meaghan was now very well acquainted with the intelligence and forceful personality behind those blue eyes.
“So, are you ready to have a nice chat with me, Meaghan?”
Rickie hovered behind Hillary, watching as her nimble fingers flew over the keyboard and roller mouse of her personal laptop. She had already manipulated the video feed, focusing on the background and area around the captured woman, and came to the conclusion that Meaghan was on a floating vessel. Using some type of sophisticated software, Hillary determined it to be some type of cabin cruiser boat, approximately eleven meters in length. There were no markings that would help identify the manufacturer, although it did not appear to be a military or government vessel.
Rickie agreed with Hillary’s assessment, but there were many waterways in Kuching, so how could they narrow it down? Thanks to the Dragon Boat Festival, there was a large influx of pleasure craft in the area. And was Meaghan even still in Sarawak?
With a large blue headset perched incongruously on her head, Hillary was now analysing the audio signal. She cocked her head to the side.
“I think I hear something, but I can only pull a fragment around the caller’s voice.” She clicked the mouse, and a brief noise came over the external speakers. She played it several times to the rapt audience.
Rickie recovered first. “It sounds like Mandarin. Where would that be in Kuching?”
There was murmuring between everyone gathered in the room, then Ahjummabunny snapped her fingers, and all but shouted, “The open theatre at the Waterfront!”
Rickie felt like kissing her; he walked over and gave her a hug as she awkwardly patted his back. When he released her, he turned to Raine, who was already on the comlink.
“She must be on one of the private vessels watching the dragon boat races at the Duanwu Festival. That would put it at the west end of the Waterfront area. How soon can the troops be mobilized?”
Raine completed her call and pulled the earpiece off. “We can head there now, and meet the team at the docks. Meanwhile, anything else you can get us that would be helpful, please call us.” A chorus of clapping and cheers from the Harem erupted; Hillary waved them off, still hunched over her computer.
As Rickie and Raine hurried to the elevators, JoAnne called his cell. Swiftly, Rickie brought her up to date with the information. JoAnne agreed with Rickie that it was best to keep Tina out of harm’s way.
“I’m taking her to the house now, so your father and I can keep an eye on her. Just keep us in the loop, if you can. Oh, and Leaf wants to talk with you.”
There was noise while the phone was handed off.
“Rickie?” Leaf asked falteringly, “Is my sister going to be okay?”
Rickie swallowed a sudden lump in his throat. “We’re going to do everything we can, and we’ll get her back. I’m not willing to lose either of you, alright?” There was a sigh of acceptance in his ear.
“Thanks. I love you, Abang.” Rickie eyes grew moist at Tina’s words.
“I love you too, Leaf. Stay strong.” He hung up and then looked at Raine, who was driving like a fiend but still managed to glance triumphantly over at him.
“So you’ve acquired a harem, I see,” Raine smirked.
Rickie shook his head. “No, I’ve gotten a family.”