They just stared at each other for a moment, calculating the other’s possible moves. Strand had walked out, his security around him. Edward spoke first. “Why does somebody with as many arms as you have in everything suddenly need security?”
First a laugh, then a small barely detectable sneer, masked by another smile was the response. Instead of answering, Strand addressed Mayor Lafayette. “I suppose this means our association is at an end Mayor. I did have such illustrious plans for your eventual demise, now they’ll have to be accelerated.”
Carl was enough of a politician to control hisself enough not to do what he wanted. His first idea had been to hit him in the face with the handle of his gun. Pin had been silent, watching every movement, and listening to each word, but also doing something else.
He knew Strand, even if it was a deceitful version. He knew one thing about him. Strand acted when he was confident of the outcome, and he hadn’t moved. That either meant he was totally at a loss for what to do next, or he was trying to come up with a new plan.
The longer they waited, the more advantage it gave Strand. Pin signaled to Edward to wrap it up quickly. They had discussed the gestures beforehand, so Edward spoke almost immediately. “Everything I know about you, and all Ralph here knows about you, is in a package with the Secret Service. You’re plans are ruined, stand down, and come with us.”
Strand’s laugh this time was genuine. “Is that your plan? I knew about that package a half hour ago. It was never opened, the military confiscated it, and officially, the contents show how corrupt members of Alaska’s local governments are, including one Carl Lafayette. Edward, I’m not worried about you stopping my plans, I thought you were hear to kill me.”
“I’m not a murderer Strand.” “Well, that’s too bad, Strands are. I won’t kill you now, it would be too messy, and too quickly. I want each of you to suffer slow, and painful deaths. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have an appointment with the President. He wants to speak to the advisor that his new party chairman so highly recommended.”
It was then that the shot rang out, and Strand went down. The security team pulled their weapons, but it was evident, the shots hadn’t been from Edward’s group. Four bullets were fired, two hit Strand, one in each knee. One broke the glass of a high window of the Adams hotel. The fourth had hit the man beside of Strand in his shoulder.
The police would find out later, where the shot had come from, and what type of bullet was used. Edward could guess about those things, but instantly he knew who the shooter must have been, Harriet. She was smart, she was talented, and she was angry.
Strand wasn’t dead, but at best, he would walk with canes the rest of his life. The man beside of Strand, had been the one who had shot St Louis. The bullet was just far enough from his heart to be extracted. Harriet was not a murderer, this was her only way of being sure to expose them.
The police wouldn’t stop at who shot them, they would want to know why. Those were questions Strand had to answer for, including why his elderly Aunt, had been shot in the leg as well. Harriet had been investigating herself, or rather interrogating her prisoner in the hotel earlier that day, one Artemis Strand.
Look for next week’s exciting conclusion to Alaskan Silver!