Three Days of the Covenant
by D. J. Herda
When Lainie Davis finally rounds up enough evidence to put the guy away for life, he neatly sidesteps her attempts by proving that he couldn’t have stolen The Lost Covenant because it was never really stolen in the first place. As the undercover insurance cop digs deeper into Daryl Dartanian’s background, she learns that he works for Central Intelligence…but not ours. He’s dirt poor but owns a mansion in Puerto Vallarta and a seaside villa in Carmel. He’s a college dropout who enjoys playing with radioactive isotopes. He bicycles around town but he owns a stable of the most exotic collectible cars in the world.
By the time she falls under the growing scrutiny of the police for being an accomplice to the Covenant’s mysterious “theft,” Dartanian is laying plans for a future of unbridled debauchery in yet another new estate by the sea. This time, he plans on bringing a friend.
She just doesn’t know it yet.
That's what Darryl Dartanian wanted to know when he came up with the perfect plan for stealing the perfectly unstealable Lost Covenant. Battling time and all of the technological savvy the people assigned to protect the book can throw at him, Dartanian has to figure out how to get past a maze of surveillance cameras, a slough of sharp-eyes guards, a hefty dose of radioactive actinium-225, and a pressure-sensitive alarm system on which the antique placidly resides. And he does.
But when insurance agent Lainie Davis presents the police with the evidence of his guilt and they haul Dartanian in for questioning, they learn soon enough that he didn't do it. Or, at least, they learn that they can't prove that he did.
But if Dartanian didn't do it? Who did? They caught him on surveillance camera. They found traces of the radioactive material from his shoes on the museum floor. They arrested several look-alike accomplices out to pull similar heists around the city. Yet, they can't prove it.
As Dartanian spirits Davis away, bound for his oceanfront estate in Dutch Curacao, she demands to know how he did it. And he tells her...that he didn't. And why he made it looks as though he did. And who really did do it--almost. Dartanian had discovered the plot and stopped the real thief in his tracks.
"But the technology to pull off something like that is incredible," she says. "Where did you learn it?" He tells her that he had worked on and off for Central Intelligence ever since the fall of the Soviet Union. She tells him that he's lying: she had him checked out with the CIA when she first developed concerns about his integrity weeks ago.
"Darling," he tells her. "I said Central Intelligence. I didn't say our Central Intelligence."
Stunned, she begins to ask more questions when he suddenly quiets her with a kiss.
"But you're still a wanted man," she says. "We'll never get out of the country. The authorities are sure to be monitoring all of the air and sea ports, as well as both borders."
He replies that they won't be traveling via commercial carrier.
"But then, how will we..."
He turns to look out the window. "I have an associate who knows someone at the Department of Defense who is going to provide us with an AMT."
She looks puzzled. "AMT? What's an AMT?"
He looks at her and smiles. "Alternative Means of Transportation. By the way, darling," he adds, "have you ever pulled three G's in an F-16?"
NOTE: All material is copyright protected. No portion of this material may be copied or reproduced, either electronically, mechanically, or by any other means, for resale or distribution without the written consent of the author. All copy has been dated and registered with the American Society of Authors and Writers. Copyright 2009 by The Swetky Agency
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