Tuesday 11 – Wednesday 12 February 2014
Harper Cahill’s spur of the moment meeting with Adelaide Danvers lasted the better part of her Friday afternoon. Danvers had been more than accommodating in sharing the evidence that she had collated against Robert Carter. The woman had either been collecting damning information about Carter for considerably longer than Harper had, or she had a huge network of informants. A large network of informants wasn’t implausible given the calibre of the company.
Carter Industries was a global concern, Carter having built it up from a failing company when he bought out his father. In the process of creating a multinational company, Carter had committed a few indiscretions here and there that he obviously thought his social standing, and economic success, would excuse.
‘What began,’ Danvers said, ‘as a few indiscretions here and there, built up. These days, Robert Carter is essentially the criminal head of a global organised crime empire. The thing is, he covers up the criminal activities with acts of philanthropy and charity, and the odd bit of legitimate business every now and again.’
‘So what you’re really saying here is that Carter is untouchable,’ Harper replied.
Adelaide Danvers nodded solemnly.
‘That about covers it, Ms. Cahill.’
Harper picked her index finger with her thumb, a nervous habit that she’d acquired whilst at high school. It worsened during exams, and since she began hunting down evidence to prove that Carter was a criminal, it had grown increasingly worse.
‘You have all this evidence, and still Robert Carter is not going to answer for his crimes. This is wrong. There must be something that we can do to bring him to justice. What about this Henry guy? How does he fit into things?’
Adelaide contemplated telling Harper what Henry’s role in her scheme was. It was a risky move. Harper might return to Carter’s office, and in a moment of stupidity, she might blurt out what she knew of Henry. Then it would be back to square one, and Adelaide had worked too long and too hard for that to happen.
‘Henry . . . let me just say that Henry owes me a favour or two.’ Danvers decided to play it close to the chest. Harper didn’t really need to know the exact nature of Henry’s allegiance to Danvers and her quest to bring down Carter.
‘And you trust him not to let on to Carter that you’re compiling an extensive dossier on his criminal exploits?’
‘With my life, Ms. Cahill. Henry is very trustworthy,’ Danvers replied. ‘Henry is as invested in bringing down Robert Carter as you and I. He has his reasons for wanting Carter brought to justice, and his part in all of this is to provide information from the inside. As far as I’m aware, Carter has no idea that Henry is working for me, and that, Ms. Cahill, is how both Henry and I would like to keep it.’
‘I understand,’ Harper said. ‘I do have a couple questions though, if you don’t mind answering them for me.’
‘Sure. Go ahead.’
Harper considered her words carefully, as she didn’t want to offend the woman who could potentially be a great ally in the fight against Carter.
‘You never actually said what you do, or what your reasons for wanting Carter behind bars are. So . . . what do you do, and why are you after Carter?’
‘All of this, of course, is in the strictest of confidence.’ Danvers waited for Harper to acknowledge her obvious demand for secrecy. Harper obliged with a vigorous nod.
‘You’ve got it. Not a word to anyone,’ Harper eagerly replied.
‘I’m an investigator for the Justice Department. As for my interest in seeing Robert Carter prosecuted for his crimes, that’s both professional and personal. I can’t tell you much about the investigation into Carter, however, the Department of Justice has been after him for a number of years, hence the large amount of evidence that I’m charged with collating.’
‘And personally?’ Harper asked.
‘I’m not prepared to discuss that side of things with you at this point.’
‘Why are you not based in the Justice Department building?’
Adelaide smiled. She was anticipating the question.
‘The nature of this case . . . people are more inclined to come in and give evidence in a non-descript office than they are the Justice Department offices. And this office is much nicer than the Department.’
‘That’s understandable,’ Harper replied, comfortable with the information that Danvers had parted with. ‘So where do we go from here?’
Danvers’ smiled widened. ‘I was hoping you’d ask that.’
. . . To be continued . . .