Part 4

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 Excuse me, Sheriff Brown, if you told us already how Jaden had been able to determine these coordinates. I would like to hear it."

"No, I understand completely; if it wasn't for the seriousness of the crime, I wouldn't be entertaining this. Mr. Jaden however, is a special case among our people. When it comes to things such as this, he is rarely mistaken. Upon my first conversation with him, he stated that without having visualized the site of the incident first hand, he had nonetheless been able to track the train's whereabouts by monitoring its onboard chronometers and relative speed. Using this information along with some other sparse clues, he had approximated these coordinates to within an error ratio of fewer than five percent. This error ratio though problematic was lessened by the actual size of the searchable area. He was very confident in his result. If his story is anything near true, it should be easily verified."

From the opposite side of the chopper, Sergeant Kelly was observing the ground as it passed by. They all heard as she asked, "Is there anything specific we should be looking for, landmark, or a feature I should keep an eye out for?"

The Sheriff responded, "We're getting close to the target now. Start looking for a fairly large clearing, large enough for, let's say a Helicopter to land."

Within moments Sergeant Kelly called out, "Look, over there beyond the rise, an opening in the forest."

The pilot circled the helicopter around, so they could observe the scene below. Upon their approach, the trees opened to a clearing that seemed to appear wholly artificial. They came in low for a second pass and they could make out the newly cut stumps of the trees. Deeper still in the woods beyond the clearing the highly valued lumber laid haphazardly discarded. This had not been a logging camp.

Finding a safe relatively level spot, the pilot set the copter down into the grassy area along the periphery of the clearing. One by one, they carefully climbed out of the retired military bird and onto the makeshift landing field. Grabbing their gear, they lowered their heads to avoid the still spinning blades. Together with their gear, they moved a safe distance from the landing site. Slowly the rotation of its spinning blades came to a stop.

Though they were not technically on the same side, each, as they fanned out over the scene of the crime was confident in each other's ultimate desire to find the truth. However, to ensure such an outcome they would watch each other. Officer Kelly would go with Pat, while the Sheriff would go with Carlos. To the Sheriff's surprise and relief, it did not take long for them to discover overt signs of recent suspicious activity has taken place in the area. Just what that was, would need yet to be determined. To a great extent the ground there had been disturbed. Extraordinary efforts had been made in rather short order to rectify it. These effects on the landscape had left an intimate record of the events as they unfolded there. However, it would take some careful observation to read them. Pat and Officer Kelly had meandered some distance from the landing site. All about the ground, they walked on; there were signs where heavy equipment had been used to cut and move around the heaps of lumber. They quickly identified a point along the ground where the concentration of track marks in the earth seemed heaviest. Officer Kelly with the camera in hand took several photographs of the disturbed ground as evidence while Pat continued to poke around. Between shots, she asked him, "How do you suppose they got his equipment in here?"

"I would imagine that they used a kind of heavy air transport."

"Who would have access to such equipment?"

"Many people do, and all of them work for the federal government."

"That narrows down the pool of suspects but I'd say it further complicates matters. Or from another perspective confirms things we may have already suspected. "

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