“The drone footage is quite clear,” Mark said, displaying his recordings on the wide screen television in his living room. “Every one of those documents checks out. They were brazen about the placement, too. The solar arrays are hiding in plain sight.”
“It’s almost like they expected no one would figure out what they were doing,” Alex said, stepping closer to the television. The video footage was such high resolution he could read the license plate on one of the cars in a parking lot.
They were finally done with dinner and helping put the kids to bed and could get down to the real reason Alex had driven over to Mark and Hazel’s house again for the third time in three days.
“Do you ever take your high-end real estate clients into the courthouse to show them around?” Mark asked.
“I have a couple of friends who are looking to buy a home in the Valley and thought you were the perfect real estate agent needed for the job.”
“How can you think about work at a time like this?” Alex’s jaw dropped. “A man was murdered last night, the company we own is involved in a government scandal that could tear this town apart, and I just found out my new girlfriend is involved in said government scandal.”
“Allegedly involved,” Mark said. “You have no proof of that. Anyway, my friends should be arriving in a little while and will stay with me tonight so we can go over all the files they’ll need to help them get started with their investigation. Tomorrow they will check themselves into a hotel in town and show up at your office for their one o’clock appointment.”
“I don’t have a one o’clock appointment,” Alex said, confused. “Unless my secretary set it up without asking me first.”
“She did,” Mark said. “I spoke with her a couple hours ago. I told her there was no need to call and let you know because you were on your way to my house and I’d tell you when you got here.”
“I took the liberty of having her pull the files and arrange showings on the houses they’d like to see, all of which are within half-mile of one of the properties that has two solar arrays.”
“Wait, who are these friends of yours?”
“Mr. and Mrs. John Doe,” Mark said with a straight face. “Kidding. I’m sure they’ll have aliases and it’s best if we don’t know their real names anyway. Just do your job as their real estate agent and they’ll do their jobs as…” Mark let his sentence hang, waiting for Alex to pick up on his clue.
“Federal agents.” Alex saw the brilliance of the plan and thanked his lucky stars that he’d chosen real estate development as a profession.
As if on cue a silver Cadillac Escalade pulled down the long driveway toward Mark’s home. Subtle. Non-descript and understated to blend in with the passing traffic but elite enough to realistically be the property of a high-end real estate client. Smart.
A man and woman exited the vehicle and scanned the horizon before walking up the sidewalk. Again, nothing extraordinary about either of them. No features that stood out. No visible tattoos or piercings. No colored hair or elaborate clothes. Two individuals designed to blend. They were perfect.
“Welcome,” Mark said, holding open the door and reaching out a hand. “I’m Marcos Sayid and this is my advisor, Alexander Cohen-Stephenson. My wife and children have retired for the night, so you’ll meet them in the morning.”
“Thank you,” the man said. “You will know us as Joshua and Amber Roland. We will be your point of contact for the duration of the investigation, however long that lasts.” They all shook one another’s hands but were all business.
“How about if you start by showing us the evidence you’ve gathered so far, and we’ll proceed from there,” Amber said.
They closed the door to the darkened forest, quieting the ever-present rush of the waterfall, and worked late into the night.