“So,” the Sheriff said, “you think that the Angels’ leadership will do this?”
Ken handed the old man a cup of fresh coffee, and the two sat down around his desk in the County office.
“Sheriff, I think that the leadership isn’t on the same page. Their top men aren’t stupid. They see what’s going on here, and they’re not keen on joining the dogpile.”
“So, you think that these men aren’t engaging us because they think that their bosses will toss them to the wolves?”
Ken nodded. “It’s the most likely explanation. Guiscard’s contacts abroad confirm what various alternative media outlets claim to be the case: Angel clubhouses all over are coming here, turning their coats and abandoning the gang or disappearing and going to ground. That’s got to give those men great pause.”
The Sheriff laughed. “I cannot believe that an old county sheriff, a notorious anarchist and the common people of a rural lake county are responsible for the destruction of one of the world’s most infamous outlaw motorcycle gangs.”
Ken smiled. “Neither can the leadership or their top enforcers. That’s why we’re not seeing them just yet, but I wouldn’t count on never seeing them either.”
“I agree.” The Sheriff sipped some from his cup. “I’m thinking that at least one’s here, now, and keeping quiet.”
“An observer, in other words, you think?”
The Sheriff nodded, and sipped again.
“I concur.” Ken said, “If I were one of these men, I’d come into the area under a cover that allowed for a wide range of mobility, plenty of plausible deniability, and openly carrying technology useful for surveillance.”
“You’re talking about a reporter.” The Sheriff said.
Ken shook his head. “Reporters are too high-profile for this sort of thing. They draw a lot of attention, memorable attention, through their actions. Our man’s not going to be doing that.”
“So, if not a reporter, then what?”
“We’re looking for a photographer.” Ken said, “Not a freelancer, not someone tied to a media outlet either- someone here for some other reason.”
Ken flipped through some reports on the Sheriff’s desk, and his eyes fell upon a casualty report complete with pictures.
“We’ve got some Feds around, right?”
“State and Federal agents, actually, but I keep tight leashes on them so they don’t interfere in our operations.”
“You let them go to the hospitals and the morgue?”
The Sheriff nodded. Then the thought hit him. “One of them?”
“No,” Ken said, “but around them. There’s a few private observers around, and at least one photographer is attached to each of these guys. I think our guy’s one of them, one of the employees of these NGOs, that’s moving around—often alone—and using that cover to spy on us.”
“This guy won’t look, or act, like the bikers whose corpses burn day and night at the crematorium. He’s clean-cut, in great shape, doesn’t drink shit beer, talks like a network anchorman- not at all the biker type in word or deed. No visible tattoos either, but I bet he’s inked like the rest- just in easy-to-hide ways. He needs those tats to get ordinary brothers to help when he needs them.”
“I take it that this guy’s also going to be harder to trick into revealing himself.”
Ken nodded. “If he’s one of their top men, then he’s no idiot or rookie. He’s high in the hierarchy, and off the books; only a few know who he is and none of those guys are here.”
“But he knows them, right?”
Ken again nodded, and so did the Sheriff.