‘At last! What took you this long? I expected you an hour ago,’ Sergeant de Villiers sneered as the dog unit arrived. ‘By now the suspect must be miles away. I have to deal with all kind of threats from my command and here you saunter in like you are on your way to a picnic. I want this guy and I want him now, and if you know what is good for you, you will make sure you find him before dawn. Just to warn you, you’ll have to deal with Captain Barry Adams from the INSEC Task Force Unit and, I assure you, it will not be a pleasant encounter. The last place our guy is known to have been is in the VW over there. I have no idea where he went, but I expect you to tell me soon.’
De Villiers was agitated. It had been a tough day with the captain on his back. And now, almost daylight, he still did not have anything positive to report at their meeting scheduled for later the morning . . . he did not even want to think about that.
De Villiers was the sergeant in command of the INSEC Special Forces Task Group under Captain Adams. His life’s ideal had been to serve in the National Armed Forces. Things had since changed in the country and the border war was a thing of the past. As the next best option, he’d joined the police force and, when this opportunity came along, he’d grabbed it with both hands. Theirs was a special forces unit dealing with sensitive inland security cases. This assignment was not overly unusual. Due to the sensitivity of the cases the team dealt with, it was not unusual for De Villiers to have detail kept from him. He did not ask questions, he merely followed orders. He had been with the unit for almost three years, and initially found the job exciting. It provided a thrilling sense of adventure. Then his life changed, he became more mature. He now found himself – not openly, in his mind rather – questioning aspects of some of their assignments and something about this case made him uneasy. It was different when a confirmed criminal was confronted. The captain had not said anything; had said nothing about the woman in the car. How did she fit into the picture?
‘Serge, we've tracked the spoor. It disappeared in the middle of the road, either someone picked him up or maybe he climbed onto a truck. For us this is a dead end, we cannot track him any further. Sorry Serge, but that is the best we can do.’
More than an hour had elapsed since they’d started searching; by now their quarry could be over a hundred kilometres away, in any direction. There'd been no news from any of the road blocks. Is he still within the area or has he managed to slip through?
Time was running out before his face-to-face with Adams, and he still did not know what to tell him. He had two vehicles on hand; they would follow the two most obvious routes and only hope for the best. Perhaps he’d get lucky, he desperately needed it. He needed more troops to extend the search, and for that he would have to get support from Adams.
‘Thank you, guys. Please stay on call, I will contact you if I need more help.’ Then he turned to his team: ‘Okay men, only a couple of hours before I report to Adams. We’ve got to give him something . . . anything . . . by then. If the fugitive got picked up here by someone he knew, he may either have tried to get home or gone with whoever picked him up.
‘George, you two drive to his house and see if you can spot anything out of place. I asked gate security to look out for him, though maybe he’d already slipped through. Also, first thing this morning, arrange for a warrant to enter his house. If he got on a truck going that way, he could be heading towards Cullinan . We’ll take a drive and see if we can find anything.’
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