The Shenandoah Reports

A Pause for Reflection

With no legal repercussions from their break-in, the group decides to go through their findings...

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As far as places to go this time of night, there were relatively few- surprising in a college town. Waffle House and a few diners… but the only place to really hang out and get a good cup of coffee was The Mudhouse. The name was really a lot longer and a lot more pretentious, but thankfully the location wasn’t so much.

Finding a secluded booth in the back, they had the opportunity to look over their find in relative privacy.

It appeared that Trish did indeed have an investor backing her, but whomever it was didn’t want to be known. However, there were bank records- and such money transfers as were shown left a wide trail to those that knew how to trace such things.

There were also other papers- boring and voluminous enough that after that high of finding something, it was going to take a lot of coffee to slog through…

Monk pours over the paperwork, sipping her coffee to ward off the encroaching urge to sleep. It’s been a long, hard road, but she can smell the payday at the end of the road.

She’s no stranger to excessive amounts of files and junk. You didn’t run a clinic without learn how to wad through the mire. And seeing between the lines became an ingrained skill.

“Follow the money,” she says, pushing some of the pages back to the center of the table. “‘Cause someone was footing part of the bill, I think. Wonder if they didn’t like her having other partners.”

“Let’s compare notes, shall we?” Nick pulled out a laptop and started correlating the stolen data from Trish’s apartment with the files stolen from her office.

“Ugh,” he said distinctly, after nearly an hour. “There’s not enough coffee in the world for this. There are people who do this for a living. How I pity them. And wonder how I could get one of them to do this for me.”

David shook his head at Nick’s words. “Its better that we do this, than to involve yet others.” He looked at his Dossier of Trish Wallace, frowning. “I am not seeing anything here immediately relevant or useful in what I have, either.”

The records purloined seem to be of the mundane variety. Accounts receivable, accounts payable, stock received for shipping- all the things one would expect from records for a retail store. However, as their eyes began to cross from the boring task in front of them, they come across a series of numbers that suddenly click. One scrap of paper contains a series of numbers in a distinct pattern – a 9 digit number, followed by a 16 digit number, followed by a value that is obviously money.

Renewed, they check the accounts ledger, but it’s not immediately traceable. Whomever did this seems to have been adept at hiding numbers- more able to hide than they’re able to find. The only other way to trace it would be to trace the routing and account number- and without going to someone else, that seems unlikely. But at the mention of someone else, it clicks that there was no record of Trish being trained as such, so it is likely to lead to another party- an accountant perhaps?

There are also a few other discrepancies in relation to a vendor- Robert Redd. The payments to the vendor don’t match the inventory received. Of course, this could be because they weren’t accountants, and their forensics into the books isn’t as thorough as it should be. But, then again, they couldn’t get the numbers wrong by that much, right?

As they were discussing the discrepancies, Nick noticed that there was a handprint on the window, and he was pretty sure that it wasn’t there before. It would have been right across from them- it could be coincidence. He could be getting paranoid. But… there was that unexplained presence when they were in the store…

“That’s it,” Nick said, pushing away from the table. “I can’t look at this any more right now. I need sleep if I’m not going to embarrass myself when we meet with Wallace”—he looked at his watch—“in a few hours.” He looked at the window. “I have this feeling that we’ve been followed. Do you suppose Soup would let us crash at the Sanctum?”

David wrinkled his nose at the thought. He looked at Nick and he looked at Monk. “we all need sleep. I have an air mattress, and a couch. And my place is protected. We go to my place, we get a few hours of rest, and then we see Wallace in the morning. There is little else we can do tonight. We’re beyond our limits.”

Monk gives David a gentle smile – it’s sort of unnerving.

“I’ll take your couch,” she says. “Beats sleeping at the clinic.”

She rests her head on his shoulder, closing her eyes. “You can carry me there, if you like.”

Nick snorted. “Good enough. If it’s protected, all I need to sleep right now is someplace at least as comfortable as this chair.”

“It is protected” David said, almost fiercely. “Let us go now.”

The sleepy trio left the coffee house, walking from the safe confines of the downtown mall to their vehicle. But as they did, they couldn’t shake the feeling that they were being watched… or followed…

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