Sandy awoke early the next morning, dressed and headed to the kitchen for a carafe of coffee, then on to his office to begin his day. It was seven o'clock when he called Dan's suite. Nelson told him that Dan was in the bathroom and he would have him call Sandy when he finished.
Dan called back. "Hi, Sandy, what's up?"
"Good morning, sleepyhead," Sandy said. "I wanted to talk to you before all hell breaks loose this morning. Do you want to eat in the dining room this morning, or should I have Ludlow set up a breakfast tray in your suite and I join you there for breakfast?"
"I would prefer that you join me in my suite."
That's fine with me, Dan. Let Ludlow know and I'll be there in a few minutes."
Sandy walked into Dan's suite and hugged and kissed him. "It's good to have you back home again, Danny Boy. You know I thought earlier this morning about this tragic incident that happened to you and your security guards in the truck. The more I think about it, the more I'm convinced that it is revenge against us for cutting WorldCom out of the picture on the new software program. Whether or not we can prove anything against the principals at WorldCom, or Brian Neely, is questionable. By all accounts this appears to have been carried out by a professional hit team, and if that is the case, they will have covered their tracks well and will never reveal their sources. Although, with enough money, and if we hire the right people, we can probably get at the truth. Of course that is our last resort if all the normal legal channels are exhausted."
"I don't think we are going to learn very much about the people that ordered this hit at the meeting later this morning. I feel that Mike's security people and the other security directors will put forth a new comprehensive security plan that will tighten our overall security for Dunnlap Plantation, and this estate. On the other hand, Mike is working with the Captain on training his people in attack weapons and defensive procedures for the ship. In addition, Mike is forming a special force to protect our ship against piracy on the open sea. On the next two trips aboard the Danny Boy, we will be cruising in native waters and will be protected by the Coast Guard. So I'm not concerned on that score."
Dan said, "I never even thought about the security on the Danny Boy. I'm glad that Mike is on top of that detail. I'm sure Chet was not too concerned about the security for the ship as that is the Captain's responsibility. Chet's main concern is the safety of our family and staff."
Sandy said, "Unless anything changes as a result of this security meeting today, I thought for our own safety and that of Pete and his family, we should all take a cruise on the Danny Boy soon. I know the security people will have developed new security plans and it will take some time to make the necessary changes. It's not going to be easy to secure the Plantation because of all the traffic in and out of the farm and for the number of employees and visitors that call on the facility every day. I suspect it will take a while to make that plantation secure. Will you feel comfortable staying on board the Danny Boy for the next week or so?"
"I don't see the problem," said Dan. "I will feel just as comfortable on the Danny Boy as I will at home, and with our boys and Pete's family on board with us I will feel less anxious about their safety. I think Security will have an easier job with us out of the way. Do you think we should invite Ryan and Murdoch along with us?"
"I think," Sandy said, "that they may welcome the chance to get away with their kids as well. I'm sure that our joint security staff will have a better handle on this case in a week's time."
"Well, sweetheart, I need to pull a few more things together for our meeting and I want to see if our conference room is set-up. I'll call you when everyone arrives. There is no sense in you sitting around waiting for them. You run along, I have a few things to do yet before I'm ready to meet the gang."
The conference room was filled as Sandy and Dan walked in that morning. Dan took a seat in the front row while Sandy made his way to the platform at the front of the room. Sandy said, "Good morning, gentlemen. Thank you for attending this morning. I would like to turn this meeting over to my Director of Security, Chet Williams. He will introduce the team leaders of this security team. We have assembled quite an outstanding team of people to help us in finding and bringing to justice the persons that are responsible for the murder of one of my security men. We feel that the target that day was my partner, Dan Kelly. I'm happy he is able to join us this morning. Chet, will you come forward and begin this meeting."
"Thank you, Sandy. Good morning, gentlemen. I'm pleased to report that in addition to our security teams here at the Manor and Pete Dunnlap's team for the Plantation, we have also gathered together an impressive group of security men. Representing Mike Lee's International Security contingent are Dwayne Hicks and Martin English, Mr. Charles Lattimore, of Lattimore & Associates and Hank Henderson, the Assistant Deputy Director, for the Homicide Division of the Sheriff's Department. Also present are Sandy and Pete Dunnlap, Dan Kelly and Murdoch McDonald."
"Let me recap what we know, and what we suspect at the present time. We know that the truck Mr. Kelly and his two security men were in was attacked with a rocket and an assault weapon on a private road within the confines of the Dunnlap Plantation. The explosion caused the vehicle to tumble down a steep embankment. The crash took the life of the driver and caused serious injuries to Mr. Kelly and Brian, his other security man. We have reason to believe Mr. Kelly was the target of this attack. We believe the attack was planned and executed by a professional hit team. Of course we have no proof as yet, but we cannot arrive at any other plausible explanation for this attack other than our belief, considering the location and the circumstances surrounding this incident."
"The Sheriff's forensic laboratory is still working on the case and they have been cooperating with our teams by sharing the information they have gathered so far. Their mission is to find the guilty party that committed the actual assault and caused the death of the security guard. It is not their mission to find out who masterminded and planned the crime. That is our responsibility."
"The Dunnlap's and Dan Kelly believe that this attack is in retaliation to Sandy Dunnlap's firing and accusing Brian Neely and the WorldCom group of corporate espionage against The Dunnlap Corporation. At the time, Brian Neely was an executive VP and stole an important software program that Dunnlap had invested a great deal of time and money to develop. This meeting is twofold. Our immediate concern is to develop a top security program for the protection of the Dunnlap Plantation, the Dunnlap Manor and for the Murdoch and Ryan complex."
"The second task is to concentrate our efforts to learn who authorized and financed this operation. So far, the Sheriff's team has not been able to learn the identify of the hit team. That is where Mike Lee and Charles Lattimore's expertise and connections will play a vital roll. Any information that you have may be useful in their investigation. I have asked that the security director and his teams get together to review and discuss the best way to secure the three locations that need our attention. I'm sure that Mike and Charles will meet and digest the information that we have gathered so far. To that end, I have divided this meeting room into two areas where each group can meet to discuss their plans. I hope the security group can come together with a common plan that will meet our clients' safety. Unless there are any objections, I would like to have everyone meet once again this afternoon to present our final version of the plan. After reviewing the plan, including any suggestions from the experts, we can then proceed to work up the cost of the plan to our clients. So, gentlemen, if there are no objections, let us begin our task."
Sandy walked over to speak to Murdoch. "Murdoch, would you like to join us for an early lunch?"
"That would be great," Murdoch said. "I only had toast and coffee for breakfast this morning."
"Let's walk over to the Manor House," Sandy said. "Pete and Dan will be joining us."
After they were seated in the family dining room Sandy said, "Dan and I have decided to spend the next week or so on the Danny Boy until our security teams have completed their work. I know they plan to be adding some new surveillance equipment and tighten up some of the soft areas in our present security program. Both Dan and I feel we can still conduct our work from the ship. We are not too concerned about taking the boys out of school since there are only a few weeks of school left and they are way ahead of their class in their studies. We would like to invite both you and Pete to join us on this maiden cruise."
Murdoch said, "I think that is a super idea, Sandy, and I'm sure Ryan will agree with me. My poor baby is very upset by what happened to Dan and he is gun-shy about the possibility that some nut case would try to hurt us and our children. He even suggested flying back to my estate in Scotland. If you don't mind, I would like to take my children's tutors along with us?"
Sandy said, "That is fine with me, Murdoch. Maybe some of my kids would enjoy attending the classes as well."
"What about you, Pete?" Dan asked.
"I would love to join you with the kids," Pete said. "But I will need to run it by the boss. You know how she is about the kids missing school."
Sandy said, "Look we can hire a tutor to work with the children. We can work it out with Murdoch's tutor to see what he is teaching his kids. If we need another tutor to pick up the slack we can hire someone. As I mentioned there are only a few more weeks of school and I'm sure that they are not going to start any new ground to teach the children. The last few weeks are usually used to review what the kids have learned in the last six months to prepare them for their final exams. I'll find out if the children can take their final exams when we return from our cruise."
"If that's the case," Pete said, "I think that Penny will agree to go on the cruise. With the large staff you have supervising your group, I'm sure Penny will feel at ease with the cruise. I know she was looking forward to the maiden cruise on the Danny Boy."
Murdoch said, "Ryan and I and the kids will definitely join you, Sandy. When are you planning to leave?"
"Let's plan on leaving Wednesday morning, the day after tomorrow. I'll call the family to see who can make the trip. I don't want to wait any longer for security reasons. I want to make sure our security people have a handle on this assassination attempt. That should give my people enough time to get ready. In addition to our full-time paramedic, Dan's RN will be with us as well. Don't forget we have a helo on board that can take care of any emergency."
Murdoch said, "It looks like you're better equipped on board the Danny Boy then we are at the Manor House."
"It sounds like it's going to be a fun cruise," Pete said.
Sandy said, "I hope so. I think we have had a trying several months, we can all use the time to relax a bit."
"Well, guys," Pete said, "thanks for the lunch, but if we are leaving the day after tomorrow I have a lot to do. Sandy, whatever you decide on the new security program, I'll go along with. You know what we both require."
"You bet, Bro, I'll make sure that you and your family are well protected. You run along and convince Penny about going on this trip with the kids."
Pete left and headed to the helo pad.
"Sandy, do you have a space where I can hook up my computer?" Murdoch asked. "I need to set some things in motion and I need to stick around to hear what plan our security teams have developed."
"Follow me, Murdoch; you can work in the library where you won't be disturbed."
Sandy walked back to the dining room to sit with Dan. Sandy asked, "Are you okay with the plans, sweetheart?"
"I'm excited about the cruise." Dan said. "I agree with Pete. It should be a fun cruise."
"Are you going to invite your mom and step-dad?" Sandy asked.
"Sure I'll invite them, but I don't think they can make it with such notice. You know what it's like running a large farm. Also, with Dad running a large law firm he cannot just drop everything and take off."
Sandy said, "There will be other cruises and we can work out a better schedule. Well, tiger, I need to get together with my staff and the Captain to make sure he has everything on board to sail on Wednesday. Would you like me to help you up to your suite?"
"No, you go ahead, I'm strong enough to find my way to my suite alone."
"Dan, will you do me a big favor and let Joe, Nelson, and the boys know of our plans for Wednesday? Maybe you can tell Mary Ward, the principal at the Dunnlap School, that we will be taking the boys out of school for ten days. Joe will need to call Mrs. Ward as well, as I'm sure he will want to take Steve with him on this voyage."
"I'll take care of it, sweetheart," Dan said. "What about your folks? Do you want me to contact them as well?"
"No, Love, I'll take care of the folks myself," Sandy replied.
"I'll let you know when the security group is ready to meet with us again this afternoon."
Sandy returned to his office and called Ludlow. "Ludlow, I would like to see you, Martha, and Margaret in my office as soon as possible."
"Yes sir, we will be there as soon as I reach them."
Ten minutes later, the three walked into Sandy's office.
"Thank you for coming so soon. The reason for this meeting is to let you know that Dan, the boys and my children will be leaving on Wednesday to sail on the Danny Boy. Margaret, I would like you to make sure that you and the nurses have everything needed for a ten-day cruise. Nelson, Joe and Steve will be going as well. Ludlow, you and Martha will have your hands full with Chet and his security people. He will explain the new procedures and what he will require from the staff and other employees. I'll leave that in your capable hands. As you all know, Dan and my children are my main concern right now and Dan and I feel that we would be safer aboard the Danny Boy until Chet and his people have put the new security plans in effect over the next week. I know this is short notice, but I'm sure that you will all work together to make this as smooth as possible. Do you have any questions?"
"No? Then thank you for your time. Margaret, I'll see you later when Dan and I feed the babies."