“They’re accurate,” Macri said. “Except for the shots fired and the explosion.”

Puller blinked at her. “Shots and an explosion? No one mentioned that.”

“Well, maybe you didn’t ask the right questions. I’m volunteering that information in the interest of full disclosure. The shots and explosion prompted the calling in of reinforcements from the fort.”

“Did you determine the origins of the shots?”


“And the explosion?”

Macri said, “I said explosion because that’s what it initially sounded like.”

“You were on duty?”

“Yes, I was. But many people heard the noises. They were quite distinct.”

“So it wasn’t really an explosion?”

“As I just said, it initially sounded like one. However, we found no evidence of one actually going off.”

“Then perhaps it was the same deal with the shots.”

“It probably was, because we also found no evidence of any shots fired.”

“So just sound effects, maybe?”

“Actually, that’s the only explanation that fits. As you probably know, guards do not carry weapons inside the prison. Thus no shots could have been fired by them. All prisoners were searched. No gun or contraband of any kind was found.”

“Except for the escapee. You couldn’t search him, because he was gone.”

“Correct,” conceded Macri.

“But then some device had to make those noises.”

“I agree with you. We just couldn’t find out what it was. But the investigation, as you know, is ongoing.”

“Were the guards searched?”

Macri looked blankly at him. “The guards?”

“If the prisoners didn’t cause it, maybe one of the guards?” Puller looked at her expectantly.

“Why would a guard do that?”

“Well, if they’d been searched and the device found, you could have asked that question directly.”

“I refuse to believe that one of my personnel was involved in this. It’s unthinkable.”

“Well, Captain Macri, if nothing was found on the prisoners and nothing was found in the prison and unless you’re randomly allowing folks in here to plant devices to cause a panic, it had to be one of the guards.”

She bristled at this, but said nothing.

“And the status of your CO?”

“Colonel Teague is on temporary leave.”

“Meaning he’s the fall guy for this?” said Puller.

“Meaning he’s on temporary leave.”

“Have you done an investigation of your own, Captain?”

“A preliminary one has been conducted. As you well know, there are others here currently doing their own: MI, CID other than you. Some folks from Washington. Lots of cooks in the kitchen.”

“And what did your ‘preliminary’ investigation reveal?”

Macri said, “That Robert Puller escaped in a manner as yet undetermined.”

“And the dead man?”

“What about him?”

“Has he been identified?”

“Not yet,” replied Macri.

“Anyone missing from the prison? Guards, support staff, civilians? And how about Fort Leavenworth? Everyone accounted for there?”

“A thorough accounting has been done. There are no missing personnel at either place.”

“But there’s a federal pen here as well. And the Midwest Joint Regional Correctional Facility. All folks accounted for at those locations?”

She seemed taken aback by this query. “I don’t see how personnel at those facilities are relevant. If a prisoner had escaped from there we’d know about it. And it’s not like guards at those institutions could just walk into the DB.”

He stared at her pointedly. “You’re with the 15th MP Brigade.”

“I know I am.”

“Composed of the 40th and 705th MP Battalions.”

She said impatiently, “And your point?”

“The 15th MPs are responsible for the operation of DB and the Midwest Regional. Colonel Teague was the commandant at DB and also the commander of the 15th. MPs from the 15th responded to the situation at DB and restored order. In addition, the 40th Battalion was largely created because the 705th was deployed to the Middle East to run the prisons over there. So the prison is guarded by the 15th and both its battalions. So are you telling me that they don’t overlap in guard rotations? That no guard at DB ever works at the regional prison? Or vice versa?”

She seemed flustered now. “No, I’m not saying that or implying it.”

“Then the personnel at those facilities are relevant to my investigation, correct?”

She finally nodded. “I guess that’s correct. I’m sorry if I misinterpreted your request.”

“How do you explain the dead man in my brother’s cell?”

“I can’t explain it. That’s why investigations are ongoing.”

He decided to change direction. “I’ll need to see the body.”

She pursed her lips. Puller knew that despite any animosity she might have toward him, Macri could not refuse this request. A murder always carried with it a body. And for him as a CID agent authorized to investigate this murder, an examination of the body was always required and access never denied.

“I’ll make arrangements. They have him at Fort Leavenworth.”

“Thank you.”

“You’re welcome,” she said curtly.

“I’ll also need to check with the crews who restored the electrical power and repaired the backup generator.”

“I can also arrange that.”

“I’ll also need to look at surveillance footage from the night in question.”

“We lost power.”

“But the cameras have battery backups.”

“The ones in hallways and general areas do. The ones in the prisoners’ cells don’t.”

“Why not?”

“It was not designed that way. I can only imagine that if the main and backup power went out, the only problem would be prisoners attempting to flee from where the cameras could monitor them. They weren’t concerned that they remain in their cells in such a scenario. As you probably know, at DB it’s one prisoner to a cell.”

“I know that. But still quite the blind eye when you think about it.”

“No design is perfect. And I would imagine from this point on, cameras in the cells will also have battery backups.”

“I thought the system was set up so that if the power failed the cell doors automatically locked. And yet you had to call in the MPs. Why?”

Macri’s features were suddenly pained. “It seemed we were hacked.”

“Hacked? How?”

“As you said, our system is set up such that cell doors automatically lock when the power fails. That didn’t happen. The cell doors unlocked instead.”

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