Delta Green M Cell Campaign (2003 – 2010)

Golden Years, Session 1

Previous Scenario: Plum Island, session 4

Scenario Author: Allan Goodall
Write-up Author: Allan Goodall
Run Date: October 16, 2004
Game System: Chaosium's Basic RolePlaying (BRP)
Keeper: Allan Goodall
Characters: Nicholas Connelly, codename MICHAEL (Jason Gallagher); Joshua Frost, codename MORGAN (Jimmy Pope); Carson Kovac, codename MAYA (Alana Goodall)

Don't let me hear you say life's taking you nowhere
   - David Bowie, "Golden Years"

Tuesday, August 31, 2004, 11:10 a.m. CDT

Internal Revenue Service, 1555 Poydras Street, New Orleans, Louisiana

It had been almost two months since the members of M-cell participated in a Delta Green operation. In that time they actually managed to do some work at their daytime jobs and have a semblance of a life. When not working, Agent MICHAEL continued to learn electronics by taking a course at a local college. MICHAEL made sure that he stayed far away from anything remotely resembling a beach. MORGAN received a cost of living increase in his salary, so he splurged by buying a 2004 Nissan Armada. MAYA continued to spend her time off remodelling her bathroom.

On the morning of August, 31, 2004, MAYA was at her daytime job as an Internal Revenue Service investigator. There was a knock at her office door. She looked up and saw John Norton, her supervisor. He asked her about her current assignments and whether or not she could investigate something in Florida over the next couple of days. MAYA lied as she looked at her growing pile of paperwork, and said that she could take on the assignment.

Norton had received a call from the U.S. Marshal's office. They were investigating a murder case and needed some IRS help. The victim went by the name James Firelli. Firelli was an alias. The victim's real name was Vincent Marcello... also known as "Vinnie the Knife" Marcello. Though they couldn't pin much on him, the FBI suspected him in a number of Mafia-related murders. They finally got him on money laundering charges in the mid-80s. Marcello agreed to testify against his ex-bosses in exchange for a berth in the Witness Protection Program. His testimony was enough to convict a number of smaller bosses, who in turn implicated some big fish in New York and New Jersey. Since 1989, Marcello was protected by the Feds. He had lived in a gated community in Tampa, Florida for the past six months. Now he was dead.

The Marshals and the FBI needed someone to check James Firelli's/Vincent Marcello's income tax returns for the past five years to see if he had any strange sources of income. They suspected the mob got to Vinnie, even though intelligence suggested that few mobsters even thought about the ex-assassin these days. The Feds theorized that Vinnie was involved in something illegal that brought him to the Mob's attention, or which got him in trouble on its own. Norton assigned MAYA to the case. She was to go through his finances, and then head to Florida to help the FBI and the Marshals go through Vinnie's personal records. This was all to be done quickly as the Federal police agencies were desperate to find any clues to Vinnie's murder before the next storm hit the region. Hurricane Frances, which was currently over Cuba, was tracking toward Florida. In any event, the work wasn't expected to take more than a couple of days. Her primary contact was Drew McCullough with the U.S. Marshal's office. McCullough's FBI contact was Special Agent Roger Patterson.

MAYA found the assignment a trifle odd. The IRS was often called in to help investigations, but rarely did it involve such a hands-on approach. Oh, sure, investigating Vinnie's tax returns made sense, but didn't the FBI have local people to check his bank account and personal files? MAYA shrugged, dropped her current case load and began working on Vinnie's case. She booked a morning flight to Tampa. It left the next day, and she would be returning the day after. She spent the rest of her work day checking Vinnie's tax returns. She discovered nothing untoward. She gathered her findings, went home and packed for her trip.

Wednesday, September 1, 2004, 1:15 p.m. EDT

Tampa International Airport, Tampa, Florida

MAYA arrived at Tampa in the early afternoon. The airport was bustling with people leaving the state ahead of the storm. The car rental agencies didn't have much left to choose from, so she had to settle for a white Pontiac Grand Prix. MAYA drove to the Embassy Suites, checked into her room, dropped off her things, and then drove to the U.S. Marshal's office.

She asked for Drew McCullough and was soon ushered into his office. McCullough was amiable but overworked. Writing and pictures covered the white boards in his office. She could tell that this murder case was his number one priority. Losing someone in protective custody was an understandable embarrassment. He invited her to sit down. As soon as she was seated, he brought her up to speed on the case.

Vinnie was last seen on Friday, August 27. He went out, apparently to do some shopping. As far as the Marshals could tell he never came home. No one in the area remembered seeing his car return to the house. Video tapes from the surveillance cameras from the gated community failed to show the car's return. Marcello was not under house arrest and his case had been quiet for years. Case workers would visit him every now and again, but mostly he was under light surveillance. The Marshals' office phoned him on the morning of Saturday, August 28. When there was no answer, they descended on his home.

The FBI was called in to help, as Vinnie was their "song bird". They combed his house, but discovered no sign of a struggle or foul play. An "All Points Bulletin" failed to turn up the car. Police throughout the nation, as well as the authorities in Mexico and Canada, were put on alert.

Vinnie's body turned up the next evening, Sunday, August 29. Someone living in a rural area outside of Orlando alerted the fire department to a fire in a vacant, wooded lot across from their home. When the fire department got there they discovered Vinnie au flambé. The fire was apparently set to eliminate evidence. An autopsy showed that he died after his throat was slit. Other evidence suggested that his hands and feet had been bound. Whoever killed him did an excellent job of cleaning up after themselves. There were a few foot prints, but they had been obscured to the point of uselessness. There were no car tire tracks, and none of the neighbors remembered seeing a vehicle. McCullough was stumped.

MAYA presented what little she had discovered. McCullough took her report and skimmed it quickly before thanking her for her work. Nothing she gave him surprised him much. His theory was that the Mob had a long memory and had simply bided its time before taking out Vinnie. He was stymied by a lack of physical evidence, which frustrated him.

He asked her if she could go through Vinnie's financial records at his home. They and the FBI office were short staffed due to the damage from Hurricane Charley and the expected Hurricane Frances. He gave her directions and told her that he would let the security guards at the community know that she was coming.

MAYA said she would do what she could, adding, "I'm not sure how much help I'm going to be." McCullough thanked her, and gave her a key. She left the building and drove to Vinnie's house.

Vinnie lived in a gated community known as Sunset Park, in the east end of the city. The community was a sprawling subdivision nestled within protective brick walls topped with barbed wire. It looked like the modern equivalent of a walled medieval city.

There was a small parking area out front. Visitors and trades people could park here and enter the security building, which straddled the wall. Beside the security building was a tall turnstile for pedestrian traffic and an electronic gate for vehicles. The sign outside the gate read:

Sunset Park
A nice place to live

The Delta Green agent ignored the parking spot in front of the community and drove up to the electronic gate. The tinny voice of a security guard greeted her from an intercom. MAYA stared into the video lens built into the intercom panel as she gave the unseen guard her name. MAYA could hear him typing on a keyboard before he thanked her for her patience and opened the gate.

The gate opened onto a wide street. On the right side of the street was the other side of the security building and — a little bit further down the street — a community center, complete with large swimming pool and children's play area. A small fleet of golf carts with the words "Sunset Park Security" stenciled on their sides were parked beside the security building inside the community. On the opposite side of the street were the Sunset Park office buildings. A street sign indicated that the main street was Birch Sparrow Way, which MAYA thought was an odd name for a road. Driving forward she came to a t-intersection. The street on the left was Finch Juniper Lane and the street on the right was Cardinal Pine Crescent. She turned on to Finch Juniper Lane. The road was divided by a yellow line. Speed bumps lay across each lane, but the center of the road was flat with enough distance between speed bumps to accommodate a golf cart. MAYA found it uncomfortable to drive faster than 15 miles per hour.

The houses in the subdivision were based on six different house designs. Three designs were modest homes, and she thought that they had probably three bedrooms. Two designs were large, and one was truly ostentatious. In spite of the size differences, each house had two stories and a double door garage. MAYA believed that the largest homes, which were few in number, could probably hold four cards in their garages, while the smallest could barely hold two, but every garage had exactly two doors. Each design was asymmetrical. On one design the difference between the left and right sides of the house was just a subtle variation in the slope of the roof. On another the windows on one side were completely different from the windows on the other. On yet another design the two halves were so disparate that it looked as though two radically dissimilar buildings had been slammed together. The ostentatious design looked almost perfectly symmetrical; the only blemish was that the front door was ever so slightly off center. Every house had the same pastel lemon paint scheme on the aluminum siding and the same light-toned brickwork. The only noticeable variations were the color of the curtains and the decoration on the mail boxes. Walkways of interlocking hexagonal brick curved up to front doors. After a minute or so of driving through the subdivision, MAYA realized that the house designs had a mirror image, giving a total of 12 unique designs, not six. In spite of the confusing nature of the architecture, MAYA easily found Vinnie's house.

MAYA used the key McCullough gave her and slipped into the house, legally for a change. The house was tastefully decorated and looked quite fastidious for the home of a single man hiding from the mob. She found his office and went through his well-organized financial records. After a couple of hours of searching she failed to find anything suspicious. Tired and getting hungry, she called McCullough. She told him what she found — which wasn't much — and said she was leaving the next day. McCullough thanked her again for her work and hung up.

On her way out, MAYA noticed something on the floor behind the front door. It was dark grey soil. It really wasn't easy to see, as the front hall's beige carpet had been thoroughly cleaned. She bent down and took a sample — though the small amount of soil could just barely be called "a sample" — and sealed it in a Ziploc she found in the house.

MAYA left Sunset Park, though she got a little bit turned around on the way out due to the confusing layout. She went for something to eat, then returned to the Embassy Suites. She crashed in her bedroom for an hour or so, then called her supervisor to leave an update on his voice mail. After that was done she left the room and drove to a nearby mall.

As she drove into the mall's parking lot, MAYA noticed several police cars surrounding a Buick sedan. She drove closer to the cars and noticed McCullough standing beside the car. MAYA parked nearby and walked over. She greeted McCullough, who introduced her to Special Agent Patterson. The car was Vinnie's. While talking to the Marshal and the FBI agent, she saw a police officer taking soil samples from the car's tires. It looked to be the same color as the sample she took in Vinnie's house. MAYA turned to Patterson and pulled out the sample she took in the house. She gave it to Patterson, saying that it looked like the same type of soil as they were finding on the tires. Patterson mentioned that they found some of the same soil on Vinnie's corpse. MAYA excused herself. She walked a short distance away. She pulled out her Delta Green cell phone and called Agent MICHAEL.

She told MICHAEL what she was doing and asked him if he knew anything about agent Patterson. MICHAEL didn't know the man. They discussed the case. While they agreed that it was somewhat puzzling, there didn't appear to be anything paranormal about it. MAYA did find it odd that she was called in to help on site when most of her work could have been easily accomplished back at the office. MICHAEL was unaware of any Delta Green influence. He asked her to let him know how the case turned out, and they hung up.

The police continued to take soil samples. MAYA thought of something. She went to Patterson and McCullough. "I have a friend at the CDC who likes this kind of a thing. Can I send him a sample?"

McCullough looked at Patterson, and Patterson shrugged. He didn't see why not, as there was a fair bit of soil on the tires. He told her that if she could get some tests done on another department's nickel, more power to her. A police officer brought her a small sample. She thanked the officer and the two federal agents, and then drove to a FedEx Kinko's outlet she noticed as she drove to the mall.

As MAYA packaged the sample in an overnight delivery box, she phoned Agent MORGAN. She told him that she came across a soil sample in Florida, that she was sending him the soil to analyze as part of the investigation, and that she wanted him to determine where it might have come from. She figured that the police could do the same thing, but it wouldn't hurt to have someone else run some tests, too.

MORGAN thought it was odd that she was in Florida, considering the weather. "Don't you know there is a hurricane heading your way?"

"Yeah, I know. They sent me down here knowing it was coming. I think it might be a plot."

He asked her if there was anything Delta Green-ish happening. She said she didn't think so but thought it best to be sure. She told him to let her know the results of the tests, but keep it to himself. They didn't need to let anyone else in Delta Green know what was going on.

MORGAN was still concerned that something might leak out. "ANDREA may be telepathic," he suggested.

"ANDREA can bite my ass."

The two agents wished each other well, and hung up. MAYA mailed off the sample and then left the Kinko's. She drove back to the mall and went in to do some shopping. She bought stuff for her soon-to-be-renovated bathroom, and — of course — shoes.

* * *

Last night they loved you, opening doors and pulling some strings
   - David Bowie, "Golden Years"

Thursday, September 2, 2004, 9:30 a.m. EDT

Embassy Suites, Tampa, Florida

The next morning, as MAYA was packing, she heard the Green Day song "American Idiot" coming from her purse. This was her latest Delta Green cell phone ringtone. She answered it. It was MORGAN.

MORGAN had the lab run some tests on the soil overnight. "Where in Tampa, Florida did you get volcanic soil?" he asked, unable to mask his now quite apparent interest in the case.

"In his house, and on his tires at the mall," she answered, deadpan.

MAYA related what happened to Vinnie. She told MORGAN where the soil was found, including that it was apparently also found on the victim's body.

"You've given me a puzzle," said MORGAN.

"Oh, Lord," replied MAYA.

MORGAN asked if she needed his findings in writing, and she said that she might, eventually, but he could give her the results verbally for now.

He told her that the soil was heavy in mica, an igneous mineral, and silicates. It strongly suggested volcanic activity that was unknown in Florida. He didn't think they'd even find it in such things as plant pot filler. The exact composition of the soil was simply unknown in the U.S.

She thanked MORGAN and hung up. The weather news was not good: Hurricane Frances was projected to hit Florida by the weekend. MAYA called the airline and booked a flight to New Orleans that left at 4 p.m.

Before leaving town, she drove to the U.S. Marshals' office. She returned Vinnie's key to McCullough. She relayed MORGAN's information about the soil sample. McCullough thanked her for the information, though he wasn't sure if it helped or hindered his investigation. The Marshal's investigation was quickly coming to a dead end. As they discussed what he knew so far, MAYA asked to see the crime scene photos. As he pulled them out he warned her that the pictures weren't pretty. He was not exaggerating. MAYA looked at them anyway. They showed a body curled up in the classic fetal position of a fire victim. The skin was charred and the face was pulled back in a mumified rictus. The ground around the corpse was scorched, as was the nearest tree. Something caught MAYA's attention. There was a white mark on the tree. Looking closely she could see it was a pattern of swirls drawn in what looked like chalk. She had seen swirls like this once before... It appeared to be a small piece of an interdimensional gate.

MAYA asked, in her most persuasive voice, if she could have copies of the photos. McCullough thought about it for a moment, shrugged, and copied the pictures from his computer to a CD. He handed the CD to MAYA. For a change, she thanked him. She told him that she would probably stay for another day or so, and then left his office.

She returned to the hotel. After telling the desk clerk she was staying, she returned to her room and cancelled her flight. MAYA took out the CD and sent the pictures as high resolution JPEGs to MICHAEL and MORGAN via the hotel's high speed internet connection and her laptop, routing the e-mail through Delta Green's secure servers. She sent another e-mail to their Delta Green cell phones, telling them they had a message waiting on the Delta Green e-mail server.

MICHAEL called MAYA. She explained what she saw in the pictures. MICHAEL pulled the pictures up on his computer. While he agreed that it could be the swirls of a gate, he couldn't be sure. MICHAEL decided to forward the photos to ALPHONSE, along with an e-mail requesting that someone at Delta Green determine whether or not the swirls were part of a gate. He added that if it turned out to be a gate, MICHAEL would activate M-cell. Meanwhile, MAYA would stay in Tampa until there was an answer one way or another.

MICHAEL got a response from ALPHONSE within an hour. In ALPHONSE's estimation (or the estimation of someone else within the Delta Green hierarchy), there was an 85% chance that the chalk marks were a gate fragment. ALPHONSE would continue to investigate.

MICHAEL e-mailed ALPHONSE, saying he would activate M-cell and that they would investigate the murder. He then contacted MAYA. Since the body, and the marks, were found north of Orlando, the two male M-cell agents would fly to Orlando. She was to meet them there, and they would drive to the site. MICHAEL called MORGAN, and the two made travel arrangements, then MICHAEL called MAYA with their itineraries.

Agent Michael flew from Washington, D.C. to Atlanta, where he would catch a connecting flight to Orlando. Coincidentally, the connection flight was the same one MORGAN would take. MICHAEL found MORGAN in the departure lounge, sleeping in a chair.

He nudged MORGAN awake. "I'm sorry sir, I am going to have to ask you to vacate your sleep," he said with a grin.

A sleepy MORGAN replied, "I'm a CDC investigator. There is a sleeping sickness going around. In this matter I outrank you."

The two agents briefly discussed the mission. MORGAN asked MICHAEL, "What's our cover story?"

"What cover story? We're going to investigate some weirdness. What you tell the CDC is your business."

MORGAN paused for a second. "Remind me to send an e-mail when we land."

* * *

Gonna drive back down where you once belonged
In the back of a dream car twenty foot long
   - David Bowie, "Golden Years"

Thursday, September 2, 2004, 6:46 p.m. EDT

Orlando International Airport, Orlando, Florida

MICHAEL and MORGAN arrived in Orlando and claimed their bags. They walked out into the open terminal area, looking for MAYA. They didn't have far to look. MAYA was in a bar, situated so that they would see her when they cleared the gate. She greeted the other M-cell agents, warmly. MICHAEL noticed that she had just finished a drink and asked for the keys to her rental car. He would drive. With reluctance, MAYA handed them over. They made their way to the Grand Prix. MAYA climbed into the back seat, MORGAN rode shotgun.

The agents arrived at the scene of the crime about an hour later. The site was on Old Forest Road in a rural/suburban township. It was getting dark, so they pulled out their flashlights. They looked around the site. A large scorch mark covered an elliptical area eight feet long by six feet wide. The scorch mark ran up the side of a tree. At the edge of the scorch mark about six feet up the tree were swirl marks made in what looked like white chalk. MORGAN took a sample of the chalky substance.

Marks in the dirt showed that someone had taken care to obliterate their tracks. There was no way of telling how many people had been there or where they came from, just that someone was there. MORGAN pulled out Luminol and sprayed the area, liberally. He played the special light over the area. There was no sign of blood. The agents searched for the strange soil. They couldn't find any, and the natural soil in the area could not be mistaken for it.

While they searched the area, MICHAEL got an e-mail from ALPHONSE. It was the opinion of A-cell, and other unnamed experts, that the swirl was almost certainly part of an interdimensional gate. They didn't know for an absolute certainty, however.

As darkness grew, the agents saw house lights through the trees. MAYA recalled that the fire that burned the corpse was seen by neighbors. They agreed that there was nothing left to find at the site, so they got into the car and drove to the neighbor's house.

MICHAEL took the lead, showing the family his FBI credentials. He introduced the other agents simply as "Agents Frost and Kovac". MICHAEL asked what the family saw. The father, Phillip, stated that he saw the fire in the woods and called the police. They couldn't tell if anyone was there, nor did they see any vehicles. On further examination, the oldest son, Darren, mentioned that he did see someone drive down the road earlier that day. It was a white van. It had white lettering on a blue background, but he couldn't remember what it said. He thought it was a real estate agent's van. The agents thanked the boy and left.

Before heading for Tampa, they drove up the sparsely populated road. They saw a house for sale. The real estate company was Coldwell-Banker. The sign was blue with white lettering.

The male agents still needed a hotel room, but instead of driving directly to the Embassy Suites the agents decided to check out Vinnie's house once more. MAYA drove this time. She pulled off the interstate when they got to Tampa's eastern border. She was unsure if the security guards would let her into the community, but she figured it was worth a shot.

She pulled up to the intercom. When the security guard's voice came over the speaker, MAYA introduced herself. There was the tap of computer keys.

"You were on the list yesterday," stated the security guard. "Are you still investigating?"

"Yes, he's still dead. We're still investigating."

MAYA drove to the house, which was no mean feat given the the community's confusing layout. On the way to the house MORGAN thought he noticed a pattern to the community's layout, but he wasn't entirely sure what that pattern was. MAYA pulled into the home's driveway. The agents got out of the car and walked to the front door. MAYA no longer had the key to the house, so she picked the lock. The door opened with ease and they slipped inside.

They searched the house, but they didn't find much of interest. There was nothing to suggest why Vinnie disappeared. They did find a receipt that showed he bought groceries (milk, eggs, butter, bread, etc.) on August 27 at 2:34 p.m. MORGAN found high blood pressure medication in the bathroom cabinet.

There was a knock at the door. MAYA opened the door with care. At the door was a pretty, petit brunette. The woman introduced herself as Marie Villeneuve, president of the Sunset Park Home Owner's Association. She saw the car in the driveway and thought she would introduce herself to the officers — apparently it never occurred to her that the visitors would be anything but police. MAYA thanked the woman for her concern, and asked her what she knew about the dead man. Villeneuve didn't know much. He was a quiet man who kept to himself. The first she knew about him being in the Witness Protection Program was when the police pulled up to his house Saturday morning. She asked MAYA why Vinnie was in the program, but MAYA said it was still confidential and couldn't say more. Villeneuve said she understood. She offered to help any way should could, and that they were to call on her if they needed anything. Villeneuve's house was just down the street, and her office was in the management company's building at the front gate.

Before Villeneuve left, MAYA took the offer of help at face value and questioned her. She asked if Vinnie had any visitors. Villeneuve didn't remember seeing any. MAYA asked if he had any services come to his home, such as a cleaning service. Again, Villeneuve said that she didn't recall ever seeing any services at the house. MAYA thanked her. Villeneuve smiled, and headed for home with a friendly wave.

After Villeneuve was gone, the agents pulled out the vacuum cleaner. They hit on the idea that whoever took Vinnie and left the small soil sample behind had used his vacuum to clean up after themselves. They opened up the cleaner's bag. It was half full of the strange dark soil. MORGAN taped a plastic bag around the vacuum cleaner bag. They now had plenty of soil to analyze.

They continued to search the house but found nothing. They even checked the attic. Convinced that they had done all they could, the agents left the house and MAYA locked up after them. MAYA drove back toward the front gate, but got a little bit lost. She quickly turned around in a driveway and came to the front gate. The security guards opened it, and she drove out of the gated community. She got back on the interstate and drove to the Embassy Suites in Tampa.

The male agents checked into the hotel, and all three agents went to bed.

Friday, September 3, 2004, 6:51 a.m. EDT

Embassy Suites, Tampa, Florida

The agents woke up early, showered and dressed. TV news shows were busy warning Florida residents of the impending storm. The storm track showed that Hurricane Frances would likely hit the southeast coast of the state and carry forward into the Gulf of Mexico. It was expected to make landfall on Sunday. Residents were asked to leave low lying areas, and board up windows.

After the agents had eaten, MORGAN told the others that he wanted to take his samples to the nearest CDC laboratory. They piled into the Grand Prix and MAYA drove them to the lab. MORGAN left the soil and chalk samples with the lab and told them to phone him when the samples were analyzed.

MORGAN wanted to see Vinnie's body. The agents considered driving back to Orlando to see it, when it occurred to them that perhaps it wasn't taken to the Orlando morgue but to the Tampa morgue. MAYA called McCullough and asked him where they were keeping Vinnie's body. He told her that the body was at the Tampa morgue. He then asked why she wanted to know. MAYA said she was still involved in the investigation. She turned on the charm and said she would help any way she could. She added that she was getting "orders from above" and needed to check a few things. Perhaps her bluff worked, or perhaps McCullough was under a lot of pressure to find Vinnie's killer, but he accepted her help, graciously.

MAYA called one of the Coldwell-Banker offices in Orlando to find out who was in charge of the property they saw on Old Forest Road. The woman who answered said the agent was Geri Silver, one of their residential property specialists. MAYA contacted Ms. Silver and asked her if she went to see the property last Sunday. Silver said that she had not. She also said that no one else in her office had seen the property. If anyone was seriously interested in the property the other agent would have contacted her. Of course anyone in the country, and Canada, could have found the property through the Multiple Listing Service if they were looking for a home in Orlando. Silver said that she would make some inquiries and see if anyone had gone to see the house on Old Forest Road. MAYA thanked her and hung up.

The agents decided to clarify their cover story. MAYA was safe as she had been called in to work on the case. They decided that MICHAEL would use his real name and occupation as an FBI Special Agent. MORGAN would use an old cover as an FBI forensics expert. MICHAEL sent an e-mail to ALPHONSE asking for fake identification documents for MORGAN. If possible, they wanted MORGAN's credentials to pass across Patterson's desk, so that he would know MORGAN was working on the case.

While MICHAEL finished the e-mail to ALPHONSE, MAYA received a call from Ms. Silver. She phoned around and no other Coldwell-Banker agent had been interested in the house on Old Forest Lane. She mentioned that she only contacted residential property specialists. An idea came to MAYA. She asked Ms. Silver if there were any commercial properties on Old Forest Road. In a moment Silver confirmed that there were. In fact Vinnie's body was found on the property! The vacant lot was on the market; the owners, who were nearby neighbors, expected to sell it to a residential developer. MAYA asked if there was a sign on the property. Silver said she thought there was before Hurricane Charley went through, but it was probably knocked over in the storm. Silver gave MAYA the name of her office's commercial property specialist and then hung up.

MAYA called the commercial property specialist, Bruce Wadsworth. Wadsworth was unable to help her. No one had approached him with an offer for the property, and he didn't know if anyone else had been looking at the property. All he could tell her was that he hadn't visited that road that day, and neither had anyone else in his office.

Soon after MAYA got off the phone, MORGAN got a call from the CDC lab. The soil report was the same as he got in Atlanta: the soil was volcanic and not indigenous to Florida. The chalky substance was normal, white chalk. The soil sample from the site indicated that someone had used gasoline as an accelerant.

The agents went for lunch. Afterward, on the way back to the hotel, they drove past a Coldwell-Banker real estate office. They went in and spoke with the manager. They went through the same spiel as they gave Ms. Silver, indicating that they were investigating something for the FBI. The office manager was Liz Masterson. Masterson said that if they had a client who was interested in a property in Orlando, they would probably give them the name of an agent in Orlando and collect a referral fee. During their conversation they discovered that this office handled most of the real estate transactions in Sunset Park. Ms. Masterson pulled up the file for James Firelli. His real estate agent was Sally Klein. She sold him the Sunset Park property.

MAYA called Sally Klein. A cheerful woman answered the phone. MAYA introduced herself and proceeded to ask her some questions. In particular, MAYA wanted to know if Klein had shown a property or had gone out to see a property in Orlando. Klein admitted that while she hadn't shown anyone the property, she herself had gone to Orlando to see the property. MAYA asked if the woman had noticed anything odd, like strange marks on trees, or any burn marks. Klein hadn't seen any of that, no strange drawings, no burned areas. MAYA asked if there was a real estate sign on the property. Klein said there should be. She suggested that it might have been blown over during the last storm.

The agents wanted to talk to Klein in more detail in person. MICHAEL, standing beside MAYA and whispering, directed her to make an appointment with Klein. They agreed to meet in an hour, after Klein had shown a property in Sunset Park to a prospective purchaser.

Next Session: Golden Years, session 2