Back at the circus trucks a gratuitous amount of stuff had occurred since we had left.
First after we had been gone for an hour or so the senior Deputy on site had tried getting in touch with Dan over his radio. After receiving a resounding silence, he had gathered up three more men and gone after us. They had not been heard from since.
Then, the next senior guy had called the State Patrol as well as the Forest Service, and began the process of locking down the entire area. In an hour or so, roadblocks had been set up and manned and all traffic, what little there was of it at least, into a five mile square had been shut down.
At dawn a heavy-set man drove up in a plain sedan with government plates. He was wearing a dark suit and hornrim glasses. The deputy at the roadblock walked over and asked him his business.
"Agent MacCafferty, FBI out of St. Paul. I was sent as liason to help find Doctor and Mrs. Frederickson. They have friends in high places apparently," MacCafferty showed his badge and ID and was waved through. Driving the short distance to the staging area, he parked his car and puffing slightly, pulled his corpulent form from behind the steering wheel and out of his car. He then slowly waddled towards the operations center, mopping his comb-over and sweating forehead with a handkerchief as he trundled along.
"Hello?" he called over to the State Patrol Lieutenant on site, "I'm Agent Sam MacCafferty from the Bureau. We're not cutting in, just letting you know that if you need any resources to just ask."
The Lieutenant looked at the balding, sweaty, stoop-shouldered man in the wrinkled suit, "First time out in the field in a while?"
"It shows that much?" Sam chuckled, "Yeah I'm retiring in a month too. 40 years is more than enough. Like I said I'm not here to run your show."
"Who called you in?"
"The Doctor's brother. He knows people that know people I guess," Sam mopped his face again.
"What can you tell me about the Doc and his wife? Anything that can help?" the Lieutenant looked curious. Sam scratched his head for a second.
"Well, all I know is from reputation. Never met him myself you understand...He and his wife are in their sixties, but from what I've heard he's a guy you wouldn't want to get mad at you. He's smart, tough, and well-trained. His wife is just as smart...probably smarter and is an expert on poisonous reptiles. Don't underestimate either of them."
"He's a dwarf right?"
"Yeah. His wife technically isn't, but she's actually not much taller than he is. If they're in trouble they can't handle it's apparently got to be something really bad. I guess that's why his brother called us...By that I mean the Bureau."
"Well can you get us some drones with night-vision?"
"Sure can. I'll whistle up some from the Chicago office. It'll take some time to get them here though," Sam finished apologetically.
"Soon as possible would be best," the Lieutenant watched as Sam pulled a cellphone from his pocket, "Don't bother with that, reception out here is crap. We have a landline set up over there," he finished by pointing towards a small table.
"Thanks for the tip. I'll get right on those drones for you," the heavy-set agent waddled over to the telephone, puffing as he went.
Less than an hour later two SUVs pulled up with my brother, Veil, and a gaggle of young women inside. The deputy at the roadblock had let them by after Garth had identified himself. The Lieutenant looked on with some confusion as a short blond and a taller brunette organized the girls into two groups before pulling several duffels out of the backs of the SUVs.
"Garth Fredrickson. I'm Mongo's...Dr. Fredrickson's brother. This is Veil Kendry, his best friend. These women are part of a ...Search and Rescue Unit that Mongo has worked with before and that volunteered to help out when they heard he'd gone missing."
"Uh...Thanks I guess," the Lieutenant was slightly intimidated by some of the looks some of the women were giving him.
"Don't mention it!" the short blond woman spoke up as she and the brunette approached, "I'm Buffy and this is Faith. What do we know?"
The State Trooper went over all the information that was known about the circus caravan attack and the disappearances, including the fact that we had left with a tracking dog.
When Garth heard that he headed straight to the Lobox trailer and peeked inside, "They have Coyote with them," he called back.
"And that means?" Buffy asked, clearly confused.
"It means that they have something that evens the odds against any predator on this continent."
Right at that point the odds evener himself padded, limping, out of the woods, bleeding from a dozen or more wounds and staggered towards Garth. Also...
"Sir! Sir!" a trooper ran over to the Lieutenant, "We have reports of a major fire building due north!"
Veil's response was a simply muttered, "Mongo."