The five men spent their last night in Ingham county on the bank of the West Branch of the Red Cedar River.
It was a time to plan, a time to celebrate and one last chance to pass tips and information. They would have minimal contact with each other after they crossed over into Livingston County.
One of the men produced a 1.5l bottle of Famous Grouse Scotch. He had been selling it, 200ml a customer. The men would finish what was left of the bottle before the night ended.
The set up camp 400 meters south of I-96 and 400 meters east of Wallace Road. The past meanders of the West Branch had scooped out a bowl that shielded the camp from prying eyes. The aerodynamic quirks of the bowl and the river valley to the east caused the smells and sounds to diffuse in unpredictable ways.
The plan was to have a space of three miles between each “peddler”. They would continue east until they were past Howell and then they would pivot to the north.
It was clear that the trek was hard on Quinn. It made sense for him to be the pivot man since the man who was farthest south would have to swing through a much larger arc than the one closest to Howell.
Straeder made the case that Miguel should be next closest. Miguel and Quinn worked very well together and Miguel had the look-and-feel of a natural peddler.
Straeder was next. He planned to zig-and-zag to stitch the inside and outside teams tied together.
Straeder put Chernovsky on the extreme south, as far from Howell as possible. Straeder thought of Chernovsky as something of a “retard”, at least as far as being a peddler. The farther from the enemy, the better. That, and Chernovsky was still a brute of a man. Extra walking wouldn’t bother him a bit.
|Orange star-burst in upper-left corner is the final campsite in Ingham County. Yellow arrow indicates Quinn's path. Orange is Miguel's. Red is Wilder's. White indicates Chernovsky's path.|
Wilder’s path was complicated by the fact that if he followed a simple trajectory he would have to walk through downtown Brighton which was southeast of Howell. After much discussion, the men decided that Quinn, Miguel, Straeder and Wilder would all go through the gap between Howell and Brighton and Chernovsky would swing wide and past east of Brighton.
From there the men would strike north toward Genessee county before turning back west somewhere around Linden, Michigan.
All told, they were scouting a 12 mile wide swath of land through and around the heart of their enemy.
None of the men seriously entertained the possibility that they might be scooped up by the enemy. Never-the-less, even they knew that it would be tempting fate if they wrote anything down.
Each of the men committed all of the rendezvous points to memory in case Straeder became tied up.
Joel laid the second part of the trap.
He sent an email informing his boss, Mark Richards, that the video surveillance cameras that that monitored the back of the building were not functioning and, based on the absence of data, had not functioned since May.
Joel asked Richards how to submit a request to maintenance to have the cameras repaired.
Richards read the email but chose to not respond.
Joel sent Thorvaldsen a BCC of the email detailing the failure of the video security system. Thorvaldsen wondered why Joel didn’t simply include him on the Carbon Copy. Thorvaldsen’s people skills were non-existent but he was a sponge for all information sent his way.