The Police arrived at the mansion as dawn was breaking through. The Green Man and Andrea watched from a safe distance, Ms. Madison having left a while back, pleading the need for sleep. Not unsurprisingly, no ambulance was called for a long time. Mr. Line had been so very dead, his throat slit from ear to ear, lying amid a pile of half-packed cases. They had been fully packed, but a search by the two girls had ended that. And would probably mislead the police. Not that they would hav minded, had they but known what terrible justice would be visited on the killers.
"Why do you think they killed him?" Andrea had to ask the 'feed' question, as no-one else was around to do it.
"He was afraid of something," the Green Man replied. "Afraid of something that was going to seriously affect the economy of the United States. He'd converted his assets into gold, and was headed for Switzerland this morning. The Order realised that someone - likely us - was going to get suspicious and start asking awkward questions."
"So they killed him because he was a weak link." Andrea shook her head. "Even though he'd given hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Order?"
"Even though." The Green Man drew a mobile 'phone from his pocket. "I'll call Ms. Madison, she ought to be back at the hotel by now, and should be able to check some more of the inormation about the late Mr. Line."
Ms. Madison picked up at once. Her voice was fresh and lively, as she greeted the Green Man and asked what he wanted. A few moments later, she was able to report the situation regarding Mr. Line.
"He gave three million dollars to the Order in the last five years, and was going to remmber them in his will, over his last two wives," Ms. Madison reported. "Which is especially mean when you consider what they did to him. And he gave them several thousand acres of rugged landscape straddling the San Andeas Fault."
"Interesting." The Green Man sounded quietly satisfied.
"Very interesting." Ms. Madison agreed. "Apparently, the Order also owns property on a couple of other fault lines in the United States, as well as thousands of acres of Amazon Rainforest, which they hold through a phony conservation charity."
"All the ingredients of the worst environmental disaster the world has ever known - or could know - if deployed properly." The Green Man's fascination grew. "Anything else?"
Ms. Madison tapped a few more times on her keyboard, then gasped.
"Acres of forest here in California!" she exclaimed. "And the news wire reports a massive forest fire starting there!"
"It's started." The Green Man's voice was grim.