Home > Kascius (The K9 Files Book 20)

Kascius (The K9 Files Book 20)
Author: Dale Mayer





Kat crowed when she hung up the phone. “Wow. Harper just updated me on his two surgeries, both his facial scar and his stump, and they went way better than I expected. He’s two weeks post-op and healing. I had no idea it was even possible for both his operations to be early, not delayed yet again. What are the odds of that happening again?”

“And not just his life is going well. Our business is going amazingly well too,” Badger pointed out, as he looked over at her and smiled.

“It’s insane, but, hey, we’re almost done with that stack of files, aren’t we?”

“Not likely,” he noted. “It seems like the more cases we solve, the more they’re willing to give us.”

“That’s a good thing, right?”

“Yeah, but remember. It’s all without pay.”

“No, I know.” She frowned. “Any chance they’ll cover some expenses?”

“Oh, I’ve asked, particularly since they want us to take on a whole lot more of these.”

“It’s amazing how many thousands of dogs come and go in the military, all over the armed forces,” she said. “So, do you have more cases already, then?”

“I do,” he stated, as he lifted a stack of files. “The question is, do we have more men?”

At that, she nodded. “I know, right? I mean, it’s one thing to ask us to do more. It’s another thing entirely to expect us to do it when we don’t have the men available.”

“That was my concern too,” Badger admitted, “but you know it’s not in me to say no.”

She smiled. “That’s one of the reasons I love you. Besides, this last one with Beauty and Beast turned out even better than I expected. And now Harper and Saffron are coming down for a week. We’ll get him fitted, plus he wants to talk about doing some design work with me, like an internship.”

“Yeah, did he ever tell you what he was doing?”

“He’s already signing up for the courses he needs,” she said, with a note of satisfaction. “You know we desperately need more people in this industry.”

“We do,” Badger agreed, “but he’ll never be as gifted as you.”

She leaned over, kissed him gently, and murmured, “You’re just prejudiced.”

Badger laughed out loud. “Absolutely, I am,” he said, with a smile. “But it still doesn’t solve the problem of what we’ll do in terms of getting anybody else to help.”

At that, Jager walked into the room. “Hey, great news about Harper, isn’t it?” he said by way of a greeting.

“Yeah, it sure is,” Badger replied. “Please tell me that you have somebody else you can pull in for this next one.”

“I have a couple cousins. Not my cousins, but they’re cousins,” he clarified. “It’s not so much that they’ve had much dog training experience, but they were raised with dogs and love them and have an innate way with them.”

“That’s good,” Badger noted. “What’s the deal?”

“One is at loose ends, looking for something to do to help, to be of service to the rest of the world. Kascius and Karl are cousins,” he noted, “Kascius is the one who told me that he would be interested. We were working on a remodeling project, and we got to talking. He would be happy to try.”

“That’s good news,” Badger said.

At that, a head poked around the corner, and a huge broad-chested man with a shock of auburn hair came forward, grinning. “I’m Kascius,” he stated, with an air of confidence that showed his true character. “And I’m always a sucker for a lost dog story.”


At that, Badger grinned. “In that case, come on in because it seems like we have absolutely no end to the lost dog stories around here. You do understand there’s no pay, right? It’s a volunteer deal.”

“Yeah, but you cover expenses, right?” he asked, with a glance at Jager.

Badger nodded. “That we do, and, if we’re lucky, we might get the government to reimburse us, though it hasn’t happened yet.”

Kascius laughed. “Not shocking really. So whereabouts is this dog?”

Badger hesitated and asked, “What’s your background?”

“Is it the accent or the hair that gave me away? I’m from Scotland.”

“Scotland, huh?” He grinned, pulled a folder from the bottom of the stack, and asked, “How do you feel about going home for a bit?”

“I was planning on going home anyway, just hadn’t made any concrete plans,” he replied easily. “Why? You don’t have a lost War Dog in Scotland, do you?”

“We do, indeed. It was adopted, and then the family relocated to Scotland.”

“That sounds normal enough. What’s the problem then?”

“It turns out that the dog didn’t arrive. Well, it arrived in Scotland just in time to get lost. The family tried but couldn’t find it, though according to them, they didn’t get much help. Anyway this dog hasn’t shown up anywhere, so we’ve got a missing K9 military dog.”

“Well, Jesus, how could that happen and no one see it go missing?” He stared at Badger in surprise, his mind already spinning through the puzzle. Poor dog. After a regimented lifestyle, to retirement then to … to what? It didn’t bear thinking about. He’d always been in awe of those dogs and the job they did. Always so willing and happy to serve. Too bad there weren’t more people like that. He already felt a kinship to the lost animal.

“That’s what we don’t know. You’ll start with the airport and figure out where it went from there. I don’t know what kind of a bond it may or may not have had with the family. We’ll also see if the family is interested in taking it back, though my initial impression is an absolute no. We’re short on people with the credentials to travel freely there, so you would fit the bill nicely, if you’re willing.”

“That’s definitely me. Sure, I’ll take it on. I don’t suppose you have any contacts over there or any information to get me started?”

“No, I sure don’t,” Badger admitted. “I’ll also get creative to figure out how to fund this adventure as well. But that’s my problem, not yours. You’re already volunteering your time.”

“I’ve got lots of family and friends over there,” he added, “so expenses shouldn’t be a problem, at least once I arrive.”

“Is there a sweetheart you left behind?” Badger asked, with a sideways glance at Kat.

“No, sure isn’t.” His voice had turned hard.

Kat looked at him, smiled, and asked, “You sure about that?”

“Sure, I’m sure. Ainsley wouldn’t want anything to do with me at this point in time.”

“Why is that?” she asked.

“Because I’m broken,” he declared. “I served in the military there, then I migrated and joined the US military, which pissed her off pretty badly. Now that I’m no longer whole, I’m doubly certain that is the end of it.”

“Sounds like she’s pretty shallow, if that’s the case.”

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