Once again if you have any information or if you’re the person sending them to me, please let me know. As with last week, here’s the letter in hopes someone might recognize something.
I have landed in Italy and am fine. I do appreciate you not sending one of my siblings to retrieve me and take my place. As I suspected there has been no danger to my own person as a result of this project. As I have no doubt you are having my movements monitored I will admit to some violence occurring, but nothing that was connected to this particular adventure. More on this later.
The team met me at the airport per my instructions. My well rounded group includes Antonio, a local family informant. He’s a tall man with thinning hair, according to his file he has several connections in the local criminal ecosystem. He’d already begun looking into Doctor Cavallaro’s disappearance. Thus far he has obtained no information, but has yet to hear from some of his contacts. In addition to his other skills he is also acting as guide of the local area.
Second is Franco, a driver. He’s a lithe man with a flare for grand gestures. The few nights we have been together he has shown a zest for life and an infectious joy. When I arrived he’d already chosen three vehicles for the team. They met family specifications, in addition to having extensive electronic security, they were each large enough to carry the team and all of our equipment. They were also fast, nondescript, and well armored security measures put in place by father after the Rio affair.
Third is a Giorgio a tall imposing man, with little to no sense of humor. He is a security specialist with years of training and distinguished experience. He brought some men from his personal teams. In the beginning they were set to work in groups of two on an eight hour rotating schedule. I’ve had a small amount of time to speak with Giorgio and learned he has trained with several weapons and martial styles. He spent several years working with the Americans in the middle east. He strikes me as a very dangerous man, though I’m not certain of his subtlety. Though, as Uncle Nigel used to say, “that’s not why we hire those fellows.”
Finally, we come to our investigative team member, Lucia. Her olive skin and round features may fool some into focusing not on her sharp mind and keen intellect but her beauty. However, this would be a deadly mistake in deed. She works for Italian intelligence, apparently her supervisor owes brother James a favor, please thank him for me. She has come on board and brought a team of six with her. She is an expert in forensics and has a well trained analytical mind. She is quite exceptional.
By the time I had set foot in Italy, she had already gotten a copy of the initial investigative report and sent her team to look over the area. Unfortunately, by the time they had arrived the lab had already been reclaimed and cleaned by the institute. All evidence of the initial disappearance was lost amongst a sea of new occupation.
Of course cousin Cristina was there and sends he regards and love. She wished me to pass along that the family is doing well and Uncle Neville has recovered from that nasty business in Crete. They would love for you to visit if you have the opportunity. Cousin Shelby should be having a new baby in a few weeks, they would be honored if you could visit.
The investigation has been moving forward, slowly. After going through the initial criminal report Lucia found it very uninformative. There are large swaths of missing information. It wasn’t removed, there are simply several things that weren’t done. No fingerprinting, no photos of the scene, and there were few interviews recorded. The entire thing was chalked up to paranoia or a sudden weekend.
Our first step would be the interviews, we spoke with several of Doctor Cavallaro’s peers and lab assistants at the institute. No one seems to know what the Doctor was working on, even his supervisor couldn’t recall what specific project Doctor Cavallaro’s had been studying. Several of his assistant’s were able to tell us about individual studies and test but couldn’t give us any information on an overall goal. One of them seemed to remember something about energy cells, but what a biochemist would be doing working on energy cells is anyone’s guess. We’ve put together a packet on all of the studies and tests we could find and are attempting to piece together what the good Doctor was working on.
One thing all of our interviews did agree on was that Doctor Cavallaro had been acting more and more agitated and fearful over few days leading up to his disappearance. No one could tell us what the problem was, when questioned he would tell them he was worried about his daughter who had been hiking cross country for the last few days.
We’ve been unable to reach his daughter Maria. We went to her home and were lucky enough for Antonio to find an unlocked door. We searched her residence in an attempt to ascertain her location. We did come across an itinerary that notes where she might be at any given time on her journey. We’ve contacted some of the locations. We reached four location that she had been to, the last there where she was seen she was with a young German fellow, named Schuler. Her and Schuler were apparently quite friendly.
At the writing of this letter we haven’t been able to locate her for four days. According to the last location she had left a message for her father should he call, that she would be changing her destination for a short while. Giorgio says we shouldn’t worry just yet but still sent a few men to her last known location. They left two days ago and are checking the area from Schuler and Maria. Maybe we don’t need to worry, but I am becoming increasingly unsure of this. The young woman keeps returning to my thoughts, I’m becoming increasingly concerned.
Is this why you’ve never wanted me to do this? Were you afraid my empathy would get in the way? You’ve often criticized me for worrying about others feelings too much. Even when I was much younger, you made several comments on the matter. Maybe you were right to. I been finding it difficult to sleep at night worrying about Maria, a young woman I have never met.
Well, beyond that I return to the fore mentioned violence. I have no doubt that you are having me followed, and possibly have one or two of my team members reporting back to you. As such I’m certain you’ve already heard this. However, as is the protocol of our family, I report everything to you now.
Last evening I was mugged. It was late after dinner and the team had returned to their rooms at he Inn we are staying at. I was walking to my cottage house enjoying a post brandy cigarette. (I know you don’t like that I smoke, but it is my vice and I shall enjoy it.) As I was saying, I was finishing the cigarette and tapping out the ash so as to throw the butt into my rooms dust bin when four strapping local men with knives stepped out of the shadows and begun brandishing their blades at me.
I lifted my cane to defend myself and waited as they circled. I even remembered my training and pushed my back against one of the overhang support beams. Certainly it would not be a great deal of protection, it would be some. One of the men off to my right side pushed forward, the knife darting towards me like a striking viper.
I brought my cane up catching him on the wrist and knocking the blade away. I stepped forward quickly and struck him across the forehead. He fell backwards and I pushed the advantage. I twisted my cane up behind his neck and redirected his stumble directing him behind me into the other men. I tried to make a break for it, but my leg betrayed me and I stumbled a few yards away.
Fortunately Cristina had been heading to her room at the same time. The four men attacked as she inserted herself in between us. She was brutal and efficient in her violence. I suppose it’s the eight months she spent training with the Mossad. She quickly crippled their leader with a quick kick to the knee sending him howling to the ground in pain. She turned one mans knife on himself and left him with a large gash across his side. The third man she flipped over onto a parking block shattering his legs. The last man had the good sense at this point to run away.
I believe the only thing that kept Cristina from running the man down and similarly handicapping him was her concern for my safety. I tried to ensure her I was all right but she refused to leave my side. I find both comfort and annoyance in this.
Local authorities have taken the three into custody and once they wake up from either surgery or the various concussions sustained they will be questioned. However, I am quite certain this was a simple mugging. None the less, Giorgio has doubled the security and insists no one go anywhere alone. I’m certain all of this will prove unnecessary but he is the expert.
I will write again next week.
As always, my love.
Your youngest son
J. P. Nussbaum
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