As Freddy deflated the rafts, Daphne stared out at the water. "What the heck was that??", she said. Velma was more interested in the bottom of one of the now deflated rafts. She ran her finger along the bottom, and then rubbed her fingers together. "Well gang", she announced," Now I know what they're doing, we just have to figure out who!" Freddy looked over at her, "Think it's time for a trap?" Velma shook her head no. "Not yet. I want to do a little digging in their office."
There was a disturbing lack of people around the resort. Only some guy that looked like a mechanic working at the back of another Marko Food Services truck, that was backed up against the building. For awhile, they debated among themselves as to if they should snoop around the truck, but decided against it.
Velma gave out a low whistle, "And look at these deposits from MFS Holdings Inc, Thirty thousand, forty two thousand, and fifty five thousand!" Freddy looked puzzled. "MFS Holdings? What is a holding company anyway?" Daphne grabbed his hand, "Holding companies are usually set up to channel large sums of money. MFS... Marko Food Services!!" Velma had already paged to another section of the ledger. Her eyes opened wide! "Look at these payroll listings! That answers everything. Fred, it's time for a trap!"
Just then the hallway lights clicked on. The gang scrambled for cover. Arnold Marko walked by and glanced in the office. The glance was too brief to notice several details out of order such as the brown tail hanging from his chair, the sofa slightly out from the wall with a tuft of red hair visible, or the statue in the corner of the room that was wearing glasses.
For three hours, the gang waited. Daphne counted the trucks as they left. She was up to three. Each truck groaned as it left, but the replacement truck backed in as if it were empty. "Look!", exclaimed Velma. Out on the water they could see two boats approaching. "Showtime gang! Ok, the three of us will go up on the observation deck. Shaggy and Scooby, you get them to chase you out of the boathouse, and we'll come down and set the net for when you lead them back in. Give us about two minutes!"
As the two boats approached, Shaggy could see a total of four green figures, two on each boat. "I think we should have gone for more Scooby Snacks! Like, they agreed to the five each too fast! We should have asked for six!" Scooby turned to him and gave him a glance like he had been a poor negotiator. As the boats slipped into the dock, Shaggy could make out faces. "Green, kind of dead/undead looking, half rotted cloths.. These must be the guys!" He laughed a nervous laugh before turning on the flashlight. "Hey green ghoul guys! Bet you can't catch us!!" Like a shot, they were out of the boat house with the four green ghouls hot on their heels. Freddy and Daphne descended the staircase and began setting up the net, as Velma made a phone call on her cell phone. As the two ran up towards the building, with the four ghouls in tow, the mechanic saw the commotion and closed up the truck, then jumped in the driver's seat. The chase rounded the parking lot and headed back for the boat house. Velma watched from the observation deck as the six running figures headed down below her. With ropes looped over the rafters, Freddy and Daphne stood on either side of the door inside the boathouse. "Ok, as Scooby and Shaggy go through the door, we pull the ropes, lifting the net into place and grab the ghouls!", Freddy said. Daphne nodded. Not more then 2 seconds later, Scooby and Shaggy shot through the door. "Now!", Fred yelled! They both pulled the ropes and watched as the clumped net went right to the roof, and the four ghouls shot by, still in hot pursuit! "What... I though you tied the bottom down?!?!" Daphne glanced back over to Fred, "I thought YOU did?!?!"
Velma, Shaggy, and Scooby all went over the rail and plummeted into the water below with a large splash! As the four ghouls headed back down the stairs, Fred and Daphne had were holding the net up against the bottom of the staircase. With a large "Offf!", all four ended up in the net as Daphne and Freddy quickly tied the rope around them. "Well, it wasn't exactly as I planned, but we got them!", he said. Daphne smiled, "It's never exactly as you plan, but you're right, we got them.
A sopping wet Velma crawled out of the water followed by Scooby and Shaggy. She grabbed Freddy by the ascot and used it to wipe her glasses dry. He sensed a little anger, but could also tell she was happy they had caught the ghouls. Meanwhile, the truck had been stopped at the edge of the parking lot by two police cars.
"Ok, now the unmasking, which I had intended to do while dry..." , Velma growled. She grabbed the ghoul mask and yanked it off one of the four ghouls. "Joe??", Daphne and Fred exclaimed. "Yes, Joe Marko.. it gets better..." She yanked the second mask off. "The Butler?", they exclaimed. Velma shook her head. "Bellhop. There's a difference. Meet Bill Marko." With a quick yank, the third mask came off. "The Cook??" Velma smiled again, "Meet Ken Marko. There you have it, my three sons! Which, only leaves..." Off came the forth mask.. "Betty Marko??" Two police enter the room to cuff the four suspects. All walked over towards the truck as Velma continued to explain. "It was a family business, in this case everyone was the bad guy!" Daphne shook her head. "But why? What were they doing?" Velma grabbed the latch on the tailgate of the truck and began to open the door.
"I knew the folded newspaper was odd. Why would someone wrap boxes in newspaper? It would have to be something square in order to leave that fold. It wasn't boxes though, it was blocks of Dry Ice! They bought tons of it from Mary's Ice Cream supplies and broke it up, dropping the dry ice into the warm gulf water to produce the blanket of fog." As she opened the door, a plastic jug rolled out. She caught it with one hand and held it up. "It's empty now, but I believe that they contracted Aqua-marine Farms to raise tens of thousands of jellyfish, which they used to chase off all the guests. They transported them all in these jugs. The jellyfish were all the same size because they were all the same age, and they were way too small for these parts." Daphne shook her head, "But why did they want to chase all the guests off? What were they loading on these trucks?"
"The bottom of our raft gave me that answer, Texas Tea!" Shaggy looked dumbfounded as Velma shoved the door fully open. "Huh? Like Tea?" Again Velma shook her head. "An expression Shaggy, like, Black Gold. It's Oil !!" All, including the police looked into the back of the truck. There were several huge metal tanks in the back of the truck. "It looks like a food services truck, but its more or less a tanker." Freddy looked puzzled. "And the projections of ghouls in the clouds, the green work lights, and the monster sound system for the voice to scare us off? Why? If the found oil, isn't that a good thing?"
"It would be good if it had been theirs, but what they found is a high pressure pipeline running a couple of thousand feet off the island. There are many of them that are used to bring oil in from the off shore platforms and loading terminals. Seems the Marko's found a way to tap into that line. They couldn't afford to run a high pressure line, and it would have been to obvious when they constructed it. What they did is run a regular pipe, but they had to manually turn the flow on and off to regulate it. The guy at the truck would use his cell phone to tell the boat when to signal the divers to open and close the valve. When the truck was full it would be replaced by another."
The police were fascinated by Velma. The larger one asked the first question. " Where was the oil going?" Velma smiled and then continued, "They set up a fake company called MFS Holdings. The oil was being sold on the black market and the funds were channeled to MFS, which would then turn the money over to the Markos. They were using the hotel and food services business as a front to explain where the money was coming from. All a simple money laundering scheme!"
Suddenly, Scooby ran for the trash dumpster. There was a lot of growling. Scooby pulled some clothing out from behind as a hand reached out in a vain attempt to grab the clothing back. The rest of the gang arrived and burst out laughing! There was Arnold Marko completely naked! He had been attempting to ditch the mechanics outfit and make an escape! The police handed him a towel and then dragged him off as well.
12 hours later, on a beach not too far away......
"Well gang, at least the vacation was not a total bust!", Freddy exclaimed as the five hit the beach for a day of fun in the sun. "It was cool that there was a resort that still had rooms available on almost no notice", Daphne added. Velma looked up and down the beach. There were probably thirty other sun bathers within view. "Ok, a little more crowded, but I have to admit, a crowded beach is an un-haunted beach!" Scooby and Shaggy cheered! "Like, you said it Velma! UN-Haunted!!"
Daphne pushed the umbrella into the sand but couldn't get it to go in. She moved it over several feet and stuck it in with ease. Scooby, meanwhile, dug at the area and found a unusual object that caught Velma's eye. She reached over and grabbed if from him as he dropped it to follow Shaggy to the picnic basket. She looked at it for awhile without any of the gang noticing. Carefully, she dug a small new hole in the sand and dropped it in, quickly covering it over. She covered the dig with her towel and settled down for a little R&R. "No sense getting everyone excited about the Voodoo Talisman Scooby just found", she thought to herself!
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