3005 Part VII: A Baptism In blood

By Frederick Chagnon

Calvin Baker’s Apartment, New Daedalia.

It was still dark outside and the rain had begun to hit the windows of Calvin’s lodging. Following their narrow escape from Lee-Sun Chen’s charity gala and still dressed with their fancy clothes, Calvin and Elva were facing each other at the small kitchen table, a lukewarm pot of tea being the only witness to how long they had been sitting there. Carefully placed between them was Chen’s notebook, the one Elva stolen earlier that evening, both of them too scared by what it might contain to open it.

“This is getting bloody ridiculous,” said Calvin breaking the silence. “Just open it.”

“What are you? 12? You open it,” immediately replied Elva. Seeing how Calvin didn’t even flinch, she added: “Fine, I’ll do it you big baby.” She started to flip through the pages, an expressionless look on her face.

“So?” impatiently asked Calvin. “What’s in it?” She threw the book back on the table.

“Everything. Standard business notebook: meeting notes, lists of contacts, plans, notes, etc. It’s all in there somewhere. We’ll read through it, but I’m guessing that’s all the evidence we need.”

Calvin grabbed the book and began to flip through the pages.

“Mmmm… According to this, he started out as a convenience store employee… Inventory lists mostly… Ah! There it is!”

“What is?”

“The first mention of the ‘Shinka’, which is Japanese for evolution.”

“The drug.”

“Most likely. Oh this is good,” he said flipping forward. “Meetings with elected officials, his different companies and how they fit his grand vision. And if we go to the last entry…”

“What? What’s the last entry?”

“98.7. The purity level of the drug. The threshold is at 99.1% according to D.R.E.A.M. Labs. We don’t have much time. We have enough to arrest him now.”

“And a killer expose. Luis won’t believe this,” she whispered to herself hoping that Calvin didn’t hear.

“Write it. Lee-Sun Chen has failed this city. Everyone needs to know.”

“There’s a fair amount of stuff against the police you know…”

“I don’t care. Anyone who harms the will of the city needs to be revealed. Then it’ll decided what to do.” he looked at the clock and realized how tired he was. It had been an eventful few days. “It’s getting late.”

“I know…” she said winking. “Time to finish our date. You won’t believe what I’ve brought…”

“That’s not what I…”

She went to the bedroom before he could object anything. He didn’t even want to know how she knew where the bedroom was. He really wanted to sleep in his own bed. He closed and locked the door from the outside and made his bed on the couch, falling asleep to the sound of his guest banging on the bedroom door.

***

Calvin was going over the details of John Smith’s death sipping his morning coffee. Chen’s status as the mastermind was now firmly established, but there was still a murder mystery needed to be solved. Walt had found the mysterious Dark Blood in a hospital nearby. That was the logical next step in the investigation. All signs were pointing to Chen orchestrating the hit on Dark Blood and Smith, but who was Dark Blood and how was she involved in all of this?

He choked on his coffee when Elva walked in completely naked.

“What? Not used to beautiful black women walking naked in your apartment?”

“Ah… no,” he was forced to admit. “I’m used to have anybody naked in my apartment.” He hurriedly picked up his things and put on his coat as Elva was casually drinking her coffee (sweet with extra cream, she emphasized) laughing at his embarrassment.

“It’d be a lot less awkward if you were naked too, you know.”

“Or if you put on a robe, maybe? I have to go to the hospital.”

“Already? But we haven’t even started yet honey.”

“Walt found an important witness in the Smith case. You’ll need a witness for your article.”

“Of course,” she answered mildly disappointed. Calvin waved around the apartment.

“I’d say make yourself at home, but looks like you already did. When you’re ready to leave, just close the front door. The apartment will lock itself.”

“Really?”

“Yeah. Helps to know the right people sometimes.” He closed the door behind him, leaving her alone in the small apartment.

“It was worth a try,” she told herself as she sat down to begin writing the article that would bring down an empire.

Walker General Hospital.

Dark Blood was peacefully sleeping. Her left shoulder was bandaged after the surgery to remove the bullet. Her doctors had told Calvin and Walt that she had lost a lot of blood and that she needed some rest if she were to make a full recovery. Her life wasn’t in danger anymore.

“How did you find her?” asked Calvin.

“It was pretty easy to be honest. Just looked at the hospitals’ logs for a patient with a bullet in a shoulder, who checked in the day of the murder and whose blood corresponded to the victim. Says here that her name is Stacy O’Leary,” replied Walt flipping through her diagnosis. “What do you got on her?”

“The nail-biting and the scars on her arms suggests PTSD. She’s better now, but it left its marks. There’s still a few marks of physical violence on her face. Maybe domestic violence, but doesn’t look as serious as that,” answered Calvin after inspection. “Can’t say much more without her clothes and everything else. Also, here red hair indicates that she has no soul.”

“Not bad, not bad at all,” whistled Walt. “According to her file, she was admitted to the psychiatric ward mmm… 9 years ago. Released 6 years ago,” read Walt. “Nothing more. Looks like someone went back and erased the details.”

“She’s definitely connected. Someone is trying to cover his tracks. We need to talk to her.”

“The doctor doesn’t want her to wake up,” Calvin had taken out a syringe from his coat and was about to inject it in Stacy’s neck. “Hey, what are you doing!”

“The doctor doesn’t have this,” Calvin replied as he was doing the injection. “Straight from our friends at D.R.E.A.M. Labs. She’ll wake up momentarily to talk to us.”

A few seconds later, Stacy opened her eyes.

“Who the hell are you?” she spitted. She was still extremely weak, that didn’t prevent her from letting her rage known.

“Police,” answered Calvin. “We’re pretty sure you can help us out on our case.”

“Why should I help you?”

“Why should you not help us?” countered Calvin.

“There’s no point being angry just to be angry,” added Walt. “Someone shot you, we know who called it. We want to know why.”

Stacy thought about it for a few painstakingly long minutes.

“Fine. I want that son of a (misogynistic epithet) to pay for he’s done. Where do you want to start? It’s a long story.”

“Why not start at the beginning?” proposed the detective. Stacy sighed heavily and started her tale.

“Lee-Sun Chen is not the man you think he is. His family arrived in town when he was 8 or 9 with big dreams. Things didn’t turn out all that great for them. Both his parents jumped from low-paying job to low-paying job. His mother was abusing him and his father. Eventually, enough was enough and the dad snapped. Killed the wife in front of the kid. Lee ended up without any money and without any relatives. He was sent to foster care. That’s where I met him.”

“This might be the most cliché villain origin story I’ve ever heard,” whispered Walt to Calvin.

“Let her finish Walt.”

“Lee thought that had they have enough money, his family would still be together,” continued the girl in the hospital bed, not paying attention to the interruption. “He was a really quiet kid with money on his mind. Got a job at a convenience store after school. By the time he was 16, he was trying to start his own business, but didn’t have the funds for it, so he did the only thing he thought he could do. He plotted with the owner of the store to burn it down.”

“To get the insurance money. Split it in half,” finished Calvin who was starting to understand where this was going. “That gave him the initial boost to start his business.”

“That was the plan, but it didn’t work out too good. I was pretty messed up back then and he tried to use me to burn the place down. We were caught: I was sent to the asylum, and he was sent to prison. There he built his contact base and influence. He got out a much wealthier man. The Dragon was born. He finally had what he had always wanted: money and power. He bribed the right people and had all evidence of his prior life erased.”
“Obviously that wasn’t enough. He needed more. Always more,” said Calvin.

“Right. He needed to be the one with all that power. When I got out of the asylum, he offered me a job with his organisation, the Children. I was running errands for him and such. I’m pretty he kept me around because he pitied me. The only point of attach he had with his prior life. That’s when I heard about this new plan of his, the mind-controlled army. The point was to be in control of everything. All of the money would flow through him and him only. He’d be the City’s king…” She trailed off and looked around as if she was seeing this room for the very first time.

“And that leads us to John Smith…” guided Walt.

“Right, umm, where was I? Oh yeah, he was gaining too much power. I wanted, I deserved, a bigger piece of the pie. The City doesn’t need a king. It needs a Queen. Me. The drug was my only chance. Chen was being real careful with it, but I thought he was being too careful, you know what I mean? So I stole a sample and tested it on John Smith. If it worked fine, I had already arranged for a production lab. Except that he learned about my plans and put the hit on my head that very night. One bullet to send a message to his other partners and to erase all traces of Lee, the lost boy from before the Dragon. That’s the whole story I swear.”

“Well, thank you for time,” said Calvin as he pulled out another syringe and injected her again. She quickly fell back asleep. “There, she won’t remember ever talking to us.”

“What else are they hiding at D.R.E.A.M.? Looks like they’re hiding all the good toys,” said Walt.

“Oh you have no idea my friend.”

They walked past a series of immaculate hospital corridors and found themselves outside. It was a beautiful sunny late morning. The streets were busy as usual and everyone was going about their business as usual. Tired teachers tried to calm students on a field trip, two older men, one in a wheelchair, were playing chess in a park nearby. None of them knew about the drama being played behind the scenes. They were too busy with their own lives. Calvin couldn’t stop himself from smiling.

“You hungry?” asked Calvin to his friend. “I’m starving.”

“Sure, let’s go to Martha’s. I could do with pie right about now.”

The restaurant was only a few blocks away, so they indulged themselves with the walk. A few minutes later, they sat down in their regular booth and ordered.

“John Smith’s murder is pretty much solved now, isn’t it?” asked Walt going straight to business.

“It is. All that remains is the nasty bit about a criminal empire and the self-proclaimed future King of New Daedalia business. Remember this Walt: Greed is always first. Fear and rage follows and then chaos.”
“Well, we better stop them first, don’t we?” replied Walt as the steaming plates were placed in front of them.

“My thoughts exactly. Elva is going through the notebook as we speak. We’ll get plenty of evidence for fraud, money laundering, and organized crime charges. Plus she’s writing a series of article to expose the truth to the public. So that takes care of the legal and PR side of things.”

“The legal stuff could drag on for several years though. We don’t know how much of the system is already on his payroll. We still need to arrest him soon, or we might as well kneel before our new ruler,” added Walt between bites.

“Yup,” answered Calvin. “He probably already has his distribution network set up…”

“If we could somehow disband it before the drug is ready…”

“You know the story of Peter Pan?” Walt was taken back by the sudden change of subject.

“Neverland and the Lost Boys? The same bets as everyone else I guess…”

“It’s true. To a certain extent,” he added in response to Walt’s puzzled look. “Even in this golden age of modern civilization, let’s just say you have children who fell between the cracks of the system. Suppose that they live on the streets for a few years until they realize they needed to grow up. Nothing would stay hidden long from them, wouldn’t you say?”

“Such as an experimental drug distribution network?” Calvin’s enigmatic smile answered Walt’s question. “So you’re telling me that you have access to an ‘army’ of lost orphans living on the streets that will find the details of a distribution network that hasn’t started operations yet?” It was quite the leap of faith to take, even after everything they had been through.

“Oh no, not me. I know Peter Pan though.”

Pinto Bridge.

After their quick lunch, Walt went to help Elva decipher the notebook’s mysteries. Calvin made a trip to Neverland. The Pinto Bridge was the city’s oldest, originally built more than a fifteen hundred years ago. Nothing remained of the original structure, but the bridge was still there same as always, gracefully stepping over the Adam River. They were a few children playing on both shores supervised by even fewer teenagers: the Lost Children. The police department had always knew about them. Since they hardly caused any trouble, the department turned a blind eye to the situation. There were different kinds of education after all.

A fire was burning in a trash can, and a man was sitting on the ground next to it. He had a shopping cart next to him and was reading. Calvin wondered how he could even read with his black sunglasses and his long curly hair falling in front his face, but he had never bothered to ask. His tattered clothes and the deep marks on his light brown skin painted the image of someone who had been homeless for a long time.

“I was wondering when you’d come back Cal,” said the homeless man without looking up from his book with a smooth voice that wouldn’t felt out of place doing open mic poetry.

“It’s good to see you too Saul,” replied Calvin sitting on the opposite side of the fire. “Things are getting pretty bad out there you know. We’ll need you pretty soon.”

“All is not lost yet. Things will turn out alright, you’ll see. You’re here about the Children of the Sun, right?”

“Afraid so.”

“Come back in a few days, we’ll have the whole thing figured out.”

“I knew I could count on you mate,” said Calvin standing up, ready to leave.

“One last thing,” said Saul standing up and looking up at Calvin. He removed his sunglasses to reveal eyes of the brightest blue possible as he shook Calvin’s hands. “No matter how dark and strong a storm is, the next morning is always beautiful.”

Authors

Related posts

*

Top