This city; simply called Haven, had always been compared to a booming Metropolis or a malignant hole. Pending where you looked both could be right. This night would prove to be the latter for the one who had tried to make this city the former.
A black car pulled to an empty lot next to what looked like a warehouse stood. The driver; a large, well-built dark skinned man with a military cut and a dark suit, got out of the car had walked to the back seat entrance and opened it for an older man with peppered gray hair to exit. “Thank you Larson.” The older gentleman said.
“Mayor Reis.” The driver had said with a bow of his head as the man stood fully and had pulled out an umbrella to shield himself from the rain which fell fast but hit only lightly. The man identified as Mayor Reis walked towards the warehouse, the man; Larson, followed behind a few steps.
The two walked into the warehouse which was filled with wooden crates with foreign characters. Four languages were dominant of the crates though, Chinese, Italian, Japanese and finally Russian. “Nico?” The mayor called out into the warehouse.
“I’m here.” A gruff voice called back and from behind some crates three men came back. The man leading the three was an older gentleman around the same age as the mayor, maybe a few years older and with longer white hair slicked back. The two men following him wore long black trench coats and strange black metallic sunglasses over their eyes.
The two groups walked closer to each other and stood only feet from each other. Mayor Reis closed his umbrella and began to use it as a cane as he stood opposite the man whom he called Nico. “What’d you want so desperately to call me here Nico?” The Mayor asked,
“Me?” Nico asked concerned. “One of your people called me.” He added.
“Why would I call you and risk meeting you here of all places?” The mayor asked, “One of your little rat pack called me and told me you wanted to discuss shipping matters for your shipment from Sicily.”
“That makes no sense Charlie and you know it.” Nico said before he turned to one of his men and nodded to him, who returned the gesture and walked away from the other four.
“Glad to know I wasn’t the only one to think so as well. Larson.” Larson who had been visibly tense since the back and forth between the two began nodded and held an oddly designed gun at the ready looking around the area. “I swear Nico if you’re setting me up-.”
“Why the hell would I set you up you bleeding cazzo?” Nico said pulling out a gun of his own, “Whoever did this won’t like what happens next though I can assure you. My boys have the latest now. Take something like a-!?” Nico didn’t get to finish as an ear shattering scream interrupted him and came from the far back of the building.
“DAMNIT NICO!” The Mayor yelled ducking behind Larson using the man as a shield.
“Don’t you start blamin’ me Charlie!” He yelled back as he followed suit and ducked behind one of the other men near him.
“Larson, get me out of here!” Larson nodded and began leading Reis out of the building only to stop dead in his steps after a large flash had gone off. “Larson, what the- Larson?” Reis asked as he looked to the man whose eyes were in a blank stare straight forward. “Larson? LARSON!?”
“Reis, move!” Nico yelled as he glanced back and saw the second trench coat garbed man held an arm up and from his arm shot out a single long barrel similar to that of a rifle. He saw the man hold out his arm and quickly ducked to the side to avoid several successful shots from the single barrel which extended from the man’s arm. Two had struck Larson in the back but they traveled upward as if they were shot at someone who could jump over a man Larson’s size. But how was that possible? The mayor looked on as the scene; which he couldn’t believe was happening, unfolded before him. Larson had fallen to the ground and some…thing had landed and stood on top of Larson’s remarkably still body.
The thing; from Reis’ perspective, couldn’t be human. It was a Machine, it had to be. The thing stood tall with bulky armor of a dark shade and a blade which hummed strangely. “Nico what the hell is going on?!” He yelled,
“I don’t know Charlie, but I’ll take care of it! Mac!”
“On it boss!” The trench-coated exclaimed as his other arm shot up and pointed at the strange metal being which stood ominously in front of the two. A second barrel shot out from the man’s arm and this time shots rang out successively without count. The shots were wild however; they struck everything in the vicinity, but none had struck their intended target whom had hid behind a rather large crate with Russian writing. “Mac! Be careful you moron!”
“Sorry boss I-!” He took his eyes off the figure for less than a second and that was all such a being needed. It dashed with speed that seemed impossible given the bulky appearance it bore. It reached the man named Mac easily and the blade which still hummed slid into the body of Mac which was followed by a blood curdling scream from Mac. What followed was not natural; Mac’s body began to shake violently and cracks of electricity could be heard coming from…him.
His body stopped shaking and the electric crackling had almost subsided before the assailant tossed his body from it like a simple toy. Its attention had turned to Nico; whom stood stone-faced despite his eyes betraying his knowledge that he himself would die this night. His gun was at the ready and the figure’s head only leaned to the side, as if confused why this man did not try to run. “If you’re looking for me to grovel or run like a child, you’ll get no satisfaction from Nico Facchinetti.” Nico still held his gun and knew full well that it would be no matter. The figure seemed even more confounded by such a stand and tilted its head to the other side before shaking.
“No matter.” It said in a strangely synthesized voice. Nico began to squeeze the trigger of his gun but never finished as the gun dropped from his hand as his head dropped from his shoulders.
Mayor Reis had seen many things in his life. Death had been one of them countless times. But this…this was different for some reason. Perhaps it was because he knew that he wouldn’t make it out this time around. He didn’t know why but a very small part of him thought it fitting.
The killer walked over slowly. It took it’s time for some reason, it made no difference to him really. Reis didn’t attempt to run, he knew. The assailant stopped as it stood over Reis. “Stand up.” It said. Reis obeyed, “You don’t want to run? Cry for mercy?”
“Would it make a difference?” He asked.
“No.” It replied before its hand flew and slashed through the air and Reis fell lifeless. The assailant began to walk and stopped when it neared the still motionless body of Larson. It looked down at the body and spoke one word. “Qinglong.” And with that word the assailant disappeared leaving the bloody remains of its kills for the world to find.
Haven Warehouse District, Warehouse 21
Sunday, June 13th 2059
A green car pulled up to an already assembled lot of cars and people. The cars however all had the same design, black with a blue line with lights on top. These were the cars of the Haven Police, and it appears that what had transpired last night had been found already. A man exited the driver’s side. An older, black gentleman with grizzled features and his hair so short many would mistake him for being close to baldness. A second person exited the car after the driver, a young woman from how she looked. Tan with raven black hair whom stood a foot or so under the driver and compared, their clothing was vastly different. She, in a more professional manner and he in a more lax style while still holding the air of professionalism.
“Hell of a way to spend the seventh day the lord took to make us all.” The driver said in a gravel-like voice. The woman turned to look at the man she had arrived in,
“Sir?” She asked with a slightly confused look. He shook his head,
“Never mind Ortiz.” He replied as he began to walk past the parked police cars and the already assembled pedestrians whom always seem to show up anywhere there’s a line of police vehicles. The two pushed past the people and made their way to the yellow holographic police line; even in today’s age they still used the yellow lines of tape. A single uniformed officer stood at the line and halted the two. The older man was ready; he had pulled out what looked like a wallet and opened it to reveal a Haven police department badge with an ID card under it which showed his name: LT. Hershel Greene. “Major Case.” He said simply.
The young woman followed suit and produced the same ID and her name: Elaina Ortiz. “She’s a new one.” The officer behind the line said as he lifted the line slightly for the two to enter.
“Transferred from Homicide last week.” She said in response to the man as they two had crossed the line.
“Where’s Hunter?” Greene asked ignoring the two’s conversation and gazed around the scene.
“Oh,” The uniformed man said, “He’s in the warehouse with the other mech-tech’s sir.”
“Mech-tech’s?” Ortiz asked as she turned her eyes to Greene whom had already began to walk towards the warehouse.
Greene had said nothing until they had made their way into the warehouse and instantly the two were greeted with the sight of blood everywhere and a white cover over what could best be described as a torso there were similar covers around the area over several smaller pieces. “Hunter!” Greene called out. The warehouse was large but Greene’s voice carried like that of a drill sergeant over platoon of soldiers; some had even stood at attention when he called out.
“I’m over here Greene.” A voice called out near the other side of the entrance they had came in from. The two followed the voice and Greene began to speak,
“Ortiz,” He began, “What do you know about the mechanimor-movement?” He asked,
“The mechanimor-movement sir?”
“I’m waiting kid.”
“Right, Uhmm…” She tried her best to think quickly but Greene just sighed,
“The Mechanimor-movement started as a military application to give cybernetic enhanced implants to soldiers to enhance military strength of a small platoon of soldiers.” He explained,
“I believe I’ve heard of this sir,” Ortiz stated, “It was in the developmental stages with a small group of soldiers from different branches right?” He grunted in approval, the two began to walk by several men in dark blue coats with CSI on their shoulders, “The project was canceled after complications arose which were never made public. But in the years preceding several models and blueprints have been found after a sting operation on a weapons dealer in Nevada was found with them. This indicated that the project had made its way to the streets and underworld operators were now using them for their own enterprises, right sir?” She asked as the two stopped before a kneeling man with a hairline that resembled a cul-de-sac and wore the same CSI coat the ones they walked by.
“She’s a smart one Greene.” The kneeling man said as he stood up to look at the two. The woman looked surprised at how the man could’ve possibly heard her. “I hear everything.” He said simply as he looked and noticed the young woman’s facial expression, he then looked to the side and pointed to his ear; which had a strange metallic object inside of it, “And a strong enough hearing aid which can pick up what’s said from outside the building doesn’t hurt either.” He added before he looked back to the two with a smirk.
“Why am I here Hunter?” Greene asked,
“Patient as always huh, sir?” The man named Hunter asked, “Fine, follow me.” He added as he motioned for the two to follow him. Greene walked next to Hunter with Ortiz following from the rear. “Remember last year when that reporter ran a story about how the Mayor may be involved in Mech-smuggling?”
“I do,” Ortiz said, “The case never found anything and it was stated in the Mayor’s weekly address that such allegations were false and slanderous.”
“Really now?” Hunter asked as he shot back a quick glance to the young woman. He stopped at another cover which was draped over what was, best bet, a body and removed the cover to reveal Mayor Reis’ body with a slash on the man’s throat and his clothing stained in the blood which spilled from the cut.
“Guess there were more to the allegations than we thought then.” Greene said, Ortiz looked with alarm at the older gentleman who simply shrugged and added, “I didn’t vote for him.”
“That’s not all.” Hunter said placing the cover back over the mayor’s corpse. “Over there we have the body of Mac Fenelli, Nico Facchinetti.”
“This just keeps getting better doesn’t it?” Greene asked,
“Sir, Nico Fachinetti?” Greene simply nodded,
“Is it disrespect to the dead to think today’s either my birthday or Christmas come early?”
“More than likely,” Hunter replied, “But thankfully not all of them are dead.”
“You mean there’s a survivor in this mess?” Ortiz asked as she looked around at the carnage that remained. “How?”
“Well you can’t kill what isn’t alive detective.” Hunter said leading the two to a body which had no cover, the body of Larson which the only difference seemed to be that his body had been flipped to his back.
“Isn’t that Larson Briggs, the Mayor’s bodyguard?” He asked. Hunter simply nodded,
“Notice anything different about him and the other bodies?” Ortiz looked while Greene just stood there stone-faced and stared at the body.
She looked at the scene and noticed one thing that anyone with eyes could make out, “There’s no blood spatters that came from him.” She said, “But how is that-?” Hunter answered her question by undoing the man’s shirt and revealing a torso of with the skin tone similar to Larson’s but one could easily tell wasn’t human.
“He’s a Goddamn toaster.” Greene said with an exasperated sigh.
“Exactly,” Hunter said to the two, “And from the looks of him he was shut down from an EM pulse and the two slugs in his back did nothing to his core. Which can be some good news for us.”
“Good news?” Greene asked, “What good news someone may have just started a war in Haven.”
“Well the good news is that this model of Mech-guards have a core-CPU which is kept in a special casing inside their armored shell which activates a self-preservation protocol which records anything and everything that happens for up to twenty minutes before full shutdown. So we can transfer his CPU to another body or a computer and extract the files which may shed some light on who wanted the mayor and Mr. Facchinetti dead.”
“You mean other than two thirds of the city?” Greene asked as he turned and walked over to a person with a strange machine which resembled a camera but its photos were displayed on a panel which was set up a few feet away and displayed a scale 3D model of the scene.
“Well, yeah; besides them.” Greene didn’t respond as he began to talk to the camera holder and seemed to ask for something to which the photographer nodded and Greene turned back to the other two and motioned for Ortiz to follow him.
“We’re leaving.” He said before he turned to walk off. “Hunter I want a report on what you guys find on my desk soon alright?” Hunter just grunted and went back to work.
“Sir?” Ortiz asked as she quickened her pace to keep up with the Lieutenant.
“What Ortiz?” He asked,
“Shouldn’t we stay longer in case-.”
“Hunter knows what he’s doing,” Greene replied, “Besides, we need to talk to the Commissioner, he wanted to be kept in the know about this case. And I can see why.”
“Sir?” Greene said nothing as they reached outside and pushed past the civilians which still assembled like a group of chickens waiting for their feed, until the two finally reached the car they arrived in and got in.
“What was just in there could be used as proof that the Mayor was involved in dealings with the Facchinetti family and quite possibly he wasn’t the only one.” He stated. He started the car and began to exit the area. Ortiz looked to the side and noticed some people with a camera and a microphone,
“Looks like the press have gotten wind of the situation sir.” Ortiz said to Greene whom had become sullen at the mention of the press. “How'd they get here so fast?” Ortiz asked,
“My guess the car they rode in on.” Greene said sardonically before the two left the scene and drove to the station the two worked out of.
Haven P.D. Station House
Greene and Ortiz walked in through the door which belonged to the station Chief Nathan Alonzo. A thirty year vet and a man whom; despite his age, still looked like he could handle himself in any number of scrapes. “Shit...” His voice was smoother and higher pitched than one would expect from a man of his disposition. He was a clean Latin man with balding hair that he didn't hide but wore one would guess would be proudly; almost as proudly as the scar he brandished on his left cheek.
“Press had already gotten wind of it somehow,” Greene said as he sat in the chair in front of the Chief's desk with Ortiz standing behind him. “Seeing how many people know about this finding who could've leaked it will be hard.”
“Damn the leak Greene.” The chief said. “What I'm worried about is the fact that our Mayor was found in that area and with Facchinetti and his vests.”
“Worried?” Greene asked, “We all knew the man was dirty Chi-.”
“I will not have that talk in my station house Greene.” The chief barked, “Unlike you I know what kind of man the Mayor really was. He was a close friend of mine and we had been through a lot together.” The chief leaned back in his chair and rubbed two of his fingers across a jagged scar on his right cheek.
Ortiz had heard people talk about that scar and the person who gave it to him but the stories were never on one set they always added their own spin and she really wondered sometimes if he just had a bad experience with a straight razor. “This case is top priority from here on out Greene you understand?”
“Sir, if we're dealing with someone that can take down two mechs and a full canner we should look into-.”
“Don't even think about talking to that trash Greene.” Alonzo said with a growl and rubbed his scar visibly harder.
“Sir he can-.”
“I said no!” He exclaimed this time jumping out of his chair. Ortiz was genuinely concerned. She had rarely witnessed anger from the chief but when he did get upset everyone in the station tip-toed for days. “You and Ortiz will handle this case and any resource you need will be afforded but you ill not bring in any outside help. No consultants and no trash you've got a soft spot for you understand me Greene?” Greene and Alonzo locked eyes for a moment and for that moment Ortiz felt like she was invisible and could see the men tensing and sizing the other up.
“Yes sir.” Greene said as he rose from his chair and turned to leave. Ortiz felt herself return and followed after Greene out of the office. Ortiz could feel a gaze but it wasn't at her, more through her and at her superior.
The two walked through the open floor of the station house, Ortiz debated with herself to ask a question to Greene. She opened her mouth to say something but Greene hurried his stride over to his desk where a file which had not been there earlier laid. “Sir?” She asked, he did not reply only opened the file to read what was inside.
“Report came finally.”
“That was fast,” Ortiz said as she stood behind Greene and tried to read over his shoulder.
“Well it helps when you can record notes by voice from across town to your terminal and print it out just by a few buttons.” He said, “Hmm...” He let out while reading the notes that Hunter had sent. Ortiz was able to read some of the notes but a lot of them didn't make sense to her, like one note saying how the bones of the men using mech suits had their spines shattered to such a point that the bones had almost become that of dust. She wondered what kind of weapon could possibly do such damage when the folder closed suddenly and Greene began to walk. Ortiz was stunned for a second then made a quick dash after the man.
“Sir?” She asked as she finally caught up to the man, “Is everything alright?”
“Hunter has his tech people looking over the core from the canner right now,” He explained as they exited the floor towards the car lock-up, “He should have it within the next couple of hours.” He added,
“Where are we going sir?” Ortiz asked, “Shouldn't we be making our way down there or at least following leads on the case?”
“I don't like waiting around and we have way too big of a pool of suspects to just go in blind Ortiz.” Greene said to her,
“Then what are we doing sir?” She asked as the two finally made their way to the garage and walked to Greene's car,
“Going to use one of those resources Alonzo was talking about.”
Five miles outside of Haven.
The car came to a stop outside a densely green area just outside the city. They stopped in front of what looked like an old factory building that made Ortiz wonder what was keeping such a structure up after all the time that had passed from the state of the building. The car was turned off but no one made the effort of getting out of the car. Ortiz was following Greene's and Greene was just staring at the building. He finally broke the silence, “When we go in there you let me do all the talking understand?” He asked Ortiz after he had turned his gaze towards her, she nodded and Greene let out a sigh before he exited the car carrying the coroner's notes he had taken from the station.
The two entered the decrepit looking building and Ortiz was intrigued by how open the building was. The machinery of the factory looked like it had been out of use for years and where rows for transport were filled with just empty space and what looked like broken concrete. She couldn't help but notice how each of the cracks looked like something crashed on the ground causing the cracks. “Dealer!” Greene called out, Ortiz looked at him with a questionable look,
“You know most people call before showing up at someone's place Greene.” A voice said behind the two. Ortiz turned quickly while Greene took his time; like he was used to such an occurrence.
“You don't have a phone and we both know you wouldn't answer if you did.” Greene shot back to the man whom spoke who looked young; possibly a year or so Ortizs' senior. He stood around her height too. Ortiz tried to make note of everything she could about the man before them and saw he was a very shabby young man, with a red/brown beard and green eyes which seemed disinterested with the two. Through her own gaze in trying to make note of the man Greene called Dealer she failed to notice that the man himself had turned his gaze onto her, “Where's Meyers?” He asked, “I liked Meyer's...didn't stare.”
“Retired finally,” Greene replied, “Finally said to hell with the departments constant tries to get rid of him and took the pension. Somewhere in Vegas last I heard.”
“Hmm.” The man said, more indifferent than anything else, “Name.” He said to Ortiz,
“I didn't ask you Greene,” Dealer interrupted; not taking his eyes off Ortiz, “name.”
“Detective Elaina Ortiz,” She said producing her badge, “Homicide.”
“God damn Greene,” He said turning away from the two, “They got you working with babies now?”
Ortiz was shocked that the man would say such a thing; he was no older than her by her own estimate and the flippancy he had was appalling in her opinion.
She wanted to ask who she was but didn't get to as she turned to see the man walking away, “You guys coming or not?” He asked. Greene said nothing as the two followed the young man up some stairs to what looked like what was once the office room for the factory while it was running. The office had been converted to a bedroom from the looks of it however; outfitted with a twin sized bed, a desk with a computer which looked ancient, but she saw something that looked very out of place: In front of one window was what could be described as a shrine with two pictures; an older Asian gentleman flanked by several other people dressed on both sides, in the same clothes like uniforms and sashes across their waists and the other was an black man dressed in military clothing.
Both pictures sat above a sword in it's sheath a display holder. The sheath was black and designed oddly while the hilt of the sword seemed to play differently displaying a metallic design and a strangely designed tsuba. She was so transfixed on the make-shift shrine that she had not noticed Dealer move over to a chair which sat in front of an old T.V. with an antique game console hooked up with a game on pause. Dealer took the chair and picked up a controller unfreezing the game.
“Dealer,” Greene started as he stood behind the man, “We need to talk.”
“I'm listening.” He said snidely as he played his game. “This is about Facchinetti and the Mayor and their vests getting offed right?”
“Story already broke then?”
“News has been playing it all day I saw it for the fifth time and decided I needed to do something better with my day.” Ortiz looked at the back of the man with disdain.
“I'll have you know five people are dead.” She said indignantly,
“Two people.” Greene interjected,
“The other three were hancers?”
“Two were hancer the third was a full canner.”
“Sir!” Ortiz said with astonishment at Greene's openness on the subject.
“Phoo.” Dealer said almost nonchalantly, the only emotion came from when Ortiz noticed the character he played was in a tough spot. “You guys are gonna have a hell of a time covering this one up aren't you?” He added, “What story you guys gonna use?”
There was a silence for a moment before a chuckle escaped from Dealer. “You guys are gonna have trouble with this one aren't you?”
“That's why we're here Dealer.” Greene said, “I'm heading the investigation and we both know that when it comes to Hancers-.”
“You have more than enough people better than me at dealing with Hancers Greene.” Dealer said in a frustrated tone as the character he played had died and a game over screen played. “See what you two brain surgeons did now?” He asked annoyed as he got out of the chair and turned to face the two only to be met with Greene's hand shoving the file he brought over from the station concerning the autopsy of the victims in the warehouse.
“Read it.” Greene said, “Then tell me our people are better equipped to handle this.” Greene and Dealer locked eyes for a second before Dealer took the file and read it briefly before looking back up at the two.
“Bones shattered beyond repair?” He asked, “In the spines no less, expert move disabling the spine,” He said closing the file and turning his gaze to the two, “Expert move, used a vibro-blade no less. They definitely were just casualties, not the intended targets. Reis and Facchinetti were whoever hired this person's targets.” A lot of what he had just said confused Ortiz, how could he tell that this wasn't just a standard hit, how would he think that taking out the spine of someone using mech armor would be an expert move and what was a vibro-blade?
“See what I mean?” Greene said,
“No because you've no doubt already thought of this; proving my point.” He shot back throwing the file to the side, “This is just another hit, the targets were just bigger fish. You guys can handle it and you can start by getting out of my home Greene.” The two locked eyes, “I don't like my time being wasted and seems to me that is all you're doing.”
“The canner's core is being worked on now.” Greene said, “I'll send you what we get and then you can make a decision.”
“Don't go out of your way Greene,” He said, “I think this will get Alonzo pissed enough as it is.” Ortiz quirked an eyebrow and wondered if he meant the Chief, “The scar must've healed up pretty well by now.”
Greene and Ortiz left the factory and made their way back to the car, “Sir,” Ortiz said, “Who is that man?” She asked as they reached the car. Greene said nothing but a grunt did come out of him, “Sir,” She said looking at Greene who had been focusing on the drive, “Who is Dealer?” She asked again.
Greene let out a sigh, “Ortiz, let's just say the Dealer is this city's dirty little secret okay?” He asked, “He's someone we need but he's never someone we like needing.”
“Sir, I don't understand.”
“You will.” He said as the two left the area back to Haven.
Haven City PD Tech-Crimes Office.
Some hours had passed since the two left Dealer at his place. They had gotten a call from Hunter saying that the Core from the Mayor's guard had been decoded and they were going through the data.
The two stood in a room filled with mechanical equipment and computers strewn about. While they stood in front of a large terminal in the room which was hooked to a large metal sphere which sat on the table next to the terminal. Hunter sat in the chair in front of the terminal which was turned to face the two. “I tell ya Greene,” Hunter said, “I knew that there was going to be some heavy security on this thing but it was crazy how many encryptions were actually on this core. If this thing was ever found no one wanted it to hacked.”
“But you got in?” Ortiz asked, Hunter nodded,
“It wasn't easy but Thanks to a few favors I was able to get into the thing and found a lot.”
“Well that's all well and good,” Greene said, “But is there anything that helps us?” Hunter turned and brought a window to the screen of the terminal's monitor.
“You tell me.” He said as he pressed a button and a video file started playing. The file showed the last remaining moments from the guard's memory before the safeguard took effect. Every bit was seen by the two detectives and they watched and made note of every possible detail they could find.
“Dealer was right,” Greene said “Whoever did this did know what they were doing.”
“Sir,” Ortiz said, “That person is using a full mech-suit.” She said as she pointed to the screen to the shot of the killer as the video neared the end of the ordeal.
“So it is.” Greene said, “Wait,” He added quickly, “What did it just say?”
Hunter turned to the terminal and tapped it so he could play back the last few seconds and ply what was just said by the killer. “Qinglong.” Played through the speakers of the terminal and Greene let out a groan.
“Did it just say Qinglong?” Hunter asked, no reply caused Hunter to let out a, “Damn.”
“We look at one pile and we find ourselves another one.” Greene said,
“Guess this was an underworld hit after all then hmm?” Hunter asked,
“If it was why not just shoot Facchinetti and Reis instead of decapitating them?”
“Sending a message maybe?” Ortiz offered.
“Can you send that file somewhere for me Hunter?” Greene asked,
“Where?” He asked,
“To my computer. I'm going to need that to show someone later.”
“Who?” Greene just looked at Hunter with a grim expression and Hunter shook his head,
“You know Chief will skin you if you try to bring him in on this one right?”
“If Qinglong is involved we have no choice.”
“Fine, I'll send a copy to you but I have no idea about what happens after wards got it?”
“Got it.” Greene replied, “Now send it Hunter, I'll see you later.”
The two left Tech-crimes lab and made a quick stop to pick up the copy that Hunter had sent to Greene. As the two left it was late at night and Ortiz was wondering what was going to happen next. “Ortiz you can go home for the night.” Green said to her as they neared his car in the garage.
“Sir?” She asked, “I thought now we were going to see Dealer again seeing as Qinglong is spoken of in the recording.”
“I will but you're still too green for what's going to happen. I've been on long enough that I can survive any kind of punishment Alonzo could send at me. Not you.”
“We don't know that for sure sir.” Ortiz said, “Besides, I'm your partner I'm not letting you get into trouble by yourself.” Greene shook his head,
“I'm not going to get rid of you am I?” Ortiz answered by getting into Greene's car.
The two drove up to the building; the car's headlights shining on the front of the building and in the front stood Dealer holding a dark bottle of what Ortiz guessed was beer. The two got out and made their way over to the man who was nursing said bottle gingerly. “You came back faster than I expected.” Dealer said as he wiped a bit of the liquid from his lip. Greene made no reply just pulled out a small card and held it out to Dealer. “What's this now?” Dealer asked.
Greene said nothing and just walked past Dealer into the factory and up to Dealer's room. Dealer was already behind him and Ortiz was following close behind them. The three entered and Greene just looked at Dealer. “You got some balls Greene.” Dealer growled,
“The card has your reason to get involved.” Greene said defiantly to Dealer, “Insert it and we can all get going.” Dealer glared at Greene for a moment; he didn't betray any emotion however. A low groan was let out by Dealer before he walked over to his computer set up and inserted the card Greene handed to him.
The card was read and the file on the card played before Dealer. The entire scene played out all the way to the end. He showed no emotion but his eyes shot all over the screen looking for everything that could be seen. Not even when the Qinglong was mentioned but he did let out an almost inaudible sigh at the end of the file. “That it?” Dealer asked finally as he spun in the chair and turned to face the two.
“That it?” Ortiz asked, “Qinglong is involved, we all know what that means.”
“Yeah, you guys are gonna need to put in some extra hours because a war is on the horizon if you don't find this guy.”
“Us?” Ortiz asked, “What are you-.”
“Dealer.” Greene said solemnly, “We need your help.”
“And I'm not giving it to you. You saw what that thing did and you expect me to go up against it.”
“Isn't that your job anyway?” Greene asked,
“Only when I say it is.” Dealer shot quickly, “Leave.”
“I don't know where you get of-.”
“Leave.” He said again but this time he wasn't playing around. She saw his hands tense and release quickly.
She opened her mouth to speak before Greene grabbed her shoulder and the two began to leave. “What Lam would think of you now.” Greene said before he closed the door to the room and the two left.
Dealer just stood there staring at the door after it had closed. Any other time, he'd be right next to them walking out to figure everything out. Any other time he would've broken Greene's jaw for saying that to him. Any other time...what was wrong with this time? Dealer turned and looked at the shrine in front of his window. The pictures which he always ached to look at and the sword which called out to him and made his blood boil. He fought it everyday, he fought what he really was. He sat on his knees in front of his shrine and closed his eyes and began to speak. “Shishou.” He said bowing in a dogeza position.
Little Asia, Haven City
Officially this was Haven's East quarter, but in Haven's early years all of the Asian families and the like huddled together into their own little town. At first divided but soon they realized the power of uniting. The uniting started small but they soon gained power and their power was headed by a single group; The Unified Dragon group. The group; though no proof had ever surfaced, was allegedly the cause of several illegal activities but like any other community no one spoke to outsiders. Ortiz and Greene were prime examples. The two sat in Greene's car. Ortiz having showed up at Greene's early to try and talk to someone. “Remind me to yell at you when I finally wake up Ortiz.” Greene griped as he laid his head on the drivers wheel.
“Sir, we know Qinglong is involved somehow.” Ortiz said as she watched out of the car like a hawk. “If we can get to him maybe we can figure this out, and if he isn't the cause at least we know that he might be next on the list.”
“Wow, great idea Ortiz.” Greene said his face still in the wheel. “Remind me to put you up for a commendation when this is all done with that kind of thinking you'll go places in this department.” The sarcasm was not lost on Ortiz but she ignored it, especially when she saw some people exit the doors of the building they were watching and stand as if on guard.
“Sir,” Ortiz said quickly undoing her seat belt, “We're up.” She added. Greene weakly let out a grunt. He moved to follow Ortiz whom was already halfway to the building.
Ortiz reached there first her badge already out for the men to see, “Detective Elaina Ortiz, Homicide.” She said, “We need to speak with Qinglong.” The men did not reply but just looked at the woman whom they both stood over and were easily more than a match for the young woman. “Did you two hear me?” She asked, “Either of you speak English at all?” No reply was made again just one stepping up to her and staring the woman down. Any other person would've backed from the man but Ortiz was a woman whom had dealt with worse than just a man over-towering her.
“Master Long is still waking up and enjoying his breakfast detective.” The other one said standing behind the man who still stared down the detective, “Perhaps we can tell him you called and he can contact you to set up some meeting.”
“Nope, that's not how this is going to work.” Ortiz said, Greene finally reaching the group, “We will see him now. Tell him-.”
“Ma'am, if you do not leave now you will force us to take measures to make sure you do not disturb our employer.” The other Asian man said placing a hand on the one who was trying to intimidate Ortiz.
“We wouldn't want that would we?” He spoke with an arrogant tone to the two. He knew the detectives couldn't do anything.
“Oh I don't know,” A voice said to the side of the group, “Disturbing people at breakfast seems like a good idea. Qing always has such great potstickers for breakfast.” The group turned and saw a clean shaven man with spiked hair and a black zip-up hoodie with jeans; any other time that would've been just a regular dressed man, but this one made it all different by laying on his shoulder a sheathed katana with a strangely designed hilt. “Tell Qinglong The Dealer requests an audience with him. These two are my guests and I will not allow any harm to come to them.” The man who had tried to intimidate Ortiz before had turned to face Dealer and walked up to him, trying the same tactic. “I see Qing didn't take my advice to get smarter guards did he?” Dealer asked as he locked eyes with the taller Asian man.
The man said something to the other in Chinese pulling the one trying to intimidate the man back. Ortiz had no idea what was said but she figured it was somewhere along the lines of back up or the boss will kill us. The one who was pulled back went inside the building and the one who spoke to him stayed with the group. “Good trick does he play dead too?” The man was visibly disturbed by Dealer's attitude but said nothing. Ortiz watched Dealer surprised by the way he looked. He was different from the shabby young man she had met only yesterday.
A phone began to ring and the guard took one out of his pocket and answered; speaking in Chinese, “The master will see you now.” He said finally as he stepped aside allowing the three to go in. The three walked through the building led by the guard. On the outside the building was large and almost palace-like compared to the town around it. The inside of the building only furthered such an observation. With such items on display like the pictures recovered from the war so many years ago. Large photos of large families standing while a single man sat in a chair. Ortiz was impressed by such design but Dealer and Greene just walked through looking forward until they reached the groups destination. Which was a large dining room with an equally large table and a single elderly gentleman sitting at the end facing the door they had entered through.
The man was flanked by a single man, whom had several scars on his face and eyed the three; especially Dealer and his sword. “Dealer,” The man said, his voice refined and his accent only lightly hinted in his speech. “A pleasant surprise, hadn't seen you in a good while.”
“Long Sifu,” Dealer said bowing to the old man. “It has been too long; I am glad that it has seen you well.”
“No thanks to you I assure you.” The man said as he continued to eat. His food of rice and meat.
“I'm assure you it is a mutual feeling.” Dealer said standing fully again, “Isn't that right Kong?” Dealer asked looking to the scarred man behind Long.
“Detective Greene.” He said turning his attention to Greene who hadn't taken his eyes off Long. “I see Detective Meyers finally retired?” He asked, Greene offered no reply, “Good for him, I hope he is in good health.” He then saw Ortiz and smiled, “And this radiant beauty is your new partner?”
“Detective Ortiz,” She said as she reached for her badge, “We'd like-?” Her words were interrupted by Dealers sheathed sword being held in front of her face.
“You seem in good spirits Long.” Dealer said, “I assume you have had a good day since what happened?”
“What could you-Oh!” Long said, “You mean the unfortunate passing of our distinguished Mayor Reis and dear Facchinetti.” Long said with a tone of mock sorrow, “I had heard of such tragedy. I mourn for our city's loss.”
“Uh-huh, sure you are.” Greene said,
“You will show Master Long respect you-.”
“No, no Kong. It is quite alright.” Long said calmly. “I understand your skepticism detective.” He said as he got out of his chair slowly. “But I do mourn such a loss. Mr. Facchinetti was a dear friend of mine. We had worked together for years.”
“That and I'm sure the cell you two shared in reform school was quite cozy.” Kong growled and stepped forward towards Dealer.
“Kong.” Long said authoritatively.
“You should listen to the man Kong.” Dealer said resting his sword on his shoulder again, “He knows when a man is too much for him. Don't you Long?” Kong growled once again and stepped faster toward Dealer. He stopped and his body went rigid.
“HEY!” Ortiz said stepping into a sword stance, she tried to reach for her gun but Greene stopped her and shook his head.
“I see you haven't taken my advice at all Long.” Dealer said. Kong fell to his knees showing Dealer holding his sheathed katana out where Kong's chest would've been.
Long stood now, “I tolerate your flippancy Dealer in respect to your predecessor. I can only tolerate so much however.” He then walked over to Kong and placed a hand on the slumped mans shoulders. “I ask you nicely to leave now. I will not ask twice.”
“But we need to ask you some-.”
“Fine Long.” Dealer said as he turned to leave, “For your consideration though, I'd up the security here. You've no idea what's gonna happen here soon.” Dealer said,
The three left with everyone in the building eying them sourly. Ortiz could feel the glares on them well until they left the building. “The hell is your problem?!” Ortiz asked once they reached the car. “We went in there to get info and you completely ruin everything with your little pig-sticker there.”
“It's not Long.” Dealer said,
“Long grooms stupid but fiercely loyal men as shields.. If he had a man that skilled up his sleeve there's no way one would allow him to take such abuse from someone. Let alone an outsider. Besides, despite his enterprises he doesn't allow his men to hance. Thinks it dilutes the perfection of the human body.” He explained as he opened the door and got in the back laying down in the seat. Ortiz looked at Greene whom only shrugged and got into the car.
“Alright, I guess we should-.”
“Take me to Hunter.” Dealer said, “I want to see the hancers bodies.” There was a moment of silence before Greene drove back to the M.E's office.
Haven City Morgue.
“I can't believe you actually brought him with you.” Hunter whispered to Greene,
“Alonzo will do what he always does which is not a damn thing until someone pulls his chain.” Dealer said as he looked over the body of one of the Men from the crime scene before he looked over at the group who stayed back from the bodies so Dealer could look them over. “You confirmed the weapon as vi-blades right?” Dealer asked,
“Yeah, what are you gonna tell me I'm wrong?” Hunter asked defensively,
“Calm down Hunter you got it right.” Dealer said standing fully, “that's surprisingly old-school though.”
“How do you mean?”
“Well a vi-blade is a blade which has alternating currents run through it, a byproduct of such a current is a light but noticeable vibration noise from the blade. The currents actually cause the blade to vibrate at such a current that it will actually separate solid matter like butter.”
“Think like those blades doctors use to take off casts of broken bones and the like.” Dealer added. “They were mounted to certain soldier weapons should an enemy get too close. Like a bayonet. Archaic, yes but some were useful.” He explained, “The problem however was that sometimes the blades would backfire and harm the soldiers, that and they were too expensive to manufacture.”
“How d'you know that?” Hunter asked,
“Let's say when it comes to some bits of history...” Dealer said standing fully, “I have some experience.”
“How does that play into the hancers?” Greene asked,
“Well the blade is definitely strong. If it caused these punks to have dust as spines.” Dealer said as he walked to the two, “And judging by the mech the person who took them out was definitely trained enough to take them out expertly.”
“How does the mech play into the training of the user?”
“The mech the killer was using was an early model.” Dealer explained before Hunter could open his mouth, “The things were hard as hell to use and the only ones who could use them were specially trained soldiers. Rangers, black ops those kind of guys.”
“How someone got a hold of one of those definitely has deep pockets or know someone who does.” Greene said,
“I agree and I think we should go-.”
“A good idea Dealer, you should go.” All turned at the new voice which spoke to see Alonzo with daggers for eyes as he saw Dealer.
“Alonzo,” Dealer said enthusiastically, “I was wondering when I would lose all hope for the world.” Alonzo said nothing as he got closer to the group and decked Dealer in the face.
“CHIEF!” Ortiz exclaimed getting between Alonzo and Dealer.
“I told you I didn't want this trash near this Greene.”
“He said that?” Dealer said looking at Greene with a smile on his face, “Thank you for ignoring him. How's the scar Lonnie?” Dealer asked, “Still sore every time you think about me?”
“Dealer, leave.” Greene said,
“Fine, I think that dead guy is staring at me too long anyway.” He said before he left bumping into Alonzo.
“Ortiz, go with him.” Greene said as Dealer left the room, she turned to rebut Greene but the look in his eyes made her immediately follow the order.
Ortiz made her way outside to see Dealer leaning against Greene's car his eyes fixed forward. He almost looked like a statue with how still he was. “Dealer,” She said he didn't reply, “Dealer?” She poked Dealer who reacted quickly bringing his sheath to her neck.
“Oh, sorry.” Dealer said, she shook her head but said nothing out of surprise and slight losing her voice. “I was thinking.” He added pulling the sheath from her neck.
“Oh no,” She said, “It's fine. I'm used to having possibly deadly things that close to my neck.” He laughed lightly before going back to his earlier stature. “What are you thinking about?”
“Well, I was running through certain things.” Dealer said,
“Like?” She asked leaning next to Dealer,
“Well if we look at everything. The hancers were taken out easily and with minimal damage. But Fachinetti and Reis was...different.”
“How do you mean?”
“Well killing someone is easy, especially from a distance. But their heads were cut off...That's personal...someone wanted these men their heads...” Dealer was almost lost in thought when he snapped up from the car and opened the drivers door and got in.
“What are you doing?”
“Seeing someone about a grudge.” He said, “Get in.”
“What about-?” Her objection was cut short when the car turned over and Dealer looked at her.
“He wears loose clothes and keeps his keys in his jacket. He was begging me to do this practically.” He said with a smirk, “C'mon.” Ortiz was hesitant but she didn't trust him by himself seeing what he had already caused and got into the car.
“Dealer, are you getting enough to eat?” An elderly woman said as she looked at Dealer as the three sat at a table with plates in front of them, “Look at you, a lamppost has more meat on it than you.”
“Mrs. Facchinetti, please you don't need to do that.” He said pushing the plate forward. “I was hoping we could talk about Nico?” He asked as he looked at Ortiz who was digging into the food still on her plate Dealer just looked at her with a “Really?” look in his eyes.
The woman sobbed dryly and placed a rag in front of her face, “Oh my dear Nico, terrible with people but a great husband.” She said dabbing at her eyes fighting back tears.
“When you say terrible with people do you mean he had people who didn't like him?”
“You mean after the police, Chinese, Japs and ruskies?” A new voice asked. “The man was a pig.” They turned to see a young man with light brown hair styled up and wearing a fine suit.
“Jamie,” Mrs. Fachinetti said hotly as she jumped from her seat, “I will not have you speak ill of your dear father.” Dealer looked at the young man and smiled,
“Li'l Jamie?” Dealer asked, “Man you've grown kid.”
A young, blonde woman stepped from behind Jamie in a ruffled cleaning woman's uniform and Dealer quirked an eyebrow. “Ingrid, dear,” Mrs. Fachinetti said, “There you are dear. Where have you been?”
“I'm sorry Mrs. Fachinetti, I got caught upstairs with the vacuum.” The woman said with a light accent of her own. Russian if one were to guess. Dealer stared at her for a moment.
“What?” Jamie asked, “You want me to praise the man despite all the crap he put you through?” He asked, “The women, the late nights the times he made you cry?!” He exclaimed throwing his arm out and knocking a vase down breaking it. “I'm glad the despot's dead.” Dealer looked at the cleaning lady as she knelt down to pick up the pieces. “Hell the night he died he cheated on you with Ingrid!” He yelled pointing to the woman on the ground.
“Jamie!” The woman made her way over to her son but Dealer stepped in front of her and grabbed him by the collar,
“I will not have you disrespect your father boy.” Dealer said hotly. “You apologize to your mother or I'll make you, understand?” Jamie went bug-eyed and looked fearfully at Dealer.
“Dealer.” Ortiz said calmly hopefully to diffuse the situation, “We should go.” Dealer let go of Jamie and held the katana in front of him.
“Show respect boy.” he said before the two left the room looking eyes with Ingrid as they left but she looked to the side away from the two but he noticed a tenseness about her.
Haven City PD
Dealer and Ortiz made their way into the to see Greene sitting on his desk as if waiting for the two to get in. “Bout damn time.” Greene said holding his hand out.
“Is that all you care about Greene?” Dealer asked as he pulled out the keys and tossed them to Greene.
“Where'd you two go?” He asked, “It's far as hell from the Morgue to here you know?”
“We went to pay a visit to a grieving widow and her son.”
“You visited Fachinetti?”
“Yeah and the family is all broken up about it. Especially the kid. Couldn't even seal the deal with the cleaning lady.”
“He sounds all tore up about it.”
“You have no idea.” Dealer said with a smirk. “How'd Alonzo deal with you after we left?”
“Let's just say my pay doesn't matter much anymore.” Greene said with his own smirk.
“So anything else you learn?”
“Other than the kid has a major attitude problem?” Ortiz asked, “Nothing we don't already know. Fachinetti bad, people don't like him.”
“Well there's one thing.” Dealer said,
“Oh?” Greene asked.
“What are you talking about?” Ortiz asked.
“Give me some time tonight. We might have our answers.”
Dealer's Factory, midnight.
Dealer sat in front of his factory his katana leaning against his shoulder. He whistled a tune lightly and poorly. “God I'm terrible at whistling.” He said, “Don't you think so?” He looked up and in the distance there was blackness but then a single beam of light shown. He stood up, he held his katana in his hand at his side and walked onto the grounds looking at the beam as it got closer. As it did mechanical noises were heard. Louder with each step.
“I gotta say as far as the cliche's go this could be worse.” He said with a smirk as the noises stopped and in front of him stood the mech which killed Fachinetti and Reis.”So, how you want this done?” Dealer asked,
The mech raised it's arm with the blade and the mechanical vibration heard loud and clear this close. “That way huh?” He asked with a smirk. As a metallic clink was heard. The arm blade swing down but hit nothing as Dealer jumped back and his katana was drawn. The mech looked at him then noticed a gash on the mech's body.
“H-how?” The mech's synthesized voice asked,
“You've been out of practice haven't you?” Dealer asked, “Don't worry I'll give you a refresher course.” He said bringing the side of the hilt up to his face. “Mechanimor-unit: Mk Two. Pass code: Retribution. ACTIVATE!” He yelled As he did on the ground rose several pieces of black metal went into the air and then shot toward Dealers body tearing the clothes he wore off. The metal hit his body then spread over covering the rest of it. The metal finally covered Dealers face, a yellow visor covering his eyes and yellow lights shining. “Mechanimor Unit Mk. Two: Retribution, installed and ready.” He said after the metal finished coering him and standing in a ready stance with the blade in his hand.
Dealer stood in the armor and stared at the other one waiting for the moment to act. “C'mon you gonna let me play you again?” He asked in a mocking tone. His voice came out mechanical but it was the same voice.
The second one growled at Dealer and made a mad dash at him. Which he dodged easily, “whoops, missed me.” He said, “Wanna try again?” The attacker slashed wildly which Dealer blocked with his blade expertly. The attacks ended after Dealer caught the arm blade and pointed the arm down, “This doesn't make any sense...” Dealer said. The second mechanimor looked at Dealer and struggled to get free. Dealer just shook his head and punched the mechanimor in it's face. “You're not the one...but you're using the mechanimor...” Dealer reasoned, “You two must really be close.” Dealer stepped back and readied himself again as the killer mechanimor, “This just keeps getting interesting.”
The killer stood up and made another dash for Dealer. “Retribution enhance. Speed by two.” Dealer said into his sword's hilt once again and a whirring began inside his armor. A second past and already Dealer was behind The killer mechanimor and after a cry the mechanimor dropped to the ground. Dealer stood up and walked over to the mechanimor,
“What did you do to me?” The mechanimor asked,
“I hit your connecting units at the vital joints. You wil still walk but not in this armor.” Dealer explained as the armor on his face opened. “I hop the person you borrowed this from will forgive you.” He said before kicking the mechanimor forcing it on it's back. He lifted his sword up into the air,
“DEALER!” A voice yelled, Dealer looked and coming from the side of the building was Ortiz; gun drawn.
“Sorry Ortiz...” Dealer said looking down at the mechanimor before slicing down and the face plate flying off. “You'll have to explain that there was some trouble in apprehension. Huh Jamie?” Dealer asked looking down at the open face of the mechanimor where the tear-stained face of Jamie could be seen.
“Jamie Fachinetti, you are under arrest for attempted murder and the murder of Nico Fachinetti and Mayor Charlie Reis.” Ortiz said as Greene followed and several armored officers followed behind them.
“Only one of them will stick Greene, but take him just the same.” Dealer said turning from the forming group. “I'll see you guys tomorrow.”
“Where are you going?” Greene asked,
“You know how late it is?” Dealer asked, “I'm friggin' tired. I'm goin' to bed.” He said with a wave and walking back to the factory.
Haven City PD Station House
Dealer walked in to the station house with his katana resting on his shoulder again. He saw Greene at his desk and looked around for a moment, “Looking for someone?” A voice asked, Dealer turned and saw Ortiz holding two cups of coffee in her hands.
“Just wondering why I felt good then I saw you so I'm back to thinking the world is hell.” He said with a smirk as she bumped past him and over to her desk on the other side of Greene's desk. Greene looked up and saw Dealer and took a coffee from Ortiz.
“There you are.” Greene said leaning back in his chair as he sipped his coffee. “So try to guess how long it took for Fachinetti Junior to sell someone out.”
“As soon as you sat him in the chair.” Dealer said,
“Yep, gave up the cleaning lady of all people.”
“Makes sense.” Dealer said, “She was the only one out of the others at Fachinetti who didn't jump at the breaking vase. Who is she?”
“Ingrid Abukamova. She was the daughter of some Russian soldier who immigrated here after the fall of the government and there was some coups attacking all who were part of the government. Got lucky, she was a kid so when they got here her father took it upon himself to make sure that she could survive that kind of life.” Greene explained,
“Makes sense,” Dealer said, “She made a good effort to stay just the good little cleaning lady. Guessing sonny was having fun with her?”
“So was daddy one night.”
“Same night he was killed by the sons admission.”
“I'm guessing daddy was fun son was love?”
“She thought so. Isn't believing the boy sold her out.” Ortiz answered. “She hurt the man she loved, thought making the source of it disappear would smooth things over with him maybe.”
“Which then gives her motive, the mayor was just casualty easy enough seeing as when looking into his records and the ones on Larson the two met frequently. Good way to set him up.” Greene said, “She leaked the story to the press making sure the kid saw it and that it was done by her.”
“She must’ve taken him to the Mechanimor when he didn’t believe her.” Dealer said, “Then when I hurt the kid's pride he thought he could take me himself and had her give him the armor which daddy flown in under his mechanimor smuggling ring which has been brought to light.” Dealer smirked at all that has happened,“How many she put down before you brought her in?” He couldn't keep his smile hidden.
“Leroy and Jenkins are in the hospital right now. Moench has some fractures but nothing life threatening.” Greene explained.
“Fun.” Dealer said, “Never liked them though so no big loss huh?” Dealer then turned to leave, “I'll be seeing you guys then.”
After he began to walk off, Ortiz watched as he left. “Don't worry Ortiz.” Greene said looking at his terminal; typing,
“About what sir?”
“You'll be seeing him more soon.”
“How do you mean sir?”
“Dealer might be our dirty secret, but he isn't the only one.” He stated, “And when one rears it's head he's always there to deal with it. Just like the ones before him.”