The next day, Evie spends most of her time working on the Davison case at HQ. After all, Officer Cardinelli isn't getting any deader. Therefore, cold cases usually take a back burner to anything that is more recent. Still, she presents her preliminary findings to her commanding officer...minus all the divine information. She also puts in a request for records of any unidentified hands from about the time that Cardinelli disappeared.
Once evening rolls around, the detective's mind turns back to the events of the night before. She needs to get in contact with Alex and Ms Bach as soon as possible. Alex's office isn't all that far from police headquarters, so she decides to walk over there and see if he is in. If she shows up on his doorstep late, it could be a good excuse to invite him to dinner to discuss things.
But, how to approach Ms. Bach? She turns several ideas over in her head, at first considering using her brother Ian as a draw. But, she quickly dismisses that idea. She's really not keen on pulling her family into this. If things get nasty, she doesn't want there to be any connections at all between the rest of her family and what she is investigating. Who knows what kind of powers her enemies might have? If he's there at their first meeting and an enemy discovers it, they could jump to the wrong conclusion.
Instead, she pulls out her phone and looks up the number she had found earlier in the day. All it had taken was a bit of light digging for her to locate Ms. Bach's cell number. She dials as she walks, then awaits an answer.
Hands scramble out from under the sheets and grab at the annoying device that would dare to remind her how late that CD party did in fact go on last night. The Furies were in full form and looking to let off some steam after their little encounter so they had played a high energy set that kept the party going until the early morning hours.
Finally her hand hits upon it and she sits up against her pillows and blearily pulls her hair out of her face as she answers her phone.
"Lya... talk at me," she mutters into it as she leans over and searches through her drawer for her cigarettes.
"Ms. Bach, hello. This is Officer Evie Cartwright. We met last night at Soul Food. I just wanted to check up on you, today, to make sure that you were all right. I wouldn't have put it past the Lobos to circle back around and try to even the score after everyone cleared out," as she talks, she tries to think of something convincing and not weird to get the singer to meet her.
"Uhhmm...so, I was wondering...would you like to drop by my apartment, this evening, for a drink?" mentally, she smacks herself. Oh gawd, it sounds like I'm trying to pick her up.
Lya chuckled to herself as she lit her cigarette and readjusted her cell phone against her ear. "Between you and everyone else I think they thought twice about it, as we didn't hear hide nor hair out of them on the way to the party. Shame you were on duty and all... I could've got you in and then you'd reallymade your brother jealous."" she takes a long drag off her cigarette before she continues. "But since you''re offering, I take it you're off the clock? I wouldn't pass up the chance to finally get that drink Officer Evie. You want the whole entourage, or is this a private affair?"
"That's good to hear," Evie answers evenly, though she knows that her cheeks are probably burning red from what she perceives as a colossal, social goof. But, Lya seems to be taking it in stride so...maybe not?
Evie stops at an intersection and watches traffic, waiting for the all clear to cross the street. Her eyes flick across the other pedestrians as she talks, "Well, my apartment is only so big. I'm not sure the whole crew will fit comfortably at my table but...you're welcome to bring who you like."
"By the way, I'm going to order food for everyone. This is sort of impromptu and I think about all I have in the fridge is mustard and couple of apples. Is there anything that you like or don't like?"
Traffic stops and the green "cross now" sign begins to flash. The detective hustles across the street.
Lya takes another drag of her cigarette and smiles. "I like long walks along the beach and dancing the night away, Officer Evie," she replies sweetly, "but barring that, good rum and interesting conversation will do. I'll give Hitoshi a call and we'll see you tonight. " She crawls over her bed to her nightstand and grabs a pencil and paper. "What's the address?"
Evie gives Lya the address. Her apartment is located in a modest part of town, away from the bustle of the main strip, "I look forward to seeing you. Take care," Evie hangs up. Still standing outside of the building, she heaves a sigh.
Well, that wasn't awkward! she thinks. Evie is certain that Lya was yanking her chain, a bit. After all, her friend Hitoshi will be coming, as well. Still, she can't help but mock herself a bit, Thus begins the adventures of Socially Awkward Scion Evie!
She chuckles at herself, shaking her head, before taking the stairs up to Alex's office.
It's a small duplex, the bondsman on the ground floor, the attorney on the second. Oddly enough, North doesn't seem to take many referrals from his downstairs neighbor. Instead, his record seems to speak to championing the underdog. A contentious rape case involving a soldier at Torii Base in Japan. A wrongful death case against the NYPD. And, just the other day, an acquittal in a case where a witness had identified the defendant in a line-up, but nothing else had supported that assertion.
The lights are on, and the door is propped open to let some of the cool evening air inside. Nonetheless, Evie knocks on the door frame and announces herself.
There's North's desk, a lightweight jacket draped over the chair. Two suit coats and several ties hang from a coat tree - for court appearances, no doubt. The desk is full, but neatly organized.
The center of the room features a small couch and armchairs, for more informal conversations. An assortment of magazines, not all that different than most waiting rooms, lay on a coffee table.
In the back, a row of barrister-style bookcases. Another desk that is much more cluttered, books and papers speaking to North's workload.
In the corner, there's a small table with a microwave oven and a mini-fridge. A water cooler stands beside it, and several bottles/empties sit under the table.
"Detective Cartwright," Alex says. "What can I do for you?"
Evie wanders into the office, her hands stuffed in her pockets. She smiles and says, "Well, Mr. North, I was hoping I could ask for your help on a new case that has been tossed my way."
She looks at the piles of papers on the man's desk and gives a soft grimace. She knows all too well what it is like to be buried under paperwork, "I see that you probably already have a full plate and I hate to add more to it but, this is something that I feel would benefit from your unique perspective."
She pulls a hand out of her pocket to run through her perpetually untidy hair, "I was wondering if you would mind dropping by my apartment later tonight to talk. I've asked over another consultant who I feel will also be helpful. I figured it would be easier if we all met in one place so I don't have repeat myself."
"I'm also springing for dinner. I figure it's the least I can do for everyone if you all are going to put in a bit of overtime on my behalf. What do you say? Lend a gal a hand?" she looks at him hopefully.
"Paperwork is paperwork. Never seems to be less, only more. I tried complaining to the boss, but he reminds me the paperwork starts with 'P,' the same as paycheck," Alex laughs, referring to himself. "Some of this is just tidying up after yesterday's hearing."
"Sure, I'll stop by. Although if it's a police matter, you should probably talk to someone in Clemens' office."
"Thanks! I really appreciate it," she reaches out to shake Alex's hand. "And, uh...no. No. I'm pretty positive that you are the man for this job."
Not sure if he has her address, she jots it down on a piece of paper for him, along with her home phone and cell number. As she hands it to him, she smiles and says, "Well, I need to get on the road. I walked over, so I need to get back to my car and then see about getting food for everyone. See you tonight."
With a final wave of farewell, she starts to hoof it back to her car. Once she reaches the old, dusty Camry, the plops herself into the driver's seat and pushes in a David Bowie CD. On the drive over to the ABC Store, she allows herself to finally relax, not think, and just enjoy the music. Though she has the singing ability of a camel with laryngitis, she still merrily sings along to "Let's Dance."
At the ABC Store, she buys a nice variety of alcohol. She knows that Lya is fond of rum, so she asks the clerk which is good and buys that. She also picks up a nice whiskey and a few micro-brew beers for variety.
Once she has all the hooch that she thinks will be needed, she swings by Soul Food, again. Since everyone was there last night, she's certain that everyone will like whatever she gets from here. She settles onto a seat at the bar and places an order for a bunch of chicken, some collard greens, hush puppies, and black-eyed peas - enough for four people. For dessert, she orders an entire blueberry pie.
She spends the time waiting alternately searching the internet for information about every pantheon she can think of, chatting with Maggie and watching stupid videos on YouTube.
Finally, she makes her way home and prepares for her guests to arrive.
Lya pads across the cold floor into the bathroom and stares at the smeared make-up and lipstick marks in various colors on her cheeks. "Yeah... that was a good night," she chuckles before turning around and starting the water for a shower so it can heat up. When you're living above a club, you learn to be patient with the plumbing.
With one hand she grabs a toothbrush and with the other she slides open her phone and presses the speed dial for her friend. Thank the Gods it's not the weekend, which means he's probably at work and she can avoid talking to his mother with her constant nagging about "getting a real job." If only she knew what my real job was...
"Hitoshi, my man... what's shaking?" She calls into the phone once she hears someone pick up.
Hitoshi, having been up since 6 AM was hard at work on a Buick Skylark that was brought in. Deep under the hood and covered in grease, he was so absorbed in his work that his phone ringing startles him causing him to bang his head on the underside of the hood. "Fuck! Damnit! Ooww. Hitoshi here." he says as he answers the phone and rubs the top of his head. He straightens up ad cracks his back as Lya speaks. "Oh hey Lya. Great party last night, hows the hangover and the voice?" He grins knowing just how much she slammed back, and just how much the band had sung.
"Nothing a few hot toddies won't cure," Lya jokes as she leans against the sink. "As to a hangover, I wouldn't know... you know full well it takes more than a few drinks to bring this girl down. Anyway... got a curious call from our friendly neighborhood police officer today checking in on us and asking us over for drinks now that she's off duty tonight. Wanna come with? It was too early in the morning for me to tell if she was asking me out on a date or not... figured it'd be easier for everyone involved if I brought you along with me, dude."
Hitoshi scratches his head. "Yea sure, I got nothing to do after work... I assume this is happening after work, and not right now... right? Because if it's right now, I can't make it. Job and all that." He grimaces knowing the tongue lashing he might get.
"You're safe, dude... she said this evening. Stop by my place after work and we'll head over there. Until then, I've got a hot bath with my name all over it. See ya!"
Hitoshi heads out of work a few minutes early to prepare. After showering, shaving, and picking out an ash grey suit with blue tie affair, he hops into his second vehicle, a 2013 Chevy Camaro, and heads over to Lya's to pick her up.
"La-dee-dah," Lya sings out as she skips down the stairs in low cuffed boots, black leather pants and a purple mesh top with black bra underneath. "I bet Daddy's gonna have words if you scratch this baby," she says as she walks to her side running her finger along the edge before getting in next to Hitoshi. "Here's the address..." she tosses a crumpled piece of paper at him, "let's get this baby moving!"
Hitoshi grins and looks at Lya over the top of his shades. "Yea, I will absolutely ground myself if I crash this car. I still have five years worth of payments on her. I should have bought a Honda, but..." He revs the engine and peels out. "...then I wouldn't look so hot in a Honda." He glances at the address and takes a screeching right turn at the light. "Drive it like you stole it!"
"'Should've bought a...' are you telling me that fixing cars got you this thing? I find that hard to believe." she looks up the street at a Goth with his long coat flapping in the breeze and slaps her leg excitedly as she rolls down the window.
"Ooo... slow down for a sec... " she swiftly unbuckles her seatbelt and leans out the window with two middle fingers raised. "Suck it, Stevie!"
She then sits back down and re-buckles herself with a wide grin on her face. "Long story..."
"Yep. Damn thing cost me fifteen thousand. Gonna be making payments of two-fifty for the next five years." He grins. "Still, you seem to be enjoying it. See? a great day job can get you good things." Reaching into the console he pulls out a pack of smokes, and lights one up. Then he holds the pack out to Lya. They are Clove cigarettes.
She takes a clove and flicks out a lighter from her pocket before leaning back with a long puff of smoke. "You already know what job I have, Hitoshi... and being stuck clocking in at a 9-5 doesn't seem that inviting when you're supposed to be helping to save the world and shit. I like the nightlife and the travel... other than good friends and even better alcohol, what else does a girl need, eh?"
She takes another long drag from the clove as she watches the city pass by her window. "As much as I'd love to make a new girlfriend, something tells me that Officer Evie has more to offer than alcohol tonight."
Meanwhile, back at her apartment, Evie is hurriedly trying to make the place decent. It's not that she's a slob or anything. She's not! Her place is actually fairly neat. The problem is that it's dusty and feels unused. She just sleeps here! Most of her time is spent at HQ, the lab, out investigating, with her family or friends...
So, now, she's scurrying about with a rag, wiping layers of dust off of end tables and shelves, straightening up books that have been left lying on counters and closing doors to messy areas, like her laundry room.
What decorations she has feel disjointed, like several different people have attempted to style the place. That's because that is exactly what has happened. There are pretty floral paintings from her mother, wacky statuettes from her best friend, movie posters from her brothers, model cars that she made with her father...there is no running theme in this place.
The one thing that is hers and hers alone is the tall shelf in the living room that is covered with books. Fantasy, horror and sci-fiction books line the shelves, along with a neat row of journals. Each spine is labeled with the year that it covers. Below that is another stack of journals. These, however, are unmarked.
Hitoshi snorts. "Saving the world? Really? Yea, neither of us do that... yet. But the band is a great job for you. You have your job, and I have mine. It all works out... for both of us." He cranks the radio to his favorite tunes... Hard Rock and Metal. Punk was his second Favorite. A few minute later he pulls up in front of an apartment building. "This looks like the place." Parking the car he gets out, snags his cane, and walks over to open the door for Lya, ever the gentleman to his friend.
"Sure we do, Hitoshi," Lya replies as she grabs her own cane and steps out of the car with a smile. "we just do it one person at a time. You know, like Alex with that innocent man... and us stopping that gang last night." She walks up to a wall of name plates with buzzers and scans them till she finds what she hopes is the right one and presses it. "You don't have to do it all at once, you know."
Hitoshi shrugs. "Maybe you are right Lya... shit, almost forgot. " he walk back over to the car and pulls out a bouquet of flowers. "It is proper to bring the host a gift."
"Is my presence not enough of a gift already?" Lya jokes with a wink before a voice crackles over the speaker...
Evie is busily shaking a bouquet of fake flowers that appears to be covered with about two centuries worth of dust as the buzzer to her apartment rings.
"Oh, shit..." she looks at the cloud of tiny dust particles hanging in the air and hopes that no one has allergies. She tosses the fake flowers onto her bed, giving up on making them look nice. She figures hiding them in there is good enough.
Quickly moving to the door, she presses the intercom, "Hello?"
"The party has arrived!" Lya's voice cheerfully announces, her usually lovely voice distorted by the building's old technology.
"Come on up," Evie answers, buzzing her in.
The detective then scurries to the windows and throws them open, hoping that a breeze will come through and carry away some of the dust.
Hitoshi holds the door open for Lya. "Nope, neve... okay, most of the time it is." He tries to look serious, but can't help cracking a grin. Once they are inside the building elevator, he pops a mint into his mouth and offers one to Lya. "Can't go up with our breath smelling bad, now can we?"
Lya looks at the mint with a raised eyebrow as she snuffs out her cigarette. "She called me over for drinks, dude... wouldn't want to mar the taste of good rum."
They take the elevator up to her floor and find the door number written down on the paper. "Shave and a hair cut..." she mutters as she knocks rhythmically on the door.
Hitoshi smiles and pops the mint into his own mouth. "Yea, but what if she offers Mint bailies in coffee?"
"Then the mint will be properly blended with alcohol and caffeine... as was intended," she replies before she starts drumming the beat to their latest hit on the door.
Alex is still sifting through paperwork when his smartphone chimes, reminding him of the invitation to dinner.
He decides to swing past a convenience mart to pick up a bottle of wine. Evie's invitation didn't strike him as being entirely social, but a social courtesy would still be appropriate.
He's bending down to take a closer look at a label when he hears the door's photo-sensor chime.
"The money, pendejo. Gimme the money," someone snarls.
"Sure, sure, be cool," the clerk temporizes.
"Nuh-uh, don't you be pressing no alarm button," comes the warning.
Alex stands up quietly, taking a circuitous route towards the front counter. He's almost within reach of the punk when something - a flicker in the punk's peripheral vision, a glimpse in the shoplifting mirror, a twitch in the clerk's eye - gives him away, and he's staring down the barrel of a Glock 17.
There's a sound of thunder.
Alex is thrown backwards and crashes into a rack of bottles. Footsteps as the punk flees, empty-handed.
"Oh, Jesus, mister, oh, Jesus, don't be dead, please, please, please," the clerk is babbling.
Alex's eyes snap open just as the clerk is about to attempt CPR or something. There's blood down the front of his shirt, as well as a nice variety of excellent California wines.
"Relax, I'm okay," Alex rasps. He rolls to one side, turning away from the clerk as he gets up. "Go call the police."
Three patrol cars respond in short order. By then, it's hard to distinguish the blood on North's shirt from the red wine splashed all over his clothes.
"Description?" asks one officer.
"Happened too fast," Alex shakes his head.
"Clerk says the kid shot you," Saul Anderson.
"Vest," Alex says. "Hurt like hell, but I'm okay. Except for being drenched in wine. And I had a dinner engagement. If ... if I can get back to my office, I have a go-bag, and maybe not make it look like I stood the person up."
"Well, it's not procedure, but it's not like we don't know where to find you, Alex," Saul laughs. "Go on, get out of here. I'll get a statement from you tomorrow."
Jeans and a black 'Las Vegas' polo shirt replace his wine- and blood-stained clothes. He leaves those in a plastic bag. Stewing in wine will muddle any forensics, and though the store's security camera doubtless shows him getting shot, the convenient excuse of a ballistic vest will do.
He glances at his watch. He'll be close to an hour late.
Meanwhile, Saul texts Evie:
Alex North took a bullet this evening, was caught in a liquor store robbery. Suspect on camera, good ID. North says he was wearing a vest, seemed okay. Let him go, since he was drenched in wine and booze. Went back to his office to get fresh clothes, says he was meeting someone for dinner.
Evie opens the door with a smile and gestures for Lya and Hitoshi to enter, "Thank you for coming! Come on in and make yourself comfortable."
The apartment is already filled with the delicious smells of Soul Food. Evie had put the food in the oven on low, keeping it warm while she awaited the guests, and now the aroma of chicken and warm hushpuppies wafts about.
Her apartment is a small, one bedroom, one bathroom deal. The living room, kitchen and dining room are all one room with a counter dividing the kitchen and living area.
A large, over-stuffed sofa dominates the living room. It's hideously ugly. Yellow and green paisley patterns romp merrily across the cream fabric, looking like vaguely artfully arranged puke. However, the moment you sit on it...oh...then it becomes apparent why Evie owns this monstrosity. It is like heaven! Soft and warm, it invites you to just put down your head for a second and have a nap.
"Mmmmnnn..." Lya inhales deeply as she smells the delicious scents coming from the kitchen before continuing, "seeing as we were so rudely interrupted by the Lobos last night I was glad for the invite, Evie."
"Your generosity is most humbly appreciated," ads Hitoshi with a small bow as he enters the apartment. "As is Ricks if that's his hushpuppies that I smell..."
She walks over to the couch and grins before spinning around and flopping down on the sofa. "Reminds me of one of my favorite curb scores... best couch ever as long as we put a sheet over it," she chuckled. "But I digress... there's drinks to be had, right?"
Evie returns Hitoshi's small bow without thinking. It just feels natural to offer such gestures in kind. "It is," she says. "Since we were all at Soul Food, I figured we all like their cooking."
"I wasn't sure exactly how many folks you would bring and what everyone likes, so I got a variety of alcohol," she walks over to the kitchen and takes down some glasses. "Let's see...I have rum, whiskey some micro-brews. There's also diet coke in the fridge..."
"Oh! There will be one more person joining us. I expect Alex will arrive shortly. I wouldn't be surprised if he lost track of time with work," she chats as she opens the oven, checking to make sure that nothing is getting dried out. "You met him at Soul Food, too."
"Ave victores mortuis," Lya replies softly. "I remember him." She shakes herself out of her reverie. "Anyway... rum and Diet Coke sounds superb," she calls out.
"Just the Diet Coke for me," ads Hitoshi as he takes in the pictures hanging around the apartment. "Somebody has to be the designated driver in this pair."
"Why do you think I asked you along?" Lya winks.
Hitoshi holds out the flowers to Evie. "Forgive my forgetfulness. These are for you. It is always proper to bring the host a gift."
A brilliant smile lights up Evie's face. She takes the flowers from Hitoshi and says, "Thank you! They're beautiful. Let me find something to put them in..."
She stands there and thinks for a second before an expression of "Aha!" crosses her face. She goes into her bedroom, giving her guests a quick glimpse of an unmade bed and a giant, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles poster on the wall before she emerges with a vase made from swirling, pastel glass.
"So, when's your next gig?" she asks, her question directed to both Lya and Hitoshi.
As she moves to fill the vase with water, her phone beeps from it's place on a small table by the front door.
"We're due to play at The Dive next Saturday actually... want me to swing some tickets for you and your brother?" Lya asks as she leans over the arm of the couch.
Laughing, Evie says, "That would be great! Yet again, you are securing my spot as Cool Sister." She sets the flowers down at the end of the kitchen counter, briefly. She'll find a better spot for them in a few minutes.
She glances at her phone but decides to answer it after she has gotten everyone their drinks. She pours a glass of coke for Hitoshi and mixes up some rum and coke for Lya.
"So, are you guys from Vegas originally or did work bring you here?"
"Vegas has been my home for as long as I can remember," Lya replies as she takes the drink and nods in gratitude at Evie. "Mom and I didn't see eye to eye much though... so I took to the streets till I met Hitoshi." She takes a long drink and makes a satisfied noise before whipping out her phone and sending a quick text. "So I don't forget...I'll make sure your name is on the On Call list for you and a +1 next week."
Evie, Lya and Hitoshi lounge about in the living room, chatting about nothing in particular. It's the normal "getting to know you" chatter that happens when people first sit down and meet. Lya and Hitoshi share some wild tales about happenings at their various gigs, tales of drinking and assholes and shenanigans. Hitoshi talks a bit of shop with Evie when he notices the model cars strewn about her home, but she confesses to not actually knowing much about them. Her father loves cars and, thus, likes to share his passion with her...even though she honestly couldn't tell you the difference between a carburetor and muffler.
About 30 minutes later, Evie's phone beeps again and she remembers that she had meant to check it earlier.
"Excuse me. I should probably make sure that's nothing important. Granted, if it was HQ they would call and keep calling, but...still...," she leans across the arm of the chair she's sitting in and grabs the phone. Two messages are waiting for her. She glances over them and her eyebrows creep up in surprise.
"Holy crap!" she breathes, "Alex was shot. He was at a liquor store and got caught in a robbery. Saul says he's okay, though. Says that he's on his way."
Evie clicks through to the second message, "And, yeah...here's Alex's message. He says he'll explain when he gets here."
"Daaaamn...well at least it must not have been too bad if he's on his way here in the same night, right?" She takes another drink and her rings clink against the glass as she ponders for a moment. "Here's hoping he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and it wasn't something more serious, you know?"
"Like someone looking for revenge," says Hitoshi quietly. He stays contemplatively quite after his last comment. "Your choice of decor is eclectic, but enjoyably so. I rather like it. By the way, the flowers are still sitting on the counter. They would look much better of the coffee table for you to enjoy Officer Evie."
Dressed in a manner better suited to a court appearance, Alex texts a quick 'OMW, will explain when I get there' to Evie's cell phone.
He'd lied to the officer. Alex recognized the suspect easily - it had been one of the Manada de Lobos, the same kid he'd grappled with the other night at the Soul Food Diner. Which probably explained the kid's willingness to pull the trigger. Once the police had pulled an image from the store's security cameras, he'd tell them he recognized the kid's face.
Fueled by whatever divine genetics ran in his veins, Alex had noticed his decidedly more-than-human abilities shortly after the conversation with his father. He worked through the entire flight from Torii Army Base back stateside, and got off the plane without feeling groggy or jet-lagged like his fellow soldiers.
He'd been one of numerous NYC residents who'd run afoul of a salmonella outbreak, with others in his office building being laid out sick for several days. He'd had a bit of a rumbling stomach, but nothing more serious, even though they'd all had lunch at the same Chinese restaurant.
He'd healed from small cuts before, including a painful slice from a kitchen mandoline*, but discovering he could take a bullet was a shock. Alex was thankful the officer hadn't called for an ambulance, as it would be difficult to explain how he'd survived a point-blank shot to the chest.
He wasn't about to bank on being immortal just yet.
Traffic wasn't bad, and he made it across town without difficulty. The previous day's storm had swept through during the night, and it was simply the not-entirely uncomfortable evening heat.
Alex checked that he had the right apartment number, and rang the doorbell.
"Yeah, Saul says he was wearing a vest. Also, he said that the security camera got a good shot of the suspect, so we'll probably have them hauled in, soon. It's hard to argue with camera footage," Evie flips her phone shut, her brows furrowing.
Shaking her head, the detective sighs, "The Lobos are a stupid bunch. I wouldn't put it past them. But still...if it was an actual hit, I imagine that they'd wait until Alex was alone somewhere. They seem the sort to stack odds in their favor...no witnesses, no help to be called...I'm betting this was a case of wrong place, wrong time."
Chuckling, Evie replies to Hitoshi's words, "Thank you! Almost everything here is a gift from someone. I've never been big into home decorating. So, my family makes up for my lack of interior design skills by getting me stuff for my birthday and Christmas. And, of course, they all have different ideas about how the place should look." Again, she laughs lightly, "But, I like it, too. I reminds me of them."
The three sit and continue to talk. About 15 minutes later, the door buzzer goes off. Hearing Alex's voice through the fuzzy intercom, she buzzes him in.
"Detective Cartwright. I apologize for being so late. I had ... an accident and had to change clothes. Which meant the suit I had at the office," Alex smiles. He offers no additional details.
However, Evie notices a faint trace of stiffness to Alex's movements, particularly in his left shoulder as he goes to remove his suit coat. And Lya can smell the bouquet of wine - a nice California vintage - clinging to the lawyer.
"Ms. Bach and Mr. ... Ryder, yes?" he says. "Wait. Is this about the other night at the Diner? Some kind of legal problem, Hitoshi?"
Hitoshi blinks in surprise. "Legal problem sir? No, I have none that I know of. Officer Cartwright called Lya and myself here."
"Far as I know we were just invited over for drinks and conversation," Lya replies as she raises her drink. "From the smell of it though you already beat us to it? Tell me you didn't waste such a good vintage on a thug with a gun..."
"News travels fast," Alex says. "I'd wanted to bring a bottle of wine as a gift and wound up getting caught in the middle of an attempted robbery. I suppose taking a bullet with a vest on is better than 'two killed in liquor store robbery gone bad'. So I'm wearing a bit of a California Cabernet Sauvignon, yes."
Evie says nothing as Alex sticks to his story. But she's certain he wasn't wearing a vest when she visited his office earlier, and there was no reason to wear one for an invitation to dinner.
"Evie had said something about a case," he says to Hitoshi. "So I assumed it was some kind of professional consultation, even an off-the-books one."
Evie nods and smiles apologetically, "Yeaaah...I'm sorry, Lya, Hitoshi. I wasn't entirely straight with you. I do have an ulterior for asking you here, tonight. This is a bit of a consultation, and most definitely off the books."
Nodding towards the dining room table, she says, "I'll grab dinner. We may as well eat while we talk."
Evie goes to the kitchen and starts pulling the food out of the oven and placing the dishes on the table. As she works to get everyone settled and food served, she talks.
"Yesterday, at the restaurant, I had a cold case dumped in my lap. Back in the 1950's, an officer named Thomas Cardinelli disappeared. Now, this took place during flash flooding. His cruiser was found in a culvert and he was gone. Everyone assumed that he had drowned and his body had been swept away."
She places a glass on the table for Alex and goes to retrieve some drink for him as she continues, "Fast forward to yesterday. I get a call that a sarcophagus was found under the Roget Building. Inside of that sarcophagus is a body - Officer Cardinelli. Still in his blues, still wearing his badge."
Evie turns and goes to retrieve her phone. Quickly, she flips to the photos she took of the scene at the university, "The sarcophagus is made of a single piece of meteoric iron and along the outside is a Poetic Edda speaking of the end of time." She hands the phone to them so that they can see.
"Officer Cardinelli is missing his hand. And...he was a Scion of Tyr. This is a warning, a challenge. I don't rightly know what's going on, yet, but I know nothing good is going to come of this."
She lets that last bit hang there, waiting to see their reactions.
Death to the Son of Tyr! The memory of those words filtering over the radio as his chopper was left without air support still haunted Alex. He felt the deaths of his fellow soldiers were a score he still owed someone for.
Hearing Evie use the term 'scion of Tyr' suggests she's party to some exclusive knowledge. Specifically, that he is also a scion of a god. And what does that make Lya and Hitoshi? Scions as well?
"I'm familiar with the myth," is all Alex says. He runs his fingers through his hair as if thinking. Which is when Evie notices he's wearing a ring that is similar, if not identical, to the one Cardinelli had tucked away in his Sam Browne. "Are you suggesting someone is trying to bring about Ragnarok? The end of the world?"
Evie shrugs, "I don't know exactly what it means. All I know, for certain, is that there is a storm looming. Something is happening and we need to figure out what before it's too late."
Reaching across her plate, she takes a hushpuppy from bowl in the center of the table. She sees Alex's reluctance to come right out and say anything and, honestly, she completely understands. Had she not known for certain that he was a scion, as well, she would never admit it, either, for fear of being labeled unstable.
She looks across the table to Lya, fairly certain that she, too, is a scion. What she saw in Soul Food has her pretty much convinced that the singer also holds some measure of power.
Hitoshi...Evie isn't certain about him. However, he did manage to make the Lobos member leave with nothing more than a word. Plus, his association with Lya lends credence to her idea that he may well be a scion, too.
There is no coincidence. We were all in that restaurant at the same time for a reason. Beside...I may as well take the plunge. In for a penny, in for a pound, she takes a deep breath.
"I suppose I should properly introduce myself. Hi, I'm Evie Cartwright, daughter of Heimdall."
"I'm Alex North. A funny thing happened on the way to dinner: I got shot at point-blank range by a young man who I confronted the other night at the diner. And, no, I wasn't wearing a vest," Alex says quietly. "Heimdall's daughter, is it? Well met. I guess that makes us cousins, of a sort."
"I knew something was going on," Lya exclaims as she slaps the table. "I just couldn't put my finger on it!"
"Well I hate to break up the family affair, but Dad loved his Grecian women and wine and absolutely hated the cold." Lya grabs the bottle of rum off the side table, pulls the cork off with her teeth and proceeds to take a long swig before cradling it in her lap and leaning back in her chair. "Case you couldn't figure it out, I'm a Scion of Dionysus," she grins.
"This whole Ragnarok thing... that's end of the world stuff, right? I used to know this guy in a band called Fenris and he was all into that kind of shit."
Hitoshi looks at the floor. "My Father is Hachiman." He says softly.
"I am the son of Tyr," Alex adds. "I learned of my ... divine parent after a helicopter I was in got shot down. The pilot had radioed for air support, and the response from someone - we never learned who - radioed back, 'Death to the Son of Tyr. I survived a crash, an ambush, and several days trekking over hostile territory."
"'Well. That was a bit more of a challenge than I'd planned for you," is what my father told me. If they don't formally recognize you, you're just another mortal.
"So what's this about my half-brother getting his hand cut off and buried under the Roget Building?"
Evie sighs and rubs a hand over her face. She feels terrible about springing this on them (except for Lya, who seems to be taking things in stride), but she honestly didn't know what else to do.
"I'm sorry," she finally says, shaking her head. "I'm sorry for kinda-sorta lying about things to get you here and then just dropping this on your heads." Her shoulders fall, "I didn't know what else to do. I didn't even know about scions and gods and all this shit until last night. I'm called to the university to look at the sarcophagus, expecting it to be another puzzle to solve. But instead of a professor, there's Heimdall waiting for me."
"I can't ignore this, though. I mean, all else aside, I can't ignore a mystery. Can't do it! I've tried. It eats at me. I have to figure this out...but I don't think that this is something that I can do alone," she says softly.
"Honestly, about all I know about Ragnarok is what I was able to find on the internet, last night. I'm not even sure this is about Ragnarok. Heimdall said that this was a battle about free will," Evie answers Lya's question.
"The simple version that I have read states that there will be a great battle between the gods that will result in many divine deaths. There will be natural disasters and the world will be flooded, but it will also be reborn new and fertile, with two human survivors."
Turning to Alex, she expounds upon what she knows, "I'm not sure exactlywhat happened to Officer Cardinelli. There were bullet holes in his blues that suggested panic fire. Whoever shot at him did not expect either a scion or the police to show up. He was killed, though, by a blow to the head. They also left his relics with him when they buried him."
She eyes Alex's ring for a second, considering whether to ask him about it. But, it's a forgone conclusion that she will. It's probably important.
Nodding towards his hand, she asks, "Your ring, Alex...what is it? Officer Cardinelli had one just like it."
"Oooo... I know this one...didn't Fenris bite off Tyr's hand?" Lya asks before taking another drink from the bottle. "Do you think there's a Scion of Fenris?" she asks with a gasp. "What would that even be like?"
"A Fenris inspired ender cult, maybe?" asks Hitochi.
"I've seen some crazy things on the streets; believe me, so I wouldn't be surprised. When people forget how to live all they have to look forward to is death." she takes another drink and leans over towards Evie with a wink. "That's why we really are friends you know... Hitoshi keeps me alive and I remind him how to live."
"Sleipnir," he says. "I call it Slipknot. It's named for the rope that Tyr uses to bind Fenris. Easier than hauling a great sword around town."
"A Scion of Fenris? Why not, Lya?" Alex makes mock fangs with his fingers. "If the gods assume mortal guise, why not Fenris? It might explain the apparent grudge someone has."
He takes several bites of food, washes it down with a bit of beer. "About that free will thing, the way it was explained to me is that mortals are free to live as they will, strive as they will, achieve works of art. Under the Frost Giants - or whomever the villain of your pantheon happens to be, such as the Titans for Lya's family - none of that will be allowed. It's about free wi-"
He breaks off in mid-sentence as another thought comes to mind.
"Who said it needed to be a cult, Hitoshi? Why not a street gang, one that just happens to have crossed all of our paths of late? Or maybe I'm just barking up the wrong tree," Alex laughs. "More beer. Better contemplation."
"Gangs...cults... both blind followers with charismatic leaders." Lya says as she leans forward and grabs a hushpuppy. "I was under their spell too until Hitoshi helped me, you know." She takes a bite and chews for a moment. "Wait... the Lobos... are you saying..."
"That the Lobos were at the diner for you?" finishes Hitoshi.
"It might be premature to say the Lobos were there for anyone," Alex temporizes. "Even if the only patrons were Scions."
"Coincidence?" Evie scoffs. "I'm not buying it."
"Oh, I didn't mean to suggest it was entirely by chance," Alex adds. "Just that they're foot soldiers. Cannon fodder. Fall guys. Hitoshi and Lya have a history with them, the mortals won't have a reason to look deeper."
"You mean like 'lawyer killed during robbery gone bad,'" Hitoshi grimaces.
"Which is why I don't believe it's a serious effort. A probing move at best, to see how we react," Alex says.
Evie nods and finds herself chuckling. "Of course...Lobos...wolves. Fenris was.." she shakes her head and corrects herself, "..IS... a wolf, isn't he?"
"Well, they've misstepped. Saul said the security camera got a good shot of the robber, so we'll have no trouble having a reason to haul him in. It will give me a legitimate reason to do a bit more probing and maybe find some more information."
"Well, not me...but I bet I can put a bug in the ear of whoever is interrogating the man. It probably won't be my case, but that doesn't mean I can't find a way to get any information I need."
"Yes, Fenris is a wolf," Alex responds. " If the kid is a dupe, he's disposable, and no one will circle wagons around him. If he shows up with a fancy lawyer, he's a poor rich kid with the wrong friends, or someone else doesn't want him behind bars. I can't be involved, because I'm the victim. Assault with a deadly weapon, at the least," Alex considers. "I'll chat with a friend at the DA's office, same idea."
Hitoshi folds his hands in front of him, interlacing his fingers. "It would seem to me that this Fenris needs to be taken out, or at the least, his Scion. The lobos may then fight among themselves with the power vacuum created as they try to see who's man enough to be the head of the gang. Or hopefully, but less likely, they will just disband. The main police will be no help in dealing with the situation, in fact they will probably be a hindrance and are best kept out of they way. They will only get hurt or killed."
Evie nods, "I agree. If we do go that route, I don't want any mortals involved, at all. Just keep it to us. I'm willing to put myself in danger for this, but I'm not willing to risk anyone who doesn't know all the facts and dangers."
"But...we can use the police resources up until we figure out who the head is and decide how to handle the situation."
Lya sits back up in her chair and taps her rings against the bottle in her lap. "Gods don't exactly like to show themselves in public when they can get others (she gestures to the group) to do their work."
She takes a drink from the bottle and leans forward as she sets it on the table. "Our only piece in this game is you, unless there's more to the myth that might help us, Alex."
"Fenris is the son of Loki and a giantess," Alex recounts. "The gods bound him twice with chains, which he broke. They had the dwarves create Sleipnir, which looks like a flimsy piece of rope or ribbon, and dared Fenris to rend this as well.
"Fenris would only do so if one of the gods put his hand in his mouth, and Tyr was the only one bold enough to do so. Of course, Fenris could not break Sleipnir, and he bit off Tyr's right hand."
"When Ragnarok is upon us, Fenris will escape his bonds. He is fated to kill Odin, the All-Father. Vidar will avenge Odin's death by tearing Fenris in half."
Alex chews on a piece of chicken and says nothing for a long moment. "It's possible that we - the children of the gods - are a kind of backup plan. The fate of our parents may already be ordained; ours, not so much. Killing Thomas and cutting off his hand isn't so much a warning as a way of saying the enemy will take the fight wherever they need to. And that our fates, in the end, will be no different."
"So far it's just been Scions of Tyr though, right?" asks Lya. "Couldn't it just be Fenris' kids acting out against their father's fate?" she grabs another hushpuppy. "Unless of course they think they've found a way to stop it for dear old Dad." Lya leans back in her chair and throws the hushpuppy in the air before it lands in her mouth.
"If Fenris was bound, there's no escaping that part, as far as I can tell," Alex frowns. "Which makes it about Fenris escaping, killing Odin, and being torn in half by Vidar. There's no advantage to killing Tyr or one of his children, except to stir the pot."
"Why kill Cardinelli and then ... do nothing? Granted, there's no shortage of crime, social unrest, political turmoil, and other problems in the world, but laying it all on Fenris and his ilk is like listening to conspiracy theorists on the radio."
"Was Cardinelli investigating anything when he disappeared that could give us a lead?" asks Lya as she leans on the table head in hand.
"Detective Cartwright, is there any way of finding that out? A log book of some kind?" Alex asks.
"Evie," she says after she finishes chewing a mouthful of chicken. "I think we're past formalities, at this point. Heck, you're practically family!"
"Yeah, there will definitely be records of anything that he was actively investigating. Of course, if it was scion business, anything he reported would be layered in half-truths or just have flat out omissions. That's what I'm going to have to officially do with this case. But, you are right. It's a starting point!"
She pushes her chair back and goes to the kitchen, grabbing a few more beers. She comes back and sets them in the middle of the table for everyone.
Popping the top off one, she looks to Lya and Hitoshi, "I don't know much about the music scene. Do you guys run into the Lobos often at night? Do they seem to frequent any of the clubs you play at, or anything?"
"This may not entirely be a Lobos matter, but I think they still need to be watched."
Hitoshi take a beer and takes a sip. This was a question he could answer. "Not that I as head of band security have noticed. If they have been there, they have not started anything."
"I'll look into the Roget Building, what we know about the owner," Alex offered. "I'd heard, once, that he made his fortune on a long-odds bet. I imagine that's not beyond the abilities of a Scion, or a divine sponsor."
"Otherwise, I can't think of much else to say except 'be careful.' Maybe it's coincidence, and maybe it isn't. The enemy is willing to kill."
"A gang like theirs, it wouldn't be too hard to find out where they like to hang out," Lya says as she pushes the bottle of rum to the side and reaches over for a beer. "All you've got to do is ask the bartender if they've been dealing with a bunch of obnoxious assholes lately. Between me and Hitoshi I'm sure we can come up with something... maybe start with the Soul Food Cafe and work backwards from there." She takes the beer and with her other hand whips out what at first seems like a switchblade handle until with a flurry it turns into a church key that she uses to pop off the bottle cap. "Liquor before beer, never fear," she says with a grin as she raises the bottle in a toast and proceeds to drink half of it down.
"If the store's security camera gives us an ID, I'm sure the DA's office will prosecute. Clemens needs to look good for re-election," Alex says. "I normally wouldn't recommend this, but, as the victim, if I bobble the ID, the kid could walk. And he and his pals would likely celebrate."
"Wouldn't that affect your professional reputation?" Hitoshi asked.
"It could. But if we're talking about the End of All Things, a 9-to-5 job isn't going to mean much," Alex admitted.
"You Vikings I swear..." Lya groans. "It's always 'death before dishonor' and constant fighting with you guys. You finally get a god with a sense of humor and what does he do? Bring the End of Days." She rolls her eyes and takes another long drink from her beer before leaning back in her chair again.
"Now the Greeks, they know how to let loose and party. You know how I found out I was a Scion? It wasn't because the Titans escaped Tartarus and wanted to wreak their wrath on the world.. no..." her chair falls forward and she sets the beer on the table a bit loudly as she hiccups. "No... it was because Hera..." she grabs the bottle and takes another swig of the beer before gesturing wildly with it, "Hera raises her daughters to be catty bitches who demand more attention than she does."
She stands up a bit shakily and puts one hand on the table before reaching up into her hair to pull it aside and show a ragged scar on her scalp. "We were playing one of our first shows when those bitches started the riot... turns out they didn't like all those men paying attention to us instead of them. I got hit by a broken bottle that nearly killed me, but thankfully I was found by Dad and he told me what was what."
She sets the now empty bottle of beer on the table and lets her hair fall back into place as she grabs the bottle of rum and sits back down with a thump. "That's the kind of shit that I can understand... gods acting just like us with all our petty problems...not..." she gestures to Alex and Evie, "...this."
"It seems we all have our war stories," Alex smiled. "I've always been a law-and-order sort, first as a JAG officer in the Army, then a lawyer in private practice. I don't know anything else, Lya. Maybe, if there's something after all this, I'll try something different."
"It's funny, though. Heimdall calls it a battle for free will, and here we are wondering how much 'free will' we actually have in the matter."
Hitoshi frowns. Then quietly he slides a plate of food toward Lya. Just as quietly he himself starts eating. Her drunken rant was normal to him. Food was what she needed since he noticed she had yet to eat anything other than two hushpuppies.
"And you're used to not being bound by convention, I guess," Alex adds. "For me and Evie, it's different. I'm an officer of the court, she of the law. So when it comes to acting on impulse and unconventional strategy, you may be the expert."
"So. Let's say the game is fixed. Let's say that playing by the rules will get things explained away and rationalized so the mortals can go back to their illusion of safe little lives, celebrity scandals, corrupt politicians, and a world where there are gods, or titans, or scions. How do we take the fight to them? Go public?"
Hitoshi shakes his head. "No, the general public would not believe us. All that would accomplish is getting us locked away as mentally unstable individuals. You and Officer Cartwright would most certainly lose your jobs. Lya might be able to stay out due to people thinking it's some new gimmick for an album."
"As much as I think that would boost my CD sales... probably not a good idea," Lya chuckles as she picks at a piece of chicken now in front of her.
"Heimdall says it's all about free will, while you guys are talking about how the game is fixed. I'll bet my best bottle of wine that this isn't about the kids playing out their parent's roles... it's about the kids being tired of it and wanting to change the story. Heck I want to change the story and I just heard it," she eats a piece of chicken and then makes a grab for the rum bottle that Hitoshi deftly scoots out of reach.
She sticks her tongue out at him before continuing. "They're killing off Scions of Tyr because he bound Fenris, right? We could always use you as bait and try and trap them in the act, Alex. Maybe call out the gang leader on tv with some new gangland taskforce or something and see if we can get him to show his face. If we caught him, he might be the one to actually know anything instead of his thugs."
She licks her fingers and grabs a napkin. "Either that or we focus on the rest of the story like the Slepnir and this Vidar person. I imagine any scions of Vidar would be a target, and if the Slepnir was on Earth it would be a hot commodity too. No idea where to start looking for them, though..."
Hitoshi caps the bottle of rum and keeps an eye on it so Lya can't get it again. "The problem I see is we really don't know enough about what is going on now, and what the story really is."
"Let it play out, then? If they really want me out of the way, they'll try again, and soon," Alex said. "Though I suspect learning I can take a bullet is going to pose a challenge."
"All else fails there's always faking your death and seeing if somebody sneaks into the morgue to try and cut off your hand," Lya chuckles to herself.
"Sure, just wait for the next round of flash floods, then tell them my car was found in a culvert," Alex laughed. "Seriously, though, the enemy needs it public and plausible. It wouldn't surprise me if someone was tailing me and hit the liquor store as an excuse. Poor Alex, got shot during a robbery. Perp gets arrested, goes to jail, case closed."
All through this, Evie has been sitting back, listening quietly as she eats. Finally, she speaks up, "When Heimdall and I were talking, he mentioned something about a vigil brand. It's like a power that can be used to track something or someone. I have no idea if I can actually do that but..maybe I can? I don't know. As Hemdall pointed out, my relics don't come with instruction manuals. Hell, I don't even know how to go about figuring out what I can do."
"You guys have been at this a lot longer than I have. How did you figure out your powers? Because, if I can track people and things...that could be darned useful."
She takes a sip of drink and adds, "The one thing that I know I can do just sort of happened. I don't even know how I triggered it. When I was looking at the Cardinelli's body, I just sort of knew all the crime scene statistics...whether the bullets used were jacketed, interpreting the bullet patterns, that sort of thing. Just...pfwoop! there it was, all in my head."
"Me? I'm just naturally fun to be around," Lya laughs at Evie's question. "Here I thought people listened to me because of the message of my music... turned out they listened to me because of my genes. The rest of it..." she reaches down and grabs her walking stick to show to everyone, "came with instructions." She rubs her hand along the carved vinework of the staff and smiles as words in Greek shine briefly across the staff in various places before fading again.
"As to the next hit, it'll probably happen at Alex's work, my guess," Lya replies as she quickly snatches another beer from the table and makes a face at Hitoshi. "You hear about angry people shooting up courthouses all the time on the news these days." She opens up the bottle and takes a swig. "Do you think they can sense scions? I could always ask my girls to see if they'd be willing to watch out for you... that way they might not pick up on the fact that it's a trap and all." she takes another drink and winks. "You're a tough guy... I don't think they'd mind."
"If they can, it's a trick I haven't learned," Alex says. "I mean, it's not like that movie where the immortals get a Spidey-Sense tingle before trying to cut off each other's heads. Or at least I hope not."
"So the real world works against them, as well. If mortals can explain it away, it's hard to say, 'Well, this guy has x ability, he must be a Scion.'"
"As to your question, Evie, it's been mostly trial and error for me," Alex says. "For example, I started getting this sixth sense about guilt and innocence. If I ask someone if they did something, and they lie, I can usually spot it. The question has to be fairly straightforward, though. I knew I could heal some injuries - mostly cuts, there are probably a few times I recovered from sprains and didn't realize it. But the taking a bullet part was a surprise. I don't recommend it by way of trying to suss out what you can and cannot do. I imagine there are a few war-related things in my drawer, what with Tyr being the God of War in our family, but I don't think - or I'm not aware of - having accessed them at all."
Evie nods, "Well, I'm sure that I'll have plenty of opportunity to figure things out."
"I think Lya's idea is a fairly good one, though. If anyone is a target, here, it's you, Alex," she says. "Having the ladies keep an eye on you wouldn't be a bad thing. But...uhh..." Here, Evie grins and clears her throat a little, "...can they be subtle? They seem a bit larger than life and we don't want it to be painfully obvious that he has an escort."
"Maybe if we explain the situation they can tone it down a bit. I'd never live it down if the fight to save the world happened and they weren't invited," Lya chuckles.
"Have one of them pose as a client? That, or we hit a show at a casino, get noticed in public? That might put Clemens off from offering me a job in the DA's Office, but too bad," Alex said. "I have to pick which world I'm going to live in, and if things really are coming to a boil ... then being the Son of Tyr is going to have to come first."
"Well Hitoshi's mom does work at that casino... we could probably set up a show there if you want to take that route. You think your mom would help, Hitoshi?"
Hitoshi gives Lya that "You have got to be kidding me." Look. Then he runs his hand down his face and sighs. "You really do like throwing me to the alligator pit Lya." He thinks for a minute. "Yea, She would. If not her, I have a contact guy I can talk to. It's a plan that can be set up. Just let me know when to place the call."
"Well, it doesn't have to be a casino where you have family on staff," Alex notes. "We just want to bait the hook, not give the enemy more targets."
Hitoshi sighs. "Much as I don't want to talk to my mother, it is actually the best idea. Security won't even blink at me and Lya going around in certain areas, and you two are duly appointed members of the state."
"Okay. Assuming the enemy feels the need to take me off the board, whether it's 'sending a message' or because I'm the Chosen One, I put myself in view," Alex says. "Outside gives them a lot more options. Inside, there's casino security, cameras everywhere, guests ... you have to worry about getting in, not looking out of place, making the hit, getting out.
"I clean up fairly well, but I drive a pretty mundane car. If we want to attract attention, I'm going to have to rent something flashier."
Lya chuckles then gets up from the table and opens the curtain a little to point down at the street. "You mean like that?" She nods to her friend. "Hitoshi's the guy to talk to about flashy cars. He might not want to give up his baby, but I'm sure he can help you hook up with something."
Alex looks to where Lya is pointing and gives a low whistle of appreciation.
"Nice. But there is a risk that anything that gets loaned could get damaged, as well. Bullets, maybe a t-bone at an intersection," Alex warns. "If we're lucky, it'll be a drive-by or a mugging-gone-bad."
He smiles at Lya. "Though, I don't imagine they'll be too eager to tangle with the rest of your band."
"Oh no, sorry, Borrowing my Camaro is out of the question. I just bought that Last week, and still have five years of payments on it, and it isn't even a fifteen model." Hitoshi says. He slugs back more of his beer and clearly looks worried.
"I'm no help in that regard. I drive a Camry," Evie points out the window at the blue, older model car. It is completely unremarkable.
"I could call my dad, though. He might have something you could borrow. But, it would hurt his soul to have one of his babies damaged," she chews her lower lip and thinks. "Maybe he hook you up with something that is essentially a junker but looks flashy on the outside."
"Have any ideas, Hitoshi?" she asks.
"Like I said, a rental isn't completely out of the question. Plenty of rental companies catering to the wannabe-millionaire set,," Alex allows. "Unless the casino has a limousine to ferry VIPs around?"
"Well of course it does. Although I don't know if I can get it again after that one time I rented it for a band event for the Furies and it was trashed." Hitoshi grimaces. "They tend to party hard. Umm I guess I can see about getting it."
"It's Vegas, Hitoshi... I'm sure they weren't the first to trash the limousine and they certainly won't be the last," Lya scoffs as she lets the curtain fall and heads back to her chair. "Besides, that's what insurance is for, right?"
Hitoshi chuckles. "Oh the casino was fine with it. My mother however read me the riot act. Which you and I both know is horrid." He grins. "Yes I can get the limo."
"Okay, do we want to stage this for a particular time? Friday night? I was trying to think of a reason for a low-profile attorney to be hitting the casinos, but I did win a case the other day. Why not?" Alex smiles.
"Sounds like a plan to me," says Lya as she pulls out her phone and starts texting. "A sharp dressed guy like you in a casino is bound to have lovely ladies hanging on their arm." She chuckles to herself. "A fight on Friday and a show on Saturday? They're going to love it..."
"Let's say I draw fire as expected," Alex says. "If it's not a drive-by, do we want to ... acquire ... the shooter and ask a few of our own questions before the police do? Or just up the stakes and show them a bunch of street punks aren't going to do the trick?"
"Sounds good. I should be able to be around without any problems. Anyone who knows me knows my profession. I'm always poking my nose into something, so they'll most likely assume that I'm working a case."
"In the meantime, I'm going to be looking into whatever Cardinelli was investigating, if anything," Evie pauses and lets out a soft belch, food and drink finally catching up with her. "'Scuse me."
She turns to Alex, "I was planning on making sure that all of Cardinelli's relics are returned to his family along with his body. Is there any reason that you know of that I shouldn't do that?"
"I imagine we'd want to try and question them," answers Lya before finishing off the last of another beer and setting it on the table. "Otherwise we'd just be back where we started, right?" She picks up a cold chicken leg and starts gesturing with it as she's talking. "If they know anything, great... if they don't, then we've upped our chances of getting somebody higher up who does to come out of the shadows. I'd say it's a win-win either way..." she takes a bite out of the chicken, "provided we can keep you alive and all, anyway." she swallows the bite and winks at Alex. "Thankfully that's not as hard as it sounds with you."
"They still took down Thomas, Lya. I'm not invulnerable," Alex cautions. "But I will be wearing a vest this time, for real."
"Evie, as I understand it, a relic is valuable only to the scion to whom it was gifted ... or someone who steals it," Alex answers. "A mortal half-sibling wouldn't be at risk, and none of the purviews that would come with Thomas' things - assuming they're the same as the ones I have access to - will pose any overt danger. They're not going to be throwing lightning bolts or anything."
"We need to be careful about how questions are asked, too. Remember that anything we ask may well be brought up by the gang member once he's hauled in to the station and questioned about the incident," Evie cautions. "Unless, of course, you plan on letting anyone we question 'escape' and any other members who are caught are taken in."
Hitoshi grabs a couple more hush puppies and noms on them. "You know, some things are better left in the shadows. If one or more of the gang members gets a late night interrogation by some guy in a ski mask, then the cops won't know." He chews as swallows, washing the food down with a long swig of beer. "Besides, since when do gang members go to the cops for anything. "
"If we're doing this at the casino, the hit could well be public and messy. If we want shadowy, then we probably need another plan," Evie says.
"You're right in that if it happens in the darkness, a gang member isn't going to go to the police. But, if it the member is involved in a public arrest, then they will use anything they can to disparage the police and our procedures. Anything out of the ordinary could be brought up and possibly used."
Alex follows suit and snags another hush puppy. "I love the way Rick makes them. You get the corn flavor, not a mouthful of starch like other places."
"Then, as far as the plan goes, I'm the distraction. Lie in the street and look pathetic. Maybe have one of the ladies making a scene and looking helpless - even if that's not their thing. Show people what they expect, come up on them from a different direction."
"But if you're concerned about it being too public, Evie ... do you think they'd bite if I pulled a late night at the office and left the door open like I usually do in the afternoon?"
"I'm with Hitoshi there," adds Lya. "I know you guys are agents of the law and all... but I wasn't thinking about interrogating him in a jail cell either."
Lya ponders for a moment as she chews another piece of the chicken leg. "That ring that you guys both have, Alex... didn't you say it was called Slepnir too?" She points to his hand with her chicken leg. "What if those rings have an ability that you guys don't know about and our mysterious enemy does?" She holds up her other hand and wiggles her fingers. "You know... like what happens if you get a bunch of them together? Maybe you scions of Tyr were all set up as guardians of a piece of the rope or something?"
Hitoshi looks at her with a raised brow.
"What... you all want me to be the one who thinks out of the box, right? I say we kick the box to the curb."
"Oh, I know that you weren't thinking about interrogating him after the arrest. I was saying that if we questioned him beforehand and then turned him over to the police, that could cause problems."
"Well as long as it's not the police doing the questioning, it's like Hitoshi said.. I doubt very much they're going to go running to the cops to file a complaint, you know? Between Hitoshi and the girls, I'm sure they could get it out of them. We just need the time to do our thing before the cops conveniently show up as clean up crew."
"Evidence obtained in an illegal interrogation would be thrown out," Alex explained. "But we wouldn't be asking about the attack or the earlier shooting, exactly."
He glances at his ring. "Lya, that's a neat theory, but Thomas has been buried under the Roget Building for decades, and they didn't take his ring, and they must have searched him. Maybe one ring is all that's needed."
"Speaking of the Roget Building... what's with that place and that coffin, anyway?" It's not like it was an easy ditch to throw a body in... somebody would've had to purposely break in there, find the sarcophagus, lift that heavy ass lid and place him in there." Lya tosses the now cleaned chicken leg onto her plate with a clatter. "There has to be a better reason than 'a good hiding place' if they went into that much effort." She picks up another hushpuppy from the plate. "Maybe if we dug into the building records to find out who built it? It's an odd construction, right? Maybe the architect had some weird occult history or something that could give us a lead."
"That, or whoever killed Thomas put him in the sarcophagus and erected the building overtop," Alex frowned. "I don't know if there would be any benefit to it, like Superman-can't-see-through-lead. And it might not even have anything to do with current events, though I won't put any money down on that."
He pulls out a notebook and scribbles several items down. "So. The builder. Roget. Any possible sponsor. Occult connections. Got it."
Hitoshi suddenly looks disturbed. "I just thought of something I really didn't need to think of. My father told me about Titanspwan all over the world. Fenris isn't the only one that could be waking up and starting stuff. Some of the Japanese Titanspawn make Fenris look like someone's puppy."
"Well we'll just have to tell them our dance card is full at the moment if they happen to come calling," Lya jokes. "I'll get with the girls and go over the plan with them so we're all on the same page. Maybe if I'm lucky I can put some feelers out on the street and see if I hear anything about the Lobos too."
"Okay, Let me recap to make sure that I'm following the plan," Evie says.
"Alex will check into the Roget Building's history. I will check into what Cardinelli was doing when he disappeared. Lya and Hitoshi will keep an eye on the streets."
"Then, Friday night, we all show up to the casino. Alex will be all flashy and public, but will be escorted by the band. If anything goes down, the band and I will move to protect Alex and any civilians who get in the way. Lya and Hitoshi will take care of grabbing a shooter and asking real nice about what they think they are doing."
"It's like a high school prom, Lya. Everyone goes, right?" Alex laughed. "Wait. I didn't go to mine."
"Are the Furies performing or enjoying a night out? I don't exactly fit the punk image," Alex frowns.
"Anyway, I can head back to the office and dive into this research." He dug into his pocket and handed out his business card. "Anything weird goes down, call me. Learned the 'instant wake-up' trick in the Army."
"Sounds like a plan to me, Evie," says Lya as she stands up and picks up her long coat from the couch to put it on. "Much obliged for the drinks and good food, and of course the enlightening conversation."
She checks her pockets and smiles when she pulls out a purple guitar pick with their band's name on the back. "For your brother," she winks as she tosses it on the table and deftly slips one of the unopened beers left on the table into her coat pocket.
"As much as I'm glad I'm not you right now Alex, I swear the Furies and I will do our damnedest to keep you alive," Lya says as she shakes hands with the lawyer.
Evie takes Alex's card and nods. She also picks up Lya's pick with a laugh and moves it to a small bowl on the kitchen counter where she knows it will not get lost, "I think I may just put all of this together as an early birthday present for him. He's going to be beside himself!"
There is a small stack of her own business cards near the front door. She hands one to each of them, even though she knows that Alex already has her information. Business cards are convenient...and have the added benefit of the reader not having to interpret Evie's chicken scratch handwriting.
"Thank you guys for coming. I really appreciate all of your help on this," she shakes everyone's hands as they prepare to leave. "I'll let you know what I find out about Cardinelli."
"If the Mudjehadeen couldn't take me out before I knew I was a Scion, I'm not too worried about a bunch of two-bit punks," Alex says. "Hmm. I wonder what they'd do if I charged at them while carrying my sword ...?"
Evie snerks and says, "Ever seen The Princess Bride? You know the scene where Indigo finally confronts the Six-Fingered Man for the first time? Yeah...that's what I see happening."
"Well it's Vegas... it won't be the first time somebody has done that I'm sure," Lya chuckles. "Afraid I don't have a card as Dad's the one usually doing the PR..." she grabs her Sharpie out of her pocket and flips over their cards to write her cell number on it for both Evie and Alex, "But this is a good way to get a hold of me." She gives a lazy salute and a smile. "Until Friday, guys."
Hitoshi stands and bows. "I too must be going. I am Lya's ride. I wish you a good evening. "