The Sons of Tyr
The next morning, Evie arrives at work bright and early, far earlier than she actually needs to be there. But, she's eager to get started. The whole affair is overwhelming, terrifying...and exciting. Oh, she's had plenty of mysteries to work on as a detective over the years, but nothing like this. Nothing that had so much hinging upon success. She feels the burden of her role acutely, but she is not bothered by it. Instead, it fuels her.
She sits down at her computer and starts searching the police records. Unfortunately, whether something that old has been scanned into the system is hit or miss. Backlogging old reports into the data system is something that gets done, but it's generally a job that sits on the back burner and gets done in between newer assignments. As it turns out, the records from the year of Cardinelli's disappearance have not yet been entered. So, that means a trip down to the archives.
Just as she is standing up from her chair, she hears a familiar voice, "Hey, nerd! Whatcha doing?"
Saul is standing there, smiling and holding out an extra cup of coffee to her. Grinning, she accepts it and sips, "Getting ready to head down to the archives. What's up for you, today?"
"Eh, the usual. I get to patrol downtown, today. Fun, fun!" he falls into step beside her as they make their way to the basement where all the old records are kept. "Did you get my text about Alex?"
"Yeah, I did. Damn lucky the man forgot to take off his vest before leaving the office. It would've been a shame to lose him," Evie says as she holds a door open for Saul.
"Crazy stuff. He seemed okay. I'll probably swing by his office before I leave, just to make sure, though," he says. As the two of them descend down a set of stairs, Saul cheerfully continues, "So, guess who actually has Saturday night off?"
"Get out of here! How many chickens did you have to sacrifice to manage that?"
"Twelve. Plus a goat. I think it was the goat that pushed me over," he grins. "So, youdo owe me a beer. I was thinking that, instead of that, we could go see a movie. You want to go see Turtles?"
"I'd love to but, I have so much work..." Evie begins, shaking her head.
As they reach the bottom of the stairs, Saul gently grabs her head. One hand cups the back of her noggin while the other covers her mouth. "Yes, Saul, I would love to stop working for one night and go to a movie!" he says in a silly falsetto, all the while nodding her head for her.
She licks his palm.
"Ewwww!" he jerks his hand away and wipes it on his shirt. Throwing her a crooked grin, Saul says, "You know, in some cultures, that would mean that we are married."
The detective snerks once, then begins to chortle, then falls into a full-fledged laugh. She and Saul have known each other for well over a decade, and it shows. They begin walking, again, towards the stacks.
"Come on," Saul says, poking his friend in the shoulder. "In all seriousness, you work too hard. Take a night off. Come to the movies with me."
"Okay, look...I can't promise anything. But, yeah. Tentatively. If nothing comes up," she stops in front of the proper section for the records she needs and smiles at Saul.
"Good enough!" Saul claps her on the shoulder before glancing at his watch. "It's time for me to get on the road. Good luck, Evie."
"Be safe out there!" she waves good-bye to him as he turns to leave. She then turns her attention to the records. "So, Officer Cardinelli...let's see what you were doing..."
It takes nearly an hour (and wading through dusty file boxes) to find the relevant records. There it is. Badge 5849, Cardinelli, Officer Thomas. The desk sergeant had made an entry about flash flood warnings, and several cars reported in, establishing a safety cordon. Cardinelli was listed as driving south on I-15, checking for stranded motorists. Lost in a flash flood; it all made sense.
But it felt wrong. On an impulse, Evie looked for the report that had to be there, an inquiry into the death/disappearance of an officer. They'd found his car, the driver's side door torn off, and half-buried in mud in a culvert.
There. A routine inspection of the patrol car, not very different than any accident report. Cracked windshield, compressed front bumper, dented fender, crumpled hood. Driver's side door missing. Inventory of vehicle, everything accounted for, including the shotgun in the between-seat bracket.
Photos of the damage, and the same instinctive grasp of the situation welled up within her. It was worse than she'd initially thought. Someone (a very large someone, at that) had basically taken a hit from the patrol car, smashed the hood, and knocked it off the road. The door had been torn off. Cardinelli had emerged, far from helpless, and been shot for his efforts. When that didn't stop him, he had been felled by the blow to his head.
Not by a pipe, crowbar, or baseball bat, but a warhammer. Evie could see how the pointed end of such a weapon could be mistaken for the business end of a prybar. Medieval weapons simply weren't first on the list when cause-of-death was being determined. There had been no body, so no autopsy - a missing, presumed dead and a nameplate added to the memorial wall. The names and addresses of his relatives, which would be woefully out of date - it was unlikely Cardinelli's parents were alive, for example, but any sibilings might still be accessible ...
Evie jots down the information for any relatives that may still be alive. She carefully replaces all of the files to their nooks, knocks the dust off of herself and heads back to her desk. She then begins the task of tracking them down to see where they may be.
Time for some interviews, she thinks as she quickly types searches into her computer.
Cardinelli, Officer Thomas, next-of-kin
Father, Franklin James Cardinelli, (1912 - 1997)
Mother, Theresa Dell'Osso Cardinelli (1914 - 1999)
Brother, Nicholas Anthony Cardinelli (b.1932)
Sister, Stephanie Marie Newell (b. 1934)
Evie scribbled down the addresses. The brother's address was an assisted-living facility; the sister's address, a home across town.
Grabbing her car keys with one hand, she shuts down her computer with the other. As she stands, she finishes off the last dredges of the coffee that Saul had given her. It's now cold, bitter and pretty darned disgusting. She pulls a face and tosses the cup in the trash on her way out.
As she walks to her car, she remembers that she has early birthday presents for Ian, courtesy of Lya. She pulls out her phone and calls, but it is directed to his voicemail. No doubt he's in class, at the moment.
"Hey, Ian. It's me. Drop by my apartment tonight, if you can. I got something for you," she smiles as she leaves her brief message. There is a little skip in her step as she walks. The thought of him being so surprised and happy makes her happy, as well.
Plopping into her old Camry, she rolls down the windows and starts her journey to Stephanie Newell's home. Her plan is to talk to both siblings, but she can hit the assisted living facility on her way back to either HQ or her own home, depending on how long all of this takes.
The Newell home is a pleasant ranch-house design, basking in the mid-morning sun, though you can hear the AC unit whirring away. The front door is open, with a glass storm door and screen inset allowing you a view inside the home.
An older man waves dismissively at the television. "Lower, you nincompoop! Lower!" A harsh buzz and a murmur of audience disappointment lets you know he's watching The Price is Right or another game show. "Hmph! Told you!" he laughs. He sees Evie standing at the door. "Help you, Miss?"
"Good morning, sir. I'm Detective Evelyn Cartwright with the Las Vegas Police Department. I was wondering if I might have a word with Mrs. Newell," Evie smiles as she speaks and makes sure that her stance is open, relaxed and non-threatening. You never know how people are going to react to a police officer showing up on their doorstep, and she wants to make it clear that she's not there to make any trouble. As the man approaches the door, she holds up her badge for him to see."This is in regard to her brother, Thomas Cardinelli."
"Tommy? He was a good troop. If you finally found his body, God rest his soul, I'm not sure Stephanie needs to see it," Newell says quietly. "Please, Detective. Come in. You want some ice water? Iced tea?"
Hearing voices, Stephanie Newell comes out of the kitchen, wiping her hands on a towel. She is slender and moves gracefully. Despite silver hair and a fan of wrinkles at the corners of her eyes, her age does not appear to lay heavily upon her.
"Michael? We have a visitor?" she smiles. "I'm afraid we're not interested in a reverse mortgage."
"Dear, this is Detective Cartwright. She wanted to talk to you about Tommy."
"I see," she says quietly. She folds the towel, briefly returning to the kitchen to set it aside, then composes herself and takes a seat at the dining room table. "Please, Detective, have a seat. Tell me what I can do for you."
"Thank you, sir. A bit of tea would be lovely. It was a dusty drive over," she smiles in thanks as she takes a seat at the dining room table.
Evie turns her eyes to Mrs. Newell. This part is never easy. Granted, most of the the cases that she works on are terribly old and the people she talks to have long ago come to terms with the fact that their loved one is gone. However, it can often stir up old emotions, reopening old wounds.
Softly, she begins, "Ma'am, we found Thomas' body a couple of days ago. Back when he disappeared, it was assumed that he was caught in the flood and lost. However, there is evidence that that may not have been the case. There were bullet holes in his blues."
She pauses as Mr. Newell sets down a cold glass of tea in front of her, "Thank you, sir." She takes a sip and continues.
"I'm investigating to see if I can figure out what really happened. Unfortunately, the case is so old that there's not much in the way of physical evidence, anymore. So, I was wondering if you could tell me about Thomas. Do you remember what he was working on, at the time? Did he ever mention any troubles that seemed out of the ordinary?"
"You're saying he was shot?" Stephanie stifles a gasp. "Why would anyone want to do that to Tommy?"
Her brow furrows as she combs through her memory for the answers to your questions.
"My brother took his job seriously. Mom and Dad were so proud of him. Out of the ordinary ..." she muses. "Just the one time, really. He was sitting on the porch one morning, his patrol car at the curb. He ... looked tired. Dark circles under his eyes, like he hadn't slept. Dirty, unshaven. Smelled like he'd been at a fire."
"Hey, little sister," Thomas said. "Just sitting here. Enjoying the quiet."
"You look ... awful. And you smell," Stephanie frowned.
"Sorry. Long night. Bad one."
"Tommy, you're scaring me."
"There's good reason to be scared," Thomas said. There was a solemn tone to his words that gave them a quiet menace. "There's evil in the world, little sister. And I'm not sure I'm strong enough to ..."
"Thomas Cardinelli, are you drunk?" Stephanie asked harshly. It was the only thing she could think of that would make her brother this morose, this dark.
"No, I'm not drunk, Stephanie," her brother told her. "Tired. Learned something I'd probably be happier not knowing. Can't change it though."
"Do you need to talk about it?"
"Justice isn't just about punishing the guilty. It's about protecting the innocent," Thomas said. "Sorry. I'm rambling. It's ... I have a responsibility, Steph. I hope I'm up to it."
"Come inside, I'll make some coffee. You can use the shower, if you want ..."
"No. I've got to go. See you at Mom & Dad's for Sunday dinner?"
"... and that's the only time he mentioned any of it," Stephanie tells you.
Evie listens quietly as Mrs. Newell speaks. In all actuality, her words don't surprise the detective. She had already known that Thomas was a scion, so an encounter like this makes sense, to her. But, what of the timing?
So, Tyr shows up and tells Thomas something, maybe. Is it revealed that he is a scion or did he already know that and he simply found out about whatever is going on?
Thomas knew something, obviously. Maybe he got too close to whatever it was and this was the enemy's way of saying "sod off." A handful of decades is the blink of an eye to a god or maybe even some of their agents. This isn't a long con...not by their measures.
...a fire...a fire...I'll have to check the records and see if there were any major fires the year he disappeared.
The detective's brow furrows and she idly plays with the condensation on the outside of her tea as she thinks, "Had Thomas had any run-ins with organized criminals, that you know of? Anyone that may have held a grudge against him?"
Though Evie is not sure that any information she may get from those two questions will be relevant, there's no point in not being thorough.
"Organized crime?" Stephanie shakes her head. "No. Everyone knew Tommy was a straight arrow. There would be no point in asking him to do a favor, or paying him to look the other way - he wouldn't do it."
Evie remembers Alex saying something about his chopper getting shot down and having to make his way across hostile territory. Did Tyr require his children to undertake an ordeal, a testing-out? She filed that away for later inquiry.
Evie smiles apologetically and nods, "That's good to know. But, I wasn't thinking that he accepted bribes or anything of that nature. I was thinking more along the lines of him interfering with criminal activity to the point where someone took notice of him, specifically, as opposed to the police in general and decided to remove him as an obstacle."
"I doubt that was the case," Stephanie says. "Like I said, my older brother was a straight arrow, but he wasn't the kind of man who went looking to start a fight. If you brought it to his doorstep, that's something else. He gotthat from Dad."
So, let's see, Evie thinks. Check about fires, ask Alex about trials, no overt connections to trouble with criminals...what else?
Elbows resting on the table, she taps her chin thoughtfully. Finally, she says, "Would you happen to still have any items of Thomas'? I'm assuming that all of his things would've been sorted after he was pronounced deceased. But...you never know. He may have written something, left some sort of obscure clue about what was happening in his life at that time..."
She spreads her hands and smiles, "I know I'm grasping at straws, here. But, that's the way most investigations start. Until I find something that I can firmly grab and run with, I have to consider every possibility."
Evie notes to herself that she should also talk to any police officers that he was close to. More may have been shared between brothers-in-arms, so to speak. Family, Thomas may have not confided in in order to shield them.
"No. No, I'm afraid not," Stephanie says. "And, then, a year later, he was gone. I'd almost like to believe the story that he was swept away in a flash flood, perhaps saving someone's life, because that was the brother I remember. If he was murdered, I hope to God you find who was responsible, but I don't need to know the details."
There's an uncomfortable silence. It's hard to end a conversation on that kind of note.
"Come on, Detective, I'll show you out. I might as well see if the mail's here," Mike Newell tells you. He holds the door open for you. "Please follow me to the garage, Detective. Don't say anything." Newell enters the garage from an adjacent door. He goes to his workbench and pulls out the second drawer down, then fumbles beneath it before producing a legal-sized envelope, yellowed with age.
"Thomas gave this to me. Must have been a week or two after he spoke to Stephanie on the porch," Newell tells you. "Said it involved family, to keep it secret, but that, one day, I might want to give it to my wife. Kinda scared the poop out of me, sounded just as ominous as what he said to Stephanie. I just kind of forgot about it. Her folks died, I didn't see any point in dragging some skeleton out of the closet. You said you were looking for something, an obscure clue, and this may be it. Or it may be nothing. But, as Stephanie said, I'm not sure I need to know the details. I hope you find the people responsible, Detective, even if it's just to lay Tommy's ghost. You have a good day."
Newell ambles back out towards the mailbox. "Nothing. Ah, well."
As she holds the envelope, she glances down at it, wondering what could be in there. She sighs and adds, "If he was murdered, there's a good chance that whoever did it is also long gone."
Whether or not it is true, that is what I am going to tell these good people,she thinks.
Before Mr. Newell walks out of the door, she gently stops him with soft word, "I appreciate you and your wife helping me. I know that it's always hard when old wounds are reopened."
"Thank you so much, Mr. Newell," Evie says. "I promise that I will do my best to find the truth of what happened."
Evie waves to Mr. Newell as she gets into her car and pulls out of his driveway. She doesn't need to sit there in front of their house while she reads.
Instead, she drives a ways down the road to a strip mall and parks way in the back, near the edge of the street where no one else tends to park. (Most folks don't like to walk that far.) She leaves the engine running and the AC on.
With a small sigh of anticipation, she opens the envelope...
The letter is about a page and a half, executed in the classic middle-American longhand of a bygone era.
Whether or not you are reading this because events have taken their own course, and we are facing the darkness and our last stand, or if you have been given this letter because Michael felt the time was right, perhaps because I am gone, or even dead.
I am thinking, of course, of that one morning where you found me on the front porch. I imagine I must have looked awful to you, and if I frightened you, I again offer my most sincere apologies.
In short, I'd learned something that pretty much turned the world on its ear, and I will share these things with you now. They will doubtless sound strange and will be hard to accept, but I ask that you read through to the end before making any judgments.
I am only your half-brother, it seems.
Mom does not remember this herself. It was a summer's eve, shortly before Mom & Dad were married. They were back in Kansas, visiting Nonno. As was proper in the day, they were sleeping in separate rooms - Dad was in the house, Mom in the small guest cottage out back.
That was when he came to her. My real father. In the twilight and with the daydreams of her pending wedding to hand, she wasn't seeing clearly, and she didn't object when his strong arms stole about her and they kissed. And she didn't object when things progressed, and they made love beneath the stars and trees.
My real father. Tyr.
He's what we call the Norse God of War. Like the ones we learned about in school. Odin. Thor. Loki. Which makes me something more than human, if I'm worthy.
And I will be tested, just as I had been the time you found me sitting on the porch. The End of All Things is coming, dear Sister. World War II, the whole 'Communist' thing we keep hearing about in the news, that's just the tip of the iceberg.
I can't help but see it the way I see my job. I'm here to catch the criminals and perhaps put one or two away, but I'm also here to serve and protect the innocent. People like you, and Michael, to whom I'm giving this letter.
I hope I'm wrong. I hope this isn't my turn at praying in Gethsemane, or that if it is, I am able to help craft a better destiny than what the legends say we have in store. These are for you and Michael, and, if the fates are kind, your children. I may be the son of some Norse god, but you're still my little sister.
With All My Love, Tommy
There's a fan of EE Savings Bonds, long since matured. A quick mental calculation tells you Thomas put a month's pay into it.
Evie settles back into her seat and thinks. At first glance, this seems to be a dead-end, simply a good-bye letter to a loved one explaining that things are a lot weirder and more dangerous than either of them had ever thought. But...World War II...if this is a long con, could what is happening now have something to do with what happened then? The world war was over by the time that Thomas as tapped as a scion, presumably, but that doesn't mean that whatever supernatural forces were in motion had stopped.
It's a long shot and it may be nothing at all. But, who knows? She won't know unless she starts looking. That's all right, though. Goose chases are all part of the investigation process. It's sort of like science...sometimes, it's just as good to know what something isn't.
She sets the bonds aside, there being no question in her mind about what to do with them. They will be returned to Thomas' family. She'll just have to fabricate a good lie about where she found them since Mr. Newell gave her the envelope in confidence.
Funny, that. I'm spending all my time trying to find the truth and, yet, I'm spending an equal amount of time coming up with plausible lies to bury that truth, again, she snorts in mild amusement.
She pulls out her phone and looks at the time. There is still plenty of time to get to the assisted living facility. She'll have to check with the front desk when she gets there to see if it's okay to speak with Mr. Cardinelli. It may be that his health won't allow him visitors.
I'll see when I get there, she puts the car into drive and pulls out of the strip mall.
The Sunrise Assisted Living Community is an apartment complex catering to the needs of senior citizens with mobility issues, outpatient medical needs, or the various stages of dementia.
"Can I help you, Ms. ...?"
"Detective Evie Cartwright, Las Vegas Police Department," you reply. "I'd like to see Nicholas Cardinelli, if I may?"
"Is there a problem, Detective?"
"We found the body of his brother, Thomas, who was thought to have been swept away by a flash flood while he was on patrol back in the 1950's," you inform the clerk. "He's not ... is he under care for dementia?"
"Oh, no. Sharp as a tack. Anne will show you to a family meeting space, and Nick will join you in a moment."
The family meeting space is off of the common area, a small sitting room looking out over the garden. A pair of couches flank a coffee table that is adorned with a vase of fresh flowers and a stack of 'coffee table' books on art and scenic locations.
"Here you go, Nick," says an orderly, holding open the door. Thomas' brother enters, walking with a slight limp and clearly dependent on a cane. "This is Detective Cartwright."
"Heard you the first time, y'know," Nick snaps back. "Got a bum knee, not bad hearing. Now scoot, while I talk to Ms. Cartwright."
Nick waits for the orderly to leave. "Good Afternoon, Detective," he smiles. "Had a bad slip-and-fall some years back, and I'm not about to impose myself on my kids, or on my sister. Have you spoken to her, yet? Orderly said this was about Thomas."
"Yes, sir," she answers, "Thomas' body was discovered a couple of days ago. You know, of course, that he was assumed lost during a flash flood. However, there is evidence that points to that not being the story. When we found him, he was still wearing his blues...and there were bullet holes in them. I'm trying to piece together what really happened."
She smiles apologetically and continues, "Being the brother of a trooper, I'm sure you know how this goes. With the case being so old, there's not much for me to go on, initially. So, I'm trying to learn everything that I can about Thomas and what he may have been working on before his disappearance."
Leaning forward a bit, she rests her elbow on the chair's arm as she talks, "Thomas' reports from just before his disappearance seemed pretty routine. However, did he ever mention anything to you about work? Anything odd? Did he ever seem particularly stressed...well...more stressed than the job normally warrants?"
Ah! Perhaps I can hand off the bonds to Nick while I am here, she thinks.Easy enough to say that I found them when going through Thomas' old paperwork or somesuch.
"You mean things like worrying about the End of the World?" Nick says quietly. "And not because he'd found Jesus. The messy Norse version."
Evie's eyes widen slightly in surprise and delight. Thomas had talked to someone in his family! Fleetingly, she wonders if she will be able to do the same, though she does not dwell upon it. Now is not the time.
"Exactly," she answers. She lowers her voice but keeps her face neutral, the epitome if friendly professionalism. The last thing she wants to have happen is an orderly walk by, hear their conversation and assume that Nicholas isn't as sharp as they had thought.
For a second, she struggles with the choice of whether to be frank. Did Nicholas think that Thomas was crazy, that it was all a figment of his imagination? Or, does he believe? If she's unlucky and Nicholas reports her to HQ as being loopy, she could lose her job. But...
...I can't pussyfoot around. If I lose my job, so be it. This is more important. I'll lose resources, but I can still work on this. I have money set aside. I'll do okay for a while.
I may not even live long enough to have to worry about it...
"There were other things surrounding his death that make it clear he died defending this world. Things that I can't put into a report. But, it seems that whatever Thomas was fighting...the wheels are still in motion. If he told you anything that might help me and some others fight this, I'd appreciate it."
"I didn't want to believe it," Nicholas says quietly. "But then I realized it's in Christian ... mythology? ... as well. The ultimate battle between good and evil. Armageddon. It's in cultures around the globe, and from different eras.
"So either there was a lot of plagiarizing going on back in the day, or there's a reason for the commonalities. And it isn't space aliens."
"I still don't pretend to understand any of it, Detective, but every now and then you see something in the news. Some new extreme for human greed or violence. The gods Thomas talked about, no one remembers them. They're characters out of books for kids.
"It's like it's hiding in plain sight. One day, it's going to pop us right in the jaw, and we're going to be, 'Where did that come from?' even though it's been there all along."
Nicholas fishes inside his sweater and pulls out several pages of yellowed paper. Each page is filled with notes in a precise hand. While it's not the cursive of the letter Michael Newell showed you, you know it's Thomas Cardinelli's writing.
"Thomas gave me this. Said it was a copy, and that people on his side might be interested in the information if something happened to him," Nicholas tells you. "Said he was chasing down something on that Roget fellow. When they told us Thomas was dead, I expected to hear from someone. Nothing. Not even at the funeral.
"That scared me, and I put this in a lockbox for a long time. I mean, Thomas tells me he's the son of a god, an actual god, and someone had the moxie to take him out of the picture for good. Playing for all the marbles. So maybe it's time for a rematch."
The pages list several names, a woman and four men, including Armand Roget. A short paragraph lists biographical details and connections with others on the list. Addresses, license plates, assorted snippets of information.
"Thank you, Mr. Cardinelli. Thank you so much! This will be a great help," Evie tucks the papers away in the pocket of the notebook she carries, eager to share this information with the others as soon as she can.
As she closes it, she sighs softly and says, "I'm sorry that it has taken so long for Thomas' battle to be addressed, and for you to learn more. But, I don't think that the battles of the gods quite work on the same timescale as they do for humans...and those of us born as half-god."
Evie's brow furrows, "Sir, I would keep you in the loop but...I'm afraid that it might be dangerous for me to do that. I think that you deserve to know what is going on after losing your brother, but at the same time, I don't want to make you a target. I wouldn't put it past the enemies to kill you out of spite."
"Right now, I think that I am still flying under the enemy's radar, but that probably won't last for long. I know that at least one of my team is already known and I don't know how much longer the rest of us can stay hidden. I don't want to attract attention to you."
Evie flips open her notebook, again, and pulls out the envelope that Thomas had left for Stephanie. She hands it to Nicholas, "I can give you this, though. Thomas left it for Stephanie. Her husband gave it to me in secret when I talked to them earlier. Both of them expressed the desire to not know the truth, and I can respect that. But, this needs to be kept in your family."
Nicholas looks at the sheaf of bonds and does a quick mental calculation. "Stephanie's kids can use this more than I can. Thank you."
"Whether or not the enemy knows about my family, and what comes of it, depends on the people on that list, probably. Though I remember reading that Roget fellow died recently."
Evie nods, "Of course. I figured you would know best what to do with the bonds."
"Yeah," Evie settles back into her seat and nods. "Roget is how I found out about Thomas. You know that they are knocking down the Roget building, right? Well, Thomas' body was found under the building in a sarcophagus made of a single piece of meteoric iron with Poetic Edda written around the outside. His hand had been cut off, making him an even greater representation of his father, Tyr."
The detective laughs softly, "I have no idea how I could explain that in a police report. The good thing is, though, that no one else can explain it, either. So, I'll be just be added to the masses at HQ who are scratching their heads over it."
"But, I think Thomas' death was...a warning?...a challenge?...the message was definitely meant for the gods and their children, though."
Evie closes her notebook and stands, "Thank you for your help, Nicholas. You have no idea how much you've helped me."
She reaches out to shake his hand. Though his skin is fine and papery, as elderly folks' skin often is, his grip is still strong and true, "You've helped me personally, too. I just found out about myself...my heritage...recently. It's good to know that I'm not crazy and I'm not alone."
As she lets go of his hand, Evie says, "I won't come back here. I'm not going to risk putting you and yours in danger. You take care of yourself. I'm going to do everything I can to make sure that Thomas' enemies are stopped."
"I appreciate that, Detective," Nicholas tells you. "Perhaps, when this is all over, and if I'm still here chasing the nurses down the hall, you can visit and we'll raise a glass of orange juice - I'm pretty sure they don't serve mead in the dining room - in Thomas' name."
"Absolutely!" Evie gives the elderly gentleman a genuine, brilliant smile.
She then turns and makes her way back to her car. She slides into the seat and opens the paper that Nicholas had given her. As she looks over what is written there, she pulls out her phone and dials Alex's number, intent on passing along this information.
If not for your own experiences, you might be inclined to write Thomas' notes off as conspiracy-theory rambling, or, at the very least, sloppy police-work. Roget, of course, you know about. A relative nobody whose fortune had come from a long-odds bet at the Sands, but ended up having the ears of the city's movers and shakers. There had even been an unsuccessful Senate run in the 1960's. As for Roget's business, Thomas had put in quotes the word 'investments.'
Some of the other names are Vegas notables. James 'Sonny' Asano was a businessman who'd been in an interment camp, then, like Roget, catapulted onto the business scene. He was the reclusive CEO of the Miyako Hotel and Casino - though, like Roget and Cardinelli, he'd have to be in his eighties ... which might not mean much when one had ichor in their veins rather than blood.
Eleanor Kendall was a socialite who had inherited a small fortune from an industrialist father. Her fashion model looks had linked her with celebrities and power players, from Frank Sinatra to JFK. As far as you know, she's still prominent on the social circuit.
Douglas Maxwell is listed as a dealer at the Sands. As the Sands is no longer in existence, and it's unlikely that there's an eighty year-old man dealing blackjack, he will be more difficult to track down.
Thomas' notes about Edward McCain express doubts about the man being a Scion. Instead, he asks if McCain could be an Einjehar or a human bound by Jotunblut. You're not familiar with either word.
Last, and perhaps the most suspicious of the names, is someone simply named Wolf. No address. No first name. No details. And a word that you aren't quite ready to cope with.
The phone rings several times before Alex North picks up. "Evie. What's up?"
"Alex, hey. I've got some information," she pauses and considers whether or not to talk over the phone. In all likelihood, no one is listening to their conversations. At least, not yet. But...better safe than sorry. "Are you at your office?"
"Yeah, I am. Drop on by when you're able," Alex says.
"Great. I'll see you later this afternoon. Bye!" she hangs up and fishes around for Hitoshi's number. Once she finds it, she calls. She's unsure whether he will be working at the garage or with Lya at this time of day.
The phone picks up after 3 rings, and the sound of shop work can be heard in the background. "Yes? Hitoshi speaking. Mike, hand me that five eights wrench. Thank you... Hello?"
"Hey, Hitoshi. Sorry to bother you at work. I've found some information, though. When would be a good time to catch up with you?" Evie says as she puts the key in the ignition and cranks up the car. "Also, when would be a good time to contact Lya?"
Hitoshi slides out from under the car he's working on, and sits up. "Lya? I have no clue. She partied pretty hard last night. I don't know when she will be up, and She's a grumpy hungover. The kind you throw chocolate and coffee at from a safe distance. Myself? I got a lunch break in an hour. Was gonna head over to the Diner for a greasy burger. You are welcome to meet me there. I'll buy lunch."
"Great! I could use some lunch, as well. I'm running off of a poptart and cup of coffee, both of which are starting to wear off. I'll meet you there," she cranks the car and sits, not going until she finishes talking. "I'll meet Alex after lunch to fill him in. I don't know when I'll catch up to Lya. I do want to talk to her before going to the casino, tonight, though."
"See you at the diner, then. Take care!" Evie says her farewell and hangs up, letting Hitoshi get back to work.
She looks at the clock and realizes that she doesn't have a lot of time to kill before she meets Hitoshi. It'll take a bit to get back across town to the Diner. So, she has maybe 30 minutes to spare. Evie figures she can spend that time filling up her gas tank and maybe swinging by the grocery store to grab some fresh bread and a few cans of soup for home.
Before she pulls out of the parking lot, she sends Alex a text. Meeting Hitoshi at the Diner for lunch to fill him in. Can I bring you some food when I come to the office?
Alex texts back. Whatever Rick has as the special will do. I'll call it in and tell them you're picking up for me. Thanks.
Evie finally finishes up and rolls out of the parking lot, starting to make her way towards the Diner. She does stop to get gas and swings into a grocery store a few blocks away. It's a short trip as she quickly grabs such culinary delights as peanut butter, bread, some Campbell's Chunky Soup and that horrible yet oh-so-tasty Kraft Mac & Cheese.
Yeah...somebody is single and lives alone. Well, that and it's all stuff that can happily live in the back seat of her car all day without worrying about spoilage.
Finally, she arrives at the Diner. She greets Maggie warmly and scans the restaurant, looking to see if she's beaten Hitoshi there.
Hitoshi rides up moments later on his 1990 Star Stryker motorcycle. It's his baby, the one he was gifted when he first started working at the shop, the one he tore down and rebuilt himself. It was old but still had style with it's black frame, silver parts, and dark blue trim. Most of the time the band turned the heads, but when he rode that, people watched.
He pulls off his helmet and shakes out his hair, brushing it back with his fingers. He brushes off the highway dust and steps inside pulling off his shades.
"Hey Mags, one Coke with lemon please."
He looks over at Evie. "Good afternoon Officer Cartwright."
"Good to see you, Hitoshi," Evie gestures to one of the booths, "This seat okay?"
When Hitoshi sits down across from her, she smiles and says, "How's your day going, so far?" She figures she can drop the information on him after they have ordered.
Hitoshi shrugs. "SSDD, Same Shit, Different Day." He leans back against the bench seat and cracks his back. "I'm used to it. So, what did you need?"
"Heh," she chuckles softly. "I guess at least I've gotten a different flavor of shit, lately."
Evie opens her notebook and passes the notes that Thomas Cardinelli had written so long ago to Hitoshi, "It's that bit at the bottom that has me extra worried, the one about Wolf."
When Maggie comes over to take their order, Evie orders something fast and easy. She still has two other team mates to visit before the end of the day, plus she still needs to get back to HQ and work a bit on the Davison case. Just because I've got an possible apocalypse on my hands doesn't mean I can ignore everything else...
Hitoshi scans through the notes. "umm hate to say this Officer Cartwright, but I can't read Cop shorthand." He slides the notes back. "yea, give me the cliff notes version. It gives us a reason to talk."
Maggie place a big greasy burger with everything on it and fries down in front of me. "Mags, you always treat me well. Thank you."
"Yes, it's that really tiny print we learn from having to use pocket-sized notebooks," Evie smiles. "All right, this came from Thomas' brother, who initially didn't know what to make of it. He didn't want to believe this end-of-the-world stuff was real.
"The notes list five individuals and list things like addresses, important facts, that sort of thing. The list starts with Armand Roget, who had a rags-to-riches moment on a long-odds bet, and parlayed that into being an 'investment' person with influence at City Hall. He's dead.
"Eleanor Kendall, you might know. Wealthy socialite, still very much a social butterfly with a dose of Lady Macbeth.
"Douglas Maxwell, blackjack dealer at the Sands. Could still be around.
"Edward McCain, no real details here, but Thomas wrote down the words, 'Einjehar' and 'Jotunblut' - which are clearly from my side of the fence, but I'm not familiar with them. Maybe Alex is.
"And the one I'm worried about is this last one. Someone with the last name of Wolf, no address, facts that are crossed out or contradicted, and one word that I'm not sure I'm ready for.
Hitoshi listens intently and is silent for a few moments.
"Demigods are supposed to be the half human children of the gods, but then that's us... Scions. Could there be another level above us? Something more powerful? Dad and I had a real big fight and I walked away before he could tell me much more than Hi, I'm your father, and I'm a god, and Oh, by the way, you will have to fight great evil beings in the near future. Most of the other Japanese gods have been Sympathetic to me so that's where I've gotten most of my info from."
He sighs. "I know I should probably talk to dad with whats coming, but the question is will he even talk to me now."
Evie shakes her head, "I have no idea. I was really hoping you would!"
She leans back in her seat and listens as Hitoshi tells of his father. After a couple minutes of thought, she says, "You know, I bet he would talk to you. I mean, let's face it...you're probably not his only son and you're probably not the only one to have stormed out on him. These guys are immortal. They have had all of time to experience just about every reaction one of their children could have."
"I know exactly nothing about Hachiman, so I could be way off base, here, but...I bet he's been waiting for you to cool down before talking to you, again. Time to him and time to us...kinda different, you know?" she shrugs and smiles.
Hitoshi scratches the back of his head. "Frankly I'm not even sure how to get a hold of him." He takes a few bites of his burger and chews thoughtfully before taking a sip of his soda and swallowing.
"What about you, can you get a hold of your dad?"
"Pray...I guess?" she kind of laughs at that, shaking her head as she does so. "I was never religious. I've always only really, truly believed in what I can see...touch...hear. To find out that something that I previously thought was nothing more than a bunch of crap...Well, it's made me re-evaluate things."
Hitoshi Shrugs. "What things? You mean god? If our Parents exist why wouldn't HE exist as well?"
"Not the Christian god, specifically. Just gods in general. That they exist at all and what that means for reality as I know it."
"Ah, my misunderstanding then." Hitoshi says between bites. "So, what do you think we should do about the whole situation then? Right now everything looks like gang incidents so far. That's not really supernatural per say."
Evie chews on her lip, ignoring her food for the moment. She's hungry but, with her mind so preoccupied, food is mostly forgotten, "I don't think there's much we can do, legally, at this point. As you said, it's just the usual gang shenanigans and everything will have to be addressed within that definition."
"Maybe after tonight we'll have more to work with. Maybe someone will screw up, or show up, or..something. We need more to go on, both in what we show the world and what we do privately." She absently takes a bite of her sandwich, "I'm going to start digging into the same stuff that Thomas was and see what I can turn up there."
"Have you heard anything in the past couple of days? Any rumblings on the street?"
Hitoshi shakes his head. "The Gangs tend to avoid me like the Plague. I'm hazardous to their collective health." He gives a boyish grin that says it all. He wasnt going to admit to hospitalizing any of the members of various gangs, but anyone with half a brain could put two and two together. He wasn't exactly hiding it, and in every case the idiots attacked him first so it was always self defense or in defense of another.
Evie chuckles. Officially, she has to remain objective and would never actually do anything outside of what the law defines as allowable behavior. Personally, well...she has exactly zero problems with gang members getting their heads knocked together by someone with more freedom than she. She's seen too many lives destroyed or mangled by what gangs do in her career.
"So, any plans for the band, tonight? They're going to play at the casino, right?"
Hitoshi grins. "Well Lya doesn't know it yet, but she's about to meet her idols. I may have fibbed to her just a bit. She's not playing in an amateur event at the Casino. The Furies are opening for the Necromantics. Lya has been a fan of theirs for as long as I have known her. She's gonna Sqeeee." He takes a long slurp of his soda with a satisfied look on his face.
"Hey Mags, how about some of that famous apple pie?"
"Coming right up, Hitoshi," Maggie smiles. "A la mode?"
Evie laughs, the corners of her eyes crinkling merrily, "That's awesome! You know...I have no idea who the Necromantics are but...that is going to be a fantastic surprise for Lya."
"So, how did you wind up being their go-to guy, anyway? How'd you two meet?" she asks as she sips on her drink.
" Give us the works Mags."
Hitoshi loved his pie.
"Well It's a bit of a story but we have time. Mom and I had just recently moved here due to her getting a job. It was right when the Westview Grand had opened. In my evenings, I'd wander the strip, and once I got bored with them, I started wandering other places. I got into my fair share of trouble too. You can probably find a few reports on me for street fighting."
He takes another sip of his soda.
"You could say I had a chip on my shoulder. I didn't take shit from anybody. Gang members didn't like the Half Jap wandering their hoods, and so on more than one occasion they tried to solve the problem. the problem is they thought they could fight. I know at least five forms of martial arts thanks to my younger years in Japan. Suffice to say eventually they got the message and left me alone."
Maggie arrives with two oversized slices of Apple pie covered in whipped cream with a side of vanilla ice cream. Hitoshi's eyes light up and he digs in, speaking between bites.
"It was a month or so after I had gotten a job a Ray's Garage, I was out walking late and came across the aftermath of a gang party. Only it looked like the party was still going for a few members only one of them wasn't having fun if you know what I mean. I didn't like what I saw so I grabbed a piece of pipe and put boot to ass. When I was done, I left 6 gangers on the ground probably unable to walk again, and I had saved one scare girl. I'd like to say I have some remorse for what I did to those guys, but the honest thing is, I really don't give a fuck. Ever since then Lya and I have been friends. When she formed the band, I just sorta took it upon myself to be the Bodyguard."
He shrugs. "That's pretty much all there is."
"Thank you," Evie says as she accepts a slice of pie. She happily pops a bite of deliciousness in her mouth as she listens quietly to Hitoshi's tale.
She shakes her head, thinking to herself, Fucking gangs but she says nothing. Instead, she simply says, "You're a good friend, Hitoshi. Lya's lucky to have you around."
"So, you know martial arts? Maybe you'd like to join me sometime to spar. I'm afraid that I don't know as many techniques as you do, but I do know Aikido," she says. "It comes in handy when someone gets a whiff of bacon that they don't like." The corner of her mouth quirks upwards, a silent acknowledgement that not everyone appreciates the police.
Hitoshi shakes his head. "I am sorry, but I only train alone. Not all of what I was taught was Non-lethal or Soft form, and I have combined many moves into fluid motions that I do without thinking. Something might happen."
He spits out a quick excuse. It was true, but what was more true was that he trained without his shirt on, and no one needed to see the scars and marks on his skin. He was self-conscious about them. So self-conscious in fact that he had bit the bullet and gone to a body artist and had his whole torso covered in giant tattoos in an attempt to hide the horrible disfiguring scars. Since he'd gotten the scars before he became a Scion, they never quite healed properly, and though the artist did an amazing job, at the right angle, they could still be seen.
"Fair enough," Evie replies, unfazed by this. "Most of what I know is non-lethal and meant to disarm or disable. I'm usually fighting to try to contain a situation, not necessarily bring it to a sudden and messy end."
Glancing at the clock on her phone, Evie realizes that she needs to get a move on if she's going to talk to both Lya and Alex, too. She really wants everyone to have the same information before tonight, just in case any of it has bearing on what happens. Honestly, the only thing she thinks mightcome into play is the mention of Wolf, but...you never know. If any of these other people mentioned are/were scions and had connections...
"I hate to cut this short, but I need to talk to Alex and Lya, too. And, I still need to work on the Davison case before I leave for the casino. Thanks for meeting me for lunch, though," she pulls out her wallet and pulls out a few bills, ready to pay and add her portion of the tip.
Hitoshi shakes his head and holds up his hand. "I got this. Have a good day officer cartwright. "
"Thanks! I'll get the next one," she smiles brightly and adds, "And, it's Evie. No need for formalities."
She goes up to the counter and waits for Maggie to finish with another customer. Evie doesn't even have to say anything, though. The waitress grabs a bag of food from where it has been sitting only briefly and hands it to her. Stapled to the top is a receipt with the words "A. North pick-up Cartwright" scrawled across the top.
"Thanks, Maggie. You have a good day!"
"You, too, hun! Be safe out there," Maggie waves as Evie backs out of the door.
"That's the plan!" she calls back with a smile.
As she walks back to her car, food in hand, she pulls out her phone and dials Lya's number. She hopes that the rocker will be awake by this time of day.