Midnight oil burned at Internal Affairs headquarters. Soon as news about the Federal Reserve fiasco spread like wildfire over many social media outlets, Judas Lee was called to an emergency meeting, coinciding with City Hall officials and other department directors, to concoct a contingency plan to avoid a citywide panic. They concluded that all of the reports on cops breaking bad would be dismissed and focus on playing to the public’s heartstrings by constantly praising their fallen hero, John Hart. “He valiantly risked his life to save the Federal Reserve building but was tragically killed in the line of duty. Our city is safer today because of him. Never forget his bravery. We will miss him dearly.”
Nervously waiting in Lee’s office, Memphis Knox didn’t know how his story would end. Will they let him go for his assistance in foiling the crime? Or will he go to jail for being involved with Hart’s band of rogue cops? Either way, he was relieved the nightmare was over. Even if he serves time in prison, at least he’ll be able to see his lovely wife’s face again. Behind ten-inches of glass is better than buried six-feet underground.
Lee rushed inside his office and sat behind his desk without saying a word. Composed. Should he go public with Memphis’ involvement? Not sure. It can either enforce their story or make matters worse, depending on what he’ll choose to say. After staring at the floor for several minutes, he leaned over toward Memphis and said, “Real melodramatic situation you’re in. Wouldn’t you
agree?” Memphis didn’t respond.
“Officer Knox – if that’s who you really are – I must say that we are all
saddened and deeply appalled to hear that one of our own committed this heinous crime. Have you any idea how much you have detrimentally disgraced the department of law enforcement? Voluntarily siding with that useless psychopath?”
“I have my reasons for –”
“No-no,” Lee interrupted. “This is not the talking part; this is the listening part!” Memphis stayed silent. “After the death of my top agent – still fresh in my mind,” He sniffled. “I just couldn’t bear the thought of cops sinking to such
depths for selfish fulfillment. And you were a part of it. You deserve to go to jail. For life.” Memphis dipped his head. “But, you won’t. Besides turning yourself in, word reached us about the anonymous warning you gave to FBI Security shortly before the siege. I believe you’re not like the rest of them. Bravery and honor still exist in your heart. I’m proud of you.”
“That makes one of us,” Memphis responded, not sharing Lee’s enthusiasm. “There’s nothing I can say that’ll justify what I’ve done. I was in a real tight spot and I did what I had to do to survive. To keep my family safe. Regardless of whether it was the right or wrong choice, I never wanted anyone to get hurt.”
“Clarify this for me - you identified yourself as Memphis Knox, but looking at your criminal history, it says you are Zeke Tricolo. Perhaps you would care to explain?”
Memphis went down memory lane and told the short version of his undercover story. Not as elaborate as he was with Natalie, but informative enough to get the point across. Lee ran a search in the law enforcement database, under the 442nd roster. On the Inactive Badge Numbers list, Memphis’ profiled appeared, marked as deceased.
Judas pressed his fist against his lips, fighting back the tears like a death scene in a soap opera. “This is horrible,” he dramatically expressed. “I’m so sorry this happened to you.”
“Lots of friends died to keep my identity safe,” said Knox. “And many good cops died choosing to follow that crazy bastard. They’re dead...because I failed
to stop him.”
“It’s a part of the job, son. Hundreds of us die to protect millions every day. We are needed to bring order or else utter chaos will rule the streets.” He
turned to the screen. “Seems like your department disguised your profile in case of a situation similar to this would occur and you had to explain yourself to the proper authorities. I won’t even ask why you chose such an ugly name like Zeke Tricolo.”
“I just…I want to thank you for your service. Only a man with tough skin could’ve endured such a daunting task for the time you had. Dedication is a word that’s constantly thrown around City Hall, a label they put on someone to make the public respect them. Not for a while has there been a reason to truly praise anyone for their honesty and dedication to the badge. On this day, it’s I who salute you.”
An elated Memphis Knox smirked as his eyes began to glisten. “Thank you,
“In fact, I’d like to make a proposition: how would you like to work for me?”
“Excuse me?” His eyes widened.
“I know this is the wrong time to talk business, and you don’t need to make a decision now, but I’d like for you to be the newest edition to my elite team of agents who’ve pledged their lives to restore order. Normally I’d promote within the ranks, but I know you have what it takes to do the job.”
Before Knox could answer, Lee’s cell phone buzzed. He recognized the number. An important call. “I’m sorry, but I have to take this. I shouldn’t be long. Then we’ll have you processed and out of here in no time.”
After Lee exited the office, Memphis stepped toward the window and looked down at the city he helped save, pleased to hear that he will not be going to prison because of it. He turned to look at Inspector Lee’s accolades plastered on the walls. His offer sounded tempting but was glad to be given time to think
it over. The last thing he wanted to do at this point was to go back to work. After spending some months living a quiet life, catching up on lost time with his wife, he should then have an answer.
Returning to his seat, he accidentally knocked over the desk lamp. It rolled next to a stack of boxes marked “trash.” Bending down to pick it up,
Memphis saw a picture stashed inside an opened box. It caught his attention. He recognized somebody. Feeding his curiosity, he pulled out the picture and held
it to the light. It showed Martha Combs shaking hands with Judas Lee while holding up a certificate. This was the day she got promoted to Internal Affairs. Why would such a momentous picture be thrown in the trash? Natalie told him she was murdered. Was Martha the top agent Lee referred to? He fumbled through the box and found dozens of documents: medical history, financial records, career profile. Martha Combs’ name had been listed on each one. It’s like she’s being erased from existence.
Memphis raced behind Lee’s computer. Luckily, the department database was still on screen. He searched for Martha’s name under Deceased Officers. Three files popped up, one of them being a deleted email sent to an undisclosed address. He worked his computer wizardry and overrode the delete codes, able
to retrieve the information. Although the recipient had no name, their handle was [email protected] They’ve attached a video and typed three words typed in the message box: It is done.
Memphis clicked on the attachment. The video showed surveillance footage of Martha’s crash at the railroad crossing. In horror, he witnessed how disgustingly she was executed at the hands of Cat Strutter. “Lee saw this,” he thought. “And then deleted it?” He looked back at the trashed boxes. “He’s one of them!” Immediately, he forwarded the video to his account. He then grabbed a pen and wrote down the unknown email address on a sticky note. Natalie had to know about this.
Grinning like a lottery winner, Inspector Lee re-entered his office. He was ready to make a major announcement but was surprised to see that Knox disappeared. Video still playing on his computer. Hurriedly, he deleted all opened files from his computer. Also, he found Memphis’ officer profile and deleted that as well. No law enforcement agency would know who Officer
Memphis Knox is. Sighing in disappointment, Lee got on his phone and redialed his previous call, Cornelius Wood.
Heavy chops from the helicopter blades were heard in the background as the police commissioner arrogantly answered, “Ah! That was quick! Already made up your mind about my offer?”
“That’s not why I’m calling,” Judas expressed. “We got a problem.”
“My boy, you should know by now that I don’t get problems. I get results.
However, I am sympathetic to your troubles. What seems to be the trouble?” “Knox. He’s gone.”
“So? Get him back!”
“There’s no point now. He’s seen what happened to Combs.”
Wood sighed. “Never assume that no one will have access to your junk. Always! Delete! The evidence! You, being an inspector for several years, should know that by now. Foolish.”
“Yes, sir. I apologize for my negligence.”
“Minor setback. I’ll have my people take care of him. Meanwhile, we
need to get the next flock of recruits ready. The Angelites are stronger than I’ve anticipated. Cat Strutter was one of our most elite mercenaries and look at how easily she got annihilated. I knew that idiot Hart and his band of losers would fail to make a dent in their armor.”
“With all due respect, sir, Hart was a joke since the first day he stepped foot on our territory. He was all wrong for this mission.”
“That’s the whole point, Lee. This is why I recruit the way I do. I purposely prey on the weak-minded who possess at least one laboring skill that I can exploit. And then keep them around until they are no longer any use for me.”
“At war, you never send out your strongest players first. Your foot soldiers must lead the charge before you unleash your secret weapon. This was my way of examining the height of our competition. Our next wave needs to be at full strength, ready to terminate Angelites on sight. Especially Vasquez.”
“You believe she’s still alive?”
“Oh, I know she is. And I have something special in mind once she wakes up from her nap. She’ll forever regret the decision of turning me down.”
“She’s another one who’s grown increasingly strong so quickly. I already have something devious in the works for her, too. She’ll be reunited with her nosy cousin sooner than expected. Come home. We have a lot of upcoming matters to discuss.”