The Nefarious Mr. X

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Chapter 22

22

The next afternoon, the sun was high with a cloudless horizon, coating the Toronto skyline with a warm afterglow having dried most of nature’s all-encompassing graffiti of dew with an enveloping brush of sunlight.

Like all afternoons, Captain Vertigo was in his office, leaning back in his chair, his polished black shoes sitting on the corner of his desk. At his fingertips was a steaming brew of fresh coffee his secretary had placed in his cup holder.

In his hand he was reading the afternoon news which inevitably concluded with him muttering derogatory remarks under his breath about the Leafs.

He reached across his desktop, grasped his mug and took a gulp and grimaced. Swallowing hard and glaring at his cup, he sputtered as if choking. “If I find out who’s putting vanilla into the coffee, heads are going to roll.” He spat out something unintelligible and resumed drinking the same beverage, frowning with each mouthful.

The phone rang on his desk, a piercing whine which brought him out of his sport heavy haze.

He had already settled two community complaints, one B&E argument over jurisdiction within the city’s bureaus, divisible at one time and now a mega city, and chastised a clerk for having lost a vital file for the crown attorney. What was left?

It rang again.

Vertigo sighed.

Peering in the direction of his phone, not yet moving, he imagined what life would be like without communications. Peaceful he surmised.

The unit was a twenty-line mechanism with numerous flashing lights, a four inch digital display and computer link to several departments throughout his kingdom. Vertigo had over two hundred officers under his command, fifty six detectives and the administrative support of another hundred, all within reach at the push of a button.

On the third ring, he put down his paper, turned to the screen and saw it was a call from his counterpart at the OPP, Captain James Madison.

Madison rarely called in the afternoon unless to complain. Usually it was mornings, but he rarely missed an opportunity to throw a hornet’s nest in the direction of his competing agencies whenever the chance availed itself.

Vertigo picked up the handset with a quick gesture, rolling the receiver over his nimble wrist, while wolfing down another gullet of vanilla tainted coffee.

He spoke with humour, but layered by authority. “Now what the Hell did I do to get a call from you this late in the day?”

Vertigo listened for a few minutes, his face starting to soften, then frown. “I think that would be a mistake.”

Vertigo rarely let anyone take control of a conversation, but whatever news was being relayed had him momentarily silenced. “I see.”

Vertigo drummed his fingers on his desk.

“No, I don’t doubt the accuracy of your investigators, but I certainly hope you’re not implying any wrong doing on MINE!” Vertigo snapped with a touch of venom. “Yes, I do appreciate you brought this to me first and not IA, but I suspect you brought it to me as you know the history of this detective and must have some reservations about its authenticity.”

After a few seconds, Vertigo’s features deepened. “I’m sorry about that. Any cop lost, regardless of their social proclivities, is still a loss to us all, but I find your explanation...”

Vertigo came ramrod straight in his chair, pulled up to his desk, his coffee cooling with the lowering temperature in the room. “That’s an interesting opinion, but nothing more than that. There’s no way one of my men lied about his witness testimony to ensure you released the suspect so he’d get a personal crack at him. Assault or not.”

Vertigo clenched his fists, his face hardening into steel, as regardless of his friendship with Madison, no one challenged his officers. “Yes, I do resent the implication. Did you do a ballistics match?”

Vertigo looked up to ensure his office door was closed.

“And you confirmed this with our database as well? I see. Well since you only just discovered the body last night, I think you’re rushing to a conclusion based on the small amount of evidence examined….”

Vertigo had picked up a pencil from his tray and was twirling it with his fingers to give them something to do. He found himself suddenly filled with energy. “I understand, based on the circumstances you’d have expedited all the preliminaries, but I suggest you only rush the work, not the theories.”

The pencil snapped in his fingers. “Let me assure you, I didn’t get picked for this post because I like to warm my ass in leather chairs. Did you?” Vertigo was holding his temper, but barely.

“Yes. I admit, it warrants a review. I have every intention of it.” A much longer pause. Vertigo was cooling down as whatever he was being told was overwhelming him. “I would want one of my forensic analysts confirming this before you make it public. I assume you can courier it…”

Vertigo looked chastened. “Of course he’s welcome to bring it down himself and observe the analysis. ‘Observe’ being the operative word.”

Vertigo listened and snarled. “I’d recommend you do just that until I investigate this myself. I want to make damn sure this isn’t some Public Relations blunder to try and cut our funding and bolster your own.”

Silence. “Yes, I meant what I said.”

“Really?” Vertigo squinted his eyes. “I’d sure hate to have any of my IA investigation files into a few of your OPP officers accidently getting lost in the shuffle and finding their way over to GTNN. One wrong address label and voilà, headlines.”

Vertigo taking back his command in the conversation. “I agree. You cool your jets for twenty four hours and I’ll light a fire under mine. Have your detective come over here with the evidence and we’ll….”

Vertigo continued to listen as he stared out his window into the bustling office, something catching his attention. He looked at his phone and shot back. “Have you ever heard me say bullshit before? If not... then Bullshit!

Rising from his desk, making space for his lungs to really yell, Vertigo was positive of what he was seeing. Peering onto the busy floor of his department, he smiled when he spotted it. “Look. I’ll call you right back. I see the man you’re referring to and I’ll ask him for myself. Then we’ll both call you back and clear this up.”

Vertigo slammed down the phone and moved toward his closed office door.

He needed some answers and needed them now.

And luckily, the man in question had arrived.

*****************

Catherine was drinking her café Latte, its warm cinnamon flavour filling her nostrils with the memory of childhood romps in Spenser Smith Park during the Burlington Sound of Music Festival. Dreams of nutmeg layered nuts roasting away on street vendor’s barbeques, perfectly crisped when her dad bought her a bag, the paper still moist with oil.

Waking up from her conscious dream, she glared at Corigan’s empty chair when his phone rang again.

She refused to answer it.

Hers was annoying her enough.

She focused on his side of the desk. She hated seeing it empty. She admitted, she missed having him at the office. He had an effect on people, sometimes annoying, but most of the time, entertaining.

Time flowed so fast with him and the job seemed better for it.

And where the Hell was he? And what the Hell was he up to?

She hated not knowing. She knew she could not keep up with his creativity, but she could certainly go toe to toe with his investigating. She had the feeling he was protecting her from something.

And she knew damn well he was not sitting at home watching reruns of the bionic man as suggested nor lathering up female oil wrestlers before a big match.

She wondered where he came up with this nonsense.

Rubbing her hands on her slacks, speckles of tape epoxy rolled off her fingertips and onto the floor after hours of re-taping.

She had originally removed the Beckham photos from the office the night before, but the sudden flurry created by Corigan’s frame up theory in the media forced her to replace them, this time with added notes and phone numbers for the reporters as she was forced to return calls in order to quash these rumours.

She suspected Corigan was behind this foray of media fireworks, lighting the fuse and running, exactly his style.

But she also knew he would never admit it, unless his hunch proved true.

However with all this workload he created, she kept asking herself what had he hoped to accomplish except to piss her off and slow down the ‘actual’ investigation.

At this rate, they would still be working it by the time he returned.

Beckham was now back in a red file, front and centre for her to work, but all the crap that came with it was dumped on her desk, and hers alone, to shovel about as needed.

When he returned, she planned to put a boot up his ass.

There was a commotion outside her office door.

Turning in the direction of a crying woman looking for her missing husband of three hours, Catherine spotted the unexpected.

What the devil are you doing here?’ She asked herself.

Rising from her desk, she smirked.

Well, look what the cat dragged in.

Guess he couldn’t live without me after all.

*****************

Officer Garenne has been a desk jockey with the Toronto Police Force since the day he was hired fourteen years ago and he never complained once. He had no desire to walk the beat, shoot it out with drug dealers, drive cruisers at high speeds with the sirens howling, pursue leads nor book criminals.

He was in it for the mercifully sweet administration and documentation.

He liked paperwork, plain and simple.

Sitting at his desk, he was a small man, thin and wiry, sporting short blonde hair and small spectacles that sat on a cherub shaped face.

Officer Garenne was not what one would describe as a social officer. He never smiled to anyone, offered a hearty handshake nor even a nod of acknowledgement. But he received attention all the time.

When you needed something filed, copied, printed or found, he was always sought for his expertise.

But outside of that, no one ever noticed him.

But today, Garenne found it odd when the detective passed his desk and never even gave him a haphazard glance. Not that he cared, but this detective always smiled at him, each day without reciprocation, so this was a first.

But then again, the man had been suspended for a week.

Paid vacation is what the force liked to call it

Garenne called it ‘File Form F-14’ for involuntary vacation and ‘File Form P-47’ for maintaining pay, salary and benefits whilst on said vacation.

Garenne watched the detective move, like a man on a mission.

The other odd thing he noticed, there was no expression in his face.

His eyes were almost empty.

“What’s his beef?” Garenne whispered to himself. “Definitely not acting like himself today.”

*****************

Cops are a suspicious lot.

Not suspicious in the way they are always paranoid, watching every person and thinking they were all planning some form of criminal activity. But when out in the field, they were tethered by a spider thin thread of forbearance which was always at ready to shake, sending shudders up the web and alerting them to unforeseen danger.

But in the safety of their base, their fortress of solitude as it were, surrounded by a wall of blue, they could let their guard go just a little bit.

They were among friends and colleagues after all.

What was the worst that could happen?

*****************

As Catherine stepped out of her office, she turned in the direction of Vertigo as he departed his, his face focused and tyrannical.

She froze as her fashion senses took a deep quake as she saw Vertigo’s tie was actually made of real wood, bamboo reeds, painted with Chinese calligraphy, hand drawn in iChing patterns.

She rolled her eyes and tried to imagine how such a tie could be sold in public and the police not being called.

The man seemed to lack any sense of decorum whatsoever.

She assumed it was early senility.

*****************

Vertigo was about to open his mouth and yell to the detective to get his ass over there when he realized the detective was walking directly to his office.

Dropping by to beg to come back? Vertigo guessed.

Once a cop, always a cop.

Vertigo smiled knowing what he was just told was utter nonsense.

Then the detective stopped where he was as he too spotted Vertigo.

Vertigo was not feeling patient right now and was about to demand an answer to his question. ’What the Hell are you doing here?

He motioned to the detective to come to his office. Then in utter disbelief, Vertigo watched as the detective reached into his jacket.

Two seconds later, all Hell broke loose.

*****************

Catherine knew something was wrong.

Wrong from the moment she saw McAllistor across the expanse of the station. He was dressed as he always was, black dress pants neatly pressed, a dark grey turtleneck with a wool double breasted business blazer and cowboy boots.

He appeared to be missing one of his lucky superhero pins from his blazer lapel.

Rarely did this ever happen.

He still had the slightly yellow rimmed bruise healing on his face, but she could swear, he was wearing make-up.

Arrogant jerk, she grinned. Make-up?

She was going to rub his face in it.

Corigan was too vain to go out looking ‘damaged.’

And what a piss poor job of covering it up at that. It almost seemed to declare, ‘Look at me.’

But she noticed something else was off.

She felt the hairs on the back of her neck prickle. She casually looked around the office trying to figure out the source of what was disconcerting her. Two officers were chatting to themselves, one senior was napping on a wooden bench waiting for community services and a homeless man was complaining about a loitering violation.

She couldn’t put her finger on it. Everything looked normal.

Except Corigan.

His eyes were all wrong.

They were Corigan’s eyes alright, same brightness of colour, same shape and focus, but they were missing something.

Something vital. Something… alive.

She had no idea what was wrong with him until she saw him lock eyes with the Captain.

McAllistor froze mid office and did something she never in a million years would have believed.

He reached into his jacket for his shoulder holster with the speed of a cheetah.

An action in the field which would get a criminal shot ‘Dead to rights.’

But he was in the middle of a police station, his police station, with all his friends and essentially, his family.

And being they all knew and trusted Corigan, no one would be ready for this sudden and absolutely insane action.

Adrenaline started to flow.

Catherine knew time was slowing down for her as this was how it always felt when in battle.

In slow motion, McAllistor drew his weapon and Catherine’s world turned upside down.

*****************

Vertigo was a seasoned veteran.

Battle tested, tried and true.

So when McAllistor reached into his jacket, all of Vertigo’s war torn memories, cycles of neurons and synapses of long forgotten challenges flooded his brains, his muscles and his tendons jolting with energy, power and oxygenated blood.

Vertigo may be behind a desk, but he was a man you never trifled with. Once the testosterone raged into his system, he felt as young as a teenager and just as limber.

He would suffer for it later, but at least he would be alive to feel it.

As McAllistor drew his gun, Vertigo was diving for cover.

Vertigo dropped backwards, rolling on his back and into his office. Within two seconds, he was behind the safety of century old walls, when buildings were constructed with brick and mortar, not gypsum and paper.

The first gunshot rocked the station and blew out the Captain’s windows. Vertigo found himself covered in shattered glass as it rained from above.

A crystal shower of minuscule shrapnel laced his exposed skin.

Vertigo felt no pain. He was in the moment as his feet pushed him deeper into his private sanctum.

Vertigo knew, whatever had driven Corigan to this madness, he still held his tactical skills as he was not rushing the office in an attempt to get a quick kill.

Vertigo had a few precious seconds.

Though Vertigo did not always have his gun on his person, as it tended to dampen the political peacekeeping appearance, it was never far from reach.

Within those seconds, Vertigo had snaked across the floor, cutting his knees and palms on shards of glass, pivoting around his desk, which he now thanked the Gods for its thick wooden shielding, he upended it as a blockade.

Reaching under the panel, he withdrew his Glock, pulled the slide, as he polished and cleaned his weapon daily like any seasoned officer would, and tightened his grip.

A round slid into the chamber.

Vertigo smiled. “You want a gun fight partner. I’ll give you one.”

*****************

Catherine’s body was like fluid. Muscle and speed moving in tandem as she flowed from her office door to behind a loadbearing pole in the middle of the room.

McAllistor had the advantage of surprise.

But Catherine was by no means a pushover. Within the microseconds it took her to gain cover, her weapon was drawn, chambered and ready to return fire.

She knelt quickly, hoping to drop to one knee and shoot back. But before she could do that, a second gunshot blasted through the station.

Catherine felt a hot tingling as the second bullet grazed the wall just above her, heat burning her scalp as it nearly ended her life.

‘My God.’ Catherine thought horrified, ‘He meant to kill me with that shot. Corigan, what the Hell has happened to you?’

Enraged by the prospect of an early departure into the great beyond, Catherine snapped back into reality. “I can ask you all the questions I want later, and if I must, I’ll get an Ouija board to do it.”

With that Catherine spun, arced her arms and prepared to return fire.

*****************

Officer Jacob Burton was a young officer in the scheme of things, five weeks out of the academy, just having had his first baby boy two weeks ago.

Regrettably, that was the last of his good fortune.

He grabbed his revolver as the second shot resonated.

Gun in hand, he stood up to defend his station, directly into the line of the shooter’s fire.

A third gunshot roared.

Burton felt a hot sensation in his nose, his cheek, then blessedly, nothing more after that.

His newborn son just lost his father.

*****************

Another officer raced into the chaos.

A young Malcolm Forbes, small in stature, big in frame and full of inexperience.

He had his gun drawn, his shoulders hunched and his weapon held tight in a two handed grip when he spotted Detective McAllistor leaning up against the pilaster.

He heard the first three shots from the hall and was shoving screaming civilians aside as they escaped.

Forbes yelled out, “What the Hell is going on?”

McAllistor exited the main war room, into the hall, turning to Forbes as he passed. He gave the young officer a small smirk. “Detective McPhail was just determined to be the one who framed Beckham by Internal Affairs.”

Forbes was floored.

He liked Detective McPhail. That and she was hot. “Really?”

“Fucking right really!” McAllistor replied with fury.

Forbes felt verbally slapped by the anger in McAllistor’s voice.

And crime was crime.

Some people gave in to temptation, no matter how hot they were.

McAllistor continued. “She just killed another officer when we tried to arrest her. I’m going downstairs to get SWAT. Whatever you do, don’t let her get past you. You have my authority to shoot to kill if you must.”

Forbes felt a vindictive rage flow through him.

She killed one of her own co-workers. She wasn’t walking out of here if he had anything to say about it.

“Aye, aye sir.” Forbes replied.

McAllistor grinned. “Good man.”

*****************

Catherine saw McAllistor race for the exit.

She knew full well in a station full of cops, you couldn’t expect to start a fire fight and stay long.

She rose and drew a bead.

She swore she heard someone cheering for her.

But within those seconds, another bullet ricocheted off the desk and she felt the second hot burn of the day, this time in her shoulder.

Luckily, it just nicked her.

But it was enough to take her aim off McAllistor’s departing form.

She descended back for cover, screaming in defiance, even more shocked as she knew this bullet had not been fired by Corigan.

“What the FUCK?!” She screamed. “Has everyone gone fucking insane?!!”

*****************

Vertigo was up and sprinting for his office door. He rolled quickly, extending his leg and slamming it with force. The hard solid oak door walloped into the frame with power, shaking framed pictures from the wall, several unshot ones dropped and broke.

Had anyone not already been in a gunfight, them breaking would have sounded surprising.

Vertigo was on his knees, looking over the rim of his window frame as McAllistor bolted from the office.

He watched Catherine rise, taking aim on McAllistor’s back.

“Atta girl!” Vertigo shouted.

Then he watched in confusion as another officer at the front of the room targeted Catherine and fired.

Vertigo wasn’t sure what was going on, but after that spectacle, he stood, took aim and fired back in reflex, striking the officer in the shoulder.

Vertigo couldn’t believe it.

McAllistor was getting away and other officers were helping him.

Vertigo stood straight up and bellowed across the office, a voice which sounded like the thunder of the Gods, Zeus himself atop Mount Olympus demanding tribute from his followers. “The next officer who fires his weapon is out of a job! And after I fire you, I’m going to shoot you myself!”

Regardless of what transpired seconds before, what people were told and the true assailant was getting away, everyone trusted and feared Captain Vertigo.

Within moments of hearing his powerful voice, the sounds of the firefight came to an immediate halt.

The smell of cordite, burnt wood, blood and sweat filled the nostrils of everyone.

Vertigo threw open his door and was racing from his office, his face trickling with blood and sparkling glass. He pointed to the back exit door, the one McAllistor departed by, and yelled. “AFTER HIM!”

*****************

In the hall, chaos was rampant.

Staff was running amok, cops were in motion, civilians were clogging the corridors and everyone was blaming everyone.

Nothing like this had ever happened in this station before.

And yet, McAllistor was slipping down the halls with the ease of a wraith.

As he passed a scurrying group of visiting accountants from the internal taxation department, all with fear laden faces, armed with only pencils and calculators for defense, he casually slid his hand over an emergency lever for the fire alarms.

Within a second, he pulled it down and even more chaos flushed throughout the building.

*****************

A loud ringing tore through the building, followed by people yelling and screaming, “Oh my God. It’s a fire!”

Whatever safety drills had been practiced, repeated and instilled into the staff, none ever included a scenario when they would have a gun fight AND a four-alarm fire in the same few minutes.

Panic and terror were the order of the day.

Vertigo was leading a pack of detectives down the human filled halls which consisted of Catherine, Lakos and Mohinder, a vice detective only in the office for a casual drop by. But when Vertigo pointed at you with the order to join him, you damn well did.

They all raced, with care and caution, down the war torn halls, with strict orders to bring McAllistor down, by whatever means necessary.

When the fire alarm went off, Vertigo’s face almost whitened.

He shouted, “Fuck no.”

Mohinder, who was five four, had dark skin and a swimmers build, ran up to Vertigo, weapon at his side and a look of confusion. “Fuck no… What?”

Within seconds of the alarm, the age old fire sprinkler system went off.

Besides being obscured by panicked people and rushing staff, they now had to contend with the raging flow of pouring water over their heads.

Vertigo was more determined now. Gunning forward, he swore, “By God Corigan, when I get my hands on you…”

*****************

Drug Administration Officer Sable Myers, a pretty young thing in the eyes of most of the department, was exiting her office when the alarms started to shake the walls.

She saw herself in the reflection of her office door and brushed at her hair. She was blonde, blue eyed, 5’4” and perfect in shape and dimension. She tussled a touch of loose curls until the torrential rain poured from the valves above, dampening her costly perm.

She was about to swear when she saw a silhouette moving toward her.

In those few seconds, she saw it was that handsome detective from Special Investigations.

She was about to call him over when she saw he was heading for the door at the end of the hall for which she was exiting.

She smiled.

She then saw his face.

It was like it was melting away. His grey jacket and blazer was laced with thin rivulets of creamy skin pastels.

She could still see him, but something was off.

She then frowned as he raised his weapon.

She would have screamed, but the sound of the gunshot overshadowed it.

She would have dived for cover, but the projectile passing through her skull left her without a means to do so as by the time the hollow shelled tip hit her brain, all motor functions had ceased.

She never even saw the detective escape down the stairs, at least not from this world.

*****************

In the stairwell, Officers Robert Radway and Cynthia Adams were hot in pursuit of the action.

Best of friends, frequently called Officers West and East internally as they seemed polar opposites of one another, yet inseparable, were racing up the stairs with hopes in their eyes of joining a firefight.

‘Save a detective, Become one.’ They thought.

They were young and full of piss and vinegar.

By the time they reached the second floor stairwell, they were passing the detective from Special Investigations on his way down.

He was wiping his face, using his elbow to cover shreds of what looked like torn skin. His clothes were soaked and dirty. In his hand he was carrying his weapon, but at his side to denote non-aggression.

He saw them right away and spoke and he continued down. “We have a rogue cop on the floor above. Killed two officers so far. I’m retrieving SWAT. Under no circumstances are you to let anyone get past you. Do you understand me? No one.”

Both officers knew he was their senior officer and when he gave them an order, unless superseded by a higher ranking detective, they were to do it without question.

“Yes sir.” They repeated.

The detective smiled and resumed his trek.

Both of them took guarded positions on the stairs, one flanking the other to enforce their barrier.

By God, no one was getting past them.

It was promotion time.

And by the time the third floor doors were kicked open above, McAllistor was long gone and out of earshot when the gunfire initiated.

*****************

Vertigo was getting tired of being shot at by the men under his command.

When they kicked open the door, wiped the water off their faces after finding another dead body in McAllistor’s wake, they found themselves under a heavy barrage of weapon’s fire.

Catherine was at the door jamb, Lakos was coiled and ready to spring from the rear, but Mohinder took a shot to the kneecap when he fell forward into the railing as the officers from below took their first shots.

The air was filled with shot after shot as both officers below emptied their clips, yet separately, giving the other an opportunity to reload. They were definitely less experienced as they were exhausting their bullets too quickly without making good shots.

Luckily for the team of detectives above.

But precious time was being lost and there was not enough of it to find another way down.

And the detectives were given strict orders by Vertigo not to fire unless absolutely necessary as the Captain knew full well Corigan was using his influence to convince good cops to make bad decisions and they were handicapped by their own need to protect and serve.

While the second clip was being shoved in below, there was a lull in the shooting, which Vertigo took advantage of. Once again he commanded down the stairwell, like a typhoon. “This is Captain Vertigo.”

There was a pause as his voice was unmistakable.

“And unless both of you want to spend the rest of your careers pulling over tricycles at local daycares for sidewalk violations, you’ll holster those FUCKING weapons right NOW!”

An eerie silence filled the air, followed by the words, in unison. “They’re holstered… SIR!”

The next words the two officers heard were. “Go, go, go!”

As Vertigo reached the lobby minutes later, the detectives hot in pursuit, all of them having been slowed down three more times by officers ordered to delay them by firing upon them, all of which had assumed these were orders from their commander in Special Investigations, McAllistor’s vehicle had crashed through the police parking lot barricade and was gone.

Initial reports showed someone had activated a cell phone / radio signal inhibitor in proximity to the building to prevent internal communications, which is why Vertigo had been unable to call down for blockades. Currently the tech team was investigating.

Calls were also coming in. The parking structure and several cruisers were sabotaged, either in the form of metal spikes under tires, pins shoved into door lock mechanisms preventing insertion of keys or potatoes shoved into exhaust pipes to cause failure to the combustion engines to prevent pursuit.

And worst of all, based on security footage, they were baffled to believe one of their own had done the destruction before entering the building.

Vertigo was not surprised.

It was why he considered Corigan one of his best.

He thought of everything.

But the final coupe de grace was Vertigo being told by the parking lot attendant, Officer Cheston Myers, one month from retirement, had been mortally wounded in the attempt to stop Corigan from escaping.

Furious, soaking wet, bleeding and moreover, dumbfounded, the Captain snapped to his two remaining detectives, Catherine and Lakos. “First the case, then the attack, a murder right in front of him and now this…!!!!”

Tempering his words, but knowing they must be said, he turned to Lakos. “Put out a warrant for McAllistor’s arrest. I don’t know what the Hell is going on here and I don’t much less care, but no one kills three cops in this station and walks away breathing because of it.”

*****************

Catherine was in a state of shock, but a vision blazed across her thoughts.

Beckham, Albom… All claiming to be framed by someone who looked just like them?

Now Corigan? Was this possible?

It was too impossible to believe… yet?

She needed to talk to Corigan and fast.

*****************

Taking a deep breath, Vertigo bellowed one last time to everyone in the lobby. “Can’t anyone turn off this fucking sprinkler system already?!” Then holding a second more, he added, “And while you’re at it…. BRING ME CORIGAN MCALLISTOR!”

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