The Caldera's Vice

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CHAPTER 19

Reconnaissance

“Hellhole has one less boozelegger,” Renshu said. They headed for the police station in the dark. Malone and his boys were thrown into the prison as the police station wasn’t nearly large enough to house the major criminals. Captain Price tapped her claws on the window, the city streets flickered on her skin and her uniform.

“Not who distributes the Quaph.”

“It’s no question the fraudulent names on the ledger are our supplies.”

“I can’t spend weeks sifting through the list of over forty names.”

“We might not have to. If we can determine which are those distributing Quaph from the list-”

“No,” she interrupted him with a shake of her head “she didn’t write down what the suppliers provided, only metric weight, how much money she paid and how much money she made off of it.”

It was silent between them as he stopped the car in front of the police station.

“Officer Price if there is something you’d like to tell me by all means, I’d like to hear it. Dirty air is seldom conducive for a workplace environment,” his typical pleasantness carried a warning timbre.

Virginia tapped her fingers against the glass and sighed through her nose.

“I don’t want you making bribes,” she said.

“Done.”

She turned to him, her eyes fierce, “Ever.”

“It is done, captain.”

They looked at each other. It was quiet other than the hiss of the breeze in between metal and glass.

“I’ve caught my officers bribing or taking bribes and I don’t tolerate it. Money rules this town. It’s why it’s so difficult to catch the criminals; they swim in it.. But we won’t stoop to their level. Understood?”

“Yes,” his gulp was audible and she didn’t wait for anything more before stepping out. He followed her in.

“Might I make a suggestion?” he rose a finger.

“What?”

They entered the station, a cloud of smoke drifted around three white demon patrol officers drinking and playing cards at the table.

“If you send out various officers questioning these people? Scouts, if I may use the term,” Renshu said but Price, distracted, headed over to the lounging officers.

“I don’t pay you to sit around and drink,” she snarled, a menacing pause before she snatched the tablecloth and yanked. Glass bottles shattered on the floor, spilling booze. Playing cards whipped into the air and spiraled down.

“Ah come on, Price,” one officer groaned, a pig of a white demon.

She didn’t answer him and stormed over to Welch’s desk whose typical glazed expression froze when he met hers.

“Bring me Cooke,” she said.

Renshu looked at the scramble of demons grumbling over the mess behind him. Welch’s groan brought his attention back.

“He’s in his office.”

“That wasn’t a suggestion.”

Welch nodded and left, going down the hall left of where her office was.

“Thanks for the tip, Renshu,” Virginia looked over her shoulder at him, the friendliness swept clean.

“My pleasure,” he tipped his fedora.

Welch returned with Cooke, who tipped his cap.

“Evening, Captain.”

“Cooke, I need you to send a few scouts after these suspects,” she flicked the list over, “None of the names on here are documented so you’re going to have to do a little digging.”

“Yes, ma’am. I’ll have that as soon as I can,” he saluted her and left in the lobby.

“We’ll look up the rest on the list,” Price said, urging Renshu towards the door.

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