Controversy - Bell
Official Journal: File #---16. Part 5
Red curtains, long dresses and stocky men in suits, and classical music soothing the ears explain the nature of the party. It seemed totally different from the party downstairs. A butler offered me a glass of wine, which I accepted. When he walked away, I noticed Ivan dancing with the woman next to the musicians.
"Well, aren't you smooth." I said under my breath.
"It's quite entertaining, isn't it?" Scout's voice filled my ear.
"Hey, aren't you supposed to monitoring for Stanton's location?" I said playfully with the slightest bit of edge.
"Sorry, but I I couldn't refrain from watching those two. Also, she is giving him some very interesting information."
"What do you mean?" This puzzled me. A mystery woman unexpectantly helps us out and starts giving away information?
"Well, she knows you two are from the DDS. The news report a couple of days ago probably tipped her off. Ivan is currently asking her about her personal affiliation to Stanton, and getting back some interesting details." Scout stopped for a moment to gather the information coming in. I stood quietly waiting for a response and absorbed the party around me. Stanton apparently put on these elaborate parties to appeal to his investors. This party appealed to a higher business crowd while the club party below attracted a younger, risky crowd. It was brilliant, but I had some nerves unsettled. Every once in a while, I would see unusual shadows lurk across the ground. It could be my imagination, but these shadows usually gave evidence that something bad was about to happen.
"Okay," Scout broke my line of deep thought. "It seems that this woman is actually dating Stanton."
"Really?" My sudden voice made some people glance over to me, so I tried to draw myself farther from others. "When did she start seeing him?" I pulled out a notepad and pencil to write some details down.
"About a week before Mrs. Stanton was found dead, but it sounds like they have only recently begun dating."
"So she probably knows about Barbara, and that is still a short time for anyone to get over a death of a loved one. What else?"
"Well, they have dwindled down to pleasantry. You might want to go introduce yourself right now."
"Right, will do." I tapped my earpiece and slowly made my way towards the dance floor. When I reached the two, Ivan stopped dancing and reached out to me.
"M'lady, this is my colleague, Jonathan Bell. We have spent many a long year working together solving crimes of a abstract degree." The woman put out her hand, and I gave a firm, yet gentle shake.
"I'm Missus Kane. Stephanie Kane. Pleased to meet you two fine men working to improve our city." Her voice carried a slow, smooth tone that almost seemed pleasurable to listen to.
I thought best to start asking questions. "Yes, thank you ma'm. Unfortunately, we are here because Mr. Stanton is a suspect in a murder of Barbara Stanton. Could you direct us to where he is located?"
Kane moved her eyes to the floor and sighed. She returned her sight to me. "I see. I knew this case would eventually come back to Roger." She turned and pointed at some doors on the other side of the room. "Through there, take a left, and at the end of the hall is where you will find Roger's office. He might be taking a call right now. Also, mind the guards at the door. You might have to do a bit of..." her voice lowered for a moment. "convincing."
"Great, thanks." I tipped my hat, and Ivan and I headed towards the hallway.
"Scout, this is Ivan," he said softly. "Where are the guards, and why didn't you find Stanton in the room that Stephanie pointed out?"
"Well, the camera in that room has nothing inside, but it may be running a loop. I can do a system scan to check for any-" Scout was cut off by Ivan.
"No. Right now, tell us how many guards are station outside of his office."
"I've got two burly men standing at the door."
"Thanks." Ivan tapped his ear, and we turned the corner. We could see the men standing at a door to the right side down the hall. When we approached, they crossed their arms and growled. "We're the DDS," said I, flashing my badge. "We need to speak with Roger Stanton immediately."
"Mr. Stanton doesn't like many strangers just poppin' in and suprisin' him. I think you boys betta' go 'ome before you wet ya' pants." The guard had a bit of a rattle in his voice. While intimidating, we stood adamantly.
"Sir, we need to get into that room now. Move aside!" I started to raise my voice, yet the man just chuckled at me.
Ivan took initiative and grabbed the second man by the neck and head butted him. Before I could even begin throwing a punch, the first guard slapped my right arm with a nightstick. Flinching, my body convulsed towards the right side, and my left fist met his face. My leg also followed with a sweep to his legs, which made him fall on his backside against the wall. Ivan took his stunned guard and forced him into his thrusting knee, which knocked the air out of him. My right arm stinging with pain, I forced my left foot into the gruff man's abdomen twice, then once between his legs. I finally sent my right knee against the side of his chin, and knocked him unconscious with blood dripping down from his nose. When my man fell, Ivan gathered massive force within himself and forced the guard against the door, bashing it open. I entered the room and spotted Stanton at his desk, who looked shocked due to our entry. "Hands up, DD- augh!" My right arm killed me. A shot of electric pain burned my arm when I tried to pull my revolver from my suit. Ivan tossed the guard onto the floor and pulled his weapon, finishing my command.
"Hands up, no sudden movements. You talk and give us answers, or you get to ride the wagon tonight, got it?" Ivan's voice hissed at the man, who stood amazed by our entry, but not fearful of our presence.
"Right, you boys aught to be ashamed of yourselves bursting into a man's workplace like this."
"Tell that to your dead wife, who's only hope of justice is the organization that the two men before you represent." I was quick to respond, with a little too much emphasis on the fact that we were men. This tipped the man off.
"And what? You's think you'll just waltz right in here, break down my doors, and ask permission to start asking questions? You're out of your mind." Roger motioned to red button on the keypad of his phone. "I hope you don't mind, but I'll be calling security now to get you two knuckleheads out of my office so that I can work."
"Yet you still have questions to answer from us, and we can take down any guards you send us." Ivan challenged Stanton.
"Yeah right. Look at your buddy big guy." He pointed at me. I was holding my arm now, and instinctively wincing at the throbs of pain. "He can't draw his stupid gun 'cause a guy at my door gave him a good whack. I'll let the guys with body armor take you down and throw you in a dumpster for the night."
Scout hurriedly spoke into our comm channel. "Hey, these are not idle threats. I have visual on a security room that has large men with significant weapons at their disposal." Scout paused for a second and changed her voice. "But hold out a bit longer, help is on the way."
Ivan kept his pistol drawn and pointed at Stanton. "Sir, if you do not comply, I will disable you without a second though. Now sit down so that you and I can act like decent gentlemen and not roughhousing-"
"Kids?" Stanton interrupted. "I've said this, but you barged in here, not me. The only way you kiddie detectives could even touch me is if you had a warrant."
"-And they do." I turned towards the doorway, surprised. Sionne and another woman stood in the doorway. Sionne had on a long red dress and led another woman into the room. She wore a fancy jacket with tall black boots. "Ivan. Jonathan. This is Kathrine. She's my contact that can provide... access to locations that requires the cities's highest security clearance."
I nodded my head slowly, and Ivan gave his un-welcoming stare. He didn't seem too pleased that Sionne barged in us. Bringing a friend probably caused some more discomfort for him as well.
"What? No! Kathrine O'Neal?" Stanton seemed pretty upset as he stepped away from his phone towards Kathrine. "You're that stupid, corrupt bitch that keeps warranting my firm to be cleared by police! When I-" Stanton had started to point his finger accusingly at Karthine, but she politely interrupted with a killer slap to his face.
"Call me that again, and I'll have so many sick crime charges credited to your name that you'll get killed in jail faster than you paid your way out of my court." She slammed the physical warrant for our entry onto his desk, practically causing the whole room to shake. "And don't you DARE talk corruption to me Stanton," she said spitting in face with the vicious pronunciation. "because I know you're waist deep in it."
Stanton stood shaking and white faced, daring glances and Ivan, Sionne, and I. Kathrine walked over to me and pulled up a chair. She gently forced me into the chair and knelt next to me. "One of those Thrashers hit you in your arm?" I still must have been holding my arm in a weird way for her to notice. She began making a sling for it out of the scarf she had around her neck.
Sionne sauntered over to Stanton. "You ready to answer some questions Mr. Stanton?" Ivan began to shift in protest but I gave him a stern look. Sionne might be a bit more effective with extracting information from him.
He leaned down and got in her face. "I don't need to tell you anything." A sudden kick from Sionne's boot embed itself above Stanton's knee. He cried out in immense pain as he collapsed to the ground. She took her hand and grabbed his throat, pulling him upwards until his face was slightly below hers.
"Thought so. Why kill your wife Roger? Why leave her in the park?"
"I didn't..." the man let out a quiet cough. "kill... my wife".
"Right now, it seems indubitably possible. For argument's sake, why would you kill your wife?"
Stanton started to say "Why would I answer that?", but Sionne's choke forced him to respond correctly. "We've been having a hard time in the marriage. I'm trying to expand my company to other nations, and she wanted to settle down out west somewhere."
"Did you remorse? Seems like your new date might disagree." Sionne quizzed. I shot a glace at Ivan again. Scout must have told Sionne about the information given to him through Stephanie. Ivan began tightening the gloves on his hands, a pure sign that he was becoming very frustrated and angry. He usually handled interrogations, and I believe that Sionne's intrusion had started pushing Ivan over the edge of his cool demeanor.
"Yes... of course. I... Stephanie was the only way I was to... cope..." Stanton said, gasping for air under Sionne's grip.
"Do you expect me to believe that?"
"Ask the lady yourself, you might be surprised." When Stanton started to smile, Sionne gripped her nails into his neck, causing him to screech a bit.
"So, where were you when she died? Do you have an alibi?" Sionne finally loosened her grip to allow Stanton to speak properly.
"I was in a conference with... investors." said Stanton, still recovering breath.
"But records show that you were on a plane down to the islands. Not much of a conversation with investors, eh?"
"Look, I don't know watcha talking about-"
Ivan took steps forward and added a question. "We have evidence that your wife was killed by a narcotic or chemical. Are you willing to speak to your personal experience with creating your own substances, Mr. Stanton? Or am I going to have to beat it out of you?"
"Go to Hell." Ivan leaped forward and back-handed Stanton out of Sionne's hold, forcing Stanton to the ground. Before Ivan could land another hit on him, Sionne grabbed his shoulders and blocked him.
"Please Ivan, this is already hard enough!"
"We could interrogate him without you getting in the way!" Ivan's voice turned from hissing to full out thunder and pure anger. "He has us spinning around when he clearly has the answers hidden from plain sight. Why the lies, the elaborate parties, the guards? My technique is refined to extract proper information, and I need to do this, without you getting in the way for once!"
"Ivan, let Sionne do her thing." He turned to me, breathing heavily. His presence had frightened or disturbed everyone in the room. Scout had even silenced herself over the comm channel. He turned quickly and walked to the window, which he put his hand on and refrained from any other confrontation. Sionne took a new approach; she helped Roger sit up on the ground and started speaking in a very low, sweet voice.
"Look, I need you to tell me if you have any experience with chemical production. That's all I really need to know, and we can get let you be without any more pain."
Stanton looked angrily around at us, and turned to view Ivan, who stood still staring out the window. "Well... I have no real experience, but the man who trains my men might."
"Yeah, the guards. Thrasher mercenaries trained by Igor Haorat. Stern fellow, involved with gangs a bit, but I've heard he has some special training with potions and drinks."
"Thank you." Sionne said, helping Stanton up. "I'm going to call for medical assistance to assist you and your two men. You know you can't sue because of Kathrine, right?" Stanton grumbled as if to bluntly say "yes". She walked him over to his seat and signaled for everyone to leave. "Ivan" she said gently. He adjusted his hat, turned, and coldly walked out the office door without a word. I stood, in my new sling, and followed him out.
The three of us followed him to the elevator. I noticed how Stephanie looked at us blankly. I was not sure if she knew what had happened, but I hope she realized that we had to do our jobs, and that meant roughing up a man who refused to talk to us. When at the elevator, we all entered and let the doors shut, burying everyone in a dim light.
"You shouldn't have come." Ivan said. I was about to confront him, but Sionne beat me to it.
"For your information, we received another lead that you would have not found if you simply acted on your impulses." She paused for a moment, considering the risk of opening another question to Ivan. She rendered the risk was worth the result. "Do you always operate like this? Beating the life from suspects?"
"I could have taken care of everything in a reasonable fashion, but you have provided little to our company of detectives other than breaking down our set routine." Ivan calmly stated.
"So you think that I'm the issue here? You seem to think that I'm getting in your way, but the fact is that I've contributed quite a lot to this investigation. I could just check on you guys to make sure you do something other than assaulting suspects, but I have given my own time to assist in your endevours. Yet you reward my efforts with dry criticism and silent disapproval " Sionne challenged Ivan with her cry for justice, yet he did not answer. For once, I felt new emotions stemming from him, because he felt nervous and uncomfortable. I experienced the trauma with him, somehow feeling the guilt that he had suddenly discovered through Sionne's truthful words. I gave he a little nudge to him with my left elbow. No nudge back.
For a couple of floors, silence plagued the group. The women had nothing to say to Ivan, and he stood, silently dealing with guilt and anger at the same time. I kept to myself due to the throbbing pain from my arm, and I felt like a conversation with Ivan might be more appropriate in the confines of my office. When we passed floor twelve, a sudden shriek ripped apart our eardrums. I held my head with my left arm, and realized that Ivan and Sionne had heard the same shriek die to their reactions.
"What's wrong?" Kathrine asked.
Sionne shot me a glance. "Is the elevator shattering, or is that a Departed?" After she said this, soft whimpering could be heard. Ivan dipped his head and began whispering, trying to calm the spirit. Floor eleven blinked above the door, and shadows started crawling all over the floor.
"Kathrine," I said, trying to remain cool from the freakish shadows crawling at my feet. "stop at floor 10". She nodded and clicked the button.
Scout piped over the comm in my ear. "Hey guys, you're going to want to stop at floor 10." Just as she said this, the sign above the door blinked 10 and gave a loud "ding". "There's something you should see."
The doors opened, and Coraline stood with her camera crew, giving some kind of exclusive report. We stepped out as the moaning from the Departed continued. But it wasn't just one. The moaning and tears of three and conjured that deafening sound in the elevator. A crowd gathered at the center of the dance floor, and panic filled everyone's eyes. "Step aside, sir, step aside, step back-" Ivan started to shove through the crowd to reach the dance floor. Suddenly, the cries stopped as Ivan reached a clearing. I stepped out next to him, and saw the three dead bodies laying in pools of blood.