Saturday, May 18, 2013

Breakdown - Author Bell - Part 3

    Breakdown - Bell

Official Journal - File #---20. Part 3

    Kathrine and Scout had shock and worry expressed on their faces. I was in disbelief about Anders' history and our interactions with her. I started speaking, "So, I say we need to get to that warehouse. You never know, maybe Anders knows about Igor."

    "But Shade sounds like he's going to be a problem, don'tcha think?" Kathrine mentioned. I nodded my head.

    "Yes, but its a risk we're going to have to take. I don't know who this guy is, but I now I"m ready for him." I instinctively patted my left side to check for my revolver. Scout and Kathrine traded concerned glances, unsure of my confidence. Harrow burst into the room with more concern on her face.

    "Another body."
    "Damnit! Where?"

    "Some rookies stumbled on him at the park. Almost the same location as Mrs. Stanton."  While terrible news with Anders being held hostage, the new body actually seemed to revive a spark of passion within me.

    "Really? If that's true, then there must be something close to there that must trigger some sort of reaction within the body..."

    "So we need to examine the area for paranormal activity?" Harrow asked.

    "Precisely. Sionne, Scout, I need you two to get out there and find any information. If anything feels out of place, find out what it is. We need in depth information. Kathrine and I need to head to a warehouse across town.We've got business with Stanton's girlfriend, or Mrs. Anders." Harrow started to sputter, trying to ask how Maria and Stephanie were possibly connected, but Scout shushed her and rushed her out the door. "Kathrine, do you have your rifle in your car?"

    "You betcha!" She eagerly grinned. For a stern judge, she seemed to get excited about shooting at people.

    "Turn left here, and go to the end of the road here." Kathrine and I had almost almost arrived the warehouse. The day was dragging into mid-afternoon, and the rain kept pouring. Besides the weather, the warehouse was located in a part of town that used to be a major steel mill park. Now houses, factories, and warehouses sit empty, waiting for men like Shade to take them over. Overall, this case had just gone downhill fast, but lives were at stake, and the only two chances for vital evidence were slipping away.

    "So, do you think Shade has anything to do with all of this?" Kathrine asked me.

    "Honestly, I don't know. A right here, please."

    "I mean, why would a powerful man even want to kill people? Does he have a mission, a message? He could be crazy."

    "Again, I have no clue, but I have a slight inclination that its not him... yet, he might be trouble if he sticks around. We'll have to find out more about him from Steph, or Maria, or whoever."

    "What IS she doing anyway?"

    I didn't know the answer to this either, so I just shrugged. It seemed like there were more people interested in us than we anticipated, however. If Ander's words were true, we owed her our lives for covering our backs. Finding and rescuing her from Shade's men was top priority. "There it is, pull to a stop up there." When the car stopped outside of the rustic fence of the warehouse, Kathrine turned off the car and popped the trunk. She stepped out and I called for Harrow and Scout on the radio. "Hey, we're here. We'll let you know if we need help, okay?" After the slight static clicked off, no reply was heard. "Harrow, this is Bell. Do you copy?" After a moment, Scout replied. "Roger that, we're investigating our area right now."

    I turned the radio off and pulled out my revolver. Six .45 rounds fitted their chambers as I closed the magazine and sheathed the revolver in my coat. When I stepped into the rain and slammed the car door, Kathrine slammed the trunk and gave me a UMP-45 with an attached tactical light. "Just in case." she said to me, loading and cocking her own SCAR-H. The woman's arsenal impressed me, but I wasn't looking foreword to using it against whoever was inside.

    A large lot stretched from the gate to the warehouse. After breaking the lock on the chained gate, Kathrine and I raised our weapons and quickly moved to the warehouse. After moving across an open parking lot, we slid in a side door of the warehouse. Entering the building, the room was dark, and the switch inside only turned on a dim yellow light in the crowded hallway. Kathrine turned on her flashlight and checked both sides of the hall; no one was standing around. We started making our way towards one end of the hall, but I could not shake the smell of old concrete, wood, and acidic rain. I tried to shake the smell, but I had to keep focussed too. The conditions were dark, tight, and dirty, and running into Shade or a minion meant a tough close quarters fight. As the patter of rain gained ambient pattering that echoed inside the dark warehouse, our breathing slowed to calm us. We approached a door leading to the main warehouse floor, and Kathrine listened for life on the other side. After a minute, she slowly creaked the door open and pointed the gun into the room. When I patted her shoulder, she entered with me following right behind her. The room was very dark, but had some illumination from the glass ceiling. Kathrine carefully detached the flashlight on her gun and used it to look around.

    "What is this?" I said, letting the door automatically close behind me. Its gentle thud echoed through the tall room. Mobile computer labs, some stray paper, and a coffee machine were disorderly arranged within the room. I noticed stairs going down across the room, so I moved towards them. I flipped on the green tactical light attached to the UMP, then I slowly entered the stairway with my gun raised. Kathrine covered my rear, and we ventured down. The stairs led to cold, pipe-filled tunnels that dodged in every direction. I checked my phone for the coordinates of where Anders was when she sent her message. Looking around and guiding myself through the dark hallways, we approached her cell using the coordinates. After walking, I noticed the phone wanted me to turn into a room with a giant safe door. Pulling on the door, it opened and revealed four rooms within. Guns raised, we turned on our tactical lights and swiftly entered the room. "Clear! Clear!" Our voices called. But after looking around, no one was inhabiting the individual cell rooms. Checking my phone, I noted our co-ordinants. We had arrived, and the package was nowhere to be found. "Where is she?" I asked, frantically. "Where is she?!"

    "They must have taken her someplace else. Let's go, there's nothing for us here" Kathrine managed to squeeze out with nervous anxiety.

    "You better run then." A dark voice echoed around us. Kathrine jumped and turned around, pointing her tactical light at the door. The door jolted open, and it terrified us; the presence of nothing. No one was at the door, and Kathrine, who had never actually been with us on a case before, seemed pretty frightened. "Its a Wisp!" I said to her, calmly.

    "A w-what?"

    "A Wisp. Foolish little spirits that run around messing with people. Most of the time, they're just annoying. Come on, we're leaving before it starts messing with us." She did not seem thrilled with my answer, but we still raised our weapons and moved. Making our way through the halls Kathrine kept looking down corridors to check for anything living. She found nothing. "Stop looking, you must go."

    "Jonathan, get your ass in gear and lets go! I'm getting fr-" The Wisp interrupted her.

    "Ah, Jonathan, eh? Oh, you do look familiar! I've heard quite a bit about you..."

    I stopped cold in my tracks. It knows me? The thought scared me more deeply than it should have. "Alright, keep going Kathrine." She nodded her head, and we both backed out of the dark hallways and into the warehouse main floor. As we instinctively hurried the nearest door, I radioed Scout and Harrow. "Hello, Scout? Come in Scout? What's going on over there? Have we found anything? Because we found a Wisp, code 2 for recognizing conscious beings, over." Static. Yet a few more seconds and Scout may reply.  After a minute, I tried again. "Scout, please copy." Static. "Scout! Answer the radio! Harrow? Anyone? " Once more, static.

    "Jon, I've got a bad feeling about this. Something serious is going down, and this wisp is freakin' me out." Kathrine voice stuttered strong vowels from nerves..

    "I agree. We need to go back before anyone winds up dead."

    "It's okay. You don't have to go. I'm right here for you." A hand gently patted my shoulder.

    "GAH!" I turned quickly and sprayed fire behind me blindly. Kathrine threw open the door, allowing more light into the room. She grabbed my hand, my gun, and practically threw me outside. She jumped out, slammed the door, and shot through the door a couple of times. She then ripped me off the pavement, forcing me to run for the car. "Jon, did it attack you? What happened?"

    "Get... to... Scout..." I still had the wind knocked out of me from being thrown outside.

    "I know, but did it attack you?!"

    "No... wisps touch to... augh... give vision..."

    "What did it show you? Are you okay?" She asked this just as we reached the car. She opened the passenger door and sat me inside. Kathrine packed our guns in the back, and she began searching for her keys.

    "Just get driving. You don't want to know... yet." I took a moment to intake another large breath. "Screw wisps, I hate those jokers."

Friday, May 17, 2013

Breakdown - Author Anders - Part 2

Breakdown - Anders

Official Recording - File #---03. Part 2

I have a lot of time on my hands.
And so lucky for you guys, you get the full story.  I hope telling the truth will pay off for once. 

 It doesn’t always make this much sense to do so.

Let’s cut to the chase.  I am Stephanie Kane.  And I need your help.  Urgently.  So read.  The story will speak for itself.

I entered Roger Stanton’s office after the party.  He had shooed away the medical people the instant they had reasonably dressed his wounds.  When I stepped in the door, his head jerked up, startled, but he breathed easier when he saw me.  “Steph,” he said, relieved.
I glided over to him.  “Are you okay?  How bad is it?”
“Nothing much,” he grunted, “Those stupid little detectives just decided to… interrogate me.”
“But the guards.”
“Doesn’t matter.  They had Kathrine involved.”  He scowled while saying her name.  When he looked at me, his expression softened.  Now he just looked tired.
“Oh,” I said, “I wish that woman would just leave you alone.”
He shrugged.  “After what happened tonight?  I have bigger problems to worry about.”  He ran his fingers through his hair.  I stood behind his office chair and laid my hands on his shoulders.  He flinched a little from the pain, but a moment later he leaned in to the gesture.
“You want to talk it out?” I asked gently, “You’ve already told me your dealings with all those drug lords.  And it’s okay.   You can talk to me.”
“I know.”
I waited.  He groaned a little as he shifted his position in the chair.  I pulled a chair from the wall next to his desk and sat down, placing my hands in his and searching his face.  Roger smiled as he looked at the floor, and then back at me.
“Okay, okay,” he stroked my arm, “If it’ll make you stop worrying so much.  It has to do with the mercenaries.  Some of them weren’t straight with me…”  The phone rang, cutting off what he had to say.  He grunted his annoyance; he hated getting interrupted.
“Speak,” he rapped into the receiver.  I couldn’t make out what the person on the other end had to say, but from his look, I could tell he wasn’t pleased.  “What?  What do you mean?  Speak straight!”
I looked at him apprehensively.  He looked angry, but also uncertain.  Agitated, he rose from his seat and yelled, “That’s nonsense!”
I stood up and gripped his arm.  “What’s wrong?” I whispered.
“Just some good-for-nothing that’s trying to cause trouble,” he said dismissively, “Making ridiculous accusations.”
I caught a snatch of the voice on the other line.  Roger just scowled at it, then said, “Stop giving me air and leave me alone.  I’ve got better things to do.”
“Can I handle this one?” I asked.
“That look you have… Roger, what did he say?”
I was worried about the occasional side-glances he gave me, like he was unsure of me, or maybe afraid of something.  It didn’t sit well with my stomach.
“He’s accusing you of screwing with me,” his serious eyes found mine, questioning but not accusing.  I snatched the phone.
“Hey, hey!  I don’t believe him, it’s probably just someone trying to get up my skin!”
I ignored him.
“Who are you?” I demanded into the receiver.
“Hello beautiful.”
“What do you want?” I scowled.
“I think you know, but you won’t give it to me.  And so I’m playing my card.”
“Get lost!” I hadn’t used that tone with Roger in the room, and it startled him.
“You already know I can’t do that.  Now, if you’d get in a little better humor, maybe you’d just accept that I’ve won.” His voice was full of vile arrogance.
“You don’t have anything.  You can’t.  There’s nothing to have.”
“Steph?” Roger asked worriedly.
“You know me better than that,” the man on the phone said.  I hate it when I can tell a person is smirking just by the tone of voice.  I slammed the phone down on the receiver.
Roger, still shocked at my behavior, carefully put both hands on my shoulders.  I looked at him, and my eyes must have portrayed some of the fear I felt.
“It’s alright,” he said, “I don’t believe them.”
When I didn’t respond immediately, he drew me closer and whispered as he embraced me, “They can’t take you away from me.  I don’t care what they say, they can’t do it.”
The phone rang again.  I just stared at it.  Roger said, “Don’t worry, I’ll tell them to get lost.  And if they don’t, I’ll make them get lost.”
“Speaker phone,” I said.
He complied, and was about to give his warning, but the other voice beat him to talking.
“You want proof, I’ll give it.”
The printer on a shelf across from his desk started spitting out documents on its own accord.  Roger stamped over to the printer and snatched the papers up.  But I could pick up on his fear.  He stared at the papers blankly.
“Steph…” his voice cracked, “Please tell me there’s a way to prove this is a lie.”
I took a look at the papers.  It was a trace from the chat overlay on the Deinsport site, tracing “Logical1” to a personal computer.  Mine.
“Ready to give up, Stephanie?  Or shall I say, my most gracious and lovely Maria Anders?”  I wanted to kill Shade so badly.
Yes.  I am Maria Anders.  
But I still didn’t want Stanton thinking that.
“There has to be a way,” I said, conjuring up some tears, “I… Oh, please tell me you don’t believe them.”
“This tech… It’s the serious stuff.  I know forgery, Steph, and I’m just not finding it.”
“That’s it,” I calmed my crying into sniffles, “Their tech.  With their stuff, they could alter any document.  They could be lying.  You said they had good tech, so they could do that, right?”
“True, true.”  Roger seemed to be considering all his options.
“You are relentless!” Shade said through the phone, “Roger Stanton, are you so desperate as to have the truth slap you in the face and you still deny it?”
“You’ve got nothing,” I said, “Stop trying to ruin our lives!”
“And why shouldn’t I, Maria?  Oh, I could call you by so many names.  Should I tell your little boyfriend why you’re really there?  Should I elaborate on what a heartless fool you are?  Oh, come on, don’t give that look, I know you're giving me one!  I can see you through my camera implant, and you’re good.  But don’t ever forget that I know your language.  Admit it.  You know it’s true.  You’ve always been cold and closed, but I’ve been on the inside, and I know who you really are.  So please, make this easier on yourself and disillusion your new prey.  Or should I be the one to narrate our past?  I’m sure past romances are something he’d want to know about.”
On the outside, I looked broken and upset and confused, but really, I was infuriated and seething.  He just had to waltz back into my life and dismantle everything like he always does.  He just had to spew all my past in my face and watch me tick.  I would not break out in anger.  No one had that power.  Nobody.  But he’d still hear the full force of my hate.
“You call yourself Shade for a reason,” I said, “The name Lucien never fit you well.”
“Well congratulations! I applaud you.” he laughed loudly clapping on the other end of the line, “That’s the truest thing you’ve said so far!  So, Miss Sunshine, or should I say Lady Black?  You’re right, ‘Lucien Turnwell’ never fit me.  You remember the things we used to say?  ‘When dawn meets dusk and black night does fall, the crescent rules and shade seeps through all.’  Yes, Lucien died long ago, that child who wrote such sappy words.  But the thing about Shade is that it plays tricks on your eyes to get you to stumble.  And you just did.”
Revelation passed over Roger Stanton’s face, and he stared at me blankly.
“You knew who I was,” I could feel him grinning with the cold tones in his voice now, “But Stephanie Kane isn’t involved in that stuff.  Oh, no, Stephanie Kane is a normal person.  But Stephanie Kane is gone now.”
I froze for a second as I caught Roger’s eyes.  He was convinced.  I was screwed.
I punched his jaw.  After knocking him out, I rushed out the door.  I knocked out two bodyguards before they had a chance to react and then snatched their guns.
“Relentless!” Shade mocked me over the loudspeaker system, “You should know by now that you’re not getting out of here.”
I knew it was hopeless.  I was going to fight anyway.  There was no way I would willingly submit to him.  Even though Shade wouldn’t have gone through all that without some foolproof plan.  Even though he probably had the building surrounded.  
Something caught the corner of my eye.  I dodged into a roll, but I felt a prick on my neck anyway.  Drugged.  I soon lost circulation and fell to the floor.  My eyes were getting heavy, but I still managed a snarl when two men picked me up and turned me to see Shade face to face.
“Now I’m in charge,” he picked up my chin so I had to look at him, “And so now we’re playing by my rules.”
They dragged me back to Stanton’s office.  Stanton still lay on the floor, head bloody from the impact it had on his desk as he fell.  One of Shade’s people, a tall and burly man, sat him up and put something up to his nose, forcing him to regain consciousness.
“Nothing broke too bad, besides the DDS's damage.” he reported, “He should be able to stand.”
The burly man helped Stanton to his feet.  He stumbled towards me and said, “Why?  We loved each other.  We were supposed to be happy.”
“Love doesn’t exist,” I said in a lower voice—my voice, instead of Stephanie’s.
“See?  Heartless,” Shade said, “I’ll get her out of your hair.”
Stanton’s eyes had lost all their usual softness with me, replaced with hard, cold anger.  He came up to me close, but this was a menacing, seething close.  Then he took a step back and punched me in the jaw.
“Get her out of here.  All of you, get out of here, now!” he said, voice loud by habit.
Shade snickered and motioned for his men to obey Stanton’s order.
And so they threw me into the back of a truck and carried me off.  But I know where they went.  Even Shade doesn’t realize how much I actually know about his recent whereabouts.  For now, I’m in the abandoned warehouse’s basement on the outskirts of Deinsport.
And that’s why I’m sending you this message.  Because they still have me.  How did I get this message to you?  I’ll leave it at they seriously underestimate me.
I go by many names.  Right now my name is Maria Anders.  And I need your help.  Why should you help me?  Because you need me for your team.  I may be the only person with the connections on the inside that’s willing to help you figure what in Hell is going on in this horrid city.  Since I started on my job, I’ve also been dissuading, or more often shooting, people on your trail.  Some of them would have attempted to kill you.  And I have other information that would be helpful.
So consider this your opportunity.  If you come rescue me from Shade, I’m all in.  I’ll help you and your paranormal detective group unravel this mess.  If you don’t…  If you don’t, I might have no other choice. The dead bodies will multiply.
And one of those dead bodies might be yours.
Your call, detectives.  Choose well.

Breakdown - Author Bell - Part 1

     Breakdown - Bell

Official Journal - File #---20. Part 1

    Papers splattered over Ivan's desk. Dozens of reports, documented phone calls, and dropped leads collectively dirtied his spotless desk. "No leads, all of it!" I shouted. Ivan sat blankly as ever, simply staring at the messy pile of our broken work. Wiping the sweat from my face, I remembered all of the terrible days of relentless research that filled the previous week. Stanton's wife, the dead party go-ers, and now two others had been found dead in an upper class neighborhood. However, there was almost nothing to go off of. The only reasonable suspect was Stanton and these drug dealers connected with him. Even then, this new couple had no connection to any known drug crime or Stanton. One consistant evidence was that people were dying form some kind of chemical substance, most likely ingested. Besides that, everyone, even Scout and Harrow, had failed to dig anything else up about this case. Our first major and serious investigation was going down the toilet.

    The entire DDS team sat in Ivan's office now: Ivan, Scout, Harrow, Kathrine, and I. I had called an emergency meeting for brainstorming, but no one could think of any leads or possible loopholes. We even tried to get a hold of security camera footage, but the city's slow bureaucracy had buried the footage in red tape. We had also been trying to find this "Igor" character, but no one could turn up anything. The crime syndicate seemed to cast shadows over his footsteps, and our attempts to locate him had all turned up empty.  "Its hopeless, we're not cut out for this type of work!" I said, throwing my hat across the room. It knocked over a small lamp of Ivan's, but he did not even flinch at the crash.

    "Hey Bell, keep your cool please. We all have frustration over these ambiguous clues and worthless leads" Ivan replied, dropping Igor's massive file on his desk. "In my opinion, we need to be more aggressive with finding Mr. Haorat. There will be no rest until we have his evidences".

    "You don't think we've been trying to do that?" I replied hastily. Ivan shrugged and pulled out his M1911. He examined it carefully. Rain steadily hit the window, and some lightning tore apart the sky. The room grew very dark, with the very dim light from Ivan's window reflecting off of his polished pistol. "Recall my accuracy from our team exercises." His hat and head liefted upwards as if to signal that he was now looking at me.

    I wiped sweat from my forehead again. "Ivan, don't tell me you're still sore about your shooting. Maybe you're just a bad shot." At this moment, he stopped moving altogether. I realized, once again, that pissing Ivan off with a gun in his hand is a bad idea. He stopped fiddling with his gun and stroked the trigger with his index finger.

   "Jon, please hear me out. I take absolute precision with each bullet that I fire from this weapon. The only reason for me to take such incredibly awful shots would be if I was distracted."

    "I... must be missing the point here. You're usually a focussed person, what would be distracted by?"

    He sat silently for a few moments, staring at me with his faceless gaze. "I do not know. Something supernatural. It came as a gentle breeze and lingered like a bitter infection. Since this case started, something has followed me, and I feel the need to communicate with it." He paused quietly, letting the supple atmosphere become brittle with cold breathe and slight dread.

    "So," Harrow began. "Are you saying a spirit may be trying to contact you? Is this how we're going to find Igor?"

    Ivan nodded. "Perhaps. Maybe you should answer that, I should get some air in the meantime." He stood and walked out of the silent room once the door shut behind him, my phone rang, and Harrow's radio buzzed. It was odd, but we certainly didn't take time to think twice. I whipped out my phone while Harrow entered the hall to check the radio. Looking at my phone, I had one message from Maria Anders, Stanton's girlfriend. I checked the phone expecting some lawsuit for medical bills, but the contents filled me with my anxiety than what lawyers could accuse me of. "Scout, Kathrine, get your coats. We've got to go, now!"

    "What? Why, what does it say?" Scout asked, jumping off a filing cabinet to grab her coat.

    "Here is what it says."