(A MORFS Universe Story)
by: Stephanie B
By Stephanie B
Crowds. It was something that John
Watson was never comfortable with. Too many people in too much of a
hurry. It didn't help when most of them were taller than he was, blocking
his view of everything. Entering the Los Angeles transfer station required
an act of will similar to an alcoholic walking into an AA meeting. John
gritted his teeth and stepped into its revolving doorway. He could already
feel his anxiety climbing as he looked through its glass partitions.
A flood of sounds and smells assaulted him as the doors opened into
the massive room. Attempting to make his trip through purgatory as brief
as possible, John walked directly to the security hall and identified
himself to the Officer of the Day.
A man in a nondescript uniform looked
up from his console and asked, “Can I help you, sir?”
“I'm Special Agent John Watson
of the DEA. I need to register my weapons before transport to Tenkei.”
“You have all your paperwork with
you?” he asked. It was a ridiculous question since all of his information
was on their computer system and no one filed 'paperwork' anymore.
Placing his eCom into the receptacle
on the officers desk he answered, “Yeah, I have it all here.”
While accessing John's firearms permits,
passport and work visa he added, “Please thumb the scanner for identification.”
Placing his right thumb on the scanner,
John waited for the tone that signalled a successful scan. When he heard
it beep, he removed his thumb, smiled, and waited. After several minutes
the officer stated, “I have to remind you that firearms are strictly
prohibited on Tenkei. Any violation will result in your visa being revoked
and you being deported from the city.”
“As you can see from my inventory,
I'm only bringing my Huey” John explained. A Huey, or more accurately
a HEW3, was the latest in nonlethal hand gun technology. Instead of
a bullet being fired by a chemical explosion, a Huey used a magnetic
field to fire small needle like projectiles. Since these had less weight
and little penetrating power, they were one of the few weapons permitted
into the city and were widely used by the Tenkei police department.
They were also not classified as a firearm. Its main advantage however
was that its needles could be loaded with one of several nonlethal drugs
to take down a suspect. Its high manufacturing cost was it's only reason
for not being adopted by all police forces.
With a smile the officer replied,
“Yes I noticed. It's standard operating procedure to remind all members
of law enforcement of the restriction.” John simply nodded his understanding.
SOP, standard operating procedures, it was the lifeblood of any government
agency. Customs was no different.
The officer returned John's eCom
and said, “Everything is in order. Have a nice day.”
Collecting his things, John shouldered
his bag and made his way to a coffee shop to wait. He still had about
an hour before the portal would open and the mad rush to get everyone
and everything through would start. LA only had three openings per week
with Tenkei and each one was only for thirty minutes. It wasn't much
time to get cargo and people through, and cargo took priority. This
would be his first trip to the orbital city, and was scheduled for one
month. He was on loan to Tenkei PD as part of a 'transfer of knowledge'
initiative that several agencies participated in. However his main job
was to find, arrest and return Juan Marcos. Up until two days ago Mr.
Marcos was a guest of California's department of corrections. There
was a rumour that he fled to Tenkei after being bailed out and was hiding
in its labyrinth of underground tunnels. After checking all shuttles
and transfer points there was still no indication that he had made it,
but John was going to check it out anyway.
As he finished his second cup of
coffee a loud signal was heard over a nearby speaker followed by a woman's
pleasant voice, “The portal to Tenkei has now been activated. All
personnel will begin transfer after cargo has cleared. If you are not
in the transfer area, please make your way to your designated area immediately.
Activating the timer feature of his
watch, John slowly started to make his way to the transfer area. He
knew it would be crowded and wanted to wait, letting it thin out before
he had to enter. When his watch showed there was only five minutes remaining
he quickly grabbed his bags and walked through the final set of doors.
The transfer area was huge and almost deserted. He saw a set of doors
on the far wall labelled A through F, and were at least a hundred metres
away. Double checking his eCom he walked toward door C. Before reaching
his doors he heard a popping sound followed a few seconds later by his
count down timer reaching zero. John turned to look behind only to see
the room was now half as long as it had been just a moment ago. A wall
now separated it from the LA side. He suddenly realized that he was
farther away from home than he had ever been in his life.
After wandering aimlessly for a few
minutes he found an interactive map. John downloaded directions into
his eCom and headed toward police headquarters. He had heard stories
of how crowded the city was, but it didn't seem that bad to him. It
was considerably better than LA. One thing he noted was how clean everything
was when compared to any other city he had visited. His directions indicated
that he could walk, but taking one of the automated subway cars would
be significantly faster. Walking its short distance was an odd experience
for John. He expected to have some indication that he was thirty-six
thousand kilometres above Earth, but there was nothing. That was until
he climbed the stairs out of the subway station. Tenkei's police headquarters
was located under one of the many domes dotting Tenkei's surface. Through
its spider web of thin steel and thick glass, John could see Earth.
Even from this distance he was able to make out the east coast of North
America and a hurricane that was forming in the Atlantic ocean. The
sight was so breathtaking that he had to sit for a minute and stare
at it. Everyone he ever knew, every place he had ever visited was there;
on a blue and white marble that could be covered by his out stretched
~ ~ ~
A faint hiss of compressed air brought
a smile to John's face, as the doors slid open. It was nice not having
to wrestle his bags through another doorway. A smiling young women in
a navy blue uniform greeted him. Her straight black hair was pulled
back into a pony tail under a navy blue baseball cap with a crest of
the Tenkei Police Department. As he stepped up to her reception desk,
John read her name tag. “Good morning Officer Sato. I'm Special Agent
Watson of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration,” John
announced with a smile, while showing his badge. “I'm here to see
She entering his name into her computer
before replying, “Yes, I have you listed. If you'd like to have a
seat I'll let Captain Miller know you're here.” John nodded and turned
to look at the seating available. Since the bench she indicated looked
like it was made from a solid piece of rock, John decided to remain
standing and wandered through their small reception area instead. There
were a few displays showing images of their inter-department softball
teams; another set of images showing new graduates receiving their badges.
Typical images that any police force would show to encourage people
He was interrupted by another woman's
voice, “Agent Watson?” Turning to see who had called him, John was
greeted by a tall woman wearing a white shirt with fashionably large
lapels under a tailored jacked and matching pants. Its beautiful mocha
colour contrasted perfectly with her olive skin and black hair. Her
black open toed shoes with a slight heel added a level of femininity
that her business suit needed. Extending her hand she added, “I'm
Captain Brenda Miller. Welcome to Vice.”
Accepting her handshake John replied,
“It's nice to meet you. I'm looking forward to working with your team.”
Opening a nearby door and leading
him in she continued, “I understand you're only with us for a month?”
“Yes, that's right. I'm scheduled
to return to our LA office on the first.” It wasn't much time, but
four weeks was all that Tenkei had requested. It seemed like an unusual
request, but John wasn't complaining. It gave him a three-day weekend
before having to be back to work.
“I hope that we might be able to
extend your stay. We're a little overloaded with this new drug. We're
still not sure how it's getting into Tenkei.”
“Why wouldn't it be coming in the
same way that other drugs are getting here?” he asked. He had noticed
that people seemed to treat this drug differently than others. It had
been added as a schedule one drug faster than most because of its addictive
properties, but it still should be distributed using the same infrastructure
that already existed.
“We've never found anything during
seizures of other drugs shipped to Tenkei,” she explained. “If they're
using the same delivery system we would expect to see them there.”
It was a good point and something that John would have to think about.
As they arrived at a door labelled Squad Room she said, “And here
we are.” Pressing her palm on a panel next to the door, it slid open
with a hiss.
Inside was a room that looked more
like an airport control centre. Several people sat at computers with
pictures of people and data on them. An entire wall was dedicated to
a map of Tenkei. Head shots of people could be seen around it with numbered
balls of different colours. The same coloured balls could be seen on
the map, several of them were moving on Tenkei's vast subway system.
“You're able to track people in
real-time through the city?” asked John in amazement.
“We're a bit unique in that,”
explained Captain Miller. “Everyone on the city can be tracked to
some degree. With monitors and thumb scanners in so many places, we
can get almost real-time updates of where people are.”
“What about people's privacy?”
he asked. “I'm sure that someone would have complaints about this.”
She sighed at hearing the same argument
again. “That's why we need to get a warrant before being able to do
this. And it's not one hundred percent reliable. There are large areas
of the city that don't have any cameras, or if someone thumbs a pad
for another person we could miss them entirely.”
One man in black cotton paints and
a black silk shirt standing near the map added, “This is really only
our best guess as to their location. For some it's damn accurate,”
he pointed to one of the moving points in the subway. “Like this guy.
He's in view of a camera at the moment. And according to his destination,
Donny is about to violate his parole.” He was a tall man and seemed
to tower over everyone else in the room. His long black hair was pulled
back into a tight braid that reached halfway down his back. At first
glance it make him appear to have short hair. He either spent a considerable
amount of time under ultra violet lights, or was blessed with a skin
tone that always had a healthy tanned look. However it was his eyes
that were simply breathtaking. They were so dark it was impossible to
see where his pupils and iris met.
“Well then, maybe you and Agent
Watson should go pick him up,” suggested Captain Miller. “Agent
Watson, this is Samuel Price. He has the highest closure rate of all
the detectives in vice. I've paired you two up so that you could get
an idea of how we do business.”
“Pleased to meet ya,” Price said
with a smile as he offered his hand. Watson tried to shake his hands,
but it felt more like his arm was being mauled by some enormous animal.
“Doesn't the DEA have height requirements?” he asked with a smirk.
“Yeah, we can't be over six feet
tall,” Watson shot back. “Something about being an easy target.”
Turning to Captain Miller, Price
smiled. “I like this guy. He'll be fine.”
“Just return him in one piece,
okay?” she added, shaking her head.
~ ~ ~
“I DON'T KNOW!” the young man
yelled again. “You've already asked me all these questions and I still
Watson leaned across the table again,
“I know you have some information, it's just a matter of time. And
I have all the time in the world.” He sat down in his chair, pulled
out his eCom and started entering a message. Agent Watson was just wasting
time, until this idiot finally said something useful.
“We've been in here for hours now,”
Donny stated. “When can I go?”
“You can leave anytime you like,”
answered Agent Watson with a grin. “As soon as I get what I'm looking
Donny just sighed and said nothing.
He was dressed in what had become the unofficial uniform of almost all
teenage boys in Tenkei. His black pants had more baggy pockets than
would be practical, but they held everything that he thought he needed
or wanted. His tight-fitting sleeveless silk tee-shirt was bright yellow
and showed off his slim, almost anorexic figure. John didn't care about
any of that. He was waiting for Donny to crack and looking at him in
a completely different light, literally.
John Watson appeared to be about
thirty-five with short dark hair, grey eyes and an athletic build. His
career was the most important thing in his life. Actually it was the
only thing in his life. He was often in his office early and usually
stayed well past his shift. He would always answer comments about his
hours by saying 'I love my job', but the real reason was much more personal
than that. Something that he wouldn't talk about with anyone, even if
there was someone in his life to talk about it with. John had been in
Tenkei for more than twenty-four hours, but hadn't even made it to the
apartment that had been provided for him. It had taken him six months
to gather enough evidence against Juan Marcos and arrest him. When he
made bail there was a good chance that he would try to run, but no one
was able to figure out how he got to Tenkei and disappeared so easily.
Donny was one of his low-level dealers and if Marcos was in the city,
he likely had an idea where he would be hiding.
Among the many things that people
didn't know about Agent Watson was that he was a MORFS survivor. He
didn't become a hybrid, or gain any powers. He didn't change genders
like some people. He didn't even change his appearance much. The only
thing that MORFS had given John was his eyes. Specifically, his ability
to see infrared light. He could see the light from a remote control,
or the sensors on most alarm systems, but the most useful thing was
his ability to see a person's body heat. This little trick turned out
to be very handy recently.
A new drug had appeared on the streets
of Tenkei with the street name of 'inferno'. It was extremely popular
in dance clubs as it was very similar to ecstasy, but highly addictive.
It had also become popular with the fitness nuts trying to maintain
what they believe to be their idea weight, or the college kids trying
to bump their metabolism for studying for exams. Though the effectiveness
of that was marginal at best. Their increased metabolism was a side
effects of this new drug, it significantly increased a person's body
temperature when they were using it. Just like Donny was showing at
the moment. He had no way of knowing that John was seeing this, or that
he was waiting for him to crash.
Suddenly, the heat that Donny was
generating started to drop and John knew he had him. He wanted to smile,
but that would give it away. Instead, John waited a little longer.
Donny started to rub is bare arms
and asked, “Is it getting cold in here?”
“I feel fine,” John answered
with a smirk. “Maybe you're coming down with something. You should
go see an MBE when we're done here.” It was a joke that John used
with inferno users. Another side effects from the drug was that it made
it almost impossible for a Medical Bio-Elemental to be able to treat
them. The increased body temperature, decreased sensitivity to pain
and the inability to be treated by an MBE, lead to the death of many
users and put this new drug on the radar of the DEA in record time.
It was hard to find a good reason for anyone to take it at all, but
that was the same for most illicit drugs.
“I really feel sick, man,” stated
Donny. John could see that his body temperature was dropping fast. It
was still higher than normal, but was already three degrees lower than
when they started. This was the time that John had to move, before Donny
was too sick to be able to answer any questions.
John offered a carrot to Donny. “If
you help me, maybe I can help you.”
“How can you help?” Donny asked
while starting to shiver and rubbing his arms more.
“A warmer room, something for the
cramps and nausea.” It wasn't much, but there weren't many treatment
options for inferno withdrawal yet.
“Gee, thanks! That's so thoughtful,”
Donny replied sarcastically.
“Well, how about reducing the charge
to possession, instead of trafficking.” That got Donny's attention,
it meant a jail term instead of prison. If he got a sympathetic judge
it could be as little as six months in a rehab clinic.
“What do you want to know?” Donny
asked. John just smiled. He wasn't expecting a break in his case this
fast, but he'd take it.
~ ~ ~
“Can we believe him?” Agent Watson
“Donny would lie to a priest if
there was something in it for him, but I don't see any reason for lying
about this,” replied Detective Price. They had just finished taking
Donny's statement and getting him sedated before signing out of the
hospital. He'd be unconscious for the next three days, while he was
going through withdrawal. There was still a lot of pain and suffering
for him after that, but he'd sleep through the worst part of it.
“So, what is this Alpha Three place
anyway?” asked Watson as he signed the visitor log.
“Have you ever been to Amsterdam's
Red Light district, before those New Morality people started buying
up the place?” he asked.
“No, I've never been to Europe.
But I hear that place was really wild,” Watson replied.
“Yeah, well I think they all moved
here and went totally nuts,” Price explained. “Prostitution is illegal
everywhere in Tenkei, except in Alpha Three. The same thing goes for
gambling and public nudity. It has more hotels, casinos, bars and theatres
than the rest of the city combined.”
“And what's with the name? Are
there two other places just like it?” Images of Sodom and Gomorrah
flashed in Johns mind as he tried to think of Tenkei's 'entertainment
“No,” Price answered with a chuckle.
It was a common mistake that people made. “The name Alpha Three is
the domes location,” he explained. “It's the third dome on the first
row of domes in the city. If you remember the wall map in our squad
room, it's the largest dome in the top left area.”
“So is that where we're heading
now?” asked Watson as they stepped into an elevator.
“Nope, my shift is over now,”
Price answered. “I'll take you to your apartment and then we can pick
it up again tomorrow.”
John was still ready to go, but understood.
He was on LA time, while everyone in Tenkei was eight hours ahead of
“I got a message from Captain Miller
that your gear was dropped off at your apartment. Where do they have
you staying while you're here?” asked Price.
Pulling out his eCom to get the address
John answered, “Logan's Terrace, apartment 1227. It says echo eight.
I guess that's the dome it's closest to.”
“They got you into The Pit?”
exclaimed Price. “Wow, you must know someone up here with pull.”
“The Pit?” John asked a little
sceptical. “Is that supposed to be good?”
Stepping out of the elevator and
heading toward another subway station Price explained, “The Pit isn't
near echo eight, it is echo eight. It's an apartment block that's
built into an old volcanic crater. Twenty-three floors that taper down
to a small lake. All under one dome. You'll see why we call it The Pit.”
“A volcanic crater?” John asked
with a bit of confusion. “Why would a space station have a volcanic
“Tenkei was an island in the south
pacific,” Price explained. “The island was created by volcanic activity.”
“I remember reading that it was
built on a south pacific island, I don't remember that it was part of
“No. It was the Island,” Price
“Tetsuo Sakamoto took the entire
island?” John asked in disbelief.
“And some of the surrounding ocean
John shook his head at the information.
It was always amazing what some MORFS were able to do with their abilities,
but ripping an entire island out of the ocean and placing it into space
was incredible. Looking into Tetsuo Sakamoto might be a good idea. It
was always best to know the people he was working for.
A thumb scanner built into his apartment
door allowed John access. It was about twice as large as his place in
LA and considerably more upscale, with a definite modern design. Glass
and stainless steel used throughout the apartment gave it had a distinctively
modern decor. John stepped out to his massive balcony, which was more
like a backyard. It was roughly a square shape and about five metres
on each side. It even had grass. Something that was rare in LA. Looking
over its fence he saw another yard below him. He realized that he must
have been standing on the roof of the apartment below him. As he looked
at all the other apartments that made up Logan's Terrace, it reminded
him of an old strip mining operation. An almost endless set of terraces
could be seen going deeper than John cared to look. The lake, hidden
at the bottom was about a hundred metres down. There were a smaller
number of apartments closer to the bottom, but above him there could
easily be a hundred or more on each level.
Heading back into his new apartment,
John decided to have a look around. This was going to be home for the
next four weeks, he might as well know where everything was. He found
his bags sitting on a king sized bed with a hand written note.
I had our tech people activate
your tablet on the TPD network. You should have access to any current
and past cases files that are level three clearance or lower. If you
need access to any additional information, call me with the detail and
I'll see you get them.
Please enjoy any services that
are provided with the apartment. They're all included, complements of
I'll see you again tomorrow at
He immediately pulled out his tablet
and activated it. As soon as it was ready, he looked up any information
that was available on Juan Marcos and any people he associated with
in Tenkei. It was an extremely long list of people and took John longer
to go through than he had expected. After more than two hours, his stomach
reminded him that he hadn't eaten dinner yet. A quick look through the
cupboard showed that they had even stocked him with his basics needs.
After a light snack John though it best to get some sleep. Nine o'clock
would arrive soon enough with Tenkei being on GMT instead of Pacific
~ ~ ~
At exactly nine the next morning,
John entered the Vice squad's command centre to find a level of activity
that he didn't expect. Several people were tracking suspects on their
wall map and more were talking on phones or frantically typing at computers
systems. While trying not to get in their way, John looked for Captain
Miller or Detective Price. He was almost run over by a dark-haired officer
who was staring at her tablet instead of where she was walking.
After glancing at her chest for more
than one reason John said, “Hello again, Officer Sato.”
Finally looking up she replied with
a smile, “Hi, sorry about that.” She looked through the crowd of
people before suddenly yelling, “Captain?”
“Over here Sato,” came her reply.
Sato and Watson found Captain Miller sitting at a computer reading information
on another suspect.
“We've just received confirmation,”
Sato said while passing her the tablet. “The shuttle is in bound from
Cairo and should be arriving in ten minutes.”
Taking Sato's tablet and standing
up Captain Miller yelled, “Price, where the hell are you?”
“I'm right here,” he said calmly.
He was standing no more than two metres away, but John hadn't noticed
him either. How a man his size could disappear into a crowd was a skill
John would love to have.
“Get your ass down to hangar three,”
she ordered. “I want you there before that shuttle sets foot on my
city. Got it?”
“What's going on?” John finally
Captain Miller looked as though she
noticed John for the first time. “Good, you're here. Price, take Agent
Watson with you.”
Price headed for the door. “You
got it, boss. Come on Watson, I'll explain on the way.”
Even though John jogged three times
a week, he was having difficulty keeping up with Price. With his long
legs he was able to run faster. He was already in a subway car as John
finished running down the stairs.
As he entered the car Price was setting
their destination. “Authorization code sierra poppa one nine three,”
he said to the system.
An emotionless female voice replied,
“Voice print and authorization code accepted. Emergency Services mode
“Get into a seat and fasten your
seat belt. And I hope you haven't had breakfast yet,” he said while
buckling his own seat belt.
His question was interrupted by the
same female voice, “Departure in three, two, one. Departing.”
“SHIT!!” exclaimed John as he
was thrown back into his slightly contoured seat. On his thirtieth birthday,
John had received an adventure day as a gift. It included a one hour
flight on an old retired F22 fighter jet. The pilot seemed to push his
jet harder and harder, trying to get him to lose his lunch. He never
did, but he was very close to losing it in this 'ride'. Their sudden
acceleration was followed by several sharp corners that threatened to
leave bruises where John's seat belt held him.
Before their car had completely stopped,
Price was already loosening his seat belt and waiting for the doors
to open. Like a race horse at a starting gates, he launched himself
through the doors the moment his body would fit. John was trailing again
and he hoped he would be able to catch up. Price was so far ahead of
him by the time they arrived at hangar three that John almost missed
which door he'd run through.
Shear panic was John's first reaction
when a siren blasted in his ear. This was followed by another level
of terror as the hangar doors separated and open space could be seen
through them. Fearing that he would be sucked out the open doors. John
desperately looked for something to hang on to.
Noticing his fear Price explained,
“Relax, there's a force field that holds the air in. Otherwise they'd
have to build an airlock system for the shuttles. Or use one of the
older shuttle bays. ”
It was an odd experience looking
through the hangar doors, knowing that their air was being held only
by an electrostatic field. John had heard of this type of force field
but had never seen one before. Though there wasn't a need for them anywhere
he had travelled to before. The technology had been developed by Sakamoto
Enterprises shortly after Tenkei had been launched into orbit. By some
weird trick of science and high frequency transmitters, they were able
to repel gas molecules. After carefully tuning the system a wall could
be build that wouldn't allow oxygen or nitrogen to pass through it.
Anything else could pass though, but would usually become statically
charged. Metal objects, like a ships hull, worked best as the field
would mold itself round its shape and not affect any air within it.
Looking at his watch Price added,
“We have a couple if minutes yet. Sorry about the ride, I guess I
should have warned ya.”
John took a few deep gulps of air
to catch his breath before asking, “What's going on anyway?”
“We got a tip that a shuttle is
carrying cocaine,” he explained. Before he could explain any more
details a small group of heavily armed police officers with thick bullet
proof vests and helmets entered the hangar. They took up positions to
surround the shuttle once it arrived. “Lets move over to those crates,”
he suggested, indicating some large metal containers nearby. “No need
giving them an easy target if this turns into a shootout.”
Soon after getting into position
a large shuttle passed through the energy barrier, its metal skin glowing
where it came into contact with the force field. The shuttles large
triangular-shaped wing barely fit through the open doors. After finally
clearing them it made a quarter turn, presenting a massive cargo door
to the shuttle bay. Lights and a warning sound indicated it was opening.
This was their cue to move in. Before the door had completely lowered
to provide a ramp three police officers had their weapons trained in
anyone who might be seen through it. Absently, John remembered the customs
officers warning regarding firearms and wondered what type of weapons
they were using. In this area, it was unlikely they would be issued
anything that would shoot bullets.
One man wearing ear protection could
be seen moving about inside the shuttles cargo area. As soon as he turned
and saw them he immediately put both hands on his head and knelt. It
was obvious to John that this wasn't his first time staring at the working
end of an assault rifle. A member of the tactical team pointed at his
head then pointed at the man. Taking the officers hint, the man slowly
removed his ear protection, placed them on the floor and returned his
hands to his head.
“Where's the pilot?” asked the
police officer, his voice slightly muffled by his helmet and face shield.
“I am the pilot,” he replied.
“Then where's the copilot?”
“I don't have a copilot. There's
only me,” he tried to explain.
Turning to the other police officers
he ordered, “You two, go check it out.”
They took turns moving forward, checking
in every hiding place they could find. They eventually disappeared behind
a set of large crates further into the shuttle. While everyone waited,
the lead tactical officer moved up and hand cuffed the pilot. Once restrained,
he helped him to his feet and lead him down the ramp to Detective Price
and Agent Watson.
“Where's your copilot?” Price
“I'm the only one on board,”
he explained again. “I don't have a copilot.”
“You and I both know that you're
required to have a pilot and a copilot on board for an orbital launch,”
Price added. “So I'm going to ask you again, where's your copilot?”
“He got sick. I had to launch without
him,” he answered. When he saw Price shaking his head he quickly added,
“I know I need a copilot. I'll pay the fine. Did you need to bring
in the SWAT team, for Christ's sakes.”
Before Price could ask any another
questions the tactical officer walked up and said, “We just got the
all clear. Shuttles clean.”
“Thanks, we'll be with you in a
minutes,” he answered. “Where's Fido?”
“She's on her way,” he replied
while handing Price the pilots identity card. “And you know she'll
get really pissed if she hears you call her that again.”
“So don't tell her,” Price added
with a grin. After looking at the pilots name he looked at him and asked,
“Is this a joke? You expect me to believe your name is Mario Rossi?”
Seeing Agent Watson's confusion Price explained, “In Italy a John
Doe is named Mario Rossi.”
Watson pulled out his eCom and stepped
behind the pilot. Placing his right thumb on to its scanner, he waited
for it to beep before looking at its screen. “Mario Rossi, age thirty-one,
from Rome Italy. It says here you're an independent.” Most pilots
could never afford their own shuttle. In order to make a living they'd
normally join a larger shipping company and fly with them. However an
independent pilot could make a lot more money once they paid off any
loans they had on their shuttle. “Oh look at that,” Watson added
while showing his eCom to Price. “You've been banned from US air space.
Now Mario, what did you do to get on our 'no fly' list?”
“Who the hell are you?” asked
“Special Agent Watson, US DEA,”
Watson replied. The look in Mario's face was priceless. “Well? What
was it Mario? Or do I need to make a call to the FAA to find out?”
“Okay, okay. You don't need to
call. I took a couple of people into Miami, Florida that your government
didn't want in the country.”
Price spoke up at this. “So you've
moved from human trafficking to drug trafficking? Your mother would
be so proud.”
“Drugs?” he asked. He was either
a good actor or was genuinely surprised. “What the hell are you talking
about? All I have in there is plastics and high-grade machine oil.”
A new voice asked, “Where do you
want me to start?”
Turning to see who it was, John understood
why Price had called her Fido. She was only a little shorter than Watson,
but looked several pounds heavier. Every inch of exposed skin was covered
in short, dark fur. Her skin actually hung loose on her face with deep
wrinkles., giving her a perpetually sad expression. Long, triangular
ears hung at the side of her head, almost reaching to her jaw line.
It was easy to see she was a dog hybrid, which breed was the only question.
While Watson had never owned a dog, he had seen a larger number of them
throughout LA. She reminded him an English mastiff that a friend had
when he was in college. Her navy blue uniform identified her as another
member of the Tenkei PD with her name tag of M. Fidalgo.
“Hi Maria,” Price said before
turning to their new guest. When he did finally turned and looked, Watson
easily noticed his forced smile and overly friendly voice. “Could
you check in Mr Rossi's cargo hold. I want to know if he's carrying
anything that he shouldn't be.”
“What am I looking for?” Maria
“I don't want you be biased by
me,” explained Price. “Just let me know if you find anything other
than machine oil in there.”
“Okay,” she added with a smile.
“I'll let you know if I find anything.” Turning, she headed into
Mario Rossi's shuttle. Watson was almost successful in not chuckling
at her squad designation stencilled on her back. It read K9 Unit.
“We don't have dogs in Tenkei,”
Price answered his unasked question.
“So you hire canine hybrids?”
Watson asked in disbelieve. “Isn't that a little racist?”
“They're not all canine hybrids,”
he explained. “And she's a member of Vice. We don't have a K9 Unit.
I was told it was a joke when she was a rookie, but she liked it so
much she kept it.”
It took over four hours before Price
and Watson were able to get back to their squad room. It turned out
to be a false alarm. Officer Fidalgo couldn't find a trace of any illegal
substances. Mario was released and allowed to complete his delivery.
His fine for flying without a copilot would be his last warning. The
next time he'd lose his Tenkei flight clearance, that would cost a lot
more to him than getting a copilot or any fine. The remainder of the
day was consumed by filing reports, meetings and more reports. As his
day came to its conclusion, John found himself still wondering about
Alpha Three and whether Juan Marco was able to get to Tenkei after all.
Instead of heading back to his apartment,
John decided to have a look into Alpha Three. He had always thought
it was a good idea to get an idea of where things were and the people
who visited places like that. Gambling, prostitution and alcohol seemed
to go hand in hand with drugs and other illegal activities. It was only
a short subway ride from his office which even dropped him into the
heart of Alpha three. Stepping on the subway platform, John was presented
with four distinct directions that he could go.
While Tenkei really didn't have a
north, south, east or west, the map was still laid out with these familiar
directions. It allowed people to find things easily. A pie shaped area
on a nearby mapped showed north to be mainly water parks and beach resorts.
East was Tenkei's theatre district with open air amphitheatres and movie
halls. West showed at least half a dozen casinos. Some very small while
one took up almost a third of the entire area. But John's destination
was south, toward a densely pack group of bars, restaurants and dance
Any business under the dome of Alpha
Three was definitely in the high rent area. Wandering through these
didn't give John any reason to go in and look. A group of young men
exiting an elevator caught his attention. They were dressed in the same
style of clothes as Donny had been and he could see they were all running
a high fever. This elevator went down to another level; a level almost
a kilometre below Tenkei's surface. It opened to a tunnel more than
a hundred metres wide and stretching farther than he could see in both
directions. There was little light other than what was provided by various
business signs, banners and posters. Most advertising another sin for
sale. He had found what we was looking for; Tenkei's red light district.
One of these businesses struck John's interest. It was a large, two-story
business with bright signs and a large group of people inside. This
was the largest group of people he had seen in a single place since
arriving in Tenkei, but it was still only a moderately busy club by
The Petting Zoo was a club dedicated
to hybrids and people who liked them. More specifically it was a strip
club that only hired dancers that showed a distinct amount of fur. Since
there was nothing like it in LA, John decided to satisfy his curiosity.
Stepping though its doors. John was greeted by a hostess wearing an
extremely revealing outfit. Her long-sleeved white knitted dress hugged
every curve of her body. With its deep plunging v-neck it was obvious
that she wasn't wearing a bra. Though it appeared that she didn't need
any, despite having an impressive chest. However it was her incredibly
long bushy tail standing up behind her that commanded John's attention.
From its colour and shape, he assumed she was a red squirrel hybrid.
“Welcome to the Petting Zoo,”
she smiled. “Have you been a guest before?” Her voice was very pleasing
with a mid-American accent.
“No,” answered John. “I've
only just arrived in Tenkei.”
Hearing his accent she smiled brightly.
“Oh, a fellow American. Let me show you what we have to offer.”
She stepped up to him and hooked her arm through his. Leading him into
the club she added, “My name's Mindy. What's your name?”
“John,” he answered.
She chuckled at his answer. “Of
course it is.” John was about to correct her assumption when they
arrived at a bar, staffed by three separate bartenders. “Michael,
can you please get John a drink? On me.”
Michael was a bull of a man, complete
with a nose ring and horns. His deep voice could easily be heard over
the background music, “What can I get ya, John?”
“Orange juice, please,” John
answered. If Michael was surprised by his request, he didn't show it.
He simply poured some juice into a tall glass and handed it to John
with a smile.
“We have an extremely wide selection
of drinks available, both alcoholic and non,” added Mindy as she continued
her tour. One area was sectioned off and contained a complete restaurant.
Tables and booths could be seen on either side of them while they walked
through. Guest would look up at them, but quickly returned to their
meals as they passed. Most of the guests were hybrids, some more obvious
than others. John noticed that every table had at least one hybrid sitting
at it. Passing through another set of doors, they came to a room with
a larger crowd. Several young women could be seen on stages through
the room, dancing to loud music in various staged of undress. All the
girls were hybrids as well. One girl who caught John's eye was a tiger
hybrid, her yellow and black stripped fur was quite striking. Mindy
noticed John's interest in that particular dancer and steered him to
a table close to her stage. “I'll leave you here to enjoy yourself.
If you have any question, please let me know, or ask any staff member.”
Her dancing was quite hypnotic to
John. He had seen hundreds of hybrids in his life, but there was something
about her that he couldn't but this finger on. Her skimpy leather outfit
didn't conceal much as she moved in time with the music. Turning her
back to him, she showed her flexibility by reaching behind and untied
her leather bra with one hand while holding it on with her other. While
still turned away, she looked over her shoulder at him and winked and
tossed her garment to him. She stood in ridiculously high heels with
an open toe, her claws peeked through and almost tapping the stage.
Wearing only her leather thong she swayed back and forth with the music.
Even though there was a large group of people in the club, it seemed
to John that she was dancing just for him. When she finally turned to
face him her breasts stood high and firm on her chest. Her pink nipples
could just be seen peeking through a layer of white fur covering her
chest and stomach. Kneeling on the stage and turning, she untied another
knot on her only remaining piece of clothing. She turned again and untied
its last knot before pulling it off and tossing it to him again. When
her music was finished she casually walked to a small flight of stairs
and stepped off stage.
Still completely naked she walked
up to John and purred, “Thanks for holding my things.” After sitting
and slowly putting her outfit on again she asked, “You're new here.
What's your name?”
“John,” he answered with a smile.
“And you are?”
“Mwindaji,” she replied. “In
my language, Mwindaji means hunter.”
While he listened to her talk, John
tried to identify her accent but couldn't place it. “Where are you
from, Mwindaji?” He took special care in pronouncing her name correctly.
Smiling at his careful pronunciation
she answered, “Kenya. But I've been here for over a year now.” Once
she was dressed again, though only barely, she stood and asked, “Would
you like a more private dance?”
“I think I'd like that very much.”
he replied while standing. She towered over him by almost a full head,
leaving his eyes level with her chest. Looking down John noticed she
was still wearing extremely high heels, but even without them she would
still be taller than he was. It was a common situation for John, something
that he had grown accustomed to, but he looked up into her eyes to gauge
A bright smile lit up her face as
she said, “You're just too cute.”
John was about to enquire what her
fee would be, when he noticed a new patron enter the club. Juan Marcos
strolled in, surrounded by half a dozen thugs. Instead of entering a
private booth with Mwindaji he quickly asked her to do him a favour,
for a price of course. Ducking into a particularly dark area he waited
for Mwindaji to make her move. Before Juan was able to sit, she was
on him. Her passionate kiss had more of an effect on him than John had
hoped for. He was clearly surprised and equally aroused by her. John
was about to make his way up to his target and arrest him when things
*John, please have a seat and don't
let anyone see you,* said a female voice in his head.
Out loud, but very quietly he replied,
“Who is this? Where are you?”
*I'm very close by, and I can help
you. But you need to leave and don't let Marcos' men see you.*
From his vantage point he could still
see the thugs that came in with Marcos. He didn't recognize any of them
but that didn't mean that they weren't aware of who he was.
“Why should I believe you? I have
no idea who you are,” he asked. It was odd talking to himself, but
he was never sure if he was being heard telepathically without saying
his words out loud.
*I understand, John. I'll contact
you soon to explain. But if you make a move I can't protect you without
exposing myself, and I'm not going to do that.*
“What do I call you then?” he
asked hoping he'd get something from their exchange.
*Chameleon,* was her brief reply.
~ ~ ~
It still bothered John the next day.
Why had he left? Just because a telepath had said he should? These questions
and other haunted him the whole day. At the end of the day, as he sat
in a subway car returning to his apartment, it finally got too much.
“New destination,” he said out
The emotionless female voice replied
almost immediately, “Please state your new destination.”
“All occupants must be scanned
for age verification,” she stated. John pressed his thumb on the scanner
nearest to him and waited for a beep. After a short tome she added,
“Age restriction confirmed. New destination approved. Arrival time
is approximately nine minutes.”
It was unlikely that Juan Marcos
would go to the same club two nights in a row, but there was a chance
that Mwindaji might have more information. That was, if she was even
working tonight. Walking through the club district of Alpha Three, John
quickly made his way to a set of elevators that would take him down
to where he needed to go. Stepping out of the elevator into almost complete
dark took a few minutes for John's eyes to adjust. He was able to see
the glow of infrared light from people soon enough and started to look
for signs to The Petting Zoo again.
Before he was able to get very far
he heard the unmistakable sound of a gun shot. This was followed almost
instantly by a ricochet inches from his head. Instinct, training and
self-preservation kicked into high gear as John ducked for cover. His
Huey was in his hand with its safety turned off before he even realizing
doing it. While checking its digital readout to make sure it had a full
set of rounds, he wished he had something with more fire power. Peeking
over the edge of a stone bench, John looked for anyone that might be
shooting at him.
Off in the distance, through a crowd
of running people, John was able to make out a figure with the biggest
hand gun he'd ever seen in his life. They walked in the open, swinging
it around like a character in a bad movie. Taking aim at them, he waited
until he had a clear shot. Suddenly something caught the person's attention
and they turned. Stepping out from his hiding place, John quickly moved
up. Something didn't seem right, but he didn't want this person to get
another chance at shooting him. As soon as he was close enough, John
pulled the trigger.
A very female voice yelled, “Ouch.
What the hell was...” She stopped in mid-sentence as she fell face
first to the ground.
“What the fuck did you do?” yelled
a tall, thin man in his mid twenties. “I almost had her.” He was
carrying another gun identical to the woman. For its size, it must have
been very light. He was holding it like it was nothing.
Seeing another person with a gun
John aimed his weapon and said, “FREEZE.” When he knew he had his
attention he added, “Drop your weapon.”
“This thing?” he asked. “You've
got to be kidding. It's not even...” That was as far as he got. While
talking he made the mistake of pointing it at John. Not wanting to take
any chances John immediately pulled the trigger again. The man stared
at the dart in his chest for a full two seconds before his knees gave
out and he fell to the ground. He was likely unconscious before hitting.
John kicked the two weapons away from the unconscious people and checked
to make sure there were no others.
Pulling out his eCom John dialled
and waited. “911, what's your emergency?” asked a man after a few
“This is Special Agent Watson with
the US DEA. I'm reporting shots fired and two people in custody at,”
he paused looking for some landmark or sign to tell them where he was.
“We have your location from your
eCom,” he said. “We'll have a police officer there in few minutes.”
~ ~ ~
“What exactly did you think you
were doing?” Captain Miller yelled at him.
“I thought she was shooting at
me,” John tried to defend himself. Finding out that they were only
dart guns with impressive sound effects was a bit of a shock to John.
They could have gotten themselves kill in LA with that kind of stunt.
“Didn't you check the schedule?”
“What schedule?” John asked with
a confused look.
Price answered, “There's a gun
fight schedule posted by Alpha Three. Any guests that have purchased
that package are listed.”
“You can just keep quiet,” Miller
yelled again. “Where the hell were you? I made you his partner for
a reason. But no, you had something better to do than watch him.”
John was getting more angry at this.
“I don't need a babysitter!” he said a little louder than he intended.
“Oh, you don't?” Miller asked
sarcastically. “I have two unconscious people, one with a broken nose.
I'll be fucking lucky we don't get sued by both of them!” After looking
at his report again and the report of the first officer at the scene,
Captain Miller just shook her head again. “You,” she said looking
Price in the eyes. “Take him home and make sure he gets there this
time!” Turning to John she added, “And you. You just stay there
for a while! If they sue the city, you'll be on the first shuttle off
this rock. Got it?” She stared at the two men for a moment before
“Man, she's pissed,” exclaimed
“Tell me about it,” added Watson.
“Maybe it's a good thing I only had my Huey. At least we only have
two pissed off guest instead of two bodies.”
“Oh god!” Price said to himself.
“What?” asked Watson as he headed
for the door.
“You're one of those 'glass half
full' people aren't you?” Watson knew better than to answer. Instead
they rode a subway car to his apartment complex before saying goodbye.
~ ~ ~
After a few hours sleep, Watson was
back in the squad room pouring through video footage from Alpha Three.
He was focusing on any cameras near The Petting Zoo. Since Officer Sato
was assigned to Vice this time, he asked for her help to get information
from their tracking system. She sat at a computer terminal while John
looked over her shoulder, watching her make entries into the system.
Holding out his eCom with a mug shot
of Marcos on it, John asked, “So if I wanted to find him what would
I need to do?”
Smiling politely she explained, “First
you'd need to get a warrant to track his activities.”
“He's in the city illegally. I'm
sure that would be easy enough.”
“If that's true, we don't need
a warrant,” she interrupted. “If he's not a resident and there's
no entry date for him, we have the right to arrest him on sight.”
Pointing to his eCom she asked, “May I?”
“Sure,” he answered while handing
it to her.
Placing it into a receptacle on her
desk she pulled the image of Marcos on her computer. First she checked
his image and name against the city census database before checking
any port he would have had to pass through if he came in legally. Once
she had confirmed that he had entered the city illegally she added his
image to a long list of people being tracked. “If he shows up on any
camera your eCom will be sent an update.”
“Are you going to get me in trouble
again?” asked Price from behind both of them. Sato jumped slightly
when he spoke. It was clear she didn't hear him approach either.
“I'm just trying to do my job,”
Price looked at him seriously and
asked “I thought your job was to train our people on this new drug?”
“That's scheduled for tomorrow.
I have slides and brochures, even a puppet show for the kids,” he
replied with a grin.
Since he wasn't getting a straight
answer, he decided to change topics. “Who's that guy?” he asked,
indicating the picture on Officer Sato's screen.
“Oh come on!” exclaimed Watson.
“You're telling me you don't recognize Juan Marcos? His picture was
on every news feed in the country.” Seeing only confused looks on
both Sato and Price he explained, “He's a major supplier in LA. I
had a team of investigators working on his case for over six months.
We arrested him about a month before I got here, but when a bleeding
heart judge set bail at a million dollars he disappeared.”
“So? Why do you think he's here?”
“Because I saw him in a bar in
Alpha Three two nights ago,” replied Watson.
Less than five minutes later, both
Price and Watson were standing in Captain Miller's office again. She
was angry again, but nowhere near as much as last time. “Why didn't
you tell us that Marcos was here?”
“I thought you already knew,”
explained Watson. “My office sent a message before I arrived saying
that he was likely here.”
“There's a big difference between
'likely here' and 'seeing him!'” added Captain Miller. “I want the
two of you to go back to that bar and get their surveillance files.
If he was there, I want confirmation of it.”
Stepping through the door of The
Petting Zoo Mindy said, “Hello John. It's nice to see you again.”
Turning to Price she added, “And you've brought a friend. Wonderful.”
With a well choreographed flash of
his identification Price said, “Detective Price. Tenkei PD.”
“How can I help you, Detective?”
Mindy asked with the same pleasant smile.
With a quick flash of his identification
Watson asked, “When I was here the other day, I saw a wanted man.
We'd like to have a copy of your surveillance files so we can see who
he was meeting with.”
With a genuinely sad expression she
replied, “I'm sorry, but I couldn't possibly do that without a search
warrant. We must respect the privacy of our guests. I'm sure you understand.”
“Of course,” Price offered. “I'm
sure that Judge Mathews will understand as well.”
Mindy's expression cracked for a
brief second. Watson thought he saw fear in her eyes before she was
able to recover. “What I meant to say is that I couldn't give you
a copy. If you'd like to take a look at them here with me, I'd be happy
“That would be wonderful,” Price
replied with more joy than was warranted. “I knew we could count on
“This way, please,” Mindy offered
with a forced smile.
There was more electronic equipment
in the small room Mindy showed them than most airport control towers,
but only one person looked after it. He was a tiny man with a horrible
complexion and thick glasses. After getting closer to him it was obvious
to all that he was several days overdue for a shower.
Without any introductions Mindy asked,
“Tony, could you please pull up all the video from two nights ago?
Between seven and nine?”
“How do you know what time's to
look for?” asked Price.
“I'm assuming your only interested
in the time that John was a guest here,” she replied. “Is there
another time frame you're looking for?”
“I was here for two hours?” Watson
asked with a little shock.
“You arrived just before seven-thirty
and left a little after eight forty-five,” Mindy explained.
“And you remember this off the
top of your head?” asked Price.
Smiling she replied, “I have an
extremely good memory.”
Suddenly John had an idea. “In
that case, do you know when this man arrived?” he asked showing her
an image of Marcos on his eCom.
“Juan?” she asked. Seeing both
men nod she added, “He arrived at five after eight with a group of
six other men. They didn't introduce themselves though.”
“I think we'll need to get that
warrant now,” Price proclaimed.
“Perhaps not,” replied Mindy.
“Tony, give me camera two at eight oh three on that night.” Tony
simply pressed buttons on his console before an image showed on a larger
monitor with an outside view of the bar. As the time stamp counted up
Marcos stepped into view surrounded by six men. Their stance and movements
clearly showed them to be body guards. When Marcos turned to look down
the street at something Mindy said, “Freeze that.” A perfectly framed
image of Juan Marco standing in front of The Petting Zoo with his entourage
was shown with a date and time along its bottom edge. There was nothing
that indicated that the images was from a surveillance camera or who
it belonged to. It could have been a tourist taking a picture of the
club at just the right moment. “Would that be good enough?” she
“Do you record everyone that comes
into your club?” asked Watson.
“Of course,” she answered. “We're
more than willing to help the police in any way that we can.” Her
sarcasm practically dripped off each word as she said them.
With a digitally signed copy of the
image, Price and Watson headed back to the squad room to tell Captain
Miller what they had found. As they walked through Alpha Three John
asked, “So who is this Judge Mathews and why is she so afraid of him?”
“I have no idea how or why he came
to Tenkei, or how he's able to keep his position as a judge,” Price
explained. “But the honourable Judge Mathews is a devout member of
the Church of the Genetically Pure.”
“Oh,” Watson said. He couldn't
think of anything else to say.
“Yeah,” added Price. “He'd
love to have any excuse to shut that place down. Even for a few hours
~ ~ ~
Two days later, Watson and Price
were sitting in their squad room reviewing reports on a minor drug bust
during a personnel transfer. It seemed that a new employee working in
one of the farming domes had brought his own marijuana seeds to plant.
While he was being held pending his deportation hearing, Price and Watson
investigated him for anything that might lead to a bigger operation.
It was mind numbing work and Watson was almost thankful when his eCom
Reading the text message that appeared
he became even more excited. “Holy shit!! We got a hit,” he said
while getting up to see the wall map of Tenkei.
“A hit on what?” asked Price.
He had to stand and follow the smaller man to get an answer.
“Marcos,” he explained. “He
just showed up on the board.”
Looking at the wall map, Watson found
his location and asked, “What is that place? It looks like he's in
the middle of nowhere.”
“That whole area is just storage,”
explained Price. “They store cargo in there before being loaded on
shuttles for shipping to Earth, the moon or one of the shipyards.”
Looking at the area again he added, “But that has been shut down for
years. That's shuttle bay one, it's not used anymore because it still
“What's the fastest way of getting
there?” asked Watson. “I don't want him to get away again.”
“If we had priority we could use
a teleporter, otherwise the subway will take us right to the shuttle
bay,” answered Price.
“You have a teleporter in the police
force?” Watson asked. “Why can't we get him?”
“We have two actually. But they're
booked in advance or are on standby for emergencies.”
After his previous trip on the subway
system for an emergency call, Watson would have preferred a teleporter.
But less than five minutes after leaving the squad room, Watson and
Price stood outside shuttle bay one. Looking at his eCom again they
headed to the area that Marcos had been spotted in.
*It's about time you got here. I
was starting to think you weren't interested anymore,* said an all too
familiar voice in Watson's head.
“Where are you?” he asked out
“I'm right here, can't you see
me?” asked Price with a smirk.
Pointing to his head Watson replied,
“I have a telepath talking to me.”
*I'm with a wonderful group of people
in storage locker nine,* she answered. *Tell Sam to watch his fire when
he comes in. I'd rather not get shot again, okay?*
“How many are in there with you?”
Watson was concerned he and Price would be seriously out gunned if there
was a large group of people.
*Just me and seven others,* was her
reply. *And don't worry about guns. There are only two people armed.
And you can't miss them. You better get in here though, they're about
to move their stuff to a new location.*
Turning to look at Price again Watson
said, “She said there are eight people inside storage locker nine,
but only two are armed. I'm guessing they're at the entrance to the
locker. How big are these lockers anyway?”
Checking a map on his eCom Price
answered, “Nine is a mid-sized one. Only twenty by twenty metres.
It has two entrances, one down that hall there,” he pointed to a wide
hall a short distance away. “And a second entrance into the shuttle
“Okay, you have the map. So make
your way to the other entrance and I'll take this one. We'll make our
move in five minutes.”
Walking to the hall that Price had
pointed to, Watson carefully looked down it. The hall ended at a large
set of doors a few metres away. They were easily five metres tall and
the same wide, with a smaller door built into them. Pulling out his
Huey, Watson stepped up to the door, checked that five minutes had passed
and knocked. When the door opened he shot who ever opened it. John grabbed
the man's gun from his hand as he fell to the floor. As he looked at
the people remaining in the room he did a quick head count. Six people!
“God damn it,” he said out loud
when he realized Marcos wasn't one of them. Everyone suddenly turned
and looked at Watson, which allowed Price to open the other door without
being noticed. Price jabbed a stun gun into the ribs of the last man
still armed. With very little noise the man went stiff and fell to the
Aiming his confiscated gun at a random
person Watson asked, “Where are the other two?”
“What other two?” he tried to
Stepping closer Watson pushed the
gun into his face and growled, “I'm not playing games. Now where the
hell are they?”
While trying the step back he answered,
“They left about five minutes ago. They left us to pack up.”
Watson finally took another look
at the empty room. A small folding table had been set up on one wall.
Sitting on top of it were several tightly wrapped white bricks of a
suspicious nature. Making sure that no one was out of sight at any time,
he stepped closer and stabbed a small pocket knife into one of them.
When he tasted the white powered that was on his knife he knew what
they had found.
Looking at Price he said, “I'm
guessing, but it looks like almost two hundred kilos of cocaine.”
“That's got to be worth more than
twenty million dollars!” replied Price.
~ ~ ~
It was early in the morning and John
just wanted to sleep. Filling in reports and having meetings to explain
how they had found the drugs had taken the entire night. His Huey had
been confiscated and its anaesthetic analyzed even though it was already
on record from the last time. This was all topped off by Captain Miller
adding her opinion before he finally headed home. It had been a wonderful
first week in Tenkei. Things here were definitely a lot different from
While mentally flipping a coin between
eating or sleep, his eCom rang. Pulling it out and checking its caller
ID caused him to raise an eyebrow in surprise.
“Watson,” he answered with a
“Agent Watson. I haven't caught
you at a bad time, have I?” His voice was clear and strong, with only
a slight hint of a Japanese accent. For being so early, his image on
the small screen still looked as though he was ready for the office
with an expensive suit and tie.
“No not at all,” John answered.
“How can I help you Mr. Sakamoto?”
“I was hoping you would join me
for breakfast. Unless you have plans of course.”
During his spare time John had been
trying to get information about Tetsuo Sakamoto. He wanted to know more
information about the man who launched an entire city into Earth orbit.
Or how he had made enough money to be able to afford all the work needed
to do it. There was surprisingly little information available on him,
despite being one of the wealthiest people in the world.
“I'd be honoured to join you,”
John replied. “Where would you like to meet?”
“I've already made arrangements
here,” answered Tetsuo. As he said this a large black oval appeared
on the wall behind John before being replaced by a hole. Turning, John
was able to see Tetsuo though it. He was standing near a long mahogany
dinning table. Bowing slightly Tetsuo said, “Welcome to my home.”
Once they sat Tetsuo asked, “Would
you like some tea or coffee? I understand you've had a long night.”
“I could really do with some coffee,
thanks.” From nowhere a tall skinny young man appeared on John's right
side and filled his cup with coffee. He then reached for a small silver
tray and placed it within easy reach before stepping back. Since he
drank his coffee black, John ignored the cream and sugar tray and lifted
the coffee to his nose. Breathing deeply, he enjoyed the aroma before
taking a sip.
Sipping what looked like green tea,
Tetsuo waited for one of his people to start the service. A large plate
filled with fruit was placed in front of Tetsuo, while John was served
bacon, scrambled eggs and hash browns. All he needed was a glass of
orange juice and it would be his favourite breakfast.
“Some freshly squeezed orange juice,
sir?” asked another ninja in a waiters uniform.
“Yes,” he answered after recovering
from being startled, “thank you.”
Taking his cue from Tetsuo, John
didn't say anything until they had finished their meal. Once their plates
had been cleared away and more tea and coffee served, they were able
to talk about why John was really there.
“I asked you here because I have
a problem,” explained Tetsuo.
“I'm sure you have an extremely
large staff of people to solve problems, why me?” John countered.
With a smile Tetsuo replied, “I
believe in getting the best people involved when something needs to
be fixed.” Smiling at the compliment John waited for him to continue.
“You see,” he started again. “I hate drugs, but I understand they
are extremely difficult to completely eliminate from any city. Even
a city as unique as Tenkei. I know my police force is getting results
on most of them, but one in particular has been an ongoing problem.
A problem that's getting worse each day it seems.”
John quietly said one word, “Inferno.”
“Yes,” admitted Tetsuo. John
thought he heard a little anger in his voice as Tetsuo continued, “No
one has been able to identify how it's getting here, or even who is
in controlling of it. That's why I've asked you here.”
It suddenly occurred to John that
Tetsuo might not be referring to breakfast. “Do you mean that you
requested me, not your police force?”
“Exactly,” he answered with a
brief smile. “I've already started an investigation, but I need someone
who's more familiar with this specific drug to take charge of it. I
believe you've already been in contact with my main investigator.”
As he said this a person entered from a nearby door. John immediately
reached for his missing weapon and cursed when it wasn't there.
Juan Marcos strolled into Tetsuo
dinning room like a welcome guest saying, “It's been far too long,
John. We need to get together more often.”
John jumped to his feet and was about
to tackle the fugitive when Juan said, “Relax, I'm here to help.”
“What's going on?” John asked
while giving Tetsuo a confused look.
“I'm not Juan Marcos,” said their
“I've been staring at your ugly
face for months. I know who you are,” he spat.
*Are you sure about that?* the female
voice from the bar asked, from inside his head.
Reports from several agencies, including
the DEA and FBI, had given John more information on Marcos than he wanted
to know about him. But none of these reports had indicated that he was
a telepath. The fact that his telepathic 'voice' was female was another
Sitting down again John squinted
and looked closely at the man now sitting across from him, hoping that
there was something that was out of character. Finally he asked, “Who
*As I said before, you can call me
Most agencies hired telepaths. Even
if their testimony was rarely accepted during trials, they were extremely
useful in gathering information. They still needed to get a wiretap
warrant, but it usually provided additional avenues to investigate that
wouldn't be possible otherwise. However John was never comfortable with
a person who could pull thoughts right out of his head.
*You can relax, John. Your secrets
are safe with me,* Chameleon sent to him. *I take my telepathic oath
“Who are you, really?” he asked
again. “I mean you look exactly like Marcos.”
“I'm a shape shifter,” Chameleon
answered out loud. “It's easier to get information on Tenkei's drug
trade from this side of the law.”
“And you're a woman?” This was
the information John had the hardest time accepting.
“Normally yes, but this is what
the assignment calls for,” Chameleon explained.
“So where's the real Juan Marcos?”
Tetsuo replied, “He's in a medically
induced coma at the moment. We intercepted him shortly after he arrived
here a few weeks ago.”
“You realize that I'll need to
arrest him and return him to LA?” John asked. He didn't expect to
have access to Marcos, but it needed to be said.
“And I will personal make sure
you are able to do that, as soon as our investigation is finished,”
came the expected reply from Tetsuo.
“You'll be able to take him back
now,” Chameleon offered.
“What do you mean?” asked Tetsuo.
“You've made a breakthrough in the case already?”
Turning to look at the shorter man
Chameleon corrected him, “Unfortunately it's quite the opposite. Marcos
isn't dealing Inferno, but he wants to. He came to Tenkei looking for
a source. His people aren't able to make it, but a major dealer is here
looking for new markets. The cocaine was a down payment on his first
“And Marcos is a big supplier to
LA,” John added. “If he makes a deal to distribute inferno in LA,
that would seriously alter the LA drug scene. That's something I would
really like to avoid.”
“I'll help if I can,” Tetsuo
offered. “But my primary concern is how this drug is getting into
my city and who is involved?”
“Since your police have his payment,
and several of his men, I'm sure the drugs won't be going to LA,”
“But who was getting the cocaine
here? Who was your contact here in Tenkei?” asked John.
“Someone named Dominic, but I'm
still working on that lead.”
John asked, “Why not just read
the mind of those guys? You could get the information that way.”
“It's not that simple,” Chameleon
explained. “They've had to deal with telepaths before. That group
was very low in the gang here. They've never met Dominic and have no
idea what he looks like. They don't even have a last name for him.”
“You will be continuing your investigation,
I assume?” asked Tetsuo. It wasn't really a question, but more of
“Of course,” Chameleon replied
immediately. “Besides, there aren't too many places that I can let
my shield down like I can here.”
“What do you mean?” asked John
with a confused look.
“It's something to do with Tenkei's power grid. It causes a lot of noise for telepaths. It reminds me of the ocean,” Chameleon said with a smile. “But it tends to drown out thoughts from people. Unless I get very close to them.”
“It's a... useful side effect from
our power plants,” added Tetsuo. “It makes negotiations more private
than normal. But it has been hindering our investigation.”
After a brief pause Tetsuo continued,
“I would like to make you an offer Agent Watson. Once Chameleon has
taken another form you can take Mr. Marcos back to LA, but I would like
you to return and continue your work here.”
“I'm not sure if or when I'll be
able to return,” replied John. “Juan Marcos is a fugitive. Since
he's my responsibility I'll need to escort him to LA for processing
through booking and sentencing again.”
It was an answer that Tetsuo wasn't
happy with, but understood. “I had expected that. Perhaps, in the
future, your schedule would allow you to return.”
“Perhaps,” John offered, but
he doubted it. “If I'm able to return I'll let you know.”
Bowing slightly Tetsuo replied, “Fair
enough. I'll make a shuttle available to you for transport. That should
be more secure than using the normal portal transfer station.”
~ ~ ~
John gritted his teeth and stepped
into the revolving doorway of the LA transfer station. He could feel
his anxiety climbing as he looked through its glass partitions. A flood
of sounds and smells assaulted him as the doors opened into the massive
room. A feeling of déjà vu gripped him before he realized he actually
had been here before, and it had been only a few weeks ago. After clearing
security and making his way through the massive transfer area, John
looked around for anyone that he might recognize.
“You missed me so much you had
to come back?” asked a familiar voice less than a metre away.
“Jesus Christ!” Watson exclaimed
in surprise. “Do you like scaring the crap out of me?”
Price smiled and said, “Actually,
yeah I do.” As they started to walked into a nearby subway station
Price asked, “So what's this news you have and why did you have to
come here to deliver it?”
“In exchange for a reduced sentence,
Marcos was cooperating with the DEA,” Watson explained. “We have
a little more information on inferno trafficking now.”
“You said he 'was cooperating'.
Did he change his mind?”
“Marcos died of a heart attack
two days ago,” Watson answered.
“How does a twenty-eight year old
man die of a heart attack?” Price asked in disbelief.
“Oh, there are all sort of ways,”
replied Watson, “But our medical examiner ruled out all that would
be natural causes.”
“Okay, so why are you back in this
hollow rock we call home?”
“Well...” Watson started to explain.
“Let me guess,” Price interrupted,
“they're blaming you for letting him get killed?”
Watson just nodded his head and added,
“I'm on paid leave pending their investigation.” Watson paused for
a moment, but decided to tell Price the other reason as well. “I'm
also here because of some information Marcos provided before he was
killed. I turns out that Inferno isn't being shipped to Tenkei after
“What?” asked Price, not understanding
what Watson was trying to explain. “How the hell is it getting here
“It's being manufactured here,”
Watson answered. “It turns out that Tenkei is one of the major suppliers
of Inferno to North America and Europe. I'm guessing that exports aren't
being scanned, are they?”
“Shit!” Exclaimed Price, “this
< to be continued >
The entire MORFS Universe can be found at http://morfs.nowhere2go.org/